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INFT3100 Project Management : Standards Tools and Techniques

1. Please define Project Management and give examples.
2. Please explain Project Management functions & tools.
3. Please explain Project Management profiling, provide examples
4. Please explain a Project phases & project organisation.
5. Please explain how to meet the expectations of a client.
6. Please explain how to deal with challenges & problems.
7. Please explain how to lead a project team.
8. Please explain how to work with teams and individuals.
9. Please explain communications management, provide examples.
10. Please explain project time management, provide examples.

Answer:

Define Project Management with example

Project management is a knowledge base which has some defined tools and techniques those can be applied to any kind of projects to complete it within the budgeted time, cost and the set quality parameters. A project is set of many activities which have defined the start and finish dates and the effort used to complete the activities using standards tools and techniques within the dates is the project management skill.

Main groups of Project Management

Project Management has been mainly divided into five groups, the ‘initiation’, ‘planning’, ‘execution’, ‘Monitoring and controlling’ and ‘Closing’. These groups start with initiation from the starting of the project and end with the closing. The initiation group concentrates on developing the business case, identifying preliminary information regarding the project and finally the development and approval of Project Charter. Then comes the planning group, where we need to do various planning of activities and its various parameters like scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, procurement, communication, and risk. As the name suggests, in each different subgroups of planning there are various other parts like in case of scope planning we need to first develop the method of managing the scope called as scope management plan and then we collect the requirement to finalise the deliverables, then we need to define scope and finally develop the work breakdown structure (WBS).

All the groups and subgroups are interlinked with each other to form a logical flow of work or the links which can be developed to form a schedule. For example, if we again take the scope management chapter, then after the WBS is developed we need to verify the scope and control in under the main group ‘Monitoring and controlling’.

Project Management functions & tools

Project management is the learning of dealing with the venture inside its confinements or imperatives. The fundamental elements of the undertaking administration is to manage the scope of work, the time of completion, the cost of project implementation, nature of the undertaking and item, correspondence levels and the desires of the partners, the acquirement and seller administration, the HR required to finish the venture and the risks which can impact the project in either direction. One of the real elements of the undertaking administration is to evaluate the task future and conjecture from the beginning of the venture, or whenever in the middle of the venture life cycle.

Tools of Project Management

There are many tools which are being used to conduct the project management, but for every


organization and project, all the tools are not suitable. Selection of the tools for the appropriate project is one of the basic skills of the Project Manager, so they need to be aware of all the tools which are available for managing the project. There are two common tools which are the important and the commonly used in almost all the projects irrespective of its size and the complexities are the ‘PERT’ and ‘Gantt chart’. These two tools are used to develop and present the project activities in terms of the time. To develop the PERT, four different types of relationships are used to the activities. The relationships are ‘FS’ finish to start is the commonly used relationship and is the default relationship being used in the planning software (MS Project, Primavera etc.). Other relations are ‘SS’ start to start, ‘FF’ finish to finish and the most uncommon relations are ‘SF’ start to finish.

Project Management profiling

Project management profiling is the tools to distinguish one project with another and group them under the specific character of the project like big or small, complex or simple, high cost or low cost, government or private and much more such groups. These groupings are done to understand the common features of the project so that such similar project’s experience can be used for the new categorized project too.

Suppose a construction farm wants to build a typical series of a bungalow in the capital city Dhaka of Bangladesh and Singapore, for which the design has been finalized and since the bearing capacity of both the sites is almost similar to the structural design is also the same. How can we say the construction of the series bungalow in Bangladesh and Singapore is same? Can the cost of construction be same? Can the local interferences be same? Can the local government’s action will be same? Can the local taxes be same? The answer to all the questions is no, so for different locations which have a huge difference or gap in the local situation or the currency value the cost cannot be same and the complexity level in construction also cannot be the same. Hence for two different locations which are so much different from each other has different profiles and so different Project Manager shall be required to manage the job with different background of experience and skills. This way we can understand that how important is the project profiling before selecting the leaders to lead the project and do further analysis. 

