What is Project management? Basics, Goals, Importance, Steps, Examples, And Values

What is Project management? Basics, Goals, Importance, Steps, Examples, And Values

Written By : Bakkah

2 Jun 2024

Table of Content

Learn all about project management: Starting with the basics, readers will gain insights into the definition, principles, and evolution of project management, setting the stage for a comprehensive exploration.

The article provides a comprehensive exploration of project management, covering its definition, principles, and evolution. It emphasizes the importance of project management in aligning projects with organizational objectives, enhancing efficiency, and achieving success criteria. Key steps in project management, including initiation, planning, execution, and closure, are detailed, along with practical examples across various industries.

Additionally, the article discusses the goals of project management, the six aspects critical for success, and the value it brings to organizations through efficient resource utilization, risk management, and improved communication. Various methodologies, types, and approaches to project management are highlighted, along with examples of their application in different sectors. The qualifications and skills required for project managers are outlined, along with tips for starting a career in project management.

Readers will then be guided through the essential steps involved in project management, providing a roadmap for initiating, planning, executing, and closing projects successfully.

Real-world examples across various industries will illustrate the practical application of project management principles. Additionally, the article will underscore the intrinsic values project management brings to organizations, shedding light on its role in resource optimization, risk mitigation, and overall project success. 

What is project management?

Project management is the art of turning chaos into choreography – orchestrating tasks, timelines, and teams to create a harmonious performance that brings ideas to life. Project management is “the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria.” 

Imagine project management as the conductor of a grand symphony. It's the skilful coordination of diverse instruments (tasks), each playing a crucial role, all guided by a conductor (project manager) to produce a masterpiece of success.

Project management encompasses a set of activities designed to ensure the successful implementation of a project. It involves the use of several principles, policies, and procedures that are intended to guide a project from the initiation phase all along to its completion. 

Project management involves the establishment of a budget and ensuring that the organization has enough resources to deliver the project and make available additional resources for unexpected contingencies. Project managers usually employ a design plan using the Critical Path Method, which is used to determine the correct order for the efficient completion of a project. 

Project management also includes communicating progress to management and shareholders. It involves monitoring every step of the process and ultimately ensuring the successful completion of the project.

Project Management Basics

Project Management Basics are the foundation for effective project management and contribute to the overall success of a project. Each phase requires careful attention to detail and the ability to adapt as the project unfolds.

1. Project Definition and Objectives:

Clearly define the project, including its scope, goals, and deliverables. Establish measurable objectives to determine project success.

2. Project Planning:

Develop a comprehensive project plan outlining tasks, timelines, resources, and dependencies. Identify potential risks and create mitigation strategies.

3. Task Identification and Assignment:

Break down the project into smaller tasks and activities. Assign responsibilities to team members based on their skills and expertise.

4. Resource Allocation:

Allocate necessary resources, including personnel, budget, and materials. Ensure that resources are available when needed throughout the project.

5. Timeline and Scheduling:

Create a realistic project timeline with milestones and deadlines. Establish a project schedule to track progress and ensure timely completion.

6. Communication:

Establish clear communication channels and protocols. Keep stakeholders informed about project status, changes, and milestones.

7. Risk Management:

Identify potential risks and uncertainties. Develop a risk management plan with strategies for mitigating or responding to risks.

8. Quality Control:

Define and implement quality standards for project deliverables. Regularly assess and ensure that the project meets established quality criteria.

9. Monitoring and Reporting:

Continuously monitor project progress against the plan. Generate regular reports for stakeholders to provide updates on project status.

10. Adaptability and Flexibility: 

Be prepared to adapt plans in response to unforeseen changes or challenges. Maintain flexibility while staying focused on project objectives.

11. Closure and Evaluation:

Complete the project and deliver the final product or service. Conduct a project review to assess successes, challenges, and lessons learned.

12. Documentation:

Keep thorough documentation of all aspects of the project, including plans, decisions, and changes.

What are the Goals of Project Management?

