What is Project Management? Definition, Types, Phases & Scope

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23rd Mar, 2023
What is Project Management? Definition, Types, Phases & Scope

Project management is vital for all sorts of businesses. A business or organization must have its project well, meticulously, and methodically handled to be successful in its goal fulfillment. A failed project could mean a disastrous descent of bottom lines. Therefore, every business, in today’s times, is in urgent need of project management teams who understand their role well and are able to carry them out satisfactorily. Take Project Management courses and gain more learning and knowledge on your path to being a great project manager. 

To understand what is project and project management in a better way, continue reading our blog. We have provided a comprehensive guide to project management, types of project management, project management phases, and various examples.

What is Project Management?

The project management definition is achieving desired outcomes for the efforts dedicated to creating targeted products, services, and processes. It involves detailed project management stages: initiation, planning, and execution. Every stage has objectives that need a complete pack of methodology, skillsets, knowledge, and experience to fulfill acceptance criteria. This is not a continuous activity or routine work of an organization. Every project is goal oriented and standalone. It is time-bound and has predetermined deliverables. This is what makes it different from just 'management.'

Who Uses Project Management?

Project management is an urgent requirement of any organization looking to create, revamp or restart a product or service. Individually too, a person might need to handle personal tasks as a project. Any way project is characterized by three main components: duration, quality, and resources. And it is the Project Manager who uses his skills to plan, execute and deliver a project.

A Project Manager must oversee a project by outlining the project's scope, staying on course, keeping a strict eye on the assigned budget, managing human resources, documenting each step of the project, handling glitches, and finally, doing a quality check before delivering.  

A whole gamut of jobs needs to be done well, with all projects different. It is a career that demands challenges.

Types of Project Management?

Every project is unique and requires a methodology to execute it. The scope of project management varies from one project to other. It is not about reaching its conclusion alone. A project manager has to approach a project via a method. This is a block of tested practices, techniques, procedures, and rules applied by people working to execute a project successfully. A few oft-used project management techniques are particularly well-suited to a specific industry or work outline.

1. Scrum Methodology

This type of project management is applied when an organization looks at product development. It is a term from Rugby when the game is restarted after a foul. A market-worthy product can only be created with a concerted team action, and this project management methodology underlines the role of an empowered team. The Scrum process was developed by Easel Corporation in 1993 to be used explicitly in Software development processes. These processes need a combination of tested practices and roles to be successfully executed.

The methodology is flexible, but its prerequisite is that its team members work in cohesion, well within the approved and accepted context. Scrum breaks up the project into small and temporary blocks. These blocks are short and work within a time frame of usually 2-4 weeks. Each block is treated as an independent entity with a result-oriented end, a variation of the final product to be delivered to the client.

An organization working with this methodology has to be very handy with short-cycled product development, for it has to meet customer deadlines without compromising product quality. It is an easy and popular methodology of project management because of the quick turn-around time that it promises.

2. Waterfall Methodology

The waterfall method of project management refers to working on a project in a straight line. It is split into phases. Each phase can only begin when the last one has been completed. The Waterfall system is the most traditional of all methodologies but is also the simplest. The team members are assigned roles and responsibilities, which they are expected to work towards fulfilling an end goal. There are no on-the-way changes. No testing at the end of a phase or adaptation of the rectification is recommended.

Only so many teams are working towards integrating their short-term tasks as the complete project. Waterfall project management is best suited for projects with extended, drawn-out plans and a single timeline. This project management strategy is relatively inflexible compared to Scrum since it is planned linearly and is not enthusiastically recommended for knowledge-based projects. But it is very well-suited for replication workflows.

3. Lean and Six Sigma Methodologies 

This is a project management methodology that contrives to eliminate wastage of resources and minimize technical shortcomings, thus improving the ultimate performance of the team working on the project. It combines Lean methodology and Six Sigma strategy. The former methodology was the brainchild of the Japanese automaker Toyota, aimed at making the production process free from non-value-adding activities. It refers to eight kinds of wastes under the acronym DOWNTIME-meaning defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra processing.

Lean is about any method, measure, or tool instrumental in identifying and eliminating this waste. Six Sigma was the work of the telecommunication company Motorola. Based on Japan's Kaizen model, the strategy seeks to improve manufacturing processes by identifying defects in production techniques and removing them. So, the two, in combination, are directed toward improving a company's operational processes, which can lead to lower production costs and higher revenue.

Going for PMP Training (Project Management Professional) could earn you an edge over people with little or no knowledge of project management. On the other hand, this training/certification will give you knowledge of the industry's best practices and experience to handle seamless execution. 

When Do We Use Project Management?

 A project is to be managed when a particular set of deliverables identified by the customer are to be completed. This translates into recognizing and managing risks, operating resources, budgeting, and establishing clear communication with the operational teams. Most of the projects are deadline-driven and budget bound. For this, a set of regulations have to be adhered to. Add to this customer's specific requirement that works out to be functionality and quality. The scope may be absent at the outset of the project.

The client might need something but want something else altogether. So, the client could change his mind midway. But the budget would remain static, and the tasks diverse and multidimensional. Under the circumstances, a project management tool could only handle the entire work within the project.

