All About Project Management

All About Project Management

Project management is the planning, organizing and managing the effort to accomplish a successful project. A project is a one-time activity that produces a specific output and or outcome, for example, a building or a major new computer system. This is in contrast to a program, (referred to a 'programme' in the UK) which is 1) an ongoing process, such as a quality control program, or 2) an activity to manage a number of multiple projects together.

Project management includes developing a project plan, which involves defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, how they will be achieved, identifying tasks and quantifying the resources needed, and determining budgets and timelines for completion. It also includes managing the implementation of the project plan, along with operating regular 'controls' to ensure that there is accurate and objective information on 'performance' relative to the plan, and the mechanisms to implement recovery actions where necessary.

Projects often follow major phases or stages (with various titles for these), for example: feasibility, definition, planning, implementation, evaluation and realisation. (Thanks for Kevin Lonergan for contributing to this description.)

NOTE: There are many software tools that make project management much more effective and efficient. Software Tools to Do Project Management Process lists software resources. The reader might best be served to read about the overall project management process in the section, "Foundations of Project Management" below, and then review some of the software tools. Another approach is to review the tools as the reader progresses through each phase of the project management process.

Sections of This Topic Include

NOTE: The following links are to major sections of this page, included later on below. Each sections includes additional links.

Foundations of Project Management

Overviews of Project Management
Basics of Project Planning
Roles in Project Management (including Project Manager)
Skills Required to Leading Teams and People in Project Management

Doing Project Management

Feasibility Studies -- Is the Project Achievable or Optimised?
Project Planning -- How Do We Determine Project's Outcomes, Goals and Objectives?
Project Governance -- How Do We Bring Business Level Control to Projects?
Project Success Criteria -- How Do We Leave Everyone in Zero Doubt?
Benefits Planning & Realisation -- How to Implement This Most Valuable Aspect of Projects.
Resource Allocation -- What Do We Need to Implement the Plan (People, Money and Scheduling)?
Risk Assessment and Management -- What Could Go Wrong?
Ethics and Projects -- Are We In Conformance, Morally and Legally?
Implementation of Project Plan -- How Do We Ensure Implementation While Managing Change?
Earned Value Management -- How Do We Measure Progress and Results?
Communicating Your Plans and Status -- What Do We Communicate to Whom and When?
Evaluating Projects and Results -- How Do We Evaluate Implementation and Project Results?
When Projects Are in Trouble -- How Do We Avoid Pitfalls and What Do We Do If They Occur?

General Resources and Topics

Glossaries of Project Management Terms
Resources With Many Resources About Project Management
Software Tools to Do Project Management Process
Organizations Focused on Project Management
Getting PMP Certification
Some Related Fields
Also see Related Library Topics

Also See the Library's Blogs Related to this Topic

In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which have posts related to this topic. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog.

Library's Business Planning Blog
Library's Building a Business Blog
Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Project Management Blog
Library's Strategic Planning Blog
Library's Supervision Blog


Overviews of Project Management

The following links provide an overview of project management:

Project Management
Solid Overview of Project Management
Origins of Modern Day Project Management & Trends in Recent Decades
Understanding Corporate Project Management
A Short Course in Project Management
Developing a Project Management Best Practice
Project Management Simply Explained
Finding Humor in Project Management
From Project Management to Program Management
Project Life Cycle
How to Teach Yourself About Project Management
Is PM Just Common Sense?
Some Project Management Standards and 'Bodies of Knowledge'
Successful International Projects
Does It Have To Be So Hard?
Project Success for the Small Business
Also see Glossaries of Project Management Terms

Basics of Project Planning

It will benefit the reader immensely to have an understanding of at least the basic planning processes before undertaking the  more detailed process of project management. See Basic Guidelines for Successful Planning Process. Planning is all about asking questions, making decisions and solving problems, so it also will be useful for the reader to have some guidelines for Decision Making and  Problem Solving.

