Project Management

The 4 Elements of Project Management

Let’s get back to basics. As Marie Larsen writes for, human beings have been engaged in project management to some capacity since the dawn of prehistory. Only in recent times have we designated PM as a specialization and a complex science. Therefore, let us travel through time to identify the four most elemental aspects of the activity we now call project management.

Resources (Fire)

In the beginning there was money. Without resources, the proverbial life blood of the project, nothing is achieved. Aside from money; team members, managers, software, and equipment can also be considered assets to fuel the project’s fire.

Documentation (Earth)

Memory is a flimsy and ineffectual place to store pertinent information about a project. What you need is accurate info that is etched into the very bedrock of your operation, so that stakeholders and team members have a reliable place to ground their plans and expectations.

Status (Air)

As project manager, you must circulate like the trade winds among team members, collecting information and passing it along to others. Like a sparrow in the clouds, you must navigate the project domain, monitoring the progress of its ever-changing landscape.

Team Quality (Water)

Having the right team that is responsive and flexible goes a long way toward achieving project excellence. If the overall project doesn’t flow, or a member doesn’t fit to the mold of their respective position, it may be time to tap into a new well of talent.

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Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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