Project Management Overview


PMI Certified Project ManagerOver a career we can manage many projects. In 2008 when I stepped into the world of job transition after being at the same company for several years and made a decision be obtain a project management certification. Initially, one of the bigger challenges was to learn new project management speak that wasn’t specific to one organization. Sometimes I led projects while other times I led the change in behaviors that were needed as a result of what was being implemented.

For those new to project management, it is confusing because we deal with loads of ambiguity and have to acknowledge the uncertainty that comes along with it. We are facilitators who bring it all together with people that don’t report to us, but who are accountable for activities, project tasks, and deliverables. We also deal with combined issues of managing project artifacts, analyzing risk, managing the time, cost or scope changes, tracking issues and decisions that need to be made, while keeping Sponsors, the Steering Committee and Stakeholders informed and engaged. We make decisions about allowing a project to unfold with many unknowns, or to ensure it stays on track.

Despite the ambiguity, what we do know about projects is that there are an understood beginning and a clear outcome.

The real opportunities are what happens between planning and implementation because that is the moving target.  In addition, every client has their own standards by which they manage projects. The tools will be different in each scenario, but the tools are not important because we have to use the right amount of project management knowledge in order to be successful.

According to the Project Management Institute, there are 5 internationally recognized best practices or stages of project management.  These Processes include:

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Controlling
  5. Closing out

These 5 phases give us content, but it is often non-linear because so many things happen concurrently. We need these phases because we can’t audit ourselves if we don’t have a process to know the outcome.  Each of these stages involves re-working and redesigning the model to close gaps and improve the project fluidity. Each one of these 5 phases is a progressive plan that gets touched many times. As the project moves along it will expand as the momentum of the project picks itself up.

By passion, I am a researcher who loves the problem solving that goes with bringing it all together and then be a valuable resource for others. I also am an organizer. Often, before I start anything I want to understand “the why” behind things, not because I want to have all of the answers, but because I love the process of learning and how it helps me grow.

These 5 phases can be used as a model for many things in  life. The chart from the Project Management Book of Knowledge (affectionately referred to as the PMBOK), It can be easy to see how one might toggle between all 5 project phases at any one given time.

Please comment below: What is it that you do really well?

About KakieF
To learn more about Kakie Fitzsimmons, please select "A NOTE FROM KAKIE" tab at the top left of this page. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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