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Project Management Principles

Project Management Principles

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Project Management is not an easy task. It is a complex area. It may prove to be intimidating, particularly when you are not trained enough or don't have guidance. Apart from managing the actual work of the project, it may be daunting to understand the terminologies, tools, and methodologies associated with Project Management. The Project Manager has to understand all of these to be successful. A Project Manager is expected to acquire the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques required for good Project Management. As we know that a project is a temporary endeavor, so its uniqueness lies in the fact that all its aspects must contribute to the achievement of a particular goal that is not a regular part of the organization's work. And Project Management is about applying the acquired knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to the project work to fulfill the requirements of the project.

With ever-changing technology, markets, and business environment, today the competition has become more challenging and the projects have become more intense with the demand for speedy delivery on the rise. For organizations to be successful in this scenario, they have to adopt all these attitudes. Projects are now spread over geographies and are large in size. They have more visibility with distributed teams, schedules are tighter than ever, and the requirements are ever-changing. In order to be successful in this era of fierce competition, Project Managers have to adopt certain Project Management principles and techniques. The main challenge in Project Management is achieving the project goals and objectives within the set constraints of time, budget, scope, and quality. 

The Project Management principles are necessary assets and great beginning points on your way to successful management of the project. These core principles of Project Management can be applied to any level or aspect of the project and can be used as agile Project Management principles too, but are not hard and fast rules. They are guidelines for operation. In this article, we are going to discuss these principles of Project Management.

These principles of Project Management are the basic rules that need to be followed to successfully manage a project. Here are the fundamental principles of Project Management.

Basic principles of Project Management

1. Create a project organization structure

Creating a project organization structure is the first step you will take when tasked with managing a project. It is a structure for planning, executing, and tracking project activities. This structure will include the hierarchy of the team members and their specific roles. This formal structure will also have processes, tools, and procedures to be followed in the project. In the absence of a formal structure, managing and controlling the project may become very tough. So, every project must have a project plan, project charter, and a dedicated project team to set the priorities and, manage the project. The project structure also consists of work packages representing work units that can be assigned to a person. 

2. Have clear project goals and objectives

This is one of the top principles of Project Management and there is a reason for this. Clearly defined project goals and objectives serve as a measure of a project's success or failure. It will not be easy to measure the success of a project without pre-defined requirements and approval criteria. The project goals bring out the expectations from the project. The main benefit of setting up clear project goals is that everyone including the customer and the team knows about the desired outcomes of the project and is on the same page. All the key stakeholders including the sponsor and the customer should review and approve these project goals. The goals should be SMART as they are called. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Clearly defining the goals and objectives of the project will form the basis for planning the project scope, budget, and schedule. 

3. Clearly define roles and responsibilities

Only a few things cause more confusion and stress in a team and in the success of any venture than an unclear demarcation of roles and responsibilities of the people involved. So it is with Project Management also. When roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined, team members, transgress their boundaries which leads to conflicts within the team and eventually affects the entire project. For smooth functioning, a project team should have clear and well-defined roles and responsibilities and the relation of the team members with each other. Everyone involved with the project should know what he or she is responsible for and to whom they are accountable. Authority must be properly delegated so that there is no ambiguity. Fixing the responsibility and accountability will have an additional benefit. The Project Manager can identify the top performers and reward them while low performers can be spotted and helped to improve. Once the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, the whole team can work harmoniously without stepping into other's territory and disturbing the smooth flow of work. This enables the Project Manager to avoid delays on account of friction in the team.

4. Building a risk management plan

There isn't one project that comes without any risk. And this is a given thing. These risks can negatively impact your resources, processes, and technology. So, although it is not easy to completely remove risks in a project these risks can be minimized, or at least an attempt can be made to eliminate their impact on the project. But for doing this, the areas of risk and the risks in these areas must be properly identified and assessed first, and then they have to be constantly monitored. Assessing the risks is an acknowledgment of the fact that things might go wrong during the course of the project. Therefore, it becomes important to mitigate these risks at the beginning of the project itself rather than being caught off-guard later. Historic data and the knowledge of the team members can form the basis of a risk management plan. You can not just identify the potential points where risks may occur to the project but you must also create a plan to handle the issues before they assume serious proportions. Under the plan, once the risks have been identified, each risk is assigned to a particular team member to watch out for it and be prepared to handle it. So, each team member has the responsibility of keeping an eye on a specific risk and resolving it. Obviously, you can't remove all the risks involved with your project, but you can at least plan to identify and handle the bigger ones and train your team too.

