A project is a temporary undertaking with a specific goal and timeline. It can be anything from a small task to a large-scale initiative, and it is important to properly set up and manage a project to ensure its success. In this topic, we will cover the key steps in setting up a project, including defining the scope and objectives, creating a project plan, and assembling a team.
The process for identifying the need for a project in a selected organisation
Identifying the need for a project in an organisation is an important first step in the project management process.
A project is a temporary undertaking with a specific goal and timeline. Creating a unique product, service, or result is typically undertaken. Some key characteristics of a project include:
- Temporary: A project is temporary in nature and has a defined start and end date. Once the project is completed, it is typically closed, and resources are released.
- Unique: A project is typically unique because it is not a routine or ongoing operation. It involves creating something new or different rather than repeating an existing process.
- Specific purpose: A project has a specific purpose or goal it tries to achieve. This could be anything from developing a new product to improving a business process.
A project differs from operations in that operations are ongoing, recurring activities necessary for an organisation to function. Operations are typically focused on producing goods or services regularly, whereas a project is focused on achieving a specific goal or objective.
Features of a project
The following are some key features of a project:
- Series of related tasks: A project typically involves a series of tasks that are related to each other and work towards achieving the project’s specific goal.
- Beginning and end dates: A project has a defined start and end date. The project begins when it is initiated and ends when the specific goal has been achieved or the project is terminated.
- Specific goal: A project has a specific goal or objective that it is trying to achieve. This could be anything from developing a new product to improving a business process.
- Multidisciplinary team: A project typically involves a team of people with different skills and expertise who work together to achieve the project’s goal.
- Sponsor or customer: A project often has a sponsor or customer who provides funding or support for the project and is interested in the outcome.
- Budget constraints: A project is typically constrained by a budget that determines how much money can be spent on the project. The sponsor or customer may set the budget, or it may be determined by the organisation initiating the project.
These features help to define a project and distinguish it from other types of work.
Examples of projects
The following are some examples of projects:
- Development of a new product or service: This could involve designing, testing, and launching a new product or service, such as a new smartphone or software application.
- Implementing a change in structure or staffing of an organisation: This could involve reorganising an organisation’s structure or changing the way it is staffed, such as by hiring new employees or contractors or restructuring existing roles.
- New business procedure or process: This could involve developing and implementing a new business procedure or process, such as a new customer service or supply chain management system.
- Marketing campaign: This could involve planning and executing a marketing campaign to promote a product or service, such as a social media or television advertising campaign.
- Event planning: This could involve organising a corporate event, such as a conference or trade show.
These are just a few examples of the types of projects that organisations may undertake. There are many other potential projects that an organisation might undertake, depending on its specific needs and goals.
Identifying the project need
Identifying the need for a project is an important first step in the project management process. There are several steps involved in this process, including:
- Undertaking research: One way to identify the need for a project is to research to gather information about the organisation’s current situation and identify areas for improvement. This might involve gathering data on customer complaints, analysing the organisation’s financial performance, or conducting market research to identify new opportunities.
- Cost-benefit analysis: Once the need for a project has been identified, it is important to consider whether the potential benefits justify the costs. This can be done through a cost-benefit analysis, which involves evaluating the costs associated with the project (such as materials, labour, and other expenses) and comparing them to the expected benefits (such as increased revenue or improved efficiency).
Identifying the need for a project involves conducting research to gather information and then evaluating the potential benefits and costs of the project through a cost-benefit analysis.
Selling benefits to stakeholders selecting projects.
Selling the benefits of a project to stakeholders is an important part of the project management process, as stakeholders will need to be convinced of the value of the project to support it. Some key steps involved in selling the benefits of a project to stakeholders include:
- Identifying key stakeholders: The first step in selling the benefits of a project to stakeholders is to identify the key stakeholders and their interests and concerns. This will help you to tailor your message to their specific needs and goals.
