We explain what project management is and the methodologies it uses. In addition, what are its stages, benefits and importance.
What is project management?
Project management is a discipline of business administration, whose object of study covers the planning, organization, motivation and control of the resources needed to achieve a specific purpose in advance, that is, meet a goal.
In this sense, project is defined as an undertaking endowed with a determined beginning and end, whose objective is to produce a unique product, service or result, that is, endowed with unique objectives and which be fulfilled, add value to the productive chain or achieve some positive exchange rate.
Thus, project management can be understood as a set of specific actions that guarantee the fulfillment of an objective within specific time periods, during which resources, tools and talents are used. These types of studies allow evaluating, managing and controlling processes of a very diverse nature, applying for this methodologies, reasoning and concepts.
In today's business world, the approach from project management is extremely frequent, regardless of the dimensions or objectives of an organization, since practically all its operations can be understood as projects: from the elaboration of an important product or service, or the fulfillment of secondary objectives, until the improvement of the internal processes of the same productive organization.
See also: How to make a project?
Methodologies for project management
There are three main project management methodologies, which employ various material and conceptual tools, and which are:
- The Gantt chart This methodology has been used for almost 70 years and is probably the best and best known of all project management, due to its relative simplicity. It is a diagram of two axes, in which the tasks and activities of each project are detailed, associating them to a schedule that details their beginning, duration and closing. There, the different phases of the project must be included, organizing it in time sequentially, to obtain a kind of “script” or procedure to adhere to during the execution of the project.
- Pert / CPM. These are two complementary approaches, often applied together. CPM is known as the Path to the Critical Path, and it is the design of an optimal trajectory that, if followed to the letter, would allow the smooth execution of the activities that make up a project. To find it, the project should be simplified as much as possible and a count of priorities and dependencies, as well as distribution of workloads. However, since this method does not include uncertainty, it is usually combined with Pert, a methodology that applies a probabilistic function to calculate the total time of project execution, based on the activities that comprise it. With its results a network of nodes is composed that allows analyzing the critical path and forecasting its standard deviation. For this, computer programs are usually used.
- Critical chain method. The most recent of the three methodologies, but one of the most celebrated by specialists, is very convenient for complex projects that require a simplifying perspective. It consists of finding, among all the activities that make up the project, what are the “criticisms”, that is, those that determine their maximum duration, and then reduce the estimated time for each one by incorporating “time buffers” in places key. These buffers diversify the work, allowing to gain time and effectiveness on the determined task.
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Stages of project management
The stages or phases of project management are as follows:
- Feasibility analysis. The initial step is to determine how viable or convenient the project is, that is, what it means to carry it forward in financial, logistical and profitability terms. If the investment in a project far exceeds its profitability, there must be other compelling reasons to carry it forward.
- Work planning. Then we proceed to enumerate and detail the different tasks that the project will carry out, that is, the steps that will have to be followed, without losing sight of the resources that each step will require and the estimates in cost, effort and time needed.
- Execution of the project. At this stage, the planned tasks are carried out and a report on how they occur is produced, that is, what stumbles they encounter, what results they produce and all the information necessary to feed the control stage. . This is the stage in which everything planned is displayed.
- Monitoring and control. In this step it must be ensured that the process is yielding the expected results, and the pertinent conclusions must be drawn from the information collected during the execution. Based on these conclusions, strategies can be modified, corrective actions taken and the process directed towards an ideal result.
- Project Closure The completion of a project is also very important, since at this stage the entire process is evaluated in retrospect, taking note of failures, accidents, unforeseen events and preparing a report that serves to the planning and execution of future projects. This is the learning stage. If the projects are successful, this is where the backup or backup of what has been achieved is done.
Benefits of project management
The benefits of efficient project management are not few:
- Effective provision of resources and time. Avoiding waste, shortages and other obstacles that would reduce the profitability of the project.
- Greater control over the destiny of the organization. Since you can visualize and organize (prioritize, rank, for example) the projects to undertake.
- Greater guarantee of success. Since unplanned projects are at the mercy of what may go wrong, without awareness of what they imply or simply occur in a disorganized manner.
- Higher learning margins. Since project management finally yields valuable reports regarding the organization's progress and its virtues and disadvantages in the execution of projects.
Importance of project management
The formalization of the field of project management gives it the rigor of a scientific discipline, meticulousness and the ability to generate information, experience and learning. In that sense, it is a vital knowledge for business administration and for organizational planning, which is currently carried out through various software tools to take advantage of the technological advantages of the Time. Without project management, a standardization of this type of business information would not be possible.