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Project management definition

As construction projects grow and become more complex, the delivery process will get more scientific and systematic, as it becomes necessary to coordinate and integrate human input and physical components within the four fundamental project constraints of scope, cost, time and quality.

That process is called project management.

On a daily basis, knowingly or unknowingly, we all implement and manage projects.

Most of these are small, simple projects with very few activities, which we do instinctively without thinking too much about, like making breakfast, grocery shopping or washing the car. It is clear that project management is not a restricted field for anybody. However, it is also apparent that as the level of complexity of the project increases, the level of project management also becomes more complex and rigorous, and will require those who manage such projects to have certain knowledge, skills, experience, tools and resources.

Project management is the discipline of utilising well-known principles, procedures and policies to manage a project from start to finish.

The key challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the stated constraints of scope, time and cost to deliver performance and quality requirements.

Project management has been around for hundreds of years, with its chronology dating back (arguably, it has to be said) to the building of the Egyptian pyramids. Without giving a detailed history lesson, project management has always been practiced informally and developed through the Industrial Revolution. By the 20th century, the discipline was influenced extensively by Frederick Taylor (who was the first to study work processes and worker efficiency) and Henry Gantt (who used his Gantt, or bar charts, to plan project time and resources).

Project management began to emerge as a distinct profession in the mid-20th century. In the 21st century, we are now IT savvy and device-dependent, using computers in all aspects of project management and delivery.

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This article is from the free online course:

Construction Project Management: An Introduction

Coventry University