Managing projects can be a complicated process. If you do not plan correctly, then your project could fail and cost you a lot of money. In order to make sure this does not happen, you must manage projects using correct methodology. Here are 9 simple steps to using project management methodology to manage projects.
1. Review and summarize the project: All project team members will brainstorm and come up with a project definition summary that will be used in the next steps. The project definition summary includes a project description, business justification, requirements, major stakeholders, and project team members.
2. Define scope, quality, and procurements: The scope and quality of a project are important because they identify the work needed to proceed with the project. Without scope, quality, and requirements, you cannot predict time and cost. Developing project scope should include all stakeholders and be goal oriented. After the scope has been defined, constraints on cost, scope, and time must be identified. This section of the project definition summary includes project objectives, constraints, risk, and procurement items.
3. Create a WBS and activity list: The WBS is an overall skeleton of the work that needs to be completed to finish the project. At the lowest level of the project is the work package. The work package is the lowest deliverable in a WBS and is comprised of all the activities that need to be completed to finish that deliverable. According to the PMBOK, an activity is defined as a component of work performed during the course of a project.
4. Determine activity sequence: This phase is important because the activities have been identified and need to be ordered in the correct sequence. This sequence is called a project network diagram. The project network diagram shows the flow of activities based on dependencies between activities. It is composed of events, activities, predecessors, and successors. The dependencies between two activities are called logical relationships.
5. Assign responsibilities: Resources are assigned to activities in this phase of the project. Each role that a resource will play has certain responsibilities and it is important to clarify these responsibilities in the beginning of the project. Assigning the correct resource to activity is based on the information included in the WBS. Resources will have to have the correct skills in order to complete the required. Matching the right resources to an activity will save the project in the long run because many projects fail due to poor resource allocation.
6. Estimate time and cost: Understanding how long a project will take to complete and how much it costs are vital pieces of information in project management. Although not 100% accurate, it still provides project managers with a baseline to compare against actual time and cost. Then, a schedule can be created with the information provided in a time and cost estimate. Another reason to estimate time and cost to make sure that enough resources are available to complete the project. Effective estimating will also help you create a budget, identify risk, and make better decisions.
7. Evaluate risk: All projects have risk. They will never be completely free of risk because of the nature of projects. No project will ever be created equal. Factors such as scope of work, available resources and different timeframes are just a few of the variables that can change a project. Risks can be positive or negative. A positive risk is referred to as opportunities and involves anything that may help the project team finish early, save money or achieve better results. A negative risk is called a threat and consists of anything that delays a project, increases costs, and resources, or changes scope. Managing risk requires the project manager, to plan, identify, assess, prioritize and quantify risk and then plan responses and contingencies for each risk.
8. Develop a schedule: The schedule is what is used to track the day-to-day activities and progress of a project. The most important part of the project is called the critical path. The critical path has been defined by the PMI as the sequence of scheduling activities that determine the duration of the project. It is the longest path through the project. Another important feature of the schedule is the Gantt chart. The Gantt chart tracks the actual progress through the schedule. The schedule can be changed based on dependency relationships between activities. Some activities need to begin when other activities begin or have to start immediately after another activity has finished. The schedule can be rolled up into a summary and presented to the stakeholders.
9. Plan communications: Effective communication between stakeholders, managers and project team members is vital to the overall success of a project. This process involves the identification of stakeholders, deciding what information is relevant to them, and determining how to distribute the information to them in a timely manner. Stakeholders want to track the performance of project and be warned of possible risks and issues down the road. The project managers usually performs a stakeholders analysis, creates a communication plan, and presents performance reports to make sure that stakeholders are receiving the correct information.
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