Rapid advances in information and communications technology have had a range of economic, social… 1 answer below »

Rapid advances in information and communications technology have had a range of economic, social…
1 answer below »Rapid advances in information and communications technology have had a range of economic, social and cultural impacts across the globe. In this Topic, we look at some basic project management concepts that you will use in negotiating a specific, feasible and practical project within the term of your internship. That internship project will provide the foundation for and link directly to reporting activities that you will undertake in this module. You will also learn about (or simply review for many of you) the Project Management Core Body of knowledge (PMBOK) and other relevant documents in the Project Management lexicon. What is a Project? Imagine you are sitting at your desk one morning, and your boss tells you they have a project that I want you to work on.
Immediately you wonder, “What is a project?” because you realise that there must be something about a “project” that makes it different from your everyday work otherwise your boss would not have to announce it to you.
According to the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition (page 4), a project is:
“A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.”
Unlike your everyday routine work, a project is temporary and is meant to achieve a specific goal within a certain period of time, within a predetermined amount of money, that matches the specification (the scope). After the goal of the project has been achieved, the project is closed. The goal might be to create a product (e.g. a new software package or electronic device), a service (e.g. a new customer service helpdesk) or a result (e.g. reducing the average time to solve customer problems from 12 hours to 9 hours).
No two projects are identical. The end products might be very similar, but the set of circumstances that will occur in each project will be unique, and that is why a project requires specialist project management skills, to reduce risks and increase certainty.
For example: Think of it this way. Suppose you have to travel from Sydney to Melbourne in a small airplane. You are told there is no pilot, so you must fly the plane yourself, although you don’t have piloting skills. You might eventually fly to Melbourne, but the chances of failure are high.
If you don’t have project management skills, you might eventually complete the project, but the chances of failure are high.
Although one of the ways to prevent this is if the project is “sponsored” by a senior manager who has the authority to support the project.
So, we have established that unlike your everyday routine work, a project is temporary, and is meant to last only long enough to create whatever it was intended to produce. No two projects are identical, the end products might be similar, but the set of circumstances that will occur in each project will be unique.
What is Project Management? The PMBOK guide defines Project Management as:
“the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements”.
You will be introduced to some of these tools and techniques during the next two weeks. Although some books suggest Project Management started with the building of the pyramids, it actually started in the twentieth century. Building each pyramid was undoubtedly a project, according to the PMBOK definition (“a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result”), but the ancient Egyptians did not have any Project Management tools or techniques, therefore the projects were completed without the assistance of Project Management.
Project Management was foreshadowed to some extent by the publishing of a book, “The principles of Scientific Management”, by Fredrick Taylor in 1911.
Taylor’s method was to break complicated tasks into smaller, simpler component tasks, then he recorded the time for a range of people to perform each component task, enabling the average time for each component task to be calculated.
Thus an approximate time for a complicated task could be calculated by combining the average expected time of each component task (making allowances for sub-tasks which could be performed in parallel, and those which must be performed in series). Taylor’s work later contributed to the development of the car production line, by Henry Ford in the early 1920’s.
Following Taylor’s work, in 1917, Henry Gantt invented his famous Gantt chart (Dufresne and Martin 2003), which was a bar chart (or histogram) to speed up the building of Naval ships for World War 1. Modern Project Management In 1956 a company called DuPont used a Univac computer to develop the world’s first computerised project scheduling program and devised a technique called “Main chain”, which was later renamed to Critical Path Method (CPM), to enable the management of a series of projects to decommission old factories (Weaver, 2006).
In the 1960s much of the rest of what we now think of as “Project Management” was developed by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) for its Apollo project and by the US Department of Defence for its Polaris project (Sapolsky 1972).
So although Project Management is not rocket science, it is related to it! Project Management Institute (PMI) In 1969 the Project Management Institute (PMI), a not for profit organisation, was established in North America to assist Project Managers across all areas of society to exchange Project Management ideas and discuss Project Management problems. Thus a collaborative exchange of knowledge began leading to a shared understanding of Project Management best practices.
As a result of this increased body of knowledge, PMI created and administered the PMBOK guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body Of Knowledge), later adopted as the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Project Management Standard (MacLean 2006).
Read
A Guide to the Project Management Body Of Knowledge
Author:Project Management InstituteRead More(Links to an external site.)
Despite the passage of over 50 years since the beginnings of modern Project Management, the practice is still considered “emergent” as it is constantly developing and so must be continually updated in its application, concepts and methods to reflect changes in practice (Bryde 2003). There is clear evidence that the interest in, and use of, Project Management internationally is gaining momentum (Crawford 2000). Who is Involved in Projects? Often the Project Manager is perceived as an all-powerful person, but this is not usually the case. Whilst the Project Manager has to make many decisions during the project, and has some degree of authority or influence over the project team and other stakeholders, the Project Manager remains answerable to other stakeholders.
Senior Management decides whether the project should go ahead.
A Project Sponsor is:
“A person or group who provides resources for the project, or portfolio and is accountable for enabling success” (PMBOK Guide 6th Edition, p723) and is also “generally accountable for the development of the project business case”
(PMBOK Guide 6th Edition, p723)
So, the Project Sponsor is a member of the management team, at a higher level in the organisation than the Project Manager, who has direct access to senior management. When the company first thinks of a product, service or result that they need, the chosen sponsor will become the “champion” of the project (that will produce the product, service or result), and the Sponsor will promote the benefits of the project throughout the organisation. It is the Sponsor who is responsible for providing funds for the project.
The sponsor will help develop the project scope statement and charter document, and will normally play a leading role in selecting the Project Manager.
When the project is underway, the Project Manager will make many decisions within the scope statement, but if the Project Manager has problems that they can not solve (including obtaining more money for the project) then it is the Project Manager who will discuss these problems with the Sponsor, who in turn discusses the issues with senior management. Finding a Project to Work On You should be given a project to complete during your Internship. Your supervisor or manager may not actually call your work a “project”, but if it is a piece of work that will produce at least one defined deliverable (a product, service or result) and have an expected delivery date (i.e. it is not Helpdesk work or similar ongoing work) then it is a project.
Consequently, you will be a project team member but not the Project Manager.
For example: You may be designing a website, helping to set up a new Cisco network, working on a new software package, making significant modifications to an existing website or an application package, in fact anything that produces a unique product, service or result. But if you are working on a help desk, or routinely tuning a database and so on, this is not a project.
But no matter how huge and overwhelming your project may seem at the beginning, it is at most a SFIA level 4 project and so “manageable” in normal Project Management terms. Meaning, it is best managed by an “agile” Project Management method, i.e. one that focuses more on the end result than the means of getting there. 5.6 Project Life Cycle
Starting the Project Define and document Organising and Preparing Identify, assess and manage risks Prepare realistic project and quality plans Carrying out the Project work Monitor costs, timescales and resources used, and take action where these deviate from agreed tolerances Track activities against the plans Manage risks Provide regular and accurate reports to stakeholders Closing the project Ensure the project is formally closed Carry out a project review Record the lessons learned From the listings above, we can see that a SFIA level 4 project has: A limited lifespan (as a project must) Limited resources (a small team) Limited funds (budget) The expectation that the Project Manager uses a collection of tools and techniques (Scope Management, Time Management, Cost Management, Quality Management, Risk management, and so on) to control the project, keep records and report to stakeholders
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