For any endeavour to succeed there must be a solid foundation upon which it is based.
However, in the case of project management, there is little research focusing on its basic principles. Without theoretical conclusions and evidence generated by research, project management can be a big inconvenient hassle and the success of that project may be questionable.
This particular issue has been tackled by R. Max Wideman in his work, which is entitled ‘First Principles of Project Management’. In his paper, he defines the difference between project management practices and project management principles. He has also proposed seven principles of project management.
The end goal of a project should be more than just finishing timely and without going over budget. When undertaking any sort of project, you should always aim for the success of your product. Success is hard to measure without any concrete terms. Therefore, before starting a project, you and your team must come up with key deliverables that can indicate success. This could include the scope, quality, relevance and so on.
The sponsor and the team must be mutually committed to the project before it comes into existence. There must be an acceptable level of commitment. This means that an agreement exists between the two parties regarding the goals, scope, quality, time frame and the cost of the project.
This principle simply means that scope, quality, time, and cost must be achievable and they must exist in a balanced state for a project to succeed. One cannot be changed without affecting the others. The implications for the project manager include regular checks of the four pillars to make sure that they are working together.
4. Primary Communication Channel
This means that the project must be governed through a single communication channel. Although the owner can be represented by several individuals, it is a must that he or she must speak with a single voice. This is the same for the team. One person must be the sole point of responsibility. This person should have the attributes necessary for a successful project.
5. Cultural Suitability
The method of management must match the type of project and the current status of the project. The team must be managed in a way that enables and empowers them. This makes it possible for the team to do their best jobs.
For any project to succeed, procedures and policies must be clearly stated and documented. This also means very detailed planning, which usually leads to policy development. The roles, responsibilities and delegations must be included in policies. These policies serve as guides throughout the lifespan of the project.
This principle entails the planning and the implementation phases of the project. Fundamentally, planning comes before implementation. This ensures a clear path and determines significant milestones in the project. By carrying out this principle, you can easily determine when your project starts and when it should end.