What Is Project Management?

Written By
Rakhi Sethi
Last updated at April 21, 2022
What Is Project Management?



Project management is a methodical approach to planning, scheduling, and carrying out a project within a defined time frame. The goal of project management is to produce timelines and deliver profits.


A project manager must create a plan that establishes the resources, tasks, milestones, and deliverables necessary to meet stakeholder requirements. This plan must also account for the triple constraint, which refers to the limitations of time, cost, and scope that apply to every project.


Online project management software enables managers to keep projects on track, provide updates on project statuses, and improve team productivity.



What is a Project?


Projects are created when an objective is identified and the required tasks to deliver the objectives are outlined. A project may be short-term or long-term depending upon the needs of the business and/or project sponsor. The goal of a project is to complete activities in such a way that satisfies requirements specified in a contract agreement.


The Five Phases of the Project Life Cycle


Every project goes through the project life cycle, which is made up of five project management stages: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and closure.


Phase 1: Project Initiation


This is the stage where you will prove that your project is worth both time and money. This includes creating your business case to justify the project, and a feasibility study to prove it can be executed within a reasonable time and cost.


Before a project is started, a Project Charter and a Project Brief document are created. They will then be used to align with a project methodology of a consultant’s choosing.


The final stage is the project kickoff meeting, where the team, stakeholders, and other relevant parties are brought together to layout the project goals, schedule, processes, and the chain of communication.


Phase 2: Project Planning


The project plan must include all of the required tasks that are necessary for the project. This will enable the execution of the project in a timely manner.


In this phase, the project scope (the work required to complete the project) is defined using a work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS breaks the project down into activities, milestones, and deliverables, making it easy for project managers to create schedules and assign tasks to their team members.


A Gantt chart is a project management tool providing a visual representation of the work from start to finish. This provides a roadmap for completing a project as projected.


Phase 3: Project Execution


In the execution phase, the project manager ensures that all of the deliverables outlined in the project plan are completed. They coordinate and allocate resources as needed to keep the team working smoothly. In addition, they identify and mitigate risks, deal with problems and incorporate any changes.


Phase 4: Project Monitoring and Control


During the project execution phase, project managers are responsible for monitoring, controlling, and directing project team activities to meet the project objectives. They ensure project objectives are logistically feasible through periodic reports, monitoring milestone completion, noting the overall progress of the team’s work, and collecting data that can be used to identify problems before they escalate into critical issues.


The objectives of this phase are to set or revise parameters and parameters for the project, maintain control over it, and ensure that the triple constraint doesn’t go off track and ultimately causes the collapse of the project.


Phase 5: Project Closure


Project closure is the fifth project management phase, in which the final deliverables are presented to the client. Once approved, resources are released, documentation is completed, and everything is signed off on. At this point, the project manager and team can conduct a post-mortem to evaluate the lessons learned from the project.


In the closure phase, the project manager is responsible for transitioning control of a project to another team, if necessary. A project manager may be required to assist with an organized transition from one team to another at the completion of a project.



The Triple Constraint


The Triple Constraint is the Project Management Triangle. It is a cornerstone of project management, with budget, schedule, and scope being limited factors that must be addressed when creating a project’s plan. Let’s look at how time, scope, and cost are managed with the help of project management processes.




A project manager must estimate the time required to complete a project. To do so, they use tools such as PERT charts or the critical path method. This must be done at the initiation and planning phases of the project life cycle to develop a schedule covering the duration of all the activities. In the execution phase, the project status must be monitored to make changes to the schedule baseline. Schedule management is responsible for this constraint.




Scope refers to the total work effort required to deliver a system or program. The scope must be defined during the planning stage by using a work breakdown structure. If it’s not properly defined early in the project, it can expand during the execution phase due to unplanned activities. This is known as scope creep and might cause projects to fail. The scope management process helps keep this constraint in check.




Project managers are responsible for estimating, budgeting, and controlling costs to ensure a project can be completed within an approved budget. This management of costs is called cost management.


The Importance of the Triple Constraint


As important as time, scope, and cost are to the project manager, the triple constraint of project management also includes quality. Each of these four points of the project management triangle is always influencing one another. If there is a setback in time, then there will have to be an adjustment in either scope or cost. The same is true for the other points.


