Project Management Skills


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Project Management Skills

  1. 1. PROJECT MANAGEMENT Table of contents page Introduction 1 Objectives 2 1. Project management: an explanation 3 1.1 Project management in 4 steps 4 1.1.1 Step 1: problem and aim formulation 5 1.1.2 Step 2: project planning and organization 6 1.1.3 Step 3: execution and management 8 1.1.4 Step 4: evaluation and correction 8 1.2 Final remarks 9 2. Checklist 10 Literature 11 1
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION This reader is part of a series dealing with job oriented skills and aims at providing persons with practical skills in the field of project management. Project management is presented with step-planning and a model. Such a model does not reflect the complex reality, but is simple and useful. Added to the reader is a checklist and a number of annexes, which we hope will enhance its usefulness. Drs. M.G. Altena Drs. W.G. Bekkering Ir. J.J. van Veldhuizen Translation: K.M.L. Slot-Lim Revised version: Brian Thompson 2009 2
  3. 3. OBJECTIVES General: A person is capable to complete a project properly in cooperation with other persons within a set period of time. Objectives concerning knowledge * the person can define the term project management * the person can explain the used models. * the person knows the meaning of the acronym TOQIF Objectives concerning skills * the person can, with the help of a step-plan complete a project and obtain the required results. This means with regard to: PROBLEM AND AIM FORMULATION * the person formulates, in a concrete, attainable way the (partial)problems and aims of the project, together with others, who are involved in the project. PLANNING AND ORGANISATION * the person makes a task analysis and assigns the formulated tasks to others in the project in such a way that the implementation of the project will be optimal * the person formulates, in cooperation with others, a plan, to safeguard time used, organization, quality, information and financial aspects (TOQIF). EXECUTION AND MANAGEMENT * the person is capable to safeguard the TOQIF-aspects in such a way that the application meets the demand of the client. * the person keeps control in a correct way, on the execution of the tasks. * the person is capable of reporting (in writing or oral) in such a way that others involved in the project are always kept up to date concerning the progress in the project. EVALUATION AND GUIDANCE * the person evaluates the executed tasks during the various phases in relation to formulated aims and the defined planning. • the person makes an analysis of the problems encountered during the various phases of the project and, in cooperation with others involved in the project formulate a satisfying solution. 3
  4. 4. 1. PROJECT MANAGEMENT: an explanation What is project management? Briefly: project management is a work method to solve a problem in a systematic way, within a given period of time. This working method is useful for assignments and work situations, whereby concrete results must be obtained. It is a method aiming to guide a work process. Project management asks for planned action but also creativity is required, because a project is never a routine job. Often it is a job, which has to be carried out in co-operation with several people acting from their various disciplines. Project management is: - systematic / planned / methodical action - teamwork - a clear task / assignment / question - a complex activity - result oriented - multi-disciplinary - time-bound Project management is not: - suitable for routine work - suited for ad hoc situations The model used in this reader is derived from three other models. In the first place: aspects from the model for general management are used. These are management principles and management processes from policy development and execution and skills such as: formulation of aims, planning, decision making, execution, control, evaluation and communication. Then also the model of the management cycle is used. Finally the problem solving model, which is used in the integration project in our curriculum is used. In the latter model focal points are: problem recognition, design, decision and execution. Certain aspects of project management will not be further developed in this reader, because they will be developed in other readers in this series. These are for instance subjects as teamwork and reporting. 4
  5. 5. 1.1 Project management in 4 steps In a project we will work always in steps or phases. It is also of importance to name the various aspects in the assignment. In the above described model we have adopted four distinguishable steps: PROJECT MANAGEMENT STEP 1 PROBLEM- AND AIM - What is the request ? FORMULATION - What is the final aim ? - What do we not want ? 'THINKING' STEP 2 PLANNING AND ORGANI- - Who does what, how and when ? SATION - How do we inform each other ? 'REFLECTING’ STEP 3 EXECUTION AND MAN- - Work according to plan AGEMENT - Control on implementation 'DOING' STEP 4 EVALUATION AND - Do things go well ? CORRECTION - Do we have to review aim and plans? 'JUDGING' 5
  6. 6. 1.1.1 Problem and aim formulation: "THINKING" A project must be based on a clear formulation of problem and aim. In this phase we must find out, the exact extend of the problem. This investigation results in a situation sketch/- analysis. This in turn must result in the formulation of a concrete problem. In addition the problem or question must be split up in sub-questions viewed from different angles. attention points - what is the situation ? - what is the question ? - what are the sub-questions ? - what are the different angles ? Once the problem is clear, the aims of the project can be worked out. Aim and result can be described clearly. Of course attention is paid to feasibility and implementation. Often it proves that the question was not formulated clearly. This then must be reviewed. attention points - when is the problem to be solved ? - when has each question been answered ? - does the final product meet the demand ? - is the final product sufficiently concrete ? - have formulations of questions and problem been sufficiently concrete ? - is clear what is not wanted ? This phase can only be rounded off if there is continuous communication with the client and project team. By such continuous communication, misunderstandings about the assignment and final aim can be avoided. attention points - communication between client and project team - is there agreement about problem and aim formulation ? 6
