The New Website Project

You've just been charged with creating a new intranet site for your organization. At the beginning of the project, you don't know a lot of detail other than the high-level purpose of the project. One of the next steps is to discover the elements that should be included on the website. For example, you might need to make available human resources policies and procedures, travel request forms, expense reimbursement forms, and so on. At this point, you are progressively elaborating the scope of the project. Each of these elements will need its own progressive elaboration process to further define its requirements and develop estimates. For example, as you interview stakeholders, you discover that travel request forms require two electronic signatures, one from the employee's supervisor and one from the section manager. Progressive elaboration continues throughout the project life cycle, including defining the requirements and scope, delivering the end product or result, and obtaining acceptance from the stakeholders.

Operations are ongoing and repetitive. They involve work that is continuous without an ending date, and you often repeat the same processes and produce the same results. The purpose of operations is to keep the organization functioning, while the purpose of a project is to meet its goals and to conclude. At the completion of a project, the end product (or result) may get turned over to the organization's operational areas for ongoing care and maintenance. For example, let's say your company implements a new human resources software package that tracks employees' time, expense reports, benefits, and so on, like the example described in the sidebar, "The New Website Project." Defining the requirements and implementing the software is a project. The ongoing maintenance of the site, updating content, and so on are ongoing operations.

It's a good idea to include some members of the operational area on the project team when certain deliverables or the end product of the project will be incorporated into their future work processes. They can assist the project team in defining requirements, developing scope, creating estimates, and so on, helping to assure that the project will meet their needs. This isn't a bad strategy in helping to gain buy-in from the end users of the product or service either. Often, business units are resistant to new systems or services, but getting them involved early in the project rather than simply throwing the end product over the fence when it's completed may help gain their acceptance.

According to the PMBOK®Guide, there are several examples where the deliverables from a project may integrate with business processes:

■ Developing new products or services that the organization will market

■ Implementing products or services that the organization will have to support as part of their ongoing operations

■ Implementing projects that impact the culture, organizational structure, or staffing levels of the organization

■ Implementing or enhancing an information system

The preceding list isn't all inclusive. Whenever you find yourself working on a project that ultimately impacts your organization's business processes, I recommend you get people from the business units to participate on the project.

A project is successful when it achieves its objectives and meets or exceeds the expectations of the stakeholders. Stakeholders are those folks (or organizations) with a vested interest in your project. They are the people who are actively involved with the work of the project or have something to either gain or lose as a result of the project. Stakeholder identification is not a one-time process. You should continue to ask fellow team members and stakeholders if there are other stakeholders who should be a part of the project.

The project sponsor, generally an executive in the organization with the authority to assign resources and enforce decisions regarding the project, is a stakeholder. The project sponsor generally serves as the tie-breaker decision maker and is one of the people on your escalation path. The customer is a stakeholder, as are contractors and suppliers. The project manager, the project team members, and the managers from other departments in the organization are stakeholders as well. It's important to identify all the stakeholders in your project up front. If you leave out an important stakeholder or their department's function and don't discover the error until well into the project, it could be a project killer.

Figure 1.1 shows a sample listing of the kinds of stakeholders involved in a typical project.

Many times, stakeholders have conflicting interests. It's the project manager's responsibility to understand these conflicts and try to resolve them. It's also the project manager's responsibility to manage stakeholder expectations. Be certain to identify and meet with all key stakeholders early in the project to understand their needs and constraints. And when in doubt, you should always resolve stakeholder conflicts in favor of the

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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