All Project Management

The best laid plans of mice and men…project management is the art of planning and overseeing some undertaking that has a definite beginning and end date as well as a clear objective. (If there weren’t a defined goal and timeframe involved, it would simply be called “management”.) ​All this has to be done while keeping the uncertain nature of the world in mind. It’s also true that each individual task usually has multiple dependencies. If you’re building a house, for example, you can’t start putting up the walls before the foundation is ready, but you also can’t finish the walls before the electrical work is done. If the painters arrive before the walls are ready, the project will take longer, cost more, and (possibly) not achieve exactly the desired result. Fast, cheap, and to spec are three factors that are always on a project manager’s mind.​As it turns out, the same project management principles can be applied to creating a piece of software, moving a company from one city to another, building a highway, or improving a business process. This has led to PM becoming a field of study all on its own. It’s become more and more common for businesses to break work down into projects, with goals set and teams formed on an ad-hoc basis.​For this to work, each project needs to have one responsible, buck-stops-here individual who’s ultimately accountable for all aspects of a project: initial planning, budgeting, scheduling, resources, communicating with outside stakeholders, and risk management. As you can imagine, project management is a multi-skilled job, requiring discipline, assertiveness, and excellent communication and delegation skills.​A bachelor’s degree in project management includes all of the fundamentals you’d expect in any business degree, such as accounting, marketing, and human resources. Courses specific to PM build on these, including additional training in inventory control, supply chain management, planning, risk management, and software tools designed especially for effective project management.