Project management is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time. A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or staffing) undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of such distinct production approaches requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.
The object of project management is to produce a complete project which complies with the client’s objectives. In many cases the object of project management is also to shape or reform the client’s brief in order to feasibly be able to address the client’s objectives. Once the client’s objectives are clearly established they should impact on all decisions made by other people involved in the project – project managers, designers, contractors, sub-contractors, etc. If the project management objectives are ill-defined or too tightly prescribed it will have a detrimental effect on decision making.
Project Management Processes
1. Project Initiation: Project initiation is the starting point of any project. In this process, all the activities related to winning a project takes place. Usually, the main activity of this phase is the pre-sale. During the pre-sale period, the service provider proves the eligibility and ability of completing the project to the client and eventually wins the business. Then, it is the detailed requirements gathering which comes next.
During the requirements gathering activity, all the client requirements are gathered and analysed for implementation. In this activity, negotiations may take place to change certain requirements or remove certain requirements altogether. Usually, project initiation process ends with requirements sign-off.
2. Project Planning: The project plan is derived in order to address the project requirements such as, requirements scope, budget and timelines. Once the project plan is derived, then the project schedule is developed.
Depending on the budget and the schedule, the resources are then allocated to the project. This phase is the most important phase when it comes to project cost and effort.
3. Project Execution: When it comes to execution, each member of the team carries out their own assignments within the given deadline for each activity. The detailed project schedule will be used for tracking the project progress. During the project execution, there are many reporting activities to be done. The senior management of the company will require daily or weekly status updates on the project progress.
In addition to reporting, there are multiple deliveries to be made during the project execution. Usually, project deliveries are not onetime deliveries made at the end of the project. Instead, the deliveries are scattered through out the project execution period and delivered upon agreed timelines.
4. Control and Validation: The controlling can be mainly done by adhering to the initial protocols such as project plan, quality assurance test plan and communication plan for the project. Sometimes, there can be instances that are not covered by such protocols. In such cases, the project manager should use adequate and necessary measurements in order to control such situations.
Validation is a supporting activity that runs from first day to the last day of a project. Each and every activity and delivery should have its own validation criteria in order to verify the successful outcome or the successful completion. When it comes to project deliveries and requirements, a separate team called ‘quality assurance team’ will assist the project team for validation and verification functions.
5. Closeout and Evaluation: Once the project closeout takes place, it is time to evaluate the entire project. In this evaluation, the mistakes made by the project team will be identified and will take necessary steps to avoid them in the future projects. During the project evaluation process, the service provider may notice that they haven’t gained the expected margins for the project and may have exceeded the timelines planned at the beginning. In such cases, the project is not a 100% success to the service provider. Therefore, such instances should be studied carefully and should take necessary actions to avoid in the future.
Role and Responsibilities of Project Manager
- Planning and Defining Scope.
- Activity Planning and Sequencing.
- Resource Planning.
- Developing Schedules.
- Time Estimating.
- Cost Estimating.
- Developing a Budget.
- Creating Charts and Schedules.
- Risk Analysis.
- Managing Risks and Issues.
- Monitoring and Reporting Progress.
- Team Leadership.
- Strategic Influencing.
- Business Partnering.
- Working with Vendors.
- Controlling Quality.