Introduction to project management

The article describes the terminology and popular common practices in project management. The following topics represent the most used terms that are applied in public and private sectors and industries. Project management students and practitioners are welcome to use the material as a reference creation of educational resources or real management practices in the working environment.

In project management, it is useful to address in detail the following questions:

  • What are the main areas of concern that the project focuses on?
  • What does he aim to achieve?
  • What will be the thematic and geographical space?
  • In what political, socio-economic, technological, and biophysical environment will it be implemented?
  • What are the opportunities and threats of the environment?
  • What are the main stakeholders?
  • How will stakeholders be involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting process?
  • Who is already working on these issues and what is being done?
  • What is the niche for the project?
  • Who will do it?
  • What is the intended duration?
  • What is the expected amount of funding?
  • Who will fund it?
  • What are the possible strengths and weaknesses of the project?

Project elements in project management science

Main elements of the project:

  • Title of the project
  • Project area and priorities
  • Total value and donor funding requested
  • Deadline
  • Territorial scope and place of performance
  • Summary
  • Justification
  • primary objective
  • Specific objectives
  • Target audience
  • Expected results
  • Activities
  • Resources
  • Indicators
  • Management structure.

Project components:

  • Action Plan
  • Logical framework
  • Budget

Additional elements of the project:

  • Technical project (plan)
  • Business Plan
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial information

Project goals

Primary objective

The main objective is the desired future state to which the project will contribute.

Purpose of the main objective:

  • it is related to the broad problem that the project will help to solve
  • in determining it, we ask ourselves what will be the result of all our efforts
  • at the level of this objective, the full impact of the project is manifested
  • its realization has long-term benefits for the final beneficiaries and broader benefits for other groups
  • helps illustrate how the program fits into the government’s regional or sectoral strategies and the EU’s overarching strategic objectives
  • it cannot be achieved through the implementation of the project, it will only contribute to its achievement
  • achieving it for a longer time after the project is completed
  • it must be clearly linked to the specific objectives

Formulation of project requirements:

  • to justify the project well
  • its progress can be measured quantitatively or qualitatively
  • is not precisely timed
  • to have only one main purpose
  • where there are several objectives, they must be compatible
  • the main objectives express common rather than specific intentions.

Specific objectives

The specific objective is the desired future status that is expected to be achieved within the project:

  • it addresses the main problem and should be defined as sustainable benefits for the target groups.
  • is a description of the short-term effects that will result from the achievement of the project results.
  • determines the specific intentions of a program or project.
  • successful achievement of the specific objective will in the future contribute to the achievement of the main objective.
  • represents precisely defined intentions that are maximally quantitatively and qualitatively defined.
  • it is related to the main purpose, it is specific, not general, and defines WHAT, HOW MANY, WHEN and WHERE to be done.

Objective requirements

SMART test

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Timed

Purpose of the specific purpose of the project

Make clear the desired changes
Indicate the magnitude of the changes
To determine the direction of development
Its progress can be quantified
Implementing it to help achieve the main goal
Determine the achievement of at least one major outcome
Be understandable, realistic and achievable
Be mobilizing and stimulating
Be specific and contain accurate and valid information
Determine what and when will be done, not why and how
Comply with laws and policies
Be consistent with available and expected resources
Reflect on the timing of the changes
Provide a basis for evaluation after project completion

Target audience

The target group of the project is the users of the benefits created by the project. These are the people who are targeted by the end result of the project activities.

When describing the target group, we should keep in mind:

  • Who is the project aimed at?
  • Who will be influenced and supported by the project?
  • Whose behavior seeks to change the project?
  • What is the opportunity to group?

Target group characteristics:

geographical area
gender and age
social affiliation
level of education
incomes
ethnicity and religion
motivation to participate in the project
access to social services
number of group members to be supported by the project

Project results

Outputs are products or services that result from the implementation of project activities using project resources.

their totality leads to the achievement of the objective of the project, ie, to the delivery of sustainable benefits to the target groups.
their determination is made by selecting from the tree of goals, through the logic of “means to results”, those results that achieve the goal of the project.
any other results that would reinforce the purpose of the project are added. They can be determined by further analysis.
the dimensions of the effects on the target group need to be determined very precisely.

Features:

  • to determine all results for the achievement of the specific objective in question
  • all expected results are clearly related to the specific objective
  • their realization can be measured: in quantity, quality, time and place
  • their description should include the magnitude and timeframe for realization
  • to be described in their hierarchical order (if there is an internal correlation between the different results
  • be realizable with the resources available

Project activities

The activities are the specific actions described in the project proposal, taken by the project team and partners to achieve the stated results, using the project resources. They show what will be done step by step in the project and are committed to engaging specific resources and timelines.

Requirements for the formulation of activities:

  • be expressed as actions to be taken, not results
  • include all necessary activities to achieve results
  • their performance can be checked by quantity, time and place
  • not include activities the implementation of which cannot lead to the required results
  • to determine who is responsible for carrying out the activity
  • to specify the timeframe and place for carrying out the activities
  • have an analysis of the interconnectedness and independence of the activities
  • have a timetable for the activities
  • to determine the necessary resources for each activity

Resources required for project implementation

Resources are the human, material and institutional input needed to carry out the activities and to obtain the project results.

without them, the activities cannot be completed, which means that no results will be achieved.
accurate allocation of resources avoids common problems with the shortage of equipment, services, materials and people in the implementation of the project.
must be determined by quantity and quality.
they are not money, they are goods and services that can be bought with cash.

Features:

to be quantified
be defined by quality (type)
to know the duration of their use
to know their value
to specify the time and place of delivery
be a definite start to use
to know their purpose
be well reasoned

Project Indicators

Indicators are variables that measure changes that have occurred. They are quantitative and qualitative characteristics of project goals and outcomes used to evaluate their achievement and project resources used to evaluate their delivery and consumption.

Indicators are specific, objectively verifiable indicators of change and performance.

In order to evaluate progress, predefined values ​​of the indicators for the start and end status of the quantity being measured and their change during the project are used.
The selection of indicators is always one of the major challenges in preparing a project proposal (form). However, the requirement for measurability of results in an appropriate manner is fundamental to the evaluation of the project proposal and further to the evaluation of the individual stages and final results of the project implementation.

Types of indicators

Resource indicators – measure the delivery and consumption of project resources

result indicators – measure the realization of project results

goal indicators – measure the achievement of the objectives and determine the impact of the project impact

Requirements for indicators

Appropriate – to provide useful and important information on the progress of the project, be related to the objectives, the difference in readings is statistically significant
Valid – changes in the value of the measured value to have direct application in the project
Clear – to know whether the value of the indicator should be increased or decreased and to know how the readings should be interpreted
Objective – to show the same result when measured by different people

Unique – give information about the meter not to be duplicated or overlapped with another meter
Accurate – to give a realistic project estimate of the measured value, not to have addictions, exaggerations, omissions or errors that make the meter inaccurate and misleading
Timely – Data can be collected and analyzed promptly for decision making
Comprehensive – The final set of benchmarks to cover all major and significant aspects of the project
Simple – people understand what it means, why it is important and how they can influence it
Cost-effective – the results obtained justify the time and money spent on data collection
Sensitive – the indicator to respond to changes in the situation, to reflect the dynamics of activities and conditions
Understandable – the meanings of the indicator should be interpreted uniquely and without difficulty by the people using it
Useful – to help us determine if the direction of the development process is right

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