To start your project you should know that most project steps are divided into what is called the project life cycle. According to the PMBOK, a project life cycle is a “collection of generally sequential project phases.” As a standard, these phases are:
This is when a project is proposed, you define what your project will consist of and get the people who will be working on the project to commit to it. Finally, you will get initial approval from your stakeholders to begin planning.
This process is performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project requirements.
This process is required to track, review, and regulate the progress and performance of the project; identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; initiate the corresponding changes.
Now that you know the basics, this post will take you through PG’s approach to project management.
Disclaimer: everything encompassing PG’s approach was not invented by PG, these are tried and tested practices that are used for project management most of them using the waterfall approach. However, not every project management practice will fit your project so we have chosen what fits best for us.
The scope is “the sum of all products, services, and results to be provided by the project” as stated by the PMBOK® Guide. Essentially, your scope will be a summary of what your project will be, what your project will not be, any major risk that your project may have, and the budget of your project. You can also add key milestones (determining points in your project’s life) and constraints (things that keep you from your big goals).
This is done on big projects where you need the project to be approved, but even when you are working on your own projects it is important to state why the project is being done and how it will benefit you or your company. If there is no proper justification, project managers should ask themselves if the project is even worth doing.
According to the PMBOK, the assumptions are “factors that, for planning purposes, are considered to be true, real, or certain without proof or demonstration.” For example, to assume that you’ll have all the resources you need to complete your project or the scope of the project will not change throughout the project. The constraints are any limitations your project may have. These are things that you and your team will have to work with throughout the project life cycle. To help with this, we always think of the triple constraints of project management which are time constraints (very little time to do the project), scope constraint (the scope is way too limiting or way too broad), and cost constraint (there are barely any funds to cover the project).
Your project team will include any person that will work in your project, you must establish their roles, responsibilities, and expectations for successful project execution.
The team operating principles will be a set of guidelines or principles your team will adhere to. This will include things like time spent on the project, efforts, responsibilities, and communication time, meeting quorum, etc.
Like most processes of project management, working with risks is an ongoing task. Once you identify a risk, you should formulate a contingency plan for your risks; in other words, how you plan to move above that risk. You should also rate your risks by the impact on your project and the probability of them happening, you can use the High, Medium, or Low approach to rate your risks.
Fun fact: Not all risks are negative!
Risks are merely uncertain events that when they occur, can have a positive or a negative impact on your project. For example, an unscheduled update for an app development software that facilitates your work is also a risk.
This communication plan should have everyone involved in your project outlined, which means your project teams, clients, and sponsors. Here, you will outline the who, how, when, what, and why of communicating with a particular stakeholder. This will help you and everyone involved in the project know what is happening and how to get in touch with the people that they need. Furthermore, having a communication plan will help clarify the roles of the people involved in the project, manage expectations, and get everyone on the same page.
The stakeholder analysis and engagement plan is a continuation of your communications plan. According to the PMBOK “The stakeholder engagement plan includes the processes required to identify the people, groups, or organizations that could impact or be impacted by the project, to analyze stakeholder expectations and their impact on the project, and to develop appropriate management strategies for effectively engaging stakeholders in project decisions and execution.”
To ensure your project’s success you will need to know everyone who can have a potential impact on it. As in risks, this impact can be positive or negative, having a stakeholder engagement plan will help you manage how your stakeholders will receive information and potentially minimize or maximize their impact.
In the budget, you must break down the cost of your project, you must include every last cent that you know will be used for your project. This will depend on the type of project you will be working on. If you have a construction project, for example, this will be things like materials, machinery, workers, permits, etc.
EMV = % of probability x % of impact in project
Project management is a very useful tool to ensure that your projects are successful, there are many methodologies for project management and there is no right or best methodology, so it will take time for you to find which works best for you and the projects you work on.
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