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Project Definition A good working definition of a project is an undertaking that:

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Has a start and an end Has defined deliverables Will cause some change in the organisation

Typically the project does one or more of the following:


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Crosses functional boundaries Involves part time participants who have to take on the project work in addition to their existing work Changes business processes Has long term impacts on how successfully a particular business area will operate in the future

A disciplined project management process is important to any project. Project managers are expected to deliver results, on time (if not sooner) and on budget. Solid project planning reduces the risks associated with any project you take on. Here are ten reasons why you need project management: 1. Control Scope Creep and Manage Change Small changes in demands occur on every project. They come from management, the customer, your project team, suppliers, or other stakeholders. Individually, they may appear acceptable, but collectively these project demands can add up to a significant project expansion (referred to as scope creep) that can overrun your budget. As a project manager, if you effectively manage the scope of your project, you have a better than even chance of effectively managing project resources time, money, etc. and managing change. 2. Deliver Project Results On Time and On Budget Project planning starts with a well thought out business case justification that usually includes some type of cost calculation associated with Return On Investment (ROI). Once these measures are established, it is up to the project manager to ensure that on-time, on-budget performance is maintained; otherwise, the project will never produce the expected results. Thats what good project management is all about. 3. Focus the Project Team on the Solution

The project team can easily drift off topic and spend too much time on the wrong tasks. A good project manager keeps the project team focused by using a clear and concise project charter, resolving barriers, or shielding the team from unnecessary interference. 4. Obtain Project Buy-In from Disparate Groups As President Lincoln once said, Public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.A good project manager uses the tools in the initiation phase of project management to collect user requirements, project constraints, and a feasibility study to build a strong business case justification. Using input from various sources, the project manager overcomes dissent and obtains buy-in by communicating the project benefits as the different stakeholder groups see them. 5. Define the Critical Path to Optimally Complete your Project Every project is made up of a series of connected activities, each of which has its own constraints. The project manager identifies the critical path of activities the optimal sequence of actions that best ensure the projects successful completion. 6. Provide a Process for Estimating Project Resources, Time, and Costs Using project management software, previous project experiences, and a solid project initiation phase can provide the discipline needed to reduce project estimating errors, increasing the likelihood that the project will finish on time and on budget. 7. Communicate Project Progress, Risks, and Changes As a project progresses, stakeholders must be kept informed of the outcomes, changes, stumbling blocks, or successes that the project experiences. Project management creates a project communication plan to address these communicationissues, provide a format, and lay out a process for execution. 8. Surface and Explore Project Assumptions All projects are based on assumptions to some extent. A good project manager delves into user requirements, project constraints, and management expectations to understand what is said and what is not said. Relying on too many unconfirmed assumptions can invalidate a project schedule or, worse, sink the project. 9. Prepare for Unexpected Project Issues Every project runs into unforeseen issues, such as changes in market conditions, and is hit with random cause variability. Experienced project managers plan for the unexpected by lining up alternative courses of action. 10. Document, Transfer, and Apply Lessons Learned from Your Projects

The last phase of project management focuses on closing out the project. The project manager reviews how well each prior phase project initiation, project planning, project execution, and project monitoring and control was performed. As part of good knowledge management, all project review notes should be dissected and analyzed for patterns, trends, and opportunities for improvement. These lessons learned should be documented and communicated to other project managers before starting the next project. The Top Ten Reasons Why You Need Project Management 1. Control scope creep and manage change; 2. Deliver project results on time and on budget; 3. Focus the project team on the solution; 4. Obtain project buy-in from disparate groups; 5. Define the critical path to optimally complete your project; 6. Provide a process for estimating project resources, time, and costs; 7. Communicate project progress, risks, and changes; 8. Surface and explore project assumptions; 9. Prepare for unexpected project issues; and 10. Document, transfer, and apply lessons learned from your projects. 11. why does anyone need formalized project management? Every business needs project management and in fact uses project management techniques to some degree, whether or not theyre aware of it. By definition, a project is a temporary endeavor that creates a unique product, service, or result (deliverables). So, even a small informal project, such as writing an article for the company newsletter, has a beginning, a completion, a client (internal or external), scope, risks (such as impact to and from other projects), and deliverables. Project management, therefore, is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. So, individuals applying their own organizational and communication skills against a goal is a form of project management. 12. Well if a project is going to change anyway, whats the point of doing all that planning up front The point is to manage your risk all the up-front work helps identify risks so you can plan accordingly. Hopefully you are spending your time managing change and monitoring progress. The goal is to limit the impact of change on the projects success (especially late in the projects life cycle, which inevitably incurs more cost) and develop contingencies where risk is identified. Until a foolproof crystal ball lands on our doorstep, it is important to use experienced Project Managers.

