Alpha Teach Yourself Project Management

Alpha Teach Yourself Project Management

by Nancy Mingus P.M.P.

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Overview

Alpha Teach Yourself Project Management by Nancy Mingus P.M.P.

Now you don't have to be an MBA or advanced specialist to learn the principles of project management. Alpha Teach Yourself Project Management in 24 Hours gives readers a lesson-by-lesson approach to learning the ins and outs of budgets, team-building and tracking. Recognizing that most projects are managed electronically or online today, the author also shows better and more efficient ways to track and achieve goals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440695704
Publisher: DK
Publication date: 11/01/2001
Sold by: DK
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 1,236,860
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Nancy Blumenstalk Mingus is President of Mingus Associates, Inc., a writing, training, and consulting company specializing in project management and historic preservation. Founded in 1989, the company has worked with a wide variety of clients, including the Army Corps of Engineers, Cornell University, M&T Bank, Mark IV Industries, NCR, Ralston Purina, Sundstrand Corporation, and Systemation.

Mingus has been working in or with project management for nearly 25 years. She has written more than 50 articles and has delivered over 500 workshops on a variety of project management, training, computer, and historic preservation topics. She holds a Master's in Education and a Master's in Historic Preservation and received her PMP certification from the Project Management Institute in 1996.

She serves on the board of several organizations, including the Buffalo chapter of the Project Management Institute. She is also chair of the Historic Preservation Commission in the Town of Amherst, New York.

She firmly believes that learning to manage projects more effectively can help people not only in their careers but also in their personal lives. To that end, this book presents the basics of effective project management. Mingus resides with her husband, daughters, and cat, Max, in Williamsville, New York.

Read an Excerpt

Hour 7: Creating Your Project Team

Chapter Summary

LESSON PLAN:

In this hour you will learn about...

  • Reviewing required resources.
  • Considering resource availability.
  • Considering work styles.
  • Developing organizational plans.
  • Planning to acquire appropriate resources.
In some organizations, the project team is assembled during project planning; in others, it's organized after the planning is complete. In this lesson you'll learn to review your resource needs, evaluate your resource pool, develop an organizational plan, and plan to acquire the appropriate resources for your project.

Review Required Resources

In the project initiation hour (refer to Hour 2, "Initiating a Project") we looked at the resources we would need at a high level and in Hour 4, "Adding to Your Plan," we discussed the resources again in the resource section of the project plan. In this hour, we'll expand on our resource discussion by reviewing the project requirements and developing a team and organization plan.

One of the most important aspects of the resource effectiveness of the team is the members' skill level on various types of work. This is important for two reasons. First, it may affect the resource's availability. Second, it may affect the effort estimates as developed in Hour 8, "Developing Project Estimates." When you are reviewing the required resources, verify the skill levels noted earlier in the project plan. Compare this skill level with those of the resources you have to draw from and select the resources that have the appropriate skill levels.


Proceed with Caution

In some organizations project managers have no input into the resource selection process, so you should check to see how resources are allocated in your own organization.

Consider Resource Availability

There are several aspects of availability to consider when looking at resources. Those that affect project work the most are the number of other projects a resource is assigned to, how many hours per day that resource can work on projects, and what external commitments such as vacation and training may limit availability. Let's look at each of these in more detail.


Just a Minute

Although we would all like to think that our projects are top priority and should be able to use the highest skill-level resources, this is rarely the case. When determining which skill levels you need for tasks, you may want to establish a minimum as well as a preferred. This gives you a broader potential resource pool and may minimize resource bottlenecks.

Review Simultaneous Projects

Many resources are assigned to multiple simultaneous projects. This impacts projects in three ways. First, a critical resource may be working on another project when he or she is most needed on your project. Second, splitting time between multiple projects decreases the productivity on each project. Third, resources may be swapped across project tasks, which also decreases their productivity. While we account for some of this in the estimates we create in Hour 8, if at all possible, it's preferable to work with resources that are not assigned to multiple projects. At the least, don't assign workers to more than four simultaneous projects.

Evaluate Hours per Day

Another aspect to consider when assigning resources to tasks is the number of hours per day that a resource can dedicate to project work. While the standard number of hours per day, at least in the United States, is eight hours, very few people work a full eight-hour day, especially on project work. Team members who mix project work with operational work may have only an hour per day available to the project. Similarly, people who work part time will have less time available to project work. You will need to understand these aspects of your resource assignments prior to moving into the estimating step.

Review Nonwork Time

Other nonwork time to be considered when evaluating potential resource assignments includes vacation, sick time, leaves of absence and training sessions. Sick time is not generally scheduled in advance, but potential resources who have already scheduled vacations, leaves of absence and/or training sessions may not be available during critical project timeframes. So, if other equivalent resources are available, you should consider assigning them instead.

After you've selected and assigned your resources, your project management software package can handle the mathematical effect on the schedule, but you will need to evaluate the qualitative effect on the project.


GO TO

For more information on factors affecting dedicated project time, see Hour 8.

