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What does a project management system consist of?



Human

(Motivation, leadership, negotiation, team building, communication, decision making)

To carry out a programme of work the Project Manager must be aware of many facets of the project:
A good Project Manager will have excellent inter personal and leadership skills and know what makes his team tick.
He will be able to motivate them.

Leadership skills are covered in 'The Complete Leadership package'.
Motivation skills are covered in 'The Complete Motivation package'

Methods

(computer aided scheduling)

The Project Manager will need to be familiar with the vagaries of suitable software used in the project.
This will probably be scheduling software such as Microsoft Project but may be others.

It is always useful to have a dialogue with those using other software that the Project Manager is not familiar with.
This may improve the understanding of the software user and knowing the capabilities of the software, thus allowing modifications in the way the project is managed.

This might be the case, for example, in terms of receiving financial reports or liaising with the Configuration Librarian, if the project has one, as under PRINCE2.

Culture

(values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, traditions)

The way the organisation thinks can be critical to the success of the project.

This will be apparent in may ways, for example:

  • How risk averse is the company?
  • How are personnel treated?
  • Is there a blame culture present?
  • Is there good quality leadership? [see 'The Complete Leadership package‘]
  • Does the company have high environmental credentials?

Organisation

(authority, responsibility, accountability)

Clarity of the decision making process is vital for the project’s smooth running.

This will be reflected in the quality of leadership [see 'The Complete Leadership package‘], the quality of the project management system put in place and other techniques in place such as good motivation [see 'The Complete Motivation package‘] and time management [see 'The Complete Time Management package‘] practices.

Good project management systems will encourage clear and well defined responsibilities and accountabilities from the beginning of a project.

Planning

(define project, pick strategy, schedule work)

Good planning techniques, the use and interpretation of appropriate data together with adequate control procedures are essential.

Planning encompasses many aspects prior to putting together an accurate schedule.
It requires good estimating methods.
This is covered in PRINCE2 and with additional detail as part of 'The Complete Risk Management package'.
Accuracy of costing and task durations is essential for ultimate project success.

No project will run completely smoothly.
The Project Management will need to consider what may go wrong, that is, what are the risks?
There may be a need to derive contingency plans allow for these with an increased budget.
The Management of Risk and the use of Exception Plans are covered under PRINCE2.

Information

(historical, current, cost, progress, quality)

How a project management team approach a project will depend heavily on any past experiences.

  • Has the project been run previously?
  • Has the project been approached in a similar manner before?
  • Do individuals have specific knowledge from previous projects?
  • What historical cost data could be accessed?
  • What caused a particular risk to raise its head before?
  • Was it easy to produce to a high quality previously?

There may be many more aspects of a project where previous or existing knowledge would be useful.
You will not find it unless you take the trouble to look for it.

Control

(check progress, compare to plan, take corrective action, audit performance)

The Project Board will manage the project by exception.
That is, the Project Manager will be allowed to get on with completing the project and only seek the judgement of the Project Board when the project is likely to deviate from the plan.

You cannot know where you are in a plan unless you record where you started with the plan.
Hence, a plan will be ‘frozen’ and baselined at various times and certainly at the start.

If there is likely to be a deviation from the plan the Project Manager will consult with the Project Board and a meeting may result.

There should be corrective action to get the plan back on track.
This is covered with the PRINCE2 [see ‘The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2’] methods.

If it is not possible to implement a correction the Project Board must sanction other measures, accept the deviation or close the project.
Without good control customers will not be happy and companies will quickly lose contracts.

Non - PRINCE2 information