Category Archives: Project Management Process

Project Management Process

Create Schedule Management Plan

The Schedule Management Plan describes the process used to develop and manage the project schedule. Not all projects need a Schedule Management Plan, but if your project has a complex schedule that requires special handling, you may find this plan helpful.

The components of the Schedule Management Plan can include:

  • Roles and responsibilities. You can describe different roles and their ability to access the project schedule.
    • Schedule owner. This is probably the project manager.
    • Who can update? Normally the project manager, but on larger projects it could be more complex. For instance, a Project Administrator might make the initial schedule updates based on the project status reports and then provide this draft to the project manager for final updates. It is also possible that team members will update the status of their assigned activities and the project manager will perform final analysis after those updates.
    • Who can read? Usually the schedule is not considered confidential – anyone can read it.
  • Update frequency. You should describe the timing of schedule updates. In many projects the schedule will be updated on the Monday morning. You should also comment on whether the schedule will be updated weekly or bi-weekly. It is recommended that you update the schedule weekly.
  • Progress feedback. This describes how the schedule feedback will be delivered. In many cases this will be in the team member status report. However, it is possible that the progress update will come during a team meeting or through an email.
  • Schedule change review and approval. This is where you define the process required to evaluate and approve proposed schedule changes. It defines the authority for accepting and approving changes to schedule. This approval process does not include internal activity deadlines. It applies to changes in the overall project deadline. It is possible that the project manager may have some discretion to exceed the deadline date by some number of days or weeks, but after that threshold some formal body may need to approve the change.
  • Tools. Describe about any scheduling tool that will be used on this project, who will have access to the tool and what various people can do with the tool (read the schedule, update schedule, etc.)
  • Reports. Comment here on the types and names of reports you are using to manage the project, who will receive them, the frequency of the reports, etc.
  • Schedule integration. Normally each project keeps an independent schedule, but in some instances your master schedule is the result of a roll-up of other underlying schedules. It is also possible that your schedule could be integrated and rolled up to a higher-level program or portfolio schedule.

We believe that these project management plans must provide value to the project manager. If your schedule is not so complex you probably do not need to create the Schedule Management Plan. On the other hand, the project manager should create a Plan if it provides value on projects with large and complicated schedules.

Project Management Process

Five Project Management Mistakes, Pt 3

Mistake #3: Not Keeping Schedule Up-to-Date

Many project managers create an initial schedule but then don’t do a good job of updating the schedule during the project. There are trouble signs that the schedule is not being updated.

  • The project manager cannot tell exactly what work is remaining to complete the project.
  • The project manager is unsure whether they will complete the project on-time.
  • The project manager does not know what the critical path of activities is.
  • Team members are not sure what they need to work on next (or even what they should be working on now).

It is a problem when the project manager does not really understand the progress made to date and how much work is remaining. When this happens, the project team is not utilized efficiently on the most critical activities.

There are a couple other common scheduling problems.

  • Infrequent updates. Sometimes the project manager updates the schedule at lengthy intervals. For instance, updating the schedule every two months on a six-month project. This is not often enough to keep control of the schedule. The schedule should be updated every week or two.
  • Managing by percent complete. All activities should have a due date. As you monitor the work, keep focused on whether the work will be completed by the due date. It is not very valuable to know that an activity is 70% completed. It is more valuable to know if the due date will be hit.
  • Assigning activities that are too long. If you assign a team member an activity that is due by the end of the week, you know if the work is on-track when the week is over. However, if you assign someone an activity that does not need to be completed for eight weeks, you have a long time to go before you know if the work is really on schedule. Keep the due dates within a reasonable timeframe. 

It is not easy to catch up a schedule once the project is started. Typically, by the time you realize you need to update the schedule, your project is already in trouble. Updating the schedule at that point only shows how much trouble you are in. The much better approach is to keep the project up-to-date, and ensure that it contains all of work necessary to complete the project. 

Project Management Process

Ways to Judge Project Success

Projects that nail the triple constraint are not necessarily a success. Conversely, projects may be deemed successful without satisfying the triple constraint. Ask yourself the following four questions to determine whether or not your project can rightly be judged a success.

#1 – Is the Client Happy?

One of the best indicators of success on a project is when a client is happy with the results, whether that client is internal or external to the organization. “But,” you may ask, “what if the project went over budget and we weren’t able to bring it in for the amount the client requested?” When that happens, it doesn’t mean the project failed. For example, I just had my house painted. Both the cost of paint and labor ran over budget. I’m still extremely pleased with the results and deemed the project a success.

#2 – Are You Looking Forward to Working Together on the Next Project?

Projects can get a little rough and tumble as people with different personalities, skill sets, expectations, and experience come together to complete a project. There are going to be moments of great exhilaration parallel to instances of deep despair. Does the sum total of these experiences net out to a positive vibe? If you, the team, and your client are able to see the project in your rearview mirror and stay excited about working on the next one – then it indicates that your project was a success.

#3 – Did You Get Paid for the Project?

For external projects, payment is a huge indicator that a project was successful. Let’s face it; if you or your company doesn’t get paid for a project for any number of reasons, it would be considered a huge failure. The client may not be satisfied with the project results (see #1 above). You need to be diligent to ensure this doesn’t happen to you!