Review Awards Project Resource Availability

The noted human resources needed for the awards project included you as project manager, an administrative assistant for answering questions and taking reservations, and a three-employee selection committee. The nonhuman resources were the banquet facility, a slide projector, and a screen. These latter three will be considered during project execution.

We know this about our potential resource pool. You are working on this project and the restoration project. Three potential administrative assistants are available to the project. All are above-average performers at their jobs. Connie Shoup has been with the company for six years and works mornings Monday through Wednesday and afternoons Thursday and Friday. She is not currently assigned to any special projects, but does have her normal operational tasks to perform. Sally Kirk has been with the company for three years, works full time, and has one other project to work on a few hours per week in addition to her operational tasks. Phyllis Jacobs has been with the company for 10 years, works full time, and has one other project to work on two hours per day in addition to her operational tasks. She also has a two-week cruise scheduled for the last two weeks before the banquet.

From the data given, which administrative assistant might be best for this project?

All three have similar skills, but Connie doesn't work full-time. While she'd have the physical amount of time to work on the project, it would be better to have someone who could answer questions at any time during the normal workday. That leaves Phyllis and Sally. But Phyllis will be gone during a critical time period, so the best choice at this point is Sally.

Review Restoration Project Resource Availability

Using the answers in Appendix A and other information provided on the restoration project, review the resource availability for potential resources. An answer is in Appendix A.

Consider Resource Styles

The most effective teams are those with skills and styles that complement one another. Perhaps as important to you as a project manager, then, is how a resource works. As we noted in the skill section, you may not be able to select your team based on work styles, but understanding a little about their styles will help you work with them.

In this section we'll take a look at some of the more popular personality and communication style typing methods. We'll examine the different categories proposed in each method and look briefly at the characteristics associated with those categories.

First, some background. During the twentieth century, many individuals and organizations performed research on people's work preferences. Some of this research was done on what are called "personality styles," some on the dominant quadrant of the brain, and some on communication patterns. All of these studies provided interesting data about working with people, but the most common and most relevant to project management include

  • Carl Jung
  • Myers-Briggs
  • Johari Window
  • Whole Brain
Let's look at each of these in the following sections.

Understand Carl Jung's Method

One of the first forays into personality typing was started in the 1920s by Carl Jung, a compatriot of Sigmund Freud. Jung's primary work divided people into the four categories of Intuitor, Thinker, Feeler, and Sensor. Let's look at some characteristics of each of these:
  • Intuitors are generally imaginative and idealistic. They tend to think about the future and global issues, often to the detriment of the present.
  • Thinkers are generally realistic and structured. They like detail work and decisions that require logic and good organization of facts.
  • Feelers are generally emotional and spontaneous. They are nostalgic about the past and are generally very loyal to friends, family, and work.
  • Sensors are generally aggressive and competitive. They are driven to succeed and tend to forget everything not directly related to success.
To determine which of these types most closely resembles your dominant style, you can take a type test. Jungian-based tests are usually designed around 20 to 30 quadrilles of adjectives; you rank each adjective on how closely it describes you.


Just a Minute

Personality typing actually goes back well before Jung, especially if you count astrology as a typing method. But most authorities recognize Jung as the father of modern personality typing.

Understand Myers-Briggs Typing Method

A few years after Jung created his typing scheme, Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Cook Briggs, daughter and mother who were amazed by the very different personalities of their in-laws, enhanced his work. The work of Myers and Briggs expands Jung's four types into a 16-type matrix, based on your preferences for performing certain tasks. The traditional Myers-Briggs test, called an MBTI, is similar to the Jungian-based test.


Strictly Defined

MBTI stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It's currently the registered trademark of Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc.

The Myers-Briggs preferences and their components are shown in the following table...

Table of Contents

Introductionxxi
Part ILearning the Basics
Hour 1Understanding Project Management3
Hour 2Initiating a Project17
Hour 3Starting a Project Plan31
Hour 4Adding to Your Plan43
Hour 5Developing Project Control Plans53
Hour 6Creating a Work Breakdown Structure71
Part IIDeveloping Project Plan Details
Hour 7Creating Your Project Team89
Hour 8Developing Project Estimates103
Hour 9Creating a Network Diagram117
Hour 10Determining the Project Schedule131
Hour 11Creating a Gantt Chart147
Hour 12Facing Project Risk163
Part IIIExecuting Your Project
Hour 13Doing the Work183
Hour 14Following Your Control Plans199
Hour 15Tracking Your Progress213
Hour 16Updating Your Project Plan229
Part IVControlling Your Project
Hour 17Monitoring Costs243
Hour 18Evaluating Project Status257
Hour 19Getting Projects Back on Track271
Hour 20Reporting Project Performance287
Part VClosing Out Your Project
Hour 21Finishing the Work305
Hour 22Evaluating Your Project319
Hour 23Applying Your Lessons Learned333
Hour 24Choosing a Project Management Package343
Appendix
ASample Documents357
BGlossary395
Index399

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