Basic Principles Of Project Management

Basic Principles Of Project Management


Last updated August 4, 2017


Project management is a composite activity with multiple dimensions. Depending on the type and class of project, this management activity can be very complex. To begin with, we should be clear on what we mean by project management - not in terms of the traditional definitions but in terms of the scope of this management activity.

In a nutshell, project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, managing, leading, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or add value.

The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honoring the pre-defined constraints. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget. The secondary and more ambitious challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and integrate them to meet pre-defined objectives.

For a successful project, the following principles are necessary assets when charting a path to completion. These principles of project management can be applied to any level or branch of a project that falls under a different area of responsibility in the overall project organization

 · Project structure

· Definition phase

· Clear goals

· Transparency about project status

· Risk recognition

· Managing project disturbances

· Responsibility of the project manager

· Project success

Project Structure

Project management typically revolves around three parameters – Quality, Resources & Time. A project structure can usually be successfully devised by considering the following three aspects -

1. Project Goal

An answer to the question “What has to be done” is usually a goal. This question leads to the project structure plan. This plan consists of work packages which represent enclosed work units that can be assigned to a personal resource. These work packages and their special relationships represent the project structure.

2. Project Timeline & Order
A flow chart is a powerful tool to visualize the starting point, the endpoint and the order of work packages in a single chart.

3. Project Milestones

Milestones define certain phases of your project and the corresponding costs and results. Milestones represent decisive steps during the project. They are set after a certain number of work packages that belong together. This series of work packages leads to the achievement of a sub-goal.

Definition Phase

The definition phase is where many projects go wrong – often because there is no clear definition, or because definition is muddled due to the involvement of too many stakeholders. Successful definition must involve the entire team at every step to facilitate acceptance and commitment to the project.

Clear Goals

The project manager is responsible for the achievement of a project goal. These goals should always be defined using the SMART paradigm (specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, time-bounded). It is a daily grind for a project manager to be confronted with nebulous goals, which are a result of improperly defined goals at the outset. 

Transparency About the Project Status

Flow chart, structure plan and your milestone plan are useful tools to help you stay on track. As project manager you should be able to present a short report about the status of the project to your principal at each stage of the project. At such meetings, you should be able to give a short overview about the costs, the timeline, and the achieved milestones.

Risk Recognition

Every project is confronted with a lot of risks. This is normal. Always keep in mind that your project is a unique endeavor with strict goals concerning costs, appointments and performance. The sooner you identify these risks the sooner you nip negative developments. It’s the duty of the project manager to evaluate risks regularly.

Managing Project Disturbances

It is not very likely that you have enough personal capacity to identify each single risk that may occur. It would be sufficient if you could at least identify the big risks and develop specific strategies to avoid them. On the other hand, you’re probably no visionary. But this is not necessary as long as you rely on your keen antennas in order to react instantly when something goes wrong.

Responsibility Of The Project Manager

The Project Manager develops the Project Plan with the team and manages the team’s performance of project tasks. It is also the responsibility of the Project Manager to secure acceptance and approval of deliverables from the Project Sponsor and Stakeholders. The Project Manager is responsible for communication, including status reporting, risk management, escalation of issues that cannot be resolved in the team, and, in general, making sure the project is delivered in budget, on schedule, and within scope. The project managers of all projects must possess the following attributes along with the other project related responsibilities: knowledge of technology in relation to project products. · Understanding of the concepts of Management · Interpersonal skills to get things done · Ability to see the project as an open system and understand the external-internal interactions.

Project Success

Project success is a multi-dimensional construct that inevitably means different things to different people. It is best expressed at the beginning of a project in terms of key and measurable criteria upon which the relative success or failure of the project may be judged. For example, those that -

· Meet key objectives of the project such as the business objectives of the sponsoring organization, owner or user, and;
· Elicit satisfaction with the project management process, i.e. that the deliverable is complete, up to standard, is on time and within budget; and
· Reflect general acceptance and satisfaction with the project’s deliverable on the part of the project’s customer and the majority of the project’s community at some time in the future. 

-are some generally used success criteria.

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About the Author

Kshama Rangan is an ISEB certified Corporate IT Trainer in UK and a software test professional, with more than 7 years of experience in a variety of technologies across multiple industry sectors combined with the complete understanding of Project Management, Agile Methodologies and Software Testing.


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