Project Planning

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Successful project management, whether it be in response to an in-house project or a customer request, must utilize effective planning techniques. The quantitative and qualitative tools for project planning must be identified (see Figure 11-2). From a systems point of view, management must make effective utilization of re-

Figure 11-2. Tools for project planning.

sources. This effective utilization over several different types of projects requires a systematic plan in which the entire company is considered as one large network subdivided into smaller ones.

The first step in total program scheduling is understanding the project objectives. These goals may be to develop expertise in a given area, to become competitive, to modify an existing facility for later use, or simply to keep key personnel employed.

The objectives are generally not independent; they are all interrelated, both implicitly and explicitly. Many times it is not possible to satisfy all objectives. At this point, management must prioritize the objectives as to which are strategic and which are not. Typical problems with developing objectives include:

• Project objectives/goals are not agreeable to all parties.

• Project objectives are too rigid to accommodate changing

• Insufficient time exists to define objectives well.

• Objectives are not adequately quantified.

• Objectives are not documented well enough.

• Efforts of client and project personnel are not coordinated.

• Personnel turnover is high.

Once the objectives are clearly defined, four questions must be considered:

• What are the major elements of the work required to satisfy the objectives, and how are these elements interrelated?

• Which functional divisions will assume responsibility for accomplishment of these objectives and the major-element work requirements?

• Are the required corporate and organizational resources available?

• What are the information flow requirements for the project?

If the project is large and complex, then careful planning and analysis must be accomplished by both the direct- and indirect-labor-charging organizational units. The project organizational structure must be designed to fit the project; work plans and schedules must be established so that maximum allocation of resources can be made; resource costing and accounting systems must be developed; and a management information and reporting system must be established.

Effective total program planning cannot be accomplished unless all of the necessary information becomes available at project initiation. These information requirements are:

• The project specifications

• The milestone schedule

• The work breakdown structure (WBS)

The statement of work (SOW) is a narrative description of the work to be accomplished. It includes the objectives of the project, a brief description of the work, the funding constraint if one exists, and the specifications and schedule. The schedule is a "gross" schedule and includes such things as the:

• Major milestones

• Written reports (data items)

Written reports should always be identified so that if functional input is required, the functional manager will assign an individual who has writing skills. After all, it is no secret who would write the report if the line people did not.

The last major item is the work breakdown structure. The WBS is the breaking down of the statement of work into smaller elements so that better visibility and control will be obtained. Each of these planning items is described in the following sections.

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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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