What Comprises a Managed Project? Part 1

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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Not as easy as it sounds, many college grads working their way to Project Management jobs are not fully prepared for the task at hand. Only through a working involvement with seasoned PM's will they be able to learn the complete process and how to apply what they have learned to each new project the embark on.

Just what is involved? First, general project management skills, Negotiation - specifically, Integrative Negotiation - is very important for dealing with suppliers and getting the in-house resources required when they are needed.

Conflict resolution is another important skill, from resolving conflicts within your project team to managing conflict that arises during negotiation, this is a fundamental skill required for true project managers. And ultimately, problem solving skills are essential. They will not only improve negotiation and conflict resolution skills, but will also help with risk management, time management, and quality management

Project Procurement: Unless your project is in-house, external suppliers will generally have a large impact on your costs. Suppliers will also affect whether the project delivers on time and to specification. If at all, try to know your suppliers and build a relationship of trust and respect with them.  

Take the time to define your needs in a Request for Proposal (RFP) document. If you are using a product such as The Simple Build (TSB), you will find yourself saving time and energies when it comes to this step of the process. TSB will allow you to attach drawings, schedules, and other specifications to RFP's, so do it once and done.

Schedule Management:  A project's scope can easily grow, and so can the time needed to complete it. For a project to be completed successfully, despite all of the unknowns, it's important to clearly define the sequence of activities, the time needed for each one, and build in sufficient contingency time to allow for the unexpected. Otherwise known as "critical path" this realignment of the projects schedule can be time consuming, letting all subs and suppliers for the project know there has been a change and how this has affected them in relation to the project schedule. Once again, a full featured project management system will do this in record time (minutes) to complete.   

With this information, you can develop a Project Schedule and then begin breaking it down into very specific pieces of work using a "work breakdown structure".  A schedule often isn't enough, particularly when different people perform different tasks and their work output becomes the input for another phase of work. To keep track of the various tasks/phases, Gantt Charts and Critical Path Analysis are often helpful. These tools, which are incorporated into the Simple Build product allow you to prepare and manage your schedule for maximum efficiency.

Cost Management:  To determine what a project will cost, you must be systematic with your estimating, budgeting, and controlling.

Also, be aware that many project decisions will have an impact on cost. Therefore, it's important to understand what's driving your costs and to develop a system for monitoring the project's financial performance. 

Quality Management: Projects must be delivered not only on time and on budget, but also to specification (aka Quality). As part of this, ensure that you actively manage project benefits. By continuously referring to the benefits that the project will provide, you keep client quality at the forefront - and you won't waste precious time and resources trying to achieve an inappropriate level of quality. 

I understand that for the custom home builder this becomes a quandary. Every builder worth their boots wants to deliver the highest quality home imaginable and within budget.

 

 

 

 

 

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