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Project Management Essentials Info-Tech Research Group
Introduction <ul><li>Effective project management is critical to ensure that the results meet stakeholder expectations, ye...
Executive Summary <ul><li>Projects can be managed effectively by following these basic guidelines: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E...
<ul><li>Most projects fail to meet management and stakeholder expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>The low success rate in adhe...
Project Management Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress The Essentials Ass...
A Project Example <ul><li>This report uses the following example to illustrate project management essentials: </li></ul><u...
Establish Success Criteria Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress Assign Pro...
Establish Concrete Success Criteria to Keep the Project Focused Less than 40% of projects satisfy both management and stak...
Assign Project Manager Role Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress Assign Pr...
<ul><li>Communication, leadership, people management, and ability to influence are rated much higher than PM process and t...
Info-Tech Research Group Assign a Project Manager Who is Committed to Success and has the Soft Skills to Drive the Project...
Clarify the Project Manager’s Authority and Escalation Path to Enable Timely Decision Making Info-Tech Research Group Role...
Develop the Plan Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress Assign Project  Mana...
Develop a Project Plan That Aligns Major Activities, Resource Requirements, and Project Timelines Determine Major Activiti...
Focus on Major Activities to Produce a Lean Plan That Can Be Managed More Efficiently Info-Tech Research Group Breaking do...
Resource Availability is the Number One Project Risk—Plan Resources Early and Build in Contingencies Info-Tech Research Gr...
Establish a Timeline That Includes Realistic Milestones, Target Dates, and Contingency Time for Testing Info-Tech Research...
<ul><li>Identify resources and their availability. </li></ul><ul><li>Organize activities, taking into account dependencies...
Create a Communication Plan to Keep the Project Team on Track and Inform Management of Progress <ul><li>Keep the team info...
Manage Progress and Update the Plan Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress A...
Actively Managing Progress is Necessary to Drive the Project to Completion <ul><li>Talk to the team, in-person, to explain...
<ul><li>Run an efficient focused meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>Outline project objectives and responsibilities in a clear man...
<ul><li>Acknowledge success. </li></ul><ul><li>Resolve issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate plan changes, risks, and upco...
<ul><li>Update resource availability and assess the impact. </li></ul><ul><li>Rearrange activities to manage risk and acco...
<ul><li>Document action items to promote accountability and further motivate team members to meet target dates. </li></ul>...
<ul><li>Highlight key targets, and document whether the project is on track. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a quick visual summ...
Insights: Project Myths  Be Realistic in Managing Projects Info-Tech Research Group Project Tasks The Myth The Reality Pro...
Review the Project Upon Completion to Evaluate Success and Document Lessons Learned for Future Projects Info-Tech Research...
Conclusion <ul><li>Project management essentials — specific success criteria, a project manager with strong soft skills, a...
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project management essentials

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fective project management is critical to ensure that the results meet stakeholder expectations, yet organizations resist project management due to the perception that it must be complex and require excessive effort and expense.

This solution set overview will help you:

•Understand the Project Management Essentials.
•Implement the essentials to improve project success rates.
•Link to tools and templates for successful project planning, monitoring, and communication.
Clear success criteria, strong soft skills, a focus on resource planning, and an active approach to project management are more important than formalized frameworks, certified project managers or complex software.

