The project management plan is expected to effectively and efficiently guide all aspects of a project from start to finish, with the ideal goal of delivering the outcome on time and on budget. A project plan often begins with a project charter, and it is expected to identify potential challenges in advance and handle any roadblocks as they arise in order to keep the project on schedule.
Project managers can employ various methods and approaches to run projects, generally selecting the best approach based on the nature of the project, organizational needs and culture, the skills of those working on the projects, and other factors.
Managing a project involves multiple steps. Although the terminology for these steps varies, they often include:
- Defining project goals
- Outlining the steps needed to achieve those goals
- Identifying the resources required to accomplish those steps
- Determining the budget and time required for each of the steps, as well as the project as a whole
- Overseeing the actual implementation and execution of the work
- Delivering the finished outcome.
Because projects often require teams of workers who do not typically work together, effective project management requires strong communication and negotiation skills. Project managers also need to work closely with the multiple stakeholders who have interests in any given project, another area where strong communication and negotiation skills are essential.