Project management involves the management of several core functions, each of which is supported by different tools and techniques. 6 min read.
Project Management Core Functions
There are five core functions of project management,
- The project entails work, and that scope of work must be managed.
- Creation of a temporary organisation requiring the management of resources.
- Delivery of the solution within a given timeframe and benefits window.
- Realise positive ROI requiring people, resources and money management.
- Delivery of a fit for purpose solution that meets specification and quality standards.
Other functions include,
- The uniqueness and transience of the work of the project creates risk, which needs to be managed.
- Customers, vendors and stakeholders have different objectives. All of which needs to be managed.
Project Management Tools and Techniques Overview
The tools and techniques used to manage the five core project management functions are,
- SCOPE: Managed using product and work breakdown structures (PBS/WBS). For each workstream, a hierarchy of deliverables is defined, while the milestone plan shows deliverable intra/inter-relationships and dependencies. Finally, to aid estimation, resourcing and scheduling, deliverables are defined by work package scope statements, which describes the nature of the work to be performed.
- ORGANISATION: Managed using an organisation breakdown structure (OBS), which defines who will do the work and the skill set needed. At any level of breakdown, the deliverables and the skill sets needed represent a responsibility chart. Conventionally, deliverables are put in rows and skills in columns.
- TIME: Managed using networks and bar charts.
- Networks are a mathematical tool to calculate activity start/finish time, slack, critical path and project duration.
- Bar charts are a communication tool to communicate the schedule to the project team.
- COST: Managed through a cost breakdown structure (CBS) – labour, materials, overhead, etc.
- CBS, OBS and WBS combined to produce what is called the cost control cube.
- QUALITY: Managed through quality control, quality assurance, configuration management, procedures manuals, and audits.
- RISK: Managed by documenting risks that might positively/negatively affect the project objectives. Identified risks are then assessed as being high, medium and low. Low priority risks are accepted, medium priority risks are monitored while high priority risks are treated by putting in place action plans to reduce the probability of the risk happening and/or its impact. Finally, risk status is reported and reviewed ongoing to ensure the risk profile is lowering over time.
- STAKEHOLDERS: Managed by identifying stakeholders and their interest in the project. Undertake stakeholder analysis to determine 1) who is for or against, 2) who can influence the outcome and 3) their project knowledge and understanding. Each stakeholder undergoes a SWOT analysis to determine an appropriate ongoing communication strategy, which is then managed ongoing.
Project Management Tools and Technique Diagram
Project Management Tools and Techniques Summary
The management of the functions of project management requires a structured approach, which requires understanding and use of a number specialised tools and techniques that are employed throughout the life of the project. These tools and techniques are needed to help you adapt your plans as circumstances change.
In closing, change is inevitable and to better cope with persistent project ups and downs its necessary to follow a structured approach that relies on tools and techniques that draw from good project management practise.
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