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Project Management Essay

5692 words - 23 pages

11
Chapter

Project Management

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n this chapter we explore a concept and a practice that has grown in importance as organizations have become more complex and are continuously evolving and implementing new ideas, products, and services or seek to improve existing ones. An organization will create a project as a way to focus resources on an opportunity or issue and to serve as a way to effectively organize its efforts to achieve a specific goal or objective. In a small firm, practice, or business, a project may be the installation of a new accounting software system or the introduction of a new product or service. In large, complex organizations, several projects may be in play at ...view middle of the document...

This hole is quickly being filled, however, as companies recognize that successfully managed projects increase productivity, yield a greater return on investment, increase profits, and improve customer service. But project management isn’t new. Project management coordination and planning skills have been used for centuries—even as far back as the Roman Empire. Project management has also almost always dealt with the same elemental challenges: incomplete project specifications and scope definition, insufficient labor, unforeseen challenges, or unsure funding. The role and job title of the person responsible for managing these elements, however, the project manager, was not recognized until the twentieth century. Another reason for the importance of the role of a project manager is the increasing rate of change in the workplace. Project management skills transcend corporations and industries; with change happening at such rapid rates, whether in technology, business, or construction, project managers are increasingly in demand. It is important, however, for all project participants to understand the process of project management. As project-based change increases, every project participant from part-time team member to executive

TLFeBOOK

Project Management

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sponsor will be more effective in their role if they understand the process of project management.

PROJECT SCOPE AND WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE
Let’s begin with a discussion of the vocabulary and processes that encompass project management. The project scope involves subdividing the major project deliverables into smaller, more manageable components. Often this includes the work breakdown structure (WBS). The project scope is a deliverable-oriented grouping of project elements that define the total scope of the project. The WBS is almost like a giant task list of what needs to get done to successfully complete the project. It is often used to help confirm a common understanding of what the project scope is. It has the ability to transform one large, unique, and sometimes mystifying job into many small, more manageable tasks. The WBS helps to define deliverables and figure out the tasks that need to get done. The WBS is also a useful tool to help monitor the progress, verify the schedule estimates, and build project teams necessary to complete the project. It lists the tasks that need to get done in a prioritized, hierarchical structure in relation to what needs to get done in the overall project. Each task should be specific enough to be able to put a person’s name next to it who will be able to execute the given activity. Some of the items on the list will be open-ended tasks. Openended tasks include activities that we are familiar with doing, but don’t have a specific deliverable or hard product being produced. Examples of open-ended activities that might appear in a WBS are things such as “research,” “perform analysis,” or “interview.” Another type of task might be on the...

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