There are numerous other topics in the Library that could pertain to project management, but the reader might best be served to  first review the resources linked from this topic on Project Management and afterwards see Related Library Topics


Some Popular Approaches to Managing Projects

Now that you've gained an understanding of the overall project management process, it's useful to consider how projects could be managed. One traditional approach is to define and deliver your project through distinct phases. Here are two approaches that further enlighten how you might think about managing your projects. Project management methods fall broadly into two camps: predictive (planned) and iterative (evolving).  The most common predictive model is Waterfall and its derivatives and the most common iterative methods follow the principles of Agile.

Agile Project Management

Agile is not a method - it is an approach (a set of values and principles) covering the development aspect of projects, e.g. software development. When combined with methods (such as Scrum) that support Agile principles, the result is an Agile development process. Agile methods mainly cover the (technical) development activity itself.  On many larger projects there are also other elements that need to be managed which Agile methods typically do not cover.  These are covered elsewhere across this guide.

The Originators of Agile: Agile Manifesto
Concise Overview of Agile
Agile Project Management for IT Projects (a book chapter)
Comparison of Agile and Waterfall
Agile Management (an approach to management)
Decomposition of Projects: How to Design Small Incremental Steps

A number of development methods match the principles of Agile. They address elements of the development activity (e.g. software development) and most do not address aspects outside of the core development activity. Therefore on larger projects, many Agile methods will not cover all that has to be done.  It will still be necessary to plan and manage those elements.

Some Examples of Agile Methods:

Scrum: in under 10 Minutes
Extreme programming (XP): Guidance and references
Kanban: in Under 5 Minutes
DSDM: Guidance from the DSDM Consortium
Test Driven Development: An Introduction


Prince2 originated in the 1990s as the UK Government method for managing IT projects. Since then authors have worked to broaden its applicability.  It is primarily a framework for defining and delivering projects that focuses mainly on Governance.  As with Agile, it does not cover many other core elements of managing projects, such as many of those covered in 'Doing project management' on this page.

Overview of Prince2
Prince2 User Group and Resources
The PRINCE2® Training Manual

Project Management 'Bodies of Knowledge'

A number of the more mature Professional Associations have published their own Body of Knowledge (BoK) covering project management.  These are not methodologies in themselves, but do describe processes and skills or competencies associated with project management. PM Certification examinations such as PMP or APMP are based on their relevant BoK. The most popular are:


Roles in Project Management (including Project Manager)

Project Roles and Responsibilities
Role of the Project Manager
Ten Rules for Project Managers
Project Roles and Responsibilities
Real Example of Lessons Learned on Project Manager Responsibilities
In-House Project Managers vs. External
The Role (and Challenge) of the Project Sponsor
Top 10 Leadership Qualities of a Project Manager
Maximizing Project Managers
How Bad Project Managers are Killing the Profession
Making Junior Project Managers More Senior
Managing Projects on a Global Scale
12 Essential Soft Skills for Project Managers
Seven Deadly Project Manager Sins
On the importance of field knowledge in project management
Who’s The Boss?

Skills to Lead Teams and People in Project Management

There are certain skills to have when conducting project management. It's best to have a team of planners when doing project planning. Therefore, it's important to have skills in forming, leading and facilitating groups. The following information will help you develop these skills.

Yes, Project Managers Need Leadership Skills!
Kicking Off the Project Team
Team Building
Leadership (Introduction)
Meeting Management
Short Video on What Makes a Great Project Manager
Facilitating in Face-to-Face Groups
Group-Based Problem Solving and Decision Making
Conflict Management (this topic provides basics in managing conflict in groups)
Capturing Lessons Learning During Projects
Using Project Teams on Organizational Projects
Project Management, initiative, leadership: How to Avoid a Work Burnout
Project Management, Leadership and Making the Right Decision
A Strategic Management Model that Works
Course 19: Managing Projects
Become a Project Management Minimalist -- Video 1
10 Steps to Project Success
On the importance of field knowledge in project management
5 Leadership Skills for Project Managers
How Project Managers Can Manage Conflict


Feasibility Studies -- Is your Project Viable or Optimised?

A feasibility study determines if a project is viable or tests the pros and cons of different technical strategies and solutions.

Feasibility Study - Can You Mange It?
Project Feasibility Study Samples
Feasibility Studies
How to Develop a Prototype
Have Your Project Demo Ready
So Are We Doing This?
Are We All Here?

