Perspectives of Project Management



CONCEPTS of Project Management
A project is a one off task that has a beginning and an end. It is a temporary activity undertaken by an entity to achieve specific objectives or to deliver benefits. The objectives and benefits must be specific, defined and measurable. A project is different from an operation, which consists of routine tasks that may be repetitive and continuous throughout the life of the organisation. Although a project is different from an operation, it may involve the execution of several activities that will normally cut across several disciplines depending on the complexity of the project. These different disciplines must be integrated to achieve a coherent whole, the outcome of the project or deliverable. A project must be unique in the sense that it is designed to deliver specific objectives, which define the target status at the end of the project, reaching of which is considered necessary to attain the project benefits. This applies irrespective of the project size, whether it is to carryout engineering feasibility studies, to carryout detailed design of a facility or large scale construction of a refinery, a railway facility or an airplane. The resources and time to achieve the project benefits are defined, after which the project is completed. After the completion of the project, a new benefit is derived. What happened if the resources and time are exhausted and no benefits are derived?

Projects Management Processes – Scope, Time and Resources of a Project.
The scope of a project articulates the series of activities or work that must be performed to derive the specified project benefits. The project scope is also known as terms of reference or statement of work and explains the project boundaries, what is involved to create the project, establishes responsibilities, and procedures to verify and accept completed works. It involves the activities which when performed creates the services or product of the project. The scope of the project must be able to provide all stakeholders with a common interpretation of the intent of the project. The project scope will include definitions of project goals, specifications, the deliverables, acceptance criteria, constraints, assumptions and cost estimates.

Fluidity in Project Management.
In Project management, there is less time, less room for error and more pressure than ever to meet targets. Today project management must have the fluidity to adapt, stay focused on the target and be ready to make critical decisions and solve problems. Fluidity is the key, the willingness to individualize with a matter of fact approach dictate by practical consequences rather than by theories, prefabricated formulae or methodologies, Effective project management requires not only knowledge of and ability to apply technical or science skills, but also the softer art skills relating to human behaviour and interactions.

Project management- a mix of art and science
Project management science skills generally consist of a knowledge and ability to use specific project management techniques or tools. These skills can be gained from learning or training. Project management art skills such as good judgement, business acumen and leadership abilities are often grounded and inherent personal attributes or abilities, but can also be developed through on the job experimental learning. Skills are the how to’s of a role. They are capabilities that can be transferred from one person to another. For accountant, arithmetic is a skill. If an accountant does not have knowledge of mathematics, he can still be taught. Evidence has shown that the soft skills of project management are among the most important in contributing to project success, emphasizing flexibility and adaptation all based on specific situations key elements for success in effective project management include leadership, planning, good communication, setting clear and high aspirations for change engaging employees and involving senior leaders.

Engr. Obumeyan is a Chartered Chemical Engineer and is presently engaged as Consultant on the Abuja Light Rail Project.

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