For example Elizabeth L. Angeli, Department of Psychology, State University.
This research was supported in part by a grant from the Sample Grant
Angeli, Department of English, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 55555
Definition and Introduction. A project is a one-off task as compared to an “ongoing task”. Project management focuses on completing one-off tasks on time and on budget. One of the dark side of project management is that a project objective may fail to be met. The project manager has the following responsibilities.
- All stakeholders agree to granular detail on the expected outcome of the project
- The scope has to be guarded against being out of scope.
- The most crucial part of project management is planning. “Proper planning prevents poor performance”.
- The project manager is responsible for evaluating the skills required to execute the project. These skills are then compared with the human resources that are available to create an effective team to carry out the project on time and within budget. People have to be added or subtracted according to their skill sets.
- The information flow where it is needed. All the stakeholders are kept up to date on the progress of the project. This is made possible with proper communication plan.
- Risk analysis is required to proactively identify, avoid and mitigate for any mishap that may jeopardize the project.
- All the project workers are kept with vivid and clear communication with the project manager.
- The project manager should utilize and take leverage of all the tools that are available (Betterbusinesslearning.com, n.d.).
Critique of the Blog “12 Basic Principles of Project Management (Brian Croxall, 2014)”
In this blog “Brian Croxall” shares his experiences of a project management and dexterously crafts out 12 principals of a project management that can lead to an affective execution of a Project.
- Sometimes you have a target that can be reached without formalizing it into a Project. “Time”, “Money” and “Quality” are the three most important factors when a project begins. The project must complete by the predetermined deadline (Time). It should remain in the “Budget” and it should deliver the expected “Quality”. The Aims, goals, targets or the problem analysis determines the need of the project.
- The risk factor should be taken very seriously. The project manager has to think up along with the stakeholders and come up all the different types of failures that can happen and severely jeopardize the whole project derailing it and depriving it of reaching the deadline, getting it over budgeted or ruin the quality of the result. Brain gives an example of a server failure, so the project manager has to stress the need for proper backup of all the data as well as clustering or mirroring of all the digital machines that are to be utilized in the project. Similarly, there might be considerations and concerns of safety of the staff of workers participating in the project.
- Brian claims that the Time, Money and Quality are codependent. It is true that a project cannot afford to overlook these factors. Some experts call it Time, Money and Quality triangle and it is considered to be the key of any projects success. Take the following excerpt from the IEEE journal as an example.
“Construction projects often fail to achieve their time, budget, and quality goals. This is frequently due to the failure of the contractor to analyze and assess all risk factors. The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is an approach that can be used to analyze and assess project risks during the bidding stage of a construction project and to overcome the limitations of the approaches currently used by contractors” (M.A & J.F., 2014).
- Carefully exclude all unimportant procedures, task and things to simplify the project.
- At this point brain says that workers should be allowed to work on anything they want to do. I personally disagree with that because a person who does not have the background or the competency and the experience to do something should not be allowed to do. This increases the risk factor, and it is completely unprofessional.
- Workers on the project should give their own due dates. This agreeable, but the project manager should bring all the workers together in a meeting or several meetings, understand the task and the duration of each worker’s task before declaring the final deadline. It is extremely important to break the timeline of the project into objectives and a single goal in the end. The objectives will be on specific dates and will provide indications and direction to the project toward the common goal reflecting professional teamwork.
- The decision making is one of the most important factors in project management. The professionals involve in the project should be allowed to make decisions in their own sphere of expertise unless necessary. The main and final decision should be in the hands of the Project manager.
- In the progress made towards the completion of the Project, the Project manager has to devise rules to do meetings. There can be some meeting that may be useless and unnecessary unless meeting actions is carried out according to the charter of the project.
- It is a good incentive and motivational factor if a celebration party is organized, mainly for the enjoyment of the team, on the successful completion of the project.
Critique of the “Project Management in under 8 minutes” (Croft, 2013)
In this online video, Chris Croft discusses the APM (Association of Project Management) process that can be utilized in initiating a project. This process allows you as a project manager to complete any project on time, on budget and with quality.
When the project is initiated pin down all the requirements of the project. This is done with a kick-off meeting with all the stakeholders. A project manager should know exactly what to do. When a consensus is reached among all the stakeholders, it should be written down and signed. This document is known as Project Initiation document (PID).
This document contains
- What you are going to deliver (Quality)
- When you are going to deliver (Time)
- How much will it cost to deliver (Cost)
These three estimations are crucial, and the success of the project heavily depends on these three variables. It is the biggest challenge of the Project Manager to optimize these three values.
Never agree to a project that has too many expectations along with a very little cost and low time allowance. Chris also advises to never use the word “May Be”. The Project manager should be very concise and precise before signing the project.
The time, quality, and cost are, in most cases three interconnected objectives that often have to be optimized by project managers. It is very important that the project manager should utilize tools for the work to be more efficient and effective. The time, quality, and cost are interdependent parameters of a project (Hu & He, 2014).
