Posts Tagged ‘project manager’

Training for Project Managers and Why it is Important

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

All professionals who wish to be successful, in whatever field, needs to continually aim to improve their skills. As project management is becoming recognised more and more as a profession, project managers need to ensure they have the appropriate training to develop their careers and that they keep their skills relevant and up-to-date. Continuous professional development (CPD) has always been a recognised part of the career path of those in the well-established professions such as accountancy and law and is now being incorporated into training courses for project managers.

Project managers are required to fulfil an increasingly expanding and important role as projects become more and more complex with new technologies being developed ever quicker. They are having to find new ways of coping with increasing expectations from both clients and employers.

The right type of professional training course can equip a project manager with the skills to deal with these complexities and to plan and manage their projects efficiently, deal with risks and change effectively, and to deal with people at all levels involved in a project.

The benefits of professional qualifications and credentials to the individual can be a higher salary, better career prospects and improved job satisfaction so project managers themselves should need little encouragement to attend a training course. But employers also recognise the benefits of having a well-trained and motivated employee who can deliver complex projects successfully so most major organisations offer access to a training program.

For those project managers who are self-employed or employed by small companies without a training budget (or, worse, a company without the desire to train its employees) there are plenty of good courses aimed at individuals to help them gain recognised qualifications or credentials independently.

One of the unsung benefits of a training course (or at least, traditional classroom-based learning) is learning about the successes and failures of both the trainers and the other delegates. It is highly likely that there will be someone on your course who will have experienced, or is experiencing, the same issues as you. Being able to discuss these issues with others, in the company of a professional trainer, can be a good learning experience in itself.

So why is professional training worthwhile?

Planning and Managing

 Whatever approach you might take to planning and managing a project will be determined by the type of methodology you have learnt (PMP, PRINCE2, APMP etc.). But what is certain in all projects is that a schedule will need to be planned and managed. Depending on the industry, your approach to the schedule may be that it is flexible, adaptable and likely to change frequently before the project is completed. This particularly true in software development projects. Nevertheless, every project will start with some sort of schedule, and knowledge of the key areas of good project management will enable the well-trained project manager to develop a schedule that takes into account all necessary tasks, their interdependencies, estimations, milestones and resource tracking, whilst also being capable of flexibility, where necessary.

 Dealing with Risks and Change

 Methods can be learnt to better anticipate risks or deal with those risks that could not be predicted. A training course will also promote the importance of a good change management process, how to establish one and how to ensure it is followed so that the management of change requests does not become a full-time job and change requests do not obscure the original purpose of the project.

 Dealing with People

With the help of training, a project manager can learn team-building skills, including how to develop a motivated, committed team that will work co-operatively. And how to communicate effectively with everyone involved in the project, including the stakeholders. It will give him, or her, the confidence to stick with the plan when the plan is right, change the plan when it is wrong and be prepared to make unpopular decisions when necessary.

Finally, training will ensure every project has established and documented the criteria for success, which can be used to confirm that a project has been successfully delivered.

These are just some of the reasons why project management training is important, whatever methodology your organisation is committed to: PMP, PRINCE2 or APMP. It will help every project manager to develop fully, to be recognised as a professional and to deliver complex projects successfully.

Professional Project Management and Why it is Important

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Project management has existed since buildings were first erected or ships first built but it wasn’t known by that name in mankind’s early history. It was with the development of Gantt charts in the second decade of the 20th century that the role of managing a set of inter-related tasks to deliver an end-product to a defined schedule started to emerge as the discipline we now refer to as project management.

The Gantt chart was developed by the engineer and consultant Henry Gantt (1861-1919) to visually show the scheduled and actual progress of a project, and was an innovative concept at the time. It was used on projects during the First World War and on the project to construct the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.

Today project management is an essential element of all organisations in a variety of industries: engineering, construction, defence, almost any industry you can think of will require projects to be managed at some time. There are a number of internationally recognised methodologies that can be followed to manage a project (such as PMP, PRINCE2 or APMP) each with a different approach and different terminology. But underlying these different methods is the common theme for all projects of the triple constraints of cost, time and scope, and the basics of professional project management.

So just what are the basics?

Initiation Phase: When the scope, objectives and end-product are defined, and the project is formally approved.

Planning Phase: When a set of plans is created to define the tasks necessary to complete the project, and to enable effective management of the schedule, budget, risks and change.

Execution Phase: When the tangible project deliverables are created. Other activities such as a change management process and quality analysis are also implemented during this phase.

Closing Phase: When the end-product is delivered to the client, documentation is handed over and resources are released.

And why is project management so important?

Professionally managed projects reliably and consistently ensure that projects are run efficiently and that they successfully deliver what the client expects in an acceptable timeframe and at an acceptable cost. They ensure effective communication so that the client and all stakeholders are well-informed about progress, changes and risks; that everyone involved in the project is aware of their responsibilities and that different departments work together co-operatively.
By managing risks the impact of predicted or unexpected risks occurring can be minimised by ensuring the schedule and resources are affected as little as possible. And implementing a sound change management process will ensure that the client objectives are reached.

