Are project managers necessary

Project management

What is project management?

Project management describes the Planning, coordination and implementation easier or more complex Projects, topics and plans. It includes all aspects (Scope, budget, time) that are necessary to achieve the project goal.

We encounter projects everywhere: whether house cleaning, relocation or wedding - depending on the complexity, we sometimes have to do more, sometimes less organize and coordinate. And now let's imagine you have to set up a festival for several thousand people or have a skyscraper built.

A little organization is no longer enough, because failure can also have serious (financial) consequences. Organizing the whole project is extremely important. This is where the term comes in Project management in the game.

In the following article we will show you important topics from this comprehensive area in a compact project management guide.

  1. Project management: definition
  2. The 9 sub-areas of project management
  3. The 5 phases of a project
  4. Project management in practice
  5. Common project management methods
  6. Visualization of projects
  7. Communication in the team
  8. Roles in project management
  9. Success factors - that's what counts
  10. Necessary leadership skills
  11. Project manager: competencies & tasks
  12. More about project management
  13. Helpful project management software

1. Project management: definition

Everyone can imagine something under project management. But what does the term mean exactly?

Project and management

Let's start at the beginning. That says about a project Gabler Business Lexicon:

"Temporary, relatively innovative and risky task of considerable complexity, which due to its difficulty and importance usually requires a separate project management (PM)."Gabler Business Lexicon

So away from the "everyday projects" towards the big challenges. Time-limited, risky, complex - Projects with such properties cannot simply be carried out. You need one management. In companies this is always targeted, with tasks like

  • Establishing the goals of the organization
  • Development of a strategy to achieve goals
  • Organization and coordination of the production factors
  • Leadership of employees

So what is it Definition of project management?

"Project management encompasses the management tasks, organization, techniques and resources for the successful completion of a project."Gabler Business Lexicon

2. The 9 sub-areas of project management

But slowly. The tasks As already briefly mentioned, project management goes quite a long way. It is for this reason that the Project Management Institute used the term in 9 sub-disciplines assigned. From the project management basics to the details, it's a very broad topic overall.

Integration management

This sub-area is primarily about the Definition of suitable processesthat are necessary for a good coordination and integration of the project. Specifically, one deals with the Project plan development and implementation as well as possible changes in the area.

Scope management

“Is the project developing in the right direction?” That is the central question in this sub-discipline. Accordingly, the Performance progress consequent checked and controlled become. This includes project initiation, performance definition, performance verification, and performance monitoring.

Time management

time - always an important factor. Especially when it is scarce. Time management has to keep an eye on the time, i.e. all time restrictions and deadlines of the project. The schedule, the definition of process sequences, process duration estimation, schedule development and monitoring belong to this area.

Cost management

In a large project, of course, finances also play an important role. These resources are supposed to as efficiently as possible can be used. The aim is to achieve maximum effectiveness with the least amount of effort. Accordingly, resources have to be planned, costs estimated, the budget distributed and, finally, the use of financial resources monitored.

Quality management

In most projects there is a client who has certain requirements for his product. And even if not, a house shouldn't crack after 10 years. There are various quality requirements that relate to this Quality management must take care of. It deals with the Quality planning, assurance and control.

Human resource management

In addition to time resources, capacity planning in project management also deals with human resources - i.e. the Employee.

  • Who does which tasks?
  • How long does it take for that?
  • Can he complete the task in the allotted time and with his existing skills?
  • Who should / must he work with?
  • Do we have enough staff for the project?

Personnel management asks itself all of these questions during project organization, personnel acquisition and team development.

Team development and the topic of team building are particularly important points.

Communication management

This sub-area is about Communication in project management - whether with the employees, project managers or people outside the company. Communication management collects, defines and disseminates all information relating to the project.

Risk management

There are always risks associated with a complex project. If a delivery is delayed, production is delayed and deadlines cannot be met, which has further consequences. Because of this, this deals Risk management with the risk identification and evaluation as well as the development of measures for the tracking and evaluation of risks.

Procurement management

You cannot work without certain resources. That's why it cares Procurement management for all required goods and services by making preparations for purchasing, obtaining offers, selecting suppliers and being responsible for drafting contracts and ensuring fulfillment.

The Implementation of a project So requires all these individual disciplines, but how exactly does it actually work?

3. The 5 phases of a project

Another important part of the project management basics are the phases a project goes through. In general, a project can be divided into 5 project management phases with different tasks.

Start phase

At the start of the project (also: preparation) will all Basics of the project clarified: e.g. framework conditions, content, duration, costs and effort.
No specific decisions have yet been made with regard to implementation. However, fundamental, specific goals should always be right at the beginning. There is one exact target formulation particularly important. The project plan and the project environment analysis are particularly helpful.


It becomes more specific in the planning. Depending on the type of project - own, commissioned, everyday, innovative - the analysis plays an important role in this phase. Here it is also important to distribute tasks, create a schedule and decide in which project organization the work will be carried out. The most important data are noted in the project order.