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Transcript of "project management essentials"

  1. 1. Project Management Essentials Info-Tech Research Group
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Effective project management is critical to ensure that the results meet stakeholder expectations, yet organizations resist project management due to the perception that it must be complex and require excessive effort and expense. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear success criteria, strong soft skills, a focus on resource planning, and an active approach to project management are more important than formalized frameworks, certified project managers or complex software. </li></ul><ul><li>This solution set will help you: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand the Project Management Essentials. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implement the essentials to improve project success rate. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide tools and templates for successful project planning, monitoring, and communication. </li></ul></ul>Info-Tech Research Group
  3. 3. Executive Summary <ul><li>Projects can be managed effectively by following these basic guidelines: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish specific success criteria to meet stakeholder expectations, control project scope, and identify clear testing objectives. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assign project management to an individual with the qualities needed to drive the project: commitment to success, strong interpersonal skills, and ability to influence. Also, clarify authority and escalation path to enable timely decision making. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus the project plan on major activities and resource requirements to ensure a manageable plan with clear timelines. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actively manage the project to detect and resolve problems early, maintain commitment to meeting dates, and manage resources effectively. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Review the project upon completion to evaluate project success and lessons learned for future projects. </li></ul><ul><li>For complex projects, more robust resource and scheduling tools and a full-time project manager may be required, but the above basic guidelines still apply. </li></ul>Info-Tech Research Group
  4. 4. <ul><li>Most projects fail to meet management and stakeholder expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>The low success rate in adherence to scope implies that scope creep occurs frequently in projects. </li></ul><ul><li>Less than 15% of organizations were successful at executing projects on time, on budget and on scope simultaneously over the last two years. </li></ul>Info-Tech Research Reveals That Project Management is a Struggle for Most Organizations Info-Tech Research Group * Importance measurement is based on the % of respondents who indicated that the given metric was important. **Success measurement is based on the % of respondents who indicated that they were successful at the given metric. Most Projects Have Low Success Rates Adherence to Scope Projects are on Budget Projects are on Time Quality of Deliverables Management Satisfaction Stakeholder's Satisfaction 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Importance* Success**
  5. 5. Project Management Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress The Essentials Assign Project Manager Role <ul><li>Identify: </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Scope boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Testing objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Look for: </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment to success </li></ul><ul><li>Communication and soft skills </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to influence </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on: </li></ul><ul><li>Major activities </li></ul><ul><li>Resource requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Clear timelines </li></ul><ul><li>Promote: </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment to key target dates </li></ul><ul><li>Early problem detection and resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Better resource management </li></ul>
  6. 6. A Project Example <ul><li>This report uses the following example to illustrate project management essentials: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The accounting department has requested that the IT department deploy an application called Trackit. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trackit is intended to allow management to understand how much staff time is spent on a number of specific accounting activities such as purchasing, invoice payment, billing, budgeting and so on. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Management wants to begin time tracking in Q2 to facilitate resource reallocation at the end of Q3. </li></ul></ul>Info-Tech Research Group
  7. 7. Establish Success Criteria Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress Assign Project Manager Role <ul><li>Identify: </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Scope boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Testing objectives </li></ul>
  8. 8. Establish Concrete Success Criteria to Keep the Project Focused Less than 40% of projects satisfy both management and stakeholders. Improve the chances for success by getting agreement on measurable success criteria. Info-Tech Research Group When project objectives conflict, make decisions based on success criteria first, then scope, then timing, and then budget. Info-Tech Insight: Goal Required Action Trackit Example Meet All Stakeholder Expectations <ul><li>Identify required functionality, timing and cost parameters. </li></ul><ul><li>Managers of Procurement, Billing and Budgeting agree on data to be recorded. </li></ul><ul><li>Report content identified. </li></ul><ul><li>Implement by June 1st. </li></ul>Control Scope Expansion <ul><li>Establish features needed for requested functionality, and exclude all others. </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to edit timesheet included in scope. </li></ul><ul><li>Request for additional reports moved to a future project. </li></ul>Establish Testing Objectives <ul><li>Determine performance, capacity, and functionality requirements. </li></ul><ul><li>Support up to 100 staff at the main office. Available during normal working hours. </li></ul><ul><li>Less than a half-day downtime per month. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Assign Project Manager Role Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress Assign Project Manager Role <ul><li>Look for: </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment to success </li></ul><ul><li>Communication and soft skills </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to influence </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Communication, leadership, people management, and ability to influence are rated much higher than PM process and technical knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>On average, less than 40% of organizations are very satisfied with these skills in their project managers. </li></ul>Organizations Identify Project Managers’ Soft Skills as More Important Than Process and Control “ The single most important thing I want to put forward is that project management is not just about process and control. If you don’t have people skills in order to get everybody on the same page and working towards the same goal, the project isn’t successful.” Applications Manager, Recreation Services Info-Tech Research Group * Importance measurement is based on the % of respondents who indicated that the given skill was important. **Satisfaction measurement is based on the % of respondents who indicated that they were satisfied with their project managers’ given skill.
