Project Management from A to Z: definition, tools and software

Project management is an increasingly important skill required by companies. In this article you will find the definition of project management, its advantages and the different roles. You have an overview of the five phases in which a project is divided,  the different methodologies and what to look for in a project management software.


Whatis project management

Project management consists of applying a set of techniques, tools and knowledge to the activities that make up a project, supervising all its phases and supporting the teams involved in carrying out the various tasks. The aim is to achieve the objectives set respecting time, resources, budget constraints, but also relating to the desired quality of the final output.

Since ancient times, man has had the need to face complex projects, but it is only in the modern era that the systematic management of projects has assumed an essential role for the development and success of companies. Tools and techniques of the most modern project management began to spread in the 1950s and subsequently the discipline became a recognizable methodology, with the birth of the project management Institute.

In recent years the way of working has changed further and requires much more collaboration, as a result the discipline has become more flexible and accessible to all thanks to the development of numerous project management software.

Summarizing what has been seen so far, three pillars of project management can be identified:

  • People: People are at the center of projects, so collaboration within the team is essential.
  • Processes: within a project, processes must be set up, planned, executed, monitored and the results disseminated. Those who work on processes must be able to devise them, but also to modify them when necessary.
  • Technology: the technology useful for the realization of the project can be developed within the company or acquired from outside. The tools that can be used are numerous and varied, from simple tools to real project management software.


The advantages of project management

Better collaboration thanks to clear and organized plans

As mentioned, collaboration between team members is one of the pillars on which project management is based. One way to ensure collaboration is to make sure that each person involved in the project has a clear understanding of the activities to be carried out. To do this, it is essential to have a detailed plan in which specific objectives are formalized and a series of intermediate stages to be achieved over time. Not setting intermediate goals makes it harder for the team to work productively toward the end goal.

More clarity with well-defined roles

For a project to proceed at its best, there must be a figure who coordinates all activities. In more structured companies, this is usually the responsibility of the project manager, in other cases of the figures who simply follow the project as it relates to their scope of activity. In both cases it is important that everyone is informed about who is the project manager and what are the responsibilities of each one. The project manager must monitor the progress of work and regularly share updates.

Greater efficiency thanks to defined objectives

Setting specific, clear and shared objectives with everyone allows you to motivate the team and ensure that your efforts are focused on the necessary activities and not on unnecessary ones.

Risk management

Another advantage given by project management is the possibility of foreseeing dangers and problems that could stand in the way of the implementation of the project. Once again, the planning of the project is fundamental, which, if done taking into account all the constraints, can help to significantly reduce risks.


The five stages of project management


In the start-up phase of the project, the team meets to turn an abstract idea into a concrete goal to be achieved. The team involved identifies the scope of the project and creates a project charter, a document that collects the details of the project:

  • Objectives;
  • Requirements;
  • Expected results and criteria for evaluating them;
  • Time limits;
  • Budget;
  • Activities that make up the project.

Depending on the complexity and scope, it may be useful to create a project roadmap, that is, an overview of the project to never lose sight of goals and objectives.


In the planning phase, the project plan comes to life and the activities to be carried out are defined in detail, together with requirements and criteria for their success. It is a rather substantial phase of project management, which can take up half of the total time spent on the project.

The working group identifies technical requirements, develops a detailed program, creates a communication plan with stakeholders, and defines objectives and outcomes.

Another element to be taken care of in this phase is risk mitigation, a task for the project manager, who through data analysis must identify potential risks and develop a strategy to reduce them.


The main phase of the project, in which the team collaborates to carry out the activities necessary to achieve the objectives. In this phase, the project manager establishes workflows to manage resources, time and activities so that the entire team is always coordinated and updated.

It is important that at this stage there is always collaboration and communication between stakeholders, so that everyone is always up to date. A great help in this regard comes from collaboration software that not only makes the task easier, but also improves team efficiency and productivity.

Monitoring and control

As activities are carried out it is important to monitor them to check that they proceed according to plan and identify deviations in a timely manner through KPI monitoring. Precisely for this reason, the monitoring and control phases are not sequential to the previous ones, but take place simultaneously with the execution of the project. It is not only the activities themselves that should be checked, but also the time and budget aspects. The monitoring is done through a document called “progress status of the works”.


The last phase of the project consists of the closure of all activities, leading to the end of the project and the final delivery. It is a good idea for the teams involved to hold a final reflection meeting to evaluate and analyse the results and failures. Taking stock of “lessons learned” is a good way to ensure continuous improvement in the company.

Project management methodologies



Agile Methodology

The Agile methodology was born in the field of software development at the beginning of 2000, and then extended and applied to other sectors, becoming the most widespread for project management. Managing a project in an Agile way means using an approach:

  • Collaborative;
  • Fast;
  • Effective;
  • Based on data;
  • More important to people.

You work on one iteration at a time receiving a steady stream of feedback. Once the iteration is finished, it is sent to the customer and the result is modified based on the feedback.

