Project Management Fundamentals Overview

Project Management at the very basic and simple level is the art of getting things done.

Here is an overview of the Project Management Fundamentals.

So what are some of the characteristics of a Project?

Projects should give the following:

1. Business Value: Projects should generate or increase business value. This does not always have to financial. Improving a Company’s customer service is an example of generating Business Value for the customers.

2. Temporary: Projects should be temporary. All projects should have a defined starting and ending date.

3. Produce Unique Product or Service: A Project’s goal is to produce a unique product or service. A Project should not be confused with Processes or Procedures.

A Project can be defined as a finite endeavor, initiated to create a unique product or service which adds value.

Projects can have a high level of uncertainty and are not identical. Whereas operational procedures are repeatable with the same end result which creates more certainty about their execution.

Example: Modifying the Emergency admission room process is an example of a Project. Admitting a new patient into the Emergency room is an example of procedure and is non-project related.

It is extremely important to understand what a Project related activity is and what is not. This is the only way to increase productivity and allocate the right individuals for the appropriate tasks.

If you hire a Programmer for instance to develop a specific Software, make sure you provide all the details of what is required and what is not needed and also the deadline of when you want the Software to be developed by. Not clearly outlining the details of what is expected often times leads to many complications and disappointments leading to the failure of the Project.

Hence, Project Management is extremely important.The principles of project management are beneficial for companies and individuals alike.

Imagine if you hired a contractor to paint your house and the painter agreed to start working without giving you details about:

– A good idea of which items were going to be painted

– A detailed break-down of all the costs

– The order in which the rooms have to be painted

That is a scary proposition and not wise decision making. To be part of a team that is working on a project yet not managed properly and does not have a solid plan is very risky.

The Value of Project Management:

Is being able to provide a good idea of

– the cost of the project

– the length of the project

– who will be required to work on the project

– how many people will be required to work on the project

– what resources will be required to complete the project

– understanding the possible issues that could affect successful completion of the project

The Project Lifecycle:

Regardless of the size and scope of a project. Every project goes through the following four phases or stages.

1. Initiating Phase:

The purpose of the initiating stage is to get a common high-level understanding of what the project is expected to deliver. Unfortunately many Projects never make it beyond this first stage. It’s like having an idea come to mind but if you don’t plan and execute the idea just dies.

2. Planning Phase:

In this phase focus is on developing a road map that everyone will follow. Detailed plans are developed for cost, resources required, execution, deadline, communication and risk management.

3. Execution Phase:

This is the Phase where the plans that were developed in the ‘Planning Phase’ get acted on. This is where execution takes place as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Regular project status communication occurs in this phase.

4. Closing Phase: In this phase the plan is checked to make sure all project outputs were delivered as required, final reporting is performed and resources released.

Approximately 20% of the total project effort is spent on Initiating and Closing.

Approximately 80% of the total project effort is spent on Planning and Execution.

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