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An Introduction to Project Management: A Discussion

An Introduction to Project Management: A Discussion

Our pre-Christmas webinar was light yet useful in nature as it tackled the main principles behind project management and what makes a project manager successful.

Starring Michael Thrasou, an Independent Project Management Consultant based out of Cyprus, this webinar introduced our network to all-things project management.

Did you miss this event? If so, make sure to check out the full transcript below!


You can also download the webinar's presentation HERE.

For now, here are some of the main points highlighted by Michael in his presentation.

What is Project Management?

Michael Thrasou, an Independent Project Management ConsultantMichael Thrasou: "It's a science and an art. It's a science because it's process-based work. There are methodologies and there are processes we can go over. The nature of the work to make a project finish more efficiently and effectively is by far a science. It's an art, as well, and here's where the new era of project management comes in because you need to have the skills to influence, negotiate and have some strategy in your background. All this is becoming more and more important. So, project management in the PMI approach, let's say, is 'the application of the knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.'"

Why is Project Management Important?

Michael Thrasou: "Project management, stating the obvious, is very important because by using what we talked about before—tools, techniques and knowledge for project management—you ensure that a project will meet its objectives, that it will be more predictable during the course it being executed. You can manage change better and more predictably and respond to this. Also, within project management, we talked about skills and leadership, you can lead more effectively, communicate and handle all issues, specially cost, much better and in a more organized way."

What's the Talent Triangle?

Michael Thrasou: "The Talent Triangle is the PMI's way of showing what competences a project manager should have. So the technical project management is the knowledge, skills and behaviors that relate to the domains of the project. So it's the technical aspects for a project management role. The leadership part, which is the newest addition to the world, is actually becoming more and more important. Most organizations actually rate this as the most important part of the project manager. The behavior and the skills of a project manager to guide the project, motivate his teams, and direct to complete the business goal. And lastly, the strategic and business management. Modern project management should have the knowledge and expertise in the industry of the organization to enhance his performance and together deliver business outcomes. This is something that a few years ago was not expected but nowadays is expected."

What Are the Main Project Management Process Groups?

Michael Thrasou: "What's important is that each process has a life cycle that it needs to go through and it always starts with Initiating, which is on top. We'll go through the stages very briefly in a while, but as the graph shows here we have Initiating, then we have Planning, which is where we actually plan the project before it goes into heavy execution, to actually predict anything as one would think. Then we have Monitoring and Controlling, which starts from the beginning; all process are monitored and controlled from the beginning. It's the only process that goes over and above all others. Then Executing—actually doing the project—which is what people see. And the Closing, it's one process that people and project managers, specially younger project managers, ignore, but it's very important of course. It would actually be these process groups that explain a project from beginning to the end."

How Important is it for a Project Manager to Be Proactive?

Michael Thrasou: "I would say this is what project management is all about. We talked about planning before. Planning is about being proactive. I think it's actually the core of being a project manager. So proactive means being in control, you can anticipate problems, your success comes from planning, you prioritize work, you delegate your work, all these proactive actions. In this sense, high productivity and efficiency. What you don't want are project managers that are reactive. Like all of us, in my earlier days as a project manager, and I can see it with my younger peers, site engineers, they are many times reactive, meaning that they are not in control of the project, because they haven't planned as well as they think they planned it. Successes come mainly from luck or firefighting at the last minute. The problem with this is that it results in low quality of work always; it's a recipe to fail or at least to have less quality. So, yes, extremely important to be pro-active."