Project Management

According to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (Project Management Institute, 2008) project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the requirements of a particular project.  In this case a project is   

a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end which is usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables as well.

Though framed in a different language than that generally used in academia, this is a very accurate description of one of the main functions of research scientists.  The research project may be small scale (answering a single scientific question via focused data analysis) or large scale (conducting wide-area astronomical surveys), it may involve a handful of researchers or very large international collaborations.  Regardless of the specific details, as a scientist my primary task is to conceptualize, propose, execute, and complete multiple, simultaneous research projects.

The graphic below illustrates the five main process groups involved in project management.  On the following pages I will make detailed connections between these process groups and the tasks involved in taking a scientific project from conception to completion, briefly touching on some of the project management knowledge areas along the way.


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