The approach, as a result, is less structured since more importance is given to the ability to respond to a change, rather than diligently following a plan. The approach is focused on the objective of delivering the result quickly to the customer, also reducing costs and project implementation times.

Waterfall methodology

The Waterfall methodology, or cascade, is a traditional method, born around the 1970s and whose popularity has decreased over time in favor of other more agile methodologies. It provides for a process to achieve a linear project life cycle, structured in the following sequential phases:

  • Requirements
    analysis: Requirements are analyzed and included in a document on which future developments will be based. The phase also includes a study on the feasibility of the project.
  • Design: the activities that make up the project are established;
  • Development: the phase in which the concrete activities are carried out;
  • Testing: tests are carried out to detect any problems to be solved;
  • Release: The final output of the project can be shared.

From each of these phases comes an output that becomes the input of the next phase. As a result, you cannot move on to the next step until you have finished the previous one.

The Waterfall methodology is suitable for large teams, which benefit from the more detailed structure. However, precisely because of this rigorous process, customer feedback may come too late. This is why it is best suited in situations where the customer has clear ideas about what they want from the start.

Prince2 Methodology

Prince2 is one of the most popular international standards for project management at the moment. The methodology is focused on management and control, in fact Prince2 is nothing more than the acronym for projects IN controlled environments.

Its goal is to provide a framework that allows you to maintain control over the project throughout its life cycle. The methodology is based on some principles that focus on the definition of roles and responsibilities, the verification of alignment with strategic decision-makers, phased management and learning from experience.

Prince2 is a very flexible methodology that can be applied to any project, regardless of type, size and organisation.


Roles in project management

Project Manager

The Project Manager is the company figure with the task of coordinating the life cycle of the project in its entirety, managing both operational and relational aspects. The operational aspects mainly concern organizing the project, assigning resources to activities, monitoring progress and preventing risks. From a relational point of view, it has an important task in creating interpersonal relationships between the members of the team assigned to the project.

The main skills required of a project manager are:

  • Techniques: a project manager must know the principles of the discipline and be able to apply tools and methodologies.
  • Leadership: they concern all the skills related to the management of people and the care of relational relationships in the team.
  • Strategic and Business Management: to be able to guide the project and keep it aligned with the company’s strategy and objectives.

Project Team

The project team consists of several members, each with different personal and technical characteristics, who collaborate to achieve common goals. Depending on the complexity of the project and what is required, the team can be divided into subgroups, which are considered more effective than larger groups.

The team is created for a limited period of time, during which the different members can be involved on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on the role and phase of the project. After all the activities are over, the team dissolves. Teams are led by Project Managers.

Project Sponsor

The project sponsor is the person in a company who makes the decision to start a certain project. They can come from different departments and hold the role of technical manager or be a salesperson.

The sponsor appoints a project manager and supports them in some organisational aspects, such as in communications with top management or other managers. In addition, it takes care of acquiring the necessary budget and intervenes in the decision-making process in the event of changes during the course of the project.

The sponsor has the utmost interest that the project is carried out in the best possible way, for this reason he ensures that the project is compatible with the company strategy, keeps up to date on progress and monitors the project and its compliance with what is expected throughout the life cycle.


The stakeholders of a project are all those who have an interest in the project being carried out, both inside and outside the company. This group therefore includes the project manager, sponsor, team members, service providers and final recipients.

Usually, during the start-up phase of the project, one of the first activities done by the project manager is to identify all the stakeholders and actively involve them, so that they are involved and make positive contributions throughout the project.

However, not all stakeholders collaborate constructively on the project. There are also negative stakeholders, who hinder activities or avoid collaborating. These need to be handled even more carefully.


Project management tools

As already mentioned, project management has spread in companies in parallel with the increase in team collaboration and the responsibilities of those who have to manage them. As a result, project management has become an essential skill. At the same time, project management tools have been developed that adapt to people’s needs and help put into practice all the procedures necessary for optimal project management.

There are many options on the market. The choice, in addition to your own needs, should be based on some basic general considerations. First, you should choose a centralized tool used by all team members to facilitate collaboration, centralize information in one place, and increase visibility. In fact, it very often happens that in teams a considerable part of daily time is lost in unnecessary activities, such as alignment meetings, searching for documents or waiting for approvals. Instead, project management tools allow you to keep people aligned on ongoing activities and responsibilities.

This is made possible by some elements that facilitate the visualization of all this information. For example:

  • Calendar: to view all planned activities every day, divided by type.
  • Gantt: to view the project history and schedule in detail of the tasks, even in the case of multiple projects managed at the same time.


Project management software

Ultimately, a project management software should be collaborative, have an intuitive interface and allow you to manage resources strategically. CyberPlan RSP addresses all of these features, helping teams work more productively and covering all aspects of project management.

Learn how to improve team and project management with CyberPlan RSP.


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