THE PROFESSION OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT Project Management is a set of principles, practices and techniques required to undertake a project successfully. Definition of successful project: A successful project is a unique endeavor or set of related activities undertaken to produce a set of deliverables within clearly specified time, cost and quality constraints to the satisfaction of beneficiaries / stakeholders.. Project Management evolved from being an additional responsibility assigned to engineers, to that of a formal profession with a defined body of knowledge based on specific principles and subject to qualifications and knowledge testing based on a formal process. Prior to 1993, there was only one organization offering project management certification, the Project Management Institute (PMI), based in Philadelphia, USA. Incorporated in 1969, the PMI was formed with five volunteers, on the premise that the tools and techniques of effective project management are common to and can be applied to widespread projects regardless of the industry. To this end, the guide to the Project Management Professional Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) was developed in 1981, containing the standards and guidelines of practices that are widely used throughout the profession. Project Management continues to grow and develop and many universities in the United States, Canada and also the University of the West Indies are presently offering degree programs. At least three other recognized organizations are offering certification in the field namely: (1) Association of Project Management (APM) in the United Kingdom (2) International Project Management Association (IPMA) of Europe (3) Australian Institute of Project Management. The challenge of project management is not only ensuring that a project is executed according to the constraints, but also that it meets the satisfaction of stakeholders. The constraints of scope, time, cost and quality must be managed, and the impact of changes and or adjustments must always be evaluated on these constraints, because changes to one constraint will affect the other constraints. Despite these and other challenges, many project managers and companies have embraced the project management philosophy, even developing their staff structure to reflect such. Some career paths for Project Management include Project Controller, Project Coordinator, Project Team Leader, Project Manager, Program Manager and Project Planner. Persons holding each of these positions possess varying degrees of skills and expertise and experience. Regardless of certification or position held, the Project Manager must make a personal commitment to be professional in his every day activities on the project, focusing on how to balance the needs of the beneficiaries and the project constraints. Professionalism and Ethics must also be supported and instituted by the organizations which employ these project managers. The profession is supported by advocacy bodies around the world.
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