Project Management – 101

You have just inherited something that everybody calls a project…

What do you do, where do you start?

Advertisements

Ok, so someone that you know knows someone that did a project once and you have just inherited something that everybody calls a project…

What do you do, where do you start?

This post is aimed at addressing the most basic elements of project management. These topics are:

  • What is a project?
  • What are the most important things to know?
  • What are the most important things to do?

Whoooooo… slow down…

Let’s make sure you are busy with a project…

NOTE: I have included project speak (terminology) in brackets and italics.

What is a project?

Ignoring all the well-defined definitions about what projects are, let us look at what it means to me and you…

Checklist:

  • Is this a one-time occurrence? (does not happen often or regularly)
  • Is there an agreed or understood set of outcomes or results?
  • Is there a time limit on achieving the result?
  • Is there funds or money (budget) allocated specifically to achieve the results?
  • Has a group of people been specifically tasked to achieve the results? (outside normal working situation)
  • Is there someone specific or a specific group that would receive the results?

If you can tick more than three of these, you have probably been infected by the project bug…

 

A new victim...
A new victim…

What are the most important things to know?

Obviously, there are some things you should know or have:

  • List of results or outcomes (deliverables)
  • Know when the outcomes should be delivered or completed (end date)
  • Understand how you can get your hands on the money (budget)
  • Know who is involved with the project (stakeholders)
  • Some knowledge of how these results can be achieved (content expertise)

Now that you have all this the most important rule of all – People = Results

Contrary to popular belief, projects are not about schedules, milestones or cost analysis…

It is about getting other people to help you achieve results

 

The real reason...
The real reason…

What are the most important things to do?

Have a meeting – ha-ha got you… Actually… it’s not that far off…

Look out here it comes… the most dreaded word in business today…

COMMUNICATE

Who should I communicate to? (Sorted in what I think represents an order of importance)

  • People that will receive the outcome, results, deliverables or benefits. (project clients)
  • People or person who hired or tasked you to do the project (project sponsor)
  • People who will assist you in achieving the deliverables (project team)
  • People not on the project that you will have to use to achieve the results e.g. Human Resources, Procurement (Project Stakeholder)
  • People who will make sure the project is on the right track e.g. Auditors, Steering Committee (Project Stakeholder)
  • Other people who are affected by the project OR can have some influence in achieving success (Project Stakeholder)

Make sure that you understand what the clients really want, how does that fit in with what the sponsor has asked you to deliver, does the team have to understand what needs to be done?

If you can simply get these communications bedded down, the project will immediately start going in the right direction.

 

Ideal project manager...
Ideal project manager…

So now that we have done the communications, we can simply sit back and watch the action… Where is my remote?

I’m so sorry… NO…

There is this other thing…

PLANNING

Planning is a way of figuring out the following: (a sequence that would work under the majority of conditions)

  • What do we need to achieve? It is very important to understand what you are expected to do and what you are not expected to do? What would fall “outside the project”? (project scope)
  • If there is a lot of work, chop it up into logical or sensible pieces. Arrange these pieces of work in a way that makes sense to all the people involved in making sure the project is a success (work breakdown structure – WBS).
  • Look at these pieces of work and decide which will have to be done first, because some pieces will need it to be in place before others can occur e.g. house walls must be erected before you can put a roof on. (sequential or logical arrangement)
  • Try and get an accurate understanding of how long (duration) each of these pieces of work will take to complete. Consider when the project has to be completed (end date) and try to work backward from there. (scheduling)
  • Now we can add people to these pieces of work (human resource management). Remember to include the people that you will have to hire in for expertise, workforce or any other reason.
  • We have a big pot of money (overall budget) that we should now divide between the work packages. Include what you have to buy (procurement), who or what you have rent (procurement and services management) as well as the people that will be working on the project’s salaries and wages. Add the unusual stuff like travel cost, hotels, visa’s, food, venue hire, insurance, furniture, … (Preliminary and General – P&G)
  • Making sure that each of the work packages delivers a usable and functional output is obviously important. How you and the project team will ensure that this is going to happen is called quality assurance.
  • If the project team can come up with a list of things that can go wrong (risk analysis), it would help a lot because you will then know what to look out for.
  • Amazing as it may sound the stakeholders will want to know how the project is doing. So we will need to find a way to communicate to all these people in a way that THEY can understand, on a regular basis…

Congratulations… You have completed a project plan…

 

Planning - How to...
Planning – How to…

But wait… some stuff doesn’t fit together… we don’t have enough people, money, time… OH MY GOODNESS…

Because you only have a certain amount of money (budget) to hire people and stuff (resources) to achieve the goals within a specific amount of time (duration), it is almost inevitable that there will not be enough of one these elements (constraints).

 

Project Management - Explained!!!
Project Management – Explained!!!

Welcome to project management…

Just a note…

 

Next time...
Next time…

Have a great day and remember to smile…

Author: Anton van den Berg

I am but a mortal on this earth, that received an amazing gift – my stunning children where we are graced a fabulously loving home and family environment. I have been blessed by angelic and mythical friends, cohorts, and acquaintances that inspire, challenge, stimulate and motivate me and other people on this earth to be and become the person that lives in their dreams; to be good, loving and most of all caring. I was born fortunate because my birth at a certain place and time bestowed on me access to a language which allows expression to some degree the richness of human existence. All my life i have been burdened with a desire to tell stories that nobody has heard before. These stories were not always welcome, understood or appreciated, but we have to learn – each of us – how to become the person we were destined to be by accepting failure, learning from it and to somehow try again. The more we practice the better we become, the more we fail the more focused we grow in our efforts. I am indebted to GOD ALMIGHTY for the absolute overwhelming gift of life. I have learnt that we all belong to some religion, faith, understanding or belief system. I cannot tell you that what you believe is wrong, because you grew up in a different part of the world, different culture or different circumstances. I can however encourage you to become the best that you can be, inside of your faith and belief system. As all can see I am just – a very lucky good guy –

3 thoughts on “Project Management – 101”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.