Project Management

Project ManagementThe key to a successful project is in the planning. Creating a project plan is the first thing required when undertaking any kind of project.

Often project planning is ignored in favour of getting on with the work. The value of a project plan is in saving time, money and many avoidable problems.

The following questions need to be asked and defined:

Project Management

Step 1: Project Goals

A project is successful when the needs of the stakeholders have been met and clearly defined goals have been set. Consultation is key to the success of any project. We also include the needs and expectations of the stakeholders. This way it will be easy to know when a goal has been achieved. We use the SMART technique:

SMART

Step 2: Project Deliverables

Using the goals we have defined in step 1, we create a list of things the project needs to deliver in order to meet those goals. Specify when and how each item must be delivered. We add the deliverables to the project plan with an estimated delivery date.

Step 3: Project Schedule

We create a list of tasks that need to be carried out for each deliverable identified in step 2. For each task we identify the following:

  • The amount of effort (hours or days) required to complete the task
  • The resources needed to carry out the task

In the event there are any unforseen issues/delays that may occur, the options we give you in this situation are:

  • Renegotiate the deadline (project delay)
  • Employ additional resources (increased cost)
  • Reduce the scope of the project (less delivered)

Step 4: Supporting Plans

  • Human Resource Plan
  • Communications Plan
  • Risk Management Plan

Risk management is an important part of project management. Although often overlooked, it is important to identify as many risks to your project as possible, and be prepared if something bad happens.

Here are some examples of common project risks:

  • Time and cost estimates too optimistic
  • Customer review and feedback cycle too slow
  • Unexpected budget cuts
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities
  • Stakeholder input is not sought, or their needs are not properly understood
  • Stakeholders changing requirements after the project has started
  • Stakeholders adding new requirements after the project has started
  • Poor communication resulting in misunderstandings, quality problems and rework
  • Lack of resource commitment

When risks are ignored they don’t go away.