Defining Projects

Posted in Project Management by wikithink on March 11, 2010

My professional career is leading me to learning more about Project Management. Although it is usually related to Information Technology, I believe that we should have a course about it at high school, or at college for sure. Everyone is part of several projects at any time in life.

If I have to define a project, I would start saying that it’s a serie of activities (with a start and finish date) designed to achieve an specific goal using (scarce) resources.

So giving this first definition, let’s find some examples in everyone’s life: plan a wedding, build or reform your house, plan your vacations (the more remote place, the more planning is needed), start a collage degree or a master, move in to a new appartment, plan an scheduled surgery, etc.

If we have to find project examples at work, that would be more easy though. Design and build a new highway, build a school, reform an office, migrate to the new operating system plataform, expand your business to other regions, plan the training for your employees, define an advertising campaign, outsource a service to an external provider. And I would like to add one that I would never think about, but a classmate at my project management class told us….define a plan for rebuild a country after a earthquake. He was working for the red cross. I don’t know, a plenty of them.

So how do we achieve those goals more efficiently? Project management is the answer. 

It’s a framework, a set of tools that allows us (a team) to focus our resources (time, money, knowledge, etc) on the pursuit of explicit results. It enables us to focus on priorities, track performance, overcome difficulties and adapt to change. It also helps us to lead teams to reach the objetives using the resources available (on time and budget as we usually heard). Although it’s a time consuming task, in a long term perspective it will save time, effort and reduce risk to failure.

The Project Management Institude (PMI) has created an standard for Project Management which is known as PMBOK Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and as any standard its purpose is to provide and promote a common vocabulary within the project management profession for discussing, writing, and applying the related concepts.

Do I persuade you to go more deeply into project knowlede? I am absolutly conviced beyong my professional path…


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