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Information Technology Project Management 2182CIT Assignment 1 FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Griﬃth University, Nathan Semester 2, 2005 Author: Fritz Richter Student Id: s2571914 Tutorial: Thursday, 2-3 pm Brisbane, 2nd September 2005 Contents 1 Introduction 1 2 Project Scope Management 2 2.1 Deﬁnition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . 2.2 Identiﬁcation and description of processes . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2.3 Analysis of the interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . 2.3.1 Clear deﬁnition of objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2.3.2 Identiﬁcation of work within the project . . . . . . . . .3 3 Project Communications Management 4 3.1 Deﬁnition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4. . 3.2 Identiﬁcation and description of processes . . . . . . . . . . . 4 3.3 Analysis of the interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5. . 3.3.1 Understanding through communication . . . . . . . . . 5 3.3.2 Managing revisions and updates . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 4 Project Integration Management 6 4.1 Deﬁnition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6. . 4.2 Identiﬁcation and description of processes . . . . . . . . . . . 6 4.3 Analysis of the interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7. . 4.3.1 Comprehensive change management . . . . . . . . . . . 7 4.3.2 Character and personality of a project manager . . . . . 7 5 Conclusion 8 I 1 Introduction Information technology project management becomes more and more signiﬁ- cant in today’s economics, especially with regard to communication and infor- mation networks, which are rising sharply. Companies act under high pressure to resist the competition and are urged to speed up their project processes. Therefore, they have to increase their eﬃciency and quality. To reach these goals it is important to understand both the diﬀerent tools and modern project management techniques as well as the various processes of the areas of knowl- edge. The topic and main objective of this report is the treatment and analysis of an interview with Anne Walker, an experienced IT Project Manager, who dis- cusses several points of project management knowledge areas. Each knowledge area consists of several processes and techniques, which are partly mentioned in the interview. After reading the next three sections, you are able to un- derstand the project managers’ point of view of eﬀective project management on the one hand and on the other hand you can identify in which way Walker believes that the processes are important to manage projects eﬀectively. The main part is divided into three sections, which all are following the same logical structure 1. Deﬁnition of the knowledge area 2. Reference and identiﬁcation of processes in the speciﬁc knowledge area 3. Analysis of the interview relating to the impact of these processes to eﬀective management The following section deals with the Project Scope Management, one of four core functions in the project management framework. Section 4 describes the Project Communications Management, as an example for a facili- tation function. The last section analyze the role of Project Integration Management as ”an overarching function that aﬀects and is aﬀected by all of the other knowledge areas” [Schwalbe, 2004, p. 12]. 1 2 Project Scope Management 2.1 Deﬁnition Project Scope Management determines the project objectives and processes and belongs to the core function within the project managing framework. This signiﬁcant knowledge area ”includes the processes required to ensure that the project addresses all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully” [PMBOK, 2004, p. 34]. 2.2 Identiﬁcation and description of processes Project Scope Management consist of the following ﬁve processes [PMBOK, 2004, p. 34]: Scope planing involves the creation of a project management plan, which deﬁnes the project objectives and documents how the work breakdown structure will be created. Scope deﬁnition involves the development of a detailed project scope state- ment, which is the basis for future project decisions. Create the work breakdown structure (WBS) involves the subdivision of ma- jor project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components. Scope veriﬁcation involves formalizing acceptance of the project deliverables and the project scope. Scope control involves controlling changes to the project scope. 2.3 Analysis of the interview 2.3.1 Clear deﬁnition of objectives To measure a progress and to identify the quality and the success of a process’ outcome it is indispensable to set up clear objectives. Walker stressed out that 2 2 Project Scope Management ”you need a road map that has concrete objectives” [Phillips, 2002] to recognize if the achievement of goals is in danger. On the basis of the triple constrain of project management [Schwalbe, 2004, p. 8], the major consequence of chang- ing a scope is the high inﬂuence on the other two targets (costs and time). It may be inferred from the facts given that it is an objective of every project manager to take a lot of feasible aspects into account, so that the number of revisions could be decreased. By planing duly and deﬁning clear objectives the work within the scope control process should be diminished. Both the scope deﬁnition process and the creation of the work breakdown structure are processes in which it is signiﬁcant to deﬁne clear and measurable objectives. The more thoroughly you deﬁne the outcomes of a speciﬁc task the better you can measure the success. In addition to this point eﬀective management depends substantially on the knowledge of possible problems. 