Project Management: Key Terminology and Processes to Guide Your Efforts
Project management is often regarded as a series of tasks designed to achieve a specific goal. To fully understand the breadth of project management, however, you must analyze your available resources, factor in personal and professional schedules, and establish budgetary constraints.
It’s natural to take stock of what you hope to achieve and where your existing projects are in their development lifecycle. But without an understanding of the skills and steps required to manage the ebbs and flows of a project, you could experience delays throughout the process, adding both time and money to your initial estimates.
Want More Career-focused News? Subscribe to Build Your Career Newsletter Today!
Rather than being reactive, project management allows for planning and thorough evaluation before the project begins. Risk matrices and assessments help pinpoint problems before they become issues impacting multiple development phases. Likewise, identifying resources and initial cost and time estimates ensure you are prepared for things beyond your control, such as unexpected scheduling changes, staffing disruptions, or technical issues. Of course, catastrophic weather events or economic disruptions (such as the lumber shortage that halted housing construction during the COVID-19 pandemic) can happen no matter how much time you spend planning. But with proper project management, you can get your team back on track with minimal disruption.
Key steps to enhance project management efforts go beyond identifying the overall scope of a project and the different phases of development. At a minimum, your preparation should also include the following steps:
- A thorough evaluation and detailed breakdown of the specific tasks or steps involved.
- An allocation of responsibility for individual and project-level tasks while factoring in potential scheduling conflicts, staffing changes, and other items outside your control, along with the estimated cost of such delays.
- An assessment of the time and resources needed for each development phase and each step within the separate phases.
- An understanding of the inherent risks involved and the creation of contingency plans to minimize fallout (e.g., adding time to your planning deadlines and increasing your budget to account for potential problems or disruptions).
Watch “The Essentials of Project Management” Webinar
For a more in-depth discussion of the many elements of effective project management, watch “The Essentials of Project Management” webinar. Key project management terminology, work breakdown structures, and the use of risk matrices to identify issues before they become issues that dramatically alter your project plan are also addressed.