A paper presented to the first Engineering Congress, The Institution of Engineers, India - Calcutta, January 1987

Introduction | Definition | Traditional | Hard-Soft | Environment
Characteristics | Concepts | Control | Breakdown | Fundamentals
Prerequisites | Summary | Appendix A | Appendix B


Project Management

Unlike the relatively steady state of an on-going enterprise, a project has some distinctive characteristics of its own. Capital undertakings normally have a well defined starting point and a well defined objective which identifies the completion of the work. Further, resources limited in one way or another place constraints on the work to be accomplished, and underline the need for special management control. Hence the need for Project Management. However, let us first agree on what a project is. According to the Project Management Institute, an international organization dedicated to advancing the state-of-the-art in the profession of project management:

A project is:

"Any undertaking with a defined starting point and defined objectives the achievement of which identify completion. In practice most projects depend on finite or limited resources with which the objectives are to be accomplished." (PMI, 1985)

Managing, by the way was well defined as long ago as 1916 by Henri Fayol. He said:

"To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control. To forecast and plan means examining the future and drawing up the plan of action. To organize means to build up the dual structure, material and human, of the undertaking. To command means maintaining activity amongst the personnel. To coordinate means bonding together, unifying and harmonizing all activity and effort. To control means seeing that everything occurs in conformity with established rule and expressed command." (Henri Fayol, Administration Industrielle et Generale, 1916.)


Project Management is:

"The art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality and participant satisfaction." (PMI, 1985).

Not everyone is familiar with the word "Scope" by the way. "Scope" means the work content and finished "products" for which the project has been designed. Sometimes scope may be represented by a statement of the results or performance expected, leaving the content details to the designer. Similarly each phase content, or component such as "work package" (which is discussed later) also have associated scopes.

Scope is fully defined by detailing the end products resulting from the project, including quality standards, all activities performed and the resources consumed. A scope statement should be introduced by a brief background to the project, or component, and the general objective.

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