Project Management: Components & Characteristics

Instructor: Brianna Whiting
In this lesson we will learn about project management. Specifically, we will explore some of the more common components and characteristics. The lesson will conclude with a summary and a quiz to test your knowledge.

A First Look at Project Management

Many of us have been a part of a project at one time or another. That project may have been for school, or perhaps it was for work. However, participating in a project is much different than actually leading a project. As a member of a project, you are usually assigned a task and then are only expected to focus on that one task. As a leader of a project, otherwise known as being a project manager, you have to oversee all aspects of the project and not just one task. This means knowing how to organize a project and manage it from start to finish. In this lesson, we will learn important project management components and characteristics that are essential for a project manager to successfully complete a project.

A Few Basic Definitions

Before we dive into the components and characteristics of project management, let's define some key terms. Project management is the term used to describe the process of getting a project from start to finish. A project manager is the individual that is assigned to the task of overseeing the project and making sure it is completed.

Components of Project Management

Now, let's look at some important elements of project management. The following are some essential components of a successful project.

1. Initiating and assigning responsibilities: This is the first step of a project. In this step, you assign roles for the project while outlining its objectives. For example, if you were doing a school project, during this step you would decide what you hoped to accomplish with the project and decide what tasks each team member would be responsible for completing.

2. Designing: This is basically deciding how you will achieve the objectives of the project. For instance, for your school project you might outline a schedule of when tasks need to be completed. If you were doing a business project, you might plan a budget and decide what resources you will need, like how many hours will be spent on the project.

3. Implementing: This is the commencement of the project. When all of the planning and designing is completed, it is time to actually begin the tasks of the project.

4. Monitoring and observing: As the project is taking place, it is important to make sure that it is on task and actually meeting the objectives set in the initiation step. This is also the step that identifies when changes need to be made if there is a problem. So if during your school project you realize that you forgot to address one of the assignment requirements, you might make a change to the project so that it matches your objectives.

5. Wrapping up: When the project is completed, it is said to be closed. This means that you have successfully brought the project from start to finish. For example, this is the step when you hand in your assignment after it is completed.

Characteristics of Project Management

Now that we know the components of project management, let's look at some characteristics. The following characteristics contribute to a successful project.

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