In some manner, people have all performed project management at various times in their lives, often without even knowing that they were doing it. Project management is performing and completing a group of activities to accomplish some specific goal. Project management can be applied to something as large and complex as putting humans on Mars to as small and simple as building a tree house in your backyard. In either situation, the projects progress through the same stages.
Think about something that you have done that fits the definition of a project, and discuss how the project progressed through the different phases of the project life cycle. Submit a 3-page paper that addresses the following:
*Describe the project and how it differed from an operation.
*What activities were performed that were part of following phases?
*How were the principles of project management applied to this project?
*What skills and knowledge of the project manager were applied to make you successful (or were lacking, which led to failure)?
*What lessons were learned in this project that could be applied to future projects?
Unit 1 Individual Project
- Executive Summary.
The project management process includes four main deliverables to be set out before the kick off meeting and reviewed iteratively along the work process. These are: 1) the project definition and organization, 2) the project work plan, 3) the project management processes and 4) the project management tools.
The Nairobi Stalk Exchange project has focused on this from the beginning of the project, with the whole consortium working on its definition. This deliverable is the result of a ten-month process within the Nairobi Stalk Exchange team to deliver the following;
(a). The Nairobi Stalk Exchange organization.
Everybody needs to know from the beginning of the project about the consortium bodies, which govern the different aspects of the project and their objectives, functions and responsibilities.
(b). The Nairobi Stalk Exchange work plan.
A detailed work plan (subtask level) has been prepared in order to be able to exercise management control over the research project.
(c). The Nairobi Stalk Exchange internal processes.
The project management processes describe how the project will be managed effectively to coordinate the different tasks and to communicate results and incidents to the project team.
(d). The Nairobi Stalk Exchange management tools.
To facilitate the collaborative work within the Nairobi Stalk Exchange project, the use of various time and cost-saving tools and standards has been implemented.
This document is the Management Plan for the Nairobi Stalk Exchange project. Its purpose is to establish the project management organization, processes and standards that will be followed throughout the project life cycle with regards to project management.
1.1 Personal Project Experience.
The Nairobi Stalk exchange had undergone some phases for its success and implementation and include the following as discussed in details:
Nairobi Stalk exchange Project Life Cycle.
- Project Initiation.
First, Nairobi Stalk Exchange need to identify a business need, problem, or opportunity and brainstorm ways that your team can meet this need, solve this problem, or seize this opportunity. During this step, you figure out an objective for your project, determine whether the project is feasible, and identify the major deliverables for the project.
Project managers must be able to sell business leaders on the intrinsic value they offer to the business at a strategic level when they are at the table from the start of strategic planning instead of after the fact decision-making. Project managers effectiveness is drastically muted when offering a “fix-it” or “workaround” once high-level directional business decisions are made without their expertise. (Team, 2015)
Project management steps for the initiation phase.
- Undertaking a feasibility study: Identifying the primary problem your project will solve and whether your project will deliver a solution to that problem
- Identifying scope: Defining the depth and breadth of the project
- Identifying deliverables: Defining the product or service to provide
- Identifying project stakeholders: Figuring out whom the project affects and what their needs may be.
- Developing a business case: Using the above criteria to compare the potential costs and benefits for the project to determine if it moves forward
- Developing astatement of work: Documenting the project’s objectives, scope, and deliverables that Nairobi Stalk Exchange has identified previously as a working agreement between the project owner and those working on the project. (Team, 2015)
1.1.2 Nairobi Stalk Exchange project Planning.
Once the project is approved to move forward based on the business case, statement of work, or project initiation document, you move into the planning phase.
During this phase of the project management life cycle, you break down the larger project into smaller tasks, build your team, and prepare a schedule for the completion of assignments. Create smaller goals within the larger project, making sure each is achievable within the time frame. Smaller goals should have a high potential for success. (T Williams, 2006)
Project management steps for the planning phase.
