What is Project Management?

A project combines tasks performed in series and parallel to get a specific product, services, deliverable, or transition.


  1. Building high tower buildings like Burj Al-Kalifa or a website is the best example of a product-oriented project. You will have a tangible product at the end of the project as a result.
  2. Establishing a call center is an example of a service-oriented project. In the end, the project will provide customer care services to consumers.
  3. Research is a result-oriented project—for example, scientists working on the effect of ice-cold showers daily on the human body’s skin.

It is always a temporary endeavor. All the tasks performed are only for that particular result.

Every project is unique and has a definite start and end date understandable and articulated– But the start and end date can vary as the project progresses but is a definite start/end in any case. A project needs a specific schedule and cost; for example, to manufacture an iPhone, you can have six months and a budget of 20 million dollars.

The project is something that is progressively elaborated. It means a project is developing in steps and continuing by increments. For example, you want to build a house, this is an idea to go with, next you decide how many rooms you need, then you give information to the interior designer. This is called a progressive elaboration.

Project management is how you apply the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to get the project done according to the requirement.

A project is a temporary one-time performed endeavor with a definite start and end—for example, construction of a Dam, a bridge, etc., you build a particular dam one time. The rest is just maintenance.

Evolution of Project Management

Project management history can be divided into two categories;

Old History of Project Management

Today we cannot understand how the Pyramids of Egypt around were built 2500 BC, and the same is the case for the Great Wall of China established in 208 BC. But historical data shows that these megaprojects were done through sheer project management. You can name those organizers as managers, soldiers and the labor as criminals and slaves.

Modern History of Project Management

The 19th century is considered the birth of modern project management as we recognize it today. Let us see a brief recent history.

1911: Frederic Taylor published The Principle of Scientific Management to organize the steel industry worker.

1917: Henry Gantt introduced the Gantt Chart, and they consider him as the father of modern project management

1956: The American Association of Cost Engineers now, AACE International was found.

1957: Dupont developed the Critical Path Technique

1958: US navy developed PERT – Program Evaluation Review Technique

1962: Defense department developed Work Breakdown Structure

1965: The International Project Management Association – IPMA was found

1969: Project Management Institute – PMI was established

1984: Goldratt developed the theory of Constraints

1986: Scrum joined the Project Management style

1989: The UK government introduced Projects In Controlled Environments (PRINCE)

1997: Critical Chain Project Management

2001: Agile Manifesto was introduced

Let me see what more comes. Nowadays, everybody is rushing behind Agile, scrum, lean project management techniques. But a typical “waterfall” is always in the house.

Difference between Project & Operation

Project Vs Operations.

Most people get confused between operation and project. Here is the major difference between these

Project is always a Temporary endeavor that has a definite start and ends, whereas operation is ongoing.

Project is always Unique, whereas operation is Repetitive.

Once the objectives are met, the project is closed, whereas the operation objective is to sustain a business.


Let say you got the idea to manufacture a mobile phone. You get a good team, investment, and make a proto-type mobile. This is a project and is a unique product. But then you won’t run a business of mobiles and set up a factory. Here, your objective is to sustain the business, and you start building mobile continuously that is not a unique product anymore. Hence, this is not a project anymore but an operation.

Constraints of a Project

A company interested in achieving a project goal has to deal with some constraints to get it. These constraints are called Triple Constraints. Triple Constraints are consisting of scope, time, and cost. Triple constraints are further supported by quality. Read more: 7 QC Tools.

Also, there are other constraints to achieve the project, like human resources, that you must have the right team. Then there should be proper communications in the team that is also a constraint. Dealing with the risk that can affect negatively or positively the project. The supplier is another big challenge to get your procurement on time. Stakeholders are another form of constraint.

This Human Resource, Communication, Risk, Supplier, and Stakeholders are called the five pillars of Project Management.

The job of a Project Manager is to integrate all these factors.

Who manages the project & what skills are required?

PM does this stuff. He has several high-quality skills but not limited to

Leadership, communication, Information Technology, Accounting, Purchasing Problem Solving. He is the one who has the project management knowledge, his the ability to get work done by the team as you know a lot of people find it difficult to get the job done by the team. Their job is to inspire, lead, motivate, assist, help, coaching, mentoring, guidance, and so on so far.

The project manager should be competent enough to utilize resources to get maximum productivity to get the job done efficiently and timely.

Phases of Project Management

Any project goes through the following phase one or several times

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring & Controlling
  5. Closing

The collection of these phases is called the project life cycle.

What is Project Management?

A clear definition of project management as per Project Management Institute – PMI is;

Project Management applies knowledge, skill, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.

Let’s discuss these terms in a bit of detail. Knowledge is something that comes through experience and education in a specific field. Skills come through training, practice, and of course, talent. We use tools to carry out project tasks; they could be tangible, like Microsoft Excel or any device. The technique is a way of carrying out a particular task like methodologies, frameworks, or processes.

Why Project Management

The below statistics will help to clear this query

  1. Only one out of 4 projects ¼ that enter into development make it the market
  2. 31% of IT projects are canceled before completion
  3. Only 42% of original features & functions are available in the end product.

Project Life Cycle & Project Management Life Cycle

Project Life Cycle

The project life cycle consists of phases or stages – phase and stage are synonyms in project management terminology.

  1. The Idea/concept/need
  2. Feasibility Study
  3. Project Charter
  4. Implementation/ Development
  5. Finalization

First of all, we have the idea to be implemented; then, we go for a critical feasibility study, mind you; most projects cannot pass through this phase.

Once a project got a green signal after a feasibility study, then a Project charter is issued, where the Project Management cycle starts and leads to the project’s finalization.

Here, if you see, the project management cycle is the same for all the projects.

