As the title of this post suggests, this article is all about project management questions and answers to those questions.
If you ever were afraid to ask project management questions, now is your turn.
This post is especially useful for new project managers. I encourage you to send me your project management questions by leaving comments here.
I try to cover as much as possible about project management questions and about project management software in one post as humanly possible.
Over time, I plan to add more new stuff as I get questions related to these topics from our readers.
In the past few years, I have got thousands of questions about project management, project management software, and project management best practices.
I will try to answer them here as plainly as possible, with no jargon or complicated terms.
Without further due here is a partial list of project management questions I have been asked by our customers and colleagues in the past few years.
Project Management Questions & Answers
What is Project Management?
Project management is the knowledge, experience, and process needed to plan, manage, track, and run projects.
Project management is not an exact science like math or engineering, but one which combines processes for planning projects with human interaction issues for managing a project.
Every project has objectives. The team members are responsible to reach those objectives on time and on budget.
If at any time during the project’s execution, the team realizes that the objectives can’t be reached, they should inform the management and if needed terminate the project.
The biggest issues in project management, are not the processes, but the team’s familiarity or acceptance of those processes.
Another factor is proper collaboration. Teams that are weak on collaboration, have a 65% higher chance of failing to reach their goals on time.
Why project management is important?
Without proper project management processes in place, nearly all projects worth doing will fail.
You can bank on the statement above if you ever are trusted to manage a project!
The sad truth is that with all the money and effort spent on project management knowhow and methods, still, the majority of projects fail to finish on time.
Why is that? Because in my opinion most people practicing or participating in projects don’t have a firm grasp of project management and the method used to manage their projects.
As projects get bigger and more complex, the need for proper project management processes grows.
Educating the workforce on project management becomes more urgent.
And the correct implementation of the project management method used in the project grows exponentially.
Where do I learn about project management?
There are so many places you can learn about project management, the list is endless. A good place to start is our own blog, the Collaboration Corner. We cover lots of topics about project management and team collaboration here.
Project management institute or PMI has great educational programs for teaching project management. You can either enroll in one of their courses or buy the books they sell online or books that they recommend.
Many universities and colleges also offer master’s degrees in project management. A shortlist is shown here:
1-Georgetown University, Washington, DC
2-George Washington University, Washington, DC
3-Brandies University, Waltham, MA
4-Colorado State University, Greenwood Village, CO
5-New York University, New York, NY
For a complete list of all colleges offering project management degrees check out here.
Over time great books about project management have been published. A shortlist of my favorites are here.
1-Art of Project Management by Scott by Scott Berkun
2-PMBOK Guide from PMI
3-Strategic project management made simple by Terry Schmidt
4-Project management absolute beginners guide by Gregory M. Horine
5-The lazy Project Manager by Peter Taylor
Let me know about your favorite books about project management and why you like it. I love reading books about this topic.
I will add your favorite book to the above list if I find it useful for our readers.
How does project management Add Value?
Project management helps you plan a project, schedule the timeline, risk analysis, staffing, and bring leadership to the team.
Project management and the rule of the project manager are tightly interwoven.
It is the project manager who implements his or her knowledge to bring a project to successful fruition by guiding the team.
Effective project management starts with aligning the organizational goals with the project portfolio and each specific project.
For further reading check here and here.
How many project management processes are there?
The three main methodologies for project management are Agile, Waterfall, and Hybrid methods.
The waterfall project management is the oldest method and still relevant for some projects. It uses the Work breakdown structure or WBS.
Agile project management is relatively new and is the best option for projects that their specification is in flux due to a variety of factors.
Hybrid project management is the newest method and combines Agile and waterfall.
What is the Agile project management method?
The basic concept around all Agile methods is the iterative approach to completing a project.
This means a project is broken down into many short fixed intervals (4 to 6 weeks)with clear objectives and deliveries.
After an iteration or sprint as called in scrum is finished and before a new one starts, lessons learned and new input from the outside world (marketing, competition, customer) are incorporated into the next sprint’s plans.