The knowledge of the techniques equips a project manager to deal with efficiently and triumph over uncertainty, novelty, and the possibility of project failure. 

To ensure successful project management, one can be armed with PRINCE2 course that mainly targets boosting productivity. It is one of the most popular project management methodologies globally.

Phases of Project Management Lifecycle

A project is generally deconstructed into phases for ease of management. These stages are:

1. Initiation

It is the green signal for the project to begin. A project will have a feasibility study to guide its purpose and resolution. This is followed by a project initiation document outlining project goals, scope, size, budget, human resources organization, possible constraints and risks, stakeholders, a framework for reporting, and finally, assessment and closure criteria.

2. Planning

A project can only see success if it has been meticulously planned. Planning requires defining and setting goals. There are two approaches to this stage: the SMART method ( specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). The CLEAR method (collaborative, limited, emotional, appreciable, refinable). A well-articulated project scope, a well-thought-out, and developed project plan, and a work breakdown schedule are inevitable parts of project planning. For this, the project manager should be well-equipped to:

  1. Comprehend timelines and costs involved and identify resources for execution 
  2. Assign roles and responsibilities for the project 
  3. Define quality standards 
  4. Set milestones to signal the beginning and end of phases. 
  5. Ensure and enforce performance measures 
  6. Make checkpoints for progress 
  7. Identify risks and allocate resources to resolve unforeseen glitches.

This stage also demands that a communication plan ( for external stakeholders) and a risk management plan be implemented.  

3. Execution

This stage ensures the project plan is carried out as envisaged. Each activity that has been planned should be faithfully carried out to work towards the desired deliverables of the project.

4. Monitoring and Control

This goes hand-in-hand with execution. It deals with daily issues, measuring and evaluating the project's progress. A project manager may employ key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the progress. The tangible indicators are schedule, budget, completed tasks, and address of issues.

5. Closure

This is when the project is completed and ready to be handed over. It means tying up all the loose ends and closing the project. This involves various steps: 

  1. The desired outcome is handed over to the client. 
  2. The allocated and assigned staff and resources are formally released 
  3. All the project documents are either filed or given to the concerned person 
  4. Contracts are finally closed 
  5. All activities within the project are completed 
  6. A final report about the project is prepared. 

Post closure, a review of project activities scrutinizes every step and analyses its successes and failures. This is how a complete project management lifecycle comes into execution and is successfully delivered.

Types of Project Managers

Growth opportunities for businesses are not monochromous. Every opportunity is singular, and a unique strategy specially designed alone can have the capital to address it. Within this strategy, the segment about executioners will have project managers with different leadership and managerial qualities to see it through. An organization will need all four types of project managers to encash the available growth opportunities. These project managers are:

1. Executor

This project manager will pursue growth opportunities that uphold the boundaries defined by the organization's business strategy. These have been created or highlighted by growth strategies formulated by the organization's think tank. They come out to be a safe player and works well within the defined structure of the current strategy. As such, he uses quantitative projections to give himself strength.

2. Prophet

The Prophet is the opposite of the Executor. This type of project manager is high on risk as he relies more on his vision of growth opportunity than quantitative evidence. They do not believe in cultivating opportunities within the strategic boundaries laid out by the grand plan of the organization. This type of project manager might challenge existing strategies and pursue opportunities that need to be noticed to be within set parameters. 

3. Expert

Such project managers will not subscribe to the prescribed business growth strategy but will adhere to quantitative evidence to convince the organization of their business case. They will garner organizational members to support them in their quest for business growth by citing good, solid, and reliable numbers. They will convince them that a change of strategy is the call of the hour and that a well-supported growth strategy could be the answer, although it is outside the current business plan.

4. Gambler

Gambler is the type of project manager who bets. He convinces the organizational members to support him in his plans to encash opportunities for growth that are well within the organization's predefined boundaries. But he does not have quantitative evidence to help him. His strategy's likelihood of success could be better; he might even incur losses in the bargain. Still, these gamblers must update the obsolete growth strategy to tap the overlooked opportunities.

An organization would require all four kinds of project managers depending on growth opportunities that can be identified. Having only one type could retard the growth of an organization. The existing business environment indicates the project manager's need to take the business organization forward.

A sedate one, unwilling to take risks, could maintain the status quo for years but would kill growth in pursuing safety. A very aggressive one could risk everything and end up making irretrievable losses. So it depends upon the need of the hour to decide which kind of project manager is needed under the circumstances.

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What are the 7 Cs of Project Management?

Seven components go into making a project success. These have to be actively kept in purview during the decision-making exercise. These are:

1. Customers

A project is planned, keeping customers in mind. Therefore, they are the keystone of the whole project. It can only be done with the involvement of the customer. So the customer must participate actively in planning and monitoring every project stage. He outlines the need of the project and checks whether all the requirements have been fulfilled at the time of project handover.

2. Competitors

Competitors are significant players in the successful implementation of the project. A competitor is often accounted as a stakeholder in the project. If a rival company introduces a product in the market, its reception and response to it could alter the course of a project. At times the project could even be abandoned.

