What is Project Management?

Project ManagementProject management is a facet of business where a project with a finite timeline is guided and managed by a project manager. There are many business-as-usual activities where one or more employees may have responsibilities, but projects are different in that they feature a unique goal that may or may not be repeated with future projects. The core components of project management are designed to ensure the project reaches its goals within the stated budget, on time, and within the agreed-upon criteria.

An Informal Practice Transforms into a Distinct Profession

According to the Project Management Institute, project management has a long history of practice, but it wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that the profession was developed into a profession with recurring processes. Those processes are guided by several distinct areas of knowledge that project managers must utilize while managing a project.

Some of the knowledge areas used in project management include risk management, human resources, communications, and procurement. Those and other skill areas are used to guide project processes like planning, execution, and monitoring. It is often the responsibility of the project manager to complete a project using employees who don’t normally work as a team.

Why Do Companies Use Project Management?

As with other common business processes, project management is used to ensure the efficiency and success of an important project that is a temporary use of company resources. For example, routine business processes like payroll, taxes, and building maintenance are handled by employees or contractors who complete these responsibilities in the same way and on a repeating basis.

A temporary operation or unique process, on the other hand, may require that a project manager develops a set of parameters to be used for that specific project. Planning may include discussions on personnel requirements, budget limitations, and the timeline for the project. An example of a project might include a presentation made to another business where the purpose of the presentation might be to secure a new partnership for a future product.

Choosing a Career in Project Management

The rise of project management as a career has meant the process has increasingly required formal training. Working individuals who already have experience in the business world may seek a professional certificate in project management, as well as certification with a group such as the Project Management Institute. Certification and further training may lead to higher income and more responsibilities at work.

Individuals who have yet to accumulate work experience may need to start with a degree in business or business management. Sometimes, obtaining a degree in the industry where a person wishes to find work in the future is appropriate. For example, a degree in computer science may help a person find work as a project manager for a computer technology company.

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Project management is a field that is still in a period of growth, but many companies have started to require that their project managers have applicable training in a certificate program or college degree program. A company may have an incredible idea for a new product, but it may not see the light of day without a project manager who can take charge of the project and wrangle the many employees who must work together to get the product to market. Project management is as diverse as the endless number of industries that require skilled project managers to guide plans and employee collaboration.