Project phases & project organization

The projects have five different phases ‘Initiation’, ‘Planning’, ‘Execution’, ‘Monitoring and control’ and the ‘Closing & evaluation’ and these phases are always interlinked to each other. Moreover, the phases and its duration can always change the type of organization and the work culture being practiced.

The very first phase is the ‘Initiation’ which means to initiate or start the project. This phase includes all the required tasks which are needed to undertake for initiating the project. As per PMBoK, this stage involves the ‘Preparation of Project Charter’ and ‘Identification of Stakeholders’. These two steps or actions are performed during initiation stage to officially start the project and then list the people who are going to be impacted by the project or those who can impact the project in either way irrespective of the type of organization.

The following period of the task is the 'Planning', in which advancement of different reports are done to finish the path in which the undertaking is required to be advanced to accomplish the coveted objective and goal of the venture. In this period of the undertaking the degree is characterized, arranged and the execution arranging is performed. This phase also involves the development of cost curve to generate the requirement of cash flow throughout the project life cycle. In this phase, all the different probable risks are identified using various tools and techniques to develop a plan for countering the same and it cannot put any negative impact on the project, even in the case when it cannot be avoided the minimization response is also planned so that the impact can be reduced. Various other plans are also developed like procurement, communication, time, human resource and quality. The entire above discussed plan shall be different for different categories of the organization and its nature of work, suppose the manpower or resource planning for the construction organization shall be different from an IT organization.

Execution, Monitoring & Controlling

The next phase is the ‘execution’ where the actual work is performed in the field in case of construction work or in office in case of IT projects. During the phase the resources are also being recruited, trained and performances are measured. This phase is totally interlinked with the ‘Monitoring and Controlling’, as the checking or controlling are required to be performed in-between the execution phase to have control on the quality of project and product. Various checks and audits are performed to control the execution stage. This phase shall be totally different in nature from different organizations and sectors.

Close-out and evaluation of outcomes

The final stage is the ‘Closing’ which has now been augmented by ‘Evaluation’ too so that traditionally we were required to document the lessons learned only, but now in current project management practice we are also required to evaluate the outcome of the project to assess that whether the MOVs and the objectives set before the start of project are satisfied or not and document them for using in further document. This phase again has the similar action points for all types of organizations by documenting the lessons learned and the outcomes.

How to meet the expectations of a client

There are few standard steps or actions which can be used to meet the expectations of a client are first ‘documenting their needs or expectations’, the development of the action plan to fulfill those expectations and finally need to manage the expectations according to the plan or strategy developed in the planning phase. To further distinguish the topic we shall divide the actions in below steps:

Identify the Expectations

The first step is to identify and document the expectations or the needs of the client. Few common expectation of a client is to get the delivery of the product within the promised time, cost, and quality. So delivering a project well within the budgeted time and cost becomes the foremost important expectations and the quality standard need to be enhanced to make them happy.

Verify the documented Expectations

Now once the expectations other than the common ones are documented, they are required to be verified after the finalization of the identification of requirements to verify the needs so that the next step in planning is the ‘defining scope’ can be performed.

Plan for meeting the Expectations

Now once the requirements or expectations are finalized, they are required to be planned to achieve the goal. So the planning needs to be done by keeping in mind the time frame of the requirement fulfilment and the cost estimate to complete the requirements, to avoid any overrun. The in-scope and out-of-scope items need to be defined very clearly in the scope statement.

To keep the project progress online according to the expectations set, the points need to be reviewed at every meeting to ascertain the surety of meeting the goals and the effort is only directed towards achieving the objectives of the project. 

How to deal with challenges & problems

The major and common challenges & problems that Project Manager needs to face in almost all projects are the time, cost and quality. But now above this, there are many more challenges which can be faced by the Project Managers are as below:

The Project Manager needs to confirm and verify the scope according to the set objective of the project. In case of non-availability of clarity, it is better to not start the project then going in the wrong direction.

