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Project Management

In today's increasingly complex business environment, successful business managers must also learn to be successful project managers. Faced with international competition, changing market demands, new regulation, and crisis, business managers recognize that the only thing that doesn’t change, is change itself. As a result, we see business managers undertaking a variety of projects: to find more efficient and better use of internal resources, to pursue new opportunities, to move between markets, to exit failing markets and to mitigate crisis. It is the growing competitiveness and complexity of doing business today that makes the science of project management increasingly important for the everyday business manager.

What is a project?

According to Harold Kerzner (2008), to understand what project management is, we must first tie down a definition of a project. A project has a specific objective to be completed within certain specifications, including a defined scope, start and end date, budget, and resources. A project, he says, also cuts across functional lines, involving people and nonhuman resources with different skills and expertise.

What is project management?

The science of project management is the methodology behind successfully implementing a project in an organization, originally developed by the U.S. Department of Defense. According to the PMBOK Guide put out by the Project Management Institute, project management consists of five stages. Project managers must use different skills and focus on different goals at each stage of the project. For example, getting other managers to buy-in and commit to the goals of the project is important in the beginning stage. At the ending stage, managers concern themselves with sustaining the gains from the project. The five stages of managing a project are:
1. Initiation
2. Planning
3. Project Execution
4. Monitoring and Controlling
5. Closing

What are project-management tools?

Despite project management’s proliferation into use by organizations in every industry, many project management tools remain the same today as they did when developed by the DOD. These tools include project-scheduling techniques, such as:
- Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT Network Chart)
- Arrow Diagram Method (ADM) or Critical Path Method (CPM)
- Precedence Diagram Method (PDM)
- Graphical Evaluation and Review Technique (GERT)
- GANTT Chart

At BrainMass.com we offer students help with the study of project management, including applying scheduling techniques, calculating critical paths and slack time, and discussing current concepts such as lean project management.

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