Project Management Process Essay

Projects are composed of process. A process is “a series of action bringing about a result”. Project processes are performed by people and generally fall into one of two major categories: 1. Project management processes are concerned with describing and organizing the work of the project. 2. Product-oriented processes are concerned with specifying and creating the project product. These processes are known as project life cycle. It is important to note that many of the processes within project management are iterative in nature.

This is mainly due to the existence of and the necessity for progressive elaboration in a project throughout the project life cycle. This means that the more you know about your project, the better you are able to manage it. Apart from the tools, methods, techniques and processes, an effective project management requires organizational support, as well as teams as building blocks. The project management process, as happens with any other process, receives certain Inputs (business need, problem or opportunity) and constraints (time, cost, quality, Technical aspects, social, political and environmental conditions, legal restrictions, etc. and by applying the appropriate mechanisms (techniques, tools, equipment, organization, Human resources, etc. ) it produces specific output (project deliverables). The following diagram illustrates the project management process. A good project management discipline will not eliminate all risks, issues and surprises, but will provide standard processes and procedures to deal with them and help prevent the following: 1. Projects finishing late, exceeding budget or not meeting customer expectations 2. Inconsistency between the processes and procedures used by different projects managers. . Unorthodox way of delivering success to a project through high stress levels, significant amounts of overtime and based solely on the goodwill of some individuals 4. Project management seen as not adding value and as a waste of time and money 5. Unforeseen internal or external events impacting the project. nt The Project Management Processes: There are two different lifecycles that work in conjunction with one another throughout the course of every project: the project life cycle which has been presented in Project Management Life Cycle.

While the project processes may be different for specific products and services, the project management processes will always be the same regardless of the project processes being employed. However, both processes overlap and interact throughout the project. For example, the project implementation schedule cannot be developed in the absence of some basic understanding of how the deliverables are produced. Project management processes can be organized into four main groups of one or more Processes each: • Initiating processes • Planning processes • Executing & Controlling processes • Closing processes

There are links between the process groups in the sense that the outcome of one is usually an input to another. In addition, the process groups are overlapping activities that occur at varying levels of intensity throughout each phase of the project and not one-time events. The project management processes that are applicable to most projects, most of the time, are described in this chapter, except from the initiating processes which are analytically. Overview of the project management elements/Knowledge areas: This section will show you the elements that make up project management.

We will deal with most of these areas in more detail. Project management is broken down into the following elements: 1. Project scope management This refers to the planning of the project. You must think about all the elements that will make up your project in detail before you begin planning. 2. Project time management This is an important aspect of project management. You need to make sure that you plan in detail how much time an activity will take and ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable.

During the project you might have to make adjustments if you are not meeting the targets you have set. 3. Project cost management This is also a key element of project management. It is important to manage a project within its budget. Underspending can be as dangerous as overspending. Good planning and paying close attention to spending money carefully will mean that you can achieve all the goals you set for your project. 4. Project quality management This aspect is more relevant in fields like construction, where the builders have to make sure that all technical specifications are met to a high standard.

But it is important when delivering projects in the community that you do so to the best of your ability. 5. Project human resource management You need to make sure that you identify the skills you will need for the project. Make sure you use the skills of the people working on the project in the most effective way possible. Project teams also need to work together effectively. There are tools to help you to do this. There are also ways of thinking about people and the day-today dynamics that will affect your project. These tools are included later in the notebook. . Project communication management It is useful to plan how you will communicate with stakeholders, donors and the project team. This will ensure that the project is implemented in a smooth manner. 7. Project risk management There is always the possibility that things might go wrong during a project. It helps to think at the beginning of a project about what these risks might be. If you have considered all the risks involved, you will be in a better position to manage the changes you might need to make during the implementation of the project. . Project procurement management This sounds fancy, but it refers to how you manage the buying of goods and services during the project. 9. Project integration management You will see later in the notebook that there are many different elements that you must think about when implementing a project. This aspect of project management will help to ensure that you are always in the project. RELATIONSHIP OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESS & KNOWLEDGE AREAS: INITIATING PROCESSES Initiating processes take place in the first phase of the project life cycle.

The Initiating Process Group is the conceptual element of project management—the basic processes that should be performed to get the project started. This starting point is critical because those who will deliver the project, those who will use the project, and those who have a stake in the project need to reach an agreement on its initiation. Stakeholders may be able to exert influence that can positively or negatively affect the Project Team’s ability to successfully complete the project, so it is very important to involve and manage, to the extent possible, all stakeholders in the Process Group activities.