What is the Waterfall project management method?
In the waterfall method, a project is divided into tasks. If needed the tasks are broken down into smaller tasks. This method is called the work breakdown structure or WBS.
Then, using the tasks gathered a schedule made, people are assigned to tasks and the project begins.
The biggest issue with the traditional project method is that it is run in an open-loop environment. There is no feedback from the customer, marketing, or the outside world is considered in running the project.
What is the Hybrid project management method?
The Hybrid project management method is a new method that combines Agile and Waterfall methods.
Like Agile the project is divided into many sprints. Like the waterfall method, the tasks for each sprint are broken down into subtasks using WBS.
The project has an overall plan which is updated and modified at end of each sprint.
What project management do?
Or what project managers do? The main responsibilities of a project manager are to plan, schedule, execute, lead, and deliver a project.
This work includes budgeting, putting a team together, managing the team for the duration of the project.
In addition, a project manager is expected to solve problems that arise during the project execution, manage personnel issues and conflicts, and report to the product manager.
In the essence, a project manager is the project lead responsible to deliver a product to the market.
Who is a Project Manager?
The project manager is the lead for planning and executing a project. The project manager is responsible for everything that goes on in the project.
The scope, the risks, and the goals are set by the project manager from guidelines given by the product manager and high-level executives.
Don’t confuse a project manager with a product manager. The product manager is responsible for the product and has P&L responsibility.
The project manager reports in most cases to the product manager.
Which project management certification is the best?
Personally, I don’t think project management certificates are really necessary.
Usually, these programs force people to memorize terms and concepts.
The best way to learn is by observing senior managers do it, ask for mentorship and practice. Start with small projects and as you gain experience move to more complicated projects.
Having said that PMI has a robust PM certification program. But by no means it implies that having a certificate makes you ready to run a project. You are familiar with terms and concepts, but empty on how it is done know-how.
Are project management certifications worth it?
As my previous answer above shows, I don’t think so. I do understand some professions like construction require PM certification for running projects.
If your industry requires PM certification, then get it. If not, forget it.
What is project management software?
Project management software is a tool for helping to plan, monitor, and track the progress of a project.
Modern-day project management software adds other tools to help facilitate the completion of the project more effectively.
These tools include collaboration features, workload balance, document sharing, risk analysis, operations, and critical path identification.
When I should use project management software?
Whenever you are working on a project which you can’t keep all its details in your head.
Any project which involves two people or more, or lasts more than half a day, can benefit from project management software.
Depending on your needs you can start with a simple task manager and move up to full-blown portfolio project management software.
The great thing for the customer is that there is a huge selection of project management software in the market today.
How I should use project management software?
First, figure out what you want to get from your brand new project management software?
You need a place to record all the tasks in the project? Do you want to make managing tasks more automatic?
Do you need the app to give you notifications and reminders?
After choosing a good project management software, try to learn as much as you can about the software before you start your project.
A good way of doing it is by creating a sample project and you can your team try to figure out how you can utilize the app the best and get the most out of it.
All project management vendors have product guides, blogs, and videos that show you how to you the app for the best results.
You can also ask general project management questions from the support team of some of these vendors.
How to become a Project Manager?
Learn, Study, and practice.
Learn from the senior project managers. If you are lucky to work in one of their projects, you are already on your way to become a great project manager.
Study the literature about project management. There are a ton of books, blogs, and videos on this subject on the internet.
Keep a journal of what you learn from master and books and blogs you read. This journal will be your guide when you will work on your own projects.
Practice, practice, and practice more. Ask any professional athlete, musician, or engineer. The secret to learning and becoming great is by practicing.
A professional athlete spends years practicing to get to where they can show their talent to the public. Be like them.
In this post, I have tried to cover our reader’s project management questions as best as I possibly can.
Like any craft, to learn project management and become good at it, you need to learn from senior managers, study, and practice.
If you have project management questions, leave a comment below.
I will answer all questions promptly.