Organizationwide project management system

The following are the attributes of a fully mature project management system.

■ Integrated project management culture. Leaders develop their organizations to accomplish integration through systems and communication. This system involves the development of a culture of defining and capturing work in terms of projects, e.g., all work of the organization outside of recurring production work is considered project work with a customer and deliverables. All training and development, and incentive systems, are built to encourage work to be accomplished through formal projects, plans and schedules that integrate cost, time, and quality.

■ New product project council. A new product project council is made up of top management, marketing, functional departments, and project management. This council manages project reviews at the end of concept definition and full development, and make the go or no-go decisions.

■ Generic work breakdown structure. A generic work breakdown structure (WBS) is a task outline in sequence, but not linked. The purpose of the generic WBS is to integrate the work, which is project coded to capture costs and task performance history, with the scheduling of any task the company takes on in any project. The generic WBS defines each task in a data dictionary, or task definition that covers what the task expectation is and what its deliverable is, for a safety task in a product development project.

■ Scheduling system. A scheduling system places all work in a project schedule software, e.g., MS Project or Primavera, assigns resources, and estimates costs to control the work. Integration of all the work of the company is accomplished through scheduling, which is seen as a process of committing resources to work.

■ Resource assignment. Resources are assigned to projects and tasks so that the workforce is integrated into the work that is authorized and sponsored by the company. Projects are seen as investments in the business plan; therefore, there is a major impetus to capture the work being performed in a resource assignment system.

■ Task linkages and interdependency. Projects are consolidated and tasks are linked to stress the interdependency of project work. No piece of work in the company is left unconnected to ensure integration.

■ Matrix team structure. The matrix structure ensures integration because functional departments and project teams are intermingled in every aspect of the company's work, from projects to process development and improvement. Project teams are staffed by functional departments that are in charge of the quality of the work and the development of technical processes and systems. Project managers manage assigned team members toward project deliverables and earned value.

■ Work authorization system. Again, to ensure that work that goes on is authorized work, all work is authorized and directed by the project manager. The way work is approved is through the baseline schedule that defines the authorized work.

■ Guidelines for the project management plan. The project management plan is defined in a company policy statement to guide for the definition and control of the work. Therefore, the plan must include control points, e.g., project reviews, when project management authorizes advancement of a project from one phase or stage to another. Reporting and monitoring strategies, including the use of earned value to integrate cost, schedule, and quality performance, should be made explicit.

The plan should also address accountability, particularly in view of the recent legislative and regulatory requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This requirement of compliance with internal control and accounting standards is no longer optional for project managers. In fact, the price of disconnected and inconsistently applied efforts throughout a project and its interfaces, and lack of financial tracking systems that provide for audits, could be businesswide. Compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, therefore, is not a choice but a requirement, and the plan should state standards for estimating costs, tracking the costs and relating costs to work performed, and monitoring the integrity of the closeout procedure and invoices to customers for work performed.

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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