Project Planning -- How Do We Determine Project Outcomes, Goals and Objectives?

Overview of Project Planning

Project planning includes agreeing the overall goals to be achieved by the project, the objectives associated with each goal, responsibilities to achieve each objective. Planning might also include specifying milestones or deliverables to be produced, and timelines for achieving the objectives and milestones.

Project Planning A Step by Step Guide
Steps in Project Planning
Project Management Planning
How to Plan Any Project
Assumptions When We Plan and Define Projects
Planning a Project -- Sample Project Plans
Planning a Project -- the Basics
Project Planning and Life Cycle
How to Use Software to Plan and Prioritize Projects
Putting a people focus into project management
Project Management Definition and Solutions
Avoid That Creep
How Many Trackers Do You Track?

Project Governance

Covers responsibilities for key decisions and may also cover business level reviews of strategic projects:

APM's Guide
An Overview of Project Governance
Don't Confuse Governance with Management

Project Success Criteria

It can be fundamentally useful to define crystal clear success criteria for any project, to avoid the real risk of anyone making incorrect assumptions on such an important matter.

What is Success in Project Management?
Simple Overview of How To Do This

Benefits Planning and Realisation

A new topic that has developed from the UK since 2000.  For any organisation involved in a business improvement or change project, this is the most valuable and important task they will do.

Guidance on Benefits Planning, Realisation and Management
Example in practice

When Working from Requirements

Some projects do planning by working from an initial set of project requirements. The requirements might have come from other stakeholders, or people who have a strong interest in the project and/or will be affected by the project.

Incose: International Council on Systems Engineering - defining customer needs and requirements in (project) systems
Overview on requirements management by UK's Office of Government & Commerce
Open Architecture Requirements Management
Building a Requirements Document

Some Tools for Project Planning

Generic Project Proposal Template
Project Evaluation and Review Technique
Project Proposal and Initiation Templates
Statement of Work
Writing a Statement of Work - How a Statement of Work Can Save Your Project
Project Charter
Project Charter Example
What is a Work Breakdown Structure?
How to Create a Work Breakdown Structure
Dependency Structure Matrix

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) - A scheduling Technique

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
How to Use a PERT Chart for Project Management
User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation

Resource Allocation -- What Do We Need to Implement Project Plan (People, Money, Scheduling)?

Resource allocation identifies the resources needed and schedules their involvement. It might also consider the efficient integration of those resources and do contingency planning in case certain resources are not sufficient or available. Some planners might include budgeting as part of the resource allocation process.

Resource Allocation
Splitting a Project Into Small Bits
Estimating Project Costs
Hierarchy of Project Objectives
Keys to Resource Allocation
Project Management Resource Allocation
Resource Allocation: Do You Overwork Your Resources?
Resource Leveling
Are Sub-Contractors Good Or Bad?
Five Techniques So You Don't Have To Be There
How to Manage Your Time as a Project Manager

Some Tools for Resource Allocation

Project Management Budgeting Tools
Project Budget and Reporting Tools
Resource Leveling tools
Resource Leveling

Management of Project Risk -- What Could Go Wrong?

Risk management involves identifying potential risks in a project and how to mitigate or manage each. It's always best if risks are identified using a comprehensive and systematic approach.

Project Risk Management Principles
Improving Project Risk Management
10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management
Project Management: Risk Management
Many Blog Posts About Project Risk Management
Risky Business

Some Tools for Risk Management

A Consistent Project Risk Assessment Tool
Risk Management Tools

Ethical Analysis of Project -- Are We In Conformance, Morally?

Ethics is clarifying what's morally right and wrong, and influencing that actions are morally right. Ethics can include codes of ethics, codes of conduct, guidelines to resolve ethical dilemmas and training about these ethics tools. Ethics applies in all aspects of project management.

The Role of Ethics in Project Management
Business Ethics
Ethics in Project Management
Ethics in Project Management Customers and Suppliers?
PMI's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Project Management Ethics and Rules of Conduct

Implementation of Project Plan - How Do We Ensure Implementation, While Managing Change?

