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Project Management Guidelines

A successful project requires the project team to participate (at some level) in the planning process, buy in to the project plan, and be responsible for completion of assignments. It is important to have a defined formal structure for the project and for the project staff. This provides each individual with a clear understanding of the authority given and responsibility necessary for the successful accomplishment of project activities.
Project team members need to be accountable for the effective performance of their assignments. Project organizations come in many forms. On a large project, individual role assignments may require full-time attention to the function. On smaller projects, role assignments may be performed part-time, with staff sharing in the execution of multiple functions.

Executive Sponsor
The project sponsor is usually a member of the Agency’s management team, which will ultimately be the recipient of the project’s end result. The sponsor is an important stakeholder, usually head of a program area and not normally a day-to-day staff person. This is the person who makes the business argument for the project to exist and usually controls the overall funding of the project.

  • General Functions
o       Articulate program or State Agency requirements
o       Ensure that requirements are met
o       Provide necessary funding and resources as appropriate
o       Champion the project to provide exposure and buy-in from State government and officials
o       Communicate the sponsor’s views on project progress and success factors to the project team and other stakeholders

  • Project Initiation Stage
o       Provide strategic plans and guidance to correctly identify the relevance and value of the project both today and in the future
o       Define sponsor needs
o       Obtain funding for project when necessary
o       Assign sponsorship personnel as points of contact
o       Approve Project Charter

·        Project Planning Stage
o       Assign Project Manager
o       Attend Kick-off meeting
o       Participate in planning sessions
o       Assign personnel through the Project Manager
o       Approve funding along with Steering Committee
o       Review and approve Scope Statement and Project Plan

·        Project Managing Stage
o       Attend executive requirement reviews
o       Provide written agreement to requirements and qualifying criteria
o       Help resolve requirements problems
o       Help resolve issues, as appropriate
o       Attend and participate as needed at Project Status Reviews and Steering Committee meetings

·        Project Closeout Stage
o       Attend Final System Acceptance meeting
o       Provide representatives to attend Outcomes Assessment meeting
o       Attend Outcomes Assessment meeting
o       Sign off on project completion

Project Manager
The project manager has total responsibility for the overall project and its successful completion. To succeed in this responsibility, the project manager must work closely with the sponsor to ensure that adequate resources are applied. The project manager also has responsibility for planning and ensuring that the project is successfully completed on time, within budget, and at an acceptable level of quality. The project manager must be assigned during the Project Planning Stage so the plan will be owned by the person responsible for its execution.

·        General Functions
o       Implement project policies and procedures
o       Acquire resources required to perform work
o       Maintain staff technical proficiency and productivity, and provide training where required
o       Establish and maintain quality in the project
o       Identify and procure tools to be used on the project

·        Project Initiation Stage
o       Define project success criteria
o       Document project constraints
o       Document project assumptions
o       Conduct cost-benefit analyses
o       Develop Project Charter

·        Project Planning Stage
The Project Manager assigned during the Planning Stage may be someone other than the Project Champion/ Leader who carried the project through the Initiation Stage. In these cases the Project Manager must thoroughly review all of the materials previously created or assembled.
o       Develop detailed Project Plan with the assistance of the project team, tailoring methodology to reflect project needs
o       Create a Work Breakdown Structure and an Organizational Breakdown Structure with the assistance of the project team
o       Develop, or assist in the development of, a Scope Statement, Project Schedule, Communications Approach, Risk Management Approach (which includes a Contingency Approach), Cost Benefit Analysis, Procurement Plan, Configuration Management Approach, Project Budget Estimate, and a Project Transition Checklist
o       Ensure that management, users, affected State agencies, and contractors agree to project commitments
o       Ensure that the Project Plan is approved and base lined
o       Assign resources to project and assign work packages (Resource Plan)
o       Approve Project Quality and Configuration Management Approaches

·        Project Managing Stage
o       Manage day-to-day tasks and provide direction to team members performing work on the project
o       Regularly review project status, comparing budgeted to actual values
o       Regularly review project networks, comparing baseline schedules to actual work completed
o       Ensure that Project Plan is updated and signed off as needed
o       Make changes to budgets and schedules and make recommendations as needed
o       Review the results of quality assurance reviews
o       Participate in change control board to approve product/project changes
o       Review project risks and establish mitigation procedures

·        Project Closeout Stage
o       Develop an action plan for any product deficiencies, open issues, etc
o       Obtain customer and management approval of completed project
o       Close out open action items
o       Conduct Final System Acceptance meeting
o       Create Project Closure document
o       Close out any financial accounts or charge codes
o       Conduct Outcomes Assessment meeting
o       Create Outcomes Assessment Report
o       Assist as needed with any post-project delivery audits
o       Assist purchasing contract administrator(s) in contract closeout
o       Archive all project data
o       Celebrate success with stakeholders and the project team

Steering Committee
State organization management or the Steering Committee identifies the need for projects, assesses project risk, and approves project commitments. They are responsible for establishing the strategic information technology plans and for ensuring that projects are consistent with state organization and overall state information technology plans. They are also responsible for developing the procedures to ensure that IT policies are followed.