Steps for the project planning phase may include the following:
- Creating a project plan:Identify the project timeline, including the phases of the project, the tasks to be performed, and possible constraints
- Creating workflow diagrams: Visualize your processes using swim lanes to make sure team members clearly understand their role in a project
- Estimating budgetand creating a financial plan: Use cost estimates to determine how much to spend on the project to get the maximum return on investment
- Gathering resources: Build your functional team from internal and external talent pools while making sure everyone has the necessary tools (software, hardware, etc.) to complete their tasks
- Anticipating risksand potential quality roadblocks: Identify issues that may cause your project to stall while planning to mitigate those risks and maintain the project’s quality and timeline
- Holding a project kickoff meeting: Bring your team on board and outline the project so they can quickly get to work.(T Williams, 2006)
1.3 Nairobi Stalk Exchange Project Execution.
You’ve received business approval, developed a plan, and built your team. Now it’s time to get to work. The execution phase turns your plan into action. The project manager’s job in this phase of the project management life cycle is to keep work on track, organize team members, manage timelines, and make sure the work is done according to the original plan. (Charvat, 2003)
Project management steps for the execution phase.
Steps for the project execution phase may include the following:
- Creating tasks and organizing workflows:Assign granular aspects of the projects to the appropriate team members, making sure team members are not overworked
- Briefing team members on tasks: Explain tasks to team members, providing necessary guidance on how they should be completed, and organizing process-related training if necessary
- Communicating with team members, clients, and upper management: Provide updates to project stakeholders at all levels
- Monitoring quality of work: Ensure that team members are meeting their time and quality goals for tasks
- Managing budget: Monitor spending and keeping the project on track in terms of assets and resources.(Charvat, 2003)
If you have a properly documented process already in place, executing the project will be much easier.
Depending on the project management methodology you follow, there are many visual tools that you can apply to see which deliverables have been completed ensure that your project remains on track. Click the Kanban board and Gantt chart templates below to learn more. (Charvat, 2003)
1.4 Nairobi Stalk Exchange Project Closure.
Once your team has completed working on a project, they enter the closure phase. In the closure phase, you provide final deliverables, release project resources, and determine the success of the project. Just because the major project work is over, that doesn’t mean the project manager’s job is done, there are still important things to do, including evaluating what did and did not work with the project. (SP Dozzi, 2010)
Project management steps for the closure phase.
Steps for the project closure phase may include the following:
- Analyzing project performance: Determine whether the project’s goals were met (tasks completed, on time and on budget) and the initial problem solved using a prepared checklist.
- Analyzing team performance: Evaluate how team members performed, including whether they met their goals along with timeliness and quality of work
- Documenting project closure: Make sure that all aspects of the project are completed with no loose ends remaining and providing reports to key stakeholders
- Conducting post-implementation reviews: Conduct a final analysis of the project, taking into account lessons learned for similar projects in the future
- Accounting for used and unused budget: Allocate remaining resources for future projects(Charvat, 2003)
- Difference between a project and Operation.
The following differentiate a project and an operation:
- Projects are unique and temporary, while operations are ongoing and permanent with a repetitive output.
- Projects have a fixed budget, while operations have to earn a profit to run the business.
- Projects are executed to start a new business objective and terminated when it is achieved, while operational work does not produce anything new and is ongoing.
- Projects create a unique product, service, or result, while operations produce the same product, aim to earn a profit and keep the system running.
- There are more risks in projects as they are usually done for the first time, while in operations there are fewer risks as they are repeated many times.
- Projects are performance intensive while operations are efficiency intensive.
- Projects are managed through project management and operations require business process management.(Usmani, 2020)
- How Principles of Project Management are applied a Project.
For a successful project the following should be considered:
- Vision and Mission.
Any successful project needs to begin with the end goal at the forefront of planning. By articulating the Vision and Mission statements before beginning the drafting, everyone involved will have a crystal-clear image of the ultimate objectives of the project. This first step helps to clarify the expected outcomes, and in turn, how it will be accomplished once the project begins. (48, 2020)
- Business Objectives.
