Project Management Processes


Mar 13th, 2015

Project Management includes a number of typical elements also called processes and a control system. Regardless of methodology or terminology used by different project management bodies for instance APM, PMI and IPMA, the basic project management processes will be used that generally include:
• Initiation
• Planning and design
• Production and execution
• Monitoring and controlling
• Closing
Additionally, there are gates/control points before entering from one phase to another. Particularly, in PRINCE2 methodology, project is reviewed in context of business case to check if project is running according to business case and/or if the project is still desirable. If the project is unable to achieve objectives then the project can be terminated.
Initiation determines nature and scope of project. If this stage is not performed well, it is unlikely that the project will be successful in meeting its business’ needs. Understanding the business requirements, how outputs of a project will be related to business requirements and how they can help business to perform better. Additionally, making sure that all necessary controls are embedded into the project. A constantly monitoring system is required to identify any deficiencies and steps should be taken to fix them.
The initiating stage should include a plan that encompasses the following areas:
• analysing business needs/requirements in measurable terms
• reviewing current operations
• financial analysis of costs and benefits including a budget
• stakeholder analysis, including users, and project supporters
• project charter/project management plan including costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedules
Planning and Design:
After initiation, comes planning and design stage. It is a famous quotation in project management profession “if you fail to plan, then plan to fail.” In planning, work is broken down in manageable activities and sequence to carry out those activities is chalked out too. Calculated estimate of time, cost and resources are one of the main purpose of planning. Planning may not ensure that project will be successful but adequate planning greatly reduces chances of being late to deliver a project.
Project planning generally consists of:
• determining how to plan e.g. by level of detail
• developing scope statement
• selecting project team
• identifying deliverables and creating work breakdown structure
• identifying activities needed to complete those deliverables and networking activities in their logical sequence
• estimating resources requirements for activities
• estimating time and cost for activities
• developing the schedule
• estimating the budget
• risk planning
• gaining formal approval to begin work
Additionally, communication strategy with stakeholder and scope management, organisational breakdown structure, procurement strategy and meeting schedules are also generally advisable. For new product development projects, for instance, video game, conceptual design product may be performed concurrent with the project planning activities, and may help to inform the planning team when identifying deliverables and planning activities.
Executing is theprocess when actual work is commenced, for instance, construction work to building a house, coding for a security software product etc. This process consumes most resources as compared to all other resources in terms of cost, time, capital, man power and material.
Monitoring and Control:
Monitoring and control is the most important project management process. Constant monitoring is required to control the project. It is required to identify the potential risks and problems well before time and to mitigate issue so that the project is delivered on time, on budget and with required quality. The key benefit is that project performance is observed and measured regularly to identify variances from the project management plan.
Monitoring and controlling includes:
• Measuring ongoing project activities (‘where we are’)
• Monitoring the project variables (cost, effort, scope, etc.) against the project management plan and the project performance baseline (where we should be)
• Identify corrective actions to address issues and risks properly (How can we get on track again)
• Influencing factors that could circumvent integrated change control so only approved changes are implemented
One common problem in projects is indecisiveness of client at initiation stage. Sometimes client wants to make few changes, which consequently effect on project schedule, budget and quality. This is known as “scope creep”. To tackle scope creep it is necessary to set up change control system during monitoring and control phase. It is not intended to discourage changes but a system is required to assess the implications of changes to make informed decision. It will be harder to embed chances in later stages of a project as compared to earlier stages. In addition, it will cost a lot more in later stages with a potential threat to delay the delivery date.
Closing is an administrative process in which formal acceptance and handover of a project is done. Additionally, archiving project files and lesson learned are documented for future reference. This phase includes:
• Contract Closure: It needs closing contract by settling any outstanding payments or rework activities.
• Project Closure: It requires finalising all activities throughout project processes to officially close a project before handover.
According to Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007it is obligatory for contractor to produce a file during project, which includes residual risks, and handover that file to client for future reference.
I hope this information is helpful in understanding basic project management processes.

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