What is Project Management

Project Management is a globally recognized practice helping professionals complete projects more effectively and efficiently. Today, several organizations utilize project management, allowing them to focus on the priorities and overcome challenges increasing the probability of their success. However, there's a two-way benefit involved here: Project Management benefits not only the organizations and the business end, but the customers, as well as they, are involved from the beginning to the end. 

Some of the interesting topics covered in this article while learning about Project management are:

  1. What is Project Management?
  2. What is a Project?
  3. Project Life Cycle
  4. Key Focus Areas in Project Management
  5. Job Roles in Project Management
  6. Project Management Certifications
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What is Project Management?

Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to perform several tasks to meet project requirements, to make the final deliverables in a finite time and budget. And there are six constraints of Project Management:

  1. Scope

    Scope is a guaranteed set of deliverables, and the project is to be created, keeping in mind the scope.
  2. Time

    Time is one of the most critical stakeholder considerations and a vital measure of project success. The time to complete the project must be estimated as accurately as possible.
  3. Quality 

    Quality is one such sphere that is almost always affected by the other constraints. If the time or cost reduces the quality of the project will be drastically affected.
  4. Cost 

    Cost is another important aspect that needs to be considered, which is an estimate factor of labor cost, factory, administration, software, equipment altogether.
  5. Risk 

    The Project Manager must foresee the possible risks at every step of the project. The risk part involves many what-if scenarios and the solution for those scenarios.
  6. Resources 

    Every project has a combination of resources required to make it a success. Resources refer to the limitations to complete a particular job; they can be in terms of people, equipment, time, or other supplies.

Now that we've understood what is project management, what exactly is a project? Let's find out in the following section.

What is a Project?

Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates that a project has a definite beginning and end. The project is first defined, and then as the project progresses, more clarity is added to the definition and scope of the project. There are different phases of a project from the time it begins to the time it ends, which constitutes the project life cycle.

Our next topic in our learning on what is project management is the project life cycle.

Project Life Cycle

There are different outcomes at the end of each stage. The phases may be divided as:

project-life-cycle.

  1. Initiation 

    Initiation is the first step of a project life cycle that involves defining the project, identifying stakeholders, determining project feasibility.
  2. Planning 

    Planning consists of the making of the outline of the project, which includes costs, the sequence of events, communication with stakeholders, schedules, budget, and risk.
  3. Execution 

    Execution step includes allocating resources, conducting meetings, communicating updates, and delivering performance reports.
  4. Monitoring and Controlling 

    Monitoring and Controlling involve tracking progress and comparing it with the plan, and it is paramount to conduct quality control checks throughout the process.
  5. Closure 

    Closure involves delivery to the client and getting their feedback. Closure requires evaluation of the project if everything went on as planned and discussed with the stakeholders.

After the Project Life cycle, the next essential thing that comes to the rescue is critical focus areas. Project managers are supposed to have in-depth knowledge of the focus areas in Project Management. 

Let us take a look at some of the key focus areas to extend our learning on what is project management.

Key Focus Areas in Project Management

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There are 12 key focus areas that enables us in understanding what is project management:

  1. Scope: Scope refers to the inputs provided to take the project from the first step to the last step. The scope determines the features, boundaries, budget, and deadlines of the project.
  2. Schedule: The schedule is a plan for performing a specific work within a particular time interval and achieving the desired objective. The schedule refers to the starting date, the finishing date, and the duration of the project.
  3. Cost: Cost refers to the process of estimating, allocating, and monitoring the funds needed in a project, and a lot of measures to ensure the project is on budget.
  4. Quality: Quality refers to what a customer or a stakeholder requires from the project deliverables. Quality includes processes and activities that are to be performed to meet the objectives and requirements for which it was undertaken.
  5. Resources: Resources help in carrying out a specific task in a project in the best possible manner. Resources can be people, equipment, funds, facilities, or anything else that is needed to meet the project requirements.
  6. Stakeholders: Stakeholders are the ones who have an interest in the deliverables of the project. Stakeholders can be part of the project team, project manager, project sponsors, customers, or users.
  7. Communication: Communication amongst all stakeholders is an essential aspect of project management for successful project execution. Improving communication increases the ratio of success and decreases the probability of risk.
  8. Risk: A risk is an unexpected event that can affect anything in a project, people, technology, processes, or resources. Every project has a certain amount of risks, and to do a successful project; one must first identify that risk to deal with it efficiently.
  9. Procurement: Procurement refers to the act of obtaining all the materials and services that are needed to meet the project goals. Procurement includes the need to purchase, rent, or contract with some external resources.
  10. Critical Success Factor: Critical Success Factor refers to the elements that are necessary for an organization to achieve the project's objectives. Critical Success Factor may differ from one organization to another, depending on their respective goals.
  11. Deliverables: Deliverables refer to the output within the scope of the project. There can be one or more deliverables within a single project; these deliverables may be the items that are to be sent externally to a customer or a stakeholder.
  12. Work Breakdown: Work Breakdown is an efficient deliverable approach that refers to the division of a task into smaller components. The smaller parts make the task-independent and more manageable for the team.

After having gone through the project lifecycle and the key focus areas you would've got a stronghold on understanding what is project management. Now let us take a look at the job roles in the field.

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Job Roles in Project Management

pm-roles

There are several job roles in Project Management, some of which are:

1. Project Manager: Project Manager takes the project according to the plan and plays a lead role in all the steps of project management. The responsibilities of the Project Manager include:

  • Managing, reviewing, and prioritizing the tasks wherever necessary
  • Looking after risk management, stakeholder management, and project communication management.

The success ratio of a project depends majorly on the project manager, so the demand for the project manager is rapidly increasing in the market.

