Project management is the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people. The development of software for an improved business process, the construction of a building, the relief effort after a natural disaster, the expansion of sales into a new geographic market—these are all examples of projects.
What is a Project?
To understand project management, we must look deeper into what constitutes a project. Essentially, projects are temporary efforts to create value through unique products, services, and processes. Some projects are engineered to quickly resolve problems. Others require extended timelines to produce outcomes that will not need major improvements outside of projected maintenance—like public highways—for example.
Of course, some projects will be a mixture of both these things. This applies to everything from developing new software to planning disaster relief efforts. Still, this is all very general information concerning what a project is. When we break them down more specifically, we see that projects are amalgamations of tasks, activities, and deliverables that must be structured and executed carefully to achieve a desired outcome.
Before an outcome is achieved, each aspect of a project must go through phases of initiation, planning, and execution. This process is known as the project management lifecycle, and it is the lifeblood of successful projects. Moreover, this cycle allows project managers to plan each task and activity meticulously to ensure the highest chances of success. Overall, a project is a well-planned endeavor that follows a lifecycle with a definite beginning and end.