Project management is a collection of proven techniques for proposing, planning, implementing, managing and evaluating projects, combined with the art of managing people.
An aspiring project manager may locate a wide range of public courses, including college-based, association-based and consultant-sponsored courses. The Project Management Institute offers certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) to those who pass a rigorous exam and demonstrate their proficiency by planning and managing a successful project.
But beware: While there are many project-management techniques and tools, there are big differences in applying these methods to different projects — a large, complex, multiyear construction project is very different from a 12-month ISO 9001 quality management system implementation, or a three–month process–improvement and machinery upgrade project.
The basics apply in all situations, but the methodology has to be scaled to fit the benefit-to-cost ratio for each situation. A common error: Managers fail to use techniques and tools appropriate to the anticipated outcomes of the project and the resources available. Poor judgment can cause either overkill or under-use of techniques that could have been effective.
Excerpted from Russell T. Westcott, Simplified Project Management for the Quality Professional: Managing Small & Medium–size Projects, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, pages 11–19.