1.Introduction to Project Management

1.1 What is a project

1.2 What is PM

1.3 Project life cycle & organisation

1.1. What is a project

Temporary and specific endeavour to create a new product / service or any result.

Examples: Dev of a project, a marketing campaign, a wedding plan.

  • It’s outside of the ‘normal business operations’
  • It consumes resources (people / cash / material / time) and works within certain defined limits.
  • It has definite beginning and end (hence temporary) and ends when the objectives are achieved or terminated.
  • Terminated = when they either can’t be achieved or are no longer needed.
  • A major defining characteristic of a project is progressive elaboration, which means developing in steps
  • Project stages differ based on the industry.

More on project stages:

GENERAL industry-independent high-level stages:

DEFINING THE PROBLEM > WEIGHING OPTIONS > CHOOSING A PATH > IMPLEMENTATION > EVALUATION

Example from engineering:

INITIATION > PLANNING + DESIGN > EXECUTION + CONSTRUCTION > MONITOR + CONTROL > COMPLETION

Example from software:

  • In software development, the waterfall model is an approach used where one series of tasks comes after another in a linear sequence.
  • This works for small, well-defined projects but needs to be replaced in large, undefined and ambiguous projects.  
  • Many orgs have undertaken RUP (Rational Unified Process) to fit their methodology.

1. INITIATION:

Analyse the key controls and the business environment.

Should have:

  • Analysing the business needs and requirements as measurable goals
  • Reviewing the current operations
  • Financial analysis of costs and benefits including a budget
  • Stakeholder analysis, user analysis, support personnel analysis
  • Project charter including costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedule

2. PLANNING + DESIGN:

Plan time, cost, resources to estimate work needed to manage risks during execution.

Should have:

  • Determining how to plan
  • Developing scope statement
  • Selecting the planning team
  • Identifying deliverables and creates the WBS (Work breakdown structure)
  • Identifying activités needed to complete the deliverables + networking the activities in their logical sequence
  • Estimating the resource requirements for the activities
  • Estimating time + cost for activities
  • Developing the schedule
  • Developing the budget
  • Risk planning
  • Acquiring formal approval to begin work

3. EXECUTION:

Involves coordinating people + resources, integration and performing activities as per the plan. Deliverables are produced as outputs from the processes performed.

4. MONITOR + CONTROL:

Processes to observe execution so potential problems can be identified in a timely manner + corrective action can be taken

Should have:

  • Measuring ongoing project activities (where we are)
  • Monitoring project variables (cost / effort / scope) against the PM plan and PM baseline (where we should be)
  • Identify corrective actions to address issues and risks (how to get on track again)
  • Influencing the factors that could circumvent integrated change control so only approved changes are implemented

In multi-phase projects, the monitoring + control also provides FEEDBACK between project phases.

Project maintenance is on ongoing process which includes:

  • Continuing support of end-users
  • Correction of errors (Corrective maintenance)
  • Updates of the software over time

Change management:

  • Over the course, scope changes due to multiple reasons, and change needs to be documented and recorded.
  • When changes are introduced, the viability of the project is to be re-assessed, so as to not lose sight of initial goals and targets.
  • Due to changes, the forecasted result may not justify the original proposal.

5. CLOSING / COMPLETION:

A formal acceptance of the project as the end.

Should have:

  • Project close: Finalize all activities across all the process groups to formally close
  • Contract Closure: Complete and settle each contract (including resolution of open items)

1.2 What is PM?

When a project team applies knowledge, skill, tools + techniques to project activities to meet project requirements -it’s called PM.

The process includes INITIATION > PLANNING > EXECUTION > MONITOR + CONTROL > CLOSING

Managing a project involves:

  • Identifying requirements
  • Est. clear + achievable objectives
  • Balancing competing demands for quality, scope, time and cost
  • Adapting to specs, planned approach to different concerns and expectations of stakeholders

THE TRIPLE CONSTRAINTS: SCOPE, TIME & COST. A perfect project balances all 3 without affecting the quality.

The characteristics of a high-quality project are:

  • Deliver the required product / service / result
  • Deliver the project within scope
  • Deliver the project within time
  • Deliver the project within budget

RISK:

Apart from the constraints, uncertainty is a major hurdle and handling risk is hence a major influencing factor in the success or failure of a project.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Responsibilities of a PM team:

  • Stakeholders
  • Customers / Users
  • Organisation
  • Public

CATEGORIES:

Project application areas are categories of projects having common elements.

 Projects can be categorised by:

  • Disciplines (like legal, logistics, production, etc)
  • Technology (like software development)
  • Management specialisation (like government contracting, community development, etc)
  • Industry (like automotive, chemical, etc)

STANDARDS VS REGULATIONS:

  • Each application area has accepted standard and practices often codified in regulations.
  • The ISO defines a standard as ‘a document established by consensus and approved by a recognised body that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines, or characteristics for activities and their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.
  • A regulation, on the other hand, is a government-imposed requirement which specifies product process or service characteristics including admin provisions and other mandatory compliances.

APPLICATION:

Project management can be applied to any area or function like:

People, staffing and management, Products and services, Manufacturing and production, IT and communications, Plants and equipment, Distribution, storage and logistics, Buildings, Finance and admin, acquisition and divestment, Purchasing, Sales and marketing, HR development and training, Customer service, Health and safety, Legal and professional, Technical, scientific, R&D, BD, Anything else which needed planning + managing within organisations

It is advisable for every project team to consider the project in cultural, social, international, political and physicals environment context.

1.3 Project life cycle and organisation:

PROJECT LIFE CYCLE

  • PMs can divide the project into phases to provide better management control with appropriate links to the ongoing operations of the performing organisation.
  • Collectively, these phases are known as the project life cycle. Organisations should specify set of life cycles for use on all their project types (LIKE RECIPES)
  • The phases of the life cycle is not the same as PM process groups, and the transition from one phase to another usually involves a technical handoff or transfer.
  • Deliverables from one phase to another are reviewed for completeness and accuracy and approved before work starts on the next phase.
  • When risks involved are deemed acceptable, a phase might begin prior to the approval of the previous phase.
  • This practice of overlapping phases (which were to be otherwise done in a sequence) is called FAST TRACKING.