In case of scope creep, the root cause needs to be identified and resolved to eliminate the risk. Moreover, the PM needs to be proactive in nature and finalize the risks & cost estimate with some reserves to absorb minor changes.

The PM needs to act again proactively along with the HR team to recruit the proper manpower before the requirement arises and keep them reserved to avoid last minute search. After the recruitment, proper motivational tools need to be applied to preserve the resources.

Like above cases, the PM needs to act proactively and finalize the roles and responsibility matrix of the team members to avoid any such issue. Proper development of RACI matrix can avoid such issue.

Project Risks are not managed well

This issue can really trouble the Project manager in managing the project constraints, so it cannot be avoided and all the risks need to be identified and response plan is required to be finalized at the earliest to avoid occulting any of such risks before it is identified.

Communication between the stakeholders are very poor

Project Manager needs to finalize the proper stakeholder identification and communication matrix during the initiation and planning phase itself to avoid any communication gap starting from the initial stage of the project.

Leading a team of highly skilled manpower in engineering and IT projects is the toughest job which every Project Managers are required to face during the project period. If some PMs miss the skills and don’t lead the team effectively the chances of getting the project failed increases. Few skills required are:

The interpersonal skills involve the ability to attract other, the ability to build up the relationship with the team members, to gain confidence in the team, to become the central focal point of all kind of decisions in the project. Be that as it may, building up the aptitudes are not all that simple, the pioneer of the group or the Project Manager must have the great relational ability and correspondence expertise to discuss well with the partners and the inside colleagues. The capacity to appoint the activity similarly among the colleagues is one of the important skills which need to be shown by the Project Manager to properly manage the team members.

Strong Conflict resolution Skill

It is one of the vital skills required in the Project Manager to effectively lead the team because the conflict is the items which can delay the venture, demotivate the colleagues and subsequently bring down the profitability rate of the colleagues. So the leader must have or required to develop strong conflict resolution skill.

This is also a part of the interpersonal skill, where the team members must have faith in Project Manager and confident that the decisions or the actions taken by the PM are always good for the project. These skills avoid the rise of conflict in the team members because nobody will doubt the decision.

To make a project successful, the efficient team working is the key area which needs to be taken care for the proper functioning of the team as a whole. All team members need to work in common direction and in a particular method to produce the desired result of teamwork. The projects have become so complex now a day that without teamwork none of the projects can be made successful. There are some rules by maintaining which we can effectively make the team perform well with the active participation of all individuals of the team members. The rules are as follows:

The first requirement of the effective team working and a positive output is to set a common goal and objectives clear to all the team members. So setting the project objectives at the initial stage is very much important and then the recruitment of team members and then induce the aim and goal to all members. This action helps in maintain common viewpoint for all the team members, all will work towards the common goal so that the goal can be achieved quickly and with more accuracy, rework will also get reduced.

Set the proper and achievable KPIs

On the basis of the goal and objective, first of all, define the clear roles and responsibilities to accomplish the goal by discussing among the team members, so that all should be aligned with the decision. Then develop the appropriate an achievable key performance index and make it clear and appear to all of the team members. Now once the KPIs are set and then during the execution phase, the individuals are rated accordingly and are provided motivational increments and promotions.

Use the latest technology

The team needs to be involved and motivated all the time and one way to motivate is by providing them necessary skill up gradation training and then use the latest technology software or equipment to do the job. By doing so, the team members always remain ahead of the mass of similar grade in other projects and it generates the self-confidence level and increases the productivity of the individuals and the team.

Be approachable

To make effective team working and achieve the result as per desired goal and objective the project manager, other colleagues must be constantly congenial; they ought not be disconnected from the group. All the colleagues must feel like a family and no one is different from one another despite having different grades to maintain proper harmony in the team. The team with more harmony between the members always produces better results.