In the execution it is then about the implementation of the planning in concrete measures, the processing of the tasks and the cooperation in the project team.


This is followed by project controlling in the fourth phase, control. This includes the TARGET-ACTUAL comparison, the overview of project progress and status as well as problem identification. Transparent and regular communication is particularly important here so that all information and data can be evaluated.


In conclusion, summarized, evaluated and learned: How did the project go? What went well What can we do better next time? If necessary, the results can also be compared with similar projects.

4. Project management in practice

Project management is a topic that many companies deal with - even if it is only for planning the Christmas party. How much project management is used in practice has something to do with the Industry and orientation of business to do.

Companies and industries

In some industries, e.g. from the craft and mechanical sectors, special project-oriented worked. Overall, project management is mainly used in the following industries:

5. Common project management methods

But how do you go about such a project now? In addition to the project management basics, there are various in practice Approaches and methods to find. If you look at the 9 sub-disciplines again, project management is a cross-sectional task. For this reason, methods from different areas are used to help.

Project management combines many disciplines

Project management demands one Sum of disciplines and tasks from other, specific areas. These include

  • Analyze and develop ideas
  • Plan and calculate
  • Control and direct
  • Lead employees and teams
  • Report and document
  • Develop strategies

There are different methods for all of these disciplines. Read more about the 10 most popular methods in project management.

6. Visualization of projects

Visualizations are a way of dealing with complex issues easy and understandable for everyone to represent. That is why graphics, drawings and symbols have become indispensable in the world of work. For example, there are three graphic representations in project management

  • the Gantt chart
  • the work breakdown structure
  • and the Kanban Board

Here you can find out more about Visualizations in project management.

The Gantt chart

As a special form of the bar chart, the Gantt chart is used for detailed timing used. It forms the duration of all tasks, their sequence and Dependencies as a predecessor / successor relationship and thus illustrates an entire project.

A special feature are the dependencies between tasks and the Milestones. This is how projects can optimally planned and adapted in the event of delays or changes to plans.

The work breakdown structure

The work breakdown structure, also known as the work breakdown structure, is often used in planning as a Basis for all further plans used because it depicts the structure of a project. All elements are mapped hierarchically in operationalizable units with their interrelationships.

The Kanban Board

As a "prime example" for agile project management the Kanban Board has a great effect despite its simple structure. Especially in the area of Task management it is a very helpful view.

With the classic columns To do, In progress and Done be tasks according to their status sorted. So you always know which tasks need to be actively completed, which ones are still planned in the future and which have been completed.

As extreme flexible approach the tasks can also be sorted according to other criteria - for example according to responsible persons or the due date. The columns can be changed or expanded accordingly.

7. Communication in the team

Communication is a very important, but often underestimated, area in project management. Failed projects can often be traced back to missing or insufficient communication in the team lead back.

According to a survey by the Munich communications consultancy Cetacea 85 percent of the interviewed project manager communication for very important, 12.6 percent for important. Project management communication is critical to that general acceptance of the project - within the company, but also outside of it.

The communication in project management is mainly for the Team collaboration important. Are all project members on the same page? Does everyone know what tasks to do? Have agreements been made? Who is the contact person for questions and how can you reach him?

8. Roles in project management

There is always a project too Teamwork and is therefore (almost) never carried out by a single person. "Inside" and "outside" a project have different roles with different functions their places.

  • Client / customer: Initiator and highest decision-making body
  • Project manager: Expert for planning and organization, has overall responsibility
  • project Manager: Head of the project team, coordinates team members and is involved in the content
  • Project staff: Do technical work
  • Stakeholders: People / groups who are affected by the project or who are interested in it

9. Success factors - that's what counts

Berlin Airport BER, Stuttgart 21, the Hamburg Elbe Philharmonic Hall. Practice shows: the rate of failed projects should not be underestimated. The Standish Group has been investigating with their CHAOS report not only a "failure" rate, but also success and failure factors in project management.

Formulation of goals

Every project should be a clear goal pursue that with its achievement also one Added value for the company Has. In this context, it is also important that the goal is set from the start and, if so, that it is not changed too often. SMART goals help with a clear formulation.

Definition of critical values

In order not to lose sight of the big goal, are Milestones important. Clear deadlines and budgets, for example, help to stay on schedule and counteract obstacles in order to minimize the risk of a holistic project failure through project controlling.

Management level

The support of the company management is absolutely necessary for a project. In general, all important people and groups should be behind the project.


In connection with the support of the management, a project needs a good infrastructure. Relevant resources, equipment and space - all of this is needed to use the potential of those involved and to successfully complete the project.

Of course there are many other factors that can determine the success or failure of a project. But the most important thing is structured management. If that is available, a lot can be achieved responds to problems in a more controlled manner become. The risk of failure is minimized. This brings us to another criterion: that Human success factor.

