What is a project?

A project is a temporary enterprise that exists to achieve a defined aim. A project may be either for an individual or a collaborative effort which brings together a team of people with different specialisms to accomplish the identified outcomes.  A project may be short and completed in one stage or broken down into multiple stages dependent upon it's size.

In short a project can be to achieve any objective so long as the piece of work has a defined timescale and specific aim.

What is project management?

Project management applies to a piece of work which is external to the management of 'business as usual'.  It is the art of defining, initiating, planning, executing, managing and  implementing a new initiative or identified changes within an organisation.

What are the key components of a project?

Each project has a complete project plan which should include the following:  

  • Purpose - a brief paragraph which establishes the reasons for the changes or implementation to take place

  • Objectives - the aimed for outcomes of the project to be delivered - these should be detailed and measurable

  • Scope - the scope will define the boundaries or limitations of the project.

Once the above has been identified the following can be put in place.

  • Timescales – defined deadlines for each stage of the project and the expected end date

  • Cost – the overall budget - a detailed budget plan should be in place for each stage of a project.

  • Quality – the standard of the outcome of the project.

Each of these components will affect the other eg. if you change the scope or objectives this may affect the budget or timescales, and ultimately the quality of the deliverables.

Project management stages

At The Project Organiser, we are PRINCE2 qualified and follow the 7 core stages of managing a project.  This can look quite complex to those new to project management, and appear to be a large amount of work however, it is scalable by the size of the project.  Most is completed with or by the Project Manager and these steps are for the client to ensure that the planning is detailed and documented so that there is no confusion of the requirements and all works and costs are approved before they are actioned.

  • Project Start Up - this takes place prior to the project and is designed to assure the key stakeholders that it will be a reasonable and rewarding undertaking. The trigger for Start Up would be the initial mandate discussions with a client.

  • Initiating the project – the project manager will work with the project sponsor or client and stakeholders to agree Purpose Objectives and Scope of the project.  At this stage the project plan will be created for sign off including all the key tasks and deadlines for each stage of the project.

  • Directing a project - the project sponsor and key stakeholders will authorise the project based upon the completed project plan.

  • Controlling a stage – the first/only stage of the project plan is then imlemented.  The project sponsor/board retain ownership and responsibility for the project but day to day management is taken by the project manager and reported back as agreed during the project initiation.

  • Managing Product Delivery - approval and implementation of the stage or project deliverables. 

  • Managing a Stage Boundary – at the end of each stage the project manager will report back to the project sponsor/client, close the stage and plan the next stage of the project if required.

  • Closing a project  – the project sponsors final agreement of the outputs delivered and the project team is closed down.

Project manager skills and responsibilities

The project manager has a specific role in and responsibilities for delivering a projects’ aims. The project manager will define and run the project, lead the team and decide how to approach the work based upon the type of project, the identified needs and the expertise available.

At The Project Organiser we require project managers to have a wide range of skills including strategic thinking, excellent verbal and written communication, leadership, planning, problem solving, time management and relationship management along with excellent IT and organisational skills.