Project Management

Announcement

I am avaliable for training people on Project Management with the express outcome of passing the PMP. Please contact me if you are interested:

dritter_2001@yahoo.com

October 23, 2008 Posted by | PMP | | Leave a comment

Manage Your Stakeholders! The Key to Your Project’s Success!

 

Project stakeholders are individuals and organizations that are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected as a result of project execution or project completion. Take it from me – these are the people you need to pay the most attention to. They need to be identified in your planning – especially in your communication plan.  They may also exert influence over the project’s objectives and outcomes. The project management team must identify the stakeholders, determine their requirements and expectations, and, to the extent possible, manage their influence in relation to the requirements to ensure a successful project. They can make or break a project!

 

Stakeholders have varying levels of responsibility and authority when participating on a project and these can change over the course of the project’s life cycle. Their responsibility and authority range from occasional contributions in surveys and focus groups to full project sponsorship, which includes providing financial and political support. Stakeholders who ignore this responsibility can have a damaging impact on the project objectives.

 

Likewise, project managers who ignore stakeholders can expect a damaging impact on project outcomes. Sometimes, stakeholder identification can be difficult. For example, some would argue that an assembly-line worker whose future employment depends on the outcome of a new product-design project is a stakeholder. Failure to identify a key stakeholder can cause major problems for a project. For example, late recognition that the legal department was a significant stakeholder in a year 2000 rollover (Y2K) software upgrade project caused many additional documentation tasks to be added to the project’s requirements.

 

Stakeholders may have a positive or negative influence on a project. Positive stakeholders are those who would normally benefit from a successful outcome from the project, while negative stakeholders are those who see negative outcomes from the project’s success. For example, business leaders from a community that will benefit from an industrial expansion project may be positive stakeholders because they see economic benefit to them community from the project’s success. Conversely, environmental groups could be negative stakeholders if they view the project as doing harm to the environment. In the case of positive stakeholders, their interests are best served by helping the project succeed, for example, helping the team to acquire the needed permits to proceed. The negative stakeholders’ interest would be better served by impeding the project’s progress by demanding more extensive environmental reviews. Negative stakeholders are often overlooked by the project team at the risk of failing to bring their projects to a successful end.

 

Key stakeholders on every project include:

 

Project manager. This is the person responsible for managing the project.

Customer/user. This refers to the person or organization that will use the project’s product. There may be multiple layers of customers. For example, the customers for a new pharmaceutical product can include the doctors who prescribe it, the patients who take it and the insurers who pay for it. In some application areas, customer and user are synonymous, while in others, customer refers to the entity acquiring the project’s product and users are those who will directly utilize the project’s product.

Performing organization. This refers to the enterprise whose employees are most directly involved in doing the work of the project.

Project team members. This is the group that is performing the work of the project.

Project management team. These are the members of the project team who are directly involved in project management activities.

Sponsor. This is the person or group that provides the financial resources, in cash or in kind, for the project.

Influencers. People or groups that are not directly related to the acquisition or use of the project’s product, but due to an individual’s position in the customer organization or performing organization, can influence, positively or negatively, the course of the project.

PMO. If it exists in the performing organization, the PMO can be a stakeholder if it has direct or indirect responsibility for the outcome of the project. In addition to these key stakeholders, there are many different names and categories of project stakeholders, including internal and external, owners and investors, sellers and contractors, team members and their families, government agencies and media outlets, individual citizens, temporary or permanent lobbying organizations, and society-at-large. The naming or grouping of stakeholders is primarily an aid to identifying which individuals and organizations view themselves as stakeholders. Stakeholder roles and responsibilities can overlap, such as when an engineering firm provides financing for a plant that it is designing. Project managers must manage stakeholder expectations, which can be difficult because stakeholders often have very different or conflicting objectives.

 

For example:

 

The manager of a department that has requested a new management information system may desire low cost, the system architect may emphasize technical excellence, and the programming contractor may be most interested in maximizing its profit.

The vice president of research at an electronics firm may define new product success as state-of-the-art technology, the vice president of manufacturing may define it as world-class practices, and the vice president of marketing may be primarily concerned with the number of new features.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | Communications Management, Project Management | , | 1 Comment

Construtcing a Project Charter – the Beginning of the Project Scope

 

 

The project charter is the document that formally authorizes a project. The project charter provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities. A project manager is identified and assigned as early in the project as is feasible. The project manager should always be assigned prior to the start of planning, and preferably while the project charter is being developed.

