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Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

What is Process Management?


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Using process is a method to manage the project by breaking it down into its key elements. Process management allows for a structured and systematic approach to plan, execute, control and adapt all project work.

A process is after all a set of actions or activities that must be performed in order to achieve results. For example managing information in a project can be seen as a process; and in that process we will identify all the activities, roles, responsibilities and technique required to achieve a result.

Before the project execution starts, the project manager must ensure that the work is defined in terms of the overall objectives, deliverables, scope, assumptions, risks, organization, etc.; and that a schedule is prepared that shows how the project team will deliver all the work. Once the project starts, the project manager must successfully manage and control the work, including:

  • Identifying, tracking, managing and resolving project issues.
  • Proactively disseminating project information to all stakeholders.
  • Identifying, managing and mitigating project risk.
  • Ensuring that the solution is of acceptable quality.
  • Proactively managing scope to ensure that only what was agreed to is delivered.
  • Defining and collecting metrics to give a sense of how the project is progressing.
  • Managing the overall project plan to ensure that all work is assigned and completed on time and within budget.

Managing all this work can be daunting, but the use of process helps the project manager be more effective. By creating a method that can describe the steps to plan, act, do and check the project work, the project manager is able to  ensure the project is successful in delivering its intended result. A process is a systematic method that creates a constant, repeatable and even predictable result. But what is more important is that process management  makes project work be more capable of adapting to an ever-changing environment.

To manage the project management processes, a project manager should be well organized, have great follow-up skills, be process oriented, be able to multi-task, have a logical thought process, be able to determine the root causes to problems, and have good analytical skills. 

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”   W. Edwards Deming

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Definitions of Project and Project Management

b2ap3_thumbnail_definitions.pngWhat is a project?

There are many definitions for what constitutes a project; some of these definitions describe the nature of a project and how it differs from other type of work, the descriptions used to define a project include the following:

• A temporary process, which has a clearly defined start and end time, a set of tasks, and a budget, that is developed to accomplish a well-defined goal or objective.

• A temporary effort of sequential activities designed to accomplish a unique purpose

• A group of inter-related activities, constrained by time, cost, and scope, designed to deliver a unique purpose

• An undertaking that encompasses a set of tasks or activities having a definable starting point and well defined objectives.

• A clear set of activities with related inputs and outputs aimed to achieve objectives and goals linked to anticipated (desired) effects and impacts in a target population

From all these descriptions, one can see that there are some specific attributes that define a project and separate it from most ordinary work:

• A project has a beginning and an end.

• A project has limited resources

• A project follows a planned, organized method to meet its objectives with specific goals of quality and performance.

• Every project is unique

 

What is  project management?

Here are some of the standard definitions of project management:

• According to “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMI, Third Edition”, “Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the requirements of a particular project”.

• The ISO 10006, a standard for quality in project management defines it as; “Unique process consisting of a set of coordinated and controlled activities with start and finish dates, undertaken to achieve an objective conforming to specific requirements, including constraints of time, cost and resources”.

• PRINCE2, the UK standard for project management, has this definition: “a temporary organization that is needed to produce a unique and predefined outcome or result at a pre-specified time using predetermined resources”. I

• PMA, the International Project Management Association, defines a project as “a time and cost constrained operation to realize a set of defined deliverables up to quality standards and requirements”.

In other words, project management is the planning, implementing, and monitoring of project activities to meet project objectives, achieved by effectively controlling and balancing the constraint of time, cost, and scope in producing quality deliverables that meet or exceed the expectations of the project stakeholders.

 

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