About the Art and Science of Project Management

Project management has two major aspects the art leading the people on the project the science defining and coordinating the work to be done The art of project management relates to the fact that projects are really about people getting things done. Project management requires a keen knowledge of human behavior and the ability to skillfully apply appropriate interpersonal skills. The second aspect and the focus of this book involves the knowledge, understanding, and skillful application of a...

Some Basic Definitions

Let's look at some of the key terms associated with risk management Uncertainty Are you surprised that I didn't start with a definition of risk That's because uncertainty really drives everything else. Uncertainty is defined as an absence of information, knowledge, or understanding regarding the outcome of an action, decision, or event. Project managers constantly suffer from an absence of information, knowledge, or understanding. Risk Risk is actually a measure of the amount of uncertainty...

The Project Managers Unofficial Job Duties

The functional competencies listed in Figure 3-3 represent official duties of the typical project manager. In fact, if your organization has developed a job description for project managers, it probably includes many of these functional competencies. What you won't find in job descriptions are the unofficial duties that project managers perform in the course of carrying out their mission. Let's examine some of the key ones (somewhat tongue in cheek). Babysitter This refers to the apparent need...

Maintaining Control During Project Execution

He and his team have prepared a plan and examined potential risks. Now it's time to get down to work. Brad's biggest concern at this point is to keep Project Apex headed in the right direction. As he considers the complexity of his project, questions begin to swirl around in his mind Am I supposed to be telling everybody what to do all the time Should I just wait for problems to pop up How often should I get the team together What exactly am I supposed to be...

What Can You Expect to Encounter Out There

Although you won't often see it addressed in project management reference books, the reality is that mental preparedness may prove to be just as critical to your ultimate success as a project manager as your knowledge base or skill set. And gaining a sound understanding of what's involved in this new role is a critical step toward being mentally prepared. So let's explore those pros and cons in a bit more detail by describing the life of a typical project manager assuming there is such a thing....

Close Out Documents

During the Close-Out Phase, the emphasis is on verifying that the project has satisfied or will satisfy the original need. Ideally, the project culminates with a smooth transition from deliverable creation (the project) to deliverable utilization (the post-project life cycle). The project customer accepts and uses deliverables. Throughout this phase, project resources (the members of the project team) are gradually redeployed. Finally, the project shuts down. Figure 11-6 illustrates the key...

Imposition of Unrealistic Targets

Sound project management practice suggests that project goals (cost, schedule, quality, and functionality) should be determined through a systematic process of understanding customer needs, identifying the best solution, and formal planning. Throughout this process, realistic assumptions about resource availability, quality of materials, and work process (just to name a few factors) should be used. This approach yields a credible estimation of what is reasonably achievable. If this estimation...

Identifying What Can Hurt

The first step in the risk management process is figuring out what you're up against. What kinds of things threaten your ability to deliver what you've promised As mentioned earlier, it all begins with the uncertainty of not knowing exactly how things are going to turn out. This is just another way of saying that many aspects of projects are unpredictable, despite our best efforts to nail them down. Figure 8-2 lists some of the most common areas of uncertainty. From these sources of uncertainty...

What About Project Management Software

I've included this topic because it's obviously important. However, I've put it at the end of this chapter for a reason. I believe there's too much emphasis and too much reliance on Figure 7-14. Using the WBS to display project costs project management software in particular, scheduling software. Some who are relatively new to project management view scheduling software as the totality of project management. This is very dangerous. Although no one can deny the incredible computing power of...

Project Management The Interpersonal and Behavioral Context

Although this book focuses primarily on process, a full and fair treatment of project management would not be complete without some discussion of interpersonal and behavioral aspects of project management. You will find that the interpersonal and behavioral aspects of project life are crucial to the success of a project. In fact, studies often point to interpersonal and behavioral problems as a root causes for project failure. As mentioned previously, the art of project management is about...

Project Management The Process Context

Problems, needs, and opportunities continually arise in every organization. Problems like low operational efficiency, needs like additional office space, and opportunities like penetrating a new product market are just a few of a nearly endless number of situations that management must address in the process of operating an organization or company. These problems, needs, and opportunities give rise to the identification of solutions. Executing those solutions entails a change for the...

Breaking Down the Work The Work Breakdown Structure

Wbs Level Detail

Identifying and breaking down the work to be done is the logical starting point in the entire planning process. The objective of this step is to identify relatively small, specific pieces of work. (For simplicity, let's refer to them as activities.) Once you've identified all of the activities required to execute the project, you're ready to create a complete project plan. You'll be able to estimate activity durations and prepare your schedule, estimate activity costs and prepare your project...

The Project Management Configuration Plan A Documentation and Communication Road

Even if your organization has documented project management procedures, it's likely that they're not overly detailed. Even worse, your organization may have no formalized procedures whatsoever. Either of these situations is likely to severely hamper your ability to achieve project success. To reduce confusion and increase control, you should consider preparing specific guidelines around project management procedures for every project you manage. I like to refer to this set of guidelines as the...