Understanding project management
In this chapter we introduce the language and methods of project management, and provide information about helpful resources.
Managers in human service organisations have been undertaking project management activities for many years, but may not have labelled their activities as projects nor have been aware that tailored methods are available. As noted earlier, implementing a pilot program or a new way of doing something is a project even though it might not have been conceived of in this way. The human services sector is an area where many new developments and initiatives have been successfully implemented in recent years. Many of the people involved, ourselves included, have in fact learnt by doing, that is, we have taken a rational planning approach to the implementation of something new and used our managerial skills to ensure that it gets done. In some ways, the technical terms used in project management (for example, ‘work breakdown structure’,
‘project scope’, ‘deliverables’) are simply alternative labels for the activities that managers do as part of their daily worksetting goals and targets, deciding on strategy and working out tasks and responsibilities.