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 the administration of companies , whose object of study covers the planning, organization, motivation and control of resources needed to achieve a particular purpose in advance, ie meet a target.
In this sense, “project” is defined as an enterprise endowed with a determined beginning and end , whose objective is to produce a single product , service or result, that is, endowed with unique objectives and which, when fulfilled, will add value to the production chain or will achieve some kind of positive change.
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 the evaluation, management and control of processes of a very diverse nature, applying 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 a product or a service important, or the fulfillment of secondary objectives, until the improvement of the internal processes of the same productive organization.
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 with a schedule that details their beginning, duration and closing. There, the different phases of the project must be included, organizing it in time in a sequential manner, in order 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, like this methodIt 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.
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 necessary cost, effort and time estimates.
- Project execution. At this stage the planned tasks are carried out and a report is made of how they occur, 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 should 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 may 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 the failures, accidents, unforeseen events and preparing a report that serves for the planning and execution of future projects. This is the learning stage . If the projects are successful, it is here that the backup or backup of the achievements is made.
Benefits of project management
The benefits of efficient project management are not few:
- Effective disposition of resources and time. Avoiding waste, shortage 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 be undertaken.
- 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.
- Greater margins of learning. Since project management finally yields valuable reports regarding the proceeding of the organization and its virtues and disadvantages in the execution of projects.
Importance of project management
The formalization of the field of project management gives you the rigor of a scientific discipline, thoroughness and the ability to generate information, experience and learning. In that sense, it is a vital knowledge for business administration and 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.