You have decided to learn about project management. You have seen either because you were put in a charge or have been part of a team that's running a project from start to a successful ending is complicated. Many things will go wrong. Whatever it is your objective. Let's start this learning from the most elemental facts. For that, I'd like to start by defining what we mean by project and then talk about how did we go by managing the project, which we call project management. I also like to talk about why we think it is important to learn about project management. A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. Here are some examples. A retail store manager works with employees to display a new clothing line. A construction company designs and constructs a new office building for a client. A school implements new government standards for tracking students' achievement. A group of musicians start a company to help children develop their musical talents. A pharmaceutical company launches a new advertising campaign for one of its drugs. A television network develops a system to allow viewers to vote for contestants and provide other feedback on programs. A government group develops a program track child immunization. There are many more examples, such as developing a new product, improving the manufacturing process, developing a new app, overhauling the IT systems, etc. All of these are examples of project, and while projects and their complexity look different in different sectors, they all have few characteristics that are common to all. Understanding the commonality among all project is what enables us to focus on how to manage projects successfully. Let's begin by understanding the DNA of all projects. First of all, all projects have an established objective. For example, the objective could be to produce an animated Western movie or build a public swimming pool. Projects have a defined lifespan. They have a start date, and because they have an objective, they end when that objective is met. Although some projects do fail and never achieve their intended objective, nevertheless, they do end, even if that means getting canceled. Most projects involve several departments. It is very difficult to find a project that requires only one set of talent. Bringing different professionals with different skills, work habits, cultures together to work as one is one of the challenges in managing a project. It's one of the reasons why good project managers are in high demand. Projects also typically involve doing something that has never been done before. Think about something as well understood as building a house. Though, we may have houses that look similar, every time a house is being built, project manager is dealing with a different site, different customers, different costs, etc. All of these make the project unique. Then of course, we have projects that are truly new, like sending humans to Mars. Finally, all projects have specific time, cost, and performance requirements. This is what's constantly pulls the project management in different directions. This is what would be used to decide if a project was a success or a failure. This is often referred to as the triple constraints. More on this later. Together, these characteristics make projects different from everyday work, which can be considered routine and repetitive, which are tasks that we do more or less the same way. For instance, watching my videos as a part of this course is a routine work. But if I ask you to write a paper, then you will be doing a project. What is project management? It is all about knowing how to deliver the results that the customer wants on time and on budget, a very simple thing. But as it turns out, it is not that easy to do at all. Most projects fail in at least one of these dimensions. This is why project managers need to learn how to become better at managing within boundaries given to them in terms of cost, time, and scope of the project. Many projects managers refer to this as iron triangle or triple constraint. Then who is the project manager? The person with the greatest accountability for the success or failure of the project. Project manager is responsible for creating and maintaining a highly functional team. Project managers is in charge of developing the plan for how and when things are done. The project manager needs to anticipate challenges and problems and get ahead of them. To do all of this, the project manager must learn how to be effective. I like to emphasize that we are not learning project management per se. Instead, we are learning the process of the managing of the projects. This process has been studied, and we are continually looking for ways to improve the process so that we can improve the chances of successfully completing a project. Why is it important to spend time learning about the process? You might think, you can learn what you need along the way from others. Well, you may be partially correct. You have been more than likely been a team member on some project, and by watching your project manager, you get a sense for what to do as well as what not to do. But as a team member, you will not see the whole development process. You will be exposed only to some parts that makes it difficult to know all that went on to make the project run smoothly if you are part of a great project, or where things went wrong in case of a failed project. However, if you learn about project management, then you can pay attention to what you are experiencing versus what you thought should be happening. That's when your formal training in project management can be enhanced by your experiences. This will eventually help you in becoming one of those awesome project managers. Project management can be very challenging, but it's also very exciting. On one hand, project manager must have good analytical skills and work and understand financial data really well, but that is not enough. A good project manager also possesses high levels of emotional intelligence. This means the project manager has an aptitude for understanding the politics within the organization, has outstanding people skills, knows how to be an effective leader, motivator, and negotiator. This means understanding the politics within the organization. There is a lot to learn and learning never stops.