What is project management?
Project management is the skill of managing and applying resources, tools and processes to produce results within a set of requirements, time and constraints.
What is a project?
A project is a unique and temporary endeavour to produce a product or service. Temporary means every project begin and end. Unique means the result of the project differs in some way from all other products or services.
Projects and Operations
Organizations either have project or operations and in a lot of cases both overlap. They both executed by people under limited resources measured to different metrices. The difference between operation and project is on their nature of frequency. Projects are unique (as mentioned above) which aim to achieve as specific goal while operations are ongoing, repetitive and meant to sustain the business.
Projects are expected to produce results within a set of objectives using resources such as time, money, logistics, people, etc. Above all, project should produce results that would make the business better through implementation of business changes.
Types of projects
High Impact – High impact projects affect the entire organization either in short-term and long-term goal or both. This is a high risk project whose effect could be detrimental to the organization as a whole.
Medium Impact – The impact of the project is limited to the department or specific areas of the company and the risk associated for this project is at medium levels.
Operational – Low risk projects that only result in productivity measurements.
Project management maturity
This pertains to the level of processes and repeatable assets that can be used to help the project become successful. Carnegie Mellon University has developed the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) which helps projects put processes throughout the lifecycle using proven methodologies and processes that can be repeated within the current project.
The project manager
Refer to the individual assigned to manage the project. He is responsible to make sure that the project delivers the expected requirement on time and on budget. He is responsible to handle the customer, stakeholders, team, resource allocation, budget, output, etc. He makes sure all component of the project run as expected to contribute to the success of the project.
Triple threat of project management
Known as the Project Management Triangle, projects have to be completed within scope, time and budget which are significant in the failure and success of a project. Scope refers to deliverable requirements of a client, time pertains to the length of project from start to finish, and budget is the amount of resources allocated (people, time value of people, equipment, etc.).
The Project Lifecycle
Conceptualization – This is the stage when a business need is identified and conceptualization of the solution is formulated. This is the time when evidence and business cases are presented to the higher management to seek approval to undertake a project.
Planning – When the project is approved a team is assigned to work on different roles within the project. Detailed design of the project is done to serve as a blueprint for each member, the team and the organization.
Implementation – When the detailed design is complete, each module or task is implemented to completion. Metrices are put in place to monitor quality, deliverables, resources, etc.
Post-Implementation – Post implementation is the time to measure factors to determine if the project has produced results that help the business. Follow-ups, surveys, and different types of assessment are conducted. Support to the business owner for vague parts of the implementation is handled in this phase.
Termination – When all deliverables have been met, the project team, stakeholders, business process owners meet to discuss what transpired throughout the project phases. The objective of termination is know what where the best practices done and things the team could improve in future projects. Signing-off of contracts, turnover of equipments, archiving of documents, etc. are accomplished in this phase.
Components of project management
Integration management – Ensure all parts of the project are in synch with each other working as one. The most important part of IM is the integrated change control which manages the impact whenever parts of the project change.
Scope management – Making sure the project team is working on the requirement agreed upon and nothing more than that. Signed-off documents is an integral part of maintaining a definite scope for the project, nevertheless, change control should be at the core of the scope in the entire project management lifecycle.
Time management – The modules of the project is tracked to completion on dates agreed to meet the deadline of the final deliverable. Schedule monitoring is the most important part of this component because a slide in schedule in any part of the project means something is wrong.
Cost management – Accounts every expense made by the project so that the engagement does not exceed the amount allocated for.
Quality management – Quality assurance and control are set in place to deliverable output that would satisfy the client needs. The three important components of quality management are planning, assurance and control.
Human resource management – Manage issues, health, happiness of everyone in the team to ensure they deliver and remain an asset to the project. Planning and preparation for unexpected movement of people should also be in place. There should be something in place to determine how members feel towards the project and the company. Knowing members’ status play the single most important role to determine the need for additional resources or making changes to keep your people on the project or company.
Communications management – Manage and ensure that everyone on the team know the escalation path, and required reports to effectively communicate what’s going on with the team to the people concerned within the project.
Risk management – Analyze and identify different risks involved in the project and set plans to mitigate them. The components that make up risk management are as follows: planning, risk identification, qualitative risk analysis, quantitative risk analysis, risk response planning, and risk monitoring and control.
Logistics management – Help setup logistics that would be needed by the project for development, presentation, demo, communication, etc.
Outsourcing management – Responsible on acquiring goods or services needed by the project. This component includes planning, funding planning, selection of source, legal contract, etc.
Critical issues in project management
Getting the right people in place is one of the critical issues in a project. If the resource allocation is not what you want, PMs have to find ways to make the people within their team the right players.
Projects lose momentum. A lot of projects lose momentum after their launch, and it is very important that the PM is capable of putting the team in focus all the time.
Romantic relationship between anyone from the team, customer and stakeholders that may affect the quality of the output of the people involved.
Hot areas that ensure the success of a project
The following areas are the most significant places that make projects succeed or fail:
Clarity of goals
Support of stakeholders
Human resource competency
Adaptability on different situations
School of thought
Whatever will go wrong, will go wrong. (Murphy’s Law)
Project activities will always expand to fill the time or use the resources available. (Parkinson’s Law)
[tags]Project Management, Management[/tags]