What is project management?

Project Management is the planning, monitoring, control and completion of a project. Project management systems describe how these activities are to be implemented concretely. A project management system typically consists of:

  • process descriptions
    (eg for the transfer of work packages)
  • fields of knowledge
    (eg cost management)
  • role descriptions
    (eg for the project manager)
  • methods
    (eg earned value analysis)
  • templates
    (eg project status report)
  • Other management systems or references to applicable management systems
    (eg quality management system)

Topics in project management

Project Management As a cross-sectional task, it covers a wide range of topics. Depending on the type of project and industry, these topics will have different priorities for a project.

Initiation and project start

It is true that a project does not formally begin until the project manager has awarded the project contract to the project manager, but the stakeholders of a project set the course for the subsequent implementation in the run-up to a project. In addition to clients and project managers, key decision-makers include program management, project portfolio management, corporate management and financiers of a project.

An exact goal definition is one of the most important steps within the project initiation. Only through a clearly defined project goal is realistic planning possible. The definition of a goal may include the development of a business case, the preparation of a specification and the design of a project contract. Perhaps a moderated workshop of all those involved in the project makes sense, for example in the form of a kick-off meeting.

During the initiation and the start of a project at least the project planning takes place. In addition, a risk analysis is strongly recommended.


In addition to monitoring and control, planning a project is one of the three core tasks of the project manager. The project plan is the crucial reference with which all actual sizes (eg costs incurred) are compared.

to project planning belong:

  • Planning of the scope of services,
    ie which works (also called "products", "deliverables", "delivery items") must be created in the project.
  • scheduling,
    that is, schedules and milestones, work packages, and operations are scheduled and timed.
  • cost planning,
    ie the estimated cost of the project must be estimated.
  • Planning the financing,
    ie the coverage of the project costs must be regulated.
  • resource planning,
    ie employees, machinery, equipment and infrastructure must be reserved for the project.

All plans are highly interdependent and must be coordinated.

There are a number of methods for project planning, such as project structure planning or network planning technology.

Monitoring and controlling

A project without Controlling is like driving a car by ear - the crash is inevitable. In order to keep the project on track, the project manager must constantly keep an eye on target and actual data. Monitoring and control therefore links all project management processes during project implementation.

On-time delivery, progress in content and cost-effectiveness are to be constantly monitored. This is not about employee control or penny counting. The trick is to collect meaningful data in order to initiate appropriate corrective action in case of deviations from the plan. This includes the observation of the project progress and the comparison with the project planning. Reports and other project texts must therefore be written in such a way that the project managers can identify deviations as early as possible in order to develop and take control measures.

Performance evaluation, forecasting and decision-making on control measures are the principal activities of the project manager, for which he has a number of specific tasks Project ManagementMethods, such as the earned value analysis (see below).

The lead task of a project leader is to implement the monitoring and control of a project with the project team. For this he needs appropriate soft skills, such as communication skills (see below).

project completion

Central task of project completion is for the project manager to obtain from the client the acceptance of the project results. In addition, he must also dissolve the project team, create a post-calculation and secure experience. Furthermore, he has to prepare a final project report and check all documents of the project, eg the Lister of the open points, and conclude them so that they are available for a later revision.

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