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Project managementProject management


What is a project?

Doing a job through different activities and people.


The 4 P’s of successful project management

1. Purpose


The project must have clearly defined objectives that are SMART:


Specific (clearly related to organizational aims like customer satisfaction)

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Measurable (so defining success, failure, and progress towards achievement of aims).


Agreed (the project team focused on common aims).


Realistic (aims can be achieved on time and with the resources available – see point 2 below)


Time related (aims having a deadline for completion).


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2. Plan

A concise document that explains:

  • the project's aims.
  • how to achieve them.

Success depends on the effective combination of sufficient and quality resources:


a) people 

The best people must be recruited and trained.

Teamwork and implementing the plan are vital – see point 3.


b) information

The innovative application of all relevant information to deliver results - for example, proven management techniques like:


c) money

Cash must be effectively spent whilst minimizing costs and keeping within budget.


d) materials and equipment 

(so supplier relationships are vital – see point 3).


The project plan must change in response to new circumstances, and risks must be minimized through effective risk management.

Two charts are useful to show the interrelated activities needed to complete the project:

  • Gannt chart
  • PERT (or flow) chart


3. People (stakeholders)

Success is dependent on satisfying the project’s stakeholders (those people directly affected by it):

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a) customers

  • people inside the organization (internal customers) and
  • paying customers who will benefit from the project’s success.


b) suppliers

Providers of materials, products or services.


c) sponsor

The most senior member of the project team and initiator of the project.

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d) project manager

Leader of the team with responsibility for the project’s success, which is achieved through:

  • focusing on solutions to customers' problems.
  • effective delegation and communication with team members.
  • co-ordination and negotiation.
  • consultation (with decisiveness) and implementation (of the plan).
  • commitment to common aims.
  • leading by example (through tactful honesty, integrity and equal/fair treatment for all).
  • continual learning and adapting to changing circumstances. 


e) team members

They help the project manager with the skills necessary for success like

  • customer/supplier contacts.
  • quality and cost control.

  • creativity.

  • technical expertise.

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4. Progress (towards world-class quality)

The project’s progress must be continually checked through:


a) progress reports and review meetings.


b) achievement of milestones 

(aims set in progressing to the project’s final completion).

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c) overcoming possible reasons for project failure:

  • resistance to change.,
  • inadequate/poor quality resources and information.
  • people/product/production/purchasing problems.


Everyone must constantly strive for world-class quality.



Key quotes explained


Project management

Well begun is half done”

- Aristotle, Greek philosopher (pictured right)

A project must begin with the right objectives and plan to achieve them



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A fundamental yet often overlooked principle of successful project management is that you can't do it alone”

- W. Alan Randolph (pictured right above) and Barry Z. Posner.(pictured right below), American business professors - see belowProject management

Teamwork is vital.



 A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”Project management

- George Patton (pictured right), American World War Two general

A project plan must be ready when it's required.

The British wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill, agrees:

It's not enough that we do our best, sometimes we have to do what's required.


Best books


W. Alan Randolph and Barry Z. Posner, Effective Project Planning and Management: Getting the Job Done (1988)

Successful project management requires:

  • clear aims. 
  • an action plan to achieve them

  • inspirational leadership

  • motivated, risk taking and creative people 




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