Skye Clemes October 29, 2020 Project Management
To start we will be clear that we are not going to deal here with repetitive implementation / rollout projects where a template plan has been refined over a series of projects and becomes a standard checklist for project management (for example for COTS - commercial off-the-shelf software). This article is about those one off (or initial template try-out) projects. These projects may be within organisations small, medium and large.
Complex projects require sophisticated software and scheduling tools, however simpler and more straightforward projects involving only a few people over a relatively short period of time require a much simpler approach. Usually, a simple project will have a few steps which are dependent on other steps taking place first, and will be relatively straightforward to coordinate. An example might be creating and implementing a marketing plan for a one person business, painting a single room, baking a cake, planning a weekend away for two, building a garden shed etc.
A detailed schedule is one of the best tools that a project manager can have. By scheduling yourself in advance to do all of the necessary management tasks, you stay much more organized throughout your project. You know exactly what you need to do to get started, what you need to do for the planning stage, and so on. Plus, before you commence work on your project, you can ask yourself: how often do I want to meet with my team? how often do I want to conduct project reviews? and schedule yourself to do these periodic tasks.
All projects have control points and required deadlines, where progress is monitored and measured. In the event that a deadline is missed then the overall impact on project completion time can be assessed, and if necessary new timetables drawn up, re-negotiated and agreed. Action Plans are lists of tasks/individual actions that are carried out to achieve a single and objective or outcome - in this case, the specific project. Action Plans focus on the achievement of a single goal, the action may then be translated in to a to-do list/diary cum calendar which cover many goals.
One of the challenges of explaining project management to people who are unfamiliar with the approach, is that descriptions are often either so high-level as to be meaningless, or so detailed that they are overwhelming. Over the years, I have come to use a model as a framework for introducing and discussing project management tools and techniques. It can be used as the basis for a five-minute explanation of what is involved in project management, but also as an outline for more detailed discussions. The actual model can be found on the Key Consulting website under free templates and info.
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.