Fundamentals of Project Management
In this blog we will take a look at the fundamentals of project management. We look at the key terms project managers use, and look at some of the overall techniques that are used by professionals in this space.
To get started we are going to take a look at 12 project management terms that every project manager should know.
This blog is for people who are looking to take on more responsibilities that have project management requirements. Words like RAG, GANTT and TRIPLE CONSTRAINT are going to be words and terms that roll off your tongue with ease after you read this blog.
This one is simple. It stands for RED, AMBER, GREEN. It is a very common term used to determine if something is on or off track. Much like a traffic light, red means something is stopped or stuck and needs immediate attention. Amber means, things are slowing down and a stop might be in the near future, and green means all things are good and on track.
A Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart used in project management to track projects from start to finish. Simply put, a Gantt chart is a visual view of tasks scheduled over time. Gantt charts are used for planning projects of all sizes and they are a useful way of showing what work is scheduled to be done on a specific day. They also help you view the start and end dates of a project in one simple view.
WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE (WBS)
This is one of the first steps in being a project. It is where you break your project into manageable pieces and have some logic around it. Simple things like tasks, time, budget and the people who will be working on it.
The triple constraint is the combination of the three most significant restrictions on any project: scope, time/schedule and cost/budget. The triple constraint is sometimes referred to as the project management triangle or the iron triangle. A change in one factor will invariably affect the other two. In other words, it’s all about trade-offs. As project manager, it’s your job to balance these triple constraints and manage expectations so everyone understands what it takes to achieve project success.
This is the framework used to manage the project. Some of the more common frameworks are Agile, Prince2, PMBOK or a combination of them. At the end of the day these are designed to provide a method that can be applied to a project to provide structure to keep the project on a critical path.
The business case is usually a document that provides the reason for the project. It is important for the project manager to understand the why of the project and not just the execution. Great project managers will have a deep understanding of the business case in order to execute the project in line with the reason it exists in the first place.
The requirements of a project are the must-have items that can’t be left out of the completion of a project. For example, the construction of a home has to have hardwood flooring through-out the home. The colour of the hardwood flooring could end up being up to the construction company, unless otherwise specified, but the flooring can not be carpet.
A project should be able to identify risks that could creep into the project and delay or run the project over budget. Being aware of the possible risks could help the project move along the desired path. If the risks are identifiable, then a good project manager will have prepared for the possible rise of the issue.
Speaking of issues. Issues are the warning sign that the risk to the project might be coming into play. Project managers should listen for the signs of risk and get in front of them quickly. Where there is smoke there is often fire.
A project milestone is a way to observe, measure and monitor the progress and/or performance of a project. Milestones in general exist as intermediate stages that must be fulfilled before reaching a final goal or objective. In terms of their usefulness, milestones can be defined and provide a foundation from which to monitor progress.
A stakeholder is any person, organization, or group that has a stake in the project. Thus, stakeholders can be internal or external to the business or project. A stakeholder will have a vital interest in the business or project because the end result will have a direct impact on them.
This is a group of people that have been tasked to provide advice, insight and guidance to the project. The committee is there to support the project manager and has a stake in the final outcome of the project.
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