Project ManagementIntroduction | Scope of project management: DCM | Project Management Framework | Performance metrics, using EVA jargon | EVA History |
THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROJECT MANAGEMENT LITTLE RED BOOK - draft (pdf format) - click here
Creating a Project Management Communications Plan - click here
I continue to argue that despite
claims to the contrary contained in the many thousands of books written on the
subject, conceptually, project management is easy. Most adults, for
have already experienced a number of projects, from obtaining a degree, to
buying a house, getting a promotion and so on.
The real question is whether the outcome of the project was due to serendipity, to circumstances or accident – that is, whether we managed the project, or whether the project managed us. Not much different from time management. Time management implies that we have discretionary time to manage, for instance.
Project management is as easy as DCM: Define, Communicate and Manage. More often than not, the difficulty is in the specialized jargon, such as what is used in the Earned Value Analysis (EVA).
To be fair, it is true that the devil is in the details. However, once the DCM concept has been fully understood, the details can be filled in using a number of project management frameworks, such as the one below
Followed by measuring, measuring, measuring, and establishing the appropriate performance metrics.
Project: A project is an undertaking requiring concerted effort. In project management circles, a project is usually defined as a temporary effort.
Project management: BASICS: Triple Constraint | five different processes | core competencies | Competing Projects Criteria | Why projects Fail
While there is no universal agreement for the various types of budgets, I like to use the following
Project management. According to A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge —2000 Edition, [Project Management Institute (PMI®) December 2000], project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the requirements of the particular project. PMI further outlines five different processes and core competencies required for effective project management - see figure below
The triple constraint consists of Cost, Performance/Quality & Budget. In other words, the total cost of a given project is a function of the scope, the schedule and the desired performance and or quality - How many times have we been asked to expedite a project, while sticking to the original scope, budget and cost - the pictures below show that such requests are at best senseless.
to a study published by the Standish
Group roughly 50% of all projects costing over $1 million dollars, fail to
fully meet the scope of the project as defined by the triple
constraint, mostly due for failure to establish SMART (Specific,
Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals.
Surprisingly however, at the top of the list is failure to involve users
and lack of executive management support. Below
is a summary of reasons why projects fail.
Management World Today
Project Management Association
Center for Project Management
Project Manager's Resource Center
Planning IS staffing – Tech Republic
Gartner presentation offers help with planning for the IS department of the
template for professional services automation (PSA) software, can help you
diagnose your clients' PSA software needs, estimate costs, and prepare the way
for implementation. Download
this RFQ template for PSA software
computing best practices
– Tech Republic
report outlines key best practices for equipment standardization, lockdown,
asset management and policies enforcement
Institute Presentation: Build master IT project managers
- Tech Republic
you preparing to document the details of your infrastructure and procedures?
This workbook download will give you a head start on entering and organizing the
information you need.
this list of basic hardware and software terms in your introductory classes to
help new users master the fundamentals of computing
management advice—free for the listening
, Apr 24, 2001, Jerry Loza
percent of all IT projects fail. That is one of the opening considerations
included in a great audio program being offered to TechRepublic members by Audible.com
for free. The Essentials of Project Management, which is a part of the Gartner
Group Talking Technology series, is a 42-minute program available over the
Smith, TechRepublic's vice president of community research projects, recently
gave this presentation of TechRepublic's research methods and our latest
research on project management. Download his PowerPoint presentation
Republics Project Defintiion Template
project deadlines is of utmost importance to a project management consultant,
but proper planning can produce the right result. Download TechRepublic
columnist Tom Mochal's project definition template to guide you through the
track of problems with project issues log
– Tech Republic
this project issues log so that you can keep track of problems and make sure
that they are resolved quickly—before they destroy your project.
Risk analysis is the systematic study of uncertainties and risks we encounter in business, engineering, public policy, and even in our personal lives, if we are so inclined, as opposed to the unknown, which is typically un-chartered territory. A risk according to Lewis (2011),”is anything that may happen that could create an adverse effect to your schedule, costs, quality, or scope” (p. 312). Whereas, Secretary Rumsfeld suggests there are at least three types of unknows:
analysts; then, seek to
identify the risks, understand how and when they arise, estimate the impact,
financial or otherwise, of adverse outcomes and prepare coping strategies. Risk
managers start with risk
analysis, then seek to take actions that will mitigate or hedge these
analysis and management is crucial for most institutions.
One of the roles of risk
management in these firms is to quantify the
financial risks involved in each investment, trading, or other business
activity, and allocate a risk
budget across these activities.
Banks in particular are required by their regulators to identify and quantify
their risks, often computing measures such as Value
at Risk (VaR), and ensure that they have adequate capital to
maintain solvency should the worst outcomes
risk analysis is the practice of
creating a mathematical model of
a project or process that explicitly includes uncertain parameters and
decision variables or
parameters that we can control.
