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7.0 project,-planning-and-management

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Importance of project and management .full covered syllabus.

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7.0 project,-planning-and-management

  1. 1. CRICOS Provider No. 00103D 7.0 Project Planning and Management Page 1 of 5 7.0 Project Planning and Management 7.1 The Importance of Project Planning and Management in the Research Process Project planning and management is a key generic/professional skill that is essential for successful research development and management. Project management is the discipline of planning and organising a project, and securing and managing resources to achieve the goals of the project. A research project generally exhibits the following characteristics: • It is unique – not a repetitive operational process. • It has a defined timescale – deliverables must be produced by a predetermined end date. • It has a finite budget – all deliverables must be produced within the budget. • It has a finite amount of resources – labour, infrastructure, materials. • It involves risk – it has a level of uncertainty. • It achieves beneficial change. The goal of project management is to achieve the project objectives within the constraints of scope, resources, time and budget. The skill in project management involves optimization of resource allocation to meet project objectives. Project management thus involves a set of skills, a suite of tools, and a series of processes. The elements of project planning and management are thus employed in all research projects; in many cases, researchers are project managers without realising it. All research projects operate within a set of constraints. The “triple constraints” are: • time = time available to complete the project • cost = budget available to complete the project • quality and scope = what must be done to produce the final output at the required level of quality. These form the sides of the “project management triangle”; it is not possible to change one side of the triangle without impacting on the other sides. The constraints within which a project takes place are competing; for example, an increase in scope leads to an increase in time and cost and a reduction in time might reduce possible scope but increase cost. The successful conduct of a research project involves sound project management and much of the “front end” of project development (scoping the research question, preparing a proposal, costing and budgeting the project) are integral stages of the project planning process. Many researchers have an intuitive feel for project management and are good at it; some require a more formal approach in order to better to develop the skills needed to ensure project success. The larger and more complex the project, the greater the need for more formal project management processes. An integral part of project management is risk assessment and management; more complex projects with larger budgets and multiple stakeholders, involve greater risks. The incorporation of sound project management processes into a project can reduce the risks.
  2. 2. CRICOS Provider No. 00103D 7.0 Project Planning and Management Page 2 of 5 7.2 The University’s Project Management Framework The University has a Project Management Framework Policy http://policy.federation.edu.au/university/projectmgt/ch01.php and a Project Management Framework Procedure http://policy.federation.edu.au/university/projectmgt/ch02.php in place. The Project Management Framework Policy requires compliance for all projects that are considered to be of “Medium” or above risk level, as defined in the University’s Risk Management Policy and Procedure. Large, University-wide research projects (e.g. the Collaborative Research Network project) between $1 – 5 million defined as “Low” risk should also comply with the policy. Smaller research projects should be managed using the elements of the University Policy and Procedure as a framework. The Framework is based upon worldwide accepted best practice as outlined in the PMBOK (R) guide and the PRINCE-II (R) methodology. The objectives of the University’s Project Management Policy are to ensure that: • Projects are effectively managed within the limitations of scope, quality, resources (including time and budget) and risk. • Appropriate governance is established. • Communication, quality and risk management plans are developed and executed throughout the project’s life. • Appropriate authorisation and acceptance is established throughout the life of the project. • Stakeholder communication is inclusive. • Post implementation reviews are conducted and actively used to improve the conduct of project delivery. The Project Management Framework Procedure defines the processes that are performed throughout the life of a project to ensure the Project Management Policy is adhered to. The University provides a Project Management Framework Form to assist project managers in ensuring project documentation is completed so as to comply with the Project Management Policy and Procedure. The framework for Project Management is based upon the generic process stages of Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Monitoring, and Closing. These generic stages are applicable to research projects. Within the context of the University’s Project Management Policy, research projects can be seen to conform to critical elements of the Framework. Given that research proposals should be approved by the Dean and DVC (R), budgeted correctly using the University procedures and templates, and set up in the University Finance System following development of