- Communicating the benefits: Once you have identified the key stakeholders, the next step is communicating the project’s benefits to them. This might involve presenting a proposal that outlines the specific benefits of the project and how it will contribute to the organisation’s overall goals.
- Providing evidence: It is important to provide evidence to support the benefits you are communicating. This might involve presenting data, case studies, or testimonials that demonstrate the effectiveness of the project.
- Anticipating and addressing concerns: Stakeholders will likely have concerns about the project, so it is important to anticipate and address these concerns as part of your communication strategy. This might involve providing additional information or addressing specific concerns directly.
Selling the benefits of a project to stakeholders involves identifying key stakeholders, communicating the benefits of the project, providing evidence to support these benefits, and anticipating and addressing concerns.
Steps required to set up a complex project
Setting up a complex project involves several key steps, including:
- Define the scope and objectives of the project: The first step in setting up a complex project is to define the scope and objectives of the project clearly. This includes identifying the project’s specific goals and outlining the boundaries of what will and will not be included in the project.
- Create a project plan: Once the scope and objectives of the project have been defined, the next step is to create a detailed project plan. This should include a timeline for completing various tasks and milestones, a budget, and a resource allocation plan.
- Assemble a team: A complex project will typically require the involvement of multiple people, so it is important to assemble a team of skilled and experienced individuals to work on the project. This may include hiring new employees or contractors and assigning existing staff to the project.
- Obtain necessary approvals and funding: Depending on the nature of the project, it may be necessary to obtain approval from upper management or secure funding from external sources. This step may involve presenting the project plan to a board or committee and obtaining their approval before proceeding.
- Communicate with stakeholders: It is important to keep stakeholders informed about the project’s progress and to address any concerns or questions they may have. This may involve holding meetings with stakeholders or providing regular updates through emails or other communication channels.
- Monitor and control the project: As the project progresses, it is important to monitor and control its progress to ensure that it stays on track and meets its objectives. This may involve tracking progress, identifying and addressing issues, and making necessary adjustments to the project plan.
Planning processes and activities
Project planning is the process of defining the scope and objectives of a project, breaking down the work into smaller tasks, and creating a schedule for completing those tasks. Some key processes and activities involved in project planning include:
- Scope planning: Scope planning involves defining the project’s boundaries, including what will and will not be included in the project. This helps to ensure that the project stays on track and focused on its specific goals.
- Setting SMART objectives: SMART objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals that guide the project. Setting SMART objectives helps to ensure that the project stays focused and that progress can be measured.
- Determining the wider project deliverables: Project deliverables are the specific products, services, or results the project expects to produce. Determining the wider project deliverables helps to define the project’s scope and ensure that the project stays focused on its specific goals.
- Project breakdown: Project breakdown involves breaking the project’s work into smaller, more manageable tasks. This helps to make the project more manageable and easier to track.
- Identifying work packages: Work packages are groups of related tasks needed to complete a specific part of the project. Identifying work packages helps to break down the project into smaller, more manageable chunks.
- Scheduling activities: Scheduling activities involve creating a timeline for completing the various tasks and milestones in the project. This helps to ensure that the project stays on track and that resources are used efficiently.
- Determining the sequencing of activities: Determining the sequencing of activities involves identifying the order in which tasks must be completed. This helps to ensure that the project stays on track and that dependencies between tasks are accounted for.
- Identifying milestones: Milestones are key points in the project timeline that mark the completion of important tasks or phases. Identifying milestones helps track progress and ensure the project stays on track.
Project planning involves various processes and activities that help define the project’s scope and objectives, break down the work into smaller tasks, and create a schedule for completing those tasks.
Resource planning is identifying and allocating the resources (such as people, equipment, money, and space) needed to complete a project. Some key steps involved in resource planning include:
- Assessing resource availability: The first step in resource planning is assessing the resources needed for the project. This might involve identifying potential shortages or surpluses and determining how to address them.
