Being unique and time-bound are the two main characteristics of projects. A project is considered unique in the sense that it is separate from normal operations but is comprised of a set of specific operations that require a group of people to work together on a specific objective. Not an integral part of routine operations, projects have well defined start and end points during which agreed upon objectives should be met. In simple terms a project is a temporary group activity which targets to produce a specified result during a specific time frame.
Ensuring the efficient completion of projects will require effective management. Project management is the science and art of applying basic management functions of planning, organizing, securing, leading and controlling to achieve project objective(s). Attaining the goals of a project with minimal or zero waste of resources is the main challenge in project management.
Regardless of the type of project and the level of complexity, project management generally undergoes five phases. Setting goals and objectives is the first phase of project management. During this phase, the project management usually enumerate and try to anticipate all the possible deliverables and objectives of the project. Hence, this is otherwise known as goal setting stage. After the goal setting stage the critical step of planning follows. It is during the planning phase that all the tasks are delegated and the resources are budgeted. Relationships between and among different tasks and the time it would take each of the tasks to be completed are noted. Planning also requires the identification of resources needed and their corresponding costs.
Using a Gantt chart can significantly reduce inefficiency in project management that has multiple components and deadlines. A Gantt chart is a bar graph that lays out the different tasks necessary to complete the project and likewise shows the duration of each task against the progression of time. A Gantt chart can also indicate the people assigned for each task and the resources to be allocated.
A Gantt chart is a very practical planning tool but it is also crucial when monitoring and evaluating the progress of a project based on milestones. Preparing a Gantt chart can help team members to focus on the important components of the project. Remedial actions are also easier because of the convenience in updating the chart.
Although the planning stage is part of a project life cycle, the actual execution of the project commences later. It is during the project execution phase that resources are released and actual work starts. Another important phase that is also simultaneous with project execution is the controlling and monitoring phase. The progress of a project is assess during this crucial stage. By simply referring on a particular Gantt chart, it is easy to have an immediate overview of the project progress. Any discrepancy would be a call for a reassessment of plans and procedures.
When all the milestones are reached and efficiently converge, the project is said to be accomplished. The overall assessment of the project in terms of efficiency, strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities and threats is done.
If you want to know more about project management and the various tools that can be used, you can visit the hyperlinks below.
This was a guest post by Johnathon F Black.