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The Basics Of Project Management

Aug 26, 2008
Project management consists of 4 main elements; scope, resources, time and cost. All elements need to be managed properly if the project is going to be a success. Poor management can lead to project failure hence why it is so important.

Project Scope
The project scope outlines what the project is to accomplish and consists of defining the size of the project, the goals and the requirements. It is the backbone of any project and is necessary to effectively manage cost, resources and time.

It is important that if the scope changes, it is reflected by making changes to the other components of the project, e.g. the resources, time and cost. Changes to the scope often lead to scope creep; if small changes are consistently made during the execution of the project, the result becomes more and more significant and scope creep occurs. Any changes made to the scope should be formalised and approval for a change in budget or schedule should be obtained.

Project Resources
Project resources include the people, equipment, and material needed to complete the project.

Selecting the right people with the right skills is a necessity. The project team need to be made aware of the tasks involved, and when and how they need to be carried out. To successfully manage your team you will need to ensure communication is consistent throughout the project.

Equipment, and usually materials, are required to be able to carry out a project and these need to be managed too. You need to ensure that the equipment and materials are available when they are needed to make sure the project team can carry out the necessary tasks.

Time
Time management is extremely important as projects that keep within the schedule are less likely to exceed the given budget. To successfully complete a project on time a schedule should be created and adhered to. The project needs to be broken down into individual tasks. By listing the tasks in order of when they need to be completed and deciding how long each task will take, you can start to work out a project schedule. You will find that some tasks can be carried out simultaneously but others will need to follow a sequence.

Cost
Every task listed in the project schedule will incur a cost, be it labour charges or material costs. Each of these costs need to be estimated to work out the project budget. Problems with the cost of the project can occur when unforeseen events take place. Usually a project has a contingency budget that will be used to cover unexpected events. To keep on track of the cost of the project, both the project schedule and project scope need to be managed successfully.
About the Author
John Mce writes on behalf of Project Mangement Professional Learning who provide Corporate Learning Services and run public training courses in project management throughout the UK.
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