The goal of the project management process is to ensure the accomplishment of all business objectives. However, for this to happen, project objectives must be clearly defined as this will determine each step in the project lifecycle. Project goals must be measurable and contain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess the project's performance objectively. These indicators will be involved in areas such as budget, deadlines, and the quality of output.

To get a clearer picture, below are the goals of the project management process:

1. Bring order into the working environment

Project management steps provide a clear guide on how each member should perform and their responsibilities.

2. Improve project performance

Improve project performance by optimizing the workforce and resources through the development of a project plan; organizations can improve overall project performance.

3. Quality control

The project management process includes planning steps for monitoring and assuring the quality of project outcomes. This ensures that projects are not only able to deliver on schedule but also maintain the quality of their output. 

4. Keep costs within budget

Without proper project management, project costs can be very difficult to manage. Project management processes provide procedures that minimize or eliminate the risk of budget overrun and ensure all expenses are within budget.

5. Learn from mistakes

Project management includes constant monitoring and quality control. Having steps in place to monitor each step of the process makes it possible to identify errors and the ability to learn from them. Learning from mistakes makes it possible to improve processes and ensure that this doesn't happen in the future.

The six aspects of project management

To ensure successful project management, 6 main aspects must be present:

1. Project scope:

The project scope includes a list of activities and tasks required to be accomplished within a specific period, along with objectives that include the results required to be achieved after implementation.

2. Resources:

The project depends primarily on the availability of all its resources, whether financial related to the budget specified for it, or human resources from the members of the work team assigned to carry out the project tasks.

3. Cost:

It includes the budget allocated to the project and the amount of expenses required for all activities. This cost is determined after a good and comprehensive study of the project.

4. Risks:

These are the potential threats that could cause the project to fail, and risk specialists study and analyze them in order to come up with practices to reduce their damage.

5. Quality:

It includes adherence to the required quality standards, which must be achieved to a high degree in project activities, whether goods or services.

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6. Table:

It is the time frame of the project that shows the beginning of planning and the implementation period, through to the deadline for delivery, and setting the schedule helps to finish the project in the required time.

Why Is Project Management Important?

Project management is essential for efficient resource utilization, risk mitigation, improved communication, and alignment of project goals with broader organizational objectives. These benefits collectively contribute to the successful and timely completion of projects, adding value to both the organization and its stakeholders.

Project management achieves successful outcomes, maintaining stakeholder satisfaction, adapting to changes, fostering continuous improvement, and ensuring financial control throughout the project lifecycle.

1. PM Leads To high-performing projects:

According to a study conducted by Wrike, 80 percent of high-performing projects are led by a certified project manager, while only 2.5 percent of companies successfully complete 100 percent of their projects (Gallup). Armed with this information, the question is, "Why are some organizations still having second thoughts on implementing good project management?" The simple answer is cost.

2. Risk Management And Assesment

One of the critical components of the project management process involves risk management, it involves developing a clear methodology to manage risks to achieve project goals. Project management makes it possible for organizations to develop a well-executed plan for delivering the goals of a successful project.

Identifying and managing risks is a crucial aspect of project management. Project managers anticipate potential issues, create contingency plans, and actively work to mitigate risks throughout the project lifecycle. This proactive approach minimizes the impact of unforeseen challenges and ensures smoother project execution.

3. PM is an Essential Component Of Everyday Business Operations

Project management is an essential component of everyday business operations. Making project managers one of the key drivers of a successful project. In today's data-driven environment, it has become possible to create a detailed picture of the current state of project management and its importance in business. 

4. Prevent The Many Difficulties Of Delivering A Project

Project management was developed to create an order to plan, coordinate, and manage all the activities of modern projects. The objective of project management is to predict and prevent the many difficulties of delivering a project. With this information, project managers plan and organize a project plan to minimize and eliminate all the risks to ensure the success of a project. Various studies have been undertaken by different organizations to create a better understanding of the importance of project management. Studies have shown that:

5. Studies Prove Project Management is Important for Businesses:

According to several studies:

  • 80% of highly successful projects are supervised by a certified project manager.
  • 60% of failed projects can be attributed to unrealistic deadlines.
  • 77% of companies use project management software.
  • 39% of failed projects are caused by poor planning and inadequate resources.
  • 33% of projects fail because of poor support from management.
  • Only 2.5% of companies successfully complete their projects within the original timeline.
  • 57% of projects fail because of poor communication.
  • Only 40% of projects meet the timeline, budget, and quality goals.

