Natasha O'sullivan October 26, 2020 Project Management
Project Management is the planning and management of a range of tasks, particularly where there are complexities either within the tasks or within the teams working on the project, in order to achieve a deliverable at the end of the project. A deliverable can be many things; it may be a physical thing such as a new product, it may be an intangible thing such as a new process within an organisation or it may be a new software system. Whatever the end result of the project, it will involve some type of change within a business. The change could be a modification to the existing status quo or it could be introducing something completely new, so change management is also an element of project management.
Many of these products assume a knowledge of project management that many technical managers do not have. Without an understanding of the basic concepts of project management, managers may often find the software is confusing and hard to use. The first step in project management is to break the project down into measurable tasks and organize them into a hierarchy called the work breakdown structure (WBS). Different companies have different terms for the various levels in a work breakdown structure. Some levels include stages, steps, and tasks, or phases, activities, and tasks.
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.
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.
A project in general is divided into many phases depending on the life cycle model used for it. In general, the methodology deals with the genesis of a scheme, controlling it and termination of the plan! Where it all begins! An organization begins on a project, by getting down the objectives of the customer. The requirement gathering report should be as unambiguous as possible. You do not want to give a two-story house when the client had actually asked for two storerooms in the house! Get the deal straight! Then a mandate is provided to the client, which is an official document stating the needs of the customer, for their verification.
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.
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