Problems arise in every organization. These problems and their alternative solutions establish some elements of change around which the organization must adapt.
Project monitoring tools and techniques pdf
Projects are generally established to carry out these changes and someone is always responsible for each project's successful completion. Every project is unique in terms of the problems that arise, the priorities and resources assigned it, the environment in which it operates, and the project manager's attitude and style used to guide and control project activities.
Therefore, the organizational structure for the project must be designed to fit within that project's operating constraints. The organizational structure implemented may not be the same structure used throughout the life cycle of the project due to changes in priorities, available resource, project personnel, laws, and other contingencies.
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Regardless of the project management structure chosen, management must realize that a dynamic state of equilibrium between limited personnel and financial resources and the objectives of the project will be necessary if project management is to be successful in their particular organization. Later, I will list the benefits that the tools and techniques of project management bring to the systems analysis process.
Project Management Tools and Techniques
Nearly every activity within an organization could be labeled as a project possessing unique characteristics and varying levels of importance to the organization.
A project is defined as a planned undertaking of related activities to reach an objective that has a beginning and an end.
Seven primary characteristics of a project include:[ 11 ]. In the past, a company typically decided to undertake a project effort, assigned the project and the "necessary" resources to a carefully selected individual and assumed they were using some form of project management.
Organizational implications were of little importance. Although the basic concepts of project management are simple, applying these concepts to an existing organization is not.
Richard P. Each task requires a particular mix of these tools and techniques structured to fit the task environment and life cycle from conception to completion of the task.
Employing project management technologies minimizes the disruption of routine business activities in many cases by placing under a single command all of the skills, technologies, and resources needed to realize the project. The skills required depend on each specific project and the resources available at that time.
The greater the amount of adjustments a parent organization must make to fulfill project objectives, the greater chance exists for project failure.
The form of project management will be unique for every project endeavor and will change throughout the project. The project management process typically includes four key phases: initiating the project, planning the project, executing the project, and closing the project. An outline of each phase is provided below. Initiating the Project The project management techniques related to the project initiation phase include: [ 16 ].
Planning the Project The project management techniques related to the project planning phase include:[ 16 ]. Executing the Project The project management techniques related to the project execution phase include:[ 16 ]. Closing Down the Project The project management techniques related to the project closedown phase include:[ 16 ]. The techniques listed above in the four key phases of project management enable a project team to:[ 3 ].
Project management is a challenging task with many complex responsibilities. Fortunately, there are many tools available to assist with accomplishing the tasks and executing the responsibilities.
Some require a computer with supporting software, while others can be used manually. Project managers should choose a project management tool that best suits their management style.
No one tool addresses all project management needs.
Both of these project management tools can be produced manually or with commercially available project management software. PERT is a planning and control tool used for defining and controlling the tasks necessary to complete a project. Both charts display the total project with all scheduled tasks shown in sequence.
The displayed tasks show which ones are in parallel, those tasks that can be performed at the same time. PERT planning involves the following steps:[ 7 ]. From this, the expected time for each activity can be calculated using the following weighted average:.
This helps to bias time estimates away from the unrealistically short timescales normally assumed. If the critical path is not immediately obvious, it may be helpful to determine the following four times for each activity:. These times are calculated using the expected time for the relevant activities. The earliest start and finish times of each activity are determined by working forward through the network and determining the earliest time at which an activity can start and finish considering its predecessor activities.
The latest start and finish times are the latest times that an activity can start and finish without delaying the project. LS and LF are found by working backward through the network. The difference in the latest and earliest finish of each activity is that activity's slack.
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The critical path then is the path through the network in which none of the activities have slack. The variance in the project completion time can be calculated by summing the variances in the completion times of the activities in the critical path.
Given this variance, one can calculate the probability that the project will be completed by a certain date assuming a normal probability distribution for the critical path. The normal distribution assumption holds if the number of activities in the path is large enough for the central limit theorem to be applied.
Project Management Techniques and Tools
Gantt charts are used to show calendar time task assignments in days, weeks or months. The tool uses graphic representations to show start, elapsed, and completion times of each task within a project. Gantt charts are ideal for tracking progress. The number of days actually required to complete a task that reaches a milestone can be compared with the planned or estimated number.
The actual workdays, from actual start to actual finish, are plotted below the scheduled days.
This information helps target potential timeline slippage or failure points. These charts serve as a valuable budgeting tool and can show dollars allocated versus dollars spent. To draw up a Gantt chart, follow these steps:[ 1 ].
Benefits of using a Gantt chart include:[ 8 ]. Project management tools have evolved from simple spreadsheet products to sophisticated, Web-based project information portals.
Project Monitoring Tools
The obvious trend in project management software, as with almost everything in information technology, is a move toward Web-based systems. Most project management tools can be accessed via browsers and those that do not currently have this capability are moving in that direction.
The product acts as a portal development tool that allows firms to view information from products such as Microsoft Project over the Web. These project management portals are becoming more common as the collaboration capabilities of project management tools improve.
Another trend is the move toward hosted project management applications. WorkLenz is a software application that serves as a virtual project manager with intelligent agent features.
Offered via the ASP model, WorkLenz manages a customer's project and provides real-time alerts of issues, inefficiencies and problems, and even recommends solutions. Project management tools continue to evolve in terms of capabilities and user interface. The general direction is toward more integrated process and knowledge management systems, and user interfaces with a "Web" look. As the sophistication of these products continues to grow, however, so too does their complexity.
It is important for project management software vendors to keep things simple and easy to use. Project management tools should not become the focus of a project manager's life or add time to project activities. If a project manager has to spend too much time learning a product's features, their ability to actively manage the project process diminishes, totally defeating the purpose of the tool.