|Project Management - General|
The traditional approach
In the traditional approach, we can distinguish 5 components of a project (4 stages plus control) in the development of a project:
Not all projects will visit every stage as projects can be terminated before they reach completion. Some projects probably don't have the planning and/or the monitoring. Some projects will go through steps 2, 3 and 4 multiple times.
Many industries utilize variations on these stages. For example, in bricks and mortar architectural design, projects typically progress through stages like Pre-Planning, Conceptual Design, Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Drawings (or Contract Documents), and Construction Administration. While the names may differ from industry to industry, the actual stages typically follow common steps to problem solving--defining the problem, weighing options, choosing a path, implementation and evaluation.
Project management tries to gain control over five variables:
Three of these variables can be given by external or internal customers. The value(s) of the remaining variable(s) is/are then set by project management, ideally based on solid estimation techniques. The final values have to be agreed upon in a negotiation process between project management and the customer. Usually, the values in terms of time, cost, quality and scope are contracted.
To keep control over the project from the beginning of the project all the way to its natural conclusion, a project manager uses a number of techniques: project planning, earned value, risk management, scheduling, process improvement....