Practice These Nine Ways to Manage Your Projects (Part 1 of 2)
Managing Projects gives you the foundation, techniques and tools to manage each stage of the project life cycle, work within organizational and cost constraints, set goals tied directly to stakeholder needs, get the most from your project management team, and utilize state-of-the-art project management tools to get the work done on time and within budget.
“Here's the TenStep guest blog post "Practice These Nine Ways to Manage Your Projects (Part 1 of 2)":
After you've started up and planned your projects, you'll move into the Execution (or "delivery") phase in the project life cycle. This is the longest phase in the project, since it is in this phase that the deliverables are built for the customer. As a project manager you need to manage the work and monitor the progress of the project. In this newsletter, we will describe the first five.
Critical Process #1: Time (Schedule) Management
Every project manager knows that the customer expects their project to be delivered "on time". You do your best to create a realistic schedule, but it seems like after the first week you are already seeing a variance. A proactive project manager monitors the time it takes to complete work and compares to the baseline schedule. If there is a variance, the project manager begins applying schedule management techniques to get back on baseline.
Critical Process #2: Cost Management
It can often be hard to tell exactly how much of the budget you have spent to date - especially when it relates to variable costs like labor and the consumption of materials. To deliver you project within budget, you need to monitor and control the actual costs, plus the accrued costs on a regular basis. You can do this by implementing a cost management process.
Cost management includes accurately recording project expenses as they occur. By using expense forms and an expense register, you can monitor all project costs and control expenditure when unplanned expenses arise. You don't need to be an accountant, you just need to keep an eye on the overall project expenditure on a weekly basis and act quickly when any concerns arise.
Critical Process #3: Quality Management
Many people think managing quality is the hardest thing to monitor. Most project managers find it difficult to determine exactly what the customer expects in terms of "quality", let alone measure the actual levels of quality achieved. But you must try.
To do this properly, you need to implement a quality management process. By following this process, you can set quality targets to be achieved and gain agreement from your customer. Then you can use quality assurance and quality control techniques to monitor and control the actual quality of your project deliverables. If your quality levels drop below the targets set you can take action to rectify it. By constantly reviewing quality levels and ensuring that they always meet the target, you can feel confident that your customer will sign off your project as complete and correct once all of the deliverables have been produced.
Critical Process #4: Scope Change Management
A typical cause of a project going off-the-rails is that the scope has grown out of control. The client may ask for changes or the team may have new ideas. To succeed, you need to keep tight control of your project scope, by being vigilant about change. Do this by implementing a change management process. As soon as you identify a request for change in your project, document it formally by specifying where the change has come from, why it's needed and its impact on your project objectives. Be sure to get your sponsor and customers approval before implementing it. If the sponsor approves the scope change, he also needs to approve any impact to the project including changes to schedule or budget.
Critical Process #5: Risk Management
As a Project Manager, it's all too easy to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in the day-to-day execution of the project. Remember to set aside time to look into the future to find potential risks. In this way, you can continually assess the overall risk to the project from the outside and pounce on new risks when they appear. Also, implement a risk management process to formalize the way that risks are identified, assessed and mitigated. For each risk that appears, quantify its potential impact on the project, then take immediate action to minimize the likelihood of it occurring.