As you know project management is application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the actual project requirement and hence, the customer’s requirements. So, what are the real tasks of a project manager and what are the processes to carry out a project successfully. If professionals carryout activities of their project in a better way their projects succeed. Now, so many questions might perturb your mind such as – how to begin project management, how to involve people in the project management, how to create a proper plan for managing the project and how to draft an overall project management path for the project.
If you discuss with the experts or SMEs who are well versed in project management, they say that a project management starts with initiation stage and ends with closing stage. The same theory was advocated by Fleming. As per Fleming, there are four stages of project management. They are: Planning, Do,Check & Act – Popularly known as PDCA cycle. As per PMI® (Project Management Institute), a path map of project management is divided into five project management processes:
- Monitoring & Controlling
As per PMI®, a project manager should play an important role in initiation activities. In so many projects I’ve seen a project manager appointed in planning stage or just prior to planning stage and initiation part is taking care by senior management. This is not the ideal way to start a project. If as a project manager someone is getting opportunity in initiation stage s/he could manage the project in more effective way. As s/he will be aware of all the initial information mainly the project charter information such as high-level information on project requirement, product scope, budget, schedule, risk associated etc. So, you can define the basic level of project management for a project as follows:
Generally, project starts with pre-sales activities with the customer. And project manager plays a chief role in creating RFP or RFI. Therefore, already project management starts in the organization. Even in business case activities, a project manager could play an important role. Which project will be picked out of many alternatives? What skill sets are required to do this project? What types of resources are required? What could be the constraints in this project? All these queries can be answered through better project management. Ideally, a project management starts from this stage in each and every organization. Although during this period, project manager plays a role of subordinate as it is mainly handled by higher management or some SMEs.
Later, when a project is conceived in the organization, project management starts with developing the project charter. Here, a project manager tries to understand the basic structure of the project such as high-level project information of project budget, scope, product features etc., so that it can be used while planning stage. In addition, identification of people who will be involved in the project directly and indirectly could be done by the project manager. It is very imperative for a project manager to identify the key people who could change the fate of the project.
Gathering the higher level information on project, project management starts in planning stage. It is one of the important phases of project and here project manager plays a very important role. Starting from gathering project requirement from each stakeholder to make this project a success to ending the project successfully is the main work. During the journey, project manager with the help of project management team and other SMEs, stakeholders, gather all the pertinent information of project, define the scope, create the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure), create network diagrams, creating logical relationship among the project activities, working on project dependencies, developing schedule, developing budget, working on quality matrices, deciding on the number of resources, defining communication management plan etc. After this the main work of project manager is identifying risk and categorizing them in a place to think on the risk response strategies on identified risk. Working on deciding the buyers and suppliers and planning a strategies to handle them is the work also in the planning stage.
After planning stage, project management starts with project execution such as work commencement on the project as per the planning, managing the change in the project, implementing the approved changes, documenting those, assessing the quality of the output, managing the resources to get the output as per planning and in-sync with project requirement. Managing people, developing people and mentoring people to get work done is the main project management intervention.
4.Project Monitoring & Control
Project management starts here with validating the product as per scope and as per quality checklists, monitoring the schedule and cost, forecasting the budget and schedule as per the project performance. Monitoring the risk, changing the strategies as per the result and validating the final deliverable and submitting those to the customer.
After delivering the output to the customer, the project management starts with gaining final approval from the customer, raising the invoices for the work done, closing procurement agreements, releasing resources, celebrating milestone parties, if possible, and archiving all the important project files with the help of different stakeholders so that lessons learned document could be prepared.
Project management is basically an application of skill sets, knowledge, tools and techniques to a wide range of activities in order to fulfill the requirements of a project. The process of controlling and directing the project from commencement to end rests on the shoulders of the project manager.
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