Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
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The ABCs of Project Management
You probably handle projects day in and day out. Some are obvious, because
your boss named them so that any fool would know that they’re projects: the
Acme Drilling Project or the Network Expansion IT Project, for example.
Others are less obvious, such as that speech thing you have to do on
Saturday for your professional association or washing the dog.
If you need to organize a company holiday party, it’s a project. If you were
handed a three-year Earth-exploration initiative to find oil in Iowa, coordinate
subcontractors and government permits, and work with a team of 300 people,
that’s definitely a project. Yes, even that speech you have to present is a
project because it has certain characteristics.
Understanding what your projects, large or small, have in common is the
basis of understanding what Project can do for you. All projects have
An overall goal
A project manager
Individual tasks to be performed
Timing for those tasks to be completed (such as three hours, three days,
or three months)
Timing relationships between those tasks (For example, you can’t put a
new manufacturing process in place until you train people in how to use
the process.)
Resources (people, equipment, facilities, and supplies, for example) to
accomplish the work
A budget (the costs associated with those people, equipment, facilities,
and supplies)
Project management is simply the process of managing all the elements of a
project, whether that project is large or small.
The three Ts: Tasks, timing, and
dependencies (well, two Ts and a D)
As Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get
you there.” So, first things first: You have to understand the goal of your project
so you can begin to build the tasks that have to be performed to get you there.
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