Determine which of the three key drivers (Cost, time and Quality) is the most important.
Once the project is signed make a meeting with all the workers and brainstorm for all the tasks and randomly and carefully list all those tasks, not to miss out any tasks. Create a hierarchal after breaking down all the tasks. Estimate the time and cost of each task. Do not take the average time or the average cost of the project. Always take more time and more cost of each task. The cost should be 40% more, and the Time should also be 40% more of the average estimates of the tasks. Chris advises to create a physical workflow diagram, but this can be done more easily and effectively using software tools. The project manager should determine the longest path or the critical path. Accelerate the work or “crash” as it is called. Crashing also means to put more money or reducing the quality. Create a Gantt chart. The Gantt chart can also be drawn using the software like “Microsoft Project”.
As we know, estimations and determinations of “Risk” has always been important. The Project team has to have measures in place to from the beginning in the planning of the project to prevent or bail out the project. The derailing of the project should never be an option.
Any worker who may be hesitant to do the project, this situation must be sorted out in the planning of the project.
The progress should be monitored effectively as soon as the project starts. This can be done with Gantt charts. A monthly or in some cases weekly meeting should be conducted so that the project manager remains updated. One of the key concerns of a project manager during the progress of the project is “Finance”. The cost of the Project should always remain under control.
One of the status of the project after it is in progress that should be avoided is “Rescheduling”. It is a phase in the project where you require appropriate measure of time or money or both. This step sometimes becomes inevitable since the projects are based on human estimations. It should also be well documented, and such a step should never be taken on verbal bases because it can result in embarrassment at the least.
The last step that is suggested is not absolutely necessary but can be considered in certain situations such as if the Project working team is permeate and belongs to a consulting firm. Chris calls it “Review” in which he means that as a team, you should look at whole projects after completing and learn from the following questions.
- Which task was done at the best?
- Which task was done the worst?
- What can be improved?
Critique on podcast “Introduction to project management by Samantha Ackerman”
In her podcast Samantha Ackerman contribute her knowledge and experience. She has a software background, as she was working on software in the past at the time when there were no mobile phones, web and eCommerce, etc. She claims that things were extremely simpler. She also indicates that the complexities of the systems are increasing as different systems in organizations are combining to build more powerful and complex systems. As an example, an experienced employee asks management that he requires the financial system of an organization with the human resources system and then this system is combined or integrated with the training system and so and so forth. These simple systems combine into a complex system. This phenomenon is not limited to Information systems. This process also prevails in other industries like if you consider the construction industry. The facilities that we have today was non-existent many years back to conserve and automate systems with technology. For instance, when you step into a dark room the lights go up or when you hold your hands under a tap the water turns on. This technology was non-existent ten years back, at least in the commercial sector. She emphasizes that when you are planning a project as a project manager, you have to be extremely proactive i.e. You should think ten or fifteen years ahead.
She describes the difference between a Program and a Project. A “Project” delivers a product such as a building or a network system for instance and a “Program” encompasses many projects. She dexterously describes the “Complexity” of Projects along with “Scale” of projects. These two factors have adversely affected many massive projects and programs with their cost and time overrun, and the quality has suffered. She gives the cost of a few of the most prominent and well known projects like channel tunnel that run between France and UK had a costing run over about 80%, The Brooklyn Bridge in New York had a cost overrun of 100%, The Sydney Opera had a cost overrun of 1400%. These are shockingly surprising figures. It has been estimated that 9 out of ten projects have cost overruns. It has been indicated that the optimistic bias has to be left aside, and the Project Planners and managers should be more realistic.
She also indicates a mischief that many contractors use to bid a low price to win a project proposal knowing that if you win the project, you are more likely to be funded later on if the project is half or a bit more than half is complete. To address these issues Samantha gives some suggestion that may work to some extent, but she does defined the problems very well.
Betterbusinesslearning.com. (n.d.). What is Project Management? Training Video. [video online] Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LSnINglkQA [Accessed: 13 Apr 2014].
Brian Croxall, B. (2014, 3rd March 2011). 12 Basic Principles of Project Management. THE CHRONICALS OF HIGHER EDUCATION, [web log] Retrieved from: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/12-basic-principles-of-project-management/31421 [Accessed: 13 Apr 2014].
.A, M. & J.F., A. (2014). Help Working with Abstracts Project risk assessment using the analytic hierarchy process. Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions On (Volume:38 , Issue: 1 ), 38 (Feb 1991), pp. 46 - 52. doi:10.1109/17.65759 [Accessed: 14th April 2014].
Croft, C. (2013). Project Management in under 8 minutes. [image online] Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkuUBcmmBpk [Accessed: 14 Apr 2014].
Hu, W. & He, X. (2014). An Innovative Time-Cost-Quality Tradeoff Modeling of Building Construction Project Based on Resource Allocation. The Scientific World Journal, 2014.
Ackermere, S. (n.d.). Introduction to Project Management, Introduction To Project Management. [podcast] [Accessed: 15 Apr 2014].