By garnering the buy-in and shared ownership of the project by the stakeholders, it generally improves the probability of satisfying customer requirements. Project Initiating process includes: •Develop a business case once a business problem or opportunity has been identified, a business case is prepared. •Perform Feasibility Study The study that investigate the forecast costs are reasonable, the solution is achievable the risk are acceptable or any likely issues are avoidable. Establish terms of reference The terms of Reference defines the vision, objectives, scope and deliverables for project. It also provide organizational structure (roles & Responsibilities) and a summarized plan of the activities, resources and funding required to undertake the project. •Appoint Project Team The project manager documents a detailed description for each project role and appoints a human resource to each role based on his/her relevant skill and experience. Once the team fully resourced the project office is ready to be set up. Set up Project Office The project office is the physical environment within the team will be based. Although it is usual to have one central project office, it is possible to have a “virtual project office” environment with the project team members in various location around the world. It includes with Location, Communication, Documentations, and Tools for accounting, project planning and risk modeling. •Perform Phase Review At the end of the Initiation Phase, a Phase review is performed.

This is basically a checkpoint to ensure that the project has achieved its stated objectives as planned. More specifically, during the Project Initiation phase, a business problem or opportunity is identified and a Business Case which provides alternative solutions is defined. Prior, during or after the development of the Business Case, a Cost/ Benefit Analysis and a feasibility study are usually conducted to identify the alternative with the maximum net benefit and investigate the likelihood of each solution option addressing the business problem.

As an outcome of the Business Case a final recommended solution is put forward. Once the recommended solution is approved, the Executive and the Project Manager are appointed in order to participate in the preparation of the “Project Fiche”, which outlines the scope, objectives, activities, structure, budget, implementation schedule, risks, constraints and assumptions of the project. When the Project Fiche is approved, the remaining members of the Project Management Team are appointed.

The description of the specific initiating processes, the order in which they are undertaken, as well as guidance on how to perform each of them, are analytically presented in this topic the Guidance on establishing the appropriate project organization structure (roles and responsibilities) is also provided in this area. The basic processes for the Initiating Process Group are: • Selecting the project •Determining business needs • Considering Enterprise Environmental Factors (e. g. historical data, marketplace conditions, organization structure, industry standards) • Considering Organizational Process Assets (e. g. , policies, procedures, plans, guidelines) • Determining objectives • Developing the Project Charter • Developing the Preliminary Project Scope Statement • Determining high level deliverables and estimates • Developing a product description • Identifying the qualifications of the Project Manager that would be best suited for the particular project • Determining high level resource requirements Obtaining project initiation approval. PLANNING PROCESSES As it has been stated in earlier, Project Planning is the second phase of the project lifecycle and starts as soon as the Project Fiche has been signed by the representatives of the Project Owner. The management processes that are undertaken during this phase include the planning of all the elements/ parameters of the project so to be ready for implementation. In this perspective, the following plans must be developed: • Project Plan. It consists of the: Activities Schedule (definition of activities and tasks sequence, time scheduling), •Resource Plan (determination of the labour, equipment, material needed in each task/stage) •Cost Plan (identification of the internal and external costs and their occurrence in time) •Risk Plan. It highlights the possible risks and actions to mitigate them •Quality Plan. It sets the quality targets for the project deliverables and defines the processes for quality assurance and control. •Issue Management Plan. It defines the process for identifying, assessing and resolving issues related to the project. Change Management Plan. It defines the process for managing requests for changes that have a direct impact on project’s scope, cost, schedule or quality. •Acceptance Plan. It sets the acceptance criteria for the project deliverables and defines the processes for executing the acceptance tests. •Communication Plan. It refers to the information to be distributed to the stakeholders and the methods that can be used for this distribution. Besides, the Planning Processes may involve the establishment of performance indicators to be used ater during the Execution & Control phase to report project performance or/and in the Closure phase to evaluate overall project performance and assess the post-project achieved benefits. Planning is a repeatable and iterative process. Every time that new information becomes available or adjustments are made, all the above plans should be updated. The planning processes that should be undertaken during the second phase of the project life cycle are presented in the following. The Planning Process Group is considered the most important Process Group in project Management.