This step is where the specific organizational goals or objectives are outlined, and where the expected results are communicated. A project could exist to increase the company’s sales or profit, to improve customer loyalty, employee productivity or engagement, or increase the overall quality of its product or service. Clearly defining the actionable business objectives of a project helps all team members recognize whether their efforts are staying on track or not.
Explicitly defining the quantifiable number of improvements or results expected should be part of this step, so aim to avoid being vague in your statements. (48, 2020)
- Standards of Engagement.
This phase involves outlining which staff members will have a role in the project’s team. It also involves deliberating engagement expectations, including the frequency of meetings, meeting ground rules, who the project owner is, which members are designated to take notes, to distribute project meeting minutes, and so on. Any other project meeting protocol duties should be outlined and assigned during this stage. (48, 2020)
- Intervention and Execution Strategy.
This is where the bulk of the project takes place. It encompasses the gap analysis process, which aims to determine the most suitable solution that will resolve the issue you are working on. General quality management concepts can come into play here, ranging from comprehensive root cause analyses, to more basic methods of problem-solving and brainstorming.
Once the best possible solution has been identified, the project team must then map out their execution strategy for carrying out the intervention method. This includes identifying which team members will take on which responsibilities, with the ‘when’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ included in their role assignments. (48, 2020)
- Organizational Alignment (Buy-In).
Checking in on the progress and sustainability of a project is evidently a key component of project management itself. In order to ensure the success of the new initiative or process being introduced, all those that the changes will impact must be onboard. This is referred to as organizational alignment, or buy-in. It is achieved through ongoing, regular and transparent communication.
A useful rule of thumb is to always ensure the message includes the WIIFM (“what’s in it for me”) at every level. This ensures stakeholders maintain their interest and engagement around the new initiative. (48, 2020)
- Define Milestones.
While not an absolute requirement for every project, defining milestones should be a step taken into consideration during any project plan, especially those dealing with larger and longer projects. Milestones help signify the moments of completion of specific, incremental portions of the project itself, which allows for a transparent way to track progress. They are also proven to be useful in increasing team morale, drawing attention to team member achievements and ensuring all team members’ efforts are recognized and valued. (48, 2020)
- Accountability and Responsibility.
This project management principle is essential to both the project manager and every individual team member. The project manager has a specific skill set that helps to keep the team on task, but all individual members must have the ability to hold themselves accountable for the tasks they need to complete. (48, 2020)
Accountability can be ensured through constant communication, where team members can freely communicate with one another about what they need and when they need it. Project managers should also be in constant communication with stakeholders, providing necessary updates on the progress of the projects, and relaying information or feedback to their teams regularly. (48, 2020)
- Retrospect and Measuring Success.
Retrospectives are an essential project management principle that iron out the kinks or faults in the process, ensuring the project runs as efficiently as possible. Both the project manager and the team members themselves should review / conduct a post-mortem of the project after its completion, discussing the areas of success and the areas that need improvement. This information can then be taken and applied to the next project, so the process is being continuously improved.
This phase also includes the calculation of the return on investment (ROI) of the completed projects. If the cost of investment was higher than its return, the project can be deemed as ultimately unsuccessful. By recognizing which projects are successes, and which are failures, changes can be made in upcoming initiatives that increase the chances of future success. (48, 2020)
- Skills and Knowledge Led to Success or Lack of Skills and Knowledge Led to Failure.
Skills and knowledge were applied for success.
