Basic Concepts of Project Management

Book Review

Austin J Bus Adm Manage. 2017; 1(1): 1005.

Basic Concepts of Project Management

Harelimana JB*

Institut d’Enseignement Superieur de Ruhengeri, Rwanda

*Corresponding author: Jean Bosco Harelimana, Institut d’Enseignement Superieur de Ruhengeri, Musanze, P.O.B. 155 Musanze, Rwanda

Received: May 11, 2017; Accepted: May 18, 2017; Published: May 26, 2017


This paper presents the specificities of project, project management. Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.

And a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal. So a project team often includes people who don’t usually work together – sometimes from different organizations and across multiple geographies. The development of software for an improved business process, the construction of a building or bridge, the relief effort after a natural disaster, the expansion of sales into a new geographic market — all are projects.

And all must be expertly managed to deliver the on-time, on-budget results, learning and integration that organizations need. Project management, then, is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.

Theoretical development and practical experience are continually producing new insights. This paper is therefore incomplete, and it will grow along with new developments in the area of project management.

Keywords: Project; Management; Project management


Project Management is a problem-based, interdisciplinary course in project management skills and techniques that are needed to successfully manage projects in a modern business environment. In this course, you will work through the challenges of solving problems, tracking projects, and practicing leadership. You will learn how to effectively use computer-based scheduling and tracking software to keep timetables and schedules. You will also see why it is important for project managers to be able to respond to a wide variety of demands and to understand people and behavioural skills.

In addition, we will discuss the definition of project, give some examples of projects of different types and discuss the place of project management in overall corporate strategy in this topic. We will cover project life cycles and different models of project success. Finally, we will discuss project management in the context of organizational structure.


Think about the following topic objectives. After completing this topic, you should be able to:

What are projects?

Key features of modern business are the tremendous opportunities and threats posed by external events. As never before, companies must face international competition, rapid time to market and the need to constantly modify and introduce products, respond to customers as quickly as possible, and maintain competitive cost and operating levels. Sound impossible? It used to be. Common organizational beliefs often suggested that a company could compete by using a low-cost strategy, as a product innovator, or by placing its focus on customer service. In short, we had to pick our competitive niche and concede to others their claim to fame. In the decade of the 1990s, however, everything turned upside down. Companies were becoming increasingly good at realizing all of the above goals, rather than finding just one that worked. General Electric, Nokia, Ericksson, Boeing, Oracle...the list goes on and on. These were companies that seemed to be successful in all aspects of the competitive model; they were fast to market and efficient, cost conscious and customerfocused. How was this happening?

Obviously, there is no one answer that covers every aspect of this question, but there is no doubt that one characteristic these firms shared was their development of and devotion to project management as a competitive tool. In a 1995 article, Fortune magazine labeled project management the number one career choice for the coming decade and had the following to say about project managers.

If the old middle managers are dinosaurs, a new class of manager mammal is evolving to fill the niche they once ruled project management. Unlike his biological counterpart, the project manager is more agile and adaptable than the beast he’s displacing, more likely to live by his wits than throwing his weight around [1].

Tom Peters, the noted management consultant and business visionary, has likewise identified project managers as an indispensable commodity for successful organizations in the coming years. An increasing number of companies are coming to the same conclusion and are adopting project management processes as a way of life. Indeed, companies as diverse as construction, heavy manufacturing, insurance, health care, financial institutions, public utilities, and software are all becoming project savvy and are expecting their employees to do the same.

Project definition

Projects are defined as organizational activities that are complex, one-time processes, limited by a defined budget, schedule to completion and resources, and aimed at achieving a set of technical or operating specifications designed to meet customer needs. Let’s take a moment to examine the various elements of this definition.

Projects are complex, one-time processes: Projects arise for a specific purpose or to fulfill a stated goal. They are complex in that they typically require the coordinated input of a number of members of the organization, either members from different departments, or multiple members of one functional area working together. Project organizations are intended to fulfill a stated goal and hence, are temporary; they exist only until the goals they are seeking have been attained, at which point they disband or are dissolved.

Projects are limited by budget, schedule, and resources: Project work requires members of a company to work with limited financial and human resources for a specified time period. Projects do not continue to run indefinitely. Once the assignment is completed, the project team disbands. Until that point, all activities are bounded by the limits placed on them by budget and personnel availability. In this way, we often think of projects as resource-constrained activities.

Projects are developed to achieve a clear goal or set of goals: There is no such thing as a project team with an ongoing, nonspecific purpose. A project’s goals define the nature of the project and the team that staffs it. Whether the goal is to build a new bridge, implement a new accounts receivable system, or win a presidential election, the goal must be specific and the project must be organized around achieving that stated goal.

Projects are customer-focused: Whether the customer is an internal organizational unit (e.g., accounting) or a broader external market, the underlying purpose of projects is to satisfy customer needs. In the past, this characteristic was sometimes overlooked; projects were considered successful if they attained their other technical, budget, and schedule goals. Now we have become increasingly aware that this attitude reflects only half the picture. Unless we acknowledge that the primary goal of a project is customer satisfaction, we run the risk of “doing the wrong things well;” that is, creating projects that do not serve the purposes for which they were intended.

Examples of projects

Examples of projects are all around us. Some of the most obvious and best known include NASA’s success with the Apollo moon launches; Boeing’s 707, which revolutionized air travel; Sydney’s Opera House; the pyramids of Gaza, Egypt; London Bridge; the Channel Tunnel; Microsoft’s Windows 95; IBM’s System 360 computers...the list is endless. Successful projects can have a longterm impact on their developers, business and society at large. They truly represent the ability of people to achieve maximum performance in the face of innumerable challenges.

This course offers an opportunity for you to begin to master a new craft: project management, a skill that is becoming increasingly valued in corporations around the world. Project managers do represent the new corporate elite, a cadre of skilled individuals who routinely make order out of chaos, improving their firm’s bottom line and burnishing their own value in the process. You are probably familiar with the following famous projects in (Figure 1).