Chapter 1. The Nature of Projects


  • Understanding projects

  • The life cycle of a project

Everybody does projects. Building a tree house is a project; so is putting a man on the moon. From the simplest home improvement to the most complex business or scientific venture, projects are a part of most of our lives. But exactly what is a project, and what can you do to manage all its facets?

Some projects are defined by their randomness. Missed deadlines, unpleasant surprises, and unexpected problems seem to be as unavoidable as the weekly staff meeting. Other projects have few problems. Nevertheless, the project that goes smoothly from beginning to end is rare. Good planning and communication can go a long way toward avoiding disaster. And although no amount of planning can prevent all possible problems, good project management enables you to deal with those inevitable twists and turns in the most efficient manner possible.

In this chapter, you begin exploring tools and acquiring skills that can help you become a more efficient and productive project manager. The goal of this chapter is to provide a survey of what a project is, what project management is, and how Microsoft Project 2010 fits into the picture.

Understanding Projects

When you look up the word project in the dictionary, you see definitions that include words and phrases such as "plan" and "concerted effort." A project in the truest sense isn't a simple, one-person endeavor to perform a task. By this definition, getting ...

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