Course Syllabus
Course Script
Final Exam

6.3 A Brief Explanation of Project Management

Before we will deal with project management in more depth, a basic understanding should be given at this point. Project management is also not really new, as we have already seen when looking at Moses, David and Solomon. Other historical buildings, such as the pyramids in Egypt, also show that there have always been projects, and thus at least a living project management, even if it was not yet documented as it is now.

One characteristic of projects is that there is no such thing as “the project”; each project is individual. Of course, there are recurring projects, but there is a big difference between planning a major event and planning a building.

In chapter 4.3 we had already looked at definitions of project management. There is also a German (DIN) standard and a definition of the International Project Management Association (IPMA), which we will adopt in the following:

“A project is usually a unique undertaking that can be distinguished from other tasks and has limited time, financial, human and material resources. Projects pursue defined goals and have a project-specific organization.(21)

The essential elements of project management emerge from this definition:

  • Time
  • Finances / Costs 
  • People

The triad of performance, cost and schedule targets is often referred to as the “magic triangle of project management”. Projects always have a client (for example, the leadership team of a municipality), a project team, a project manager, project team members, a budget, tools used to manage the project, and team meetings/project meetings. In between meetings, each person responsible for the project works to achieve their sub-goals. It is crucial that everyone involved in the project assumes their responsibility and contributes to the success of the project by completing their tasks on time: in terms of quality and time.

The illustration from the book “Agiles Projektmanagement – Agilität und Scrum im klassischen Projektumfeld” (Agile Project Management – Agility and Scrum in the Classic Project Environment) by Dr. Jörg Preußig shows in a funny way how a project can run, but certainly should not run.(22)

 

21 Holger Timinger, Wiley Quick Course in Project Management, ISBN 978-3-527-53024-3

22 Dr. Jörg Preußig, Agile Project Management, ePDF, p. 44, ISBN 978-3-648-10591-7