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Project Management Blog
Monday, 10 December 2007 05:09

Should Project Managers Retire?

The question is: "Should Project Managers Retire and, if so, what is the place for our project management elders amongst the project management community?" Having reached that age when one begins to think of leaving a "legacy", I was persuaded to attend a "Philosopher's Café". This assembly was arranged by our local university to discuss the subject of "The Place of Elders in an Ever-evolving Society". In his introduction, the facilitator observed that "In traditional societies the elders were respected for their knowledge and wisdom."
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 Many of you have heard the old adage of “Communicate… Communicate… Communicate” as a preamble by a Project Manager at a project kickoff meeting?
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Saturday, 10 March 2007 05:59

Managing Project Knowledge

For an organization whose fundamental work is the delivery of projects, it is extremely important that projects are viewed as a source of learning.


Project delivery is a process that produces an abundance of knowledge. Project teams encounter problems, assess and monitor risks, evaluate baselines, watch budgets and finance and manage stakeholder needs and expectations, as they do, they generate knowledge that is contained within the team.

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Saturday, 27 January 2007 17:32

Risk Response Planning

Risk Response Planning is the process of developing options, and determining actions to enhance opportunities and reduce threats to the project’s objectives. It follows the Qualitative Risk Analysis and Quantitative Risk Analysis processes. It includes the identification and assignment of one or more persons (the “risk response owner”) to take responsibility for each agreed-to and funded risk response. Risk Response Planning addresses the risks by their priority, inserting resources and activities into the budget, schedule, and project management plan, as needed. 
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Saturday, 27 January 2007 16:27

Project Communications

Common sense and your own experience will play a large role in your ability to answer the questions on this topic.

Communication Processes defined: Communication is the link between people, ideas, and information. Project Communications Management includes four processes:

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Thursday, 25 January 2007 20:39

Project Cost

What is a Project Cost? Each resource in the project must be accounted for and assigned to a cost category. Categories include the following:

  • Labor costs
  • Material costs
  • Travel costs
  • Supplies
  • Hardware costs
  • Software costs
  • Special categories (inflation, cost reserve, and so on)

 

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Thursday, 25 January 2007 17:56

Closing a Project

In multi-phase projects, the Close Project process closes out the portion of the project scope and associated activities applicable to a given phase. The two procedures necessary to perform the closure activities across the entire project or for a project phase:

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Thursday, 25 January 2007 15:18

Organizational Structure

Projects, of course, are not operated in a vacuum. They are parts, or subsystems, of much bigger organizations with much larger goals. Each project has or uses elements such as processes, participants, policies, procedures, and requirements, some of which are dependent upon and interact with related elements in the larger business system. By taking a systematic approach, the project manager can see how all the elements interact, and assess the impact on the individual project. Project managers must recognize the role of the project as a component within an organization. The role of the project, as a component, is to support the business model of the organization as a whole-not to necessarily replace it. Organizations are categorized into one of five models:


Functional
This traditional structure groups people by specialization (for example, marketing, contracting, accounting, and so on). The project manager has no formal authority over project resources and must rely on the informal power structure and his or her own interpersonal skills to obtain resource commitments from functional managers. Conflicts tend to develop over the relative priorities of various projects competing for limited resources.

Weak Matrix
The matrix organization maintains vertical functional lines of authority while establishing a relatively permanent horizontal structure containing the managers for various projects. The project managers interact with all functional units supporting their projects. In a weak matrix, the balance of power leans toward the functional manager rather than the project manager. That is, workers’ administrative relationships, physical proximity, and relative time expenditures favor the functional manager.

Balanced Matrix
A balanced matrix structure has many of the same attributes as a weak matrix, but the project manager has more time and power regarding the project. A balanced matrix still has time accountability issues for all the project team members since their functional managers will want reports on their time within the project. In a balanced matrix the project manager has a full-time role as a project manager with a reasonable level of authority and has a primarily part-time project team

Strong Matrix
The strong matrix is the same as the weak matrix except that the balance of power favors the project manager rather than the functional manager. The project manager has medium to high formal authority.

Projectized
In a projectized organization, a separate, vertical structure is established for each project.  Personnel are assigned to particular projects on a full-time basis. The project manager has total authority over the project, subject only to the time, cost, and performance constraints specified in the project targets.

These are the functional organizations; project expeditor, which is little more than a functionary who helps support the concept of project management but not really the practice; the project coordinator is a step up from that. Then a weak matrix is where you actually have the project manager getting resources from the functional organizations; a strong matrix is where the balance of power is shifted to the project manager. The way you tell whether or not that balance of power has shifted is where the money and the reporting come from. If all money and reports are generated by the project and are respected as being from the project, then it is a strong matrix. If the functional organizations are seen as generating revenue for the organization rather than the project organizations, then it is a weak matrix. And finally, PMI’s ideal structure: the projectized organization, a place where the project has its own reporting structure within the organization.


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Thursday, 25 January 2007 14:58

Project Management Defined

The PMBOK®Guide defines project management as “ . . . the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements”. Although this definition may sound pretty straightforward, you will find that the skillful application of those skills, tools, and techniques will come only after you’ve had a significant amount of education and on-the-job experience.

Managing a Project includes Identifying requirements, establishing clear and achievable objectives, balancing the competing demands for quality, scope, time and cost and adapting to the different expectations of the various stakeholders.

Problems, needs, and opportunities continually arise in every organization. Problems like low operational efficiency, needs like additional office space, and opportunities like penetrating a new product market are just a few of a nearly endless number of situations that management must address in the process of operating an organization or company. These problems, needs, and opportunities give rise to the identification of solutions. Executing those solutions entails a change for the organization. Projects are generally established to carry out this change and there’s always someone responsible for the successful completion of each project. As the project manager, you are the primary change agent, and your guide for carrying out the change is the project management process.

 

PROJECT TOOLS

     A. Unique to the project
          a. Work Breakdown Structures
          b. Critical Path Analysis
          c. Earned Value Management

     B. Multiple applications
          a. PMBOK
          b. Standards and Regulations
          c. General Management skills
          d. Interpersonal skills


PROJECT WORK VS. OPERATIONAL WORK
For the exam you should know the similarities and differences between Project Work and Operational Work.

1. Similarities
      A. Performed by People
      B. Constrained by limited resources
      C. Planned, Executed and Controlled

2. Differences
      A. Projects end while operations are ongoing
      B. Objectives are fundamentally different
      C. Projects attain an objective and then terminate.
      D. Projects are bound by multiple constraints


The project manager is a professional who has a responsibility to have a good education, a good understanding of the practice, and experience in the respective field. The PM will play a series of roles: project manager, integrator, communicator, team leader, decision maker, etc...

 

 

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