Project management is the discipline of defining and achieving targets while optimizing (or just allocating) the use of resources, that is, time, money, people, materials, energy, space, and so forth, over the course of a project (a set of activities of finite duration). In contrast to ongoing, functional work, a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to achieve or create a unique product or service(s). The project management knowledge and practices are best described as component processes of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing. We have taken a closer look at project management by reviewing the types of methodologies and tools that exist in business today. We observed the major existing risk factors facing project management practices. We also evaluated the unique issues in delivering projects brought about by globalization. As we were extracting the information, it became apparent that there should be measures taken related to the project management process that could alleviate some of the major risk factors in some way. Our article illustrates a solution idea for the project management process, which may close the issue gap with regard to many globalization issues and other identified risks. The idea is to include a sub process for project management as it applies to the project life cycle that would benefit an organization internally for a parent organization, and also externally for their clients’ benefit.
There are various methods of project management which differ based on the scope and the complexity of the project undertaken. The Gantt chart is a well known standard in project management. Henry Gantt (1861-1919), studied in great detail the order of operations in work. His studies of management focused on Navy ship construction during WWI (Mintzer, 2002). His charts, complete with tasks bars and milestone markers, outlined the sequence and duration of all tasks in a process. These chart diagrams proved to be very powerful analytical tool for managers that they remained virtually unchanged for nearly 100 years. The chart plots a number of tasks across a horizontal time scale. It is easy to understand and it allows all team members to maintain the status of their tasks against the projected progress.
Many new techniques have been developed, which emerged from two major network systems, the program evaluation and review technique (PERT) and critical path method (CPM) (Punmia & Khandelwal, 2005). PERT is the method of project scheduling and coordination based on an integrated logic network, first developed by the U.S. Navy in 1958 to plan and control the Polaris missile project (Burgher, 1964). PERT allows for randomness in activity completion times. PERT has the potential of reducing total project lead time as well as reducing the cost of the project. CPM, a graphical view of a project, was developed at about the same time, by Remington Rand and DuPont and is very similar, differing only in the way in which they arrive at time estimates (Dalcher, 2004; Lechler & Ronen, 2005). In the history of management methods, it would be difficult to find any other techniques which have received as much widespread attention as that of these network methods for planning, scheduling, and controlling. These methods are still very widely used today to achieve the earliest possible completion time at the least possible cost.
Project managers now more than ever need to posses knowledge, skill, and expertise in every aspect of project management methodology. Of the many certifications, Project Management Institute’s (PMI) project management professional (PMP) is the most widely recognized of any project management credential (Carbone & Gholston, 2004).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Total Quality Management (TQM): The process that a company uses to achieve quality, where the goal is elimination of all defects.
Business Process Management (BPM): An approach or technique that is applied to work flow models. It refers to a set of activities which organizations can perform to either optimize their business processes or adapt them to new organizational needs. As software tools usually aid these activities, the term BPM is synonymously used to refer to the software tools themselves.
Learning Management Systems (LMS): Allows anyone with a personal computer and Internet access to enroll in Web-based courses and performs interim progress tracking and submits to the learning management system server for permanent storage. IBM first invented this system for the use of domestic and global learning when training was necessary for specific types of projects (i.e., privacy issues).