Foundation Principles of Project Management


Understanding project management begins with understanding the project environment. This environment is different from that of a traditional organizational environment. This chapter looks at the ways in which managing projects differs from managing ongoing operations and shows how the discipline of project management has evolved to address the challenges that are unique to projects. In addition, this chapter establishes the terminology used throughout the book, describes the project management process, and investigates the organizational challenges posed by projects.


Why do we need a different discipline for managing projects? To answer this, we have to consider that the range of activities in any workplace can be broken down into two groups: projects and ongoing operations. To put it simply, projects are all the work that’s done one time, and ongoing operations represent the work we perform over and over. By looking at each one separately, we’ll see how they present different management challenges.

How a Project Is Defined

All projects have two essential characteristics:

1. Every project has a beginning and an end. The date of the beginning may be somewhat fuzzy, as an idea evolves into a project. The end, however, must be clearly defined so that all project participants agree ...

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