Many companies, even if they have the signs youve mentioned above, simply dont have the resources or budget for an in-house project management team or even a full-time project manager. Are they up-a-creek without a paddle, so to speak? DC: No. Theres plenty they can do to ensure a better outcome from their projects. Even if youre not large enough to have your own Project Management Office, You still need people in your organization who have had project management training and expertise. Even if their time is not wholly dedicated to project management, the company will benefit from their being trained in this field. Many companies start out by having someone who is a natural organizer manage various projects, and it grows from there. Cincom has partnered with The Griffin Tate Group, a Charter Global Registered Education Provider for the Project Management Institute (PMI ), so were now certified to bring project management training to clients. We offer an introductory course that we encourage everyone associated with a project to take. It really gives them an understanding of their impact on others work and their ability to complete tasks in a timely manner. Its good for the individual, and its good for the company. EA: One last question. Do Project Managers ever try to project manage each other? The Need for Project Portfolio Management 21 June 2010 - POSTED by Jessie Warner SHARE The CEO of a company is typically responsible for implementing the strategic goals and objectives of an organization. He/She gives the direction and leadership needed to achieve the organizations philosophy, mission, strategy, and its annual goals and objectives. Or in more simple terms, the CEO needs to ensure that the company is making profits! And how do CEOs help a company make more profits? They hire talented executives and then give them the direction and vision needed to do their jobs. Each executive is charged with specific duties and is measured on a set of objectives. The VP of Sales, for example, is charged with driving more sales to the organization. To monitor his/her success, the VP uses a combination of software and othere tools to track the efforts of the sales department. The tools help answer questions like: How many phone calls were made this month? How many sales were closed today? Whats in the pipeline? CRM tools, such as Salesforce and ACT, provide dashboards and reports that help the VP of Sales do his/her job better, providing a birds eye view of the entire department. In a similar way, the VPs of Operations, Marketing, IT, and other departments, need dashboards and reports that help them monitor the success of their departments. For a project-based company, such as a Website Design Firm or a Construction Company, the roles of a CEO and in particular, the role of the VP of Operations, are very project centric. The success of the company is based on the profitability of the projects it undertakes. With so much riding on the success of

the projects, executives have shown an increased interest in how projects are selected and managed. To ensure success, Executives want a standardized and automated approach to project management. They want to see projects that are on time and on budget. Project portfolio management (PPM) software, such as @task, allow project managers and executives to see an overarching view of all upcoming and current projects. Similar to the way a VP of Sales might use a CRM system, a VP of Operations can use a PPM system to monitor project deadlines, see budget and scheduling conflicts, and forecast the future profitability of projects. The PPM tool provides dashboards and reports that help keep all projects aligned to corporate objectives and ensures that each project is a profitable investment for the company. Without the use of project portfolio management software, project managers and executives are forced to spend an unnecessary amount of time managing and tracking project schedules and budgets. They often lose site of the big picture, investing time and money into sunken projects or projects that were doomed to fail before they ever began. Harvey Levine explained, In PPM, it is assumed that the enterprise positions itself for increased strength and profitability through its selection and execution of projects and ensures that it continues to thrive in a world of constant change and the threat of competition. The bottom line is that Executives need project and portfolio management tools to help the company make more profits. All CEOs, and especially CEOs of project-based companies, need a birds eye view of whats going in their organizations. They need a PPM tool that compares one project against another and then makes recommendations on how to best proceed. Does the benefit outweigh the risk? Does the project align with corporate objectives? Should more resources be allocated to one project over another? Which project will provide the highest ROI? Project Portfolio Management helps answer all of these questions, helping CEOs do their jobs better, leading to higher company profits and happier customers. ll this leads to the following differences in managing a project:
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Managing forward activities is more demanding Closer attention needs to be paid to current work to ensure any evolving situations are clearly understood as to their impact on the project Resources need to be trained, mentored and guided in order to successfully undertake work that they are not experienced in doing As the situation is constantly changing, there is a need to communicate those changes to the stakeholders and gain their feedback There are more problems and someone needs to ensure they are being either resolved or escalated in a timely manner Cross functional issues need to be managed and potential issues identified and defused Someone needs to keep the vision of where we are going and ensure everyone is tracking down the same path Selecting what activities to undertake, who should be involved and how they should be completed requires considerable attention. People generally cannot be left to their own devices to do work as they see fit.

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Managing a timetable is a more complex issue Getting resources will require competing for availability

Impact of Poor Project Management I was told of a project for a US Bank that required people to work 80 hours a week over a number of months to meet deadlines. When the project was in its second year, there was a change in senior management and the project was cancelled without notice. The de-motivation was incredible. People were asked to return to their old jobs and carry on as though nothing had happened. Many just walked out. Others returned but were poisonous in their departments. They were so angry at the management they became a liability and many were eventually fired. In a few months they went from highly motivated company workers to disillusioned employees. Project Management Value The value a project management adds is to a project is:
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Manages people in a stressful environment Keep everyone focused on the ultimate goal Manage the scope of the goal Constantly adjust workloads and timeframes to keep the project on track Manage problems. Not necessarily resolve the problems but ensure they are being addressed or escalated Ensure all the stakeholders are aware of any changes Fight for the necessary resources Plan ahead and take actions to ensure the plans can be followed Know where everything is up to, and manage dependencies between different tasks Facilitate resolution of issues and development of a common understanding Identify risks and take actions to lessen or avoid the risk

Note that none of the things above relate to gathering requirements, cutting code or data conversion. They all relate to managing the work and the people. The flip side of the coin is that without a project manager, there is likely to be:
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Stressed staff not working efficiently or effectively Project will drift off in another direction The scope will grow and become unmanageable No idea where the project is against a schedule (if one exists) Problems are not addressed until too late Surprises for all concerned Delays due to resource unavailability Plans being created on the fly, then discarded Delays due to unforeseen dependencies Issues not resolved, or the resolution not being the best option Risks turning to reality

When someone says they don't need a project managment, they have obviously not thought through the venture they are about to undertake. It needs to be explained to them that a project management is a necessity, not an overhead. In fact the first person appointed should be the project manager. If not, when a project manager eventually arrives, they will have to undo much of what has been done, and restructure it into a project.
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The skills required by a project manager are different to those of an operational manager. An operational manager does not necessarily make a good project manager - and vice versa. Project management is about focusing everyone on a goal, and managing the resources and workload to achieve that goal. All this in a high stress, deadline driven environment. Projects requires trained professionals with project management expertise.
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