Time spent up front identifying the proper needs and structure for organizing and managing a project saves countless hours of confusion and rework during the Executing and Monitoring and Controlling Process Groups. Project planning defines project activities that will be performed, the products that will be produced, and describes how these activities will be accomplished and managed. Project planning defines each major task, estimates the time, resources and cost required, and provides a framework for management review and control.

Planning involves identifying and documenting scope, tasks, schedules, cost, risk, quality, and staffing needs. This planning process: •Identifies specific work to be performed and the goals that define the project •Provides documented estimates regarding schedule, resources and cost for planning, tracking, and controlling the project •Obtains organizational commitments that are planned, documented, and agreed upon •Continues the development and documentation of project alternatives, assumptions, and constraints •Establishes a baseline of the plan from which the project will be managed.

The result of the Planning Process Group, the Project Management Plan, will be an approved, comprehensive document that allows a Project Team to begin and complete the work necessary to achieve the project goals and objectives (product/process). The Project Management Plan will address how the Project Team will manage the project elements, including the Project Management System (i. e. , set of tools, techniques, methodologies used to manage a project). The Plan will provide a high level of confidence in the organization’s ability to meet the scope, timing, cost, and quality requirements by addressing all aspects of the project.

The Planning Process Group is comprised of a number of constituent project management processes that will estimate the project’s size, technical scope, and the required resources. It will produce a schedule, Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS), WBS Dictionary, identify and assess risks, and negotiate commitments. Completing these processes is necessary to establish the entire, comprehensive Project Management Plan. Typically, several iterations of the planning processes are performed before the plan is completed and approved.

Tthe Planning Process Groups as a series of activities and steps to be completed that result in a complete Project Management Plan. These process activities will: 1. Produce a plan that will define how the project objectives will be achieved – scope, schedule, resources and cost. 2. Establish subsidiary management plans that will define how specific aspects of the project will be managed to make certain the objectives are met. The Planning Process Group will result in the development of the subsidiary management plans which are: •Cost management plan •Human Resource management plan •Scope management plan •Schedule management plan Quality management plan •Procurement management plan •Communications management plan •Risk management plan •Integration management plan. EXECUTING & CONTROLLING PROCESSES Executing and controlling processes are the management processes undertaken in the third and longest phase of project management life cycle, where most resources are applied. It is the phase during which the deliverables are produced and presented to the Contracting Authority for acceptance. To ensure that the project’s requirements are met, the Project Manager monitors and controls the activities, resources and costs that are required for the roduction of the deliverables throughout the execution phase. In this phase all the plans, schedules, procedures and templates that were prepared during the Planning phase are utilized to ensure that the project proceeds as planned. Control is a formal process in project management. The PMBOK defines Project Control as a project management function that involves comparing actual performance with planned performance and taking corrective action to yield the desired outcome when significant differences exists.

By monitoring and measuring progress regularly, identifying variances from plan, and taking corrective action when necessary, project control ensures that project objectives are met. Project control involves the regular review of metrics and report status to identify variances from the planned baseline. The variances are determined by comparing the actual performance metrics from the execution phase against the baseline metrics assigned during the planning phase.

If significant variances are observed, adjustments to the plan are made by repeating and adjusting the appropriate Project Management Planning processes. Once a project moves into the Executing Process Group, the Project Team and all necessary resources to carry out the project should be in place and ready to perform project activities. The Project Management Plan is completed and baselined by this time as well. The Project Team’s and specifically the Project Manager’s focus now shifts from planning the project efforts to participating in, observing, and analyzing the work being done.

The Executing Process Group is where the work activities of the Project Management Plan are executed, resulting in the completion of the project deliverables and achievement of the project objective(s). This Process Group brings together all of the project management disciplines, resulting in a product or service that will meet the project deliverable requirements and the customers need. In this Process Group, elements completed in the Planning Process Group are implemented, time is expended, and money is spent. In this perspective, the following management processes are undertaken: Schedule Management: It is the process during which the actual progress of the activities and tasks is being tracked and if needed corrective actions are taken to bring tasks, activities or the whole project back on schedule. • Resource Management: It is the process during which the actual progress of resources’ work is being tracked and if needed corrective actions are taken to resolve resource allocation problems. • Cost Management: It is the process during which the actual costs are tracked against estimates and if needed corrective actions are taken to keep costs within budget. Quality Management: It is the process by which the quality of the deliverables is assured and controlled, using the relative techniques and applying the Quality Plan developed in the previous phase. • Issue Management: It is the process by which issues related to the project are formally defined, assessed and resolved. • Change Management: It is the process by which changes to the project’s scope, deliverables, timescales or resources are formally defined, evaluated and approved prior to implementation. Risk Management: It is the process of keeping track of the identified during the Initiation and Planning Phases risks, monitoring residual risks and identifying new risks, ensuring the execution of Risk Plans (preventive and contingency actions) and evaluating their effectiveness in reducing risk. • Acceptance Management: It is the process by which the produced deliverables are reviewed and accepted by the Contracting Authority according to the Acceptance Plan. • Communication Management: It is the process by which information is distributed to project stakeholders according to the Communication Plan and project’s performance is reported.

