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What is project management

Definition: Project management is the process of strategic planning, organizing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals or objectives. 

This involves setting clear project objectives, developing a detailed work plan with schedules and timelines, establishing roles and responsibilities for team members, identifying necessary resources, tracking progress and meeting milestones, and communicating effectively throughout the project. 

History of project management

Project management is a relatively new field that has gained prominence over the past several decades. 

Its origins can be traced back to the early 20th century, when engineers and other professionals began to recognize the need for modern management techniques to successfully complete complex projects. 

Over time, project management developed into a formal discipline, with standards for best practices, training programs, and professional certification. Today, project management is a key component of many industries, including marketing, engineering, technology, and finance.

One of the earliest pioneers in the field of project management was Henri Fayol. In his 1916 book "Administration Industrielle et Generale," he outlined a framework for task prioritization, planning, supervision, and control that is still used today. 

In the 1920s and 1930s, engineers Frank Gilbreth and Lillian Gilbreth developed new time-and-motion study techniques that were also widely adopted in project management.

In the post-war years, a number of other influential figures emerged in the field of project management, including William Edwards Deming and Peter Drucker. 

Their work laid the foundation for modern project management methodologies, such as the critical path method (CPM), which was introduced by DuPont engineers in 1956. 

Project management continued to evolve throughout the 20th century, with key contributions coming from organizations like NASA, who pioneered new techniques for managing complex projects such as the Apollo moon landing program.

It is critical to meeting the demands of an increasingly complex and globalized world, where businesses must often manage multiple concurrent initiatives that are spread across time zones and continents. 

With the right project management tools and skills, project managers can help organizations accomplish their goals and succeed in even the most challenging environments.

Project management methodologies

These are frameworks that help project managers plan and oversee complex projects. 

They include standardized processes and tools for project planning, budgeting, scheduling, resource allocation, risk assessment, communication, and execution. 

Some of the most popular project management methodologies include Agile, Scrum, Kanban, and Waterfall.

Agile is currently the most widely used project management methodology. It focuses on building project deliverables iteratively and incrementally. This allows teams to quickly adapt to changes in project requirements and manage to shift priorities effectively.

Waterfall involves a linear project lifecycle where tasks are completed sequentially and in a predefined order. This approach is considered more rigid than other project management methodologies but can be very effective for managing large-scale projects with defined project requirements.

SCRUM is popular among software development teams, allowing team members to work collaboratively in short sprints. This helps project managers quickly adapt to project changes and make decisions based on real-time project data.

Kanban emphasizes the continual improvement of projects through visual task boards. While Agile and Waterfall focus more on project planning and scheduling, Kanban focuses on improving project outcomes through continual process improvement and project prioritization. 

Hybrid project management approaches, such as agile-scrum and waterfall-kanban, are becoming increasingly common. They combine the best aspects of both project management methodologies to create a flexible approach that can be tailored to the specific needs of any project. 

Stages of project management

There are five main stages of project management: planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, delivery, and closure. 

  1. Planning involves defining project goals and objectives and determining the resources needed to achieve those goals. 
  2. Execution involves implementing project tasks according to the project schedule and monitoring progress along the way. 
  3. Monitoring and controlling consists of tracking project progress and making adjustments as needed to ensure that goals are being met. 
  4. Once a project has been completed, it moves into the delivery stage, where project outcomes are delivered to stakeholders or end users.  
  5. Project closure is the final step in project management, during which any remaining tasks and activities are completed, project resources are reassigned, and project documentation is archived for future reference. 

Examples of project management: Scaling content production

1. Planning

  1. Project goal: Create a scalable content production strategy without compromising the value and quality of content. 
  2. Desired outcome: 10 blog posts are being produced and delivered on time every month.
  3. Project management methodology: Hybrid (agile & waterfall)

2. Execution:

  1. Content marketing manager has to develop an effective content management system. 
  2. SEO team has to perform keyword research.
  3. Content team has to do topic ideation based on keyword research.
  4. Content and SEO teams have to create detailed content briefs.
  5. Content manager has to assign deadlines and content briefs to writers. 
  6. Content manager has to review and edit the content after writers submit their work. 
  7. Web dev publishes content on the blog page.

3. Monitoring & controlling

  • Writers are always late 16-24 hours with first-draft submissions > have interviews with each one of them & adjust scheduling. 

This is an ongoing process, so there is no closure.

How can Mindmesh help with project management?

Mindmesh integrates with all huge project management tools, allowing you to pull your tasks and keep track of them in a centralized virtual desk:

Kanban view in Mindmesh.

List of Minmesh integrations.

Via Mindmesh, you can plan your day, schedule focus time, and assign tasks to your team members:

Assigning tasks in Mindmesh.

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Article FAQs

What is project management software?
Project management software helps people plan, manage, and track projects digitally.
What is a milestone in project management?
A milestone refers to a specific target point in the process of conducting a project. It marks significant events, dates, beginnings, or project ending. Milestones are important assets that differentiate each phase of a project.

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