Project Management Basics

Working on any project is a process. The path to project completion is not without its challenges. Learning more about the project management basics will help you enjoy your project management journey.

basics of project management

What Is Project Management?

The project management lifecycle starts with initiating a project and ends with project completion. The project management process includes activities such as planning, executing, and controlling the project. Managing a project requires creating project objectives, monitoring the project lifecycle, and leading the project team. Project managers, or project leaders, take on these and many other responsibilities as they strive to complete the project. 

To ensure project completion, project managers must clearly define the project scope, create a project schedule, and adhere to the project budget. Working on a project is a journey with ups and downs, and dealing with project risks helps the team build experience. Everyone working on a project, from the project stakeholders to the team members, should collaborate and communicate to achieve the set goal and produce a high-quality end result, preferably without breaking deadlines or overstepping resources.

What Is the Purpose of Project Management?

The main purpose of project management is to deliver a project successfully. With the help of project management, a project goes through stages of initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and finally, completion. 

Using project management, project managers ensure the project progresses with ease as it moves through all stages of its lifecycle. Project management ensures that the set project goals are met within the set timeframe and budget. Overstepping due dates, budgets, or resources can jeopardize project execution and completion. 

Project management allows project managers to spot problems early on, make necessary changes on time, and distribute the available resources to allow the project to be finished on time and adhere to quality standards. Project managers, teams, and stakeholders all play different but vital roles in project management as the project progresses until it finally reaches completion.

deliver a project successfully

Project Management Essentials

Project management requires plenty of skills and knowledge, but we’ve got you covered! We’ve prepared topics that will give you a sneak peek into the essentials and basics of project management.

Goals vs. Objectives

Defining and setting project goals and objectives will let you know where your project is headed.

Proof of Concept

When it comes to turning an idea into reality, it all starts with getting a proof of concept first to prove the idea’s viability.

What is WBS (Work Breakdown Structure?)

WBS, or Work Breakdown Structure, is the perfect way to break down large projects or objectives into manageable pieces.

Complete a Project on Time

By setting deadlines, project managers ensure the project runs smoothly and will be finished on time.

basic concepts

Basic Concepts of Project Management

Project management allows project managers to monitor and execute projects within the agreed time frame and with the available resources. Project managers manage the project by managing costs, time, budget, and the team. 

Managing a project means managing various aspects that can affect the project, such as team collaboration, communication, time and budget management, and much more. Project management is very complex, requiring a broad set of skills. 

Project management allows project managers to control the progress made on a project, and applying their skills and knowledge, set goals that can be achieved within a timeframe that was agreed upon.

A project consists of a series of tasks, that need to be completed in order to finish the project. Setting project objectives and goals allows the team to push the project forward to completion.

Fundamental Principles and Elements

A project goes through distinct stages of development as it progresses and approaches completion. The project’s lifecycle starts with initiating a project. In the initiation stage, the project is defined, together with the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, and the resources that will be necessary are defined.

The project’s milestones and goals are set and defined in the planning phase, and a timetable is created. The best way to move the project forward is to set SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals.

The execution phase is the phase in which the work on the project is done to complete tasks, achieve goals, and create deliverables. Simultaneously, the project is monitored and controlled. Monitoring and controlling the budget, time, and other resources and overseeing KPIs and performance metrics is essential to ensure the project is on the right track.

Finally, in the completion stage, the project is completed, the finalized product is delivered to the client or stakeholders, contracts are closed, and necessary actions are taken to complete the current project before moving on to the following project.

principles and elements

Project Management Methodologies

Project management methodologies provide an organized and structural approach to managing a project using various tools, strategies, and guidelines to ensure the project is completed successfully.  There is a difference between a project management framework and methodology, even though sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably. Whether teams choose to use traditional project management, agile project management, or hybrid project management, they should strive to choose the methodology or framework that suits their project best.

A project management framework provides structure without being too rigid or detailed. In contrast, a project management methodology has a defined set of rules, methods, and tests to manage a project. Choosing the framework or methodology for a project will depend on many factors, but learning more about frameworks and methodologies that can be used will allow you to choose the right one for the project, which will move the project ahead to completion successfully. 

Project management principles were crucial in NASA's Apollo program, leading to the successful moon landing in 1969.

Project Management Tools

A project management tool is software that is used to keep detailed records about a project. Software for project management can tremendously help project managers, teams, and stakeholders to always stay on top of a project. With a project management tool project managers can oversee team dynamics, prepare risk mitigation strategies, and stakeholder communication strategies.

ActiveCollab is a project management software and a convenient tool that can be used for managing multiple projects and collaborating with teams and stakeholders. In ActiveCollab you can create projects, tasks, and invoices. If you need to track time spent on tasks or communicate with teams and clients, ActiveCollab is the best project management solution, since it is easy to use and will keep all your files and data safe.

software for project management
primary benefits

Primary Benefits Associated With Project Management

Improved project efficiency is the most important benefit of project management. Producing quality deliverables that eventually result in a timely project delivery can be achieved with project management. It allows managers to set clear project objectives and improves stakeholder satisfaction.

Working on a project together requires everyone involved to collaborate and communicate. Project management allows increased team collaboration and enhanced communication as information is exchanged effortlessly. 

Dealing with risks in project management can be crucial for finishing a project on time and with the available resources. Project management provides better risk management, as teams can prevent or diminish risks a project might face in a timely manner. 

Project management allows flexibility in project adaptation, better planning for the course of the project, and expecting the unexpected. Adequately distributing resources is important for project completion and project management allows teams effective resource utilization.

Project Management Advantages and Disadvantages

Project management brings teams many advantages, but it also has some disadvantages and challenges that teams must overcome.

Advantages Disadvantages

Reliable methodology leads to success

Complex methodology confuses the team

Monitoring all aspects of the project

Micromanaging the project and the team

Better resource allocation

Budget and deadline overruns

Flexibility in project management

Scope creep

Using a reliable user-friendly tool

Technology implementation challenges

Better collaboration and communication

Communication breakdowns

challenges and drawbacks

Challenges and Drawbacks Associated With Project Management

Project managers often face challenges such as scope creep and resource over allocation. ActiveCollab allows teams to oversee all aspects of their project and keep them in the same place, ensuring control of the project at all times.

Communication issues are also frequent. To prevent communication breakdowns from affecting the project, use built-in chat, notes, and comments under each task, to communicate effortlessly and keep everyone involved. As the lack of stakeholder engagement can seriously affect the success of a project, in ActiveCollab, you can invite stakeholders to your project to keep them informed and involved. Better communication allows teams to resolve team conflicts better and prevent them from jeopardizing your project’s success.

To avoid common challenges in Project Management you need to:
• control budget overruns
• overview progress
• plan projects adequately
• use past projects for reference
• assess risks ahead adequately
• keep communication flowing

How to measure your project's success is one of the greatest challenges. Using visualizations, reports, and charts, you can easily see if the project is progressing as expected. Last but not least, using any project management software comes with technology implementation challenges. ActiveCollab is the perfect tool: it’s easy to use while offering tons of top-notch project management features and possibilities.