What are the Principles of Project Management?

Project Management is defined as “the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.” The biggest challenge in project management is to make sure that all goals and objectives of the project are achieved while taking into consideration the pre-defined constraints. The basic project management principles take into account constraints such as time, quality, budget and the scope of the project.

Basic Principles of Project Management

There are essentially 7 project management principles that you should know about.

1. Focus on Products

The client or the customer for whom the project has been developed should have a clear idea of what they require and how they want the deliverables to be. They should be realistic about their expectations. When the client is clear about what they want or expect from the project, things become a lot easier for the managers in charge.

2. Continued Business Justification

There has to be a business justification behind every project. All projects should provide the company with a decent return on investment which makes it worth the effort, time and investment that goes into it. There are occasions when the circumstances in the industry or in the market change during the life cycle of the project, which affect the return on investment. A decision has to be taken at such a time, whether to continue with the project or not.

principles of project management

4. Manage by Exception

The sponsor of the project or the owner of the company should not be too concerned with the tiny details and they should not try to micro-manage everything. They should let the managers take charge and make the decisions within a set of pre-decided constraints. Only when the problem or issue becomes critical should it be escalated to the sponsor.

5. Manage by Stages

The project should be broken down into smaller sub-projects or stages. At the end of each stage, the sponsor of the project makes a critical decision on how to proceed further. The idea is to commit to just one stage at a time.

6. Learn from Experience

It is one of the most important principles of project management that the manager and those involved with the project should not repeat the same mistakes every time. They should analyze what went wrong with the previous projects they worked on and learn from the lessons while planning the next project. They must not repeat past errors.

7. Tailor to the Environment

Any project management framework or methodology should be based on the specific requirements of the project. The project should be customized accordingly. The managers should never follow a methodology without considering the environment that they are operating in and the type and amount of work required. For example, a project with a time frame of 1 year should be based on a different methodology compared to one required to be done in 3 weeks.


These are the 7 project management principles that every organization should incorporate into their processes. They are absolutely essential for the success of any project. You may learn these principles and a lot about project management, in the certified project manager, CPME project management certification, and project management diploma, which are offered 100% online by AIMS.

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