Project management is a term that in some respects appears ubiquitous, yet in practice, it seems to still be relatively confined to big business. While this may be the case, the underpinnings of project management are actually quite simple and can be adapted by virtually anyone PMP certification . But, before we get too far down this path I think it is important to look at what project management is…and what it is not.
First, project management is a methodology. At its core is a framework that allows for efficient use of time, but more importantly this methodology/framework helps ensure that the goal of the project is actually achieved. Second, it must be understood that to be considered a project, there has to be a specific “start date” and “end date.” If the project has no official beginning or specific date to end, by definition it is a process. It is important to differentiate between the two. A project is undertaken to meet a specific goal or requirement, within a specified time frame.
For example, if you are planning a wedding you would want to use a project management methodology. This is because if certain things aren’t pulled together by the wedding day, proverbial heads are going to roll. A process, however, could be thought of as a repeatable group of activities and tasks that will be done over and over again. Making coffee would be a good example of a process. Coordinating everything to pull off a successful wedding, however, is a project.
There are a few project management methodologies, but for our purposes we will look at the basis of good project management. Our goal is to apply the principles of solid project management, rather than try and memorize a particular methodology.