Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Divide and Conquer

Project Management is all about dividing up a project into sections making it more manageable. No matter how complex a project may seem, the individual work-tasks are always easy to accomplish because it is a basic task. Let’s suppose you want to create an online coupon company in the hopes you get noticed and bought out by Groupon for several million dollars.
Where do we begin? The first thing you should not is that all projects should be divided into five main areas or processes, these are: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring/Controlling and Closing. Let’s look at each of these a little closer.
The Initiating phase as the name implies is where I start my project. This process starts very early and includes the decisions as to weather I should even do the project. Some of the questions that are helpful here are; what do I really want to accomplish? How much to I want to spend? How long do I want it to take? All this information helps us to develop the Scope (see my blog on scope).
Next is Planning, again as the label suggest this is where we plan the work. Here is where we divide the work and break it down into work-tasks. As with the house example, you work with an architect for the blueprints, and then you order the materials, lay the foundation; build the frame and so on. Each one of these is a milestone (a major portion of work) that is further divided into work-tasks such as excavate foundation area, level and fill where necessary, install rebar and pour concrete.
Now we are ready to Execute, no matter how good of a plan you have, it will do nothing for you if it is not executed. As the work is performed it is very important to Monitor and Control. For example if our concrete supplier can not get us the truck the day we need it we will have to make adjustments to keep the project on track, such as have the framing crew work longer hours to make up the time missed and stay on schedule.
Finally we have Closing; here is where we formally ask the stakeholder (person asking for the work) OK we have completed the work as you have asked us to do are you satisfied? Once the stakeholder is satisfied we closeout the project and go on to the next.

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