Project Management Essentials, Third Edition

A Quick and Easy Guide to the Most Important Concepts and Best Practices for Managing Your Projects Right

By William P. Athayde, Ruth Elswick, and Paul Lombard
Edited by Deborah Bigelow Crawford

Project Management Essentials, Third Edition

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-938548-09-3 / 240 pages / $24.95
ePub ISBN: 978-1-938548-10-9 / $11.99
Kindle ASIN: B011SLXZZ6 / $11.99
ePDF ISBN: 978-1-938548-11-6 / $11.99

Presents the essentials of project management for readers with little or no experience

Templates to help readers implement quickly

Concepts based on material taught by senior project management training instructors in courses worldwide

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If you’re new to project management or need to refresh your knowledge, Project Management Essentials, Third Edition is the quickest and easiest way to learn how to manage projects successfully. The concepts presented are not rocket science. They’re just common sense. The simple techniques and templates in this book provide you with the essential tools you’ll need to be an effective project manager. It’s as simple as that. Read the book and discover:

  • The key skills and knowledge you’ll need to be an effective project manager
  • How to create an effective charter to start your project off right
  • Guidelines for building a usable project plan
  • Tips for breaking your project work into manageable pieces
  • Techniques for accurately estimating project cost and schedule
  • Help in building a team and different leadership styles you might apply to manage them
  • Strategies to deal with conflict, change, uncertainty, and risk
  • How to report on the progress of the project and keep everyone concerned happy.

Project Management Essentials is purposefully written in short, clear chapters to make project management more easily understood. The authors, all valued senior faculty of PM College, bring both their business experience and their academic backgrounds to make these chapters come alive.

This updated edition offers even more templates and content than the widely used earlier editions and complies with the latest project management standard, the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition.

About the Authors

Bill Athayde - Ruth Elswick - Paul Lombard

William P. Athayde, J.D., PMP, Ruth Elswick, PMP, and Paul Lombard, PMP, CQM, are Senior Instructors with PM College. They work directly with heads of organizations, business units, and PMOs to identify organizational learning objectives, deliver relevant training content, and achieve measurable behavior changes that lead to improved performance.


Deborah Bigelow Crawford, PMP, is President of PM College and the former Executive Director of the Project Management Institute.

A division of project management consultancy PM Solutions, PM College is recognized as a Charter Global Registered Education Provider (REP®) by the Project Management Institute (PMI®).

Table of Contents

Introducing…Project Management!

1. Project Selection
2. Initiating the Project
3. Planning to Succeed
4. Project Cost and Budget
5. Project Scheduling
6. The People Side
7. Risk Management
8. Project Execution
9. Monitoring and Controlling
10. Project Closeout
11. Lessons Learned…And Used

Suggested Readings
About the Authors



What is Project Initiation?

Initiation simply means starting from the beginning with the tools that you need. Imagine a contractor arriving at a customer’s lot to start building a custom home — with no blueprints, no signed contract, no site survey, and not sure yet whether the client wants a one- or two-story house. Ludicrous? Obviously, yet many projects are started with no charter, no clear goal, no boundaries defined, no idea of who the stakeholders are, and few client requirements. Initiation simply means having all the information you need to start the project off in the right direction.

The Project Charter
Creating a project charter is the first step in the right approach to managing a project. It formally announces that a project or phase has begun. It also serves to document the initial requirements that, if met, will satisfy the stakeholder’s needs and expectations. The project charter, issued by a project sponsor, project management office, or portfolio steering committee, gives the project manager authority to apply resources to project activities. In the absence of a formal project selection process, the project manager may develop the project charter and give it to the sponsor for signature and transmission. Without this authority, the project manager may have difficulty in obtaining human resources or even funding. The important point to understand about chartering is that it links the project to the ongoing work of the organization. (See Exhibit 2-1 for a list of project charter elements with definitions and instructions on what information is needed to create the charter.)

There’s no set format for a charter; it may be a formal document, a contract, or even an e-mail. Inputs to the charter (information needed to help you create the charter) may include such items as:

  • The project statement of work, which describes the purpose of the project, work that needs to be done, what is due and when, etc.
  • The business case for undertaking the project
  • The contract for the project
  • Current enterprise environmental factors, such as the structure and culture of the organization, market conditions, and existing resources
  • Existing organizational process assets, such as formal and informal plans, processes, policies, and procedures currently used by the organization

The information gathered from these items, aided by expert judgment in assessing the inputs, will help the project manager begin documenting the business objectives and customer needs that the project is intended to satisfy and how the product, service, or result delivered will satisfy those needs. This project charter will also list the stakeholders involved in the project, outline constraints that might limit the project team’s options, and provide a detailed description of the scope of the project.


Project Name
Enter a brief name to describe the project.

Project Sponsor
This generally is the executive of the business area for which the project is being undertaken. This person is responsible for budgeting the funds to undertake the project and has final authority to approve project completion.

Business Area Project Manager
This is the primary business area liaison with the project manager. This person is responsible for the business unit’s project-related activities.

Project Manager
This is the person responsible for planning and managing the project.

Other Participants
In addition to the sponsoring business area, indicate other business groups that will have crucial project responsibilities.

Business background
Give an overview of the business reasons for the project.

Project Scope
Using business terminology, give a general description of the project scope (provide details in the following sections). Indicate both what is within the anticipated scope and what is outside the scope. Consider these topics:

  • Systems
  • Infrastructure
  • Communications
  • Business locations

Using business terminology, list specific, anticipated business objectives of the project.

List the specific, expected project deliverables and how these will meet the objectives. The deliverables should be as tangible as possible.

List factors that will limit the project team’s options. For example, a predefined budget range is a constraint that is very likely to limit the team’s options regarding project scope and staffing levels.

List factors or situations that you will assume for the purpose of project planning. For example, if the availability date of a key resource is uncertain, the team should make a reasonable assumption about the date of availability and list this as an assumed factor in the plan.

Excerpted from Project Management Essentials by William P. Athayde, Ruth Elswick, and Paul Lombard. Copyright ©2013 by Project Management Solutions, Inc. Published by Maven House Press, Palmyra, VA. Used with permission. All rights reserved.