PM Basics

PM Basics

What are PM Basics?

Every company, organisation, or anybody who is performing any type of project should have a basic knowledge of it. In order to perform something good you need to understand its essential, final goal and outcome. Theory is nothing without practice and practice is nothing without theory. That is why, beside the practical part, preparation of the theoretical one is important as well. Here, we have outlined the most important knowledge about projects, management, traditional and modern methodologies used for project development and delivery:

What is a project?

Project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. There are two most important features which are related to any project:

Temporality - every project has a fixed beginning and end, due to that, there are two main factors that come into question, time and budget. Depending on the methodology used for project management, these two factors are usually fixed too.

Uniqueness - No two projects are the same. Some projects are derived from previous projects (therefore similar) but they are never exactly the same. The project result and goal might be the same, but still time and resources used to deliver that project might be different,or any other important component.

An IT project can be any type of project that deals with IT infrastructure, information systems, or computer technology. This can include software development activities, such as programming a simple mobile app, large scale software system, or any website development project.

What is a project manager?

Project manager is a person who has high organizational skills, who is passionate and goal-oriented and who understands what projects have in common, their strategic role and final outcome. Project manager is a game changer who makes project goals its own, and uses skills and expertise to inspire a sense of shared purpose within the project team. PM enjoys the organized adrenaline of new challenges and the responsibility of driving business results.

One project manager works well under pressure and it is comfortable with change and complexity in dynamic environments. It can easily shift between the “big picture” and the small-but-crucial details, knowing when to concentrate on each.

Very important part of every project manager is their ability to understand the team they are working with, and to make sure that team has everything in order to complete the project with success. To lift the team when it is down, and to bring them up and show their quality when people itself forget about it.

What are the roles in a project?

Project manager, project team member, project sponsor, executive sponsor and business analyst – and describe their associated duties.

What are the phases in a project?

Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling Closing

What are the project methodologies? (Short history, advantages and disadvantages of each)

The two project methodologies are waterfall and agile project methodology.

The waterfall method is a traditional project management approach that uses sequential phases to define, build, test, and release project deliverables. Each phase is completed and approved before the team moves on to the next phase. The project can’t move backwards to previous phases. This methodology can be applied to any type of project but still, waterfall project management works best for projects with long, detailed plans that require one phase to be done before another can start.

Therefore, before any project starts, methodology should be reviewed and checked if it is applicable for a certain type of project and final outcome. Positive side of this methodology is that it gives clients, stakeholders and participants complete insights in budget, scope and resources, which allows and eases other projects planning. That is why it is a very common methodology for projects which don’t have many changes due its development.

The downside to waterfall project management is since each step is preplanned and detailed out in a linear sequence, the strategy is relatively inflexible, so any change in stakeholder priorities or needs will disrupt the order and require a revision—or, possibly, an entirely new blueprint. This is why the model is less effective for many knowledge-based projects, such as computer programming.

Agile, on the other hand, is an umbrella term covering several newer project management approaches that use iterative work cycles called sprints. Each sprint uses ‘mini-phases’ to define, develop, test and implement each part of the project. Agile methods are iterative cycles from the beginning to the end of the project, and using those iterations, clients can receive parts of the project completed and ready to use, after each iteration. This is why these type of methodologies are popular and very common is software development and computer programming.

Advantages of Agile Project Management:

  • You can deploy software quicker, so your customer can get value sooner rather than later.
  • You use less resources because you always work on up-to-date tasks.
  • You can better adapt to change and respond faster and because of that, you will have faster turnarounds.
  • Detecting issues and fixing them is much faster
  • You spend less time on documentation and unnecessary details before project starts
  • Clients satisfaction is visible and higher because of constant delivery

Disadvantages of Agile Project Management:

  • Documentation is less comprehensive and sometimes it is just not enough for certain projects, which makes it harder for new members to get up to speed
  • Agile demands more time and energy from everyone because clients, developers and the whole team must constantly interact with each other
  • Projects can become ever-lasting because there’s no clear and defined scope, and as well the end of project
  • Clients who work on a specified schedule or budget can’t know how much the project will actually cost, which makes it difficult for stakeholders planning
  • If it is not properly defined, products can lack overall design, both from a UX and architecture point of view, which leads to problems which can reveal later in development

What are the types of documentation in a project?

The most common project documents, including formal and informal project documents:

  1. Project Schedule: this includes time, resources, budget, and project costs. Usually project managers use project software to manage all of these dependencies.
  2. Risk Management: A risk management document is used for the purpose of capturing risks by group and category, and it allows you to raise awareness about each risk, prioritize it and possibly avoid potential issues. Risks could convert to issues.
  3. Issues Log: You need to use this document to define, assign and track your issues to completion, which will prevent missing deadlines of project points.
  4. Project Budget: This document allows you to track all costs associated with your project, including resources, contractors, hardware and software.
  5. Communication Plan: It is a key project document because it proactively communicates to all of your stakeholders your communication media, frequency of communication, and communication content, and the way of the communication.
  6. Project Status Report: It is an essential document for reporting project status to your stakeholders. It should report on progress and accomplishments, risks, issues, and next steps.
  7. Project Charter: This document captures the mutual agreement and initiation of a project, and contains assumptions, schedule, constraints, and project requirements.
  8. Meeting Agenda/Minutes: Many organizations have existing meeting templates for you to create your meeting agenda, if not, that document should be created. That file should contain the meeting discussions using your meeting minutes document because it would help to provide clarity after the meeting and/or uncover discrepancies, and make sure that everybody is on the same page.
  9. Quality Assurance (QA) Test Plan: The QA document contains the testing strategy, testing tools (automation), high-level duration, and a number of QA testers. It also defines processes for each testing phase.
  10. Project Management Plan: The Project Management Institute (PMI) consolidated nine subsidiary plans, including:
  • Scope management
  • Scheduling management
  • Resource management
  • Quality management
  • Process improvement
  • Staffing management
  • Communication management
  • Risk management
  • Procurement management

What are the tools used in project management?

