10 Essential Components of Project Management

Many professionals think of a Project Management Plan as a Gantt chart or a Schedule. Professionals who carry this misconception into the PMP® certification exam are the least likely ones to pass the exam. As you will see in this article, a Project Management Plan is a document that defines how a project is executed, monitored, and controlled; it is much more than a schedule chart. A solid understanding of the project plan can pay rich dividends throughout your preparation for the PMP® certification exam, and also help in managing projects.Â

The core components of project management
  • defining the reason why a project is necessary;
  • capturing project requirements, specifying quality of the deliverables, estimating resources and timescales;
  • preparing a business case to justify the investment;
  • securing corporate agreement and funding;

Components of Project Management

What is project management?

Project management refers to overseeing the completion of a project while following specific criteria and timelines. The project manager typically works with relevant stakeholders to define the overall goals and criteria needed to make the project successful.

They build a team that can perform tasks to support those goals and creates a plan that ensures the projects completion according to relevant deadlines and budget constraints. The project manager is responsible for coordinating the project effort between stakeholders and the project team and monitoring its progress to keep it on track.

10 components of project management

The following list represents essential components of project management and includes details on how to navigate them effectively as a project manager:

Goals

When starting a project, you must identify your objectives. Determine what specific results you hope to achieve by completing the project. Setting goals can also help motivate and organize your project team. Depending on your needs, these goals can cover various categories. You may have business goals that support the overall organization, along with financial goals and performance goals to ensure the project follows budget and quality guidelines.

An effective way to develop goals is to use the SMART method. You can use the following steps to create SMART goals:

Scope

The scope defines the project results, including what the end product looks like or how it performs. Creating the scope may require identifying other project components, such as goals, quality standards, budgets and timelines.

For example, the project may aim to create a wellness app for internal employees. In its scope, the project team may say that the app is downloadable on all operating systems, requires a username and password, provides meditation exercises and enables users to track their fitness goals. It defines the result that the team wants to accomplish.

As a project manager, you also need to define the tasks, deliverables, deadlines and resources required to achieve that result. This step helps you and your team understand how much time you need to complete the project and any associated costs. It also ensures everyone understands the expectations for what they need to accomplish.

When team members know what assignments they need to complete or the deliverables they must produce, it keeps them on task and focused. A clearly defined scope helps you avoid conducting any tasks that do not contribute to the overall project goals.

Key achievements

As a project manager, you need to identify the major milestones or deliverables that your project team will complete. Milestones represent key achievements or goals to meet, while major deliverables refer to the significant products the team creates. Typically, you will include milestone deadlines in your timeline plan to help track project progress.

For example, your projects end goal may be to create a new learning platform for employees. Your major deliverables may include a document detailing the platforms finalized design requirements. Your milestones may include building the platform, testing its user accessibility and launching it.

The project milestones and major deliverables differ from daily tasks. However, you can break a deliverable into smaller deliverables and tasks using another project management component—the work breakdown structure. The key achievements and deliverables offer more high-level, common goals for the team to work toward. As they hit significant milestones, team members feel accomplished because they know that they are getting closer to the final goal.

Timeline

Once the project team defines its scope and goals, it must determine a timeline for completing the project. You may work with external stakeholders to help create deadlines your project team needs to meet.

As a project manager, you also hold responsibility for tracking the teams progress throughout the project to ensure it is on schedule. This component works in combination with the key achievements or milestones you defined, as those can serve as progress markers within the project timeline.

Along with the overall timeline, you also may need to schedule the completion of individual tasks or smaller goals. You can use project management software or create a spreadsheet that details the start and expected end dates for each task.

Defining timelines and schedules and sharing them with team members and stakeholders helps ensure the completion of tasks. It also enables everyone to monitor the projects progress and hold the appropriate individuals accountable for their responsibilities.