 

A project initiator or sponsor external to the project organization, at a level that is appropriate to funding the project, issues the project charter. Projects are usually chartered and authorized external to the project organization by an enterprise, a government agency, a company, a program organization, or a portfolio organization, as a result of one or more of the following:

 

A market demand (e.g., a car company authorizing a project to build more fuel-efficient cars in response to gasoline shortages)

A business need (e.g., a training company authorizing a project to create a new course to increase its revenues)

A customer request (e.g., an electric utility authorizing a project to build a new substation to serve a new industrial park)

A technological advance (e.g., an electronics firm authorizing a new project develop a faster, cheaper, and smaller laptop after advances in computer memory and electronics technology)

A legal requirement (e.g., a paint manufacturer authorizing a project to establish guidelines for handling toxic materials)

A social need (e.g., a nongovernmental organization in a developing country authorizing a project to provide potable water systems, latrines, and sanitation education to communities suffering from high rates of cholera).

These stimuli can also be called problems, opportunities, or business requirements. The central theme of all these stimuli is that management must make a decision about how to respond and what projects to authorize and charter. Project selection methods involve measuring value or attractiveness to the project owner or sponsor and may include other organizational decision criteria. Project selection also applies to choosing alternative ways of executing the project.

Chartering a project links the project to the ongoing work of the organization. In some organizations, a project is not formally chartered and initiated until completion of a needs assessment, feasibility study, preliminary plan, or some other equivalent form of analysis that was separately initiated. Developing the project charter is primarily concerned with documenting the business needs, project justification, current understanding of the customer’s requirements, and the new product, service, or result that is intended to satisfy those requirements. The project charter, either directly, or by reference to other documents, should address the following information:

Requirements that satisfy customer sponsor, and other stakeholder needs, wants and expectations;

 

Business needs, high-level project description, or product requirements that the project is undertaken to address

Project purpose or justification

Assigned Project Manager and authority level

Summary milestone schedule

Stakeholder influences

Functional organizations and their participation

Organizational, environmental and external assumptions

Organizational, environmental and external constraints

Business case justifying the project, including return on investment

Summary budget.

 

During subsequent phases of multi-phase projects, the Develop Project

Charter process validates the decisions made during the original chartering of the project. If required, it also authorizes the next project phase, and updates the charter.

 

Contract (When Applicable)

A contract from the customer’s acquiring organization is an input if the project is being done for an external customer.

Project Statement of Work:

The statement of work (SOW) is a narrative description of products or services to be supplied by the project. For internal projects, the project initiator or sponsor provides the statement of work based on business needs, product, or service requirements. For external projects, the statement of work can be received from the customer as part of a bid document, for example, request for proposal, request for information, request for bid, or as part of a contract. The SOW indicates a:

 

Business need – an organization’s business need can be based on needed training, market demand, technological advance, legal requirement, or governmental standard.

Product scope description – documents the product requirements and characteristics of the product or service that the project will be undertaken to create. The product requirements will generally have less detail during the initiation process and more detail during later processes, as the product characteristics are progressively elaborated. These requirements should also document the relationship among the products or services being created and the business need or other stimulus that causes the need. While the form and substance of the product requirements document will vary, it should always be detailed enough to support later project planning.

Strategic plan – all projects should support the organization’s strategic goals. The strategic plan of the performing organization should be considered as a factor when making project selection decisions.

 

Enterprise Environmental Factors:

When developing the project charter, any and all of the organization’s enterprise environmental factors and systems that surround and influence the project’s success must be considered. This includes items such as, but not limited to:

 

Organizational or company culture and structure

Governmental or industry standards (e.g., regulatory agency regulations, product standards, quality standards, and workmanship standards)

Infrastructure (e.g., existing facilities and capital equipment)

Existing human resources (e.g., skills, disciplines, and knowledge, such as design, development, legal, contracting, and purchasing)

Personnel administration (e.g., hiring and firing guidelines, employee performance reviews, and training records)

Company work authorization system

Marketplace conditions

Stakeholder risk tolerances

Commercial databases (e.g., standardized cost estimating data, industry risk study information, and risk databases)

Project management information systems (e.g., an automated tool suite, such as a scheduling software tool, a configuration management system, an information collection and distribution system, or web interfaces to other online automated systems.

