Project management part 2

A student asked: “How does a project manager manages a project? What is the typical project management look like? Please explain.

Answer: Depending upon the company and the type of project but most projects can be divided into several basic tasks. By dividing the entire project into smaller tasks, it is easier to manage than monitor and control the entire project as one big task.

Before starting any project, project manager must define the goals of the project and all tasks that are required to complete it then determine how long it will take. Project manager must document these things into a project plan and reviews it with managers and customers. Project manager needs to estimate the timeline for each task then set up milestones to ensure that team members are working on these tasks according to the time allowed. It is also important to determine which tasks must happen in succession and which tasks may run concurrently then assign team members to work on them.

Every project needs to have enough people to work on these tasks and they must have the right skills to do them. Sometime, it is important to set up some training at the beginning of the project to make sure that all team members are trained for their assigned tasks. Project training is important as each project is unique; the common mistake that many project managers often made is to assume that team members know what to do. Even they may have experiences, it is important to have a training to make sure they all understand their roles and responsibilities. Each member may be assigned to number of tasks, where each must complete them according to quality standards and defined processes. Any potential obstacles and issues must be identified and if needed, special risks management plans must be developed to handling these issues.

The project manager must monitor the project’s progress, including measuring ongoing activities, expenditures, total time spent by team members, and performance in comparison to the project’s baseline (i.e. where the project is vs. where the project should be). During the monitoring process, certain reviews must be held to make sure that these tasks are done correctly, completely and meet requirements; else they should be sent back for further corrections. Once all tasks have been completed successfully, the project will be marked as complete.


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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