Natasha O'sullivan October 26, 2020 Project Management
The business requirements state what is required but do not specify how the deliverable will actually work. So in many projects with a tangible and technically sophisticated deliverable, it is very common to produce additional documentation about the look and feel of the end product. The functional specification describes not only how the end product will look but also how an end-user will actually use it and what the user-experience will be like. This document should contain sections that specifically relate to each of the requirements in the business requirements document so that every functional item can be tracked back to an original business need.
Managers plan, execute and monitor all components of a project. They usually need tools to assist them in completing and delivering the project efficiently. Companies rely on key tools in the project management process to ensure that each task is handled satisfactorily. Project management tools are a necessity in any organization. They help keep track of all the aspects of a project to ensure it is completed on time and within allocated budget. With proper management of a project, a desired outcome is produced in a timely and cost-effective manner. And a good project management tool, whether it is a desktop or web-based solution, helps to accomplish this objective. It will define the project`s tasks, costs, scope, schedules and team members.
One of the tools you can use to get things structured and organized is the "Project Checklist". This checklist is a roadmap to setup and put a framework around the project before it gets started. Each PM has their own style and set of tools, but if you are working on building your own toolbox, the project checklist is an important item to have when defining the project itself.
The business requirements document should accurately, and in detail, describe the purpose of the project. It states what is needed to achieve that goal i.e. what is in-scope, what is out-of-scope, any assumptions that have been made, any constraints that have been imposed and expected timescales. The document will form the definitive description of the aims of the project and, as such, can be used to manage the expectations of the stakeholders. It will also include acceptance criteria that will ultimately be used to judge whether the project was a success.
With simple projects, a tool such as a Gantt chart may make over complicate the project scheduling. Unless all team members are trained in the tool then the use of the tool may itself lead to poor communication and an unsatisfactory result. A simple project such as those identified above may only require a timetable and/or an action plan. All those in the project team should be communicated with as to their tasks content and timing. Timetables can then be negotiated and agreed, actions lists or diaries/calendars can be used for recording and planning purposes.
Can Project Managers prevent projects from slipping? Ask a techie to come up with a schedule for a specific list of activities, and more often than not, he/she will present a fairly accurate estimate. Some activities might be underestimated, others overestimated, but overall, the plan will be fairly accurate. However, something happens to these estimates between the time the techie writes them down and the time the Project Manager publishes a baseline project schedule. That "something" is why projects slip.
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