What is Project Management?

ProjectManager.com

In this video, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, provides an introduction to project management and how a project manager can apply knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to their craft.

In Review: What is Project Management?

Jennifer opened by noting project management is often defined differently depending on the context within which it’s being used. According to the PMI’s standard body of knowledge guide, PMBOK®, she said, project management is defined as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to the project activities to meet project requirements“. (Emphasis ours).

As a PM, you apply your knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to generate the project activities to effectively produce, through project management practices, the project requirements (aka the scope and deliverables) executed by your team.

Jennifer further broke down the definitions of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to enable greater understanding of the detail implied in each, for a project manager. It’s not enough to know, for example, without the tools and skills to support that knowledge and apply it to practice.

  • Knowledge: our education and experience in project management, as well as in a particular industry
  • Skills: Specific abilities, like “soft skills” such as communicating or negotiating, or “hard skills” like scheduling or budgeting.
  • Tools: online planning and collaboration software, mobile apps, communication platforms, all of which you should be up-to-date on.
  • Techniques: strategies or methodologies that we draw upon

No matter the level of your experience, whether apprentice or journeyman, only by understanding how you apply your knowledge in practice will you continually improve in your trade.

Pro-Tip: Methodologies change frequently, and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in project management are essential to maintain relevance and value in this rapidly growing field.

Stay connected to the latest trends, articles and discussions in our project management LinkedIn Community.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription

Hello. I’m Jennifer Bridges, Director of ProjectManager.com. Welcome to our whiteboard session today on what is project management. Seems like a crazy question to ask but if you see some of the questions out on the forum and in some of the discussions we have with some of our clients it’s easy to understand how it gets confused.

Project management is sometimes defined in our corporate environments or other environments and from different opinions that are gathered from around the world. So, you know me, I like to start with a clear definition to start things right. My normal reference is Google. You will always hear me say, ‘go to Google’ to research something, to look something up.

My reference today is from a guide: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. It’s the 4th edition by PMI, the Project Management Institute. You may have other references that you want to seek out but this is mine for today. The PMBOK guide, or A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 4th edition by PMI says what project management is; ‘the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to the project activities to meet project requirements’.

If we look at this graphically we have project activities that are going on and then we’re producing the project requirements, the scope, and the deliverables. We’re inputting our knowledge as the project manager, knowledge, our skills, different tools, and different techniques. Those are applied against the project activities; there’s some kind of application process going on, a lot of things going on to produce these requirements.

I want to break down some of these terms too because people use them interchangeably so I want to be clear on what these are. A lot of times you’ll see mention of these different words, different references, different lists, the top skills, the top tools that are needed so let’s get clear on the different components because I believe, and we at ProjectManager believe, it’s a combination of all four of these.

Knowledge. Now if you go to my good friend Google and search what knowledge means you can see a lot of different references. You can see pages and pages of what this means. This is my favorite that came up. ‘Knowledge is what is known in a particular field. It’s learned through education.’

Most of us are doing projects for specific industries and because we do projects for maybe specific industries we have a background knowledge. We’ve had experience and different education on our industry, whether it’s healthcare, construction, it may be information technology, green projects, aeronautical. It could be anything. The knowledge is what’s known in a particular field. A skill is a particular ability. It’s our expertise. It’s an ability to do something well, arising either from a talent we have, training or even practice.

The skills that we have in project management, you can see some of our other whiteboard sessions on some of the top skills required, but in order to hone those skills more effectively we need training. It’s practice just like any other sports figures or for artists or for many other people to hone your skills, or to make them better, is constantly learning, constantly growing. Some of us have, again, an innate talent but we take those talents and we continue improving them with training and practice.

Also, tools. What is a tool? This definition is what I pulled because commonly we think of something tangible we can put in our hand. One of the definitions was, ‘a device held in one’s hand or used to carry out a particular function’. Some of the tools we commonly use are software, it could be a software tool, something we access by or the internet or our desktop. A tool could be an Excel spreadsheet. It could be Microsoft Word. It could be different tools like that that we use to apply to our project.

The last one is a technique, a way of carrying out a particular task. When we think of techniques we think of methodologies we think of processes, we think of frameworks that are required. Again, these four components are all used to contribute towards the project activities. As you know from being a project manager, it takes a lot to hone these four components, our knowledge, our skills, our tools, our techniques. These are the things that we do as a project manager to actually manage our projects more effectively. This is what project management really is all about. I hope you get familiar with these four components and help to develop them on your own.

At ProjectManager.com we feel strongly about these four components and we’ve built them into our tool. If you’re looking for a tool to help you manage your projects more effectively then sign up for our software at ProjectManager.com.

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