10. Necessary leadership skills

Management in the sense of corporate governance is made by people carried out. They should have certain skills in order to be able to lead a project optimally. In addition to technical and methodological skills, as in any other management profession, social and personal skills asked:

  • Communicative skills
  • Problem-solving orientation
  • Leadership skills
  • Initiative
  • Entrepreneurial thinking
  • Ability to work in a team
  • empathy
  • Critical ability
  • Motivation
  • flexibility

Of course, these skills are not quite enough. You also need a project manager.

11. Project manager: competencies & tasks

The Project manager is the boss of the project. He bears the greatest responsibility and is the central point of contact for stakeholders, employees and customers. The diverse activities can best be divided into four main themes: Planning the project, Organization of all project activities, Coordination of the team and Control of progress.

Tasks of the project manager

Among other things, the project manager has to create the project schedule, allocate resources, calculate costs and communicate with the team and stakeholders. He has to Assess the quality of the work and the Promote team spirit. In addition, he often takes on essential project controlling tasks if a separate area has not been created for this.

Qualification as a project manager

To the Project manager challenges include maintaining the balance between costs, quality and time expenditure - also known as the magic triangle of project management. For this reason, the skill profile of such a position is very diverse. Next social skills and soft skills a project manager must also master the required project management methods.

The qualification often occurs through economic courses like business administration, economics or industrial engineering, project management certifications and of course a lot Practical experience. Find out more about the job description and tasks of the project manager.

12. More about project management

Project management is only a common topic in companies, but is also relevant in science and education. Accordingly, there are many institutions and approaches that deal with benchmarks, fundamentals and training. This includes the ISO 21500: 2016-02 standard, which has been setting guidelines for project management as an international form since 2016.

Further contact points are the GPM German Society for Project Management and the international Project Management Institute. The latter provides its own PM approach with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide). Other approaches are Prince2 and IPMA Individual Competence Baseline (ICB).

13. Helpful project management software

Projects are Teamwork. But as the size of the groups increases, it is a challenge to keep track of things.

What is the status of individual tasks? Who has which deadlines? Are you still within the time frame? Are there any delays?

In order to be able to keep an eye on these complex processes more easily and to make teamwork easier, more and more companies are making use of supporting project management tools and management software.

A central (storage) location to which everyone involved has access enables more structured, flexible work and saves time and effort a. Especially with recurring processes automation through a program makes sense for companies.

Above all, one should pay attention to which ones Features especially for your own projects are necessary.

  • How far should teamwork and communication be the focus?
  • Which project views are important?
  • Is professional performance recording necessary?
  • Where do you want your data to be hosted?

Is the right tool For digital project management only found and if it is lived by the team, even complex and confusing projects can be managed at any time. And best of all: there is more time for the really important tasks in the project, the Workflow is optimized in the long term and projects can be implemented successfully.

Choosing the right tool

In order to be able to use the advantages of a project management tool, companies must first find the tool that suits you. With over 750 providers, this selection is not easy to make.

It is best to go systematically in 4 steps in front:

  1. analysis
  2. conditions
  3. Software testing
  4. implementation

Step 1: the analysis

How do you actually stand there? Before you even think about functions and providers, you should read about the current situation in the company get clear.

How is project management currently organized? Where is there development potential? In which departments or areas do you need support? Where and for what exactly should software be used? A Employee survey can be extremely helpful in this case.

Step 2: the requirements

During the analysis, many requirements for the new software come together, which must first be prioritized in any case. In addition to relevant functions, you should also include framework conditions - data protection, server location, customer service, costs. At Capterra there is also an overview of the right project management stack that helps with the assessment and search.

Step 3: test the software

The third step should go from theory to practice. Are the employees able to use the selected tool? Are there still difficulties? Or does the software not work optimally in the processes after all?

These tests should be carried out by a Group of employees which should actually work with the tool later. They can best judge what they need.

Step 4: the implementation

The last step is the long-term introduction of the new software. Above all, the Employees getting used to it be supported in the daily use of the tool. Communication and information as well as the offer of support (training courses, workshops, ...) are particularly important. Goal is one basic acceptance the software.

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What does project management mean?

Project management refers to the planning, implementation, control and testing of complex, scheduled and sometimes risky projects. The tasks of project management include, among other things, the definition of goals, the development of a strategy, the allocation of resources and the management of employees. → Learn more

What sub-areas are there in project management?

The project management is usually assigned to 9 sub-areas. These are the disciplines of integration, scope, time, cost, quality, personnel, communication, risk and procurement management. → Learn more

Which phases does a project go through?

Usually projects are divided into 4 or 5 phases. Phases include preparation, planning, execution, and completion. In the case of a five-part division, the control phase usually comes before the conclusion. → Learn more

What roles are there in project management?

Many different parties with different roles are involved in project management. This includes the client, the project manager, the individual employees, but also important stakeholders or managers. → Learn more