The final project management concept that you should understand is dependencies. The overall timing of a project isn't simply the sum of the durations of all tasks, because all tasks in a project don't usually happen simultaneously. For example, in a construction project, you must pour the foundation of a building before you can build the structure. You also have to enclose the building with walls and windows before you lay carpeting. In other words, project managers anticipate and establish relationships among the tasks in a project. These relationships are called dependencies. Only after you have created tasks, assigned durations to them, and established dependencies can you see the overall timing of your project.
Many people manage projects with stacks of outdated to-do lists and colorful hand-drawn wall charts. They scribble notes on calendars in pencil, knowing — more often than not—that dates and tasks will change over time. They hold numerous meetings to keep everyone in the project informed. People have developed these simple organizational tools because projects typically have so many bits and pieces that no one can possibly remember them all.
To manage a project, you need a set of procedures. Project management software automates many of these procedures. With project management software, you can do the following:
♦ Plan upfront: By preplanning the various elements of your project, you can more accurately estimate the time and resources that are required to complete the project.
♦ View your progress: By examining your progress on an ongoing basis from various perspectives, you can see whether you are likely to meet your goal.
♦ Recognize conflicts: By identifying time and resource conflicts early, you can try out various what-if scenarios to resolve them before the project gets out of
♦ Make adjustments: You can make adjustments to task timing and costs, and automatically update all other tasks in the project to reflect the impact of your changes.
♦ Generate professional-looking reports: You can create reports on the status of your project to help team members prioritize and to help management make informed decisions.
Chapter 4 covers several kinds of dependencies.
Was this article helpful?
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.