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Project management synopsis

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Project management ensures that project requirements are met by applying tools, techniques, skills, and knowledge to project activities (or tasks). The fundamental structure of project management is defined by the project stakeholders, which are project sponsor, project team, suppliers, support staff, customers, and users. Other fundamental areas of project management are project management tools and techniques, and project management knowledge areas - project integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, communication, procurement and risk management. However, of these knowledge areas the project integration management is most critical because it integrates all other areas of project management.

Although, project management primarily ensures that a project's requirements are met by applying tools, technique, skills, and knowledge to project activities (tasks) to meet project requirements, it is also is a group of interrelated processes: initiating, planning, executing and monitoring. Of these three processes, the executing processes require more time and resources, followed by the planning processes. A broader picture of the activities involved in project management is seen in mapping the activities of the process group into the [nine] project areas.

Since it is critical for project management to meet project requirements [goals], and satisfy stakeholders, it is equally critical for project managers to identify, understand, and manage relationships with all project stakeholders. Also for a project management to meet requirements, and satisfy stakeholders, project must have a project plan. This project plan must define and confirm project goals and objective, identify tasks and how goals are accomplished, quantify needed resources, determine project cost [budget] and project completion timelines. Apart from defining and confirming project goals, the project plan entails the management and implementation of the project plan, change control operations, ensuring communication of accurate and objective performance information during project life cycle (or phase), and project failure recovery mechanisms where necessary.

The concept of triple constraint is very critical to the successful completion or execution of a project. For a project manager to successfully execute a project, by managing triple constraint, the project manager must be able to balance these constraints [goals] - scope, time, and cost. Since [most] projects involve changes and balance between these competing goals - scope, time, and cost - it is very critical for project managers to have strong coping skills. Another important factor in project is quality. Since customers' satisfaction invariably depends on the quality standards of a product, it is therefore important for the project manager to consider quality as an added element to the elements of the triple constraints - scope, time, and cost - when embarking on a project. A successful project manager must simultaneously and effectively manage these four basic interrelated elements -scope, time, cost and quality - knowing that quality is an inseparable part in setting the scope, time and cost of a project.

In order for any project to address all the tasks required to complete the project successfully, the project scope management, which is a critical part of project management, must include processes - scope planning, WBS creation, scope definition, scope control and scope verification - required to address and accomplish such tasks. Since one of the key reasons why project fail is scope management, it is, therefore, important for a project scope management to have a clear statement, showing project requirements; scope change management, and user involvement.

Because most [information] projects do not meet their project time estimates, manage and track the way project activities (or tasks) are scheduled in order to meet project expectations. Project time management is a critical aspect of project management that involves processes - activity definition, activity resource estimating, activity duration estimating, activity sequencing, schedule development, and schedule control - which are critical to the management of projects in order to meet project schedule, which in turn guarantees a project would stay within the project budget.

Cost management is another important and inseparable part of project management. Because cost management is to the effective cost management, project managers must take responsibility of understanding how basic cost concepts, cost control, budgeting and cost estimate are critical to a successful execution of a project (or project phase).

Because the quality of a project invariably affects stakeholders' satisfaction, it is very critical that project quality management, which involves quality assurance, quality control, and quality planning, is taken very seriously. However, in maintaining quality standard that would satisfy stakeholders' needs, that project must conform to specified project requirements, and making sure items (deliverables) that meet such project requirements are delivered. With quality control and planning, specific project results are monitored to ensure that such results conforms to quality standards, and quality standards pertaining to the project are identified and satisfied.

Since people are the most valuable assets in any project, it is very important that these assets [people] that are involved in a project are properly managed. Human resource management, which embraces all stakeholders, is a very important part of project management since it directly affects how these resources [people] perform to attain project objectives. When resources are well managed, project responsibilities, roles, and relationships are identified; the personnel needed to work on a given project are assigned to the project; individuals and groups are trained on project management skills to enhance project performance; and project team members' performance is tracked, and conflicts and issues are resolved.

The importance of communication cannot be undermined when managing projects. Communication is the platform on which any project runs. The failure or success of a project depends on the way all key elements of a project communicate information about that project to each other. With effective project management, which involves information distribution, stakeholder management, communication planning, and performance report, a project manager is able to manage the team members and communicate well with other key elements in a project. Also, with effective communication [interface] management, whereby reports and status updates, changes, and other project issues, that could affect the execution of a project are communicated to the appropriate personnel in a timely manner, project objectives (or goals) would be achieved. However, project managers and team members must understand the importance of creating a good working relationship as project information is communicated. Since the number of communication channels increase with increase in number of people that need to communicate, it is very critical that project managers must develop a good communication and conflict management skills.

Like communication, resource, scope, time, cost, risk management is very critical to a successful execution of a project. Since risk management is a process in which what may impact a project negatively or positively, it is important that the project manager has appropriate risk plan in place. With the risk plan, approaches and plans for risk management activities for a particular project are decided. The processes involved in risk management are risk monitoring and control, risk identification, risk management planning, quantitative risk analysis, and qualitative risk analysis.

Procurement, which is the aspects of project management that involves obtaining goods and services from outside source or company, includes processes - planning purchases and acquisitions, requesting sellers' responses, planning contracting, select sellers, administering contracts, and closing contracts - that are very important to the health of any project. Plan purchases and acquisitions involves a process whereby items to purchase for a project and when needed is determined.

In planning purchases and acquisition, the project manager should be involved since the project manager is practically acquainted with what would be needed for the project.

However, in requesting seller responses, list of vendors to consider are identified, and information about their capabilities and prices through vendor proposals and price quotes are received. The list is further narrowed down to a list of companies that meet certain criteria.

Plan contracting is another process that involves creating products and services requirements. These products and services are those that are needed for a project execution. The companies or suppliers that would supply these product and services must be identified.

Select seller is the process that involves choosing the vendor that meets the criteria set by the company for a particular project. The chosen vendor would provide the product or service that is required for the project.

Contract administration is the process that involves managing the relationship with the contracted company. The project manager must work with the vendor, writing and administering the contract, bearing in mind the legal consequences that could occur he does not understand the contract.

Contract closure is the process that involves the completion and settlement of all contracts that existed during the project life cycle. The project manager and project team will be involved to ensure the completion of the contracted work and to gather lesson learned during the procurement process.

As an IT professional, project management is very critical for IT project execution or completion. The lesson learned from this class is one that would be applied in my future work environment. Planning a project is not for a project manager alone. There are team members, like me, that would be involved in projects that would require me to show what I have learned over the course of this class. I should be able to contribute to the success of any project for which I would be a project team member. Knowing the project knowledge areas and process groups; applying the various project inputs, and adhering to the professional ethical code of conduct, would guarantee a litigation-free and successful project execution.


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