Stephanie Geddes October 29, 2020 Project Management
Projects tend to slip for two reasons. Either Project Managers do not account for derivative activities such as vacation days when planning the overall project schedule, or they simply succumb to the pressure from management to compress the schedule. Now, present this schedule to the management team, and 8 times out of 10, the feedback you will get is "that`s too late". Eight times out of ten, you will be asked to revise the schedule and shorten it.
Most larger organisations have well developed and run IT departments. They usually have formal project offices with established plan templates and standards, with project office staff and automated plan analysis systems (for example seeking orphan tasks / missing dependencies and so on to measure overall `plan quality`). Smaller organisations - for example, `IT solutions houses` - may lack this level of sophistication but will certainly use detailed project plans.
When it comes to choosing tools for managing a project, there are several options that are available to you. In the past several years, many tools that were in use were general purpose tools. Nowadays, software tools have been created specifically for managing projects in specific industries. In addition, these tools are available in different types such as automated tools that could be installed on local computers or on a network server where different users can access them. There are also Web-based tools and paper-based tools, which include forms, templates and checklists.
Now, you will notice that some of these tasks will be ongoing throughout the project, like managing team performance, assuring quality, and schedule control. Before each project, you should make a checklist and a list of deliverables that will keep you on track throughout your project. There will be a lot of similarities from project to project, so after the first time this will be very easy to do. You may want to schedule yourself to do some tasks weekly or monthly, depending on the task and the length of your project. Maybe you want to add in some of your own tasks, or maybe there are some that you can live without, but this is a great start to managing any project.
The next step in project management involves determining inter-task dependencies. Once the tasks have been listed and organized into a WBS, inter-task relationships need to be established. These relationships, also called dependencies or links, exist when the start or completion of one task is somehow related to the start or completion of another task. There are three types of inter-task dependencies: finish-start, start-start, and finish-finish. The tasks that must be performed first are called the predecessor tasks and those that follow are successor tasks.
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.
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