Project Managers are expected to make serious efforts towards getting inside information about rival projects in competing firms. Another aspect of a competitor's role is learning from lessons that have been created as a result of their business strategies. These could be either positive or negative but serve as guidelines for project managers.

3. Capabilities

These are the skills that a project manager should have to plan, execute and close a project successfully. Project goals result from business strategies that turn an abstract vision into reality. The reality can only happen if the project management capability framework guides the project manager on meeting and dealing with a particular project.

4. Cost

The cost management of a project is essential for keeping the expenses well within the prescribed budget. The whole exercise is about estimating, allocating, and controlling project costs. This is done so that at no point in time and stage is there a budget overrun. As the project proceeds, expenses are documented, and approval is sought. At the completion, the predicted and actual costs are compared for future reference. Every project can function with a detailed budget outlay.

5. Channels

These are communication channels. Several channels required or to be put in place are essential to project management. This would be decided at the time of resource allocation. With every new member that joins the team, there will be a new channel. The flow of information, exchange, and reporting on the project's progress would happen through these channels. These channels would ascertain effective communication and the smooth working of the entire team.

6. Communication

The team of resources working on the project requires them to keep in touch with each other constantly. There has to be a continuous flow of ideas, exchange of information, and updates on milestones achieved. Awareness about goals and expectation has to be communicated to each one of the team members. Types of communication include verbal, non-verbal, and written. Within an organization, it is usually verbal and written communication used for project management.

7. Coordination

This is about hinging the entire project. Daily activities, inter-department communication, performance assessment, assignation of tasks, scheduling phases, and finally, planning budget; all come under the head of coordination. The project manager keeps the entire team in sync so that no step is out of gear with the planning. This ensures that timelines are faithfully kept, and the project is progressing well within the prescribed budget.

Example of Project Management

Examples of it can be cited to explain the concept of project management. Projects could be about developing software, building a bridge, or a building. It could be an online app for healthcare or an online platform for e-commerce, a relief effort for a natural disaster hit area, or a business strategy to launch a new product in the market.

Importance of Project Management in today's Business

When a project is managed methodically, it becomes a powerful tool for business growth. It is broken down piecemeal, and each stage and phase is worked out to the last detail. Starting from budget to resource employment, to risk assessment, communication, timelines, etc., is chalked out. This detailed planning makes it easier for team members to execute their individual goals while saving time in errors and miscommunication.

The course of a project can even be altered depending on market news without many deviations. With everything planned, including possible hiccups, a project is more likely to get completed as desired. More than ever, today's businesses need project management practices.

The Scope of Pursuing Project Management as your Career

We are witnessing a competitive business environment demanding increasingly complex projects. There is a growing demand for knowledgeable and mature handling to execute these successfully. Project managers who are well-versed in project management practices are the people who would fill the bill.

It will be them with their skills in managing the multiple aspects of a project who could alone see it through. Projects that have seen the light of day and are successfully off the ground are examples of what a trained project manager could do.


It cannot be denied that project managers are in high demand today. Every business organization with a growth trajectory must go via a project. The projects are increasing, and their complexity is defining new levels. Successful execution and completion of a project would mean achieving critical organizational goals and a respectable place in the business diaspora.

It is not exclusive to a particular industry or business size. Anyone desirous of having a business with a healthy balance sheet is sure to be having processes according to project management best practices. One can get a complete run-through of project management with KnowledgeHut's online courses for Project Management.


Zeshan Naz

Blog Author

Zeshan Naz holds 6 years of work experience in Content Marketing. EdTech is her field of expertise and she looks forward to helping more professionals get ahead in their careers. Zeshan is an avid reader and in her leisure time, loves traveling around and exploring places.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Why is it important to manage projects?

To fulfill goals and strategies, businesses need to formulate and design projects. These projects must be closely monitored and navigated toward fulfilling goals. To make a substantial impact, it is of utmost importance that a project is managed according to the outlines. If they are loosely structured and shoddily handled, the organization sponsoring the project would not be robust enough to compete in the existing business environment.

2How does project management ensure successful project delivery?

A project management can ensure successful project delivery by following three basic steps i.e., planning, executing and monitoring. Planning is necessary to make sure the project is carried out successfully. Whereas while executing the project manager is responsible for making sure that the essential materials are on hand and that the project is finished on schedule and on budget. And finally monitoring ensures the project is producing the anticipated results.

3What is the role of a project manager in a project?

Project managers (PMs) are in charge of organizing, planning, and guiding the execution of certain projects for an organization while making sure that these projects are completed on time, within budget, and within the intended scope. Project managers have the power to influence an organization's trajectory by managing complicated projects from start to finish, which may assist to save costs, enhance business efficiency, and boost revenue.

4What is the critical path in project management?

The critical path is the series of project tasks that determines the minimum time required to complete a project. The tasks that must be completed on time in order for the complete project to be completed on time define a critical path.

5What is a work breakdown structure?

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a stratified breakdown in project management. It breaks down projects into smaller, more manageable components, such as tasks, deliverables, and subtasks. WBS helps to provide a clear vision and organized view of the project aim and deliverables.