contracts, then a research project can be regarded as having the following (in accord with the wording of the Framework): • A project charter = authorisation/project approval form. • A project executive sponsor = Dean of School. • A project manager = chief investigator. • A Business Case, Project Proposal, Communication Plan, Risk Management/Assessment Plan = research proposal. Chief Investigators should develop separate Project Management and Risk Management Plans if these are not part of the required format of the research proposal. Some Funding Bodies require the incorporation of a risk assessment/management plan into the proposal for funding. Liaison with Research Services, the Legal Office, and the Finance Office early in the process of project development will expedite proposal development, reduce risk, and facilitate more effective project management.
  3. 3. CRICOS Provider No. 00103D 7.0 Project Planning and Management Page 3 of 5 7.3 Project Management Stages and the Role of the Project Manager The critical tasks undertaken during the 5 major stages of the project management sequence, as described in the University’s Project Management Framework, are outlined below. Tasks in italics would normally be undertaken as part of the preparation of the research project proposal. An additional 6 th stage involving project review may also be included. Project Initiating Planning Executing Controlling & Monitoring Closing Prepare proposal Define activities Form, train, manage project team Monitor and control project work Close project Sequence activities Manage stakeholders Control schedule, costs, quality Close contractual obligations Estimate activity resources Conduct procurements Report performance (milestones) Estimate activity durations Monitor and control communication strategy Develop project schedule Monitor and control risks Estimate costs Manage contractual obligations Determine budget Develop human resources plan Plan communications Plan risk management Risk analysis Plan risk responses Plan procurements Finalise project management plan
  4. 4. CRICOS Provider No. 00103D 7.0 Project Planning and Management Page 4 of 5 Chief investigators should consult the University’s Project Management Framework Policy and Procedure and associated documents. In particular, chief investigators should review the following: • Communication Plan Guide (with a focus on Section 3: Marketing and Communication Strategy) • Risk Management Plan Guide (with a focus on Section 3: Risk Assessment and Management Table). • Risk Register Guide. • Project Management Plan Guide (if needed). Project managers should review some of the literature listed at the end of this cha[ter to familiarise themselves with project control systems and project planning tools (such as GANTT and PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) charts) for planning and scheduling tasks, and for monitoring project progress. These tools are graphical representations of the duration of tasks against time and allow assessment of how long the project will take or how long each phase will take within a predetermined timeline. The charts lay out the order in which tasks should be carried out and help to manage the dependencies between tasks (ie. tasks often overlap) and allow assessment of what should have been achieved at a given point in time. Milestone points (checkpoints or interim goals) can be included. The Role of the Project Manager The Chief Investigator of a research project plays the role of a project manager. As such, he/she may not participate directly in all the activities of the project producing the end result (e.g. the Chief Investigator may not be involved in field work, conducting interviews, all phases of data analysis or report writing). The role of the project manager is to maintain progress within the constraints outlined above. The project manager thus manages the project “team” (but may not necessarily manage all individuals working on a large collaborative project), manages stakeholder expectations, and manages the project budget. The project manager must have overview and vision for the entire project and must be able to ensure that vision is realized. The chief investigator of a research project therefore needs to be a leader, negotiator, problem solver, communicator, and a good manager. Leadership of a research team is a critical part of managing large research projects but is beyond the scope of this manual. A research team needs a leader with a clearly identified planning and management role and with clearly articulated authority. The team leader will carry the responsibility for keeping the team on track and critical decision making. The team leader will also act as a mediator and negotiator and should have a vision for the project and commitment to the project. Project Management Literature Berkun, Scott (2005). Art of Project Management. Cambridge, MA: O'Reilly Media. ISBN 0-596-00786-8. Comninos D &, Frigenti E (2002). The Practice of Project Management - a guide to the business-focused approach. Kogan Page. ISBN 0-7494-3694-8. Heerkens, Gary (2001). Project Management (The Briefcase Book Series). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-137952- 5.
  5. 5. CRICOS Provider No. 00103D 7.0 Project Planning and Management Page 5 of 5 Kerzner, Harold (2003). Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling, 8th Ed., Wiley. ISBN 0-471-22577-0. Lewis, James (2002). Fundamentals of Project Management, 2nd ed., American Management Association. ISBN 0-8144-7132-3. Meredith, Jack R. and Mantel, Samuel J. (2002). Project Management : A Managerial Approach, 5th ed., Wiley. ISBN 0-471-07323-7.

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