 

Organizational Process Assets

When developing the project charter and subsequent project documentation, any and all of the assets that are used to influence the project’s success can be drawn from organizational process assets. Any and all of the organizations involved in the project can have formal and informal policies, procedures, plans, and guidelines whose effects must be considered. Organizational process assets also represent the organizations’ learning and knowledge from previous projects; for example, completed schedules, risk data, and earned value data. Organizational process assets can be organized differently, depending on the type of industry, organization, application area. For example, the organizational process assets could be grouped into two categories:

 

 Organization’s processes and procedures for conducting work:

·    Organizational standard processes, such as standards, policies (e.g., safety and health policy, and project management policy), standard product and project life cycles, and quality policies and procedures (e.g., process audits, improvement targets, checklists, and standardized process definitions for use in the organization)

·    Standardized guidelines, work instructions, proposal evaluation criteria, and performance measurement criteria templates (e.g., risk templates, work breakdown structure templates, and project schedule network diagram templates)

·    Guidelines and criteria for tailoring the organization’s set of standard processes to satisfy the specific needs of the project

·    Organization communication requirements (e.g., specific communication technology available, allowed communication media, record retention, and security requirements)

·    Project closure guidelines or requirements (e.g., final project audits, project evaluations, product validations, and acceptance criteria)

·    Financial controls procedures (e.g., time reporting, required expenditure and disbursement reviews, accounting codes, and standard contract provisions)

·    Issue and defect management procedures defining issue and defect controls, issue and defect identification and resolution, and action item tracking

·    Change control procedures, including the steps by which official company standards, policies, plans, and procedures—or any project documents—will be modified, and how any changes will be approved and validated

·    Risk control procedures, including risk categories, probability definition and impact, and probability and impact matrix

·    Procedures for approving and issuing work authorizations.

 

Organizational corporate knowledge base for storing and retrieving information:

·    Process measurement database used to collect and make available measurement data on processes and products

·    Project files (e.g., scope, cost, schedule, and quality baselines, performance measurement baselines, project calendars, project schedule network diagrams, risk registers, planned response actions, and defined risk impact)

·    Information and lessons learned knowledge base (e.g., project records and documents, all project closure information and documentation, information about both the results of previous project selection decisions and previous project performance information, and information from the risk management effort)

·    Issue and defect management database containing issue and defect status, control information, issue and defect resolution, and action item results

·    Configuration management knowledge base containing the versions and baselines of all official company standards, policies, procedures, and any project documents

·    Financial database containing information such as labor hours, incurred costs, budgets, and any project cost overruns.

 

Develop Project Charter: Tools and Techniques

 

Project Selection Methods

Project selection methods are used to determine which project the organization will select. These methods generally fall into one of two broad categories:

Benefit measurement methods that are comparative approaches, scoring models, benefit contribution, or economic models.

Mathematical models that use linear, nonlinear, dynamic, integer, or multi-objective programming algorithms.

Project Management Methodology

A project management methodology defines a set of Project Management Process Groups, their related processes and the related control functions that are consolidated and combined into a functioning unified whole. A project management methodology may or may not be an elaboration of a project management standard. A project management methodology can be either a formal mature process or an informal technique that aids a project management team in effectively developing a project charter.

Project Management Information System

The Project Management Information System (PMIS) is a standardized set of automated tools available within the organization and integrated into a system. The PMIS is used by the project management team to support generation of a project charter, facilitate feedback as the document is refined, control changes to the project charter, and release the approved document.

Expert Judgment

Expert judgment is often used to assess the inputs needed to develop the project charter. Such judgment and expertise is applied to any technical and management details during this process. Such expertise is provided by any group or individual with specialized knowledge or training, and is available from many sources, including:

Other units within the organization

Consultants

Stakeholders, including customers or sponsors

Professional and technical associations

Industry groups.

 

October 23, 2008 Posted by | Project Initiation, Project Management, Scope Management | , , | Leave a comment