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Project management

More about project management

What is project management?

Project management entails the methodical application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to fulfil a project’s needs and expected outcomes. It represents a systematic approach that directs a project’s journey from inception to closure.

While individuals might employ project management principles in their everyday activities, such as relocating home, the primary focus is typically within the context of organizations engaged in initiatives like innovating new products, enhancing services, or optimizing internal operations.

Importance of project management

The significance of project management can be summarized in two key aspects:

Strategic alignment – Project management ensures that the project remains in sync with the organization’s strategic goals and objectives.

Structured execution – It furnishes a well-defined framework for the project’s effective implementation.

By leveraging project management, organizations gain improved control over project scope, resource allocation, risk management, and the delivery of high-quality results within predefined timelines and budgets. This, in turn, enables the realization of expected benefits.

Project management standards and methodologies

There are many different project management approaches, frameworks, and standards. The most well-known project management standard is published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in the form of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)®. The most well-known project management methodology is PRINCE2.

Both the PMBOK Guide and the PRINCE2 manual (Managing Successful Projects Using PRINCE2) should be part of every project manager’s bookshelf.

Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

PMI publishes the Project Management Body of Knowledge (The PMBOK® Guide)[1] which is known as a standard for project management. The PMBOK® describes 12 project management principles serving as foundational guidelines for strategy, decision-making and problem solving on projects. They guide the behaviours of the people making decisions about projects.

There are also 8 project performance domains within the PMBOK® which form those critical for the delivery of project outcomes.

One aspect of the PMBOK® 7th edition is tailoring. Tailoring refers to how the project decision-makers adapt a project management approach to meet the needs of a project’s unique context.


PRINCE2 is the world’s best-known project management methodology. PRINCE2 also defines 7 principles which act as the foundations for the remainder of the methodology. In addition, PRINCE2 defines 7 practices which are similar concepts to the project performance domains within the PMBOK®. These are the business case, organizing, quality, plans, risk, issues, and progress.

PRINCE2 also defines 7 processes which are performed by the project management team throughout the project life cycle. The processes are where the team perform the principles and practices.

Whether a project manager uses the guidance given by the PMBOK® or by PRINCE2, they really follow the same path from the start to the end of the project.

Project management lifecycle

The project lifecycle refers to all the phases of the project from beginning to end. In the project management domain, until approximately the past decade, the predominant model was the project lifecycle known as the linear (or waterfall) approach.

However, the emergence of adaptive (agile) methodologies expanded the scope to encompass iterative and incremental life cycles. In instances where projects incorporate a blend of approaches, such as both linear and iterative methods, this is categorized as a hybrid life cycle.

Regardless of the life cycle chosen, every project follows one of these patterns. Regardless of the lifecycle in use, the project management team remains responsible for executing the essential practices outlined above.

Project management roles

There might be several individuals which collectively form the project management team. These individuals might perform one or multiple roles. Not every role is performed by one individual. Some roles are often performed by a team of people.

The PMBOK® defines fewer project management roles than the 8 defined in PRINCE2. Some of the roles that can typically form the project management team are described below.

Project sponsor role

The project sponsor (called the project executive in PRINCE2), is typically a senior manager within the organization who holds a vested interest in the project’s success. This individual provides strategic guidance, ensures resource availability, and engages in high-level decision-making.

Additionally, they lend support to the project manager by advocating for the project’s interests at higher management levels.

Project manager role

The project manager occupies a central position in steering a project toward its objectives. Their responsibilities encompass project planning, execution, and closure while adhering to predefined constraints set by the project sponsor.

This role demands high organizational proficiency and strong communication skills, as the project manager acts as the crucial link between the project team and stakeholders.

Project team

The project team comprises specialists in their respective fields, such as architects, designers, or builders. These professionals collaborate to execute the project plan and deliver the desired outcomes. Each team member contributes unique skills and expertise, collectively working towards the achievement of the project’s objectives.

Project management skills

Effective project management necessitates a project manager to possess a versatile skill set, which includes both soft-skills and more technical skills:

Leadership – The ability to inspire and guide teams, fostering collaboration and motivation.

Risk management – Proficiency in identifying and mitigating potential risks to prevent disruptions.

Planning and organization – Strong capabilities in planning and organizing to ensure the seamless execution of tasks and activities.

Negotiation – Skilful negotiation abilities for effectively managing scope and expectations with stakeholders.

Time management – Prioritization and time management skills to ensure critical tasks receive appropriate attention and are completed on schedule.

Communication – Clear and effective communication skills to facilitate timely and accurate information exchange among all stakeholders, ensuring alignment and understanding throughout the project.

Project management profession

Project management is a growing profession, so much so that many jobs require project management skills, not just full-time project manager jobs. Jobs requiring project management skills often offer higher salaries than equivalent jobs which do not specify project management skills.

Some people do well at project management if they are ‘people’ people. If someone has excellent inter-personal skills and communication skills, then they generally perform well as a project manager.

Nevertheless, there are some basic guidance to follow when thinking about starting or developing a project manager career.

For those preparing for a project manager interview, some basic interview techniques can help too.

Project management is also now a much more diverse and welcoming profession than it used to be, with many more women as project managers than ever before.

To start out as a project manager, learning about methods such as PRINCE2, or other project management standards requires that someone should ask is it worth doing a project management course. To develop or progress in the project management profession, a project manager will likely need to obtain a project management certification.

Project management certification

Knowing which project management qualification is the right one can be difficult. Also, there are so many classroom training courses, and online training courses in project management.

In the UK, the most popular project management certifications are Association for Project Management (APM), PRINCE 2, PRINCE2 Agile, Agile Project Management, Business Cases, and Project, Programme, and Portfolio Management Office (P3O).

In the USA, Canada, Asia, and Africa, PMI certification is more popular.


Project management represents a methodical and structured process for transforming vision into tangible results. It requires a delicate equilibrium among critical elements such as cost, time, quality, and risk management.

Comprehending the significance of project management, the diverse roles within a project team, and the phases of the project management life cycle equips a project manager with the knowledge and tools essential for a successful journey in project management.


[1] Project Management Institute. (2021) A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Seventh Edition and The Standard for Project Management. PMI. ISBN 9781628256666 (kindle edition)

[2] PeopleCert. (2023). PRINCE2® 7 Managing Successful Projects. PeopleCert. Cyprus. ISBN: 978-9925-34-450-5.

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