Brandice Grant. Project Management. July 21st , 2021.
So far as the mechanics of the Charter, here are some definitions. The "objective" is really just stating what the project should accomplish. The scope of the project is simply defining the parameters or boundaries of what will be done to accomplish the project. The things that need to be done to make the project a success are called deliverable. These are packages of work that need to be done, either individually or collectively, for the project to move along as planned. Finally, the authorize are the ones that have the authority to say yes or no to the project and ultimately the ones that are going to pay for it. The authorize are also called Stakeholders...not because they love beef, but because these are actually the people that have the highest "stake" in the project being done right. Sticking with our wedding planning theme, the stakeholders might be the Bride, Groom, Parents and the minister.
There are typically 5 phases to any project. Some phases may only have a couple of things that happen within them, but there are about 5 phases nonetheless. The phases are Initiation, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Closing. We'll take them one at a time, and remember, it's more about the methodology than anything else. Effective project management always seeks to break down the enormity of the project into manageable parts. These manageable parts are called phases.
I'm a huge supporter of the fact that you need to start building the team very early on - even if it is just part-time assignment to your project! Do not wait until you have finished the complete plan exclusively on your own. On large projects, the team is everything - be constant in your quest of building a strong team. Your team is the most powerful asset you will have as a project manager. Never forget this!
Once your project is underway and you have an agreed plan, you will need to constantly monitor the actual progress of the project against the planned progress. To do this, you will need to get reports of progress from the project team members who are actually doing the work. You will need to record any variations between the actual and planned cost, schedule and scope. You will need to report any variations to your manager and key stakeholders and take corrective actions if the variations get too large.
Progress Control is another responsibility of the Project Manager and is the monitoring of the project and the production of regular progress reports to communicate the progress of the project to all stakeholders of the project. As most projects do not go exactly to plan, the process of progress control is to keep an eye on the direction of the project and monitor the degree to which the plan is followed and take appropriate action if stages are deviating from the plan by employing regular project tracking. This is achieved by having regular checkpoints during the course of the project that will have been established in the project definition. These meetings may be weekly and are used to monitor and control all that is going on with the project as well as capture statistics from each project team member on actual start and finish dates for their allocated tasks as well as estimates for the next round of tasks.
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.
The Project Manager may also create a process improvement document that reviews the processes used by the project (e.g. what did we do well, what mistakes did we make) so that the organization can learn from this project and make further projects more successful. Because the project was run by a team of people who have spent a lot of time involved in the success of a particular piece of work, that has taken them out of their usual day-to-day activities it is important to hold some type of social closing event. This might be a dinner, drinks or some type of group activity where everyone can be recognized and rewarded for their efforts.
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