Project Management: Project Scoping & Planning, Process and People
By Andrew Cheah
Project Management has become more and more important as the life cycle of the product is getting shorter and shorter. If you just take a good look at the mobile phone, how many color of mobile phone do we have 10 - 15 years ago? I believe, it has only one color and there are not many models around as well. But, let’s look at the situation today, how many models and color of mobile phone do we have today? I don’t think I’m able to count.
So, why does the product life cycle have to do with project management?
When the product life cycle is getting shorter, companies have to keep introduce new products to the market. And, when you need to introduce more new products, we always need R&D which involves project management and new product introduction (NPI). Therefore, project management skill has become an essential skill in an organization.
Now, if you look at the definition of a project according to Wikipedia, a project is defined in the field of project management, consists of a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a product or service. As the product life cycle becomes shorter and shorter, I believe one day everything that we produce may be just a temporary endeavor, even services.
Again I want to emphasize that project management has become a very important skill that all managers and leaders should possess.
In this article, I’m going to discuss the important 3P of Project Management. They are:
- Project Scoping and Planning
Project Scope and Planning
I can’t emphasize more on the importance of project scoping. A lot of project managers just jump into action immediately when they get a new project. Recently, I have seen an experienced project manager that did not really work the details of the project scope and the consequence is the project failed. If you subscribe to this PMzine, you should have the project management templates and don’t just download and keep them. Go through them one by one and customized them to suit your own situation and environment. Then, work with team to come up with a work process that the team can use to manage your project. This is the next important part - Process, that I am going to discuss in the next part.
Based on your team and your experience, you can work out the project scope as detail as possible. You can use the information learned from past projects or work the details with your sponsors who has experience in a similar type of projects.
Next, work out your project plan. Use the work breakdown structure (WBS), break your project activities as small as possible. Of course, you need to plan all your resources. Most project management will teach you in this aspect so I’m not going to discuss more over here.
Why process is so important but a lot of project managers actually are ignorant about that. They feel that a project is always something new and there is no standard process of running a project. They are right in the sense of every project can be something new or fresh but the way we manage a project is always almost the same. That is why there is a standard process that we can follow based on the company working culture, and business environment.
So, what you can do is the work out a process together with a team of project managers. First, you list down the past projects that you team has gone through the past years and categorized them accordingly. After that, select one of the categories and go through the whole process of working on those projects and at the same time, list down the issues or challenges faced during the whole duration of the projects. From there, basically you can see a standard process which can be duplicated most of the time. This will include your communication process, procurement process, risk management process, etc.
People are the most important factor that will determine the success or failure of the projects. I have seen a lot of time a project fails mainly is caused by people. So, first question to kick off a project is to ask whether you have the BEST team members in your project team. A lot of time project manager just inherits the project team and sometimes worse still, they inherit a team of misfits of discarded human resources. How do you expect a project team to be successful when you don’t have the best team player in your team? Have you seen a soccer manager put all the worst players into a team to represent them in a tournament? No way!
One of the key ingredients to success lies in the team member selection. Remember to always select your best team players for your project. Next is to ensure that the team can work as a team rather than many individuals. So, the team building process is very important at this point. A project manager must know about the concept of team dynamics and how to ensure he can build teamwork among all his team members.
If you can get your team to work as one in a standard agreed process towards the project scope that is defined clearly, I believe you will have a great project. I hope this will help you to manage your project successfully.
Lean Management Consultant
Andrew has conducted training and consulting work through Asia, Africa and Middle East countries. His passion is to work with his clients to improve their current operations to become a world class organizations.
- Project Management Process - Phase 2 - Planning - Develop Project Management Plan
- Project Management Process - Phase 1 - Initiating - Select and Brief Project Planning Team
- Project Management Process - Phase 2 - Planning - Create Risk Management Plan
- Project Management Process - Phase 2 - Planning - Submit Documents for Approval
- Project Management Process - Phase 2 - Planning - Develop Project Design
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