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Project Management- Framework and Processes 28 January, 2013

Prof. Bala Krishna Menon

Prof. Bala Krishna Menon, from DC School of Management, Wagamon, Kerala, led the discussion on Online Gurukul on 28th January 2013 with his talk on " Project Management- Framework and Processes”

What is a project?

Project is a temporary endeavor with a beginning and an end. It creates an unique product, service or result. It is also progressively elaborated in the sense that the distinguishing characteristics will be progressively elaborated so that it is better understood. Constructing a building or running a campaign for political office or implementing a new business are some examples of Projects.

Project Vs Operations

Both Projects and Operations are performed by people, constrained by resources and planned, executed and controlled. However, while the project is temporary, operation is ongoing. Also, Project is unique while operation is repetitive.

Project Management

Project Management is application of knowledge, skills and tools and technique. The objective of project management is to project activities to meet or exceed stakeholders’ expectation while using resources efficiently and effectively.

Managing a Project includes:

a) Identifying the requirements

b) Establishing clear and achievable objectives

c) Balancing the competing demands for quality, scope, time and cost

d) Adapting to specifications, plans and concerns of stakeholders

Project Management Process

Project Management process are under the framework of PMI (Project Management Institute), a non-profit organization based in the US which has got chapters all over the world. The framework for Project Management is defined under PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge). In order to become a certified Project Manager, you have the option to pick up a PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification, an online examination conducted by PMI at different chapters

The PMBOK framework has got 5 process groups:

a) Initiating Processes

b) Planning Processes

c) Executing Processes

d) Controlling Processes

e) Closing Processes

There could be overlapping and intersection between different process groups.

Project Initiation:

This includes recognizing and starting a new project or project phases such as initiation, requirements, design, construction, validation, verification, implementation and closure. Some Organizations use a pre-initiation phase while others include items such as developing a business case as part of the initiation. The main goal of the initiation process is to select and start off projects. The key outputs of project initiation include:

a) Assigning the Project Manager

b) Identifying key stakeholders

c) Completing a business case

d) Completing a project charter and getting signatures on it.

Project Planning

The main purpose of Project Planning is to guide the execution of projects. The key outputs of Project Planning include:

a) Team Contract

b) Scope Statement

c) Work breakdown structure

d) Project Schedule in the form of Gantt Chart with all dependencies and resources entered

e) List of prioritized risks

Project Executing

The Project execution takes most of the time and resources in Project Management. Project Managers must use their leadership skills to handle the many challenges that occur during project execution. Project Sponsors and customers focus on the deliverables related to providing the products, services or results desired from the project. A milestone report will help the Project Manager to keep the focus on completing major milestones.

Project Monitoring and Controlling

This involves measuring the progress toward project objectives, monitoring the deviation from the plan and taking corrective action to match progress with the plan. Project Monitoring and Controlling affects all other process groups occur during all phases of the project life cycle. The outputs of Project Monitoring and Controlling include performance reports, requested changes and updates to various plans.

Project Closing

This involves gaining stakeholder and customer acceptance of the final products and services. Even if the projects are not completed, they should be formally closed in order to reflect on what can be learned to improve future projects. The outputs of project planning include project archives and lessons learned which are part of organizational process assets. Most projects also include a final report and presentation to the sponsor or senior management.

Nine Project Management Areas

1. Project Integration Management- This area ensures that the elements of the project are properly coordinated and integrated

2. Project Scope Management – This ensures that the project includes all the work required and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.

3. Project Time Management – This ensures timely completion of the Project

4. Project Cost Management – This ensures that the project is complete within the approved budget

5. Project Quality Management – This area ensures that the project will satisfy all quality requirements

6. Project Communication Management - This ensures timely and effective communication, generates appropriate reports, collection, storage and disposition of project information.

7. Project Information – This area is concerned with identifying, analyzing and responding to project risks. This ensures maximization of results of positive events and minimization of consequences of negative events.

8. Project Procurement Management – This talks about acquiring goods and services from outside the performing organization.

9. Project Human Resources Management - This ensures the most effective use of people involved with the project.

Triple Constraint

The three major constraints of any project is Scope, cost and time. The other 2 constrains that could impact quality are risk and customer satisfaction. You should be able to control and manage all these constraints to effectively deliver the project.

Who can be an effective Project Manager?

A Project Manager need not have any technical background. However, s\he must have good interpersonal skills and general management skills such as negotiation, leadership and mentoring. He\she also needs to understand the project environment

General Management Skills required for a good Project Manager are a) Leading b) Communicating, c) Negotiating d) Problem Solving and e) Influencing the Organization

Stake holder Management

Stakeholder is a person whose interests may be positively or negatively impacted by the project. The various agencies involved in the project have the following responsibilities with stakeholders. A project Manager should identify all the stake holders; a customer should determine all their requirements; a performing organization should determine their expectation; a sponsor should communicate with them and a team member, internal or external enduser should manage their influence.

Organizational Structure

The Organizational Structure could be functional, Projectized or Matrix. The Projectized Organization has several complex problems such as : a) Members reports to many managers b) members have no loyalty to the project c) will not always have a home.

Project Selection:

Project Selection process could be a difficult process, especially when there are a large number of potential projects competing for scarce dollars. Some selection methods are highly intuitive; others try to add rigor through more scientific selection processes. The selection process could be Sacred Cows or Pressing Needs. Sacred Cow selection is when the senior Management wants the project to be done.