2.3.2 Identiﬁcation of work within the project According to Schwalbe [2004, p. 168] scope ”refers to all the work involved in creating products of the project...”. In contrast to this point of view, Walker [Phillips, 2002] pointed out, that it is ”not only the work, that is to be done within the project, but also what is not to be included”. As these contrary views show, there is a high interdependence between the scope planing and deﬁnition process and the risk to change the project plan during the project. By paying attention to those speciﬁc tasks, you can decrease the risk and you are able to identify the scope ﬂexibility within the triple constrain of project management. This relationship verify the signiﬁcant impact of scope planing and scope deﬁnition on eﬀective project management. 3 3 Project Communications Management 3.1 Deﬁnition According to Schwalbe [2004, p. 388] the objective of Project Communica- tions Management is ”to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, dissemination, storage, and disposition of project information.” Communications Management is one of the four processes through which the project goals are achieved, therefore it belongs to the facilitating functions [Schwalbe, 2004, p. 11]. To be successful and eﬃcient the project man- ager needs to be conversant with communications skills and negotiations tech- niques. 3.2 Identiﬁcation and description of processes From the PMBOK Guide [2004, p. 36], it can be seen that there are four main processes involved in project communications management: Communications Planing involves determining the information and commu- nications needs of the stakeholders. The communications management plan, as an outcome of this process, describes and guides the project information and communication requirements in the project. Information Distribution involves the gathering of required information and making needed information available to project stakeholders. This process deals with the technology to broadcast information, the ratio of formal to informal methods of distribution, and the selection of the most eﬀective communications medium are answered in the information distribution process. Performance Reporting involves collecting and distributing important progress and resource information to the stakeholders. The permanent measure- ment and reporting of performance is a consequence of the plan-do-check- act cycle [MBOK, 2004, p. 21]. Manage Stakeholders involves managing communications to satisfy the re- quirements of the stakeholders and to resolve issues. 4 3 Project Communications Management 3.3 Analysis of the interview 3.3.1 Understanding through communication In her interview Walker emphasizes repeatedly the need of communication as a method to convince and inﬂuence stakeholders. By understanding the project’s objectives, observing the progresses and appreciating the need of revisions the stakeholders are involved eﬀectively in the project. Walker [Phillips, 2002] describes these circumstances as follows: The earlier the integrators are involved, the better they will under- stand the project deliverables and can get behind them. The planing of communication to stakeholders to satisfy them belongs to to the managing stakeholders process. If the project plan had to be revised, it is very important to ”regain the trust and respect of the management” [Phillips, 2002]. Only by communicating honestly and openly the stakeholders understand the project environment and are more involved in the project. To satisfy the needs and expectations of project stakeholders it is important to plan the communication and information distribution in approach. Apart from achieving the objectives, another very important goal of the project manager is to satisfy the key stakeholders with current information, which is why the proper communication planing has an important inﬂuence on eﬀective project management. 3.3.2 Managing revisions and updates As a result of the dynamic project environment it is impossible to rule out revisions and changes to the project plan. That’s why project managers have to deal with the management and communication of these updates. According to Walker it can be diﬃcult to communicate any changes because ”you have all kinds of work happening and probably people working in diﬀerent areas” [Phillips, 2002]. She stresses out that the most diﬃcult portion of revising the project plan is ”to have everyone buy into a necessary change and have every- one impacted understand what necessitated the need for the change”. Drawing together the main points from the previous statements, it is recommend to set up a performance reporting environment, through which all stakeholders are informed about the recent progress and the requested changes. In accor- dance with Walker, a great way to communicate updates is to set up ”regular meetings throughout the life of the project with key integrators”. 5 4 Project Integration Management 4.1 Deﬁnition According to the PMBOK Guide [2004, p. 33] Project Integration Manage- ment includes ”the processes and activities needed to identify, deﬁne, combine, unify and coordinate the various processes and project management activities within the Project Management Process Groups.” This overarching function, as the most important process in project manage- ment, is the best way way to describe the project manager as a manager of interfaces. Because of the fact that all 8 knowledge areas have their own ob- jectives and can be seen as processes with in- and outputs, their interfaces have to been managed and adjusted. Each of the 8 processes can only aid and abet to the project success if the overarching process works well and include the diﬀerent areas adequately. 