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Project Management Huts

A Project Management Hut is a collection of articles, covering the whole process to manage a project, from project initiation to project closure, including all the necessary templates, and written by one or more elite project managers.

Below is the list of available Project Management Huts on PM Hut. More on the way…

Project Management Process by John Filicetti
A Project Management Primer by Nick Jenkins
A Quick Guide to Project Management by Manjeet Singh
Project Management for Construction by Chris Hendrickson
Project Management Handbook by Wouter Baars.
Introduction to Project Management by JISC infoNet.

More Articles

Read the Complete Article

The Project Executive – Role and Responsibilities

The Project Executive – Role and Responsibilities (#10 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

The Project Executive would normally come from the senior management of the customer organisation – that is the organisation who are to directly use the output of the project – the new object, system, process or structure. The Executive has ultimate responsibility for the project and ‘owns’ the Business Case throughout the life of the project. He or she has the following specific responsibilities:

  • Oversee the development of the Project Brief and Business Case
  • Authorise expenditure levels, set stage tolerances and ensure funding for agreed expenditure is available
  • Authorise or reject proposed changes to cost or timescale beyond tolerance levels and all proposed changes to scope, checking for possible effects on the Business Case
  • Ensure Risks and Issues are being tracked and mitigated/resolved
  • Liaise with Programme or Corporate Management on progress
  • Organise and chair meetings of the Project Board
  • Authorise the project’s continuance or early closure at stage review meetings of the Project Board
  • Authorise formal closure of the project
  • Hold a Post-Project Review to ensure benefits are realised

JISC infoNet aims to be the UK’s leading advisory service for managers in the post-compulsory education sector promoting the effective strategic planning, implementation and management of information and learning technology. Read the Complete Article

Closing a Project – Lessons Learned

Closing a Project – Lessons Learned (#38 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

All projects should document their lessons learned. In considering what types of lessons may be learned projects tend to fall into two types:

  • the project that is expected to achieve an outcome – the achievement being the reason the project is started
  • the project that is started to enable the organisation, or the external funder, or similar organisations to learn – a feasibility project, proof of concept, or a project where a methodology is being tested

The success of the first type of project is dependent upon the outcome being achieved. If it is forecast that the outcome cannot be achieved to an acceptable quality there is little point in continuing to expend resource on it.

The success of the second type of project is the learning that comes out of it. If the end outcome cannot be achieved the project can still be a success if it shows why the outcome cannot be achieved or, that the outcome cannot be achieved in the way that the project was attempting to achieve it. Read the Complete Article

Keeping Records in Project Management

Keeping Records in Project Management (#36 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

A certain amount of record keeping and core documentation is required in any project. We have attempted to keep the proposed documentation to the minimum essential in order to define and manage the project and measure its success.

Well-managed records will not only help you manage a project, they will help you and/or others the next time round. Many projects are repeated or have certain aspects that have been done or researched before. Well organised and accessible records allow people to review what has gone before and either avoid pitfalls or see how to get out of them. Many managers new to project management may be asking ‘How much time will be devoted to filling in forms or records. The real question however is ‘How important are the forms and records?’ Most of the key documents associated with your project will:

  • be referred to repeatedly during the course of the project
  • need updating periodically

This includes the Business Case, Project Plan, Risk and Issue logs and possibly many other documents. Read the Complete Article

Communication and Collaboration in Project Management – Communication Planning

Communication and Collaboration in Project Management – Communication Planning (#33 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

During the project start up and initiation phases consideration should be given to communication and information flow needs. By conducting a communication needs analysis you will be able to prepare a communication plan as a subsidiary to the main project plan. The plan will reflect the specific needs and complexity of the project and therefore may be formal or informal, highly detailed or broadly structured. As with all other planning documents prepared at the start of the project, the communication plan is a live document and should be subject to regular review and revised when necessary to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the project and its stakeholders.

