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Functional and Project Contributor Level Roles

Functional and Project Contributor Level Roles (#4 in the series The Key Integrative Roles in Project Management)
By Dr.Russell Archibald

Role of the Functional Managers

Functional Managers integrate the efforts of project contributors on all projects within their individual offices, departments or disciplines, primarily through the allocation of resources available within those organizational elements to the approved, active portfolio of projects. When conflicts occur between projects (insufficient skilled resources, for example) the involved functional and project managers will escalate the conflict to the appropriate level for resolution, in accordance with the escalation procedures prescribed in the agency’s project management process.

Role of the Functional Project Leaders

Functional Project Leaders integrate the work of all contributors to their specific assigned projects within each of their respective functions.

Role of the Work Package Leaders

Work Package Leaders integrate the work of individual contributors to each of their assigned work control packages within each project. Read the Complete Article

Executive Level Roles in Project Management

Executive Level Roles in Project Management (#1 in the series The Key Integrative Roles in Project Management)
By Dr.Russell Archibald

The role of the project manager is obviously a central one, and in fact this role has received considerable attention in the project management literature over the past several decades. However, there are other important integrative roles in project management, and these frequently have been ignored.

Executive Level Roles

Minister as General Manager: integrates all projects with the agency’s strategic plans. This role in project management is focused on:

  • Determining how the organization’s portfolio of projects supports the overall business strategies of the organization,
  • Overseeing the organization’s overall project management process, and Monitoring how this process is integrated with all other aspects of the organization, and ensuring that sufficient money, human, and other resources are available on a timely basis to support the on-schedule completion all of the approved projects; if sufficient resources are not available then the General Manager must delay, cancel, or change the scope of one or more projects.
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Advantages of Web-enabled Project Management Software

Advantages of Web-enabled Project Management Software
By Dr.Russell Archibald

There are currently a large number of powerful, commercially available, Web-enabled project management software systems that offer advantages to the project planning and control arena. These systems:

  • Enable improved collaboration and communication for project teams no matter where the members are located geographically, with everyone working from the same currently updated information.
  • Provide risk and issue tracking and escalation processes.
  • Empower staff and project team members through access to central information repositories, with suitable controls on who can change the information.
  • Automate much if not most of the project management process and related documentation and record keeping.
  • Enable key resource assignment within and between projects, programs, and project portfolios, and facilitate corporate resource planning and acquisition.
  • Enable tracking and evaluation of changes in project scope, schedule, cost and risk.
  • Allow integration of project management processes with all other business systems.
  • Capture the “lessons learned” on every project for incorporation into the project management process and related data repositories.
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Identification of the Project Team Members

Identification of the Project Team Members (#2 in the series Requirements for an Effective Project Team and for Excellent Teamwork)
By Dr.Russell Archibald

It seems obvious that in order to have an effective team, the team players must be identified. However, experience shows that project managers often fail to do this, or only identify their project team members on an “as needed” basis when a new task comes up that cannot be performed by someone already on the team. In some cases the project manager may know the team members, but will fail to inform the other members, so that only the project manager knows who is on the team.

Using the defined project scope and objectives and the initial list of project deliverables, a listing of all project team members is compiled and distributed to the entire team. This list should include each team member’s full name, address (regular and e-mail), voice and fax telephone numbers, and any other pertinent communication information. Read the Complete Article

Three Basic Project Management Principles

Three Basic Project Management Principles
By Dr.Russell Archibald

One way to look at the project management discipline is to view it as consisting of these three basic principles:

  1. Assignment of integrative project responsibilities—the key integrative roles.
  2. Application of integrative and predictive project planning and control systems—the project documents, procedures, information processing and communication systems, and their application.
  3. Integrated project team-working—identifying, integrating, and managing the project team to integrate the efforts of all contributors to the project.

