Introduction to Project Management
Introduction to Project Management
Monitoring and evaluation tools are very important for the proper management of projects. In information technology projects, not producing outputs on time is almost synonymous to saying that the project will be a failure. Most of the information technology projects are time-bound that if scheduled deliverables are not delivered on time, the project may not me applicable anymore because of the fast-paced technological innovations.
The three most common tools used in the scheduling, monitoring and evaluation of IT projects are PERT, CPM and the Gantt Chart. PERT is short for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. PERT tool is a network analysis technique utilizing the CPM to estimate project duration given some degree of uncertainties. The PERT tool developed in the 1950’s, uses probabilistic time estimates and weighted average to come up with an estimate. An advantage of using PERT is the attempt to address risks that may occur that is attributed to time estimates. However, a disadvantage is that it requires more work and CPM will also need to be done first because of the required scheduled estimates. (Schwalbe, 2010)
Critical Path Method (CPM) is a network diagramming technique used to calculate the total project duration of a project whose main purpose is to contest schedule overruns. Critical paths (series of activities) with the slack or float (the allowable time allowance for each activity) are determined. CPM is a very important tool in scheduling, monitoring and the control of IT projects. Project managers can use this tool to place actual dates of completion for each activity while the expected outcome is placed side-by-side. Further, scheduling dependencies are also determined and the activities that can be done in parallel. On the other hand, CPMs do not handle the scheduling of personnel and resources and can be complicated when applied to complex projects. Like any other project, the estimation of completion times is hard to determine if the specific activities are not properly identified. (CPM Scheduling.com, 2014)
Gantt charts are maybe the most commonly used project monitoring tools. It is a standard format used in presenting project schedule. Gantt Charts contains a listing of activities vis-à-vis the corresponding start and ending dates. Usually, the schedule contained on the Gantt Chart is also the activities referred to in a Work Breakdown Schedule. The activities are referred to as the milestones of the project. Gantt charts are an effective tool because aside from showing a picture of complex but organized project, it also shows that the project management knows what it is about to do because of the organized presentation of deliverables. Likewise, realistic schedules can also be gleaned from the chart, and its presentation makes it very easy to understand. Some disadvantages of using Gantt chart, on the other hand is that the amount of work required to complete a specific task can not be seen from the graph, and it needs to be updated every now and then depending on adjustments made.
Since the three techniques provide different degree of information to the project management team, it may be best to use all three techniques to be provided with different information needed by the team to arrive at an excellent project output.
CPMScheduling.com (2014). Advantages and Disadvantages in the Implementation of CPM. Retrieved from http://www.cpmscheduling.com/index.php/critical-path-method/advantages-and-disadvantages-in-the-implementation-of-cpm
Schwalbe, Kathy (2010). Information Technlogy Project Management. Sixth Edition. Course Technology, Boston, MA, USA