This Process Group requires the Project Manager and Project Team to: •Conduct, coordinate and manage the ongoing work activities •Perform quality assurance activities continuously to ensure project objectives are being met or achieved •Monitor identified risks for triggering events and implement containment or contingency strategies as necessary •Distribute information to project stakeholders •Manage change. In short, it means coordinating and managing the project resources while executing the Project Management Plan, performing the planned project activities, and ensuring they are completed efficiently.

The Executing Process Group allows the project’s deliverables to be produced and the objectives to be met. This Process Group facilitates the completion of the work activities, the expenditure of resources, and the application of the quality assurance processes to ensure that the end product(s) is viable and meets customer requirements. Several processes are part of this Process Group. They may include: •Develop Team •Select Sellers •Perform Quality Assurance •Information collection and distribution.

The Execution Process Group involves coordinating and managing project activities and the subsequent output. The focus of the Project Manager and the Project Team is on the day-to-day management of the overall effort. In addition to the processes and activities defined above, the subsidiary management plans are implemented and project performance is monitored and managed accordingly. A significant variance from the plan does not explicitly require a change, but should be reviewed to determine whether preventive action is warranted.

For example, a missed activity finish date may require adjustments to the current staffing plan, reliance on overtime, or trade-off between budget and schedule objectives. Controlling also includes taking preventive action in anticipation of possible problems. While the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group relationship to other Process Groups is relatively concise and clear, control is often difficult to implement as a formalized system. Project control is still important however, because a project is unlikely to be consideredsuccessful by stakeholders if it is not monitored and controlled effectively.

Success in thiscontext translates to metrics (project, cost, completion dates, etc. ) and customer’s expectations (features, functionality, performance, etc. ). The control processes implemented during this Process Group are the Performance Reporting and Integrated Change Control, with several constituent processes interacting with these Processes. Only by monitoring and controlling a project can project progress and stakeholder’s expectations be achieved in unison. Projects rarely fail because of one issue.

Rather, failure is usually a collection of minor items that individually have negative impact in a specific project area. However, when looked at over the life of a project, these minor items can cause significant impact to cost, schedule, risk, and functionality and can manifest themselves as deviations from the original Project Management Plan. As discussed in the Planning Process Group section, the Project Management Plan will include the initially agreed upon baseline project schedule and budget. These become the primary tools for evaluating project performance.

CLOSING PROCESSES The last major Process Group of a project’s life cycle is the project Closing Process Group. Project closeout is performed after all defined project objectives have been met and the customer has formally accepted the project’s deliverables and end product or, in some instances, when a project has been cancelled or terminated early. Project closeout is fairly routine, but it is an important process. By properly completing the project closeout, organizations can benefit from lessons learned and information compiled at closure.

The Closing Process Group is comprised of two processes: close project and contract closure. Some of the key elements to project closeout are: •Completion and closeout of any contractual agreements with suppliers or providers •Formalizing customer acceptance •Closeout of any financial matters •Preparation of the project’s final performance report •Conducting a project review •Documenting lessons learned •Completing, collecting and archiving project records •Celebrating project success. Closing processes are the management processes undertaken in the last phase f the Project Life Cycle. Their purpose is to evaluate the project implementation and results, gather and document lessons learned and best practices to be applied in similar future projects, plan any post project review required and finally arrange the archiving of project’s records. In this perspective the following processes: • Administrative closure: It is the process during which all project records are collected and archived and all the resources provided to the project are being released. Project Evaluation Review: It is the process during which the project is being evaluated (did the project achieve what it was intended to? What worked well and what didn’t? Was the project management’s quality good? etc) • Post–project review: It is the process during which the benefits achieved by the project’s products are being assessed after a period of use. Normally the post–project review occurs outside the project. However, for the completeness of the presentation it is described as part of the Project Closure phase, since it is closely related to the project’s outcomes.