Short-term process management is concerned with smoothing the work of the project team. It helps a staff member to answer such questions as:
■ If I am a team member, what am I supposed to be working on?
■ If I am waiting for someone to answer a question on one assignment, what should I work on while I am waiting?
■ What software tool should I use? Where is that tool on the LAN?
■ I am not sure how to do this piece of work; where can I get guidance?
■ What is the status of each piece of my work? How long has the work taken so far?
A process management support tool combines access to the automated methodology with the management of to-do lists of people's work, flagging the status on each piece of work, and helping people capture the hours that they spend on each assignment. First thing in the morning, staff members may look at their to-do list, and pick the work that is most urgent or critical. The process management tool knows the generic task and the relevant software tool and can launch the tool if the staff member wants. At the end of each work session, staff members can record the time that they spent, and if the status of the piece of work has changed, record the new status.
Defining the Term Piece of Work. Each task in the project may imply a single piece of work or multiple pieces of work assigned to different people. The task of producing database design may be done by one person; however, developing code for version test may involve ten people each writing ten programs.
To automate process management, an assignment object is needed. This object describes a piece of work done by a single person that is part or all of a project task, which may be done using a software tool. Each assignment has a status and may involve one or more work sessions, each of which generates a time-spent record that becomes part of the project database.
Incidentally, this means that the tool can generate the person's status report and time sheet at the end of each week. Process management should make the worker's life easier too. Process management feeds project control. If up-to-date status and actual hours-to-date are captured on all the assignments in a project, the project manager can answer many of the project control questions.
Process Management Model The process management metamodel in Exhibit 3 unifies the object methodology and project management. Exhibit 3 is, of course, a very simplified picture. Real-world implementations must deal with many other objects and relationships and resolve the many-to-many relationships shown in the models of Exhibits 2 and 3.
Exhibit 3. Process Management Metamodel Combining Methodology Objects and Project Management Objects
Once deliverable status is automated, changes in status can be used to trigger project events that send messages to the project manager and other people who need to know. For example, possible status values for deliverables might include:
Project events might be specified: If a high-priority deliverable has the status of "on hold" for three days, notify the project manager. In this way the project manager can receive messages that give exception reports about the ongoing status of the project, as a by-product of everyday work.
.D. Saracelli and K.F. Bandat, "Process Automation in Software Application Development," IBM Systems Journal, 32, no. 3, 1993.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.