Project management

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As project management ( PM ) initiating, planning, controlling, checking and Finalizing of projects referred. Many terms and procedures in project management are established and standardized.

Delimitation: The complementary counterpart to project management is process management . This standardizes and structures processes that are geared towards the efficient achievement of corporate goals that are not processed in the form of 'projects'. Project management (as a special case of processes) can therefore also be the subject of activities in process management.

Definitions project management

Depending on the source, project management is defined differently in terms of text, but largely consistent in terms of content:

Integration of the project management with the overall project
  • DIN standard ( DIN 69901-5 : 2009-01): "The entirety of management tasks, organization, techniques and resources for the initiation, definition, planning, control and completion of projects."
  • ISO standard ( ISO 21500 : 2012; German standard as DIN ISO 21500: 2016-02): “Project management is the application of methods, tools, techniques and competencies in a project. It includes the [...] interaction of the various phases of the project life cycle. "
  • Project Management Institute (PMI): “ Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements. "(German:" Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities in order to meet project requirements. ")
  • British Office of Government Commerce (OGC): “Project management is the planning, delegation, monitoring and control of all aspects of a project. This includes the motivation of those involved to achieve the project goals within the expected performance targets for time, costs, quality, scope, benefits and risks. "
  • ICB : Among other things : “Leading the project participants to safely achieve the project goals.” ICB even understands the project management methodology as a management principle in so-called management by projects .
  • Etymology : derives from the Latin proiectum ' that which is thrown forward' and the Latin manum agere 'to lead by the hand'.


Stakeholder expectations

The project manager's task is to meet the stakeholders' expectations of the project as much as possible. The most common method used to collect expectations is project environment analysis . A stakeholder is any person or organization whose interests are affected by the course or the result of the project.

Magic triangle

The project manager moves between the sizes

  • Time: project duration and dates
  • costs
  • Content, scope and quality of the project results

These three variables are in competition with one another, for example in the following situations:

  • In order to meet the deadline, overtime is worked and additional staff are employed; this increases the cost.
  • In order to keep the costs of a capped project, services are canceled; this lowers the quality of the result.
  • To ensure the quality of the project result, additional time is invested in tests and the date is postponed.

In order to guarantee the success of the project, the project manager must first make the interests of the stakeholders transparent and then draw up a project plan together with them. Ultimately, a priority of these variables is determined with the client, on which the project control is then built. The project reporting then always describes the project (or the individual result types of the project) in relation to these three variables.

If the organizational form of a company means that resource conflicts are to be expected (for example matrix organization ), a fourth control variable "personnel" is sometimes described. Even if personnel is otherwise part of the costs ( personnel costs ), it can be crucial to have certain people on the project. This should be explicitly described and transparent to all stakeholders . Deviations are made transparent in the project reporting.

The magic triangle also shows that a change in one of the control variables automatically leads to changes in one or both of the other variables.


The project manager is responsible for managing the project. He is responsible to the client for the project and has to report. He is authorized to issue objective instructions to the project team. Whether he is also authorized to issue disciplinary instructions depends on the type of project organization .

The successful project manager needs

  • Knowledge of project management,
  • general management knowledge,
  • product-specific knowledge,
  • Endurance and resilience,
  • a holistic and sustainable way of thinking,
  • interpersonal and communication skills.

In addition to methodological skills, the social skills of a project manager are decisive for project success. Project management is always also risk or opportunity management: Unplanned situations arise in every project . What makes a good project manager is that he recognizes such situations early, regains control with little friction, and uses the opportunities that arise. Project managers should therefore have experience in communication and conflict management , team building and motivation . Incentive systems play a central role here.

If internal capacities are not available, the role of project manager can also be assigned externally.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, tasks in project management can be delegated, shared or processed in personal union:

  • One possibility is to divide the project into sub-projects that have to be clearly separated from each other. A sub-project manager then takes over the control of these sub-projects and reports to the project manager.
  • Another possibility is the division according to tasks. For example, deadline and cost management or risk and quality management can each be assigned to specific persons with the appropriate qualifications.

Choice of approach

Due to the various structures and methods of project management (PM) (see also Section 4.3f , PM systems and project phases), for which there are partially separate process models , the choice of the procedure for carrying out a project (including project management) is usually based on:

  • Requirements of the organization or the client (guidelines)
  • Size of the project (e.g. number of person-days)
  • Complexity of the project, distinguishing between technical and social complexity
  • Industry of the project, if an industry / product-specific process model is used
  • other project type categorizations such as development project, learning project, maintenance project, ...

