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Topic 8


Project Management and Networking


Chapter 13 in Core Text


Key points in this chapter :




        Role of a Project Manager

        Project Life Cycle

        Project Management Tools

        Barriers to Successful Project Management





Project management was first used to manage the US space program. It's practice has now been expanded rapidly through the government, the military and the corporate world. Here is the main definition of what project management is:


1.      Project management is no small task.

2.      Project management has a definite beginning and end. It is not a continuous process.

3.      Project management uses various measurement tools to accomplish and track project tasks. These include Gantt and Pert charts.

4.      Projects frequently need resources on an add-on basis as opposed to organizations who have full-time positions.


There are three main points that are most important to a successful project:


1.      A Project must meet customer requirements.

2.      A Project must be under budget.

3.      A Project must be on time.



Role of a Project Manager


The role of the project manager in project management is one of great responsibility. It's the project manager's job to direct and supervise the project from beginning to end. Here are some other roles:


1.      The project manager must define the project, reduce the project to a set of manageable tasks, obtain appropriate and necessary resources, and build a team or teams to perform the project work


2.      The project manager must set the final goal for the project and must motivate his workers to complete the project on time.


3.      A project manager must have is technical skills. This relates to financial planning, contract management, and managing creative thinking and problem solving techniques are promoted.


4.      Project managers must learn to adapt to change.


Project Life Cycle


The Project Life Cycle includes the following phases and activities:


A. Study Phase

1.      User Need

2.      Initial Investigation

3.      User Review

4.      System Performance Design

5.      Candidate Review

6.      Study Phase Report


B. Design Phase

1.      General System Review

2.      Processing Requirements Identification

3.      Data Base Design

4.      Control Requirements

5.      Output Design

6.      Input Design

7.      Software Selection

8.      Equipment Selection/Acquisition

9.      People

10.  Reference Manual Identification

11.  Plans

12.  Design Specifications Preparation

13.  Design Phase Report Preparation


C. Development Phase

1.      Implementation Planning

2.      Computer Program Design

3.      User Review

4.      Equipment Acquisition and Installation

5.      Coding and Debugging

6.      Computer Program Testing

7.      System Testing

8.      Reference Manual Preparation

9.      Personnel Training

10.  Changeover Plan Preparation

11.  Development Phase Report Preparation

12.  User Acceptance Review


D. Operation Phase

1.      System Changeover

2.      Routine Operation

3.      System Performance Evaluation

4.      System Changes/Enhancements


Project Management Tools

What these tools are used for?

Good project management deals with three factors: time, cost and performance. Projects are successful if they are completed on time, within budget, and to performance requirements. In order to bring the many components of a large project into control there is a large toolkit of techniques, methodologies, and tools. These techniques provide the tools for managing different components involved in a project: planning and scheduling, developing a product, managing financial and capital resources, and monitoring progress. However the success of a project will always rest on the abilities of a project manager and the team members.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

This tool is related to planning and scheduling a project. Basically it is a functional decomposition of the tasks of the project. The total work of the project is broken down into the major subtasks. It starts with the end objective required and successively subdividing it into manageable components in terms of size and complexity: program, project, system, subsystem, components, tasks, subtasks, and work elements.


It should be product- or task-oriented and should include all the necessary effort which must be undertaken to achieve the end objective. Because it defines the work required to achieve an objective and help to show the required interfaces, a WBS is useful for complex projects. However, it has got an important drawback: it does not show the timing of activities. In order to overcome this drawback, another tool can be used.


Gantt Charts


Developed by Harry Gantt in 1916, these charts give a timeline for each activity. They are used for planning, scheduling and then recording progress against these schedules. Basically there are two basic types of Gantt Charts: Load Charts and Project Planning Charts.


        Load Charts:

This type of chart is useful for manufacturing projects during peak or heavy load periods. The format of the Gantt Load Chart is very similar to the Gantt Project Planning Chart but, in this case, uses time as well as departments, machines or employees that have been scheduled.


        Project Planning Chart

It addresses the time of individual work elements giving a time line for each activity of a project. This type of chart is the predecessor of the following tool: PERT. As it can be seen in the figure, it is really easy to understand the graph, but in developing it you need to take into consideration certain precedence relationships between the different activities of the project. On the chart, everyone is able to see when each activity starts and finishes but there is no possibility to determine when each activity may start or if we can start a particular activity before finishing the immediate predecessor activity. Therefore, we need to somehow know the precedence relationships between activities. This is the main reason for using the following tools instead of using exclusively Gantt Charts.


PERT/CPM (Critical path Method)


Both methods show precedence relationships explicitly. Although the two methods were developed independently during the fifties, they are surprisingly similar. Both methods, PERT and CPM, use a graphic representation of a project that it is called "Project Network" or "CPM diagram", and it is used to portray graphically the interrelationships of the elements of a project and to show the order in which the activities must be performed.



Barriers to Successful Project Management


There are many things that can go wrong with project management. These are commonly called barriers. Here are some possible barriers:


1.      Poor Communication :Many times a project may fail because the project team does not know exactly what to get done or what's already been done.  

2.      Disagreement :Project must meet all elements in a contract. , Customer and project manager must agree on numerous elements.

3.      Failure to comply with standards and regulations.

4.      Inclement weather.

5.      Union strikes.

6.      Personality conflicts.

7.      Poor management

8.      Poorly defined project goals




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