#4 – Were the Desired Outcomes Met?

A definition of project success is found in the objectives listed at the beginning of the project. They provide guidance for judging when a project can be considered complete. The list will detail the end state of the project, i.e.,

The time tracking software will be deployed to all employees across three company locations. All employees will be trained on the software and have a Quick Start Guide to assist. Additionally, the Call Center will be brought up to speed to handle any support issues.

If the results of the project match the desired outcomes, then it can be considered a success.

There’s more to judging project success than just being on time, within budget, and in scope. The triple constraint is the foundation of project management, but not the end-all, be-all of project success. Ask yourself these four questions and you’ll find your projects reaching an even greater degree of success!

Project Management Process Quality Plan

Manage Quality

Many people find quality management to be one of the more difficult project management processes to implement. This is because quality is hard to define, and formal quality management requires you to collect metrics to validate the state of quality. The following process will help create a framework for the quality management process.

1. Create a Quality Management Plan

Develop a Quality Management Plan to identify the major deliverables, completeness and correctness criteria, quality control activities and quality assurance activities. The Quality Management Plan also describes how you will ensure that the client’s quality requirements are achieved. It is the place to describe the processes and activities that will be put into place to ensure that quality deliverables are produced. 

2. Determine the customer requirements for quality

Work with your customer to determine their requirements for quality. The high-level characteristics of quality can be uncovered during the project definition process. The detailed quality requirements should be uncovered when you gather business requirements.

3. Define a set of metrics to validate quality requirements are met

Identify a set of metrics that will provide insight into the quality of the deliverables. The project manager should already be capturing overall financial and duration metrics. The quality-related metrics need to be more sophisticated. There are two areas where you are trying to manage quality – in your project work processes and in the actual deliverables you are building. You should try to capture metrics that will measure each.

4. Execute quality control activities

Quality control refers to activities that validate the quality of your deliverables. It is also referred to as “inspection”. Ensure that the quality control activities for every deliverable are performed while the project is underway.

5. Execute quality assurance activities

Quality assurance refers to the processes used to build deliverables. It is also referred to as “prevention”. Having good processes should results in good quality deliverables.

6. Monitor and resolve deliverable quality

You need to validate the quality of your deliverables on an ongoing basis. When quality problems are found, implement a process to determine the cause and to make improvements in the process.

Using this process will help you understand, plan for and manage the state of quality on your project.

Project Management Process

Reasons for a Quality Management Process

The reasons for a quality management process to be documented for your next business venture will help to set your credibility level amongst your customers. This document is where the specifications are laid out, in detail, for your customers to know just what to expect when they receive your deliverable. It is also the place your quality assurance team will be able to locate the information they need.

The quality management process specifically puts into writing just what level of quality your deliverable will be at. The specifications in these documents will be in a range. This will allow your target audience to be aware of just what they will be receiving when they purchase your product for use by their organization. This is necessary since with an increase in quality generally comes an increase in price. Most organizations look for the lowest cost products that will meet their needs or specification.

The quality management process will also have the information that is necessary for your quality assurance team to create the necessary methods and procedures so you’re deliverable can be inspected to make sure it attains the goals of the documents. When the quality control department records the findings from inspecting the deliverable, you will have the proof necessary to prove to your target audience you are producing what you claim to be making.

This proof is how the quality management process will help you to attain the requirements now necessary that are set by the internationally accepted standards for the global market place. By having this record readily available when entering a new region of the world, the red tape and delays to this new market place will be reduced. This makes it easier and faster to begin the selling of your product so a new revenue stream can be developed.

By having a quality management process documented and in place, your organization will become more efficient in creating new and profitable revenue streams. With this proof, you can show any possible regulator or inspector that you are in compliance with the standards they require.

Project Management Process

Using a Project Management Process

Using a project management process is comparitable to following a set of instructions. Once the process is fully documented, it has the outline of what tasks are to be accomplished along with the resources that will be needed in the process. This allows for the completion of the process to occur in the most efficient manner possible.

The writing of the project management process should take place in the planning phase of the project’s life cycle. This documentation of the process can now be done in an efficient manner with the use of the project management templates. This is the tool of choice by the modern project manager so this task can be completed in a timely manner with more detail and following the best known path for this process.

There is more than just one project management process involved in a project of today. At the last count there were a total of 9. Each one has its own specific purpose and reason for being. The exclusion of just one of them would jeopardize the efficiency and productivity of the project as a whole. For that reason, each one has to be done separately and completely.

Each project management process has a specific area they are responsible for in the project. When combined all together they will be the project management plan. This is the document that your customers will wish to review before accepting your deliverable. This way they can visibly see if your project follows the acceptable standards they require for the production of the product they have ordered.

Without the documentation of each project management process, your deliverable will not have the requirements necessary for the global market place. This will allow your competitors to reach places and customers you will be forbidden to sell to. This will affect the size of your revenue stream and the profitability of your organization.

By using the project management process as it is written, you will be able to avoid such problems and cut through the red tape in more places. This will help to bring in the revenue stream necessary to keep your business open and functioning.