Project management is the process. It is all about the activity of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals in scientific or daily problems. When you look a it individually a project is a temporary effort meant to create a unique product, service or result. The beginning and the end are pre-defined (almost always within a certain time frame, and usually by funding and results). The goal of the project is usually about bringing around a beneficial change or creating an added value. Temporaty nature of the project makes it difference from business-as-usual since they represent repetitive, permanent functional activities needed to produce a product or service.
Primary challenge of project management is to achieve the desired result by keeping in mind the pre-determined constraints (time, money etc.).
Traditional approach to project management identifies a sequence of steps to be completed. There are five components within which project has to be developed:
1. Initiation phase
2. Planning and design phase
3. Execution and construction phase
4. Monitoring and controlling mechanisms
5. Completion phase.
You should keep in mind that not all projects will have every stage, as projects can be terminated before they reach completion. Some projects do not follow a structured planning and/or monitoring process. And some projects will go through steps 2, 3 and 4 multiple times.
There are other approaches to project management, but more on that later!