Project Management Essay Sample
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Project Management Essay Sample
One of the top factors for prioritizing projects is the comparison of project costs versus benefits. “This analysis gives important information about how to give priority for resource allocation, management attention and any investment needed to execute the projects,” says Nitin Patwardhan, PMP, PgMP, vice president and head of a customer engagement group, Kale Consultants Ltd., Mumbai, India. However, the degree of emphasis on financial factors fluctuates depending on the economic environment. “When the economy is improving, the projects that produce the most revenue tend to get more favor. When tough times are coming, the cost side tends to win,” says John Reiling, PMP, program manager, Project Management Training Online, Mendham, New Jersey, USA. Remember to keep in mind regional or global economic conditions when using ROI as criteria for selecting projects. 2. Budget
Another important financial consideration is project budget contingency, which identifies such factors as risk exposure and margin for error in decision-making. “If these factors suggest a project has a significant chance of overrunning budget, then a call regarding its prioritization or elimination can be taken,” Mr. Patwardhan says. Also consider if the project is internally or externally funded, he says. If funding comes from an external source such as a client or investors, the governance and control mechanism must satisfy that external stakeholder’s needs and processes. “From a legal/contractual obligations perspective, stakes are higher when the project is externally funded, as any delays or quality issues may result in legal damages or contractual disputes,” Mr. Patwardhan says. A final budget consideration, he says, is whether the funding of a project depends on the success or completion of another project. 3. Human Resources
Does your organization or project team have the right talent to complete the project being considered? You have to consider if your staff will need to be trained in order to complete the project work, or if you will need to engage team members external to your organization. Depending on your organization and its location, outsourcing can be more or less expensive than using local talent. “The outsourced arena is getting more competitive,” notes Mr. Reiling, who says that at least for the United States, it may be more cost and time efficient to hire locally these days. If your organization operates in a country saturated with qualified unemployed job-seekers, the same may be true. 4. Technology
For IT projects, determine if the technologies being produced have long-term value to warrant the investment. “I have seen many projects abandoned as the technologies involved have moved on or the market appetite has changed overnight,” says Haroon Malik, PMP, solvency II portfolio manager at Genworth Financial, London, England. Also consider whether the staff in the operations group has the necessary technical skills to use the product once it is complete. If not, “you’ll need to leave room for error and build time into the project to accommodate learning and take care of quality issues along the way,” Mr. Reiling says. 5. Organizational Priorities
Organizational strategy and goals should always be considered when choosing projects. “It’s a mistake to take into account only the ROI and overlook how a project will add value to the company’s long-term strategic function,” says Christian Andrade, PMP, PgMP, CIO of CdF International and financial director of Fumex Tabacalera in Salvador, Brazil. Projects must speak to high-level organizational priorities. What is upper management thinking in terms of future direction? For example, your organization might be preparing for some type of merger/acquisition activity or focused on external regulations, Mr. Malik says. Projects that speak to those initiatives often must take precedence, sometimes regardless of financial, human resources or technological considerations.
A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart, developed by Henry Gantt in the 1910s, that illustrates a project schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. Terminal elements and summary elements comprise the
A Gantt chart showing three kinds of schedule dependencies (in red) and percent complete indications. work breakdown structure of the project.
A PERT chart is a project management tool used to schedule, organize, and coordinate tasks within a project.
PERT network chart for a seven-month project with five milestones (10 through 50) and six activities (A through F).
Q.8 3 common standards in the Project management industry are Scope, Quality and Budget.
A project methodology needs to be built around the logical sequence of events that occur when undertaking a project. It is a framework or plan that can used to give everyone involved in a project a better understanding of where that the tasks they are undertaking fit in to the overall scheme of things. Having one in place can allow teams to work in a more focused and efficient manner, ultimately leading to better results. If you want to create a methodology for your organisation you first need to think through what sort of lifecycle your projects go through. This should be pretty straightforward given that all projects should have a definite starting point, and a definite end point. You will of course also need to address how you approach everything that goes on in between. Ultimately you really want to define the the key stages of your projects and then determine the processes that drive each of these stages. As a general guide there are five key aspects to a project that you could use as a basis for developing your project methodology. These are:
