Project Management Fundamentals

What is a Project ?

Project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service.

  • How Temporary ?

       - Has a definite beginning and end and not an ongoing effort.
       - Ceases when objective has been attained.
       - Team is disbanded upon project completion.
  • How Unique ?

       - Product characteristics are progressively elaborated.
       - The product or service is different in some way from other product or services.


Building a road is an example of a project. The process of building a road takes a finite amount of time, and produces a unique product. Operations on the other hand are repetitive. Generating bills every month, and broadcasting news everyday are examples of operations.

Subprojects are components of a project that often contracted out.

What is Project Management?

Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.

Project management is accomplished through the use of the processes such as:

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Controlling
  • Closing

Project managers or the organization can divide projects into above phases to provide better management control with appropriate links to the ongoing operations of the performing organization. Collectively, these phases are known as the project life cycle.

Project Stakeholder

Project stakeholders are individuals and organizations that are actively involved in the project or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected as a result of project execution or project completion.

Key stakeholders on a project include:

  • Project Manager

    The individual responsible for managing the project

  • Customer

    The individual or organization that will use the project's product.

  • Project Team

    The group that is performing the work of the project

  • Project Sponsor

    The individual or group within or external to the performing organization that provides the financial resources, in case or in kind for the project.

What is Program Management ?

A program consists of a related group of projects and Program management is the process of managing multiple on going projects. An example would be that of designing, manufacturing and providing support infrastructure for an automobile make.

In some cases Project Management is a subset of Program Management. The project manager may report to the program manager in such cases. A portfolio consists of multiple programs.

What is Portfolio Management ?

A portfolio is a collection of projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategic business objectives.Organizations manage their portfolios based on specific goals. Senior managers or senior management teams typically take on the responsibility of portfolio management for an organization.

Why do we need Project Management

  • Exponential expansion of human knowledge
  • Global demand for goods and services
  • Global competition
  • Team is required to meet the demand with quality and standard.
  • Improved control over the project
  • Improved performance
  • Improved budget and quality

Difference between Projects and Operations

  • Operations are ongoing and repetitive where as Projects are unique and non-repetitive.
  • Normal operations would produce Standard product or service where as Projects would produce Unique product or service
  • Projects are temporary and have defined start and end where as operations are indefinite and don't have a defined start and end.
  • Projects are executed by a heterogeneous teams where as operations may be executed by homogenous teams.

Triple Constraints - A Balance Project

The triple constraint are cost, time, scope of work, quality and customer satisfaction. These are so intertwined that a change in one will most often cause a change in at least one of the others , For example:

  • If time is extended, the cost of the project will increase.
  • If time extended with the same cost then quality of the product will reduce.
  • If scope is extended then cost and time will also extend.
  • Changes to any of these legs sets off a series of activities that are needed to integrate the change across the project.

Project Scope is defined by the totality of Time, Cost and Quality.

Interpersonal Skills

The management of interpersonal relationships includes:

  • Effective communication: The exchange of information

  • Influencing the organization: The ability to "get things done"

  • Leadership: Developing a vision and strategy, and motivating people to achieve that vision and strategy

  • Motivation: Energizing people to achieve high levels of performance and to overcome barriers to change

  • Negotiation and conflict management: Conferring with others to come to terms with them or to reach an agreement

  • Problem solving: The combination of problem definition, alternatives identification and analysis, and decision-making.

Forms of Organizations

Organizational theory describes how a company can be organized to complete its work. PMI talks about five types of organizational structure. Each type is described in terms of the project manager's level of authority.


    This is the most common form of organization. The organization is grouped by areas of specialization within different functional areas (e.g., accounting, marketing and manufacturing). Each employee has one clear superior. In this organization Project Manager has least power and all management is taken care by functional manager like marketing engineer, sales engineer.


    This form is an attempt to maximize the strengths and weaknesses of both the functional and project forms. The team members report to two bosses: the project manager and the functional manager (e.&., VP Engineering, etc.).

    There two forms of MATRIX organizations.

    • Weak Matrix : Power reset with Functional Manager.
    • Strong Matrix: Power rest with Project Manager.
    • Balanced Matrix: Power is shared between both Functional and Project Manager.

    All organization is by projects. The project manager has total control of projects. Personnel are assigned and report to a project manager.


    In this form of organization, the project expeditor acts primarily as a staff assistant and communications coordinator. The expeditor cannot personally make or enforce decisions.


    This form of organization is similar to the Project Expeditor except the coordinator has some power to make decisions, some authority, and reports to a higher-leve1 manager.

What is a Project Office ?

A formal structure that supports project management within an organization and usually takes one of three forms:

  • Providing the policies, methodologies and templates for managing projects within the organization.

  • Providing support and guidance to others in the organization on how to manage projects, training others in project management or project management software and assisting with specific project management tools.

  • Providing project managers for different projects and being responsible for the results of the projects. All projects (or projects of a certain size, type or influence) are managed by the Project Office.

What is PMBOK ?

PMBOK is the bible for Project Management. It stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). There are nine knowledge areas defined in PMBOK which are as follows

  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project HR Management
  • Project Communication Management
  • Project Procurement Management

Each Knowledge area has further Processes. There are a total of 44 processes.Each process has following three important parts.

  • Inputs
  • Tools & Techniques
  • Outputs

The PMBOK primarily covers each of the processes and its inputs, outputs and related tools and techniques.

Subsequent chapters will explain each process, its inputs, tools and techniques and outputs (ITTO) required.

Further the discipline of Project Management has five process groups. These are -

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Control
  • Closure

Each process is part of one of these five project phases. It is important to know the process group for each of the 44 processes.

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