- Leadership; Good leaders adapt to different people and make decisions based on the bigger vision. They also recognize and appreciate that they have specialists on their team who know more about their specialty than they do. So rather than micromanaging those people, a good project manager will delegate, listen, support, set goals, and empower team members to take ownership of their own decisions.(Guthrie, 2021)
- Motivation; There won’t be a single project that hasn’t had its fair share of ups and downs; it’s the project manager’s job to deal with them while keeping the team happy and productive during the tricky moments. Good project managers lead by example. They’re cool under pressure, positive, and energetic. And they always make sure their team’s spirits are high.(Guthrie, 2021)
- Perspective; Good project managers keep an eye on big-picture things like budget, scope, and deadlines while being aware of individual goals and unexpected delays within the team.(Charvat, 2003)
- Adaptability; The project manager’s world is an incredibly fast-moving one, and sometimes — despite the most rigorous planning and risk management — the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan. This is where adaptability comes in. They say adaptability is the true mark of genius. And genius or not, it’s certainly true that the more adaptable you are, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with, well, everything. For project managers, adaptability means working with your team to reach the most appropriate solution as quickly and effectively as possible.(Charvat, 2003)
- Communication; Negotiation skills are key. Project managers have to prevent scope creep and inflated budgets, all while managing expectations and keeping everyone informed. Tricky subjects require a degree of compromise and assertiveness, so brushing up on your negotiation skills will work wonders when the time comes to have that tough conversation.(Guthrie, 2021)
- Organization; When people think of a project manager, they generally think of someone who’s amazing at multitasking. While it’s true that PMs have a lot to keep an eye on, multitasking isn’t actually something they should do. Why? Researchers have found it reduces efficiency, and that people juggling multiple streams of information cannot pay attention, recall information, or complete any one task particularly well.(Guthrie, 2021)
As well the following can lead to a project failure;
- Focus on business value, not technical detail.This involves establishing a clear link between the project and the organizations key strategic practices. The project plan needs to cover the planned delivery, the business change required and the means of benefits realization. (Forman, 2007)
- Establish clear accountability for measured results.There must be clear view of the interdependencies between the projects, the benefits, and the criteria against which success will be judged. It is necessary to establish a reasonably stable requirement baseline before any other work goes forward. Requirements may still continue to creep. In virtually all projects there will be some degree of “learning what the requirements really are” while building the project product. (Forman, 2007)
- Have consistent processes for managing unambiguous checkpoints.Successful large projects typically have software measurement programs for capturing productivity and quality historical data that can be sued to compare it against similar projects in order to judge the validity of schedules, costs, quality, and other project related factors. The lack of effective quality centered mechanisms can be a major contributor to both cost and schedule overruns. (Forman, 2007)
- Have a consistent methodology for planning and executing projects.There should be a detailed plan developed before any release date of a project is announced. Inadequate planning is one of the major reasons why projects spin out of control. (Forman, 2007)
- Include the customer at the beginning of the project and continually involve the customer as things change so that the required adjustments can be made together.It has been observed that successful projects occur when end users (customers) and the project members work as teams in the same cubicle, although this is not always possible. Projects are less likely to fail if there are informed customers giving meaningful input during every phase of requirements elicitation, product description and implementation. The customer needs to be asking, “how are the project result used over time and what do I get out of the results? (Forman, 2007)
- Manage and motivate people so that project efforts will experience a zone of optimal performance throughout its life.This involves managing and retaining the most highly skilled and productive people. Knowledge is money. A project team made up of higher paid people with the right specialized skills is worth more per dollar than a group of lower cost people who need weeks or months of training before they can start to be productive. (Forman, 2007)
- Provide the project team members the tools and techniques the need to produce consistently successful projects.The project team must be skilled and experienced with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. If not, there must be access to expertise which can benefit those fulfilling the requisite roles. (Forman, 2007)
Lessons Learned in Nairobi Stalk Exchange project Management that can be used in the coming future.
It is not necessary to wait until the end of the project for the learning to occur. Lessons can be identified at any point during the project. A lesson learned session should be conducted at different time frames based on the criticality and complexity of the project. Key times are at the end of the project, at the end of each phase and real time – when you learn the lesson. If you wait until the end the project for a large project you miss some of the key lessons. Because of the time that has elapsed, project team members may forget some of the things they learned or team members assigned to the project in the early phases may no longer be part of the project during the later phases. The best time to begin discussing lessons learned is during the project kick-off meeting. (Usmani, 2020)
In conclusion, Project management is the primary tool for executing the business plan, installing the businesses processes, and achieving the strategic ambitions of the entrepreneur. Project management helps to detail what tasks will be accomplished, who will be involved in completing the tasks, and when tasks should start and finish. Typically, projects progress in steps or incremental stages; however, other approaches for rapid, interactive project management are also widely used.
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