Very Simple Project Management

We’re launching what we will work to make a regular feature for Broadcast Newsroom Computing.  “Very Simple Project Management” begins the first of BNC’s learning series.  We hope to write more educational serials in the very near future.  We also hope to serve what I’ve come to call both sides of the computer – the administrator and the user.

Project Management can help both the journalist and the engineer and technician.  Everyone who deals with the newsroom has projects.  We can discuss how scientifically to approach project management or how to just get things done better.  This post is about simple projects and simple principles of project management to help you along the easy path.  Project management is managing a project.  Simple but what is a project?

I did what most geeks would do and I typed “define:project management” in the search dialog box on Google and got 21 different definitions of a project. Merriam-Webster Online says it’s a plan. “Collaborative enterprise” is how Wikipedia defines project. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK = Bible of Project Management now in its fourth edition from the Project Management Institute) puts it this way – “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service.”

You’ve got a good idea of how broad the term can be taken.  In this case a project is any exercise that has a beginning and definitely an end.  A project is temporary as defined by PMI.   Examples:   The Pope is coming to town and you need to plan coverage.  IT needs to upgrade all workstations in the newsroom.  You don’t need charts, spreadsheets, schedules, and conferences galore.  You do need to bring the project in on deadline and you have little learning curve for mastery of project management.  So let’s take a different approach to projects – an easy one.

A project can be as simple as what one might consider a small assignment that in reality involves a number of tasks.  When I was a reporter I looked at each assignment as a project.  Now I’m certified in the mastery of project management and I don’t see much different in how to handle projects than I did assignments with a deadline. 

We’re going to apply the KISS (keep it simple silly) rule to this mini-learning series in simple project management.  You have the foundation now that you understand what constitutes a project.  Next week’s first post will focus on the “project triangle.”  Nothing like the Bermuda Triangle, actually quite the opposite because we’re keeping it simple.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company

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