6. Efficient Resource Utilization:

Details: Project management ensures optimal use of resources, including time, budget, and personnel. By carefully planning and monitoring tasks, project managers prevent resource wastage and allocate assets where they are most needed. This efficiency helps in meeting project objectives within constraints and enhances overall productivity.

7. Improved Communication and Collaboration:

Project management fosters clear communication channels among team members, stakeholders, and other involved parties. Effective communication reduces misunderstandings, aligns everyone with project goals, and promotes collaboration. Regular updates and status reports keep stakeholders informed, enhancing overall transparency and trust.

7. Goal Alignment and Project Success:

Project management aligns team efforts with organizational goals. Through careful planning, defining objectives, and monitoring progress, project managers ensure that each task contributes to the overall success of the project. This alignment is critical for meeting customer expectations, delivering quality outcomes, and achieving project success.

8. Client Satisfaction and Stakeholder Engagement:

Effective project management focuses on understanding and meeting client requirements. By involving stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle, project managers gather feedback, address concerns, and ensure that the delivered outcomes align with expectations. This proactive engagement enhances client satisfaction and strengthens relationships with stakeholders.

9. Adaptability to Change:

Projects often encounter changes in scope, requirements, or external factors. Project management provides a structured framework to assess and implement changes efficiently. Through change management processes, project managers ensure that modifications are evaluated, approved, and integrated without disrupting the overall project flow.

10. Continuous Improvement and Learning:

Project management encourages a culture of continuous improvement. After project completion, a thorough review helps identify successes, challenges, and areas for improvement. Lessons learned from each project are documented and applied to future endeavors, fostering a cycle of learning and refinement in project management processes.

11. Financial Control and Budget Management:

Project management plays a crucial role in financial control by establishing and monitoring budgets. By tracking expenditures against the budget, project managers ensure that the project remains financially viable. This control is essential for preventing cost overruns, aligning financial resources with project priorities, and demonstrating fiscal responsibility to stakeholders.

Project Management Process And Steps 

In simple terms, project management is the process of overseeing a project to ensure it meets its objectives, deadlines, and budget. This discipline can be employed in any project, from big-ticket to small-budget projects.

The project management process encompasses a series of crucial steps to guide a project from initiation to completion. 

In the initiation phase, project objectives are defined, feasibility is assessed, and the project team is established. Planning involves creating a comprehensive project management plan, breaking down tasks, developing schedules, and allocating resources. 

Execution sees the implementation of the plan, requiring effective resource management and continuous communication. The monitoring and controlling phase involves tracking project progress, comparing it to the plan, and making adjustments as necessary. 

Finally, the closing phase ensures the completion of all project activities, client acceptance, and the documentation of lessons learned for future improvement.

This iterative process ensures that projects are well-organized, aligned with goals, and adaptable to changes, leading to successful outcomes while fostering continuous improvement in project management practices.

Methodologies, Types, and Approaches Of Project Management:

Project management encompasses various methodologies, types, and approaches designed to address diverse project needs. 

Traditional methodologies like Waterfall follow a sequential structure, progressing through defined phases, while Agile methodologies, including Scrum and Kanban, prioritize flexibility and iterative development. 

Lean project management aims to eliminate waste and optimize processes, while Six Sigma focuses on data-driven improvements. PRINCE2 offers a structured, process-driven approach with defined roles and decision points, and hybrid methods combine elements from different approaches to suit specific project requirements. 

The diversity in project management methods allows teams to choose and adapt their approach based on the project's unique characteristics, size, complexity, and stakeholder needs.

