Project Characteristics. Management Knowledge and Skills .. . Project Management Institute Overview. management skills. • Better understand how ongoing risk identification impacts a project's success. • Gain tools to assist in your firm's support. This chapter presents an overview of project management concepts. You will will improve your chances of successful project completion and management.
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Project managers find success using a structured ap- proach to project planning, scheduling, resourcing, decision making, and management. This course isn't. Publishing a book is a project, and for Successful Project Manage- ment, I was fortunate to work with a team that has the can-do attitude that every project. PDF | With project managers in short supply and increasing pressures to identify potential project staff internally within the organisation, more.
Opportunities for improvement must be found quickly to influence project performance. Project Management. Next step: The project risk plan reflects the risk profile of the project and balances the investment of the mitigation against the benefit for the project. From the WBS, a project plan is developed. Once you have a list of stakeholder needs, prioritize them and set specific project goals. In the planning meeting, they set the goals for the upcoming sprint and select a subset of the product backlog proposed stories to work on.
What are the specific outputs you're expected to produce? Next, estimate due dates for each deliverable in your project plan.
You can finalize these dates when you sit down to define your project schedule in the next step. Set firm milestones for essential deadlines and deliverables.
You'll be able to track your progress once work begins to ensure you complete tasks on time and keep stakeholders happy. Look at each deliverable and define the series of tasks that must be completed to accomplish each one. For each task , determine the amount of time it will take, the resources necessary, and who will be responsible for execution.
Next, identify any dependencies. Do you need to complete certain tasks before others can begin? Input deliverables, dependencies, and milestones into your Gantt chart , or choose from the many online templates and apps available.
What are you waiting for? Involve your team in the planning process. The people performing the work have important insights into how tasks get done, how long they'll take, and who's the best person to tackle them. Draw on their knowledge! You'll need them to agree with the project schedule and set expectations for work to run smoothly. No project is risk-free. Are there any issues you know of upfront that will affect the project planning process, like a key team member's upcoming vacation?
What unforeseen circumstances could create hiccups? Think international holidays, backordered parts, or busy seasons. When developing a project plan, consider the steps you should take to either prevent certain risks from happening, or limit their negative impact. Conduct a risk assessment and develop a risk management strategy to make sure you're prepared.
Tackle high-risk items early in your project timeline, if possible. Or create a small "time buffer" around the task to help keep your project on track in the event of a delay. Explain how your plan addresses stakeholders' expectations, and present your solutions to any conflicts. Make sure your presentation isn't one-sided. Have an open discussion with stakeholders instead. Next, you need to determine roles: Who needs to see which reports, and how often? Which decisions will need to be approved, and by whom?
Housing all project plan data in a single location, like a collaboration tool , makes it easy to track progress, share updates, and make edits without filling your calendar with meetings. Communicate clearly. Make sure stakeholders know exactly what's expected of them, and what actions they need to take.
Just because it's obvious to you doesn't mean it's obvious to them! Not looking forward to having an open discussion with your stakeholders?
Here are some strategies to arm yourself against difficult stakeholders to keep the project planning process moving forward. Rather than telling stakeholders their expectation or request is unrealistic, tell them what's required to make it happen, including how much time, money, or manpower.
Let them decide if it's worth dedicating the extra resources. Congratulations, you've completed your project plan! Next step: Schedule a project kickoff meeting. Now the real work begins. Setting the right tone in the kickoff meeting can make or break your project. Follow our step project kickoff checklist to start your project on the right foot. Ready to build your project plan? Gantt charts are a staple tool in project management.
They've achieved this status One of the most common trends on projects is the incremental expansion in the project scope. Increasing the scope of the project is a common occurrence, and adjustments are made to the project budget and schedule to account for these changes.
Scope creep occurs when these changes are not recognized or not managed. The ability of a project manager to identify potential changes is often related to the quality of the scope documents. Events do occur that require the scope of the project to change. Changes in the marketplace may require change in a product design or the timing of the product delivery.
Changes in the project schedule, budget, or product quality will have an effect on the project plan. Generally, the later in the project the change occurs, the greater the increase to the project costs. The project manager also analyzes the cost and schedule impact of these changes and adjusts the project plan to reflect the changes authorized by the client. Changes to the scope can cause costs to increase or decrease. The definition of project success often includes completing the project on time.
The development and management of a project schedule that will complete the project on time is a primary responsibility of the project manager, and completing the project on time requires the development of a realistic plan and the effective management of the plan. On smaller projects, project managers may lead the development of the project plan and build a schedule to meet that plan. On larger and more complex projects, a project controls team that focuses on both costs and schedule planning and controlling functions will assist the project management team in developing the plan and tracking progress against the plan.