Project Management Life Cycle

The project management life cycle has four stages, mainly that can be further divided into many sections. These are

  1. Initiation
  2. Planning
  3. Execution/Monitor and Control
  4. Closure

To understand this, let draw a schema

Project Management Life Cycle.


Here we develop a business case, identify the scope, and also identify project stakeholders. This stage has already been started during the project concept and feasibility.

The project charter is released in this stage of the project management life cycle.


Once the project manager got the project charted and now a project manager, he is accountable for the project’s success and failure. The project charter is basically an authority to a project manager to efficiently utilize project resources to get the optimum result within budget and on time with the best quality but not gold plating stuff.

Here project manager creates the workflow, gathers resources, estimates the budget – a collection of all these is called a project plan.

A project plan should have the answer to these questions – 4W’s

  • Why?– What is the project’s main objective to stick on?
  • What?– What is the scope? To avoid scope creep and gold plating.
  • Who?– A clear definition of the project team and other resources
  • When?– A comprehensive overview of the start and end of every project milestone logically.

Execution/Monitor and Control

This is the phase where the project team becomes in action. Here, the development and actual implementation of the project idea is done.

The project manager has to juggle resources skillfully and the real test of his abilities in this phase.


The project is delivered to the client, and before announcing the closure, all the lessons learned are compiled. Lessons learned are collected throughout the project life cycle, although.

Once the client/owner/customer formally accepts the project, then it is marked as complete.

Why and How to Use Project Management Methodology

Understanding project management methodology is the key to run a successful project. This helps with the evaluation and proper planning of the project.

There are several Project management methodologies, but we will discuss the most common one nowadays.

  • Traditional Project Management
  • PMI – Project Management Institute
  • PRINCE2 | Projects IN Controlled Environments
  • Stage-Gate: This methodology is used for new product development or innovation. Here we have a series of gates and stages.
  • Agile | Not a Methodology

Traditional Project Management

Traditional Project Management is divided into manageable phases to improve control and performance and determine each phase’s requirements.

Traditional Project Management phases include Initiation, Planning & Design, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing.

It is a general model to be used on any project, you can say.

PMI – Project Management Institute

PMI was established in 1969, and it gives a generic methodology that applies to all types of projects. PMI publishes PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge), which is revised after a specific period of time whenever required. PMBOK contains the PMI project management principle.

This project management methodology uses phases like initiation, planning, monitoring, controlling, and closure. Each phase contains a different process that is interrelated.

This methodology is covered construction type and information technology projects quite efficiently.

PMI offers different certifications, and the most salient one is in PMP – Project Management Professional and is for Project Managers and is widely accepted worldwide. PMI is a USA-based non-profit organization- they claim.

PRINCE2 | Projects in Controlled Environments

Prince2 is a widely used project management methodology and is accepted all over. Projects are done in controlled environments.

It requires specific training to implement this methodology. This is a major drawback of it.

The PRINCE2, or ‘Projects IN Controlled Environments,’ is one of the processes-based project management methodologies. It offers a systematic approach to delivering a successful project with clear templates, processes, and steps.

The PRINCE2 Salient Features:

  • It is a globally recognized approach in project management.
  • This approach can be implemented in any project.
  • Every individual in the team always has an updated list of their to do a task.
  • Its project and as well as a process-focused project management methodology.
  • It divided the project master plan into different child plans like stage plans, team plans, etc., and thus eliminated confusion or ambiguity.

Prince2 certification is well recognized worldwide and is started and sponsored at the government level in the United Kingdom in the mid-nineties.

Stage-Gate | Product Innovation Process

This methodology is used for new product development or innovation-driven projects. Here we have a series of gates and stages.

Different stages require different work to be done. To proceed next stage, the project must go through a gate. The project management team decides to either continue the projector to kill the project or even go back and get everything fixed and start over at each gate.

Stage and gates consist of

Stage Gate Methodology


  • Gate-1: Idea Screening | Stage-1: Scoping
  • Gate-2: Second Screen | Stage-2: Build Business Case
  • Gate-3: Go for Development | Stage-3: Development
  • Gate-4: Go for Testing | Stage-4: Testing and Validation
  • Gate-5: Go for Launch | Stage-5: Launch the Product


Agile is best for adaptive kinds of projects. Agile means “fast change.” It is the best for technology-driven, interactive and software-related projects.

In Agile, an incremental chunk that adds value to the project is delivered to the client for approval. Normally it is done electronically, so it is the best suit for software development-related projects.

Agile is not a methodology or framework but is a set of different values and principles.

Agile principles are used at different frameworks or methodologies as a hybrid approach like Kanban, Xtreme Programming-XP, 6-Sigma, and other lean project management techniques.

Factor to consider while choosing a project methodology?

Type of Project

A project related to innovation is best suited for Stage-gate; capital construction either goes for the PMI approach, PRINCE2, or traditional approach keeping in view the project’s complexity. Try to keep things simple as much as possible when making selecting a methodology.

If the project is to produce a new innovative product, then Stage-gate is the best as at any time, you can kill the project.

Type of Culture

You need to understand what type of organization culture and which methodology or approach is going to help. Like if you have a non-collaborative culture, then you cannot go with an Agile approach. On the other hand, a capital construction project is not well suited for Agile.

Project Team

If your team is competent, then Agile is the best approach. Agile uses the team most effectively than any other methodology or approach. If you are around the UK and affiliated countries where it is required, PRINCE2 is the solution. But mostly, USA-affiliated one uses the PMI approach. Hence your project team must be well versed in the guideline.

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1 thought on “What is Project Management?”

  1. Dear PROJECTPM team,

    After downloading Primavera P6 as per your tutorial, and after the download and setup was completed and while openning the P6 a request to sign in was there but my username and password didn’t work!
    Can you help please.


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