Yedda Clark. Project Management. July 21st , 2021.
Project plans are created to track activities and tasks. It may be easier to think of a project plan as an Excel spreadsheet with as little as 4 columns (Task Name; Start Date; End Date; Assigned To). This gives each activity and task the ability to be formally tracked and completed. You may be wondering what the difference is between an activity and a task. Simply put, an activity is the culmination of 1 or more tasks. As an example, let's take drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. If you like coffee, drinking a cup in the morning is an activity you enjoy. However, for that activity to occur, you must complete several tasks. For example, you need to clean the coffee maker; put in the coffee filter; scoop in the coffee; fill the coffee maker with water; get a clean cup...you get the idea. Now, just because there are numerous tasks in making a cup of coffee doesn't mean that you need to include them all in a project plan. You need to go deep enough into the activity to ensure it gets completed on time, but you don't need to list all 15-20 tasks to make a cup of coffee. Remember, these are tasks and not procedures. The final rule of thumb is that tasks should always be able to be accomplished...yes or no items...did you do it or not? This means that tasks are intentionally named using action verbs. So, the activity is making a cup of coffee. The tasks that make up this activity we've already discussed. We could name one of these tasks "Scoop the coffee into the filter". Now we have a task that is action oriented and can be tracked.
What you put in the Charter is essentially the objective of the project, the scope of the project, what things will be done to complete the project, and who it is that needs to formally authorize the project. And, the best part of the Charter is that if it isn't in the Charter, you can't do it. This keeps your boss and others from continuously changing their minds and not letting you finish what you started.
Some of the stages in implementing a project are quality control, progress control, change control and risk management. The first aspect we will discuss is risk management, as once you have planned the project it is important to assess any factors that could have an impact upon it. 'Risk' in this case is considered to be anything that could negatively impact on the project meeting completion deadlines. For example losing team members due to illness or attrition, not having taken team members' annual leave into consideration, the possibility of having to retrain new team members, equipment not being delivered on time or contractors going out of business. A risk log is used to record and grade risks and carries an associated action plan to minimize the identified risk. Issues management is an associated area and refers to concerns related to the project raised by any stakeholder. This phase also involves the Project Manager in quality control, whereby regular reviews are made in formalized meetings to ensure the 'product' that is being produced by the project is reviewed against specific pre-defined standards.
As both an active project manager and a project management trainer, people often ask me what are the fundamental aspects to successful project management. Whilst there have been many great books written on the subject, I always summarize what I believe to be the best practices at the heart of good project management.
There are lots of ways in which you can adjust the plan in order to get the project back on track (rearrange the order of tasks, assign tasks in parallel if the variation is small, or add more staff to the project or reduce the scope if the variation is very large).
In conclusion, while there is much more to formal project management and the memorization and application of proven methodologies, it is the author's hope that this will benefit you to some degree and that maybe you will even have a take away to apply to your own project. I wish you all the best in your project management endeavors.
By managing changes, the project manager can make decisions about whether or not to incorporate the changes immediately or in the future, or to reject them. This increases the chances of project success because the project manager controls how the changes are incorporated, can allocate resources accordingly and can plan when and how the changes are made. Not managing changes effectively is often cited as a major reason why projects fail.
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