What is management and what is project management?

It is easy to define management. Put simply it is the business or the art of getting things done. But that is only the first definition. We then face the extended subject or sub-topic of how those things get done. That introduces a whole new level of activity, challenges and outcomes which are a part of the meaning of the word management.

And all of the above is both related to and yet completely separate from the specific role of a person who is a project manager. A project manager is someone who manages a specific task which has a beginning and an end date. Mind you a project management can sometimes involve more than one person and in fact be a team of people.

So whereas management is the umbrella or generic term for those in charge of getting things done, a project manager is in charge of getting something quite specific done – oh and done well of course.

It’s easy to get to the origin of the term management because if we take out two words, namely manage and men we uncover the truth. The handling, directing, supervising or managing of men is the foundation of management.

Management has evolved of the years whereby today the success or failure of a business is largely determined by the skill and expertise of its management. Someone has said that management is the application of knowledge.

Now if that is true we only have to look at the explosion in the growth of knowledge today to see how important management has become.  Simply obtaining the new knowledge is clearly important but then comes the real test. How does management handle this knowledge? How they apply it to their business largely determines the growth of the company.

The role of management includes overseeing the entire company. They need to take different views including short, medium and long term perspectives.  And their two main areas of operation are efficiency and effectiveness.  Efficiency is about how the company does things. Effectiveness is about how the company chooses which things to do. All such decisions are the responsibility of management. And it’s pointless doing something really well if you are doing the wrong thing.


And that leads us to the role of a project manager. The skills and expertise required in good management apply equally to a project management. The difference being that the project manager is not looking at the overall picture of the business or at the long term perspective.  The project manager is working on a specific project which may end in a short or distant time but it will end.

In a large organization, a project manager is not directly involved in the overall growth of the business. The project manager has goals and objectives limited to the project in hand, although the project they are working on may play a key role in business growth. However, in a small organization, a project manager may double as a general manager.

The world of business is constantly changing and terminology is a good example. Some use the term management by project to now mean the overall management of a business. The vision of a company is handled by dividing the operations into projects. The total management picture becomes a series of projects with each being run as a separate ongoing activity.

How do you manage your business and your projects?

Write a comment below and let us know what you think about the importance of good project management in relation to running and growing a business.


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