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Project Management Blog
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 06:14

Project Planning:

Every year thousands of projects are completed over budget, out of scope and past deadline.  Still, with each passing year, project managers continue to rush into projects without due diligence in defining the project and creating a plan for project execution.  By lightly addressing these critical components they are, in essence, failing their projects before any work has even commenced.  So how can project managers efficiently execute a project plan while at the same time meeting the deadlines and expectations of senior management?

 

Published in Blogs
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 19:58

Are You A Master?

In the April 2007 edition of PM Network, there is an article titled "Master Plan: IT executives need to develop an eye for project managers" that I would like to comment on.

The article is mostly based off a study done by Gartner Inc., in Stamford CT, USA. One sad but true statistic stated that 20-30% of IT executives "have a 'dismissive attitude' toward project management". Those are the same execs that suffer "from poor quality, late delivery and unrealistic project costs." I can related to this information from my personal experience, and would venture a guess that when you move into executives in operational areas, the dismissive attitude towards proper project management increases. The majority of IT execs seem to have seen the light and made the realization that there really is value to be delivered by well run projects by individuals who have the right skills to do so in a formal manner. 
Published in Blogs
Saturday, 27 January 2007 17:06

Risk Planning & Analysis

Risk analysis is a technique to identify and assess factors that may jeopardize the success of a project or achieving a goal. This technique also helps define preventive measures to reduce the probability of these factors from occurring and identify countermeasures to successfully deal with these constraints when they develop.

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 25 January 2007 21:24

Roles & Responsibilities

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES


PROJECT MANAGER ROLE
The essential role of the project leader is to lead the project team through the project management and team processes so that they complete the project successfully. The project leader is accountable for the overall success of the project.

  • The project leader is also referred to as the project manager. However, in a participative approach, the main role for the project manager is leadership, so we refer to him or her as a project leader. The role of the project leader is to
  • Provide direction to the project team.
  • Lead the project team through the project management process (creating and executing the project plan).
  • Obtain approvals for the project plan.
  • Issue status reports on the progress of the project versus the plan.
  • Respond to requests for changes to the plan.
  • Facilitate the team process, which is the interpersonal process by which team members develop as a team.
  • Remove obstacles for the team so they can complete the project.
  • Act as the key interface with the project sponsor.
  • Act as the key interface with the project customer.
  • Call and run team meetings.
  • Issue the final project report.


PROJECT TEAM MEMBER
The project team member has an active role to play in a participatory style of managing a project. The project team member not only provides technical expertise and produces deliverables, but he or she also helps in the planning and monitoring of the project. The project team member is accountable for ensuring that his or her work contributes to the overall success of the project.
The project team member’s role is to

  • Provide technical expertise.
  • Provide ideas that can help the team create quality deliverables, on time and within budget.
  • Ensure that his or her part of the project work gets completed on time.
  • Communicate issues back to the project team.
  • Participate in the project planning process.
  • Interface with the suppliers for his or her area.
  • Keep the boss informed on project issues, as required.
  • Keep the commitment he or she makes to the project.
  • Help to keep the project on track.
  • Provide updates to his or her resource manager on the status of the project.
  • Help to keep the team process and content on track.

 

SPONSOR ROLE

The sponsor is someone from management who has been designated to oversee the project, to help ensure that it satisfies both the needs of the customer and the needs of the organization. The sponsor is sometimes called the project champion. The sponsor makes sure that the project leader has the resources, training, support, and cooperation he or she needs to get the job done. The sponsor is accountable for the success of the project leader. What happens if you don’t have a sponsor? Then your boss or the project customer, if that customer is inside the organization, will need to act as the sponsor. The sponsor connects the project to the needs of management. It’s very risky to start a project without one. The role of the sponsor is to

  • Initiate the project by selecting a project leader.
  • Make sure that the project’s objectives are in line with the strategic direction/goals of the organization.
  • Provide overall direction to the project.
  • Make sure the team has the resources required to complete the project successfully.
  • Obtain commitment from the resource managers to support the project.
  • Review and approve the project plan.
  • Review status reports.
  • Review progress on the project with the project leader.
  • Help to remove obstacles that can’t be overcome by the team or the project leader.
  • Mentor or coach the project leader.
  • Review and approve the final report.


PROJECT CUSTOMER ROLE

A project exists to satisfy a customer. The project customer is the recipient of the main output of the project, called the final deliverable. In order to make sure the final deliverables satisfies the customer, the customer must convey to the project team what the needs and requirements for the deliverable will be. A customer can be internal or external to the organization. Most projects are done for internal customers (customers inside the organization), although the final deliverable produced by the project might eventually be distributed to or purchased by an external customer. Suppose you were working on a project to develop a new heart monitor for infants. The project customer is probably your marketing department because it’s their job to sell the monitor to the eventual buyers, the hospitals. The patients who would be hooked up to the heart monitor would be considered end users of the heart monitor product. (An end user is the ultimate consumer of the product.) Most projects are done for internal customers who then represent the needs of customers and end users outside the organization. However, some projects are done directly for an external customer. In these cases, the customer usually pays for the final deliverable directly. An example would be a project in a consulting firm to develop a customized piece of software for an external customer. The external customer would pay based on time and materials or as a flat fee for the project. Whether the customer is internal or external, there are certain similarities in the role they must play within the project:

  • Provide the project team with a clear picture of their needs and requirements
  • Review and approve the charter
  • Participate on the project team where appropriate
  • Inform the project leader of any changes in the environment that would affect the project deliverables
  • Approve changes to the project when needed to make the project a success
  • Review project status reports
  • Provide feedback to the project leader on a regular basis
  • Evaluate the final deliverables as well as the project process 

There are some additional roles that internal customers typically perform:

  • Review and approve the entire project plan (External customers usually review only the scope section of the plan)
  • Review the final status report

If you have a project with an external customer, it is imperative to have an internal sponsor working on the project. The internal sponsor’s job is to balance the needs of the external customer with the needs of the internal organization. If your project has an internal customer, the internal customer may double as the project sponsor.

 

 

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 25 January 2007 18:17

Project Scope

Project scope management, according to the PMBOK, constitutes 'the processes to ensure that the project includes all of the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.' Project scope management has several purposes: 

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