July 31, 2010

Important topics on Project Management

VA IT Project Management Framework

Project management topics
This will include some of the major and most important topics on Project Management , so keep reading. [header = Project Managers] Project managers
A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers can have the responsibility of the planning, execution, and closing of any project, typically relating to construction industry, architecture, computer networking, telecommunications or software development. Many other fields in the production, design and service industries also have project managers.

A project manager is the person accountable for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the triple constraint for projects, which is cost, time, and scope.

A project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing. The ability to adapt to the various internal procedures of the contracting party, and to form close links with the nominated representatives, is essential in ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, quality and above all, client satisfaction, can be realized.

Project Management Triangle
Like any human undertaking, projects need to be performed and delivered under certain constraints. Traditionally, these constraints have been listed as "scope," "time," and "cost". These are also referred to as the "Project Management Triangle," where each side represents a constraint. One side of the triangle cannot be changed without affecting the others. A further refinement of the constraints separates product "quality" or "performance" from scope, and turns quality into a fourth constraint.

The time constraint refers to the amount of time available to complete a project. The cost constraint refers to the budgeted amount available for the project. The scope constraint refers to what must be done to produce the project's end result. These three constraints are often competing constraints: increased scope typically means increased time and increased cost, a tight time constraint could mean increased costs and reduced scope, and a tight budget could mean increased time and reduced scope.

The discipline of Project Management is about providing the tools and techniques that enable the project team (not just the project manager) to organize their work to meet these constraints.

Work Breakdown Structure
The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a tree structure, which shows a subdivision of effort required to achieve an objective; for example a program, project, and contract. The WBS may be hardware, product, service, or process oriented. In a project of contract, the WBS is developed by starting with :

* the end objective and
* successively subdividing it into manageable components
* in terms of size, duration, and responsibility (e.g., systems, subsystems, components, tasks, subtasks, and work packages)
* which include all steps necessary to achieve the objective.

The Work Breakdown Structure provides a common framework for the natural development of the overall planning and control of a contract and is the basis for dividing work into definable increments from which the statement of work can be developed and technical, schedule, cost, and labor hour reporting can be established.

Project Management Framework
The Program (Investment) Life Cycle integrates the project management and system development life cycles with the activities directly associated with system deployment and operation. By design, system operation management and related activities occur after the project is complete and are not documented within this guide.

For example, see figure, in the US United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the program management life cycle is depicted and describe in the overall VA IT Project Management Framework to address the integration of OMB Exhibit 300 project (investment) management activities and the overall project budgeting process. The VA IT Project Management Framework diagram illustrates Milestone 4 which occurs following the deployment of a system and the closing of the project. The project closing phase activities at the VA continues through system deployment and into system operation for the purpose of illustrating and describing the system activities the VA considers to be part of the project. The figure illustrates the actions and associated artifacts of the VA IT Project and Program Management process.

International standards
There have been several attempts to develop Project Management standards, such as:

* Capability Maturity Model from the Software Engineering Institute.
* GAPPS, Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards- an open source standard describing COMPETENCIES for project and program managers.
* A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
* HERMES method, Swiss general project management method, selected for use in Luxembourg and international organisations.
* The ISO standards ISO 9000, a family of standards for quality management systems, and the ISO 10006:2003, for Quality management systems and guidelines for quality management in projects.
* PRINCE2, PRojects IN Controlled Environments.
* Team Software Process (TSP) from the Software Engineering Institute.
* Total Cost Management Framework, AACE International's Methodology for Integrated Portfolio, Program and Project Management)
* V-Modell, an original systems development method.

Process-based management
Also furthering the concept of project control is the incorporation of process-based management. This area has been driven by the use of Maturity models such as the CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) and ISO/IEC15504 (SPICE - Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination), which have been far more successful.

Agile Project Management approaches based on the principles of human interaction management are founded on a process view of human collaboration. This contrasts sharply with traditional approach. In the agile software development or flexible product development approach, the project is seen as a series of relatively small tasks conceived and executed as the situation demands in an adaptive manner, rather than as a completely pre-planned process.

Project dictionaries and project Wikis
A project dictionary can be useful to save time and to reduce risk and cost. A project dictionary is a dictionary of key terms relating to the project. In a large project or a project which spans different countries or cultures, terms such as "weekday", "Launch date", or "User acceptance" may mean different things. "Weekday" includes Fridays in Europe and the US, but not in the Gulf. Less obviously, "User acceptance" may mean one thing to the engineering team and another to the contracts department. A project dictionary is a way to clarify key terms, and thereby reduce time spent resolving confusion over terms and cost of rework from people not using the right definition. Project dictionaries used to have a high bureaucratic cost associated with them. However, by using a Wiki for a project dictionary, this cost is virtually eliminated. There are many other benefits of using a project Wiki, all deriving from lowered costs and risks in the project.

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