5. Make a communication plan

Anyone who has worked in Project Management knows that the key to a successful project is communication. It is 90% of the job. Properly communicating the project activities, risks, issues, and status of the project to all the team members and other stakeholders are the prime requirements for the success of a project. Strong communication guidelines must be created, maintained, explained, and implemented right from the beginning of the project. So, having a communication plan in place is the right way to ensure the proper implementation of decisions and the flow of work. Everyone concerned with the project must understand the importance of communication in Project Management. The use of technology gives a big boost to the right communication. It may be through emails, chats, messaging, or by any other means but the flow of communication should not stop. Another important aspect is to be clear about what kind of information should be communicated and who needs to know what and when. A proper communication plan would help in keeping the stakeholders engaged and make coordinating the tasks and schedules easier. This will also facilitate decision-making and problem-solving. So, a Project Manager has the responsibility of creating a model of communication that is expected from all the stakeholders.

6. Setting a project performance baseline

As the project progresses, project performance metrics need to be in place to measure its success. Without measuring the performance you can't hold your team accountable for the various tasks they have been assigned. There is Having methods to measure different aspects of the project and determining if the actual results are in line with what has been planned is critical to any project's success. There are generally three core components of a project. They are the scope, budget, and schedule. A baseline or a plan should be developed for each of these components against which the actual performance can be measured. Putting together all three baselines gives the performance management baseline and if any change occurs in any of the core components then its impact on the others would be reflected. Like, if there is a change in schedule, the performance management baseline will help you see how it will impact the project scope and the budget. This will help you better monitor the overall impact of this change on the project. This, in turn, helps in better decision-making. It also helps in assessing the individual performance of all the team members and dealing with them accordingly. So, the whole picture becomes clear and you can evaluate the impact that the potential decisions would have on the project.

7. Project change management

Every Project Manager knows that there would be a likelihood of changes in the project once the team gets on with the execution of the project. Many issues, risks, and delays may warrant a change in the project pertaining to the project scope, budget, or schedule. Monitoring these changes and creating a process for getting approval for these changes is termed change management and is crucial for a project's success because it helps in avoiding many issues. If the change management is not strong, the project may suffer from scope creep which would mean that the project may slowly go well beyond the guidelines initially set for the project. Therefore, a change management plan must be created. It is a document that specifies how the changes are to be handled. This will ensure that if a stakeholder or a Project Management team member demands or suggests a change, a change management process is ready to deal with it. If a change is not managed properly, it may result in the escalation of cost or may derail the schedule.

8. Value delivery capabilities

For any project to be successful, the focus has to be on the expectations of customers and stakeholders and what they require from the project and fulfilling those requirements. And the first step toward this for a Project Manager is to ensure that they have set practical project goals and objectives and that everyone including the project team and stakeholders are on the same page on this. Having reached an agreement on the project goals and objectives, you can now assess your deliverables, value chain, supply chain, and quality standards to see if you will be able to deliver the desired value. What makes you capable of delivering the desired value are your project tools, processes, and procedures. This may even include certain systems like scheduling software or even the use of processes or methodologies. If the methodology for delivering the project successfully is established well and is tested in advance, it will enhance the capabilities and the Project Manager will be in a better position to deliver the expected value to the customers and the stakeholders.

9. Being transparent

In the context of Project Management, transparency is about building a system where all the relevant information about the project can be reached by every member of the team easily. It involves regular reporting of the progress of the project to all the interested parties including the stakeholders and the customers. Certainly, the main stakeholders won't need a minute-by-minute account of the project. The need to be provided with the progress report of the major aspects of the project. Building transparency in the project is not all that difficult. It is made easier if the right type of Project Management software is used. Project transparency helps everyone to see the big picture. Project data is made available to the entire team and increases collaboration. So, creating reports, and updates, and continuously tracking the progress of the project is the key to keeping everyone informed. Being transparent improves the results both for the team and the project.

So, these are the main Project Management principles and methodologies that need to be followed to ensure the success of any project. There are many more principles but these form the crux of successful Project Management. These Project Management principles could be your stepping stone to a successful career as a Project Manager. Maintaining clarity in every area of Project Management and prioritizing rightly will go a long way in ensuring the smooth management of the project. These principles are a guide to success if applied correctly. 


Simpliaxis is one of the leading professional certification training providers in the world offering multiple courses related to Project. We offer numerous Project related courses such as  Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification Training, Project Management Techniques Training, PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner Certification Training, PRINCE2® Foundation Certification Training, PRINCE2® Practitioner Certification Training, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) Certification Training, PRINCE2 Agile® Foundation Certification Training, PRINCE2 Agile® Practitioner Certification Training, Primavera P6 v 20.12 certification training, PRINCE2 Agile Foundation and Practitioner Certification Training, Project Management Fundamental Training   and much more. Simpliaxis delivers training to both individuals and corporate groups through instructor-led classroom and online virtual sessions.

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