2 Project Management Overview
Success Rate of Projects
Figure 2.1: Summary of 2009 Standish Group CHAOS report.
Jim Johnson, chairman of the Standish Group, has stated that “this year’s results show a marked decrease in project success rates, with 32% of all projects succeeding which are delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions, 44% were challenged-which are late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions and 24% failed which are cancelled prior to completion or delivered and never used.”
When are companies going to stop wasting billions of dollars on failed projects? The vast majority of this waste is completely avoidable: simply get the right business needs (requirements) understood early in the process and ensure that project management techniques are applied and followed, and the project activities are monitored.
Applying good project management discipline is the way to help reduce the risks. Having good project management skills does not completely eliminate problems, risks, or surprises. The value of good project management is that you have standard processes in place to deal with all contingencies.
Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques applied to project activities in order to meet the project requirements. Project management is a process that includes planning, putting the project plan into action, and measuring progress and performance.
Managing a project includes identifying your project’s requirements and writing down what everyone needs from the project. What are the objectives for your project? When everyone understands the goal, it’s much easier to keep them all on the right path. Make sure you set goals that everyone agrees on to avoid team conflicts later on. Understanding and addressing the needs of everyone affected by the project means the end result of your project is far more likely to satisfy your stakeholders. Last but not least, as project manager, you will also be balancing the many competing project constraints.
On any project, you will have a number of project constraints that are competing for your attention. They are cost, scope, quality, risk, resources, and time.
- Cost is the budget approved for the project including all necessary expenses needed to deliver the project. Within organizations, project managers have to balance between not running out of money and not underspending because many projects receive funds or grants that have contract clauses with a “use it or lose it” approach to project funds. Poorly executed budget plans can result in a last-minute rush to spend the allocated funds. For virtually all projects, cost is ultimately a limiting constraint; few projects can go over budget without eventually requiring a corrective action.
- Scope is what the project is trying to achieve. It entails all the work involved in delivering the project outcomes and the processes used to produce them. It is the reason and the purpose of the project.
- Quality is a combination of the standards and criteria to which the project’s products must be delivered for them to perform effectively. The product must perform to provide the functionality expected, solve the identified problem, and deliver the benefit and value expected. It must also meet other performance requirements, or service levels, such as availability, reliability, and maintainability, and have acceptable finish and polish. Quality on a project is controlled through quality assurance (QA), which is the process of evaluating overall project performance on a regular basis to provide confidence that the project will satisfy the relevant quality standards.
- Risk is defined by potential external events that will have a negative impact on your project if they occur. Risk refers to the combination of the probability the event will occur and the impact on the project if the event occurs. If the combination of the probability of the occurrence and the impact on the project is too high, you should identify the potential event as a risk and put a proactive plan in place to manage the risk.
- Resources are required to carry out the project tasks. They can be people, equipment, facilities, funding, or anything else capable of definition (usually other than labour) required for the completion of a project activity.
- Time is defined as the time to complete the project. Time is often the most frequent project oversight in developing projects. This is reflected in missed deadlines and incomplete deliverables. Proper control of the schedule requires the careful identification of tasks to be performed and accurate estimations of their durations, the sequence in which they are going to be done, and how people and other resources are to be allocated. Any schedule should take into account vacations and holidays.
Here is an example of a project that cut quality because the project costs were fixed. The P-36 oil platform (Figure 1-3) was the largest footing production platform in the world capable of processing 180,000 barrels of oil per day and 5.2 million cubic meters of gas per day. Located in the Roncador Field, Campos Basin, Brazil, the P-36 was operated by Petrobras (Roncador Oil Rig and gas field project, 2021).
What is Project Management? – Zoho Projects
What is Project Management by the Association for Project Management
In this video you will learn:
• What is project management?
• When do we use project management?
• Why do we use project management?
To learn more, visit us at https://www.apm.org.uk/
Could the Great Wall of China, the pyramids, or Stonehenge have been built without project management? It is possible to say that the concept of project management has been around since the beginning of history. It has enabled leaders to plan bold and massive projects and manage funding, materials, and labor within a designated time frame.
In late 19th century, in the United States, large-scale government projects were the impetus for making important decisions that became the basis for project management methodology such as the transcontinental railroad, which began construction in the 1860s. Suddenly, business leaders found themselves faced with the daunting task of organizing the manual labor of thousands of workers and the processing and assembly of unprecedented quantities of raw material.
Henry Gantt, studied in great detail the order of operations in work and is most famous for developing the Gantt chart in the 1910s. A Gantt chart (Figure 1.3) is a popular type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule and has become a common technique for representing the phases and activities of a project so they can be understood by a wide audience. Although now a common charting technique, Gantt charts were considered revolutionary at the time they were introduced. Gantt charts were employed on major infrastructure projects in the United States including the Hoover Dam and the interstate highway system and are still accepted today as important tools in project management.
By the mid-20th century, projects were managed on an ad hoc basis using mostly Gantt charts and informal techniques and tools. During that time, the Manhattan Project was initiated and its complexity was only possible because of project management methods. The Manhattan Project was the code name given to the Allied effort to develop the first nuclear weapons during World War II. It involved over 30 different project sites in the United States and Canada, and thousands of personnel from the United States, Canada, and the U.K. Born out of a small research program that began in 1939, the Manhattan Project would eventually employ 130,000 people, cost a total of nearly US$2 billion, and result in the creation of multiple production and research sites operated in secret. The project succeeded in developing and detonating three nuclear weapons in 1945.
The 1950s marked the beginning of the modern project management era. Two mathematical project-scheduling models were developed.
The program evaluation and review technique (PERT) was developed by Booz-Allen and Hamilton as part of the United States Navy’s Polaris missile submarine program. PERT is basically a method for analyzing the tasks involved in completing a project, especially the time needed to complete each task, the dependencies among tasks, and the minimum time needed to complete the total project (Figure 1.4).
The critical path method (CPM) was developed in a joint venture by DuPont Corporation and Remington Rand Corporation for managing plant maintenance projects. The critical path determines the float, or schedule flexibility, for each activity by calculating the earliest start date, earliest finish date, latest start date, and latest finish date for each activity. The critical path is generally the longest full path on the project. Any activity with a float time that equals zero is considered a critical path task. CPM can help you figure out how long your complex project will take to complete and which activities are critical, meaning they have to be done on time or else the whole project will take longer. These mathematical techniques quickly spread into many private enterprises.
Project management in its present form began to take root a few decades ago. In the early 1960s, industrial and business organizations began to understand the benefits of organizing work around projects. They understood the critical need to communicate and integrate work across multiple departments and professions.
- This chapter of Project Management is a derivative of Project Management by Merrie Barron and Andrew Barron. © CC BY (Attribution).
- Table 2.1: Adapted from P. Russo and S. Boor, How Fluent is Your Interface? Designing for International Users, Proceedings of the INTERACT ’93 and CHI ’93, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. (1993). Table from Barron & Barron Project Management for Scientists and Engineers, Source: Project Management for Scientists and Engineers by Merrie Barron; Andrew R. Barron
- Essentials of Project Management by Adam Farag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
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