A quantitative risk model is
used to calculate the impact of the uncertain parameters and the
decisions we make on outcomes that we care about, such as profit and loss,
investment returns, environmental consequences, and the like. Such a model
can help business decision makers understand the impact
of uncertainty and the
consequences of different decisions.
way to learn how to deal with uncertainty is to perform an experiment. But
often, it is too dangerous or expensive to perform an experiment in the real
world, so we resort to a model.
With a model, we can simulate what
would happen in the real world, and perform many experiments,
such as subjecting a model airplane to various air currents and forces
and learn how it behaves. We can introduce uncertainty into
our experiments using devices such as a coin toss, dice roll, or roulette wheel.
A single experiment that involves a coin toss may not tell us very much, but if
we perform a simulation that
consists of many experiments
or trials, and collect statistics about
the results, we can learn quite a lot.
we have the skills and software
tools needed to create a
mathematical model of a project or process on a computer, we can perform a
simulation with many trials in a very
short time, and at very low
cost. With such advantages over experiments in the real world, it is no
wonder that computer-based simulation has become so popular. For business
models, Microsoft Excel is an ideal tool for creating such a model, and
simulation software such as Frontline Systems' Risk
Solver Pro or Oracle’s
Crystal Ball, can be used to
get maximum insight from the model.
after the city in Monaco famed for its casinos and games of chance, Monte
Carlo is a powerful mathematical method for conducting quantitative risk
analysis. Monte Carlo
methods rely on random
The numbers from random sampling are plugged into a mathematical
model and used to calculate outcomes of interest. This process is repeated
typically thousands of times.
With the aid of software, we can obtain statistics and view charts and graphs of
the results. After
Carlo simulation is especially helpful when there are several different
sources of uncertainty that
interact to produce an outcome. For example, if we are dealing with uncertain market demand, competitors' pricing,
and variable production and raw materials costs at
the same time, it can be very difficult to estimate the impacts of these factors
on Net Profit. Monte Carlo simulation can quickly
analyze thousands of 'what-if'
scenarios, often yielding surprising insights into what can go right, what can
go wrong, and what we can do about it.
can be many types of customers, users, vendors, managers, and stakeholders.
First, determine what people or groups of people you want to include in the
communication needs of each stakeholder
For each of the stakeholders identified
above, determine their communication needs. For instance, certain managers will
need ongoing status information. Steering committee members need ongoing status
reports, plus a dialog on strategy and vision. Your users might need awareness
communication, mentoring, question-and-answer sheets, promotional information to
build enthusiasm, etc. Especially on large projects, the project team should be
creative in determining how, what, to whom, where, and how frequently the
communication takes place.
how to fulfill the communication needs of each stakeholder
Project communication can take many
shapes and forms. In this step, brainstorm how you will fulfill the
communication needs for each stakeholder. When possible, look for types of
communication that can cover more than one stakeholder's needs.
These types of communication are required by your company, your industry, or by
law. This information is pushed to recipients. The following are some examples
of this type of communication:
Project status reports
Regular status updates via voicemail
Meetings with steering committee
Regular conference calls and videoconferences with remote
Government-required reports and other information
Financial reporting, such as budget vs. actuals, or any other
required financial information
This is information that people want to know or that they may need to know to do
their jobs. This information is made available for people to read but requires
them to take the initiative or pull the communication for themselves. Following
are some examples:
Awareness-building sessions that people are invited to attend
(These are not meant as training, just to build awareness of the project.)
Project paper-based deliverables placed in a common
repository, directory, or library that people can access
Project information available on a Web site
These forms of communication are designed to build buy-in and enthusiasm for the
project and its deliverables. This information is also pushed to the recipients.
Here are some examples:
Project newsletters, with positive marketing spin
Meeting one-on-one with key stakeholders on an ongoing basis
Traveling road shows to various locations and departments to
explain the project and its benefits
Testimonials from others about the value that was provided
Contests with simple prizes to build excitement
Project acronyms and slogans to portray positive images of
Project countdown until live date
Informal (but purposeful) walking around to "talk
up" the project to team members, users, and stakeholders
Celebrations to bring visibility to the completion of major
Project memorabilia with project name or image portrayed,
such as pins, pencils, Frisbees, cups, T-shirts, etc.
Determine the effort required
Determine how much effort is required
for each of the communication ideas the project team has come up with. If the
communication is ongoing, estimate the effort over a one-month period. For
instance, a status report might only take one hour to create, but it might be
needed twice a month. Then, of course, the total effort would be two hours.
Prioritize the communication options
Some communication activities provide
more value than others. In a previous exercise, you brainstormed lists of
communication options. Now you need to prioritize the items to determine which
provide the most value for the least cost. If a communication activity takes a
lot of time and provides little or marginal communication value, it should be
discarded. If a communication option takes little effort and provides a lot of
value, it should be included in the final Communication Plan. Of course, if a
communication activity is mandatory, it should be included no matter what the
cost. If a mandatory activity is time-consuming, you may be able to negotiate
with the stakeholders to find a less-intensive alternative.
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