To develop the project schedule, the project team does an analysis of the project scope, contract, and other information that helps the team define the project deliverables. The milestone schedule establishes key dates throughout the life of a project that must be met for the project to finish on time. The key dates are often established to meet contractual obligations or established intervals that will reflect appropriate progress for the project.
For less complex projects, a milestone schedule may be sufficient for tracking the progress of the project. For more complex projects, a more detailed schedule is required.
Although the project scope is the primary document for developing the WBS, the WBS incorporates all project deliverables and reflects any documents or information that clarifies the project deliverables. From the WBS, a project plan is developed.
The project plan lists the activities that are needed to accomplish the work identified in the WBS. The more detailed the WBS, the more activities that are identified to accomplish the work.
After the project team identifies the activities, the team sequences the activities according to the order in which the activities are to be accomplished. The logic diagram represents the logical sequence of the activities needed to complete the project.
The next step in the planning process is to develop an estimation of the time it will take to accomplish each activity or the activity duration. Some activities must be done sequentially, and some activities can be done concurrently.
The planning process creates a project schedule by scheduling activities in a way that effectively and efficiently uses project resources and completes the project in the shortest time. On larger projects, several paths are created that represent a sequence of activities from the beginning to the end of the project. If the critical path takes less time than is allowed by the client to complete the project, the project has a positive total float or project slack. Understanding and managing activities on the critical path is an important project management skill.
To successfully manage a project, the project manager must also know how to accelerate a schedule to compensate for unanticipated events that delay critical activities. Compressing—crashing—the schedule is a term used to describe the techniques used to shorten the project schedule.
During the life of the project, scheduling conflicts often occur, and the project manager is responsible for reducing these conflicts while maintaining project quality and meeting cost goals. The definition of project success often includes completing the project within budget.
Developing and controlling a project budget that will accomplish the project objectives is a critical project management skill. Although clients expect the project to be executed efficiently, cost pressures vary on projects. On some projects, the project completion or end date is the largest contributor to the project complexity. The development of a new drug to address a critical health issue, the production of a new product that will generate critical cash flow for a company, and the competitive advantage for a company to be first in the marketplace with a new technology are examples of projects with schedule pressures that override project costs.
The accuracy of the project budget is related to the amount of information known by the project team. In the early stages of the project, the amount of information needed to develop a detailed budget is often missing. To address the lack of information, the project team develops different levels of project budget estimates.
The major input into the conceptual estimate is expert knowledge or past experience. A project manager who has executed a similar project in the past can use those costs to estimate the costs of the current project. Additional information such as the approximate square feet of a building, the production capacity of a plant, and the approximate number of hours needed to develop a software program can provide a basis for providing a ROM estimate.
After a project design is more complete, a project detailed estimate can be developed. A detailed estimate is not a bid. The cost of the project is tracked relative to the progress of the work and the estimate for accomplishing that work.
Based on the cost estimate, the cost of the work performed is compared against the cost budgeted for that work. If the cost is significantly higher or lower, the project team explores reasons for the difference between expected costs and actual costs. Project costs may deviate from the budget because the prices in the marketplace were different from what was expected.
For example, the estimated costs for lumber on a housing project may be higher than budgeted or the hourly cost for labor may be lower than budgeted.
Project costs may also deviate based on project performance.
The project team captures the deviation between costs budgeted for work and the actual cost for work, revises the estimate as needed, and takes corrective action if the deviation appears to reflect a trend. The project manager is responsible for assuring that the project team develops cost estimates based on the best information available and revises those estimates as new or better information becomes available.
The project manager is also responsible for tracking costs against the budget and conducting an analysis when project costs deviate significantly from the project estimate. The project manager then takes appropriate corrective action to ensure that project performance matches the revised project plan.
Project quality focuses on the end product or service deliverables that reflect the purpose of the project. The project manager is responsible for developing a project execution approach that provides for a clear understanding of the expected project deliverables and the quality specifications.
The project manager of a housing construction project not only needs to understand which rooms in the house will be carpeted but also what grade of carpet is needed. A room with a high volume of traffic will need a high-grade carpet. The project manager is responsible for developing a project quality plan that defines the quality expectations and ensures that the specifications and expectations are met.
Developing a good understanding of the project deliverables through documenting specifications and expectations is critical to a good quality plan. The processes for ensuring that the specifications and expectations are met are integrated into the project execution plan. Just as the project budget and completion dates may change over the life of a project, the project specifications may also change.