A Gantt chart, Microsoft Project, Primavera, Logic Network, PERT chart, Product Breakdown Structure and Work Breakdown Structure are standard tools used in project planning.

How to manage project scope, project schedule, project budget, project risk?

Project scope refers to the total amount of work that must be done in order to deliver a product, service, or result with specified functions and features. It includes everything that must go into a project, as well as what defines its success. Steps of project scope management:

  1. Plan the scope
  2. Collect Requirements
  3. Define Your Scope
  4. Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  5. Validate Your Scope
  6. Control Your Scope

The schedule is a big part of your project plan. Before every project starts you need to understand it and its steps in order to perform a good scheduling plan. Every project is going to be different as the objectives will be different. Most of the work of planning is thinking about what you need to do to get everything done and putting the structure in place to make that happen.

Step 1: Create a work breakdown structure Step 2: Estimate durations Step 3: Determine resources Step 4: Identify predecessors Step 5: Determine milestones Step 6: Identify dependencies

A project budget is the total projected costs needed to complete a project during a defined period of time within project scope. It’s used to estimate what the costs of the project will be for every phase of the project and that will include things such as labor costs, material procurement costs and operating costs.

To meet all the financial needs of your project, a project budget must be created thoroughly, not missing any aspect that requires funding. To do this, we’ve outlined seven essential steps towards creating and managing your project budget:

  1. Use Historical Data
  2. Reference Lessons Learned
  3. Leverage Your Experts
  4. Confirm Accuracy
  5. Baseline and Re-Baseline the Budget
  6. Update in Real Time
  7. Get on Track

Project risk management is the process of identifying, analyzing and then responding to any risk that may appear and influence on the final project outcome. Risk management can be considerate as a part of project planning since risks can be predicted and they need to be taken into consideration, in order to prevent it.

Here are nine risk management steps that will keep your project on track:

  1. Identify risks
  2. Create a risk register
  3. Identify opportunities
  4. Determine likelihood and impact
  5. Determine the response
  6. Estimation
  7. Assign owners
  8. Regularly review risks
  9. Report on risks

What is Agile?

“Agile is a time boxed, iterative approach to software delivery that builds software incrementally from the start of the project, instead of trying to deliver it all at once near the end.”

“Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to their customers faster and with fewer headaches. Instead of betting everything on a “big bang” launch, an agile team delivers work in small, but consumable, increments. Requirements, plans, and results are evaluated continuously so teams have a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly.”

What are the advantages of Agile?

Agile management reduces the common risks that are associated with the delivery, scope, and budget of the project. It encourages collaboration between the customer and the team; offering mutual benefits in the mitigation of the high risks during the development of the software.

People and interactions are emphasized rather than process and tools. Customers, developers and testers constantly interact with each other. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication. Customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful software. Even late changes in requirements are welcomed.

What is Scrum? What are the roles and processes in Scrum?

“Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. Scrum itself is a simple framework for effective team collaboration on complex products.”

Scrum prescribes three specific roles. Product Owner - Responsible for what the team is building, and why they’re building it. Scrum Master - Scrum masters are continually on the lookout for how the team can improve, while also resolving impediments (blocking issues) that arise during the sprint. Scrum Team- These are the individuals that actually build the product.

Scrum processes:

  1. Create product backlog
  2. Sprint zero planning
  3. Create Scrum board
  4. Daily standup meetings
  5. Sprint review
  6. Retrospective
  7. Reporting

What is Kanban? What are the roles and processes in Kaban?

What is Kanban? - Kanban is a Japanese term meaning signboard or billboard. Kanban for software development teams - Kanban was created to help with manufacturing development, but It showed that software development teams share many of the same goals, therefore it became popular in this area too.

Pull-model - Kanban helps a team focus on a level of quality that must be met before the team can claim a piece of work as done and maintain that level. Stakeholders add requests to a backlog and then the team “pulls” work into their workflow as capacity becomes available.

Visualize work - Visualization of work is a key Kanban principle. Kanban addresses this visualization using Kanban boards and cards from the backlog.

Limit work in progress - The maximum number of items a team decides to work on at any point in time is known as the WIP limit.

Continuous improvement - Kanban provides a dynamic view of the state of work in a workflow through the use of the Kanban board. This helps the team and allows them to experiment with different processes and understands what is working the best for them.

Kanban boards - A Kanban board can be a physical board or a software application that shows cards arranged into columns and it can be used as one of the ways to practice Kanban.

Cumulative flow diagrams - This chart is particularly useful for identifying trends over time including bottlenecks and other disruptions to a teams’ velocity.

What are some tools used for Agile development? What is JIRA and what is it used for? What is Confluence and what is it used for?

Tools used for Agile development: JIRA, Active Collab,, Wrike, Git, Asana, Basecamp

“Jira Software is part of a family of products designed to help teams of all types manage work. Originally, Jira was designed as a bug and issue tracker. But today, Jira has evolved into a powerful work management tool for all kinds of use cases, from requirements and test case management to agile software development.”

Confluence is a team workspace where knowledge and collaboration meet. Those are dynamic pages that give your team a place to create, capture, and collaborate on any project or idea. Consider Confluence as a Google Drive account just under your organization, with a variety of pre-created templates useful for project management and development. Spaces, which you can create for each project, help your team structure, organize, and share work, so every team member has visibility into institutional knowledge and access to the information they need to do their best work.



Tamara Golubović
Tamara Golubović

Tamara is a dedicated Project Manager with a passion towards business development and process implementation.