Project Management

by Alan Harpham, Tony Kippenberger, Graham Bosman

Introduction

The easiest way to think about a project is to see it as a unique assignment or a ‘one-off’ activity rather than the normal routine of day-to-day operations or ‘business as usual’. So, as a one-off activity, what marks a project out is that it has a start date and an end date.

Initially used in the construction, defence and energy industries, the use of project management has spread to all sectors of the economy. And, as the concept of project management has become widespread, more and more organisations have adopted it as a way of undertaking a wide range of their activities. As a result, some organisations have become very project-oriented.

By its very nature, managing a project is very different from managing day-to-day activities. A project is a means to an end, not an end in itself, and the outcome of the project has to be turned into a successful business or organisational outcome. So there is a good deal of responsibility in managing a project in such a way that this is achieved. Many people find it a challenging but usually a rewarding role that helps them to develop new skills and hone old ones. Thankfully, the project management disciplines that have been developed over the last few decades now go a long way to assisting a project manager and their team – providing they abide by those disciplines.

What we’ve set out to do is to provide you with a route map for running a project – whatever its size. Clearly, if it’s a very small project you will be able to speed past some of the markers we’ve laid out, but do stop to think about them before deciding they won’t be necessary – it is surprising how planning and thinking ahead can make such a big difference to a project’s success.

So good luck with your project!

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw