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Project management life cycle

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Project Life Cycle

The Project Life Cycle refers to a logical sequence of activities to accomplish the project's goals or objectives. Regardless of scope or complexity, any project goes through a series of stages during its life. There is first an Initiation or Birth phase, in which the outputs and critical success factors are defined, followed by a Planning phase, characterized by breaking down the project into smaller parts/tasks, an Execution phase, in which the project plan is executed, and lastly a Closure or Exit phase, that marks the completion of the project. Project activities must be grouped into phases because by doing so, the project manager and the core team can efficiently plan and organize resources for each activity, and also objectively measure achievement of goals and justify their decisions to move ahead, correct, or terminate. It is of great importance to organize project phases into industry-specific project cycles. Why? Not only because each industry sector involves specific requirements, tasks, and procedures when it comes to projects, but also because different industry sectors have different needs for life cycle management methodology. And paying close attention to such details is the difference between doing things well and excelling as project managers.

Diverse project management tools and methodologies prevail in the different project cycle phases. Let's take a closer look at what's important in each one of these stages:

  • Initiation

In this first stage, the scope of the project is defined along with the approach to be taken to deliver the desired outputs. The project manager is appointed and in turn, he selects the team members based on their skills and experience. The most common tools or methodologies used in the initiation stage are Project Charter, Business Plan, Project Framework (or Overview), Business Case Justification, and Milestones Reviews.

  • Planning

The second phase should include a detailed identification and assignment of each task until the end of the project. It should also include a risk analysis and a definition of a criteria for the successful completion of each deliverable. The governance process is defined, stake holders identified and reporting frequency and channels agreed. The most common tools or methodologies used in the planning stage are Business Plan and Milestones Reviews.

  • Execution and controlling

The most important issue in this phase is to ensure project activities are properly executed and controlled. During the execution phase, the planned solution is implemented to solve the problem specified in the project's requirements. In product and system development, a design resulting in a specific set of product requirements is created. This convergence is measured by prototypes, testing, and reviews. As the execution phase progresses, groups across the organization become more deeply involved in planning for the final testing, production, and support. The most common tools or methodologies used in the execution phase are an update of Risk Analysis and Score Cards, in addition to Business Plan and Milestones Reviews.

  • Closure

In this last stage, the project manager must ensure that the project is brought to its proper completion. The closure phase is characterized by a written formal project review report containing the following components: a formal acceptance of the final product by the client, Weighted Critical Measurements (matching the initial requirements specified by the client with the final delivered product), rewarding the team, a list of lessons learned, releasing project resources, and a formal project closure notification to higher management. No special tool or methodology is needed during the closure phase.

Changes

Any enhancement, emergency change, modification, or alteration to the all stage of Project lifecycle.
Often factors such as omissions, mistakes, creativity, misunderstandings, and external influences will impact the project's scope and purpose from those originally defined in the Project Charter. Changes may affect the project schedule, cost, scope, and quality.

Reason

A change can fall into any one of the following five categories:

  1. New/Additional Function. A new or additional specification not identified in the initial Project Scope.
  2. Enhancement. An alteration to an existing function that has been identified in the initial Project Scope.
  3. Obsolete. An application, procedure or function that has been identified to become obsolete
  4. Information. A request for ad hoc reports or special data.
  5. Legal. Mandated requirement not known or missed during the initial Project Scope.

Change management

Change management is an important process, because it can deliver vast benefits (by improving the system and thereby satisfying “customer needs”), but also enormous problems (by ruining the system and/or mixing up the change administration). Furthermore, at least for the Information Technology domain, more funds and work are put into system maintenance (which involves change management) than to the initial creation of a system.

For the description of the change management process, the meta-modeling technique is used. Figure 1 depicts the process-data diagram.

CheckList

  1. Collaboration
  2. Resource Management
  3. Project Management
  4. Document Management
  5. Issue tracking system
  6. Web-based
  7. Ease Of Use

Collaboration

It is software designed to help people involved in a usual task achieve their destinations. Collaboration is the basis for computer defended cooperative job. Conversational interaction is a substitute of information between two or more workers where the main purpose of the interaction is discovery or relationship building.There is no central entity around which the interaction rotates but is a free substitute of information with no defined constraints.

Dashboard

General Collaboration includes:

  1. Dashboards, which allow you see all clients and present projects, and gives quick access to many areas such as reports and risk analysis.
  2. Team Calendars and Timelines, which displays project timelines and schedules that can be accessed by teams and individuals.
  3. Email Integration, which lets the project management software integrate with Microsoft Outlook or other similar email programs.

Issue Tracking

Tools that allow you to receive or track concerns from team members, team leaders, managers and executives and the tools needed to manage those issues.

Forums

A discussion board covering a broad range of topics used by team members to voice thoughts, opinions and suggestions about projects or tasks.

MS Project Integration

Microsoft Project is standard project management software for many companies. For those changing to online project management, using online project management that integrates Microsoft Project makes the change easier.

Resource Management

Resource management is the competent and good deployment for an organization's resources when they are needed. Such resources may include financial resources, inventory, human skills, production resources, or information technology (IT). In the realm of project management, processes, techniques and philosophies as to the best approach for allocating resources have been developed.

Resource management is a key element to activity resource estimating and project human resource management. Both are essential components of a comprehensive project management plan to execute and monitor a project successfully.

Resource Details

Allows you add contact information and attach documents and resumes, to resources.

Skill Sets

Allows you to input the strengths and weaknesses of each team or individual member in order to match skills to tasks better.

Timesheets

Typically records the start and end time of tasks or just the duration, as well as detailed breakdowns of accomplished tasks.

Materials / Supplies

Manage your materials through tracking system and alerts.

Check In / Check

OutKeep track of key materials and objects so that you know where something is at any given time.

Import Resources

Imports your list of employees or materials directly into the project management software.

eMail Addresses

Add email addresses to your human resources.

Project Management

Project Management is a term used by project managers and project management (PM) organizations to describe methods for analyzing and collectively managing a group of current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics.

Task Management

Keeping track of tasks and projects through reliable software.

Task Feedback

Allows those working on a specific task to give feedback to the project manager.

Recurring Tasks

Allows you to set one task that occurs regularly at the same time (such as Friday maintenance).

Scheduling

The project manager can schedule a number of different variables.

Calendars

Shows projects and tasks in a calendar layout.The project manager can schedule a number of different

Time Lines

Schedule timelines for tasks, subprojects, projects and resources. variables.

Events

Project milestones as plotted on a calendar.

Gantt Charts

A graphical representation of a task's duration against the progression of time. Gantt charts allow you to assess how long a project should take, lay out the order in which tasks need to be carried out, and help manage the dependencies between tasks.

Reporting

The many reports available to the project manager.

Statistics

Reports on which tasks are finished, overall project progress and such.

Work Load

Measures individual and group task assignments and evaluates how best to effectively manage projects.

Financials

The projects cost, time, resources, materials and so on.

Custom

The ability to create reports based on custom criteria.

Document Management

The process of managing documents and other information from creation and review to storage and dissemination. It also involves the indexing, storage and retrieval of documents in an organized method.

Budgeting

The ability to add a budget to your project and manage it.

Critical Path Method

Work scheduling where all major jobs are laid out in a diagram to show the proper sequence of work and the necessary time required for each. This provides a visual indication of which operations are most critical.

Project Templates

Pre-built programs that already include generic information.

Scope

Define the overall theme of the project, as well as its goals and purpose.

Milestones

Usually pre-planned events where certain planned deliverables are provided. Mileston0065s are used to organize the planning of long-term projects into smaller time intervals and to monitor the overall progress of the project.

Baseline

The completed project plan, which allows you to judge your actual progress against a defined point.

Document Management

A document management system (DMS) is a computer system (or set of computer programs) used to track and store electronic documents and/or images of paper documents. The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management systems. It is often viewed as a component of enterprise content management (ECM) systems and related to digital asset management, document imaging, workflow systems and records management systems

Most methods for managing documents address the following areas:

Location

Where will documents be stored? Where will people need to go to access documents? Physical journeys to filing cabinets and file rooms are analogous to the onscreen navigation required to use a document management system.

Filing

How will documents be filed? What methods will be used to organize or index the documents to assist in later retrieval? Document management systems will typically use a database to store metadata about documents and a File System to store the actual physical files.

Retrieval

How will documents be found? Typically, retrieval encompasses both browsing through documents and searching for specific information. What kind of information about documents are indexed for rapid retrieval?

Security

How will documents be kept secure? How will unauthorized personnel be prevented from reading, modifying or destroying documents?

Disaster recovery

How can documents be recovered in case of destruction from fires, floods or natural disasters?

Retention period

How long should documents be kept, i.e. retained? As organizations grow and regulations increase, informal guidelines for keeping various types of documents give way to more formal records management practices.

Archiving

How can documents be preserved for future readability?

Distribution

How can documents be available to the people that need them?

Workflow

If documents need to pass from one person to another, what are the rules for how their work should flow?

Creation

How are documents created? This question becomes important when multiple people need to collaborate, and the logistics of version control and authoring arise.

Authentication

Is there a way to vouch for the authenticity of a document ?

Traceability

When, where and by whom are documents created, modified, published and stored.

Issue tracking system

An issue tracking system (also called trouble ticket system or incident ticket system) is a computer software package that manages and maintains lists of issues, as needed by an organization. Issue tracking systems are commonly used in an organization's customer support call center to create, update, and resolve reported customer issues, or even issues reported by that organization's other employees. An issue tracking system often also contains a knowledge base containing information on each customer, resolutions to common problems, and other such data. An issue tracking system is similar to a “bugtracker”, and often, a software company will sell both, and some bugtrackers are capable of being used as an issue tracking system, and vice versa.

Four Project Management Software

  • Microsoft Project
  • MindView
  • Project KickStart
  • RationalPlan Multi Project

Provide Features

  • Collaboration
  • Resource Management
  • Project Management
  • Document Management

Collaboration

It is software designed to help people involved in a usual task achieve their destinations. Collaboration is the basis for computer defended cooperative job. Conversational interaction is a substitute of information between two or more workers where the main purpose of the interaction is discovery or relationship building.There is no central entity around which the interaction rotates but is a free substitute of information with no defined constraints.

Dashboard

General Collaboration includes:

  1. Dashboards, which allow you see all clients and present projects, and gives quick access to many areas such as reports and risk analysis.
  2. Team Calendars and Timelines, which displays project timelines and schedules that can be accessed by teams and individuals.
  3. Email Integration, which lets the project management software integrate with Microsoft Outlook or other similar email programs.

Issue Tracking

Tools that allow you to receive or track concerns from team members, team leaders, managers and executives and the tools needed to manage those issues.

Forums

A discussion board covering a broad range of topics used by team members to voice thoughts, opinions and suggestions about projects or tasks.

MS Project Integration

Microsoft Project is standard project management software for many companies. For those changing to online project management, using online project management that integrates Microsoft Project makes the change easier.

Resource Management

Resource management is the competent and good deployment for an organization's resources when they are needed. Such resources may include financial resources, inventory, human skills, production resources, or information technology (IT). In the realm of project management, processes, techniques and philosophies as to the best approach for allocating resources have been developed.

Resource management is a key element to activity resource estimating and project human resource management. Both are essential components of a comprehensive project management plan to execute and monitor a project successfully.

Resource Details

Allows you add contact information and attach documents and resumes, to resources.

Skill Sets

Allows you to input the strengths and weaknesses of each team or individual member in order to match skills to tasks better.

Timesheets

Typically records the start and end time of tasks or just the duration, as well as detailed breakdowns of accomplished tasks.

Materials / Supplies

Manage your materials through tracking system and alerts.

Check In / Check

OutKeep track of key materials and objects so that you know where something is at any given time.

Import Resources

Imports your list of employees or materials directly into the project management software.

eMail Addresses

Add email addresses to your human resources.

Project Management

Project Management is a term used by project managers and project management (PM) organizations to describe methods for analyzing and collectively managing a group of current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics.

Task Management

Keeping track of tasks and projects through reliable software.

Task Feedback

Allows those working on a specific task to give feedback to the project manager.

Recurring Tasks

Allows you to set one task that occurs regularly at the same time (such as Friday maintenance).

Scheduling

The project manager can schedule a number of different variables.

Calendars

Shows projects and tasks in a calendar layout.The project manager can schedule a number of different

Time Lines

Schedule timelines for tasks, subprojects, projects and resources. variables.

Events

Project milestones as plotted on a calendar.

Gantt Charts

A graphical representation of a task's duration against the progression of time. Gantt charts allow you to assess how long a project should take, lay out the order in which tasks need to be carried out, and help manage the dependencies between tasks.

Reporting

The many reports available to the project manager.

Statistics

Reports on which tasks are finished, overall project progress and such.

Work Load

Measures individual and group task assignments and evaluates how best to effectively manage projects.

Financials

The projects cost, time, resources, materials and so on.

Custom

The ability to create reports based on custom criteria.

Document Management

The process of managing documents and other information from creation and review to storage and dissemination. It also involves the indexing, storage and retrieval of documents in an organized method.

Budgeting

The ability to add a budget to your project and manage it.

Critical Path Method

Work scheduling where all major jobs are laid out in a diagram to show the proper sequence of work and the necessary time required for each. This provides a visual indication of which operations are most critical.

Project Templates

Pre-built programs that already include generic information.

Scope

Define the overall theme of the project, as well as its goals and purpose.

Milestones

Usually pre-planned events where certain planned deliverables are provided. Mileston0065s are used to organize the planning of long-term projects into smaller time intervals and to monitor the overall progress of the project.

Baseline

The completed project plan, which allows you to judge your actual progress against a defined point.

Document Management

A document management system (DMS) is a computer system (or set of computer programs) used to track and store electronic documents and/or images of paper documents. The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management systems. It is often viewed as a component of enterprise content management (ECM) systems and related to digital asset management, document imaging, workflow systems and records management systems

Most methods for managing documents address the following areas:

Location

Where will documents be stored? Where will people need to go to access documents? Physical journeys to filing cabinets and file rooms are analogous to the onscreen navigation required to use a document management system.

Filing

How will documents be filed? What methods will be used to organize or index the documents to assist in later retrieval? Document management systems will typically use a database to store metadata about documents and a File System to store the actual physical files.

Retrieval

How will documents be found? Typically, retrieval encompasses both browsing through documents and searching for specific information. What kind of information about documents are indexed for rapid retrieval?

Security

How will documents be kept secure? How will unauthorized personnel be prevented from reading, modifying or destroying documents?

Disaster recovery

How can documents be recovered in case of destruction from fires, floods or natural disasters?

Retention period

How long should documents be kept, i.e. retained? As organizations grow and regulations increase, informal guidelines for keeping various types of documents give way to more formal records management practices.

Archiving

How can documents be preserved for future readability?

Distribution

How can documents be available to the people that need them?

Workflow

If documents need to pass from one person to another, what are the rules for how their work should flow?

Creation

How are documents created? This question becomes important when multiple people need to collaborate, and the logistics of version control and authoring arise.

Authentication

Is there a way to vouch for the authenticity of a document ?

Traceability

When, where and by whom are documents created, modified, published and stored.

Microsoft Project

Feature Rank
Collaboration Very Good
Resource Management Excellent
Project Management Excellent
Document Management Good

MindView

Feature Rank
Collaboration Good
Resource Management Good
Project Management Very Good
Document Management Good

Project KickStart

Feature Rank
Collaboration Good
Resource Management Good
Project Management Very Good
Document Management Good

RationalPlan Multi Project

Feature Rank
Collaboration Good
Resource Management Very Good
Project Management Very Good
Document Management Fail

Supplier

Microsoft

Product

Micorsoft Project

Strength

Feature Rank
Collaboration Very Good
Resource Management Excellent
Project Management Excellent
Document Management Good

Trace the source of issues

Quickly determine factors that are affecting task dates and easily trace the source of issues to promote accountability. Task Drivers help you determine the factor (such as task dependency, calendar constraints, schedule date, or vacation time) driving the start date of the task, so you can follow a chain of factors back to find the root cause of a particular delay.

See the impacts of a change

Office Project 2007 will automatically highlight all items that shift as a result of the most recent change you make. Now, with Change Highlights you gain a better understanding of the impacts of your choices.

Experiment with what-if scenarios

Undo and redo changes to views, data, and options with Multiple Level Undo. You can undo actions or sets of actions from macros too, so you can test several what-if scenarios in order to fully understand the implications of each choice while making scope changes.

Easily control finances

With the budget field, you can assign budgets to projects and programs. The new "Cost" resource type improves cost estimation and tracking. Other cost enhancements include more predefined fields, such as cost code, that map to financial fields tracked in project accounting systems.

Flexible project tracking and analysis

Compute and track core metrics unique to your project by defining custom fields based on your formulas. Graphical indicators can alert you when specific conditions are met.

Leverage charts and diagrams

The Visual Reports feature uses Microsoft Office Excel and Microsoft Office Visio Professional to produce PivotTable views, charts, graphs, and diagrams based on Project data. A user can easily define custom report templates and share these with other Project users.

Add visual highlights

You can change the background color of a cell or row with Background Cell Highlighting. Shade cells, similar to how you can in Excel, in order to convey additional meaning.

Use improved views

With new enhancements to the Calendar interface and the addition of 3-D Gantt bars, you can create even more visually effective reports.

Share information

Share and manage documents related to your projects using Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services workspaces (requires Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or later), which are integrated into the Tasks pane of the Project Guide.

Follow the Project Guide

Quickly master the project management process with the Project Guide, a step-by-step, interactive aid that helps you set up projects, manage tasks and resources, track status, and report project information.

Get help as you need it

Access built-in online Help to get the latest training, articles, templates, and resources. Get timely and relevant assistance as you work with smart tags that alert you to alternatives when you make changes to your plan.

Save time with templates

Start your projects prepopulated with a template to save time. Create your own custom template, or use one of the many new, out-of-the-box templates provided with Office Project Standard 2007. You can also download templates from the Web at Microsoft Office Online.

Weakness

Dashboard
Team Calendars/Timelines Issue Tracking
Forums
Email Integration RSS Feed MS Project Integration
Check In / Check Out
Task Feedback
Mind Maps
Risk/Benifit Analyzer
Automatic Notifications
Privacy Settings
Multilingual
Smartphones
Mac OS X
Linux

Once we become a professional or full time project manager, we are generally faced with more complexity in the projects we are managing. Excel is just too difficult to use for that task. The next step is MS Project.

MS Project handles well the next level of solutions needed - Gantt Charts, Critical path, etc. It's the obvious next step in providing these solutions. But after we begin to master Project, its limitations begin to show up. Ultimately, it's the needs of the customers that end up driving the various software companies to come up with competing software to MS Project.

One of the first perceived weaknesses is that it doesn't play well with others, so to speak. Thus, we won't find (at present) MS project on the Mac unless you are using an emulator. With Macs resurging lately, this might be an issue for companies trying to keep both camps happy.

It's also difficult (at present) to collaborate with others using MS Project over the web, which has sprung up a few packages and adds-on's to allow that ability. Many don't like the way MS Project "scales up" to the corporation level, so that's where Primavera comes into play. Suddenly, cost is a big issue.

Recommendation

Microsoft Project 2003 is a powerful, easy to use project scheduling and management tool. Wizards guide novice users through the creation of project timelines, including the creation of dependencies and the scheduling of resources. Proficient users, who manage tight schedules, limited resources and tight budgets, will appreciate the ability to tweak resource allocation (by assigning a percentage of utilization to a human resource, for example)and the ability to track costs associated with each task. The Project Guide is available to both novices and experienced users who create project schedules infrequently enough that remembering menu commands is troublesome. Pitfalls include unexpected results/limited choices when certain project details are tweaked. For example, when leveling resources, reducing a person's percentage allocation to a task extends the project's timeline. An option to reduce the duration of the task is not available in this mode. In most cases, however, the application acts as expected. Overall, this is a fine, polished product with wide-ranging capabilities that can be used as simply or as comprehensively as a project manager desires.

First I read the scenario repeat and repeat.Then I read Task1.Task 1 ask a description of a typical project lifecycle.Focusing changes that are common in the transition from one phase to another,when client review takes place.Then I search the require information by googling and read many books to solve this task.Then I understand detail of project lifecycle.Then I write a description of a typical project lifecycle.And then I read the task 2. Task 2 ask create an evaluation instrument and make checklist with a list of attributes and functions.I found many checklist but I have chosen common 7 checklist.They are Collaboration,Resource Management,Project Management,Document Management, Issue tracking system,Web-based,Ease Of Use.I write down detail of each checkpoint in task 2 document.but I am not satisfy those checklist.because of I am not sure they are cover for requirement. But I tried my best way.Then I read Task 3. Task 3 ask to find four project management software tools suppliers what their products and features. Then I search the require information by googling and read many books to solve this task.I found many project management software.Each management tool have both advantage and disadvantage.Then I read Task 4.Task 4 ask to produce a report,describe the suppliers and their products and write comment,software tools's strengths and weakness.Then I read required information from product website.


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