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

Benefits of a Project Management Methodology

A project management methodology is defined as a system of methods, principles, and rules for managing a project. It can help organizations by standardizing processes, building a common language and understanding how to manage a project. It helps project managers reduce risks, avoid duplication of efforts and to ultimately increase the impact of the project.

A methodology provides project teams with a set of standards to initiate and manage individual projects. A methodology contains definitions, guidelines, and templates for the various project management activities needed to deliver successful projects. The methodology establishes common ground for all projects within an organization.

By adopting a project management methodology development organizations will be able to:

  1. Quickly adapt to new challenges and invest limited resources in the best way possible in order to achieve recurring successes.
  2. Build a successful project management culture that will enable the effective utilization of the project management methodology.
  3. Expand the skills of project managers, and give them a holistic understanding and a solid foundation to manage their projects efficiently.
  4. Reduce risks and increase the chances of project success.
  5. Increase the motivation of the project team, and increase their productivity.
  6. Deliver more projects on time, and within budget that meet or exceed the expectations of donors, beneficiaries and project stakeholders.

Organizations that use a standard method, have more confidence that the project is conducted in a disciplined, well-managed and consistent manner, which promotes the delivery of quality results within the constraints of time and cost.

 

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What is the Decision Making Process?

All project managers need to make decisions, but good decisions usually come from the use of a logical and rational process. When used correctly the project manager increases its chances of coming to the right decision. The steps for a good decision making process are:

State The Problem - The first and the most important step in the decision making process is to identify the problem. Only when there is a clear understanding of the problem or decision to be made, the project manager can proceed to seek a solution. If the problem is stated incorrectly or is unclear then your decisions will be wrong.

Identify Alternatives – The project manager  and the project team should then start to list all possible alternatives. Most of the time there will be several alternatives and it is worth spending enough time to ensure there are a good number of viable alternatives.

Evaluate The Alternatives - This is the step where the analysis of the alternatives begins. The project manager can use techniques to rank the alternatives. Two of such techniques are Decision Matrices and SWOT analysis. The purpose is to have a list that ranks the best alternatives using a set of criteria for viability.

Make A Decision – Once the alternatives have been evaluated. The project manager should select two or more of the high ranked alternatives. All low ranked alternatives should be eliminated. The project manager then will need to review the problem statement and test the solutions against the selected alternatives and decide on the solution that has the best chance at solving the problem.

Implement the Decision – Before the chosen solution is implemented the project manager will need to make a revision of the project plan, schedule, budget and other resources to ensure the solution can be implemented. Part of the implementation phase is the follow up. The follow up ensures that the implementation of the solution has solved the problem.

Once the decision or solution has been implemented the project manager should monitor and evaluate if the decision resulted in the expected results or benefits.

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