  11. 11. Info-Tech Research Group Assign a Project Manager Who is Committed to Success and has the Soft Skills to Drive the Project Someone with a vested interest in the outcome – in this case study, the person who recommended the tool – is more likely to take personal responsibility for driving the project to a successful conclusion. Info-Tech Insight: Criteria Description Trackit Example Commitment to Success <ul><li>Affinity with the groups to be impacted. </li></ul><ul><li>Often goes beyond expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>Project manager role is assigned to Mary. </li></ul><ul><li>Mary is the technical analyst who helped the accounting group select Trackit out of a long list of options in less than a month. </li></ul>Communication Skills <ul><li>Keeps management up-to-date; no surprises. </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoys teamwork. </li></ul><ul><li>Mary collaborated with co-workers during the product assessment phase. </li></ul><ul><li>Mary shared her assessments with the IT and accounting managers in concise reports. </li></ul>Influencing Skills <ul><li>Makes recommendations that are usually accepted. </li></ul><ul><li>Mary helped the accounting group agree on Trackit, even though the manager initially preferred another candidate. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Clarify the Project Manager’s Authority and Escalation Path to Enable Timely Decision Making Info-Tech Research Group Role Recommended Responsibility Project Manager <ul><li>Requisition resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Manage assigned staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Adjust the plan activities and timing as needed to meet milestones. </li></ul>IT Sponsor <ul><li>Assign IT resources. </li></ul>Business Sponsor <ul><li>Assign subject matter experts and testers. </li></ul><ul><li>Approve minor changes to scope. </li></ul>Executive Stakeholder <ul><li>Approve changes to success criteria, scope, milestone dates and costs. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Develop the Plan Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress Assign Project Manager Role <ul><li>Focus on: </li></ul><ul><li>Major activities </li></ul><ul><li>Resource requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Clear timelines </li></ul>
  14. 14. Develop a Project Plan That Aligns Major Activities, Resource Requirements, and Project Timelines Determine Major Activities Investigate Resource Availability Create 2 to 3 Timeline Options Build in Contingencies Refine Selected Project Plan Assess Resource and Timing Risks Consider More Than One Approach Adjust the Plan Identify Required Resources The first way is not always the best way. Consider alternative approaches that make better use of resources or reduce project risks. Info-Tech Research Group Identify Resource/Timing Options
  15. 15. Focus on Major Activities to Produce a Lean Plan That Can Be Managed More Efficiently Info-Tech Research Group Breaking down activities into more granular tasks unnecessarily increases PM overhead, taking time away from more important tasks such as managing resources, resolving issues, and mitigating risks. Info-Tech Insight: Recommendation Why This Matters Trackit Example Group Related Tasks <ul><li>Keeps the plan lean. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduces plan maintenance and tracking time. </li></ul><ul><li>Installation of software by a technician defined as one task. </li></ul>Eliminate Nice-to-Have Tasks <ul><li>Minimizes strain on resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Keeps the focus on critical activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Move request to develop additional reports to a future project. </li></ul>Assign a Specific Deliverable for Each Activity <ul><li>Enables accurate progress tracking. </li></ul><ul><li>Completion of “install software” task can be verified. </li></ul>Account for Dependencies <ul><li>Determines activity order and possible resource conflicts. </li></ul><ul><li>Software installation cannot begin until server available. </li></ul><ul><li>Server delivery defined as a task. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Resource Availability is the Number One Project Risk—Plan Resources Early and Build in Contingencies Info-Tech Research Group Don’t focus just on internal resources. Failure to anticipate vendor risks can sink you. Info-Tech Insight: Typical Resource Risk How to Minimize Risk Trackit Example Technical resources may be pulled to fix critical issues <ul><li>Schedule their tasks as early as possible to allow for time off project. Reflect likely availability when planning resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a backup person on the team. </li></ul><ul><li>The software installation technician, Gary, is available only three days a week because he generally spends two days fixing production problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Deb is Gary’s backup. </li></ul>Business subject matter experts support several projects <ul><li>Establish availability, treat it as fixed to avoid conflicts, and drive dependencies to ensure they can start work when they are available. </li></ul><ul><li>The three accounting clerks assigned have scheduled 1 to 2 o’clock each day when they are to be available for the project. </li></ul>Vendors are not in your direct line of control <ul><li>Talk to vendors to establish their dependencies and risks. Don’t make assumptions for vendors. </li></ul><ul><li>One week is scheduled for server delivery, as recommended by the vendor. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Establish a Timeline That Includes Realistic Milestones, Target Dates, and Contingency Time for Testing Info-Tech Research Group Timeline Elements Required Action Trackit Example Fixed Dates <ul><li>Distinguish between imposed dates, such as customer commitments versus moveable dates, such as QA end time. </li></ul><ul><li>Facilities booked to train staff May 24 th – a fixed date in the plan – to meet management requirement to begin data collection June 1 st . </li></ul>Weekly Targets <ul><li>Schedule at least one deliverable per week to assess progress. </li></ul><ul><li>The server is scheduled to arrive in week two of the project. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Order Server and Track Delivery” task deliverable is a written status update from the vendor confirming the delivery date is still on track. </li></ul>Testing and Contingency Time <ul><li>Start QA testing at project midpoint. </li></ul><ul><li>Start user testing at 3/4 mark. </li></ul><ul><li>Add padding to the end of the project (rather than to individual tasks) to provide overall timeline flexibility. </li></ul><ul><li>System testing starts right after software installation. </li></ul><ul><li>User testing starts four weeks before the planned activation date. </li></ul><ul><li>Two-weeks of contingency time is scheduled after user testing rather than padding the server setup and install tasks. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Identify resources and their availability. </li></ul><ul><li>Organize activities, taking into account dependencies and key target dates. </li></ul><ul><li>Track task completion. </li></ul><ul><li>Generate accurate and easy-to-read visual reports. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the ITA Premium “ Project Planning and Monitoring Tool ” to: </li></ul>Combine Activities, Resources, and Timelines in One Tool for Easy Maintenance and Review Info-Tech Research Group
  19. 19. Create a Communication Plan to Keep the Project Team on Track and Inform Management of Progress <ul><li>Keep the team informed through in-person communication. Don’t let “I’m out of the loop” be an excuse for missing target dates. </li></ul>People are more likely to divulge issues one-on-one. Maintain open communications with your team to know the real status of the project. Info-Tech Insight: Info-Tech Research Group Critical Communications Purpose Project Kick-Off Meeting <ul><li>Establish responsibilities and introduce the project plan. </li></ul>Weekly Project Team Meetings <ul><li>Communicate project changes and resolve issues. </li></ul>Meeting Summaries <ul><li>Document decisions and action items. </li></ul>Status Updates to Management <ul><li>Keep management informed of the timeline and risks. Note that managers are busy. Get agreement on how they want to receive updates, and how frequently. </li></ul>Escalation Path <ul><li>Involve the right decision makers to resolve issues. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Manage Progress and Update the Plan Info-Tech Research Group Establish Success Criteria Develop the Plan Manage Progress Assign Project Manager Role <ul><li>Promote: </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment to key target dates </li></ul><ul><li>Early problem detection and resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Better resource management </li></ul>
  21. 21. Actively Managing Progress is Necessary to Drive the Project to Completion <ul><li>Talk to the team, in-person, to explain the project plan and assign responsibilities to avoid misunderstandings and promote accountability. </li></ul><ul><li>Meet regularly with the project team to track progress, discuss project changes, and resolve issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Update the plan to reflect current status, adjust to project changes, and mitigate anticipated risks. </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate decisions, risks, and upcoming key dates. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep management informed of project changes, risks, and timelines . </li></ul>Info-Tech Research Group Recording status and providing reports is not enough. The project manager must:
  22. 22. <ul><li>Run an efficient focused meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>Outline project objectives and responsibilities in a clear manner. </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce the project plan, key target dates, and next steps. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the Info-Tech “ Project Kick-off Meeting Agenda Template ” to: </li></ul>Use the Kickoff Meeting to Establish Responsibilities and Introduce the Project Plan Info-Tech Research Group
  23. 23. <ul><li>Acknowledge success. </li></ul><ul><li>Resolve issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate plan changes, risks, and upcoming activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivate team members to meet their dates. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the Info-Tech “ Project Team Meeting Agenda Template .” </li></ul><ul><li>' to: </li></ul>Meet Weekly with the Project Team to Track Status, Review Project Changes and Resolve Issues Info-Tech Research Group
  24. 24. <ul><li>Update resource availability and assess the impact. </li></ul><ul><li>Rearrange activities to manage risk and account for changes to resourcing. </li></ul><ul><li>Generate accurate and easy-to-read visual reports. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the Info-Tech “ Project Planning and Monitoring Tool ” to: </li></ul>Update the Plan to Accurately Reflect Current Status and Timelines Info-Tech Research Group In the Trackit example, Gary has been pulled to resolve network issues. His backup, Deb, takes over his tasks, and dates are adjusted to reflect her availability.
  25. 25. <ul><li>Document action items to promote accountability and further motivate team members to meet target dates. </li></ul><ul><li>Inform management of project changes, risks, and timelines . </li></ul><ul><li>Use the Info-Tech “ Project Meeting Follow-Up Template ” to: </li></ul>Publish Meeting Summaries to Document Decisions and Inform Management of Project Status Info-Tech Research Group
  26. 26. <ul><li>Highlight key targets, and document whether the project is on track. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a quick visual summary of the project status with a Gantt chart automatically generated by the Info-Tech, “ Project Planning and Monitoring Tool ”. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the Info-Tech “ Project Milestones Report Template ” to: </li></ul>Create a Milestones Report to Supplement Status Updates to Management Info-Tech Research Group
  27. 27. Insights: Project Myths Be Realistic in Managing Projects Info-Tech Research Group Project Tasks The Myth The Reality Progress Reporting <ul><li>Team members will report progress accurately. </li></ul><ul><li>Deliverables are the only good evidence of completed activities. </li></ul>Task Estimating <ul><li>Padding task timelines will allow for delays and keep the project on track. </li></ul><ul><li>Resources typically use up all the time given to them, leaving no contingency time for unforeseen issues. Better to set aggressive dates and save contingency time for the end of the project. </li></ul>Plan Approval <ul><li>Once approved, the plan should not be changed. </li></ul><ul><li>Stuff happens. Estimating errors, late resources, rework. Plans must adapt to reality. </li></ul>Specification Approval <ul><li>Getting management sign-off eliminates later changes. </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure to change specifications continues, especially during testing. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Review the Project Upon Completion to Evaluate Success and Document Lessons Learned for Future Projects Info-Tech Research Group <ul><li>Hold a Project Closure meeting to assess the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Did the project meet the success criteria in terms of functionality, timing, and costs? </li></ul><ul><li>Are the stakeholders satisfied with the project outcomes? If not, is this due to incomplete success criteria, or did the stakeholders change their minds about what they really needed? </li></ul><ul><li>What issues were encountered and how were they resolved? </li></ul><ul><li>Were resource availability estimates accurate? </li></ul>
  29. 29. Conclusion <ul><li>Project management essentials — specific success criteria, a project manager with strong soft skills, a plan focused on major activities and resource requirements, and actively managing progress — are more important to project success than formalized frameworks, certified project managers, or complex software. </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly meetings and effective communication are key to tracking progress, detecting and resolving issues, and meeting deadlines. </li></ul><ul><li>Info-Tech project management tools and templates facilitate successful project planning, monitoring, and communication, all important components of the project management essentials. </li></ul>Info-Tech Research Group
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