Salary trends of a Project Manager can be seen as under:

US: $75,474/yr

India: ₹15,00,000/yr

2. Senior Project Manager: Senior Project Manager is the head of the overall Project Management plan; the role demands in-depth knowledge of all project aspects. The responsibilities of the Senior Project Manager include:

  • Planning and coordinating complex projects
  • Visiting project sites to check progress and handle complex issues

The role of Senior Project Manager is one of the highest paying roles in the industry, having several allowances and bonuses.

Salary trends of a Senior Project Manager can be seen as under:

US: $104,496/yr

India: ₹20,92,000/yr

3. Project Lead: Project Leads are the ones who lead the people throughout the project and provide them with all the information required throughout. The responsibilities of a Project Lead include: 

  • Motivating the team beneath, taking care of their needs, and paying attention to what they feel
  • Ordering or controlling the project team, since the project lead has more freedom than the project manager

Project Lead makes sure that the project gives the best possible outcome and is hence the demand for a project lead in a company never reduces.

The salary trends for a Project Lead can be seen as under:

US: $82,000/yr

India: ₹1,269,000/yr

4. Resource Manager: Resource Manager is the human resource needed to make the project a success. The responsibilities of a Resource manager include: 

  • Assigning the right people to the right projects at the right time
  • Managing employees currently and determining hiring needs depending on the project's requirements

The salary trends for a Resource Manager can be seen as under:
US: $64,000/yr
India: ₹966,797/yr

5. Project Management Office Analyst: Project Management Office Analyst works within the PMO and does most of the Data-driven work. The responsibilities of the Project Management Office Analyst include:

  • Analyzing and interpreting the data concerning the project
  • Figuring out the future risks to the project
  • Finding new ways to advance the idea of project management

The salary trends for a Project Management Office Analyst can be seen as under:
US: $106,253/yr
India: ₹449,337/yr

6. Steering Committee Member: The members of the Steering Committee do not work on the project themselves; they are there to help the Project Manager. The responsibilities of the Steering Committee Member include: 

  • Providing inputs during the development of the project, advising on the budget, and evaluating the project strategies
  • Taking regular feedback from the project managers and asking the necessary questions

The salary trends for Steering Committee member can be seen as under: 

US: $68,497/yr

Now, that we have understood what is project management, let us have a look at the certifications that would help us get one of these project management jobs.

Project Management Certifications

1. Project Management Professional (PMP):

Project Management Professional is the most crucial project management certification which provides one of the highest-paid jobs in the world. Certified managers get 20% more salary than the average salary.

  • Exam fee: $405 for PMI members

                         $555 for PMI non-members

  • Exam duration: 4 hours
  • Exam Pattern: 200 multiple choice questions
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree with 3 years of Professional PM experience, 4500 hours directing and leading projects, 35 hours of PM education.

OR

High school diploma with 5 years of Professional PM experience, 7500 hours directing and leading projects, 35 hours of PM education.

  • Maintenance: 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 years

2. Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP):

Agile Certified Practitioner demonstrates that one has relevant experience and education to handle and lead agile projects. The organizations have started shifting towards agile, which makes this certification amongst the fastest-growing certifications in the world.

  • Exam fee: $435 for PMI members

                        $495 for PMI non-members

  • Exam duration: 3 hours
  • Exam Pattern: 120 multiple choice questions
  • Prerequisites: 2000 hours project management experience, 1500 hours of agile experience, and 21 contact hours of agile practices
  • Maintenance: 30 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 years

3. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM):

CAPM is an entry-level certification started by the Project Management Institute (PMI), especially for the people having less project experience. It intends to demonstrate fundamental knowledge, terminology, and processes of effective project management.

  • Exam fee: $225 for PMI members

                         $300 for PMI non-members

  • Exam duration: 3 hours
  • Exam Pattern: 150 multiple choice questions
  • Prerequisites: Secondary diploma with 23 contact hours of PM education
  • Maintenance: Retake the exam every 3 years

4. Certified Scrum Master (CSM):

CSM is an entry-level certification that helps the professionals to begin as a Scrum practitioner. CSM is one of the most sought-after certifications as, after this, one can get the designation of Certified ScrumMaster offered by Scrum Alliance.

  • Exam fee: Training institute defines it
  • Exam duration: 60 minutes
  • Exam Pattern: 16 hours (2 days) training and 50 multiple choice questions
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Maintenance: Earn Scrum Education Units (SEU) and renew certification every 2 years

5. Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE2):

This process-based method for effective project management started by the UK Government is widely recognized and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally.

  • Exam fee: $900 - $1000 (different at different sources)
  • Exam duration: 60 minutes - PRINCE2 Foundation

                                 150 minutes - PRINCE2 Practitioner

  • Exam Pattern: 60 questions for PRINCE2 Foundation and 68 questions for PRINCE Practitioner
  • Prerequisites: PRINCE2 Foundation certification for PRINCE2 Practitioner
  • Maintenance: 20 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every year

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Conclusion

This concludes our learning about what is project management, the various key focus areas, job roles, and certifications. Project Management certifications like PMP, PRINCE2, CSM are acknowledged all over the world and help project managers get a decent salary hike. According to the PMI Global Survey, project managers with PMP certification earn 20 percent more than the non-certified project managers. If you wish to know about Project Management elaborately, check out the video below. 

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New-age technologies and faster process and project requirements are changing the way professionals handled and managed projects. And 2020 is an exciting time for professionals to acquire the latest project management skills.

About the Author

Ishan GabaIshan Gaba

Ishan Gaba is a Research Analyst at Simplilearn. He is proficient in Java Programming, Data Structures, and Project Management. Graduated in Information Technology, Ishan is also passionate about writing and traveling.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.