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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. A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.
The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in a user or project manual, which is created at the beginning of the development process. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget. The secondary — and more ambitious — challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and integrate them to meet pre-defined objectives.
There are a number of approaches for managing project activities including lean, iterative, incremental, and phased approaches. Regardless of the methodology employed, careful consideration must be given tthe overall project objectives, timeline, and cost, as well as the roles and responsibilities of all participants and stakeholders.
Main article: Critical chain project management
Critical chain project management (CCPM) is a method of planning and managing project execution designed to deal with uncertainties inherent in managing projects, while taking into consideration limited availability of resources (physical, human skills, as well as management & support capacity) needed to execute projects.
CCPM is an application of the theory of constraints (TOC) to projects. The goal is to increase the flow of projects in an organization (throughput). Applying the first three of the five focusing steps of TOC, the system constraint for all projects is identified as are the resources. To exploit the constraint, tasks on the critical chain are given priority over all other activities. Finally, projects are planned and managed to ensure that the resources are ready when the critical chain tasks must start, subordinating all other resources to the critical chain.