Project Management Steps, Tools, Answers


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By Forbes Advisor

The goal of project management is to help a team achieve a goal or solve a problem with a set deadline. The project manager owns responsibility for the team hitting its deadline and meeting the goal. But what is project management exactly, and how does it work? Here’s a primer on everything you need to know to get your projects on track.
What Is Project Management?
George Harms 4Project management uses processes, skills, tools, and knowledge to complete a planned project and achieve its goals. It differs from general management because of the limited scope of a project, concrete deadlines, and specific deliverables.
Project managementA project exists temporarily and must balance the involved team members’ time and usually the organization’s limited financial resources—a daunting task but one that can be accomplished in a few deliberate steps that utilize special methods and tools.
Steps of Project Management
Project management begins when a manager or team initiates a project. The five steps of project management include:
The initiation phase. The project manager will assign—or ask for team members to volunteer—to complete specific tasks.
The planning phase. The team agrees on a schedule with the client or among themselves for the project. The team may also create a communication schedule with key stakeholders, determine the project’s standards and set a budget during this phase.
The execution phase. This phase is where the work gets done. Employees may work independently or as a team on tasks that were determined during the previous phases.
The monitoring phase. The project manager monitors each person or team’s progress along the way to ensure the project is on track to meet the overall deadline and achieve its goals. This phase often happens simultaneous to the execution phase.
The closing phase. Finally, the project manager ensures the team completed the project to the agreed-upon standards and communicates that the team completed the project.
Project Management Tools and Techniques
Even though every project has its own goals and challenges, team members can utilize similar project management tools and techniques to complete their various deliverables.
For example, a deliberate communication plan can serve as one of the most valuable tools in a project manager’s toolkit. A strong project manager communicates with all stakeholders and facilitates strong communication among team members working on the project.
And during the monitoring and execution phase, well-organized project managers may also rely on software to keep themselves and their team on track.
One software program won’t meet all your needs for every project but programs like Trello, Asana, or Airtable will help your team members track their and each other’s progress. The software also makes it clear who owns responsibility for which task.
In addition, project managers may use traditional tools such as the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) and Gantt charts to guide their teams’ work. PERT helps define the project’s scope and helps monitor the tasks that the team needs to complete. Gantt charts show the timeline and calendar view of when assignments are due. Many project management software applications now do this digitally.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What are the different types of project management methods, and which one is right for me?
A: There are dozens of project management types, and they all have different benefits and limitations that make them good for some environments, and bad for others.

Q: What are the best project management tools and software?
A: To determine the best project management software, we ranked several tools based on ease of use, cost to your organization, each company’s customer support, as well as special features.
Wrike was our top choice. It earned the top spot because it works for companies and teams of all sizes. Airbnb, Google, and Dell all trust Wrike to aid their project managers. Wrike also allows teams to create custom workflows, set timelines with interactive charts and reporting, and build a visual representation that shows the progress of every project in real-time.
Other highly ranked project management tools include Asana, Monday, and HighGear.

Q: Who are project managers, and what do they do?
A: For the best chance at success, every project needs an owner who is responsible for its completion and success. Project managers exist to fill this need, keep a team on task, and ensure the project meets the needs of all stakeholders. This designation could be a subset of responsibilities—or an official job title.
A diverse range of industries requires the skills of a talented project manager. You can be a project manager in construction, publishing, finance, professional services, utilities, and many other industries. Despite the final result of the projects looking very different across these industries, the steps and skills to keep a team organized fluently translate across the business world.

Q: Why is project management important?
A: Project management is important in business because it helps you complete projects successfully and hit goals for yourself and your clients.
Coordinating a multifaceted project for which several people owe deliverables, keeping everyone organized, and ensuring the output meets expectations—all this while under the stress of a deadline—presents a challenge for even the most experienced project manager.
These challenges become more feasible through project management best practices.

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