These methodologies provide frameworks for planning, execution, and control, ensuring projects are effectively managed. The choice between them depends on factors such as the project's nature, goals, team dynamics, and the level of adaptability required to navigate uncertainties and changes.

Examples Of Project Management

Examples Of Project Management illustrate the diverse applications of project management across various sectors, highlighting the importance of structured planning, effective execution, and stakeholder communication in achieving successful project outcomes.

Here are examples of projects across different industries that demonstrate the application of project management principles:

1. Construction Project:

Example: Building a new office complex.

Project Management Aspects: Planning, resource allocation, scheduling, risk management, quality control, and coordination of various construction phases.

2. Software Development Project:

Example: Developing a new mobile application.

Project Management Aspects: Agile or Scrum methodologies, iterative development, user stories, sprints, and continuous integration.

3. Healthcare Project:

Example: Implementing a new electronic health record (EHR) system.

Project Management Aspects: Stakeholder engagement, risk management, compliance with regulatory standards, and ensuring a smooth transition for healthcare professionals.

4. Event Management Project:

Example: Organizing a large-scale music festival.

Project Management Aspects: Logistics planning, vendor coordination, scheduling performances, crowd management, and risk mitigation for unforeseen issues.

5. Marketing Campaign Project:

Example: Launching a new product.

Project Management Aspects: Campaign planning, budgeting, timeline management, cross-functional team collaboration, and performance tracking.

6. Infrastructure Upgrade Project:

Example: Upgrading an organization's IT infrastructure.

Project Management Aspects: Technology assessment, phased implementation, minimizing downtime, user training, and post-implementation support.

7. Manufacturing Project:

Example: Introducing a new production line

Project Management Aspects: Resource planning, equipment acquisition, production scheduling, quality assurance, and safety compliance.

Value of Project Management

The value of project management lies in its ability to bring structure, efficiency, and strategic alignment to complex endeavors, ensuring successful outcomes. Project management provides a systematic approach to planning, organizing, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. 

Project Management helps organizations deliver projects on time, within budget, and according to predefined quality standards. The discipline's emphasis on risk management and adaptability allows teams to navigate uncertainties effectively, mitigating potential challenges and optimizing project success rates.

Furthermore, project management enhances communication and collaboration among team members, stakeholders, and different departments, fostering a shared understanding of project objectives and progress. This alignment contributes to improved decision-making, reduced misunderstandings, and increased stakeholder satisfaction. 

The value of project management is evident across industries, enabling organizations to innovate, respond to market changes, and deliver value to clients and stakeholders. Ultimately, project management serves as a critical tool for strategic execution, ensuring that projects align with organizational objectives and contribute to overall success.

Project Management History and Timeline

Project management has evolved over centuries, with roots dating back to ancient civilizations where complex construction projects, such as the pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China, required intricate planning and coordination. 

The modern formalization of project management began in the mid-20th century. In the 1950s and 1960s, industrial and defence sectors developed critical path methods (CPM) and program evaluation and review techniques (PERT) to manage complex projects, notably during the construction of the Polaris missile system. In the 1980s and 1990s, methodologies like PRINCE (Projects IN Controlled Environments) and the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) emerged, providing standardized frameworks. 

The late 20th century witnessed the rise of Agile methodologies, emphasizing flexibility and iterative development, marking a paradigm shift in project management approaches.

In the 21st century, project management has continued to evolve with the integration of digital tools, online collaboration platforms, and the widespread adoption of Agile and hybrid methodologies. 

Project managers now leverage technology for communication, scheduling, and resource management, facilitating more dynamic and collaborative project environments. 

The ongoing history of project management reflects an adaptive response to the changing nature of projects, industries, and global business landscapes.

Who is using project management?

Project management is widely used across various industries and sectors, as its principles and methodologies are applicable to any organization undertaking initiatives to achieve specific goals. 

Here are examples of entities and sectors that commonly utilize project management:

1. Information Technology (IT):

Project management is crucial in IT for software development, system implementations, and IT infrastructure upgrades.

2. Construction:

Construction firms heavily rely on project management for building projects, infrastructure development, and facility construction.