A single person or several thousand people can be involved in project implementation. Accordingly, the tools of project management range from simple to-do lists to complex organizations with companies founded exclusively for this purpose and massive support from project management software . Therefore, one of the main tasks of project management before the start of the project is to determine which project management methods should be used and weighted in exactly this project. Applying all methods in a small project would lead to over-administration, that is, the cost- benefit ratio would be called into question.

Comprehensive management of projects

Multi-project management

If several projects are controlled and coordinated at the same time, one speaks of multi-project management . Multi-project management, which is often found in large companies, for example, poses special challenges for those involved because there are connections here, e.g. B. competing resources have to be coordinated across multiple projects. A special case is z. Sometimes also called Enterprise Project Management (EPM) ; These projects are to be managed company-wide and across organizations.

Program management

The term program management must be distinguished from multi-project management . In this case, a program is understood as a bundle of related projects. In contrast to multi-project management, program management is limited in time, similar to a project. Multi-project management, on the other hand, can be used without limits as a form of company-wide resource control.

Large project management

Large project management is similar to program management, whereby program management usually controls individual projects in a subject area and large project management coordinates the sub-projects of a large project.

Project portfolio management

In project portfolio management projects a company is managed. The portfolio management consolidates the key figures of all projects of a company, both current and planned. It thus provides company management with cross-project information for controlling the entire portfolio of projects.

Software tools

Almost all sub-areas of project management are now supported by project management software . It allows the project manager to specify the plan contents for the project so that all those involved can then query or enter their respective work tasks and progress. They enable an evaluation of the current project status according to various aspects (for example with regard to deadline or budget compliance), also with the help of graphic representations (for example Gantt charts ). Reports are generated for previously defined milestones or at the end .

Specially designed software is used for certain sub-areas of project management . In addition, generally applicable software (such as text processing, spreadsheets, ...) is often used, sometimes using templates. For communications are virtually always mail systems used frequently in virtual project teams or distributed stakeholders and web conferencing systems and electronic meeting systems that enable the implementation of meetings and workshops over the Internet.

Wikis are also used as tools in project management for knowledge management , among other things .

Companies and organizations use PM tools very differently in practice. In some cases, ERP software is used that maps the entire company, at the same time has project management functions and also supports the billing of projects.

Success factors

There are constant discussions about the frequent failure of projects (see also Chaos Study and). Deficiencies in project management are often cited as a major factor.

Project management as a success factor

Professional management is to be seen as a central success criterion for projects. In particular are

  • to adequately define the project boundaries and the project objectives
  • Develop project plans and subject them to periodic controlling
  • To structure projects in a process-oriented manner
  • design the project organization and project culture specifically for the project.
  • to develop a specific project culture and
  • shape the relationships between the project and the project context.

Project management makes a contribution to ensuring the success of the project, but cannot ensure this on its own, as other factors such as B. the corporate strategy, competitive situation, etc. that influence the success of the project.

Such prerequisites for successful PM that can only be met outside of project management include: B .:

  • Stakeholder commitment: 'sponsor' for the project, acceptance of the project and its goals
  • Appropriate project infrastructure: organization, methods and tools are available
  • Competence of the people assigned to the project

In addition, “managing projects successfully” is not limited to mastering the PM methodology. Rather, success is largely determined by the personal characteristics and skills (“soft factors”) of all those involved, including the project manager.

In the case of irregularities and disruptions in the project process, one speaks of project discontinuities . These often cannot be dealt with within the framework of normal project management and require special methods.

Standards and norms

A distinction must be made between project management methods and process models in the norms and standards . While the former relate to certain sub-disciplines of project management (risks, requirements, scheduling, ...), one tries to define the sequence of activities, i.e. the processes for the project and PM, as precisely as possible with so-called procedural models; the V-model is widespread .