How communication is planned and managed will inevitably be influenced by the broader organisational structure and existing communication channels. Read the Complete Article

Communication and Collaboration in Project Management – Introduction

Communication and Collaboration in Project Management – Introduction (#32 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

Projects rely on effective communications – a project is no place for individuals to decide what, when and how, without reference to anyone else. We have already touched on this topic in related sections on Stakeholder Management and Reporting and Meetings.

The basic functions of communication and collaboration in projects are:

  • giving information to those who need it
  • coordinating, stimulating and facilitating of action
  • supporting change and influencing the attitudes and behaviour of stakeholder groups
  • encouraging and facilitating feedback and two-way information flow

The main audiences for communication in projects are:

  • members of the Project Team and others directly involved in project activities
  • members of the Project Board and others (e.g. Programme Manager/Office) involved in managing, steering, co-ordinating, controlling funds or involved in changing business processes
  • the remainder of the organisation’s management and workforce (including end-users and anyone affected by the outputs from the project)
  • external stakeholders such as students, suppliers, partners, funding bodies, regulatory bodies etc.
Read the Complete Article

Managing Project Quality

Managing Project Quality (#31 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

We have previously mentioned Time, Cost and Quality as key factors in project management. Assessing performance in terms of time and cost is relatively easy but quality is harder to define and measure. A high quality project may be one whose outputs:

  • Meet the specification
  • Meet stakeholder requirements

Or alternatively one whose outputs:

  • Are fit for purpose
  • Satisfy the stakeholders

These don’t all mean the same thing. The chances of the initial specification being correct or indeed of the stakeholders being able to adequately articulate their real needs are slight. We warned earlier of the dangers of hitting the targets but missing the point. Managing quality is about keeping an eye on the bigger picture and aiming for outputs that are in line with the second definition.

Elements of managing quality within a project include:

  • A formal project management framework
  • Adoption of recognised standards where they exist
  • User Acceptance procedures
  • Impartial evaluation

Many projects have some form of external quality assurance role built into the project structure. Read the Complete Article

Managing Project Scope

Managing Project Scope (#30 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

In any project there are likely to be changes to the original plan during the course of the project. The changes may arise due to:

  • The business case altering
  • The need to find a way round a problem
  • Identifying a better way to meet your objectives
  • The scope of the project altering
  • Somebody thinking the change is a good idea

A Change Control mechanism is necessary to ensure that such changes are handled in a managed and controlled way in order to keep the project on track. Without formal procedures in place the project runs the risk of ‘Scope Creep’.

Scope creep is an ever present risk in most projects. It is a particular issue in software development projects where it is always tempting to add a few extra changes as benefits become clear during the progress of the project. Read the Complete Article

Managing Project Risks

Managing Project Risks (#28 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

All projects bring with them an element of risk. In the best-planned projects there are uncertainties and unexpected events can always occur for example project staff might leave unexpectedly, the budget might suddenly be cut or a fire or theft might affect the project progress. The majority of risks are however related to the fact that your plan is based on estimates and they are therefore manageable. Risk management is a mechanism to help you to predict and deal with events that might prevent project outcomes being delivered on time.

Risk management is probably the single most important part of project management.

Identifying Project Risks

You will undertake an initial risk assessment as part of starting up the project. Basically you are asking the questions:

  • What could possibly happen to affect the project?
  • What is the likelihood of this happening?
Read the Complete Article

Managing by Exception

Managing by Exception (#27 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

Managing by Exception can be broadly summed up as creating the right conditions in the first place then only intervening when things aren’t going according to plan.

If your project is not part of a larger programme then you may need to consider setting tolerance limits for individual stages of your project and escalating issues to your Project Board as discussed in the section on Managing Project Boundaries: Stages, Phases & Milestones.

Within an individual project the Project Manager needs to be aware of what is happening in each part of the project at all times but the principle of management by exception nonetheless applies. This quite simply means that the Project Manager tracks and reviews but does not intervene unless corrective action is necessary.

This has implications for the role of the Project Board as the Board should meet in line with key decision points in the plan rather than meet at regular intervals just for the sake of it. Read the Complete Article

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