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Managing a Project – Introduction (#9 in the Hut Project Management Handbook)
By Wouter Baars

Adopting the six phases creates clarity in a project, thereby making it easier to administer. What exactly does managing a project entail?

First, project leaders and project teams are involved with the following components:

1. Team

A project team is comprised of a group of people who will realise the project result. The group is often comprised of people who have various backgrounds, each of whom contributes knowledge and skills.

2. Goal

A product result (or goal) is desired. After a project has been completed, something has been realised. A new piece of software has been written, a re-organisation has been carried out or a bridge has been built. The project goal is sometimes vague or less firmly established. In many projects, it is necessary to adapt the goal as the project proceeds.

3. Limited resources

The amount of time and money that is available for completing a project is always limited. No project is completely free of time pressure.

4. Uncertainty (Risk)

One characteristic feature of projects is that their success is never guaranteed beforehand. Even if the desired goal is already being reached, it is uncertain whether it will be achieved within the available budget or within the proposed time.

It is not unusual for a project to take three times as long and to cost twice as much as originally estimated. It is also not unusual for only thirty per cent of the original project team members to be working on the project upon its completion.

Although project managers must attend to many matters, they actually direct projects along only five parameters:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Quality
  • Organisation
  • Information

These five parameters, which are often known as the ‘control factors’, are described further below. The control factors appear in project plans, progress monitoring and project reporting.

Next in the Hut Project Management Handbook:

Managing a Project – The Time Factor

Previously in the Hut Project Management Handbook:

The Six Phases Of Project Management – Follow-up Phase

Wouter Baars has a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Science. He has been a project manager for several years for The European commission, Waag Society, KPN (Dutch telecom provider) and many smaller organizations. He is specialized in creative projects such as serious game development, e-learning and software development. Currently he is teaching project management and coaching organizations that are working on their project management. More info on his work: www.projectmanagement-training.net.

Originally published by DANS – Data Archiving and Networked Services – The Hague

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