Dr. Russell D. Archibald, PhD (Hon), MSc, Fellow PMI and APM/IPMA, PMP, is one of the six founding members of the Project Management Institute. Now semi-retired, he has many years of management experience in engineering and operations with a variety of major US corporations in Europe and South America as well as the US. He has made major contributions to the understanding of project management, is author of the best selling 2003 book “Managing High-Technology Programs and Projects” (published also in Russian, Chinese, and Italian), has trained more than a thousand program and project managers and project specialists around the world, and has consulted in project management to clients in 14 countries on 4 continents. Read the Complete Article

Objectives of Modern Project Management

Objectives of Modern Project Management
By Dr.Russell Archibald

The objectives of Project Management are two-fold:

  • To assure that each project, when initially conceived and authorized, supports the organization’s approved higher level strategic objectives and contains acceptable risks regarding the project’s objectives: political, technical, cost and schedule.
  • To plan, execute, and control each project simultaneously with all other projects effectively and efficiently so that each will achieve its approved objectives: meeting the related strategic objective by producing the specified results on schedule and within budget.

The first of these objectives is essential to the strategic management of the organization. Application of Project Management practices during the early strategic planning and project concept phases has been introduced in more organizations within the past few years, with beneficial results. Too frequently, project failures can be traced directly to unrealistic original technical, cost or schedule targets, and inadequate risk analysis and risk management.

Dr. Russell D. Read the Complete Article

Critical Chain Method/CCM of Project Planning and Control

Critical Chain Method/CCM of Project Planning and Control
By Dr.Russell Archibald

The critical chain method has emerged in the past few years and is embraced by some practitioners as a significant advance in the state of the art of project planning, scheduling and control. Others take the position that it is not significantly different from the critical path method/CPM, when that method is effectively used. CCM builds on the familiar CPM network planning technique in the following ways:

  • Resources and ‘Resource Buffers’: CCM focuses more intensively on resource constraints in creating the network plan logic. It identifies quantified resource buffers to assure that critical resources will be available when required to avoid project delays. Quantified resource buffers are certainly a new addition to project planning and control practices, although some would argue that they are basically the same as the ‘management reserves’ that have long been used in the application of CPM.
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Defining the Decision Points (Milestones)

Defining the Decision Points (Milestones)
By Dr.Russell Archibald

Key decision points (events or milestones) occur at the start and end of each phase or sub-phase. They may also occur within any of the life cycle phases. The decisions typically authorize the project manager and team to:

  • Proceed with the remaining work in the current phase.
  • Start work on the ensuing phase.
  • Re-plan and re-start a phase or sub-phase already completed if satisfactory results have not been achieved.
  • Revise the project objectives, plans and schedules when major changes in scope are required.
  • Terminate the project if the conclusion has been reached that its objectives cannot be achieved successfully or if the risks have been determined to be too great.
  • Place the project on hold pending availability of funds, new technology, or some other external event.

Dr. Russell D. Archibald, PhD (Hon), MSc, Fellow PMI and APM/IPMA, PMP, is one of the six founding members of the Project Management Institute. Read the Complete Article

Three General Types of Portfolios

Three General Types of Portfolios
By Dr.Russell Archibald

As indicated in the figure below, a project portfolio consists of the programs and projects supporting a given higher-level strategy. There could be only one overall corporate project portfolio, but it generally makes more sense to define more than one portfolio on a strategic basis in large organizations to reflect product line, geographic or technological divisions of the organization, industry or market. Combe and Githens (1999) identify three general types of project portfolios:

  • Value-Creating: Strategic or enterprise projects.
  • Operational: Projects that make the organization more efficient and satisfy some fundamental functional work.
  • Compliance: “Must-do” projects required to maintain regulatory compliance.

Others have defined other types of project portfolios that reflect the specific organizational and industrial environments that are involved (OGC MSP 2002, Pellegrinelli 1997, Dye and Pennypacker 1999).

Schematic of Strategies, Projects, a Program and a Project Portfolio

Schematic of Strategies, Projects, a Program and a Project Portfolio (Archibald 2003, p 13).

Dr. Read the Complete Article


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