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Project Management for Beginners

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By: leena661

February 21, 2017

project-management_resize_1920x1280Project management is the application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve the project objectives.A lifecycle defines the inter-related phases of a project; a program or portfolio provides a structure for governing the progression of the work.There are the seven phases in the project management lifecycle.
  1. Concept phase - an initial idea is conceived and developed into a business proposal.
  2. Definition phase – a detailed plan is developed that will deliver the project.
  3. Development phase – the plan is delivered, resulting in the project’s final output.
  4. Handover and closure phase - the outputs are accepted by the user and handed over.
  5. Benefits realization phase – the actual benefits resulting from using the project’s output are tracked and measured against the benefits that were forecast.
  6. Operations phase – when, where and how the project’s outputs are put to use.
  7. Termination phase – the period taken to terminate the project’s output once it ceases to deliver its expected benefits.
These are the skills that everybody in the program and project management profession is expected to have.Here's a list of the key skills to be considered when evaluating the concept phase;
  • Analysis: why it’s important to analyze the concept.
  • Innovation: the need to look at all options and alternatives.
  • Business development: - the need to look at all options and alternatives.
  • Commercial awareness: need to look at commercials as well
  • Stakeholder management: the importance of doing this to good effect.
  • Business Case/Customer Proposal Management: Is about validating the approach and rationale.
Definition Phase: The purpose of the definition phase is to define the work required to deliver the project, how long it will take and how much it will cost which should then all be mapped into a schedule for delivery. Some of these figures will be based on estimates that will need to be reviewed as the project progresses. The project manager will also need to consider the risks to time, cost, quality and delivery of the project and its benefits. They should also consider how stakeholders are going to be managed through the change. Failure to adequately plan greatly reduces the project's chances of successfully accomplishing its goals.Project scope (quality, time, cost): A project's definition must answer adequately the big questionsPlanning and estimating: Projects typically involve many dynamic aspects, yet they're often constrained by finite conditions.Work breakdown structure: Shows a subdivision of effort required to achieve an objective in a project.Critical paths: The critical path cannot be exceeded or the task and ultimately the project will not be delivered on time.Managing risks: If a risk happens it could have a positive or negative impact on the project.Development Phase: During this phase, the project management plan is put into action and this phase may be broken down into further stages at the end of which the continuing viability of the project can be reviewed.Execution and Implementation: In this phase, the design is finalized and used to build the deliverables.Project Manager’s responsibilities:  Responsibilities do not stop once the planning of the project is done.Project Communications: Communications plan is an important factor in this phaseRisk Management: identification, monitoring, and resolution are key tools.Deliverables: deliverable could be a report, a document, a server upgrade or any other building block of an overall project.Project Monitoring and Control Introduction: performed to observe project execution so that potential problems can be identified in a timely manner and corrective action can be taken.Monitoring and Control Processes: measures and disseminates performance information, and assesses measures and trends to forecast potential items requiring corrective action.They include but are not restricted to;
  1. Monitoring and controlling project work
  2. Integrated change control
  3. Scope verification
  4. Scope control
  5. Schedule control
  6. Cost control
  7. Performing  quality control
  8. Managing the project team
Handover and closure phase:During this phase of the project, the outputs are handed over and accepted by the sponsor on behalf of the users. Although the project close-out and handover are typically the final phase of the project this does not mean that the relevant activities should only commence when the previous stage is complete. For example progress through the earlier stages can be ready for handover as soon as the work is complete.Project handover - handing over the project is not the end of the road.
  • Project Closure - closing includes the formal acceptance of the project and it end.
  • Post implementation review - what worked and didn't work, including lessons learned.
Benefits realization phase: Where appropriate, a project may include a benefits realization phase. This measures the actual benefits realized against those that were forecast in the business case. As new outputs are delivered by projects, transformation work has to be done to ensure new ways of working become embedded in business-as-usual. Benefits will be measured and compared to the baseline in the business case.Benefits realization - reduce the risk of a completed project being a failure
  • Return on investment - the benefit to the investor resulting in the investment of some resource.
  • Lessons Learned - defined as the learning gained from the process of performing the project.
Operations phase:Operations management relates to the management of those activities that create the core services provided by an organization. It is affected by but does not form part of, a project or program. It manages routine activity, and monitors process and progress, and measures the need for any change. This overall state is often referred to as ‘business as usual’.Operations management - management of those activities that create the core services provided by an organization.Termination phase:This phase marks the point at which the benefits are no longer being realized. The aim is to terminate the product at the point where all possible benefits have been realized, and before additional costs are incurred. It requires careful planning a proactive decision making to know at which point to terminate.Contract closure - the process for completing and settling each contract.
  • Product refresh - sometimes the program or project needs a refresh to revitalize that sparkle.
  • Product up-sell - offering additional products or services that compliment or complete the product or service.

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