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Project Management Methodology

There are several approaches that can be taken to managing project activities including agile, interactive, incremental, and phased approaches.
·        The traditional approach
·        Critical chain
·        Event chain methodology
·        Process-based management
·        The Traditional Triple Constraints
Regardless of the approach employed, careful consideration needs to be given to clarify surrounding project objectives, goals, and importantly, the roles and responsibilities of all participants and stakeholders.

General Methodology

Each of the Project Stage sections of the document is organized as follows:
    • Project stage overview and description
    • Project stage critical success factors
    • Project stage activities
      • Activity description
      • Activity action plan checklist
    • Project Stage Deliverables

Project Initiation Stage
Every project starts with an idea. That idea may be the result of a unique thought or design;
o       It may respond to a regulatory mandate
o       It may answer a call for operational maintenance
o       It may be as simple as providing scheduled updates
In essence, projects are generated for many different reasons; however, projects warrant special consideration for uniqueness, importance, cost, priority, and duration of effort. Accordingly, potential projects, so as not to underestimate their value-add and timing, need to be subjected to an assessment process that will allow the sponsor, stakeholders, project team and other interested parties to validate the potential project benefits and timing. This assessment of potential projects occurs during the Initiation Stage. During this stage, a potential project is conceptualized, justified, authorized, and funded by the appropriate governing bodies.
Projects will vary in terms of complexity, but all should have a Project Charter. For some projects, it may take only a few hours or days to complete this document; for others, it could take months. This document is critical to guaranteeing buy- in for a project. The goal during this stage, and specifically with the Project Charter, is not to generate a large document, but rather to provide information necessary to understand, and thus to determine, if the project should be initiated and carried into the Planning Stage.

Project Initiation Critical Success Factors (CSFs)
o       Identification of Executive Sponsor
o       Formal acceptance by the sponsor of responsibility for the project, including
§         Achievement of the benefits
§         Costs described in the Project
o       Approval of the Project Charter by the Executive Sponsor
o       Alignment with business/IT strategic plan/direction

Project Initiation Activities
The following is a list of key activities to develop a Project Charter and initiate a project:
o       Assign Project Champion/Leader
o       Identify an Executive Sponsor
o       Define the Business Need/Opportunity
o       Identify Business Objectives and Benefits
o       Define Overall Project Scope
o       Define Project Objectives
o       Ensure Alignment with Strategic Direction and Enterprise
o       Identify Project Constraints and Assumptions
o       Identify and Engage Key Stakeholders
o       Identify Key Potential Risks
o       Define Responsibilities of the Project Manager
o       Determine Cost and Schedule Estimates

Project Planning Activities
The following is a list of key activities required to plan a project:
o       Assign Project Manager
o       Determine the Project Team
o       Refine Project Scope
o       Determine Procurement and Sourcing Strategy
o       Determine Project Schedule
o       Define Project Organization and Governance
o       Identify Other Resource Requirements
o       Refine Project Cost Estimate and Budget
o       Establish Project Life Cycle Phase Checkpoints
o       Develop Stakeholder Management and Project
o       Develop Quality Management Approach
o       Identify Potential Project Risks
o       Determine Process for Issue Identification and Resolution
o       Determine Process for Managing Scope Change
o       Develop Organization Change Management Approach
o       Develop Configuration Management Approach
o       Define a Knowledge Repository for Project Deliverables and Work Products
o       Develop Project Plan

Project Managing Activities
The following is a list of key activities, ranked in order of importance, required to execute and control a project:
o       Manage Risk
o       Communicate Information
o       Manage Schedule
o       Document the Work Results
o       Manage Organizational Change
o       Lead/Manage Change
o       Manage Scope
o       Manage Quality
o       Manage Costs
o       Manage Issues
o       Conduct Status Review Meetings
o       Review Project Life Cycle Phases Checkpoints
o       Execute the Procurement Plan
o       Administer Contract/Vendor
o       Update Project Planning Documents
o       Establish Final Acceptance Process

Project Closeout Stage
The last major stage of a project’s life cycle is project closeout. Project closeout is completed once all defined project tasks and milestones have been completed and the customer has accepted the project’s deliverables.
Project closeout includes the following key elements:
o       Verification of formal acceptance by Stakeholders and Steering Committee
o       Redistributing resources—staff, facilities, equipment and automated systems
o       Closing out any financial issues such as labor charge codes and contract closure
o       Documenting the successes, problems and issues of the project
o       Documenting “lessons learned”
o       Celebrating project success
o       Producing an Outcomes Assessment Report
o       Completing, collecting and archiving project records
These activities are particularly important on large projects with extensive records and resources.

Project Closeout Critical Success Factors
o       End- user acceptance
o       Business objectives and anticipated benefits are achieved
o       Project objectives are achieved
o       Knowledge transfer is achieved
o       Project materials are archived

Project Closeout Activities
The following is a list of key activities required to close out a project:
o       Conduct Final Acceptance Meeting
o       Conduct Final Contract Review
o       Conduct Outcomes Assessment Meeting
o       Conduct Knowledge Transfer

Project Closure Document
The Project Closure document summarizes the Final System Acceptance meeting. This includes, but is not limited to:
o       The results of the review of the product delivered against the baseline requirements and specifications
o       List of deviations, documented, and approved; with justifications and future action plans
o       Action items closed or reassigned to the support organization
o       References to other deliverables, key features and pertinent information about final product delivery
o       Approval of project closure via signatures of the Executive Sponsor and key stakeholders

Outcomes Assessment Report
The Outcomes Assessment Report documents the successes and failures of the project. It provides an historical record of the planned and actual budget and schedule. Other selected metrics on the project can also be collected, based on documented procedures. The report also contains recommendations for future projects of similar size and scope. Information within the report should include, but not be limited to, the following:
o       Project sign-off
o       Staffing and skills
o       Project organizational structure
o       Schedule management
o       Cost management
o       Risk management
o       Quality management
o       Configuration management
o       Customer expectations management
o       Lessons learned
o       Recommendations for process improvement and/or template modifications
o       Key Project Roles and Responsibilities

About the Author

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

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