Project Management

Project Management

‘Project management’ is one of the terms that sounds like someone trying to fluff up their job description. The business version of a ‘sandwich artist’. Vague and almost comically self-important. To anyone who hasn’t had to use one, at least.

I won’t argue with ‘vague’ but what I’ll do in this article is clear that part up. Drill down into the why, the what and the when, bringing a bit more clarity and, hell, yeah giving a bit of shout-out to one of the most important cogs in the wheel of any successful project.

What Is Project Management?

First, let’s establish what defines a ‘project’ itself. As opposed to the run-of-the-mill workaday stuff itself.

All projects are a temporary effort to create value through a unique product, service or result. All projects have a beginning and an end. They have a team, a budget, a schedule and a set of expectations the team needs to meet. Each project is unique and differs from routine operations—the ongoing activities of an organization—because projects reach a conclusion once the goal is achieved.

Project Management Institute

Basically, projects are self-contained ‘mini-goals’ within a business’ larger framework of objectives. Like developing software to improve your workflow process or making a move to expand your sales into new territory.

Projects have final deliverables and are constrained to a finite timescale and budget.

Project management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters.

Association For Project Management

Try saying that after a few tequilas…. In slightly less-robotic terms, project management is ‘getting shit done’.

And if you’re thinking ‘Still sounds a little vague, Greg’, well, let’s sort that right out….

Responsibilities Of A Project Manager

A project manager wears many hats: some technical nous is required, plenty of business savvy and, absolutely essential, is skilful people management. They’re often the first person in the door at the start of the project and the one turning out the lights at the end. Here’s a break-down of how they keep their hands warm in between…


  • Defining the projects necessity and then its feasibility.
  • Establishing its requirements, deliverables, timescales and resources
  • Preparing a business case to justify investment.
  • Securing funding.
  • Then, developing a management plan for the project.


  • Establish the goals.
  • Prioritise and coordinate implementation: the timelines and schedules.
  • Establish and manage the budget (including risk assessment and contingencies).

They don’t seem so much of a ‘sandwich artist’ anymore, eh? Now to put these grand plans into action…


  • Building a team then delegating and coordinating their work within the project’s objectives and timeline.
  • Monitoring the progress in accordance with the planned schedule.
  • Managing the budget.
  • Managing, motivating and communicating between all aspects of the project team and the stakeholders: making sure the targets for time and quality are being delivered, keeping everyone in the loop.
  • Adapting to the ‘bumps in the road’/blazing housefires along the way.


  • Test, improve and deliver the final project.
  • Ensure the customer is satisfied.
  • Handover the final project to stakeholders.
  • File final report on closing the project.


  • Assuming the project went to plan/the house didn’t burn down, allowing themselves the world’s biggest sigh of relief!

Then, onto the next one…

My hope is that this article shines a little light on what project management is- the sheer scope of the job and the breadth of the skillset it entails. The business acumen. The logistical brain. The skills to be able to deal with every aspect of production and development. The ability to keep a calm head while everyone around is losing theirs. And then be able to stand up at the front of the class with their neck on the line when it’s time to hand it over and tally up.

My hope is that maybe next time you hear that vague and fluffy term instead of an eye-roll maybe you give them a polite nod of recognition. A slow hand-clap. A polite curtsy. Whatever feels right.

Greg Whitfield.

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