The tasks, methods, instruments and levels of project management are essentially well known and documented. There are associations and committees around the world that are dedicated to project management. The three best known are:

Project Management Institute (PMI) International Project Management Association (IPMA) AXELOS
founding 1969 (certifications since 1996) 1965 (certifications since 1995) 1996
method PMBOK Guide (since 1996) IPMA Competence Baseline (since 1999) PRINCE2 (since 1996)
Headquarters Bucks County , USA Amsterdam , Netherlands London , England
Country representatives -
  • GPM (Germany)
  • spm (Switzerland)
  • APM (United Kingdom)
  • Etc.
  • Base certificate
  • IPMA level D
  • IPMA level C
  • IPMA level B
  • IPMA level A
  • Foundation
  • Practitioner
  • Agile Foundation
  • Agile practitioner
Validity period 3 years 5 years
  • Foundation (unlimited)
  • Practitioner (3 years)
Certifications 1.1 million (2019) 0.3 million (2019) 1.6 million (2019)

Axelos is a joint venture of the British government , which is why PRINCE2 is best known in the United Kingdom . As of 2017, 44% of all PRINCE2 certificates came from the United Kingdom . Since 2019 the European Union has been offering its own certification system with the PM² Alliance .

Basic knowledge about this is imparted in the engineering, economics and computer science courses. Standardization institutes and PM associations aim to establish and promote the most widespread, uniform terminology and terminology possible.

For practical use , companies / organizations define in the form of PM manuals, PM guidelines, etc. how the PM is to be used in their projects. The individual specifications relate i. d. Usually based on standards as they are mentioned in this chapter, but they are often adapted to company or situation-specific (reduced, simplified, individually supplemented, adapted to tools, ...) and they take into account special features that result from:

  • the subject of the project , for example creation of software, dismantling of a nuclear power plant, reforestation of a desert region;
  • the type of project - a research or development project, an investment project or an organizational project;
  • the project size;
  • other conditions and customs in the company or the organizational culture

International project management standards

Project management systems

In order to anchor the work and organizational form of project management in a company , appropriate framework conditions and rules of the game are necessary. Holistic, high-performance project management systems must be created, which usually contain standards, measures and tools in the following areas:

The organizational anchoring of project management must be clearly clarified in the respective company. This includes, for example, the definition of clear roles, competencies and responsibilities (in particular the line-project interaction), the establishment of a central organizational unit for project management (e.g. Project Management Office, Project Competence Center) or the definition of PM career paths and incentive systems.
In the area of ​​methodology, standards, instruments, methods, guidelines and processes are defined that are to be used in projects. The methodology is usually determined individually for the respective organization. In many cases the methodology used is documented in a project management manual.
So that project management can be applied successfully, executives, project managers and employees must be appropriately prepared and qualified for their role. Seminars, on-the-job training and project coaching are widely used tools for qualification.
IT-supported structures must be created that guarantee an efficient flow of information and communication and support project planning and control over the entire course of the project. There are a number of PM tools and extensive PM solutions on the market that offer various functionalities.

The currently valid standard 69901: 2009 defines project management systems as a "system of guidelines, organizational structures, processes and methods for planning, monitoring and controlling projects". The DIN 69905 standard, which is no longer valid, on the other hand, still defines project management systems as "an organizationally delimitable whole that is able to prepare and process projects through the interaction of its elements."

In addition, the organizational form of the supporting organization has an influence on the projects. The best-known forms of organization are:

Project phases

Project phases are time periods that are defined in the process model for a project. The phases form the framework in which the individual activities with their work content (what to do?) And their results are defined. These activities are managed and controlled in project management (sub-area task management ). The project phases usually end with defined milestones . Depending on the project type , project product, industry, etc., phase models are i. d. Usually tailored to the task at hand (e.g. for investment projects ).

The structure of the project activities in phases is in its pure form an approach based on the waterfall model , but alternatively it can also be iterative, e.g. B. to revise project results in certain situations.

An example of a phase model in general (with a list of PM tasks involved) is:

  • Project definition : The goal of the project is determined, opportunities and risks are analyzed and the main content is determined. Cost, extent and time are roughly estimated; for large projects this can be supported by a feasibility study . At the end of this phase there is a formal project assignment .
  • Project planning : In this phase the team is organized and task plans, schedules, schedules, capacity plans, communication plans, cost plans, quality plansand risk management are established. Milestones playan important role here. These are essential and central events during the course of the project, at which the current project status can be measured and checked and the project progress can be assessed.
  • Project implementation and control : Apart from the implementation itself, this phase includes, for the project management, the control of the project's progress and the reaction to events that disrupt the project. Findings about current or future deviations lead to planning changes and corrective measures.
  • Project completion : The results are presented and handed over in a documented form. The project is assessed retrospectively in a review; the experiences made are often recorded in a lessons learned report. The project manager is relieved by the client.
  • Under certain circumstances, a project being aborted : The project will be canceled without that project objectives are achieved.

The PDCA cycle, known as the Deming circle, defines a general 4-phase procedure that differentiates between plan, do, check and act (see introduction). This general procedure can be used ' generically ', for entire projects or for individual project sections (phases).

