An informative introduction for those considering a career in project management
Project Management JumpStart offers a clear, practical introduction to the complex world of project management, with an entertaining approach based on real-world application. Fully revised to align with a Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge -PMBOK Guide (c), 6th edition, this book provides an overview of the field followed by an exploration of current best practices. The practical focus facilitates retention by directly linking critical concepts to your everyday work, while the close adherence to PMBOK guidelines makes this book the perfect starting point for those considering certification to earn either PMP or CompTIA Project+ credentials.
Project management is a top-five, in-demand skill in today's workplace, and the demand has spread far beyond IT to encompass nearly every industry; any organization that produces goods or services, whether for profit or not, has a vested interest in ensuring that projects are completed on time, on budget, and to the satisfaction of the client-this is the heart of the project management function. Let Kim Heldman, bestselling author of PMP Study Guide and CompTIA Project+ Study Guide, walk you through the basic principles and practices to help you build a strong foundation for further training.
Understand current project management methods and practices
Explore project management from a practical perspective
Delve into illustrative examples that clarify complex issues
Test your understanding with challenging study questions
Trillions of dollars are invested in various projects around the world each year, and companies have learned that investing in qualified project management professionals pays off in every aspect of the operation. If you're considering a career in project management, Project Management JumpStart provides an excellent introduction to the field and clear direction for your next steps.
Kim Heldman, MBA, PMP, is Senior Manager Information Technology/Chief Information Officer, for the Regional Transportation District in Denver, Colorado. Kim is the author of several books on project management including the bestselling PMP Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide, 9th Edition. You can visit Kim's website at www.kimheldman.com.
Building the Foundation
IN THIS CHAPTER
- The definition of project management
- Different organizational structures
- The project management process groups
- Project criteria
- Constraints and their impacts
- Project management certification
Welcome to the world of project management. Chances are you've already had some experience with project management, whether you've called it that or not. Maybe you've helped organize your company's annual conference or been involved with a new product launch. At some point in your personal or professional life, you've probably used some sort of process to get from the beginning of the project to the end results.
You'll discover through the course of this book that you may already use some of the processes I'll talk about, but you may never have realized they were formalized project management techniques and processes. I'll add some new twists and tricks to those processes that you'll want to try. You'll also learn some new techniques and procedures that will enhance your project management experiences and help you run your next project smoothly and effortlessly. (OK, that might be stretching it a bit, but your project will run more efficiently.)
In this chapter, you'll start building the foundation of good project management practices.
The Project Management Journey
The first stop on our journey is a brief overview of the Project Management Institute (PMI®). PMI® is the leader and the most widely recognized organization in the world in terms of promoting project management best practices. PMI® strives to maintain and endorse standards and ethics in this field and offers publications, training, seminars, chapters, special-interest groups, and colleges to further the project management discipline. PMI® offers the most recognized certification in the field of project management called the Project Management Professional® (PMP®) certification.
The focus and content of this book revolve around the information contained in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK ® Guide), Sixth Edition, published by PMI®. This de facto standard of project management terms, processes, techniques, and more is known and understood by millions of project managers across the globe. I will use the PMBOK ® Guide terms and process names throughout this book to familiarize you with terminology used by project managers everywhere.
Start your engines-I'm ready to lay the foundation for building and managing your project. In this chapter, I'll start with a definition of a project, and then you'll take a high-level look at some of the processes and plans you'll build throughout the rest of the book and how you'll benefit from using solid project management techniques when managing your next project. I'll also cover organizational foundations before moving on to the project processes themselves. Here we go.
project management The process of applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to describe, organize, and monitor the work of the project to accomplish the goals of the project. (This definition is based on the PMBOK ® Guide.)
Is It a Project?
How do you know whether your new work assignment is a project or whether it's going to benefit from project management techniques? If you're like most of us, once you get to work and settle in for the day, you check your email and voice mail and touch base with some of the other folks on your team. The boss may drop by and ask for a status report on a problem you've been working on, gently nudging you to get back to it. All of these tasks are everyday work. They don't really have a beginning or end; they're ongoing. Projects are not everyday work. For work to be considered a project, it must meet a certain set of criteria.
Projects set out to produce a unique product, service, or result. They have a limited timeframe and are temporary in nature. This means that projects have a definite beginning and ending. You can determine that a project is complete by comparing its end result or product to the objectives and deliverables stated in the project plan.
Everyday work is ongoing. Production processes are an example of ongoing operations. Maybe you love popping a handful of chocolate drops into your mouth mid-afternoon for a quick treat. Producing those chocolate drops is an example of ongoing operations. The production line knows how many candies to produce, what colors to coat them with, how many go in a package, and so on. Every day, hundreds of thousands of those little drops make their way into bags, onto the store shelves, and eventually into our mouths-yum. But the production of these candies is not a project.
Now let's say that the management team has decided it's time to introduce a new line of candy. You've been tasked with producing the new candy flavor and shape. You assemble a research team to come up with a new candy formula. The marketing team gathers some data, which shows that the new candy has real potential with the consumers. The candy is produced according to plan, monitored for adherence to the original formula and design, and shipped to the stores. Is this a project or ongoing operations?
The answer is, this is a project even though candy making is something the company does every day. The production of chocolate drops is considered an ongoing operation. The new candy, however, is a unique product because the company has never produced this flavor and shape of candy. Remember that projects are originated to bring about a product, service, or result that hasn't existed before. The new candy project was kicked off, carried out, monitored, and then ended when all the requirements were met. Candy production didn't stop there, though. At the end of this project, the production of the candy was turned over to ongoing operations and absorbed into the everyday work of the company. The project ended in this case by being assimilated into the ongoing operations of the company. Table 1.1 recaps the characteristics of projects versus ongoing operations.
TABLE 1.1 Projects vs. ongoing operations Projects Ongoing operations Definite beginning and end. No definitive beginning and end. Temporary in nature. Ongoing. Produces a unique product, service, or result. Produces the same product, service, or result over and over. Resources are dedicated to the project. Resources are dedicated to operations. Ending is determined by specific criteria. Processes are ongoing.
Where Are We Going?
When you start out on a journey, it helps to have the destination in mind. You've embarked on a project management discovery journey, so I'd like to start by describing where you'll be when you've finished.
customer The end user or recipient of the product, service, or result of the project. Customers may be internal or external to the organization.
The end of the project is the time to reflect on the processes used to complete the activities, to determine whether the customer is satisfied with the product the project set out to produce, and to document the lessons learned (among other things) throughout the course of the project. You will be able to use this book to guide you from start to finish through your next small or medium-sized project so that you can easily assess those factors, not only at the end of the project but as you progress through the project as well. (I consider large projects to be along the lines of building rocket ships, constructing major highways, or writing the latest, greatest software program that will automatically do your grocery shopping and monitor your golf swing at the same time.) If you're just starting out in project management, you probably aren't heading up a large-scale project. But rest assured that all those small and medium-sized projects will teach you a great deal about project management and will start you well on the way to bigger and better opportunities as your experience grows.
When you're just starting out, don't discount the experience you'll gain by working on small projects. Large projects are really a lot of smaller projects all lumped into one. The stepping stones to large project work are created by a history of success with small and medium-sized projects.
Included in this and each subsequent chapter you'll find discussions of the processes at hand, examples so that you can apply what you're learning, and templates that you can use or modify to complete your project documentation. Now let's take a high-level look at a completed project.