Project Management: What Is It?

Project management. What is it? When it comes to semantics, it seems pretty much self explanatory. However, it’s so much more than simply overseeing a project from it’s inception until it’s completion. Dr. Martin Barnes, who held the position of the Association for Project Management President from 2003 until 2012, once said:

At its most fundamental, project management is about people getting things done.

Stripped down to it’s skeleton, project management is exactly that. To expand on Dr. Barnes definition, project management is a broader term referring to the application of techniques, procedures, intelligence, talent, and understanding gained by experience in order to achieve specific objectives.

I say the term is broad because of the idiosyncratic nature of each project that comes down the pipeline. These projects are structured to complete their specific goals using their desired defining terms. In order for a project to be seen as a success, certain objectives must be achieved in accordance with certain criteria as well was within an agreed upon budget and timescale.

Time Scope Quality and Cost


When it really comes down to it, there are core components of project management that can be applied to a variety of projects within a slew of industries. These components can include:

  • Identifying the why when it comes to the necessity of a certain project
  • Surveying the specific requirements of each project (i.e. what deliverables are needed and at what quality/an estimation of resources (employees/budget/technology) required as well as a reachable timescale
  • Preparing research to present to the business to justify the need for the project
  • Securing any funding necessary
  • Creating and executing a clear management plan
  • Operating as a leader and both a teammate to adequately motivate those involved and deliver the results necessary
  • Managing risks, obstacles, progress and budget
  • Bringing the project to a clear and successful conclusion

Why do we need project mangers?

Project management and project managers are useful to execute tasks that aren’t included in the “business-as-usual” “day-to-day” functions of an operating business or organization.

In order to keep a business running seamlessly whilst simultaneously attempting to accomplish a separate goal, the attention and determination of a leader who’s able to give the necessary amount of scrutiny and thought to achieve the projects’ objective is required.