Definitions of Project Management
These four definitions of project management are all endeavoring to explain clearly and concisely what is, in effect, the management of multiple projects in order to achieve major change to gain significant benefits within an organization.
1. Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA)
Definition: The coordinated management of a portfolio of projects to achieve a set of business objectives.
2. The Project Management Group (PMG)
Definition: The planning and monitoring of tasks and resources across a portfolio of projects.
3. The Interactive Project Workout, Robert Buttrick
Definition: Directing a 'Project' of projects is a key management task, as it is this 'bundle' of projects that will take you from where you are now to your, hopefully, better future.
4. Association for Project Management (APM)
Definition: Project management is the coordinated management of related projects, which may include related business-as-usual activities that together achieve a beneficial change of a strategic nature for an organisation. What constitutes a Project will vary across industries and business sectors, but there are core Project management processes.
Objectives of Project Management
The activities undertaken during Project management are:
· Setting the baseline.
· Agreeing roles and responsibilities.
· Project planning.
· Project prioritisation.
· Stakeholder communication.
· Progress reporting.
· Managing benefits.
· Quality management.
· Risk management.
· Issue management.
· Project closure.
Project Management Frame work
As identified in the introduction, Project management is a way to control project management. A group of related projects not managed as a Project are likely to run off course and fail to achieve the desire outcome. There are eight important areas in the Project management framework:
· Aims and objectives.
· Resource management.
· Benefits realization.
This framework will provide:
· A focus on delivering major organizational change or benefits.
· Greater control through visibility of all projects in the Project.
· An understanding of project dependencies.
· Clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
· A single line of communication to the steering committee or sponsor.
· Optimized use of resources across projects.
· Ability to leverage economies of scale and maximize value.
· Management of risk across related projects.
· Mechanisms for measuring benefit realization.
Within this framework there are four stages.
The Four Stages
There are the four stages in Project management:
1. Project identification.
2. Project planning.
3. Project delivery.
4. Project closure.
These stages take the Project from initiation, based on strategy and a desire for change, right through to the final realization of a defined business objective or benefit.
Stage 1: Project Identification
This is a high level process where the strategy and direction of the organization are decided. It is from this that the Projects required to realize these strategies are determined. A document for each Project is produced outlining the business case, alignment to strategy, scope and the expected business objective or benefits. All benefits should be graded in accordance with their importance. I suggest three grades A, B and C. A's are those benefits that are of the highest value, often it is 20% of the Project that delivers 80% of the benefits. The B's those benefits that are seen as important, but not essential. The C's are those benefits that if not realized will not prevent the Project being declared a success. This grading is used by the Project manager to assess the degree of success achieved at the end of the Project.
Stage 2: Project Planning
The planning stage is where the design of the Project takes place. The Project manager in establishing the Project will:
· Define clear objectives.
· Agree an approach.
· Agree roles and responsibilities with the team.
· Set-up communication channels.
· Agree priorities of the projects that make up the Project.
· Complete project planning.
It is important at this stage to identify adequate levels of resource for the early projects and identify the requirements for later projects.
Stage 3: Project Delivery
At this stage, the individual project managers run the identified projects. The Project manager's responsibility at this stage is to monitor progress, assess risks and report progress to the steering committee or leadership. The Project manager has a view across all projects and must ensure that the Project stays aligned with the overall objectives and strategy of the organization.
Stage 4: Project Closure
Like projects, Projects have a finite life and are closed once they achieve their defined business objective or benefit. Before the Project is closed, the Project manager must demonstrate to the steering committee or leadership that the desired benefits have been realized, often called 'benefits realization'. These benefits are those that were identified in the first stage, Project identification. As these have been graded it is easy to quantify success, for example 100% of 'A' graded benefits delivered. As a final task the Project manager should review the entire Project and document any lessons that have been learned that will enable future Projects to be run more effectively.
To summarize, a group of related projects not managed as a Project are likely to run off course and fail to achieve the desire outcome. It is therefore important that Projects are run within a framework that ensures there is a focus on the overall strategic objectives. By applying the four stages of Project management within the framework outlined, organization’s will have created an effective environment in which they can monitor and control the progress of their Projects, improving the chances of bringing them to a successful conclusion.