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PERFECT PHRASES for PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases for Delivering Results on Time and Under Budget
By Helen S. Cooke, Karen Tate
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2012The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Project Management Concepts
Often you hear the words project management in conjunction with the phrase "on time and on budget." Achieving results on time and within the allocated budget is a major requirement of any project. To manage a major project in that way means a lot of people did a lot of things right. It is never "magic," however. It is the result of managerial wisdom, discipline, and skill. Here are some of the fundamentals of project management that many people never see. It is important that the project manager and team:
Work with management to define project success. If you do not have a clear definition of project success, you will not be able to develop critical success factors for management, the user, and the customer. You will have a hard time deciding whether the product or outcome of the project is "done." And if you do not have those critical success factors before you begin to plan or staff the project, you will find it extremely difficult to redesign the outcome to meet the satisfaction of the stakeholders.
Describe the final deliverable product before the start of planning. It is a good general rule that if you cannot describe the final deliverable (i.e., product, service, or result) of a project in substantial detail, you will have great difficulty estimating the cost to produce it or the time frame in which you can deliver.
Identify the deliverables, tasks, and activities needed to create the final deliverable. If you cannot describe the work in adequate detail to estimate how much time it will take and assess the resources needed, it is too early to put work tasks into a project scheduling and tracking system.
Involve the customer or user of the project—or a surrogate—in developing the design specifications and functionality of the product. Involve the project stakeholders in the project. If the people who will apply or use what the project creates are not involved in defining success, the project can be technically successful and still fail in delivering the benefits to the sponsor and customer, or be declared a failure by the greater community. If the stakeholders are not included, they can slow or even stop progress.
Set a target date to finish the work and close the project. If you have no project date for delivery, you will not have a basis for reevaluating the process to refine it. Rely on careful and realistic estimates to create your target dates and budgeted costs. If you do not have reasonably accurate estimates against which to track the project, you will be going through a bureaucratic exercise to report on its status, because the plan will not be reliable enough to use its data for decision purposes or the decisions made on the basis of those status reports will be unfounded.
Get the customer to sign off on the final product before you end the project. If you cannot obtain acceptance of the product, service, or outcome of the project from the operations group or customer when you complete the work, you are not "done" and will not be able to close out the project and send team members back to their regular job (or the next project).
Record suggestions for improvement and pass them on. If you have no mechanism for capturing "lessons learned" on the project and feeding them into the systems and processes of the next project, the next project may not be any more successful than this project was. Even if you are fortunate enough to get the same talent on the next team, often the same mistakes are repeated.
How much formal project management you need will vary based on how long or complex or challenging the project turns out to be. And such decisions are ideally made before beginning the project work. But fortunately, project management is designed to handle just such ambiguities. In the chapters to follow you will find phrases to help communicate some of the key project management concepts to your sponsors, team members' management, customers, and operations personnel who rely on you to lead them to a successful project conclusion.
Project Phases/Processes Summary
Project initiation—A process to authorize a new project that helps ensure that the project manager, project team, project customer, and project sponsor understand the goals and constraints of the project in the same way and align it with its work/resource environment.
Project planning—A process used to develop the project management plan that helps the team to document and formally gain approval for the resources required to carry out the project and to achieve the project objectives within project constraints; the plan, once approved, provides a baseline for tracking and correcting variances during execution.
Project execution—A process used to perform the work described in the project plan, along with various project management functions such as monitoring and controlling, to ensure the project objectives are met. Completing the process of project execution means completing the work defined in the project management plan prior to project closure.
Project monitoring and controlling—A process used to identify, define, and correct variances from the intended process for performing project work during the entire life of the project so that the project's objectives are achieved. Project monitoring and controlling help to ensure adherence to the project management plan as well as maintaining an environment for success for the project team. Cyclical meetings and reports that are part of this management process provide information on project status and trends to ensure that the plan is being followed and kept up to date, and making controlled changes that are needed so the project objectives can be met.
Project closeout—A process used to finalize the activities of the project, meet legal and administrative obligations, document results and lessons learned, distribute any remaining resources, and formally close the project. Completing the process of project closeout ensures that all project work is complete and that the project has met its objectives.
Roles and Responsibilities
There are common roles and responsibilities for the launching of a new project. The most common are those of individuals who fund, lead, staff, and expect the benefits from projects.
Project sponsor—The person accountable to meet the project's overall objectives and to provide project oversight. May also be called the project champion. Role: Management representative who initiates or approves the project and is accountable for the success of the project. A sponsor often provides the project's funding.
Project manager/leader—The person assigned by the performing organization to achieve the project objectives. A project manager makes management decisions. Role: Leads the project team and is accountable to meet the project objectives.
Project team member—The person or people assigned to the project to create specific deliverables, or to perform a defined technical or management function. Role: Participates on the project team and is accountable for their deliverables.
Project customer—The person or group that accepts the final deliverables. Role: Represents (or is) the user and is accountable to provide requirements for the deliverables and accepts the final deliverable (product, service, or result).
At times the project customer and project sponsor may be the same person, especially for internal projects within a single organization. Funding for projects may come from the sponsor or customer or
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