The Knowledge Areas

Eight of the knowledge areas can be divided into two sections. The first section covers scope management, time management, cost management, and quality management. These are considered primary knowledge areas because they directly impact the project manager’s ability to fulfill the objectives set forth for the project. The project manager is the individual responsible for working with all individuals and parties involved in the project to ensure the goals of the project are achieved.

 The second section of knowledge areas includes human resource management, communications management, risk management, and procurement management. These could be considered enabling knowledge areas: the knowledge areas that enable the project objectives to be achieved through various processes.

The ninth knowledge area is integration management. This is an all-encompassing knowledge area. A project manager needs to master all eight of the previously described knowledge areas, as well as develop the ability to integrate these knowledge areas to successfully complete a project. Integration both affects, and is affected by, the other eight knowledge areas.

Each phase of project management encompasses certain knowledge areas.For example, in the planning phase, scope planning must take place, which is a part of the knowledge area of scope management. Along the same lines, in the controlling phase, scope change control must take place, which is also a part of the knowledge area of scope management. As you move through each phase of project management, the appropriate knowledge areas will be covered. Mastering these knowledge areas at each phase of a project is vitally important for project managers as it significantly increases the potential for the project to end successfully. Project managers not only need to master these knowledge areas, but also need to work with the project team, clients, sponsors, and stakeholders to successfully fulfill the requirements and complete the goals of the project.

The Rise of Project Management

Project management has seen an increase in popularity over the past decade. Some reasons for this include the following:

·         Approximately $10 trillion is spent annually on projects of all kinds

·         Over 16 million individuals now consider themselves professional project managers

·         The average salary for a project manager in 2001 was $82,000 per year

Why has project management become so popular? For one, project management offers a variety of control mechanisms for projects. Project management can help control issues that arise related to a project’s budget, human capital, communications, resources, quality, and time frames. These are all important aspects of completing a project successfully, and project management will help track, manage, and control these variables.

After reading all of this, there may still be some confusion—What exactly is a project? Organizations may define projects somewhat differently, but for the purposes of this topic:

Project – is defined as any temporary undertaking to get a new activity accomplished that meets customer needs. This definition has several different components that need to be examined more closely in order to get an accurate view of what constitutes a project.

Project vs. Process

We can define a project as any temporary undertaking to get a new activity accomplished that meets customer needs.

The first key item to look at is the term “temporary” in the definition of project. All projects, no matter how big or small, should have an official start and end date. An important distinction needs to be made between a process and a project. Process is something that often does not have start and end dates, but is something that is continuous.

With the proliferation of the Internet and e-commerce systems, many ticketing agencies created Web sites and online ticketing systems. The creation of these Web sites and online ticketing systems were a project—management put together a team of individuals to identify requirements and build e-commerce systems. These projects had specific start and end dates. Once the e-commerce systems were in place, individuals could then go to a Web site and place orders over the Internet. Once an order was placed, the system processed the orders, and tickets were printed and mailed to recipients. This became process that the system performed each time an order was placed.

Project Goals and Customer Needs

Project is a temporary undertaking used to accomplish a new activity that will meet hte customer’s needs. The next item to examine in the definition of project is the phrase “new activity accomplished.” Projects have a clear goal that needs to be accomplished by the end of the project. Sometimes the goal of the project is tangible (a new software application) and other times it is not (implementing a new employee process improvement technique).

Projects are usually new in the sense that the organization has a specific need for something that is not yet present (the reason a project is conceived). Projects also need to meet customer needs. This is true for both internal and external projects. With external projects, the customer is usually the individual or organization that has hired the project team. With internal projects, the customer can be a boss, a different department, or other individuals/groups within the organization. In some instances, the individuals will also be clients and/or stakeholders, terms that will be examined in detail later.

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