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What Is Project Management and What Do They Do?

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What is project management and what do they do? This paper will give you a basic look at what a project manager does and how they go about doing their job. What are the traits of a good project manager? We will look at the responsibilities of the manager, what they need to be involved in, and the guidelines in which to follow. Then the project, where it starts with an idea, goes through the development process and on to completion, if it was only that simple. Project management is not for the person wanting to sit at a desk and just answer questions. They have to be involved from the very beginning of the idea, so that they have a clear vision of what the stakeholders want and what is the best way to get there.

Let us first break down what we mean when we say, Project Management. First is the project, by definition, it is "temporary and unique." (Dobson & Leemann, 2010, p. 6) Projects will always have a start and an end date to them. They are also unique because they are individual processes; there is just one of them. Management is simple getting someone else to do your work for you, however, a better definition would go like this, a manager is supposed to make an unsolicited contribution to the organization. (Lewis, 2007, p. 25) When you put these together you have a project manager that understands the mission and vision of the organization, then they see how the project meshes with the organization's mission, and they steer the project to ensure that the interests of the organization is met. (Lewis, 2007, p. 26) With that said, we can say now that the primary responsibility of the project manager is to make sure that all the work is completed on time, in budget and scope, and at the correct performance level. (Lewis, 2007, p. 24) What value is there for these people? The value of the project management is related to the implementation of it in an organization. (Shi, 2011, p. 296) What Mr. Shi is talking about here is that if the organization does not use project management correctly, they will not benefit from its existence.

What type of person would make a really good project manager? While certain traits like technical engineer or maybe a very smart person with a MBA or a PhD sound like the right answer, it's not, it really takes a person with very good people skills. (Lewis, 2007, p. 30) The whole idea behind being a successful project manager is to get others team members to do the work so that it gets done to meet the goals of the organization. Another good trait to have is to be able to think outside the box and to make decisions without asking for someone else to make it for them. They have to always think of possible problems and have a solution for whatever that may be. They need to be a self-starter, if they are going to take on a project; they have to be involved from the start, so that they understand what the goals are that needs to be met. The last trait a project manager needs to be is the coach. Project Management is a team of people that need to be brought together thru team communication, collaboration, and cohesiveness. (Yang, Huang, & Wu, 2011, p. 260) These three traits help build the team to be more effective in coming together to talk about the stages and problem every day and the implement a solutions. The final thing that the project manager needs to know is what constraints are in place and the order that they are to be in.

The constraints of a project are three things; time, cost and performance. Which one is the most important; that is left up to the organization or stakeholders, which are also the ones that control how the project will be worked upon. These three constraints make up the six dimensions of the project, in which order they may fall. The way these are described in Creative Project Management is; the one that has the most constraint is the driver of the project. This would have very little flexibility for it, where as the one that has the least amount of constraint would be the most flexible. (Dobson & Leemann, 2010, p. 148) As an example, if cost is the most import and performance is the least, the project manager would be able to allow less expensive materials to do the job as long as they meet the standard of the project. Then if time is the in the middle of these two it would be somewhat important to make the end date of the project as set in the beginning but not the main focus. The constraints are just the beginning of the project managers; they have so much more to do than just worry about those three components. Let's now start to look at the process of which a project manager starts this whole process.

The traditional project management methodology is based on design/build or plan/do kinds of projects. (Larson & Drexler, 2009, p. 552) There are four parts to the project life. First is the defining stage; second is the planning stage; third is the executing stage; and last is the termination stage. Let look at each one by itself. The defining stage is the initial goal and technical specifications of the project are identified. (Larson & Drexler, 2009, p. 552) This is the time that everything is decided upon, such as what resources are going to be needed, how much it will cost and what is its purpose. This can be the most important part of any project, because if there is an error made at this point, it will show up at some time during the project. This may happen in the first couple of weeks or it could happen near the end and they won't have



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