Drs 255 project management skills

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  • 1. DRS 255 PROJECT MANAGEMENT SKILLSDEFINITION OF A PROJECTA project is a temporary endeavor, having a defined beginning and end (usually constrained bydate, but can be by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives,usually to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects standsin contrast to business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent or semi-permanent functional work to produce products or services. In practice, the management of thesetwo systems is often found to be quite different, and as such requires the development of distincttechnical skills and the adoption of separate management.Temporary - This means projects always have a start and a finish. They start when you decidewhat you are going to do and they end when you create the product or service you set out tocreate. Sometimes they end because you decide to stop doing the project. But they are neverongoing. Operations are ongoing if you are building cars on an assembly line that is a process. Ifyou are designing and building a prototype of a specific car model, that is a project.Creating a Unique Result – when you create the product of your project, it is measurable. Ifyou start a project to create a piece of software or put up a building you can tell their uniquenessfrom other ones that have been produced.Progressively Elaborated – You learn more and more about a project as it goes on. When youstart, you have goals and plan, but there is always new information to deal with as you projectgoes on and you will always have to make decisions to keep it on track. While you do your bestto plan for everything that will happen, you know that you will keep learning more about yourproject as you go. 1
  • 2. Processes are ongoing. If you are building cars on an assembly line that is a process. If you are designing and building a prototype of a specific car model that is a project. Operations and projects share many characteristics; for example, they are: - Performed by people - Constrained by limited resources - Planned, executed and controlled. Projects are often implemented as a means of achieving an organization’s strategic plan. Operations and projects differ primarily in that operations are ongoing and repetitive while projects are temporary and unique. A project can thus be defined in terms of its distinctive characteristics-project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service.DEFINITION OF PROJECT MANAGEMENTProject management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing and managingresourcesto bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives.The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectiveswhile honoring the preconceived project constraints. Typical constraints are scope, time, andbudget. The secondary—and more ambitious—challenge is to optimize the allocation andintegration of inputs necessary to meet pre-defined objectives.HOW PROJECT MANAGERS RUN GREAT PROJECTSThere are plenty of ways that you can run a project: people have been running projects for aslong as civilization has been around. But some project managers run their projects reallyeffectively, while others consistently come in late, over budget, and with poor quality. So whatmakes the difference between a great project and one that faces challenges?That is exactly the question that is always asked at the Project Management Institute when theystarted putting together a Guide they called the Project Management Body of Knowledge. Theysurveyed 1000s of project managers and analyzed tens of thousands of successful andunsuccessful software projects to come up with a structured way of thinking about how toeffectively run a project.One goal of the PMBOK Guide is to give you a repeatable way to run your projects. This is doneby breaking the work down into 42 processes that describe different, specific kinds of work thatproject managers do. To help you think about how those processes fit together, they came upwith two different ways to think about them. Each process falls into one of the five processgroups, which tell you the sequence that the processes are performed on a project. But the 2
  • 3. PMBOK Guide is also a tool for organizing knowledge about project management, so eachprocess also falls into one of nine knowledge areas.AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITYOne of the ways that the PMBOK Guide organizes information is into 4 areas of responsibility 1. Identify the requirements for the project – if you do this before you begin, your project starts on the right track. This means writing down what everyone needs from the project. Figure out your cost and scope, schedule, and the overall requirements for your project. 2. Establish objectives that can be achieved – When everyone understands the goal, it is much easier to keep them all on the right path. Make sure you set up goals that everyone agrees on to avoid team conflicts later. 3. Balance Scope, Time and Cost. – Project managers need to balance these three to succeed. – Keep track of how your project is doing compared to the planned schedule (time), budget, and scope requirements. Any time you make a change that affects one of these three items, the other ones are affected as well. They always need to be managed together. 4. Satisfy everyone’s needs. – Understanding the needs of everyone affected by the project means that the end result of your project is far more likely to satisfy your stakeholders. This means all your team members, the people who are funding the project, the customers or anyone else who is affected by what is going on, including the project team. 3
  • 4. AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY – EXERCISENot paying attention to those areas of responsibility is sure to give your project problems. Whichof the four areas of responsibility was neglected in the failed projects listed below? Sometimes,more than one area of responsibility will apply; just pick the one that makes the most sense toyou. 1. Your project was delivered early but it didn’t have all of the features that the customers asked for. What is the neglected area of responsibility? 2. The project team had so many conflicts about the project that they couldn’t work together. They made decisions that undercut each other, and in the end they couldn’t deliver anything at all. What is the neglected area of responsibility? 3. The project created a great product but it was still considered a failure because there was a constraint that it needed to be delivered in March to be of any use to the company. It was delivered in May – so nobody could use it. What is the neglected area of responsibility? 4. The project was late because the tasks weren’t planned to occur in a sequence that would get it done on time. What is the neglected area of responsibility? 5. The project Manager thought his job was to meet the deadline above all else. So he demanded that the product be released on the date it was due regardless of quality. What is the neglected area of responsibility? 6. The project manager spent all of his time holding status meetings with his team and didn’t plan how to deal with all of the 9 Knowledge areas. When the product was delivered it turned out that there was a stakeholder he hadn’t identified and the project didn’t meet their needs. What is the neglected area of responsibility? Answers: 1. Identify the requirement for the project. – You might also have written ‘manage cost and quality’ these project problems can be the result of more than one of the areas of responsibility being neglected. 2. Identify the requirement for the project – Since the contract came from outside the project, it should have been known from the beginning. 3. Establish objectives that can be achieved. – If the objectives were clear throughout the project, it will be easy to keep the team unified. 4. Establish objectives that can be achieved. 5. Balance Scope, time and cost – it is never a good idea to choose schedule over cost, scope and quality. The PMs need to balance all of these to deliver successful projects. 6. Satisfy everyone’s needs – it is important that a PM identifies and manages all stakeholder relations well. 4