Project Management Tools


There is a wide range of project management tools, both online and mobile, available to manage projects:


Gantt Chart


Gantt charts are an organizational tool used to look at big-picture plans. These plans use different tracks to communicate tasks, schedules, and changes needed to be made during project planning.





A project dashboard is a widget that displays project data points such as budget, task status, team workload, and overall plan status. It provides a high-level view of the project and its progress as mapped by several metrics.


With a dashboard, key performance indicators (KPIs) are presented in a concise format. It can be shared with stakeholders while including enough information for them to make informed decisions.



project management tools


Task List


A task management tool is a list of things that need to be done. It helps the team keep track of all their work, prioritize what needs to be done first, and manage deadlines. By using it, you’ll improve your project’s internal communications and ensure everyone is on the same page.



project management tasks list


Kanban Board


A kanban board is a board (either physical or digital) with columns representing the production cycle and cards under those columns representing the tasks. Cards are moved from column to column as tasks are scheduled, executed, and completed.



kanban board


Project Reports


Keeping track of the project’s progress and performance is critical to helping you meet milestones and deliver a successful project. Reports are also used as a communication tool for stakeholders to remain updated on the progress of the project.



project report



The Project Management Phases: How to Manage a Project


In this section of the guide, we are going to break down each stage with actionable steps that outline how to manage a project.


Initiation Phase


  • Documentation : Before a project can begin in earnest, a necessary level of documentation must be completed. This includes a business case, which lists the reasons why the project is needed, the project objectives, and what the return on investment will be. There’s a feasibility study to determine if the project is even possible with consideration to an organization’s resources and business goals.
  • Assemble Project Team : A project requires the temporary allocation of resources and other data. The team is created to ensure goals and deadlines will be achieved accordingly. If goals and deadlines are not achieved, the project could fail. The better the team, the more likely it will succeed.
  • Set Up Project Office : It’s important to plan ahead for a project. That’s where the project office comes in. It’s usually a physical space set up for the manager or team leader of a project. The project management office is where the manager, staff, and any support staff will be located. The infrastructure for the project management office needs to be set up, which includes having project management software and any equipment needed for the project.


Planning Phase


  • Create Task List : Project Management tasks are the smaller activities that build up to the final deliverable in a project. They are in essence tiny projects and identifying them is a critical project planning step. Develop a task list by taking the final project deliverable, which is a tree diagram that maps the path to completing the project without missing any vital steps along the way.
  • Make a Budget: The budget is an estimate of the total cost for a project. It includes labor, materials, and other resources needed to execute the project.
  • Risk Management Plan: All projects must change. Too much can go wrong to think you can plan every contingency. So before starting a project, prepare for changes by identifying risks and creating a risk management plan to monitor and respond quickly to them.
  • Communications Plan: Good communication is essential in successful project management. A clear communication plan ensures people who need to be kept informed will be, along with the level of information they require, the frequency, and how they will get it.
  • Make a Project Schedule: The Gantt chart is a tool to help project managers manage their projects. Some tasks are dependent on others before they can start or end, and these task dependencies can create bottlenecks later on in the project. By linking them on a Gantt, a head’s up is created to avoid slowing down the schedule.
  • Assign Tasks: Managing a team? Assign Tasks with our intuitive and easy-to-use work management system. All that preparation you’ve put into planning is dependent on getting that assignment out to the team, so they can do what they were hired to do


Execution Phase


  • Task Management: As efficient as task lists and Kanban boards may be, they do not make projects efficient. It’s the project management professional who makes sure a task is getting done on time, within budget, and within scope.
  • Schedule Management: When it comes to tracking progress, schedules must be carefully monitored to ensure that they stay on track. A time tracking feature can provide this data to project management software, which will then generate reports that can be used to properly organize your tasks.
  • Cost Management: The project’s budget is controlled through a systematic and thorough approach. The key is to plan out the scope of work and limit your risks by creating a realistic budget.
  • Quality Management: Projects will succeed when deliverables are produced on time and within budget, but if the quality is lacking then the project isn’t successful. Therefore, make sure whatever success criteria and quality requirements have been set by stakeholders are being met.
  • Change Management: Project Management is the process of managing scope change. Scope change management is focused on managing scope changes after the business case has been approved. At this point, scope changes are typically limited to reducing the scope of the project or budget or increasing what has already been committed.
  • Procurement Management: Procurement management is the process of identifying, documenting, evaluating, and managing the relationship with vendors and suppliers to ensure that the correct products are delivered to your project or program on time at the right price.
  • Resource Management: When coordinating the many moving parts of your project, you need a system to track everything. That includes everything from people and supplies to locations and timelines.
  • Collaboration: Project management is a process of managing multiple tasks to bring about successful completion while staying within the set limits and time frame. A combination of team-building and communications tools can facilitate better outcomes and greater productivity.