A phase model for software development could have a finer phase structure and look like this, for example. The tasks of the project management are not defined as a project phase, but are assumed as a globally perceived project role:

  • analysis
  • Feasibility study
  • draft
  • implementation
  • test
  • Piloting
  • Rollout among users
  • graduation

In the current project management literature, the strict phase division ("waterfall model") is often called into question. Phase curves can, for example, overlap or be circular. Methods such as rapid prototyping or agile software development try to go other ways. Hybrid approaches, i.e. mixed forms of different project management methods, can also be found in practice.

It is also criticized that a universally valid phase approach does not do justice to the diversity of projects. “One size doesn't fit all.” Nevertheless, the new DIN series of standards 69900 is also based on this. A PM task is therefore to appropriately adapt the procedure for a specific project based on standard models; z. B. to summarize project phases and to exclude unnecessary project activities.

Project management process groups

If the project management processes are abstracted from the project phases, then the project management processes can be summarized in process groups.

Process group initiation

The initiation process is in the initiation process group. It is run through at the start of the project and then again at the start of each project phase.

Process groups in project management

Important goals of the initiation are:

  1. Distribution of the necessary information so that you can work efficiently from the start,
  2. Negligence in the early project phases leads to (expensive) difficulties later, so the goals and working methods of the respective project phase are clarified,
  3. the information about the project is exchanged and adjusted among the stakeholders,
  4. the project or the next project phase is considered in all parts and contexts (not in all details).
  5. All those involved should agree as early as possible on all questions.

As with all process groups, the processes repeat and interact with each other. The sequential representation is a simplification.

Especially during the initiation, the course for the further course of the project and the success of the project is set by clarifying and defining the project goals. The quality of the project goals / phase goals (transparency) and the support of the stakeholders (commitment) determine the success of the project.

Planning process group

All process steps for planning the project or for detailing the respective project phase are summarized under planning. All steps are based on the defined goal of the project. Possibly. alternative courses of action are examined and selected. The most important project management processes in the planning process group are:

  1. Planning content and scope
  2. Definition of content and scope
  3. Definition of the processes
  4. Determining the sequence of operations
  5. Resource requirement planning
  6. Estimation of the process duration
  7. Cost estimate
  8. Risk management planning
  9. Develop the schedule
  10. Cost planning
  11. Compilation of the project plan

There are also a number of auxiliary processes, such as quality planning, procurement planning, etc.

Execution process group

Execution is understood to mean the coordination of employees and other resources and their assignment to the processes in the project plan so that the project goal is achieved. This includes processes such as work package approval. The execution of auxiliary processes such as quality assurance, information systems, team development or supplier selection, etc. is supported.

Monitoring process group

This process group deals with the continuous monitoring of target achievement in the project. Interestingly, the English language control processes in the German PMBOK Guide version would have been better translated as "control" instead of "control" (which, literally, would of course have been wrong). There are two main processes in the control process group:

  1. Reporting, for the collection and distribution (stakeholder orientation!) Of the project performance and
  2. the integrated change control to coordinate the changes.

The main processes are supported by a large number of auxiliary processes; this includes acceptance processes for requirements and other types of results, deadline and cost control and risk monitoring.

Process group completion

The final processes deal with

  1. Contract termination and
  2. the administrative completion of the project.

With the former, it must be ensured that the contracts are all properly terminated, paid for, etc. The administrative closure is about the internal termination of the project in the company. This includes the final report, lessons learned workshops and - very important according to PMI - filling the "database with historical project data" in order to make the acquired knowledge available to future projects (and project managers).

Process groups and project phases

Interaction between process groups and project phases

The main process groups are repeated in all project phases - but in different ways.


  • The detailed planning for each phase is carried out at the beginning of each phase.
  • New personnel planning is required for different phases, as different skills are required.
  • Each phase starts with a phase kick-off in order to inform all stakeholders about the tasks and goals of the next project phase.

