The following easy steps explains project management as per PMBOK;
1) Decide whether the work at hand is a project or part of an operation.
2) If it is a project, clarify the reason for executing the project (business case), preferably with the sponsor
3) If the project has a sound business case, then get into the initiation phase (done by the sponsor, or the senior management representative)
Initiation phase – performed by the sponsor or the senior management representative
1) Develop the project charter which contains the business case, project deliverables, high level risks, constraints, assumptions, key stakeholders names, roles and responsibilities, project manager’s name, roles and responsibilities.
2) Identify the stakeholders ( a stakeholder is anybody who is affected positively or negatively by doing a project or by not doing a project).
Planning – Performed by the project manager
At the completion of initiation, the project charter is available, project manager is identified, the stakeholders are identified and prioritized. At this stage, the project manager take charge of the project, and does the detailed planning, comprising of;
- Creating a plan for planning (plan for plan). For large projects with a large number of stakeholders involved, a plan for planning itself will ensure that the project plan is ready, before the start of the project and you have enough time to mobilize the resources as per the plan.
- Collecting the requirements from stakeholders. During this step, the detailed requirements are collected from the relevant stakeholders through interviews, questionnaires, prototyping etc.
- Analyzing the requirements and freezing the scope of the project (scope baseline). During this step, the requirements collected from the previous step are analyzed further, classified and agreed upon with the relevant stakeholders. Hereafter, any changes to the requirements will have time and cost impacts.
- Decomposing the scope baseline into a work breakdown structure (WBS) – Once the requirements are frozen, then they are broken down into smaller pieces (work packages), which can be managed better than the project as a whole (divide and rule).
- Once the WBS is frozen, the next step is to decompose the work packages into activities required (engineering, management) in order to complete the work packages.
- The step is to sequence the activities based on their dependencies and arrive at the activity networks (AOA – activity on arrow, AON – Activity on node)
- Arrive at the resource requirements (man, machine, material) to perform these activities.
- Develop the schedule. For small projects activity definition, sequencing and resource estimation may happen together, where as for large projects, the planning department works through these steps meticulously.
- Once the schedule is frozen, the next step is to estimate the costs, based on the resource requirements at the activity level.
- Activity level costs are aggregated into the project budget.
- Ensure that all the activities required to achieve the desired quality levels are incorporated into the schedule / plan.
- Ensure that all the activities required to get the human resources on time, development of the human resources etc are incorporated into the schedule / plan.
- Ensure that all the activities required for effective project communication (project web site, monthly reports, weekly reports, recipients, responsibility etc) are incorporated into the schedule / plan.
- Ensure that all the activities required to identify, prioritize, monitor, mitigate risks are included in the schedule.
- Ensure that all the activities required for procurement (man, machine, material) like request for proposals (RFI), bidder’s conferences, screening system, weighting system etc are incorporated into the schedule / plan.
Execution – Performed by the team
Once the planning is done, then we move on to executing the project as per the plan and the key activities during execution are;
- Directing and managing project execution as per the project plan
- Perform quality assurance as defined in the quality assurance plan, which is part of the project plan
- Acquire the project team as per the human resources plan
- Develop the project team as per the human resources plan
- Manage the project team as per the human resources plan
- Distribute information as per the communications plan
- Manage stakeholder’s expectations
- Conduct procurements as per the procurements plan
Monitoring and controlling
Strictly speaking, monitoring and controlling cannot be considered as a phase after execution. Monitoring and controlling starts from initiation and continues till closing of a project. The activities associated with monitoring and controlling are;
- Monitor and control project work, to ensure that it is progressing as per the plan
- Ensure that changes to time, cost and scope are managed as per the defined change management procedure of the project
- Ensure that the project deliverable are progressing as per the agreed upon scope.
- Ensure that project activities are progressing as per schedule.
- Ensure that project costs are within control
- Perform the quality control activities
- Report performance as per the communications plan
- Monitor and control project risks
- Administer procurements (monitor and control), to ensure that they as per specifications, time lines etc
Closing a project / phase
The key activities performed at the end of a phase / project include;
- Formally closing the project / phase
- Closing the procurements