A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained and often constrained by funding or staffing) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of such distinct production approaches requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.

The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget. The secondary-and more ambitious-challenge is to the allocation of necessary inputs and apply them to meet pre-defined objectives. The objective of project management is to produce a complete project which complies with the client’s objectives. In many cases the objective of project management is also to shape or reform the client’s brief to feasibly address the client’s objectives. Once the client’s objectives are clearly established they should influence all decisions made by other people involved in the project – for example project managers, designers, contractors and sub-contractors. Ill-defined or too tightly prescribed project management objectives are detrimental to decision making.

A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or staffing) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations) which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of such distinct production approaches requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.


Planning

After the initiation stage, the project is planned to an appropriate level of detail (see example of a flow-chart). The main purpose is to plan time, cost and resources adequately to estimate the work needed and to effectively manage risk during project execution. As with the Initiation process group, a failure to adequately plan greatly reduces the project’s chances of successfully accomplishing its goals.

Project planning generally consists of
  • determining the project management methodology to follow (e.g. whether the plan will be defined wholly up front, interactively, or inrolling waves).
  • developing the scope statement.
  • selecting the planning team.
  • identifying deliverables and creating the product and work breakdown structures.
  • identifying the activities needed to complete those deliverables and networking the activities in their logical sequence
  • estimating the resource requirements for the activities.
  • estimating time and cost for activities.
  • developing the schedule.
  • developing the budget
  • risk planning.
  • developing quality assurance measures.
  • gaining formal approval to begin work
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Additional processes, such as planning for communications and for scope management, identifying roles and responsibilities, determining what to purchase for the project and holding a kick-off meeting are also generally advisable. For new product development projects, conceptual design of the operation of the final product may be performed concurrent with the project planning activities, and may help to inform the planning team when identifying deliverable and planning activities.

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