What is a Project?
The term Project is often used to describe an
activity or venture placed outside the normal
day - to - day activities.
“A Project is a unique venture with a beginning and an
end, conducted by people to meet established goals
within parameters of cost, schedule and quality.”
Buchanan and Boddy (1992)p.8.
A Project has key features
It requires the effort of people, will have quality measures,
specific objectives, a schedule, it requires resources
and a budget.
The Basic Project Life Cycle
A basic Project has five phases
The Define Phase
All projects are created for a reason.
The Definition phase helps to further develop those reasons.
It is essential to define,
during this phase, a mutual agreement
between the person/organisation who
identified the need and the Project
team. The identification of the
conditions that will be necessary to
perform the tasks ahead also needs
A Scheme of Work is often used during definition
This is written confirmation of what a project will
produce and includes the terms and conditions
under which the work is performed.
Both the people/organisation who request the
project and the Project team should agree to all
terms in the Scheme of Work.
A scheme of Objectives
work includes Constraints
How and why the project was started
What the scope of the project is
What the general approach is to be followed
What are the specific
objectives that the project
is expected to produce.
What are the restrictions that will limit what
you are trying to achieve.
How can you do the Project.
When can you do the Project.
What will the cost be.
Statements that are made about
uncertain information and are taken
as fact as the project is conceived,
planned and performed.
The Planning Phase
The plan is an evolving document and should contain a
commitment and agreement section that records the
commitment of people to become task owners.
Other areas included during this phase are:
Assessing the risk on each task
Identifying task owners
Developing statements of work for each task
Defining the reporting requirements
Obtaining commitment and finalising agreement with
the task owners
The plan continually evolves
Any revisions made will be communicated to the
team, decided on, and passed on to appropriate
Changes to the plan occur because
Clients requirements change.
Imperfections in the original plan are found.
Unforeseen difficulties in execution occur.
One tool many use during this
phase is a Gannt Chart.
This is used mainly in simple projects
GANTT is popular because of it’s simplicity and
having the ability to show the schedule of a Project.
Please see the web links at the end of this course for
further examples and demonstrations.
The GANTT Chart
On the bar chart each bar represents a named project task
The tasks are listed vertically in the left hand column.
The horizontal axis is a calendar timeline.
It is essential that the identified task, the planned duration
of the tasks and the resources need to complete those
tasks must be chosen is such a way that the project can
be completed by the deadline.
An example of a simple Gantt Chart
GANTT Charts :
Identification of 2 types of Scheduling Strategy
Forward Scheduling : begins with
the project start date and then
plans forward from that date until
Reverse Scheduling : begins with
the completion date and works
backwards from that date.
The Organising Phase
During this phase it is important to
maintain/oversee the tasks, people
and resources involved in the Project.
Consider why it is important to do this.
Create a list of the skills an effective
Project Manager will need to do during
Move on to the next screen and check
the content of your list.
Project Management skills
Leadership Financial awareness
Technological Buying and procurement
understanding Communication skills
Evaluation and decision Negotiating skills
making Contractual skills
Management of people Legal awareness
System design and Planning and control skills
Co-ordination of reports and communications
Assessment and management of risks
Motivating the task owners
Implement the Project
Key skills required during this phase are:
Communication of Project Objectives
Management of tasks
Celebrating achieved milestones
Amendments to the project plan (if required)
With so many different elements and people with
responsibilities it is important that effective
communication is established.
Therefore, it is important to have regular and brief
meetings, they help to:
clarify and explain
collect views and information
discuss options and alternatives
examine facts and information
team build and identify further training
Review meetings are required so that key members of the
project can communicate with each other as a group.
It allows the team to hear how other parts of the project are
Helps to decide how problems affecting one or more
sections of the project can be resolved.
Don’t over rush progress
Give notice of changes
Plan in special needs
Share the plan with team members
Hold regular and brief meetings
rather than infrequent and long
A good Project review meeting fosters good team spirit, a
bad one increase rivalry and strengthens pessimism.
An important outcome from the meeting is that actions
should be identified by the team and a member made
responsible for seeing that action is carried out.
These commitments should be recorded in the minutes
so that they can be reviewed at the next meeting.
Informal , casual discussions are a vital source to
an approachable manager. This type of manager
will have a much better picture of the true state of
the project than one who gathers information only
through formal channels.
Project Control during Implementation
These are the areas that
need to be controlled.
Amendments to the project plan (if required)
Measuring Project Status
Project Managers gather information about the
status of the project so appropriate action should
be taken. This can be done by:
Small meetings on specific topics
Informal casual discussions
Continually changes as the Project progresses
becoming the planned status at the current moment.
For example, after six months work on a two year contract,
comparisons can be made between the planned desired outcome
at 6 months and the actual outcome achieved. This allows for
corrective action if required.
Can be measured with reports and progress meetings.
Problems can occur with accuracy and time delays
making measurement of status difficult to make.
Periodic Progress Reports
Traditionally project managers measure the current
position of a project by periodic reporting, often in
writing. These reports should consider
Reporting by exception
Progress Review meetings
Milestones within activities
Activity level milestones allow fine resolution when
improving the accuracy and measuring the
progression of the report.
Human nature dictates that the nearer a deadline
approaches the more we will commit to it.
Reporting by Exception
One of the best ways to encourage useful reports is to have
a standard report form.
Essential items on the report, not only what expenditure,
effort and progress has been made but also what they were
expected to be.
The most efficient report will highlight deviations from the
Forecasts of future problems is particularly useful.
Changes are inevitable
If the Project is to take advantage of new opportunities.
To adapt to changing circumstances.
To avoid problems rising from unforeseen events.
Consequently the project manager must set
up procedures for change, whatever there origin
and examine the impact on the project.
Changes can involves increase in both cost
and duration of the Project.
Even when a change is seen as beneficial it
can demoralize the team, for example, if work
already completed has to be abandoned.
It is during this action that risks are identified, in Risk management you need to identify
– owners, timescales, impact. To do this effectively most Project managers
will create a Risk register, as you can see below, it is a simple table, with the ability
to note importance or urgency and impact. It is an excellent method to control any
Risks identified and clearly define who will own the solutions or risk management.
Score as follows, for Likelihood and Impact: High = 3, Medium = 2, Low = 1
Nature of Likelihood Impact Likelihood Actions required and who will take
High/ High/ x Impact
Risk or Medium/ Medium/ [Score] responsibility to manage the risk
Uncertainty Low Low
Agree well in advance a date to hold a post project review meeting.
Put this onto the Gantt chart.
Invite key stakeholders, sponsor, and project team
to the Post Project Review.
If the date is in their diary well in advance it
should make it easier for them to attend
Focus your meeting on learning – identifying
what you can use on the next project.
Share the learning with others in the organisation.
Check whether you have delivered the original project
objectives and benefits and not gone out of scope.
Make sure that you have delivered against budget,
quality requirements and the end deadline.
Understand how well you managed risks
and your key stakeholders.
Use questionnaires to obtain feedback.
Prepare a list of unfinished items.
Identify who will complete these after the
project and circulate to any stakeholders.
Hand over the project formally to another group
(it is now their day job) - if appropriate.
You may need to build this into the project plan and involve them
early in the plan and at different stages throughout the project.
Write an end of project report and circulate.
Identify in the report key learning points.
Close the project formally.
Inform others you have done this and who is now
responsible for dealing with day to day issues.
with your team!
there is nothing
Good luck with managing your project. To help you further
if you need it, there are some web links on the next screen. Also
to accompany this course there is a file with useful project documents.
Useful web links