A project may be defined as:
"A discrete piece of work, probably with some unique features, with a defined start and end date and specific deliverables, designed to achieve some business objective."
Project management is the discipline of planning a project, mobilising the resources required to execute it, and monitoring and controlling progress so that it achieves its goals in terms of the "triple constraint" of time, cost and quality/specification. There are two key elements:
- Managing the tasks associated with the project: This involves identifying what those tasks are, estimating how long it will take to produce them, obtaining the resources needed to undertake them, monitoring their progress and ultimately delivering their products to the business stakeholders.
- Managing the people involved in the project. This means: identifying who the project's stakeholders are; assessing their power/influence over and interest in the project; securing their commitment to the project; and making sure that their interests are, as far as possible, understood and satisfied.
Project management therefore involves both technical skills for managing the tasks and interpersonal skills for managing the people.