A properly controlled project will also lead to a high-quality end-product, whether that is a feat of engineering such as a major dam or a feat of technology such as the latest microchip or the implementation of new software to improve the efficiency of core business processes.

So whatever methodology you choose to follow, a knowledge-based one such as PMP or APMP, or a process-based one such as PRINCE2, professional project managementis an essential part of the future success of every organisation from the corporate giants right down to the smallest start-up.

Project management has existed since buildings were first erected or ships first built but it wasn’t known by that name in mankind’s early history. It was with the development of Gantt charts in the second decade of the 20th century that the role of managing a set of inter-related tasks to deliver an end-product to a defined schedule started to emerge as the discipline we now refer to as project management.

The Gantt chart was developed by the engineer and consultant Henry Gantt (1861-1919) to visually show the scheduled and actual progress of a project, and was an innovative concept at the time. It was used on projects during the First World War and on the project to construct the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.

Today project management is an essential element of all organisations in a variety of industries: engineering, construction, defence, almost any industry you can think of will require projects to be managed at some time. There are a number of internationally recognised methodologies that can be followed to manage a project (such as PMP, PRINCE2 or APMP) each with a different approach and different terminology. But underlying these different methods is the common theme for all projects of the triple constraints of cost, time and scope, and the basics of professional project management.

So just what are the basics?

Initiation Phase: When the scope, objectives and end-product are defined, and the project is formally approved.

Planning Phase: When a set of plans is created to define the tasks necessary to complete the project, and to enable effective management of the schedule, budget, risks and change.

Execution Phase: When the tangible project deliverables are created. Other activities such as a change management process and quality analysis are also implemented during this phase.

Closing Phase: When the end-product is delivered to the client, documentation is handed over and resources are released.

And why is project management so important?

Professionally managed projects reliably and consistently ensure that projects are run efficiently and that they successfully deliver what the client expects in an acceptable timeframe and at an acceptable cost. They ensure effective communication so that the client and all stakeholders are well-informed about progress, changes and risks; that everyone involved in the project is aware of their responsibilities and that different departments work together co-operatively.

By managing risks the impact of predicted or unexpected risks occurring can be minimised by ensuring the schedule and resources are affected as little as possible. And implementing a sound change management process will ensure that the client objectives are reached.

A properly controlled project will also lead to a high-quality end-product, whether that is a feat of engineering such as a major dam or a feat of technology such as the latest microchip or the implementation of new software to improve the efficiency of core business processes.

So whatever methodology you choose to follow, a knowledge-based one such as PMP or APMP, or a process-based one such as PRINCE2, professional project management is an essential part of the future success of every organisation from the corporate giants right down to the smallest start-up.

White Paper on a Project Disaster

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

The Harmon Hotel was to change the Las Vegas skyline forever. The forty-nine story, elliptical masterpiece with a highly reflective exterior was designed by Norman Foster, renowned designer and owner of Lord Norman Foster & Partners.  The non-gaming boutique hotel was to be operated by Andrew Sasson’s The Light Group at CityCenter Las Vegas, right at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue.  The 400 hotel rooms and 207 condominium residences located inside of the Harmon Hotel were to become a home-away-from-home for vacationers, a crash pad for celebrities, and a beloved abode for residents.  The building: one of the tallest Las Vegas had ever seen.

In 2008, however, work on the Harmon Hotel was stopped.  Inspectors had uncovered numerous construction defects including improper installation of critical steel reinforcements (also known as rebar) after fifteen stories of the Harmon had already been erected.  After investigation, it was found that Harmon’s third-party inspection firm, Monrovia, California-based Conserve Consultants, falsified sixty-two daily reports between March and July of 2008.  Other Harmon construction workers reportedly moved rebar without approval from the project’s structural engineer, Halcrow Yolles, which immediately broke the AEC chain of command.

This rebar installation error played a domino effect on the entire building process, requiring element upon element to be redesigned, modified and reconstructed.  The final consensus among designers, architects, engineers and general contractors was to reduce the Harmon Hotel from forty-nine stories to twenty-eight and completely remove the condominium portion.

To read more, click here

White Paper on Automation Systems Project Management

Friday, April 8th, 2011

This paper tries to investigate project management knowledge expansion to a vertical industry – automation systems. First the literature carefully limits the scope of automation systems. It then gathers themes from literature review, map themes between vertical automation systems, PMI common themes and other technical / managerial disciplinary themes. The managerial and technical specific requirements are gathered, understood, and solution themes are proposed for each requirement.

At the end, the literature concludes an integrated management framework is preferable to support automation systems project management. PMO, program and operation management should also get involved so that the whole automation systems project management movement can get enough support within the enterprise.

This is Part 1 of the white paper.

Portfolio Management Case Study

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Recently we worked with a client introducing Portfolio Management. This white paper explains our approach and how we introduced it to the organisation. It also covers our approach to rating the projects against strategy. Click here to read more.