What are Project Management Principles?

Project management principles are rules that guide successful project completion. Bassi (2016) notes that these principles help involve all organizational parts and successfully improve corporate project management. While sometimes project management principles are clearly defined, others are learnt through experiences, as was my case as a project leader within my team, and ultimately become guiding principles in future projects.

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Sometime back, students were assigned a group project that entailed creating a business plan for a new venture. The students were divided into groups, and each group was assigned a project leader. While I was privileged to lead my team through the project, I encountered several challenges I would have overcome if I knew what I know now. The most significant issue was inadequate input from the team members. Most of the team members notably failed to research the project and contributed minimally toward its completion. This problem led to delays in the project’s completion because some of the tasks were not tackled while others were not addressed on time. Finger-pointing was also a significant issue, as team members blamed each other for the project’s delays.

In hindsight, a lack of clear roles and responsibilities was the primary cause of the project’s delay and unsuccessful completion. The literature shows that project governance requires identifying and explaining individual roles and responsibilities, including decision-making, accountabilities, and authorities (Mashiloane & Jokonya, 2018). Mashiloane and Jokonya (2018) also add that effective and optimal project performance can be achieved by setting clear roles at the different organizational levels. In this case, the project’s roles and responsibilities were not defined initially, explaining the lack of accountability and poor project performance. This experience led me to develop the following guiding principle:

“Effective project managers understand the value of defining team’s roles and responsibilities to promote accountability, optimal performance, and successful project completion.”


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Bassi, A. (2016). General management principles in the project management context. International Journal of Management Science and Business Administration, 2(11), 15–21. https://ideas.repec.org/a/mgs/ijmsba/v2y2016i11p15-21.html

Mashiloane, R. E., & Jokonya, O. (2018). Investigating the challenges of project governance processes of IT projects. Procedia Computer Science, 138(1), 875–882. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2018.10.114

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