·        General Functions
o       Prioritize IT needs and include in state organization strategic plan
o       Ensure that sufficient resources are available to conduct projects
o       Review/approve commitments to external entities (e.g., vendors, other agencies)
o       Ensure that staff is properly trained

·        Project Initiation Stage
o       Select project manager and assist in staffing effort in cooperation with the Executive Sponsor
o       Review/approve Project Charter
o       Review/validate Risk Analysis
o       Ensure that funding is available

·        Project Planning Stage
o       Review/approve project plan
o       Review/validate and approve risk analysis
o       Budget and establish financial reserves based on Risk Analysis Worksheet
o       Ensure project staff availability
o       Ensure that funding is available

·        Project Managing Stage
o       Regularly participate in executive management reviews and/or Steering Committee Meetings
o       Approve changes to the project plan
o       Review risk mitigation plans and act on Project Manager’s recommendations
o       Review/approve changes in contract commitments
o       Review/approve project deliverables
o       Approve project/phase completion

·        Project Closeout Stage
o       Ensure customer and sponsor acceptance
o       Participate in Final System Acceptance meeting
o       Sign Project Closure document, if key stakeholder
o       Ensure closing of accounting/financial files
o       Participate in Outcomes Assessment meeting

Project Team
The project team has responsibility for conducting project activities. Project team members, as necessary, assist the project manager in planning the development effort and help construct commitments to complete the project within established schedule and budget constraints. The project team may include the subject matter experts responsible for implementing the project solution. Customers and/or stakeholders should interact with the project team to ensure that requirements are properly understood and implemented.

·        General Functions
o       Identify technical solution alternatives
o       Implement solution within budgeted cost and schedule
o       Coordinate with quality assurance organization
o       Support project planning and tracking

·        Project Initiation Stage
o       Provide estimates for developing products
o       Ensure that requirements are feasible and appropriate for available resources
o       Analyze requirements for completeness, consistency, and clarity

·        Project Planning Stage
o       Develop technical approach
o       Partition and assign development tasks
o       Assist in development of estimates and schedules
o       Assist in development of a quality assurance and configuration management plan
o       Identify tools needed for the project
o       Ensure that all members of the project team understand the Project Plan
o       Identify staff training needs
o       Ensure that project execution staff fully understands requirements

·        Project Managing Stage
o       Create product and process solutions
o       Track the project execution effort and submit status reports
o       Conduct internal and external reviews and walk-through
o       Create configuration control and baseline documents
o       Create testing plan and coordinate test activities
o       Execute assigned project tasks
o       Identify problems and schedule fixes
o       Coordinate with quality assurance, review quality assurance results, and correct any deviations
o       Identify and react to risks as they are found
o       Participate in change reviews

·        Project Closeout Stage
o       Participate in Final System Acceptance meeting, as appropriate
o       Participate in Outcomes Assessment meeting, as appropriate
o       Identify ways to improve project processes
o       Turn over all project-related documentation to the project manager for archiving

Enterprise Project Management Office
The enterprise project management office oversees the project through all phases of the project. Oversight responsibilities include review of key deliverables, attending monthly status review meetings, and consultation throughout the project as needed. Should the project encounter problems, the enterprise project management office should support project recovery efforts.

·        General Functions
o       Review and audit key project deliverables
o       Ensure that project status is regularly communicated and the project remains on track, within acceptable schedule, cost, and quality variances
o       Support the archival of key project information

  • Project Initiation Stage
o       Review and audit the project charter

  • Project Planning Stage
o       Review and audit the project plan
o       Assist in assignment of resources if necessary
o       Provide consultative support if necessary

  • Project Managing Stage
o       Track the project execution effort and review status reports
o       Attend monthly status review meetings

  • Project Closeout Stage
o       Participate in Final System Acceptance meeting
o       Participate in Outcomes Assessment meeting
o       Review and audit the Project Closure document
o       Review and audit the Outcomes Assessment report
o       Provide archival processes and procedures for retaining the key project documentation.

About the Author

Faisal Aman He is B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering from "University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila, Pakistan"

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