The management of external resources in a project, with particular reference to the management of communications, relationships and risksI. IntroductionThe Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®2004) defines the term project as follows: “A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result”. (p. 1)The term project is associated with three distinguished characteristics, (1) temporary, (2) unique product, services, or results and (3) progressive elaboration. The first characteristic refers to the nature of the project which is temporary. Every project has definite beginning and definite end (PMBOK®2004). It has to go through the project life cycle phases, namely (1) initiating, (2) planning, (3) implementing, (4) monitoring, (5) evaluating, and (6) closing.
These are essential phases for entire project life cycle. One phase success is influenced by the success of preceding phase. For example, the success of planning depends on the success of initiating. Similarly, the success of monitoring is dependent on the success of implementing. Therefore, every project has its unique process from the initiating phase thorough the its last phase of closing. At the last phase of the project, the objectives set at the beginning are known as the project has achieved or not achieved.
Then the project has to be closed, terminated, or extended. However it must be noticed that the temporary nature does not mean that the time is short. In some cases, project may last for several years too. The second characteristic of the project is the unique product, services, or results. A project can produce unique product, services, or results (PMBOK®2004). A project is said to produce a deliverable output which is a quantifiable and measure product, or is a service such as business production or distribution.
A project is also said to produce results such as documents for knowledge of production new cars. The third characteristic of the project is progressive elaboration (PMBOK®2004). The project may have a wide and broad definition of project scope definition in the beginning. In the later stages, it will be progressively elaborated to define the scope more details. With such unique characteristics, managing project poses several challenges. Project management is defined by PMBOK®2004 as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements” (p.
8). Therefore, project manager must integrate the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques in the process of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, evaluating, and closing in order to achieve the objectives. In order to distinguish between the project and project management it is necessary to develop distinct definitions for the two terms. A project can be considered to be the achievement of a specific objective, which involves a series of activities and tasks which consume resources.
It has to be completed within a set specification, having definite start and end dates (Munns and Bjeirmi, 1996). In contrast, project management can be defined as the process of controlling the achievement of the project objectives. Utilizing the existing organizational structures and resources, it seeks to manage the project by applying a collection of tools and techniques, without adversely disturbing the routine operation of the company. The function of project management includes defining the requirement of work, establishing the extent of work, allocating the resources required, planning the execution of the work, monitoring the progress of the work and adjusting deviations from the plan (Munns and Bjeirmi, 1996).