Budget

A budget demonstrates the amount of money allotted to the project. As a project manager, you have the responsibility to allocate and track monetary resources. However, you may need to gain input from management or relevant stakeholders. Monitor the project to ensure you follow the budget or make adjustments to it as needed.

Budgets vary but may include how much it costs to complete specific tasks, payments to vendors or employees or the costs of any materials used during the project. This component may link to other project elements, such as scope, timeline and the human resources plan.

Work breakdown structure

A work breakdown structure (WBS) divides the project into smaller tasks. These tasks support the completion of the projects defined milestones and deliverables. As a project manager, you assign the tasks to team members and can also set the order in which they must be completed.

To track the work breakdown structure, you can create a chart or document listing each task and the individuals assigned to perform them. This component enables accountability on the team and helps the project stay on schedule.

Human resources plan

Project management uses human resources plans to define the projects staffing. This plan outlines which employees will serve on a project team and the amount of time they will commit to it. As a project manager, you help create this plan and may need to speak to team members and their supervisors to determine their availability. To create a human resources plan, you need to include the following elements:

Communications

Effective communication is critical to tracking the progress and success of a project. As a project manager, you can create a plan that defines your communication expectations within the team and with stakeholders. You may give yourself the responsibility of communicating with stakeholders regularly to provide project updates.

As part of your plan, you may assign specific communications tasks to team members, such as creating progress reports. Having a communications plan helps keep everyone informed and ensures understanding of the project.

Project communications cover various methods of communication, from in-person to virtual to written. Your team will likely conduct daily communications updating one another on project-related progress or concerns.

You also must communicate regularly with your team to hold them accountable for their responsibilities and provide support as needed. The team also needs to conduct more formal communications, such as reports or meetings, to relay this information to stakeholders.

Risk management

Not every project goes as planned, so you need to recognize the potential challenges or risks you may face. As a project manager, you can create a risk management plan or risk register to identify risks and determine strategies for handling them. You can work with your team members, project sponsors and stakeholders to develop the risk management plan.

When identifying risk, you have two elements to consider: the probability of them happening and the impact they could have on your project. You use these factors to prioritize risks and develop strategies.

Typically, you would focus on the risks that have a higher probability of happening. Next, outline the steps your team will take to prevent them in your risk management plan. For example, you may determine the risk of not completing a task by its deadline. To lessen that risk, team members may agree to provide daily updates on their task progress.

You also must identify action steps the team must take after a risk occurs. For example, you may create contingency plans in case the client changes their project expectations or if you run out of funds.

Quality standards

You also need to set quality standards for your end deliverable and the project itself. As a project manager, you can collaborate with relevant stakeholders or clients to determine the quality standards your team must meet.

For example, if your team is building an app for the company, you may set quality standards related to its visual appearance, performance and user accessibility. Quality standards ensure that your team understands the work expectations and creates results that satisfy stakeholders needs.

As a project manager, you also need to determine the teams strategies for meeting quality standards and how to measure the quality of their work. You also can decide what types of processes the team must use to complete specific tasks to ensure their quality. For example, the team may need to make multiple presentations throughout a project. You can provide a template they all must use to ensure the deliverables quality and consistency.

FAQ

What are the components of project management?

The core components of project management
  • defining the reason why a project is necessary;
  • capturing project requirements, specifying quality of the deliverables, estimating resources and timescales;
  • preparing a business case to justify the investment;
  • securing corporate agreement and funding;

What are the 4 components of project management?

The four basic elements of project management are further elaborated as:
  • Resources: People, equipment, hardware/software.
  • Time: Task durations, schedule management, critical path.
  • Money: Costs, contingencies, profit.
  • Scope: Project size, goals, requirements.

What are the five components of a project?

Five major components of the project management plan are:
  • Executive Summary – describes the nature of the project deliverables created to satisfy the project requirements and organisation needs.
  • Policy and Procedures.
  • Schedules.
  • Timeline plans.
  • Budgets.

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