Changes in quality specifications are typically managed in the same process as cost or schedule changes.
The impact of the changes is analyzed for impact on cost and schedule, and with appropriate approvals, changes are made to the project execution plan. The material found in this chapter would be similar to material found in a good operational management text. Although any of the quality management techniques designed to make incremental improvement to work processes can be applied to a project work process, the character of a project unique and relatively short in duration makes small improvements less attractive on projects.
Rework on projects, as with manufacturing operations, increases the cost of the product or service and often increases the time needed to complete the reworked activities. Because of the duration constraints of a project, the development of the appropriate skills, materials, and work processes early in the project is critical to project success.
On more complex projects, time is allocated to developing a plan to understand and develop the appropriate levels of skills and work processes.
Project management organizations that execute several similar types of projects may find process improvement tools useful in identifying and improving the baseline processes used on their projects.
Process improvement tools may also be helpful in identifying cost and schedule improvement opportunities. Opportunities for improvement must be found quickly to influence project performance. The investment in time and resources to find improvements is greatest during the early stages of the project, when the project is in the planning stages.
During later project stages, as pressures to meet project schedule goals increase, the culture of the project is less conducive to making changes in work processes. Another opportunity for applying process improvement tools is on projects that have repetitive processes. A housing contractor that is building several identical houses may benefit from evaluating work processes in the first few houses to explore the opportunities available to improve the work processes.
Staffing the project with the right skills, at the right place, and at the right time is an important responsibility of the project management team. The project usually has two types of team members: The functional managers and team focus on the technology of the project. On a construction project, the functional managers would include the engineering manager and construction superintendents.
On a training project, the functional manager would include the professional trainers; on an information technology project, the software development managers would be functional managers.
The project management team also includes project process managers. The project controls team would include process managers who have expertise in estimating, cost tracking, planning, and scheduling. The project manager needs functional and process expertise to plan and execute a successful project. Because projects are temporary, the staffing plan for a project typically reflects both the long-term goals of skilled team members needed for the project and short-term commitment that reflects the nature of the project.
Exact start and end dates for team members are often negotiated to best meet the needs of individuals and the project. The staffing plan is also determined by the different phases of the project. Team members needed in the early or conceptual phases of the project are often not needed during the later phases or project closeout phases. Each phase has staffing requirements, and the staffing of a complex project requires detailed planning to have the right skills, at the right place, at the right time.
Typically a core project management team is dedicated to the project from start-up to closeout. This core team would include members of the project management team: Although longer projects may experience more team turnover than shorter projects, it is important on all projects to have team members who can provide continuity through the project phases.
For example, on a large commercial building project, the civil engineering team that designs the site work where the building will be constructed would make their largest contribution during the early phases of the design. The civil engineering lead would bring on different civil engineering specialties as they were needed. As the civil engineering work is completed and the structural engineering is well underway, a large portion of the civil engineers would be released from the project.
The functional managers, the engineering manager, and civil engineering lead would provide expertise during the entire length of the project, addressing technical questions that may arise and addressing change requests. Project team members can be assigned to the project from a number of different sources. The organization that charters the project can assign talented managers and staff from functional units within the organization, contract with individuals or agencies to staff positions on the project, temporarily hire staff for the project, or use any combination of these staffing options.
This staffing approach allows the project manager to create the project organizational culture. Some project cultures are more structured and detail oriented, and some are less structured with less formal roles and communication requirements.
The type of culture the project manager creates depends greatly on the type of project. Completing a complex project successfully requires teamwork, and teamwork requires good communication among team members.
Communicating can be divided into two categories: If all the parties to the communication are taking part in the exchange at the same time, the communication is synchronous. A telephone conference call is an example of synchronous communication. When the participants are not interacting at the same time, the communication is asynchronous. The letter a at the beginning of the word means not. Communications technologies require a variety of compatible devices, software, and service providers, and communication with a global virtual team can involve many different time zones.
Establishing effective communications requires a communications plan. Risk exists on all projects. The role of the project management team is to understand the kinds and levels of risks on the project and then to develop and implement plans to mitigate these risks. Risk represents the likelihood that an event will happen during the life of the project that will negatively affect the achievement of project goals.
The type and amount of risk varies by industry type, complexity, and phase of the project. The project risk plan will also reflect the risk profile of the project manager and key stakeholders. People have different comfort levels with risk, and some members of the project team will be more risk averse than others.
The first step in developing a risk management plan involves identifying potential project risks. Some risks are easy to identify, such as the potential for a damaging storm in the Caribbean, and some are less obvious.
Many industries or companies have risk checklists developed from past experience.