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An Example of a Project Charter

An Example of a Project Charter
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

Introduction

  • Overview of the ProjectProvide a simple but precise statement of the project.
    • Example 1Rice University is planning to create a store to sell computer supplies.
  • Purpose of the Project Charter

    This Project Charter outlines the purpose, objectives, and scope of the project. The purpose of a Project Charter is:

    • to provide an understanding of the project, the reason it is being conducted and its justification
    • to establish early on in the project the general scope
    • to establish the project manager and his or her authority level

    A note of who will review and approve the Project Charter needs to be included.

    • Example 2The Project Charter will be reviewed by the project team and approved. The final approval will be the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Project Objective and Scope Objective

    The objective of the project should “clearly stated” and contain a “measure” of how to assess whether they have been achieved.

Read the Complete Article

Project Closeout

Project Closeout
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

Every project needs to end and that’s what project closeout is all about in the last phase of the project lifecycle. The whole point of the project is that you need to deliver what you promised. By making sure you delivered everything you said you would, you make sure that all stakeholders are satisfied and all acceptance criteria has been met. Once that happens, your project can finish (Figure 1).

I finished the project on time and on budget!

Figure 1: The potential unwanted consequences of finishing a project on time and within budget!

Project closeout is often the most often neglected phase of all the project lifecycle. Once the project is over, it’s easy to pack things up, throw some files in a drawer, and start moving right into the initiation phase of the next project. Hold on! You’re not done yet!

The key activity in project closeout is gathering project records and disseminating information to formalize acceptance of the product, service or project as well as to perform project closure. Read the Complete Article

History of Project Management

History of Project Management
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

Could the Great Wall of China, the pyramids, or Stonehenge have been built without project management? It is possible to say that the concept of project management has been around since the beginning of history. It has enabled leaders to plan bold and massive projects and manage funding, materials and labor within a designated time frame.

In late 19th century, in the United States, large-scale government projects were the impetus for making important decisions that became the basis for project management methodology such as the transcontinental railroad, which began construction in the 1860s. Suddenly, business leaders found themselves faced with the daunting task of organizing the manual labor of thousands of workers and the processing and assembly of unprecedented quantities of raw material.

Team Work Without Project Management

Figure 1: This is what can happen without effective project management.

Near the turn of the century, Frederick Taylor (Figure 2) began his detailed studies of work. Read the Complete Article

The Project Life Cycle

The Project Life Cycle
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

The project manager and project team have one shared goal: to carry out the work of the project for the purpose of meeting the project’s objectives. Every project has beginnings, a middle period during which activities move the project toward completion, and an ending (either successful or unsuccessful). A standard project typically has the following four major phases (each with its own agenda of tasks and issues): initiation, planning, execution, and closure. Taken together, these phases represent the path a project takes from the beginning to its end and are generally referred to as the project life cycle (Figure 1).

The four phases of the project life cycle

Figure 1: The four phases of the project life cycle. Adapted from J. Westland, The Project Management Lifecycle, Kogan Page Limited (2006).

Initiation Phase

During the first of these phases, the initiation phase, the project objective or need is identified; this can be a business problem or opportunity. Read the Complete Article

Project Management Areas of Expertise

Project Management Areas of Expertise
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

In order for you as the project manager to manage the competing project constraints and to manage the project as a whole, there are some areas of expertise that you should bring onto the project team. They are the application area of knowledge; standards and regulations in your industry, understanding the project environment, and you must have general management knowledge and interpersonal skills. It should be noted that the industry expertise is not in a certain field but the expertise in order to run the project. So while knowledge of the type of industry is important you will have a project team supporting you in this endeavor. For example, if you are managing a project that is building an oil platform, you would not be expected to have a detailed understanding of the engineering since your team will have mechanical and civil engineers who will provide the appropriate expertise, however, it would definitely help if you understand this type of work. Read the Complete Article

Project Stakeholders

Project Stakeholders
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

A project is successful when it achieves its objectives and meets or exceeds the expectations of the stakeholders. But who are the stakeholders? Stakeholders are individuals who either care about or have a vested interest in your project. They are the people who are actively involved with the work of the project or have something to either gain or lose as a result of the project. When you manage a project to add lanes to a highway, motorists are stakeholders who are positively affected. However, you negatively affect residents who live near the highway during your project (with construction noise) and after your project with far reaching implications (increased traffic noise and pollution).

Note: Key stakeholders can make or break the success of a project. Even if all the deliverables are met and the objectives are satisfied, if your key stakeholders aren’t happy, nobody’s happy. Read the Complete Article

Politics and Project Management

Politics and Project Management
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

Many times, project stakeholders have conflicting interests. It’s the project manager’s responsibility to understand these conflicts and try to resolve them. It’s also the project manger’s responsibility to manage stakeholder expectations. Be certain to identify and meet with all key stakeholders early in the project to understand all their needs and constraints.

Project managers are somewhat like politicians. Typically, they are not inherently powerful, or capable of imposing their will directly to co-workers, subcontractors and suppliers. Like politicians, if they are to get their way, they have to exercise influence effectively over others. On projects, project managers have direct control over very few things; therefore their ability to influence others- to be a good politician- may be very important

Here are a few steps a good project politician should follow. However, a good rule is that when in doubt, stakeholder conflicts should always be resolved in favor of the customer. Read the Complete Article

Project Characteristics

Project Characteristics
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

When considering whether or not you have a project on your hands, there are some things to keep in mind. First, is it a project or ongoing operation? Next, if it is a project; who are the stakeholders? And third, what characteristics distinguish this endeavor as a project?

A project has several characteristics:

  • Projects are unique.
  • Projects are temporary in nature and have a definite beginning and ending date.
  • Projects are completed when the project goals are achieved or it’s determined the project is no longer viable.
  • A successful project is one that meets or exceeds the expectations of your stakeholders.

Consider the following scenario: The VP of marketing approaches you with a fabulous idea. (Obviously it must be “fabulous” because he thought of it.) He wants to set up kiosks in local grocery stores as mini offices. These offices will offer customers the ability to sign up for car and home insurance services as well as make their bill payments. Read the Complete Article

A Glossary of Project Management Terms

A Glossary of Project Management Terms
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

Every discipline has its own vocabulary, and project management is no exception. Part of the process of successfully deploying project management in your organization is to standardize the terminology. That way, when one person talks about risks, scope, issues, requirements, and other project management concerns, everyone else knows what he or she is referring to. This glossary contains common terms used in project management and can help start the standardization process.

Assumption

There may be external circumstances or events that must occur for the project to be successful (or that should happen to increase your chances of success). If you believe that the probability of the event occurring is acceptable, you could list it as an assumption. An assumption has a probability between 0 and 100%. That is, it is not impossible that the event will occur (0%) and it is not a fact (100%). Read the Complete Article

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