Friday, March 1, 2013

TTTH3843 - Task 1

Question 1 : What is a project and what is its main attributes? how is a project different from what most people do in their day-to-day jobs? What are other factors affect a project ?

Literally project in noun is an individual or collaborative enterprise planned and designed to achieve an aim. Project management is the science (and art) of organizing the components of a project, whether the project is development of a new product, the launch of a new service, a marketing campaign, or a wedding. A project isn't something that's part of normal business operations. It's typically created once, it's temporary, and it's specific. As one expert notes, "It has a beginning and an end." A project consumes resources (whether people, cash, materials, or time), and it has funding limits.

Diagram: 7 project management attributes
Diagram 1
Main Attributes 
In every project management, a project manager is pointed to lead a project. The Project Manager’s focus is on the project team itself and how its members can best work together to deliver against all of these interests.

Furthermore, project time management  is crucial to ensure time completion of a project. The main planning tasks performed as part of time management activity definition, activity sequencing, activity resource estimating, activity duration estimating, and schedule development. In these cases, a project manager is responsible to handle out and coordinating a project; he/she needs to agree smart target with the production team and to track progress carefully. Without this the team would have no idea as to where there were going on indeed when they were going to achieve the target of a project.

In reality, project is a job, but it is different from what most people do in their day-to-day jobs.
Projects are divided into six stages:
  1. Definition.
  2. Initiation.
  3. Planning.
  4. Execution.
  5. Monitoring & Control.
  6. Closure.
Each project stage is characterised by a distinct set of activities that take the project from its first idea to its conclusion. Each stage is of equal importance and contributes to the overall success of the project.

1. Definition

Before a project starts the project manager must make sure the project goals, objectives, scope, risks, issues, budget, timescale and approach have been defined. This must be communicated to all the stakeholders to get their agreement. Any differences of opinion need to be resolved before work starts.

2. Initiation

This is perhaps the most important stage of any project as it sets the terms of reference within which the project will be run. If this is not done well, the project will have a high likelihood of failure. The initiation stage is where the business case is declared, scope of the project decided and stakeholder expectations set. Time spent on planning, refining the business case and communicating the expected benefits will help increase the likelihood of success. It is tempting to start working quickly, but a poor initiation stage often leads to problems and even failure.

3. Planning

The key to a successful project is in the planning. Creating a project plan is the first task you should do when undertaking any project. Often project planning is ignored in favour of getting on with the work. However, many people fail to realise the value of a project plan in saving time, money and many other problems.

4. Execution

Doing the work to deliver the product, service or wanted result. Most of the work related to the project is realised at this stage and needs complete attention from the project manager.

5. Monitoring & Control

Once the project is running it is important the project manager keeps control. This is achieved by regular reporting of issues, risks, progress and the constant checking of the business case to ensure that expected benefits will be delivered and are still valid. A project that is not controlled is out of control.

6. Closure

Often neglected, it is important to ensure a project is closed properly. Many projects never end because there is no formal sign-off. It is important to get the customers agreement that a project has ended and no more work will be carried out. Once closed, the project manager should review the project and record the good and bad points, so successes can be repeated and failures avoided. A project that is not closed will continue to consume resources.

Factors Affecting a Project Success

Feasibility studies, plans, supplies, staff, costs and time frame all need to be determined before a project can begin. A proper planning will guide a project team to archieve the goals of projects. 
  1. Organization 

    The project must be organized. Put a schedule in place with a beginning and proposed ending date, and provide a budget so the dollars assigned to the project stay within cost perimeters. Staff should know how much time is allotted for the project, so they can plan accordingly. Distribute duties so everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.


    2. Leadership

    Every project needs a leader (project manager); someone to take charge and keep things moving, even when the going gets rough. Without a leader, confusion will rule and controversies ensue. A good leader delegates, recognizes the strengths of each team member and places people in the most effective positions.


    3. Knowledge

    Everyone involved needs to understand the basic principles and the desired outcome of the project, so it can move forward with the least amount of interruption. It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that everyone understands the goals they are working toward. 


    4. Teamwork

    A large project needs a team of the very best workers to finish on top. Everyone must pull together toward a common goal to make it to the finish line, there is no room for grand standers or solo performers. Staff members must work together with the best interests of the project as a whole in place for the entire duration. 


    5. Timeliness

    A project manager needs to be very careful that work in progress stays on course as the project nears its end. Some employees have a tendency to drop the ball or let things slide as the conclusion approaches. Costs may exceed budget. However, excellence must prevail all the way to the finish line.


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