by Samantha Headley-Borel, Production Manager and Project Assassin
What is Project Management?
By definition, Project Management is “the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people. The development of software for an improved business process, the construction of a building, the relief effort after a natural disaster, the expansion of sales into a new geographic market—these are all examples of projects.” (Project Management Institute – PMI)
Simply put, Project Management is the how of getting anything done! It’s made up of 5 fundamental processes—Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling and Closing.
Using the tools and techniques available to you, you can manage a project with any team no matter how big or small. It might seem daunting at first but think of Project Management like making a cake. There’s a recipe (knowledge) that a baker (skills) will use his baking utensils (tools) to create the finished product (technique) for their Client.
Let’s walk through the process of Project Management with making a cake.
Initiating a project is when a need/want is communicated to be commissioned, in this instance, a Cake. A brief would be provided by the key stakeholder (the Client) to the Baker on their wants, preferences, no-nos etc., anything to help the Baker create the Cake that the Client envisions. This is called a Project Charter. It will be the guideline for the scope, budget, and timeline of the Project.
Once the Charter has been approved (by the Client) the Baker can now begin his preparations. The plan in this case would include itemising the ingredients, tools, baking process, techniques, and costs to create the cake to the Client’s specifications. Making sure he has all the essentials at his disposal as well as asking all pertinent questions—Is it a 3-tier chocolate cake? How will it stand without falling? How and when will it be decorated? What are our contingency plans?
Now for the fun part…making the Cake! The execution is where you apply your recipe, baking process and techniques and general know-how that was detailed in the Plan. Mixing all the ingredients, preparing everything in the order needed. Sift your flour first! 😉
Monitoring & Controlling
While your plan is being executed, monitoring and control takes place as well. We do have to make sure there are no eggshells in there! Are we still in budget with all those beautiful finishing touches? If there are any missteps within the execution of the project, monitoring and controlling picks up on that, keeping us on track and triggering any emergency protocols should we need them (like if the cake burned). Of course, if there are any delays, we need to keep our stakeholders updated.
At last, we’ve completed the Cake, delivered it to the Client and they’ve given us their feedback…they ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!! It met all their expectations, the colour, the taste, the decorations…and it never tilted!
As you can see, Project Management is in everyday life, it’s just about how you apply the knowledge, tools, and techniques to achieve the objectives!