A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to achieve a particular aim. At the most basic level, a project is actually the response to a need, the solution to a problem. Further it is a solution that promises a benefit especially financial benefit. The fundamental purpose for most projects is to either make money or save money, hence projects should be financially justifiable. A project is temporary in nature; that means that it has a specific start and finish. A project consists of a well defined collection of small jobs and ordinarily culminates in the creation of an end product or products. A project is a unique, one time undertaking; it will never again be done exactly the same way, by the same people, and within the same environment. There will always be some uncertainty associated with the project. This uncertainty represents risks to your ability to make definitive plans and predict outcomes with high level of confidence. All projects consume resources in the form of time, money, materials and labour. Project Management Project management is the application of knowledge, skill, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirement. The project management process calls for the creation of a small organizational (project team), which is often a microcosm of larger organization. Once the team has produced desired outcome, the process then calls for the decommissioning of that small organizational structure. The project form of organization allows the manager to be responsive to:
- The client and the environment
- Identify and correct problems at an early date
- Make timely decisions about trade-offs between conflicting project goals
- Ensure that managers of the separate tasks that comprise the project do not optimize the performance of their individual tasks at the expense of the total project- that is, that they do not suboptimize.
A project manager is usually responsible for the success or the failure of the project. They first need to define the project and then build its work plan. If the scope of the project is not very clear, or the project is executing poorly, the manager is held accountable. However, this does not mean that the manager does all the work by himself (which is practically impossible). There is an entire team under the project manager, which helps to achieve all the objectives of the project. However, if something goes wrong, the project manager is ultimately accountable. Apart from this, depending on the size and the complexity of the project, they may need to take on multiple roles. The project manager may need to assist with gathering business requirements, help to design a database management system or may prepare project documentation. They may work full time on a large project, or may work part-time on various projects of a smaller nature; or may alternatively handle various projects as well as handle other responsibilities like business analysis and business development. At times, they may have accountability but not authority. For example, he or she may be using certain resources but might not have direct control over those resources. At such times, the manager might find certain limitations over task execution, which might not take place as they might have liked. Not having direct control over the state of finances and finance allocation might cause ambiguity. Project managers use project management software, such as Microsoft Project, to organize their tasks and workforce. These software packages allow project managers to produce reports and charts in a few minutes, compared to the several hours it can take if they do not use a software package. In order to be successful, the project manager must be given support and authority by senior management.
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