To Ensure Implementation of the Project Plan

The best practices to ensure implementation of the plan actually start early in the planning process. The practices are the same, whether for strategic, business or project planning.

How to Ensure Implementation of Your Plan
Course 19: Managing Projects

To Manage Change During Implementation of the Project Plan

Implementation of important plans, such as strategic, business and project plans, usually impact the strategy, structure and/or operations of the organization. Therefore, it's important that project managers understand at least some basics about managing change in organizations.

Organizational Change and Development

Earned Value Management

- How to Objectively Measure Schedule and Budget 'Performance'

Earned value management provides objective measures of schedule and budget performance during implementation. When done comprehensively and systematically, it will provide early detection of schedule or budget problems.

What is Earned Value?
An Overview of Earned Value Management
Earned Value Management
Glossary of EVM Terms

Some Tools Project Management

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
How to Use a PERT Chart for Project Management
Why Critical Path is Critical to Project Management
Critical Path Method
Earned Value Analysis in Project Cost Estimate

Communication and Your Project

- Communication is the life-blood of projects:

It's extremely important to communicate project plans, status and results to stakeholders. Many project managers would agree that this is one of the biggest problems in project management.

Project Communication is Critical!
Project Communication
Methods for Distributing Information on Projects
Real-World Project Communications
10 Tips for Creating Effective Project Reports
If It’s Important, Less Is More
Inside Technical Specifications

Some Tools for Communicating Project Plans and Status

Communications Management Matrix
Some Effective Communications Tools for Managers

Evaluating Projects and Results

- How Do We Evaluate Implementation and Project Results?

Project evaluation is done during project implementation and after completion in order to assess the quality of activities and achievement of results.

Project Management Evaluation
Methods for Evaluating Project Performance
An Objective Method for Evaluating Project Managers' Performance
Systematic Planning and Evaluating the Project Management Effort
Using Return on Investment to Evaluate Project Management Training
Performance Management Process
About Project Quality
User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
How to Use a PERT Chart for Project Management
User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation

When Projects Are in Trouble -- Most Common Issues and What Do We Do If They Occur?

Why Does Project Management Fail in Some Companies?
Tips for Coping with Troubled Projects
Pragmatic Project Management Requires Focus to Avoid Creep
Prevent Project Cost Overruns With These Four Essential Processes
A New Approach of Project Cost Overrun and Contingency Management
Project Pitfalls from Symptoms to Solution
One Project - Multiple Consulting and Freelance Clients
Top 10 Issues for Project Managers
Reasons Why Projects Fail
Project Management, initiative, leadership: How to Avoid a Work Burnout
5 Strategies for Dealing with Project Management Chaos


Glossaries of Project Management Terms

Project Management Glossary
A Project Management Glossary
PM Forum's Glossary
Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms)
It Depends On What the Meaning of "Is" Is
Three Critical Project Management Terms to Know

Further Sites With Many Resources About Project Management

Free Project Management Articles published weekly
PM Forum Library
Project Management Tools
Tutorials Point

Software Tools to Do Project Management Process

How To Find The Right Project Management Software For Your Needs
Dave Farthing's Software Project Management Links Page
10 Free Tools for Effective Project Management
Microsoft Project
Process Templates and Tools
Project Management and Tools Directory
How to Use Software to Plan and Prioritize Projects
Exotic Project Management Software

Professional Bodies Focused on Project Management

International Project Management Association
Project Management Institute(PMI)
UK Association of Project Management (APM)
Project Management Organizations and Resources

Getting PMP Certification

Getting the PMP Certification
Project Management Certification and Training
PMP Certification Guide - Online PMP Certification Training

Some Related Fields

Enterprise Resource Planning
Management by Objectives
Program Management

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For the Category of Planning and Project Management:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources. Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

There are many kinds of planning, e.g., strategic planning, business planning, project planning, financial planning, staffing planning, market planning, etc. These kinds of planning often have a common set of terms and activities among them. One of the best approaches to learning about this common planning process, as opposed to studying all of the kinds of planning, is to understand project management. At the end of this section are links to other types of planning that are explained in the Free Management Library.

Also See

Business Planning -- Recommended Books

Strategic Planning -- Recommended Books

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