1. Starting the project and defining the scope of work to be undertaken.
2. Planning what you need to do to produce the end product.
3. Doing what has been planned.
4. Monitoring and controlling the progress of the project.
5. Confirming that the end product has been completed to plan and ending the project.
Step 1: Explain the project plan to key stakeholders and discuss its key components. One of the most misunderstood terms in project management, the project plan is a set of living documents that can be expected to change over the life of the project. Like a roadmap, it provides the direction for the project. And like the traveler, the project manager needs to set the course for the project, which in project management terms means creating the project plan. Just as a driver may encounter road construction or new routes to the final destination, the project manager may need to correct the project course as well. Item fulltext
A common misconception is that the plan equates to the project timeline, which is only one of the many components of the plan. The project plan is the major work product from the entire planning process, so it contains all the planning documents for the project. Typically many of the project’s key stakeholders, that is those affected by both the project and the project’s end result, do not fully understand the nature of the project plan. Since one of the most important and difficult aspects of project management is getting commitment and buying, the first step is to explain the planning process and the project plan to all key stakeholders. It is essential for them to understand the importance of this set of documents and to be familiar with its content, since they will be asked to review and approve the documents that pertain to them. Components of the Project Plan Include:
Baselines. Baselines are sometimes called performance measures, because the performance of the entire project is measured against them. They are the project’s three approved starting points and include the scope, schedule, and cost baselines. These provide the ‘stakes in the ground.’ That is, they are used to determine whether or not the project is on track, during the execution of the project. Baseline management plans. These plans include documentation on how variances to the baselines will be handled throughout the project. Each project baseline will need to be reviewed and managed. A result of this process may include the need to do additional planning, with the possibility that the baseline(s) will change. Project management plans document what the project team will do when variances to the baselines occur, including what process will be followed, who will be notified, how the changes will be funded, etc. Other work products from the planning process. These include a risk management plan, a quality plan, a procurement plan, a staffing plan, and a communications plan. Step 2: Define roles and responsibilities.
Not all key stakeholders will review all documents, so it is necessary to determine who on the project needs to approve which parts of the plan. Some of the key players are: 1 Project sponsor, who owns and funds the entire project. Sponsors need to review and approve all aspects of the plan. 2 Designated business experts, who will define their requirements for the end product. They need to help develop the scope baseline and approve the documents relating to scope. They will be quite interested in the timeline as well. 3 Project manager, who creates, executes, and controls the project plan. Since project managers build the plan, they do not need to approve it. 4 Project team, who build the end product. The team needs to participate in the development of many aspects of the plan, such as identifying risks, quality, and design issues, but the team does not usually approve it. 5 End users, who use the end product.
They too, need to participate in the development of the plan, and review the plan, but rarely do they actually need to sign off. 6 Others, such as auditors, quality and risk analysts, procurement specialists, and so on may also participate on the project. They may need to approve the parts that pertain to them, such as the Quality or Procurement plan. Step 3: Hold a kickoff meeting. The kickoff meeting is an effective way to bring stakeholders together to discuss the project. It is an effective way to initiate the planning process. It can be used to start building trust among the team members and ensure that everyone’s idea are taken into account. Kickoff meetings also demonstrate commitment from the sponsor for the project. Here are some of the topics that might be included in a kickoff meeting: Business vision and strategy (from sponsor)
Project vision (from sponsor)
Roles and responsibilities
How team makes decisions
How large the group should be and whether sub-groups are necessary Step 4: Develop a Scope Statement. The Scope Statement is arguably the most important document in the project plan. It’s the foundation for the rest of the project. It describes the project and is used to get common agreement among the stakeholders about the scope. The Scope Statement clearly describes what the outcome of the project will be. It is the basis for getting the buy-in and agreement from the sponsor and other stakeholders and decreases the chances of miscommunication. This document will most likely grow and change with the life of the project. The Scope Statement should include: Business need and business problem
Project objectives, stating what will occur within the project to solve the business problem Benefits of completing the project, as well as the project justification Project scope, stated as which deliverables will be included and excluded from the project. Key milestones, the approach, and other components as dictated by the size and nature of the project. It can be treated like a contract between the project manager and sponsor, one that can only be changed with sponsor approval.
Maintaining probity in procurement involves more than simply avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It means ethical behaviour that upholds public values and ensures impartiality, accountability and transparency.
A contract is a legally binding or valid agreement between two parties. The law will consider a contract to be valid if the agreement contains all of the following elements: a. offer and acceptance;
b. an intention between the parties to create binding relations; c. consideration to be paid for the promise made;
d. legal capacity of the parties to act;
e. genuine consent of the parties; and
f. legality of the agreement.
An agreement that lacks one or more of the elements listed above is not a valid contract.
It is proposed that Department Secretaries and agency heads be required to provide annually to the relevant Minister a written declaration of private financial, business and other interests or relationships that could influence, or be perceived to influence, decisions made or advice given by the Department Secretary or agency head. It is proposed that senior executives be required to provide annually to the relevant Department Secretary or agency head a written declaration of private financial, business and other interests or relationships that could influence, or be perceived to influence, decisions made or advice given by the executive. The following declaration of private interests form is a model template that has been developed to assist agencies to develop their own internal procedures for ensuring that Secretaries, agency heads and senior executives complete an annual declaration. Agencies may wish to use the template form as is, or may adapt the template to reflect the particular operating environment and business risks of that agency. It is proposed that use of the model template not be compulsory, as agencies may wish to develop their own forms or use existing in-house material to ensure that Secretaries, agency heads and senior executives fulfil their obligation under the Code of Ethics and Conduct (once finalised and issued) to make an annual declaration of private interests.