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What is project management used for? And what are the distinct features of project management?  

Project management is a crucial component of modern business operations, and it has become increasingly important in recent years due to the growing complexity of projects and the need for companies to operate more efficiently. Before we dive into the specifics of project management, it’s important to understand what a project actually is.

Project management is the art of balancing competing demands and optimising resources to achieve the desired outcome. It's the science of turning ideas into reality and creating a legacy that lasts beyond the project's completion.

What is a Project?

A project is a one-of-a-kind endeavour with specific goals and objectives that must be met within a set timeline and budget. Projects differ from day-to-day operations in that they have a beginning and an end, and they are frequently complex and require the collaboration of a team of people to complete.

Several distinctive features characterise projects. These are some examples:

  1. One-of-a-kind deliverables – Projects typically generate one-of-a-kind outputs not part of normal business operations.
  2. Specific goals and objectives – Projects have specific goals and objectives defined at the beginning and guide the entire project.
  3. Projects are completed within a defined timeline and budget, and project managers must work within these constraints to ensure that the project is successfully completed.
  4. Cross-functional teams – Projects often necessitate forming a cross-functional team because they require input and coordination from multiple departments and stakeholders.

To summarise, project management is an essential aspect of modern business operations, and understanding the unique characteristics of projects is an important first step towards successful project management.

How is Project Management defined by the PMBOK and Prince2?

The PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and Prince2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) are well-known project management frameworks.

The PMBOK defines project management as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.” The importance of project scope, time, cost, quality, risk, procurement, communication, and stakeholder management is emphasised.

Project management, on the other hand, is defined by Prince2 as “the planning, delegation, monitoring, and control of all aspects of the project, and the motivation of those involved, to achieve the project objectives within the expected performance targets for time, cost, quality, scope, benefits, and risks.” It focuses on project governance, including project management team roles and responsibilities, business justification, change control, and continuous improvement.

While the emphasis and approach of PMBOK and Prince2 differ, both frameworks provide valuable guidance for effective project management.

What are the distinctive features of Project Management?

  1. Temporary nature: A project is a temporary endeavour, meaning it has a defined beginning and end. Once the project is completed, the team is disbanded, and the resources are reassigned to other projects.
  2. Unique objectives: Projects are undertaken to achieve specific objectives, such as creating a new product, improving a process, or delivering a service. Each project has its own set of objectives and requirements.
What is project management used for? Here's an Infographic depicting the distinctive features of project management, including Temporary nature, Unique objectives, Cross-functional teams, Uncertainty and risk, Progressive elaboration and Stakeholder involvement.
Infographic detailing the Distinctive Features of Project Management
  1. Cross-functional teams: Project teams are made up of individuals from different functional areas within the organisation. The team members bring their unique skills and perspectives to the project to achieve its objectives.
  2. Uncertainty and risk: Projects are inherently uncertain and involve risk. The project manager must identify and manage risks throughout the project life cycle to ensure successful project completion.
  3. Progressive elaboration: Projects involve progressive elaboration, which means that the project scope, schedule, and budget are refined and detailed as the project progresses and more information becomes available.
  4. Stakeholder involvement: Projects involve a wide range of stakeholders, including the project sponsor, customers, users, suppliers, and other interested parties. Effective stakeholder management is critical to project success.

Overall, project management is a unique approach to management that is specifically designed to manage complex, temporary endeavours with specific objectives and a high degree of uncertainty and risk.

What is project management used for?

In today’s fast-paced business world, project management is a critical tool for executing projects in a structured and efficient manner. Project management is an important process that can be used in almost any industry, from construction and shipbuilding to software development and event planning.

What is project management used for? An example of a Construction project management: Expert reading plans on-site

Project management ensures that deadlines are met, resources are used efficiently, and stakeholders are kept informed throughout the project lifecycle by breaking down a complex endeavour into smaller, more manageable tasks. These are some examples of typical project management applications and how their principles can be adapted to suit different industries and contexts:

  1. Construction: Project management is used to plan, schedule, and control the construction of buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure projects. It involves managing resources, coordinating with subcontractors and suppliers, and ensuring compliance with safety regulations.
  2. Information technology: Project management is used to develop software applications, implement new systems, and upgrade existing technology infrastructure. It involves managing teams of software developers, system administrators, and other technical professionals.
  3. Healthcare: Project management is used to plan and execute healthcare initiatives such as building new hospitals, implementing electronic health records, and launching new medical devices. It involves managing cross-functional teams of clinicians, administrators, and technical experts.
  4. Marketing: Project management is used to plan and execute marketing campaigns, develop new products, and manage customer relationships. It involves managing teams of designers, copywriters, social media experts, and other marketing professionals.
  5. Shipbuilding: Project management is used to design and construct ships and other marine vessels. It involves managing complex supply chains, coordinating with engineering teams, and ensuring compliance with safety and environmental regulations.


In conclusion, project management is a necessary discipline that can assist organisations in achieving their strategic goals by efficiently and effectively managing resources to complete complex tasks. As previously stated, project management entails using various tools and techniques to plan, execute, monitor, and control projects from start to finish. By applying project management principles and best practices, organisations can avoid common pitfalls such as scope creep, schedule delays, and cost overruns. Understanding the fundamentals of project management is critical for success, whether you are a student looking to learn more about project management or a professional looking to improve your project management skills.

If you want to learn how to manage projects effectively and achieve your organisation’s strategic goals, Think Advanced’s project management tutorials, blogs, and online learning resources are a great place to start.

Whether you are a student seeking to improve your knowledge of project management or a professional looking to advance your skills, our resources cover the fundamentals of project management and provide valuable insights and practical tips for success. Start learning today and take your project management skills to the next level with Think Advanced.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is project management?

The practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing a team’s work to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria is known as project management.

What are the distinctive features of a project?

Projects have a defined beginning and end, a unique set of goals and objectives, a specific timeline and budget, and a team of people assigned to complete the work.

What are some popular project management methodologies?

Some popular project management methodologies include Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, and Lean.

What is PMBOK?

PMBOK stands for “Project Management Body of Knowledge.” It is a guidebook published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) that outlines the standard practices, terminology, and guidelines for project management.

What is Prince2?

PRINCE2 stands for “Projects In Controlled Environments.” It is a project management framework that is widely used in the UK and other countries. It is a process-based method that outlines the key activities and steps required to manage a project from start to finish.

How does PMBOK define project management?

Project management, according to the PMBOK, is the application of knowledge, tools, skills, and techniques to project activities in order to meet project requirements. It entails initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing a project.

How does Prince2 define project management?

Project management, according to Prince2, is the process of planning, delegating, monitoring, and controlling all aspects of a project, as well as the motivation of those involved in achieving the project objectives within the anticipated performance targets for time, cost, scope, quality, scope, risk, and benefits.