The way I see it, based on my experiences – "Project management is the art and science of managing a project to its successful completion".
In order to achieve this, you would need to use the tools and techniques of the project management trade. What tools and techniques you use would depend upon the type of the project and the context in which it is set.
A few of the keywords that I’d want to highlight are “art and science” and “successful completion”.Art and Science
The reason I want to put stress on this is because, for successful project management, there needs to be a balance between the art and the science. If one part is left out or not stressed upon or worse forgotten, it may result in tragedy.
You may question, which part is the art part and which part is the science part? Dealing with people, for instance stakeholder, managing teams, communications definitely falls on the art part. While tracking budget, schedules, certain aspects of risk management, it may be argued that would fall on the science part.Successful Completion
Next important point is “successful completion”. Good project management practices not only allow you to complete a project, they allow you to complete a project “successfully”. Success is however, a rare commodity; more so, it is extremely subjective. What someone considers as success may not be success for someone else. So, what good project management practices would do, is to allow you to define success clearly and get agreement on a common definition. When this is done, a project’s success can be clearly tracked and targeted. Thus when you eventually get to success, everyone would see it and acknowledge it.
Now that completes the basic definition of "What Project Management is?". But this definition is incomplete without answering a few key questions:
- Why do we need Project Management?
- How do you do Project Management - or how do you manage a project?
- Who are the people involved in a Project?
- When do you need to apply Project Management?
I could write detailed explanation for those questions in this post, however these questions also demand a more detailed analysis and thus justify a post for each subject. As I'm writing this, I'm preparing the answers to those questions. Hope to post them out soon.
I guess that’s it for now.