3. Healthcare:

Hospitals and healthcare organizations implement project management for initiatives like implementing new healthcare systems, facility expansions, and clinical process improvements.

4. Manufacturing:

Manufacturing companies utilize project management for new product development, production line enhancements, and process improvements.

5. Finance and Banking:

Financial institutions apply project management for system upgrades, product launches, and regulatory compliance initiatives.

6. Government:

Government agencies employ project management for public infrastructure projects, policy implementations, and IT system upgrades.

When do we use project management?

Project management is used in various situations where organizations or individuals are involved in initiatives that require planning, organization, and coordination to achieve specific objectives. Here are common scenarios when project management is applied:

1. New Product or Service Development:

When launching a new product or service, project management helps in coordinating tasks related to design, development, testing, and marketing.

2. System or Software Implementation:

Project management is used when implementing new IT systems, software, or technological solutions to ensure a smooth and efficient integration process.

3. Construction and Infrastructure Projects:

In the construction industry, project management is essential for planning and executing building projects, infrastructure development, and facility construction.

4. Event Planning and Management:

For organizing events such as conferences, festivals, or corporate gatherings, project management ensures proper planning, coordination, and execution.

5. Process Improvement Initiatives:

Organizations use project management for initiatives aimed at improving business processes, operational efficiency, and overall workflow.

6. Policy and Regulatory Compliance:

Project management is applied when organizations need to implement changes to comply with new policies, regulations, or industry standards.

7. Mergers and Acquisitions:

During mergers or acquisitions, project management helps in managing the integration of different organizational structures, systems, and processes.

8. Research and Development Projects:

In industries such as pharmaceuticals or technology, project management is used for research and development efforts to bring new innovations to market.

Project manager qualifications

Project managers typically possess a combination of educational qualifications and practical experience. A bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as business, engineering, or information technology is common, and many project managers further enhance their skills through certifications like PMP (Project Management Professional) or PRINCE2

Strong communication, leadership, and organizational skills are essential, along with the ability to adapt to change, manage risks, and collaborate effectively with diverse stakeholders. 

Practical experience in project management roles, demonstrating successful project delivery, is often a key factor in qualifying for leadership positions in this field.

Project managers are responsible for formulating the project management process. They start with identifying the scope of a project and defining in detail the project's objectives. A project manager's tasks include preparing a schedule, assigning tasks to individual team members, and setting timelines.

How to Start a Project Management Career:

To start a project management career, begin by obtaining a relevant degree, such as in business or project management, and consider obtaining certifications like PMP or PRINCE2. Gain practical experience through internships or entry-level positions, showcasing your ability to manage tasks and collaborate effectively. Develop strong communication and leadership skills, stay updated on industry trends, and build a network within the project management community.

Hiring a good project manager and implementing a robust project management process can be expensive. Salaries of senior project managers and their teams alone can take as much as 20 percent of the overall budget. Costs that should be considered even before the project begins. However, at the end of the day, the goal of any organization undertaking a project is its successful completion, and this is where the benefit of project management comes in.

To enhance your skills, consider enrolling in Bakkah Learning's online project management courses, offering comprehensive and flexible learning opportunities to further your career in project management. Explore our project management courses to gain valuable insights and certifications that can set you on the path to success in the field.

Samples of the certified PM courses we have:

Risk Management Courses And Certifications:

PRINCE2 Courses

Project Management Tools:

Portfolio Management


Project management is a vital discipline that orchestrates tasks, timelines, and teams to achieve specific goals and organizational success. With its structured approach, project management brings order to complex endeavors, ensuring efficient resource utilization, risk mitigation, and effective communication. The diverse methodologies and approaches cater to different project needs, while qualified project managers play a pivotal role in guiding projects to successful outcomes.

By embracing project management principles and investing in training and certification, individuals and organizations can enhance their project management capabilities and drive impactful results. Whether in construction, healthcare, IT, or any other industry, project management serves as a cornerstone for achieving objectives, fostering innovation, and delivering value to stakeholders.