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Directing and managing project execution - Assignment Example

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Most people managing projects do not realize that they lack sufficient knowledge and skills of what good project management involves. Similarly, many companies fail to…
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Directing and Managing Project Execution According to Mulcahy , the main responsibility of the project manager is to meet project objectives. Most people managing projects do not realize that they lack sufficient knowledge and skills of what good project management involves. Similarly, many companies fail to appreciate the important and criticality of project management to the project success. Many people having title of project manager do not understand fully their role and responsibilities and merely act as project coordinator. Project manager assumes more than one role depending upon the situational requirements and circumstances. In fact, project management has been termed as an “accidental profession by more than one writer” (Pinto and Kharbanda 1995). Based on the above review of literature and my experience, following is my advice to Julianne on key points in how to direct and manage her project team.
Organizing People and Resources
Sanghera (2010) emphasis that a successful project meets all its objects of triple constraints i.e., project scope, time and cost. However, there is no fixed ratio between these constraints and their weights vary according to the changes to project requirements in meeting the objectives. Further, these aspects of triple constraints may have different relative importance for different stakeholders. Thus it is essential for project manager to know and understand the relative prioritization between the three aspects of triple constraints. Kor and Wijnen (2007) suggest that one method of prioritizing the triple constraint is to organize meeting with all project stakeholders and rank each aspect in terms of five management dimensions i.e., feasibility, flexibility, temp, efficiency and goal-orientation. The output of this process would be a ranking of prioritized aspects of triple constraints based on consensus that would help project manager in efficiently organizing people and resources through project monitoring and control processes.
Sanghera (2010) suggests that for each activity on the project, responsibility must be assigned to one single individual who takes charge of situation. PMBOK (2008) highlights use of RACI Chart for assigning roles and responsibilities to the project team for each project activity. In RACI Chart, names or roles are listed on horizontal axis while schedule activities are listed on vertical axis and a code is placed at the intersection box of each activity and role/name in the matrix table i.e. Responsible (R), Accountable (A), Consult (C), and Inform (I) (Mulcahy 2011).
Project Scope Statement
The only constant thing in world is “change”. Wysocki (2009) expects changes in every project and considers it unrealistic to expect otherwise. It is essential to manage changes to the project scope regardless of origin of changes. Any change to the work required for project completion needs to be controlled through change request process and through managing the impact of these changes once they actually occur (Sanghera 2010). Following could be the two effective methods of controlling the changes to project scope:
1. During the planning phase, it is essential to understand the definitions and requirements of functions and features of the project deliverable and the work that is actually required to produce these functions and features (Wysocki 2009). In addition, it is important to understand needs, wants and expectations of all stakeholders during the planning phase and manage these while planning work for project completion.
2. It is necessary to educate the project team on employing the integrated change control system so that only approved changes whose impact can be managed are implemented (Sanghera 2010).
PMBOK (2008) defines WBS as a deliverable oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work executed by the project team to achieve end project objectives and create the required deliverables. Creation of Work Breakdown Structure is bringing a high value to project managers for managing their projects irrespective of the scope. Mulcahy (2011) argues that WBS plays a crucial role in the project success. PMBOK (2008) stresses that use of WBS as a tool for defining the project scope help ensures successful delivery of project outcomes and objectives. According to Hommer and Gunn (1995), effective project management largely depends upon creation of intelligent structure of work breakdown as part of project planning. Sanghera (2010) stresses development of a project scope management plan consisting of requirements, scope definition, WBS creation, scope verification and scope control as part of project management processes. During scope management, project managers find it difficult to translate deliverable oriented work breakdown structure into a scheduling schematic. Pritchard (1998) attributes such impediment to project manager’s ignorance of tools and reluctance to adopt this methodology. Development of WBS is equally important for every project whether large or small in scope so that entire 100% work can be identified and logically decomposed into manageable small components. Experienced project managers realize that the inevitable factors still can turn project into disaster no matter how effectively and in detail they plan the project and carry out execution of work activities.
Effective Communication with Project Team
Sanghera (2010) stresses that “the importance of communication in project management cannot be over emphasized”. Boyatzis (1982) highlights that a project not only participate in active horizontal and vertical communication with project team to earn their cooperation, raising morale, taking responsibility, managing issue log for conflict resolution and getting project tasks accomplished but also presents information on project status, project progress and specific communication to each particular stakeholder. Sanghera (2010) emphasizes the need for communicating the right information to right person at the right time using the right method for producing the desired effects that lead the project towards completion. Pinto and Kharbana (1995) highlight that the need for information and type of information required is situations and must be customized according to the specific requirements. For example, it would be inappropriate to technical jargons for less tech-savvy project team members rather than communicating in basic technical language and terminologies that are understood by all the team members.
According to PMBOK (2008), definition and management of the project scope influences the project success and thus needs to be communicated throughout the project. This information is contained in the project scope management plan which is sub part of the project management plan. This requires careful analysis of the project requirements, information contained in the project charter and analysis of stakeholder’s needs and expectations. Any project may undergo either scope creep called uncontrolled changes or scope reduction. Scope change is something that would always effect the cost; however, it may or may not affect the morale of the project team and is required to be controlled. Scope control is mainly concerned with influencing factors that cause changes in the scope and control their impact. All changes to the scope are processed and approved through integrated change control. For actual changes, this scope control is integrated with other control processes of cost, time, quality, risk and etc. In our case, for all the phases of the project, any change to the scope should also be processed and approved through integrated change control system.
In a matrix organization, a project manager may report to two bosses which may limit his formal authority over different aspects of the project. Thus it is essential to assume the role of a project facilitator to move through the functional structures of the organization to extract maximum benefits for the project. In addition, it is essential to understand the requirements and input of the key stakeholders towards project completion and must be managed during the planning phase. Communication is at the heart of project management and requires identification of correct information, its sender, recipient, method and priority to effectively communicate across the project. In conclusion, my above advice would help Julianne in directing and managing the project team in the most effective and efficient manner.
Boyatzis, R. 1982. The Competent Manager: A Model for Effective Performance. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Hommer, J. and Gunn, P. (1995) "Work Structuring for Effective Project Management", paper presented at Project Management Institute 26th Annual Seminar, New Orleans.
Kor, R. and Wijnen, G. 2007. 59 Checklists for Project and Programme Managers. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Mulcahy, R. (2011). PMP Exam Prep. Burnsville, RMC Publications.
Pritchard, C. (1998) How to build a work Breakdown Structure. Virginia: ESI International.
Pinto, J. and Kharbanda, O. 1995. Lessons for an Accidental Profession. Business Horizons, 38 (2), pp.41-50.
Project Management Institute. (2008). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide). Pennsylvania, Project Management Institute.
Sanghera, P. 2010. PMP® Exam in Depth, Second Edition: Project Management Professional Study Guide for the PMP® Exam. 2nd ed. Boston: Cengage Learning.
Wysocki, R. 2009. Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme. 5th ed. Indianapolis: John Wiley & Sons Read More
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