Effective communication

The communication is the key to drive the team together, hence all the communication documents are required to be simple and understandable to all the team members to have clear communication. The better communication can minimise the conflicts and raise the efficiency level of the individual and team.

Communications management

Communication is a vital knowledge area of project management because it is a thumb rule that the Project Manager needs to invest around 90% of the project time in managing the communication. So it is very clear that managing a good communication among the team members and other stakeholders are the key to the project success. The communications can be managed in following manner:

5 ‘W’s

The 5 ‘W’s are the questions which are required to be asked to develop the proper communication management document or communication matrix. The first ‘W’ is the ‘what’ information which is required to be shared with the particular stakeholder to fulfil needs and expectations during the project life cycle. Second ‘W’ is the ‘who’ needs the information and the type of information and the third ‘W’ stands for the duration of the time interval the information is required to be shared. The information which is shared daily basis, weekly basis, fortnightly basis or monthly basis. The fourth ‘W’ stands for the what type of information or the data is required to be shared among the particular stakeholder and the last ‘W’ stands for the ‘where’ the data or information exchange shall happen, like either in the meeting room or phone or using e-mail push services.

Example

For example, let us assume a case study for the simple project of ‘Procurement of new equipment for manufacturing unit’. Now we shall observe the functions of all the defined Ws as above.

Name of Stakeholder

What information

Where to share

What method of sharing

Why share

When to share

Project Manager

All the purchase order copy, progress reports, S-curves, earned value analysis report, change order status

Meeting room & Vendor shop

Presentation, e-mail, meeting

To update the Statius of the project so that the information can be used to take proper decision in managing the project properly

Weekly & Monthly

Procurement Manager

Purchase order copy, progress report, insurance copy, freight confirmation report, vehicle number, and details in which it shall be shifted

Meeting room & Vendor shop

Presentation, e-mail, meeting

To update the Statius of the project so that the information can be used to take proper decision in managing the project properly

Weekly & Monthly

Supplier

All reports related to the equipment, shop status, sub ordering status, manufacturing status, delivery reports

Meeting room & Vendor shop

Presentation, Meeting

To update the status to the project team members of client

Weekly & Monthly

Similarly, there can be many more stakeholders depending on the situation of the organization and the environmental conditions and accordingly the matrix size will increase and become more complex.

Project time management

The project time management is the management plan which is required to be developed in planning phase just after the development of scope management plan. The planning document is created on the premise of the abnormal state prerequisite settled in the extension articulation and the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) created in the degree administration design. Once the WBS is concluded and the degree proclamation, the further action of developing time management plan can be initiated. The different stages of developing time management plan are as below:

In this section, the high-level activities are broken down to its lowest possible level and the practical level up to which it can be measured and monitored for smooth monitoring of the time schedule. For example, the procurement of above equipment can be further broken down to ‘float inquiry for receipt of tenders’, ‘receive tenders’, '‘evaluate tenders’, ‘negotiate vendors’, ‘select vendor’, ‘Provide purchase order’, ‘Manufacturing’ and then ‘delivery’.

Then the next step is to sequence the above-defined activities. The activities provided are already sequenced in series, no parallel activities are identified for this example, but in the practical schedule, there can be many parallel activities.

Estimate the resources required to complete each activity

Then estimate the resources required to complete the activities. For example, the Project Manager, Procurement Manager, Vendor are the manpower and likewise, machines are required and the raw materials too.

On the basis of the time taken by the associated resources to complete the activities the overall duration of the project is developed. Accordingly, the overall cost is also developed using bottom-up estimation in cost management plan.

Once the sequences and duration are entered, the software will automatically provide the schedule duration with all the activities aligned according to the relationships provided.

Schedule Control

Finally, once the schedule is finalized and the baseline is formed the schedule is then monitored throughout the project life cycle to know the current status of the project and control it whenever required.

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