Monitor & Control Phase


  • Monitor the Process: The Project Management oversees the progress of a project. This oversees the delivery of outputs, quality, costs, risks, and more. For most projects, this is done through project controls. These include project strategy, methodology, risk management, quality assurance, and resources.
  • Reporting: Project management tools can help you keep track of project progress and status, and they also provide data to help you prepare presentations for stakeholders so they stay in the loop. The reports can vary from task progress to variance and cost. There are reports on project and portfolio status, timesheets, workload, allocation, and expenses.


Closing Phase


  • Transfer Deliverables: The project close allows you to verify that all deliverables have been produced and identifies any issues that may arise. This can be a good time to identify lessons learned and implement changes that will enhance the quality of future projects.
  • Confirm Completion: At each stage of a project, confirmations from key stakeholders must be obtained. This safeguards the integrity of your timeline and provides opportunities for course corrections should something go wrong.
  • Review Documentation: Typically, the Project Manager will go through all of the signed paperwork and make sure everything is in order before handing it back to the customer. This process works to ensure that all aspects of the project are accounted for and taken care of. It can be detailed, but an important aspect of the process shouldn’t be skipped.
  • Release Resources: According to best practices, before a project is completed the team, any contract workers, rentals, etc. must be officially released. Have a process in place to notify and make sure everyone is paid up.
  • Do a Post-Mortem: A post-mortem is an analysis of the finished project to note what worked and what didn’t. It’s a great way to repeat successes and repair mistakes for the next project. Remember to celebrate with the team! They deserve it.


Project Management Processes


Each of the project management processes has a specific purpose through the project life cycle and when done right, they guarantee the successful completion of projects.


Scope Management


Project management refers to all the work required to complete a project which is defined by a work breakdown structure during the planning phase. Without proper scope management, many organizations suffer from unorganized projects and unnecessary expenses.


Task Management


Project Management is the process that begins with careful planning. This allows for the development of a work breakdown structure. Once this is completed, tasks can be assigned to team members to ensure proper task dependency. This allows the project manager to know the order in which each task must be completed.


Resource Management


This process consists in effectively identifying, acquiring, and allocating resources such as people, capital, equipment, and materials to complete tasks and produce deliverables. Once the project scope is defined, the resources that will be needed for each activity can be determined. As the project progresses, the use of resources must be controlled.


Schedule Management


It’s important to use time effectively when managing a project. The steps involved are estimating, scheduling, and controlling. Estimate the time needed to complete each activity, milestone, and deliverable. Schedule the activities based on the time estimates. Monitor the project schedule regularly during the execution phase.


Risk Management


The Project Management Process identifies the project risks and then creates a “plan B” by defining potential responses to those risks.


When you are on a deadline, project management makes it easy to identify issues that cause problems and address them. By analyzing the triple constraint, risks can be avoided entirely or plans of action against them can be created.


Quality Management


In the initiation phase, the stakeholders express their quality requirements for the project deliverables. Based on that, project managers develop a quality policy that defines control procedures to ensure quality assurance.


Stakeholder Management


Stakeholders are important for successful project management. By clearly understanding their requirements and delivering frequent updates, their needs can be better met.


Cost Management


The project management framework is applied to every stage of the project life cycle. It involves cost estimation, establishing budgets, and cost control. Begin by estimating the cost associated with each task, and then create a budget to cover those expenses. Once the execution phase begins, monitor the cost of the project as it progresses.


Issue Management


Risk management is a strategy to handle potential problems in a project. Knowing what can go wrong and how it will be handled prevents issues from hindering the project’s success.<

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