  7. 7. 1.1.2 Step 2 : Project planning and organization : ‘REFLECTING’ The question here is: who does what and when and in what way, in order to reach the formulated aim. It thus concerns the activities, the order in which they have to be done and by whom. By splitting up the problems in partial questions and the final aim in intermediate smaller aims, one may be able to produce an activities plan with a logical sequence and a clear inter-relationship. To reach this objective a task-analysis is required. It's aim is to split up an assignment in clear sub-tasks, which later-on will be distributed among the different project members. Activities and job will be ordered and grouped with that aim. attention points - split up the main question - formulate partial aims - make a task analysis Once the task-analysis is made, the partial tasks can be distributed. Also agreements will be made about time planning, organization, quality control, information and communication and finance, the so-called TOQIF-aspects (TOQIF is the acronym for each of the mentioned management aspects). TOQIF is a means of aid to structure organization and planning before, during and after completion of the project. Each of these aspects will be explained hereafter: * Time planning Activities are placed against time in a graph. What comes first and what thereafter ? When must an activity be rounded off ? attention points - set deadlines - set time available per activity - schematic appraisal - realism in planning 7
  8. 8. * Organization The plan must show clearly who carries which responsibilities (obligations and task distribution). Also it must be clarified who will be involved in communication with the client and when meetings will take place. Also it must be predetermined how decision making will take place. attention points - establish roles and obligations - agree on partial tasks - organize meetings - establish decision making - what means are required * Quality control During execution of the project it is of importance to control the quality of all work done. One could call this evaluation. However quality control can only be called so if clear quality criteria had been formulated before. In addition it must also be known how these quality criteria should be tested and by whom. attention points - how will the evaluation be done ? - by whom will the evaluation be done ? - intermediate evaluation must also be done. - when to evaluate ? * Information and communication It should be made clear in advance to all who are involved in a project, how they can get information and when information will be provided. Information can be passed on in the form of meeting notes, intermediate reports, partial reports and results and the final report. To avoid problems a planning for distribution of gathered information must be made including the question of confidentiality of information. attention points - who gets information - way of informing - what is confidential information - what happens with the archives 8
  9. 9. * Finance How much are the costs and who pays, is at this stage the question. A budget must be prepared showing distribution of funds over means and activities. When all TOQIF-aspects have been included in a plan, the plan must be discussed with the client. attention points - regulate financing - produce total budget - estimate costs per part/phase 1.1.3 Step 3: Execution and management: ‘DOING’ In the first two steps only preparatory work has been done. There after tasks are carried out according to plan. It deals with management of the implementation. In this phase the accent is put on motivation and control. attention points - motivation of team members - control on the execution of tasks - management of TOQIF aspects 1.1.4 Step 4: Evaluation and correction: "JUDGING" From doing problems may evolve. Set aims are not reached, assignments cannot be implemented, situations change, etc. It is therefore of importance to evaluate on a continuous basis, the progress of a project: how are the executed jobs judged in view of the formulated aims ? Have targets been reached ? Why yes, why not ? In project management it is important to keep an over-view of executed jobs in order to be able to monitor progress. It is then possible to draw conclusions on the basis of product and process evaluation, such as: * the team is satisfied about progress and continues the jobs * project progress needs correction in view of its aim or work methods (internal changes) * project execution must be adjusted in relation to planning * project execution must be stopped 9
  10. 10. If there are real problems, then the steps of problem solving have to be followed, in order to come to a new set-up. This requires of course new negotiations with client. attention points - review set aims. - review TOQIF aspects - indicate frictions and problems - if necessary: make a careful problem analysis and review the project - keep in touch with all involved 1.2 Final remarks: The term "project management" has been explained now. This explanation hopefully has contributed to a well ordering of the complex assignment and to passing through the steps and phases in the required way. The step plan could be a good point of departure. It is thereby important to realize that each step has its own unique function, but also that the various steps form part of a total. 10
  11. 11. 2. CHECKLIST PROJECT MANAGEMENT KNOWLEDGE WITH REGARD TO SUBJECT Yes More No Or less • the person knows the theory dealt with in this reader PROBLEM AND AIM FORMULATION (step 1) • the person has translated the assignment in a concrete problem formulation with partial questions. • the person has formulated attainable project aims • the person has, where needed, adjusted the problem aims in agreement with client PROJECT PLANNING / ORGANISATION (step 2) • the person has made a clear task analysis, tasks have been properly assigned. • the person has made a work plan, including: time planning, phasing, task distribution (TOQIF). EXECUTION AND MANAGEMENT (step 3) The person has • controlled task execution. • kept control of the TOQIF aspects. • has motivated the members of the team. • has correctly taken care of oral and written communication. EVALUATION AND CORRECTION (step 4) The person has • continuously evaluated progress in relation to aims and planning. • effectively taken action in case of bottlenecks in a problem solving way. 11