  • 5. ANATOMY OF A PROCESS You can think of each process as a little machine. It takes the inputs – information you use in your project – and turns them into outputs: documents, deliverables and decisions. The outputs help your projects come in on time, within budget, and with high quality. Every single process has inputs, tools and techniques that are used to do the work and outputs. MANAGING COST, QUALITY AND SCHEDULE Anytime your project changes, you will need to know how that change affects all three constraints which are Scope, Cost and Time.- Scope is the work you and your team have to do for the project.- Cost is the budget of the project. Your project will always have to stay within budget.- Time is the schedule of the project. When your project schedule runs late, you will sure blow your budget too. Note that anytime cost, scope, or time change, it will affect quality too. If you donot manage all three constraints at the same time, you risk stretching the Triple constraint in favor of just one constraint. Exercises Can you figure out the constraint that is causing the biggest headache for the project manager in each of these scenarios? 1. The project was running late, so the project manager decided to release it on time even though it was missing some of its features. What constraint is affected? 2. The company did not have enough money to invest in the project, so they had to draft people from other departments to work part time to get the job done. What constraint is affected? 3. The team wanted to add more testers to find defects, but the project manager overruled them. What constraint is affected? 4. About halfway through the project, the PM realized that the money was running out fasterthan expected. She went through the schedule to try to find ways to move up the deadline. What constraint is affected? 5. A construction project manager assumed that the weather would cooperation with the plans to complete the job, but thunderstorms have derailed the project. What constraint is affected? 6. The project manager did not take software license fees into account, which caused the budget to balloon out of control. What constraint is affected? 5
  • 6. Answers 1. Scope –The PM stack to the original budget and schedule but released a product was not complete. That means the scope was affected. 2. Resources – Resources are people or materials that you need for your project and when you cut corners you end up draining them. 3. Quality – Any time you are talking about tests and defects you are talking about quality. 4. Time – There are lots of ways to change how long it will take to do your project but sometimes there simply no enough time. 5. Risk – Whenever you make assumptions about a project you are introducing risk 6. Cost – It is the project manager’s job to always look after the bottom line.STAKEHOLDER ANALYSISA stakeholder is anyone who is affected either positively or negatively by the cost, time, scope,resources, quality, or risks of your project.Stakeholders are impacted by your projectAnyone who will be affected by the outcome of your project is a stakeholder. It is usually easy tocome up with the first few people on the list of affected people. The sponsor who is paying forthe project, the team who is building it and the people in management who gave the project thegreen light are all good examples. However, it can get a bit tougher as your project gets going.You might start with that core group of people and find that the number keeps growing as timegoes on. As a PM, it is your job to find all of the stakeholders who are influential in your projectand keep them updated on where your project is going, making sure that their expectations aremanaged canbe the difference between your project succeeding and failing.Identify your stakeholdersOne of the first things you will do when you start a project is to figure out who your stakeholdersare and write down their goals and expectations. As your project progresses, you will find thatnew stakeholders are always popping up and you will need to make changes to your stakeholderregister to include them as you learn about them.Negative StakeholdersNot all of the people you are working with are rooting for your project to succeed. Sometimes,the people you are working with think that your project might bring negative consequences forthem. You need to know what is motivating all of your project stakeholders if you are going tounderstand the influence they will have over your project. 6
  • 7. PROJECT RISK MANAGEMENTWhat is a Risk?A risk is any uncertain event or condition that might affect your project. There are no guaranteeson any project. Even the simplest activity can run into problems unexpectedly. Any time there isanything that might occur on your project and change the outcome of a project activity, we callthat a risk. It can be an event like a fire outbreak, or it can be a condition like an important partbeing unavailable. Either way, it is something that may or may not happen; but if it does it willforce you to change the way you and your team will work on the project.How to deal with RiskWhen you are planning your project, risks are still uncertain, they have not happened yet. Buteventually, some of the risks that you plan for do happen. That is when you have to deal withthem. There are four basic ways to handle risks. 1. Avoid – The best thing you can do with a risk is to avoid it – if you can prevent it from happening, it definitely will not hurt your project. 2. Mitigate – If you cannot avoid the risk you can mitigate it. This means taking some sort of action that will cause it to do as little damage to your project as possible. 3. Transfer – One effective way to deal with a risk is to pay someone else to accept it for you. The most common way to do this is to buy insurance 4. Accept – When you cannot Avoid, Mitigate and Transfer a risk, then you have to accept the risk. But even when you accept a risk, at least you have looked at the alternatives and you know what will happen if it occurs.Anatomy of a RiskOnce you are done with Risk Planning, there are four more risk management process that willhelp you to come up with the list of risks for your project, analyze how they could affect yourproject and plan how you will respond if any of the risks materializes when you are executing theproject. 1. Risk Identification: The first thing you need to do when planning for risks is to gather the team together and come up with a list of every possible risk you can think of. 2. Qualitative Risk Analysis: Once you have got a list of risks, you will need to get a good idea of the probability and impact of each risk 3. Quantitative Risk Analysis: You can make better decisions with more precise information. That is what this process is about – assigning numerical values for the probability and impact of each risk. 4. Risk response planning: All that is left now is to plan responses to each risk. This is where you decide whether to avoid, mitigate, transfer, or accept and how you will do it. 7
  • 8. All these are in the planning stage of your project. You will need to plan for your project risksbefore you start executing the project. 8
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