Areas of knowledge in project management


According to the Project Management Institute, project management has to cover the following areas of knowledge:

  • Integration management : This is where the integration of the project is ensured and coordinated. Participants and those affected (see graphic example see " Project landscape ") are to be included according to the type of participation. Compliance with project standards makes this easier.
  • Content and scope management : The management of the project framework (also scope management , requirements management ) ensures that the set project goals are achieved. However, it not only ensures the orientation towards results in relation to the original goals, but also has the task in particular of controlling the necessary deviations from these goals, which become clear in the course of the project, as well as initiating new planning.
  • Appointment management : aims to adhere to the time frame and should involve all target groups involved. The project plan serves primarily as a communication medium.
  • Expense Management : Aimed at budget compliance. For this purpose,the cost trend must be recorded(for example through project cost accounting). If necessary, countermeasures are to be initiated.
  • Quality management : Project-specific quality management includes the standardization of project processes, documentation of work and results, as well as suitable management of measures.
  • Personnel management : Contains the efficient allocation of resources according to skills and available capacities to the project tasks, but also team development.
  • Communication management : Often takes up to 50% of the project work and includes all those involved and affected; in change management ( change management to be considered).
  • Risk management : project-specific risk management. Contains risk analyzes, preventive measures and emergency concepts. This is particularly important for complex projects.
  • Procurement management : integration and collaboration with partners and suppliers.

Important note: Although the wording of the knowledge areas is identical to the corresponding equivalents in general management, the topics here are project-specific: Project management has special management processes due to its project-specific properties (uniqueness of product creation, time limit, stakeholder orientation and iterative approach) (see project management process groups ), which differ significantly from the general areas of management knowledge.


“Project planning has been around since people have carried out larger projects together. Neither a military campaign nor the erection of large buildings (temples, fortresses) nor, for example, a long sea voyage to discover the West Passage to India are imaginable without those responsible having planned these projects in detail. But for a long time this was done informally, solely on the basis of the experience and knowledge of those responsible; It was not until the 20th century that these informal procedures were to be collected, systematized and brought into the scientifically prepared form under which project management is carried out today. "

Henry Gantt developed the bar chart (also called the Gantt chart ) in 1910 . Independently of this, Karol Adamiecki had developed a similar method called Harmonogram and Harmonograf as early as 1896. Gantt's method was first used on a major construction project, the construction of the Hoover Dam , completed in 1935 . The first documentation of the project management procedure was probably made in the context of the Manhattan project .

Further development of project management was then required for the space race - especially for the Apollo program .


Web links

Wiktionary: Project management  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : project management  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Nini Grau, Michael Gessler, Thomas Eberhard: Project requirements and project goals . In: Michael Gessler; German Society for Project Management (Hrsg.): Competence-based project management . 4th edition. tape 1 . German Society for Project Management, Nuremberg 2011, ISBN 978-3-924841-40-9 , p. 105 .
  2. ^ Rolf Kremer, Adolf Rohde: Project Organization . In: Michael Gessler, German Society for Project Management (Hrsg.): Competence-based project management . 4th edition. tape 1 . German Society for Project Management, Nuremberg 2011, ISBN 978-3-924841-40-9 , p. 206-210 .
  3. Project Team Rewards: Rewarding and Motivating your Project Team , Jöran Beel, 2007 CreateSpace , ISBN 978-1-4348-1626-9 .
  4. ^ Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti: Cooperative technologies in work, training and civil society. (PDF; 6.3 MB) Analysis for the innovation and technology analysis (ITA) in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of a research project at the Media Department of the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences in 2008. p. 335 , accessed on October 8, 2012 : "Wikis are particularly suitable for working together on complex text structures, such as larger, multi-part publications or project proposals, but also for project management"
  5. Planning and managing. ibid p. 167f .; Markus Böttger: The use of wikis in IT project management: requirements analysis, conception and prototypical implementation in a medium-sized software company . Books on Demand , 2010, ISBN 978-3-86815-286-9 .
  6. Bent Flyvbjerg, Alexander Budzier: Why Your IT Project Might Be Riskier Than You Think . In: Harvard Business Review . 89, No. 9, September 2011, pp. 23-25.
  7. ^ IPMA according to Gareis or Patzak, Rattay.
  9. IPMA® Certification Yearbook 2017
  13. ^ Michael Gessler: Project types . In: Michael Gessler; German Society for Project Management (Hrsg.): Competence-based project management . 4th edition. tape 1 . German Society for Project Management, Nuremberg 2011, ISBN 978-3-924841-40-9 , p. 43 .
  14. New ISO standard on project management (English).
  15. Bernd J. Madauss: Handbook Project Management: with instructions for industrial companies, management consultants and authorities. 6., revised. and exp. Edition. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 2000.
  16. James E. Webb: Space Age Management. McGraw, 1969, ISBN 0-07-068801-X .
  17. The long way to the moon. (PDF; 651 kB) Quarks & Co