4.2 Identiﬁcation and description of processes On the basis of the PMBOK Guide [2004, p. 33] and according to Schwalbe [2004, p. 177], the major aspects of project integration management are: Develop the project charter , which involves the development of the project charter that formally authorizes a project. Develop the preliminary project scope statement , which involves the de- velopment of the preliminary project scope statement that provides a high-level scope narrative. Direct and manage project execution , which involves the execution of the work deﬁned in the project management plan. Monitor and control the project work , which involves monitoring and con- trolling of processes to meet the performance objectives of the project. Perform integrated change control , which involves reviewing all change re- quests that aﬀect the project’s deliverables and organizational process assets. Close the project , which involves the ﬁnalization of all activities to formally close the project. 6 4 Project Integration Management 4.3 Analysis of the interview 4.3.1 Comprehensive change management As mentioned in the previous section it is a crucial challenge to have things under control after the project plan was revised. Since the knowledge areas are mutual interdependent you have to manage the project in its entirety. Being asked for the most diﬃcult portion of revising a project plan, Walker sets an example of this kind of comprehensive management. She recommends that you have to ”think through your schedule, remember the deﬁned objectives of the project, and work to meet those, rather than only focusing on one piece of the project...” [Phillips, 2002]. As you can see this is a peculiar overarching function, which is a part of the integrated change control process. Comprehensive management has a very important inﬂuence on eﬀective project management, because a revise of the project plan involves a lot of changes in diﬀerent knowledge areas and requires a overarching view of problem ﬁelds. 4.3.2 Character and personality of a project manager Due to the fact that a successful project manager has to operate within a vast number of activity ﬁelds there are high requirements to his skills. In accor- dance to Walker [Phillips, 2002], it is important that the project manager is able to ”motivate and inﬂuence people”’, that he is ”skilled in conﬂict resolu- tion” and that he is ”emotionally stable and open to change”. Although these characteristics don’t belong to a speciﬁc process within the project integra- tion management, its comprehensive and interdependent nature is just right to describe and proof the versatility of the project managers’ day-to-day work. 7 5 Conclusion Eﬀective and in particular eﬃcient project management requires an under- standing of the diﬀerent knowledge areas and their interdependency. Drawing together the main points from the interview, it is apparent that there are three speciﬁc signiﬁcant knowledge areas, which lead to a high degree to project ob- jectives. These are the project scope management as an example of the core functions, the project communications management as a facilitating function and the project integration management as an overarching function that aﬀects all other knowledge areas. I would put the three diﬀerent knowledge areas in the following priority order, end up with the most important knowledge area: 1. Project Scope Management 2. Project Integration Management 3. Project Communications Management According to the triple constraint of project management, it is crucial to the project success to change one of the three goals while clinging to the given quantity of the others. Since every project is implemented in a dynamic en- vironment is is important to deﬁne clear and measurable objectives, so that change management will be decreased to a minimum. Once there is the need to revise the project plan, it is very important to have a comprehensive overall view. Not only to identify the possible inconsistences, but also to see through the interdependency of knowledge areas it is signiﬁcant to have an overarching function. The project manager has to be conﬁdent per- son, who have knowledge ﬁelds in motivation, conﬂict resolution, organization and communication. Managing people means communication, negotiation and motivation, which is why Communications Management is said to be the most important knowl- edge area. Motivating and inﬂuencing the stakeholders, the project manager has to be a gifted negotiator. To convince the stakeholders, to involve the integrators and to have everyone buy into a necessary change are the most important processes to manage dynamic information technology projects eﬃ- ciently. Because of the dynamic and innovative environment of projects there is a need to have reliable and trustworthy team members, provided with honest and open communication. 8 5 Conclusion Since it is impossible to determine all future aspects in a project as well as it very diﬃcult to reduce the revisions of project plans to zero, the most deciding factor to eﬀective project management is the project manager’s method of communication. 9 References Phillips, J. (2002). Interview with Anne Walker. In IT Project Management: On Track from Start to Finish. McGraw Hill/Osborne, California. PMBOK (2004). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide). Project Management Institute, USA, third edition. Schwalbe, K. (2004). Information Technology Project Management. Thom- son Course Technology, Boston, fourth edition. 10
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