- Estimating resources for each activity and duration: Once the availability of resources has been assessed, the next step is to estimate the resources needed for each activity and the duration of those activities. This might involve determining how much time, money, and resources will be needed to complete each task.
- Calculating estimates for all project costs: It is important to calculate estimates for all project costs, including any potential overruns, to create a realistic budget plan. This might involve consulting with subject matter experts and reviewing past projects to understand the costs that are likely to be incurred.
- Creating a budget plan: A budget plan is a detailed breakdown of the estimated costs for the project, including all resources that will be needed. It is important to create a budget plan to ensure that the project stays on track and that resources are used efficiently.
- Procurement planning: Procurement planning involves developing a plan to obtain the resources needed for the project. This might involve identifying potential suppliers, negotiating contracts, and developing a process for procuring the resources.
Resource planning involves identifying and allocating the resources needed to complete a project, including people, equipment, money, and space. It also involves developing a budget and procurement plan to ensure that the necessary resources are obtained promptly and cost-effectively.
Risk management is the process of identifying and evaluating potential risks to a project and taking steps to mitigate those risks. Some key steps involved in project risk management include:
- Identifying and evaluating risks: The first step in risk management is identifying and evaluating potential risks to the project. This might involve analysing past projects, consulting with subject matter experts, and using tools like a risk assessment matrix to identify potential risks.
- Creating risk mitigation plans: Once potential risks have been identified and evaluated, the next step is to create mitigation plans to address those risks. This might involve developing contingency plans to deal with potential issues, implementing controls to reduce the likelihood of risks occurring, or transferring risks through insurance or other means.
- Creating a risk log: A risk log is a document that records all identified risks, along with the likelihood and impact of those risks. Creating a risk log helps track potential risks and ensure they are properly addressed.
- Contingency plans: Contingency plans are backup plans that can be implemented in the event that risk materialises. These plans may include steps to minimise the risk’s impact or recover from the risk if it does occur.
Project risk management involves identifying and evaluating potential risks to the project, creating risk mitigation plans, and creating a risk log and contingency plans to deal with those risks. This helps to ensure that the project stays on track and that potential issues are addressed promptly and effectively.
Quality planning is the process of determining the quality standards for a project and identifying the criteria that will be used to measure the success or failure of the project. Some key steps involved in quality planning include:
- Determining quality standards: The first step in quality planning is to determine the quality standards that will guide the project. This might involve reviewing industry standards, consulting with subject matter experts, and considering the needs and expectations of stakeholders.
- Identifying success/failure/quality criteria: Once the quality standards have been determined, the next step is to identify the success/failure/quality criteria used to measure the project. This might involve identifying specific metrics or benchmarks that will be used to assess the project’s progress and success.
- Quality assurance process analysis: Quality assurance process analysis involves reviewing the processes and procedures to ensure that the project meets the quality standards. This might involve reviewing the project plan, identifying potential points of failure, and implementing controls to ensure that the project meets the required quality standards.
Quality planning is an important part of the project management process, as it helps to ensure that the project meets the required quality standards and delivers the desired results.
Communication planning is the process of identifying the stakeholders in a project and determining the best methods and frequency for communicating with them. Some key steps involved in communication planning include:
- Identifying stakeholders and their expectations: The first step in communication planning is to identify the stakeholders in the project and understand their expectations. This might involve conducting a stakeholder analysis to determine the key stakeholders and their interests and concerns.
- Communications requirements analysis: The next step is to conduct a communications requirements analysis to determine the specific communications needs of the project. This might involve identifying the information that needs to be communicated, who needs to receive it, and how it should be communicated.
- Determining method, frequency, and time frame for communications: Once the communications requirements have been identified, the next step is to determine the best method, frequency, and time frame for communicating with stakeholders. This might involve using various communication methods, such as emails, meetings, and presentations, to ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed.
- Creating a communication plan: A communication plan is a document that outlines the specific communications needs of the project and the methods, frequency, and time frame for communicating with stakeholders. Creating a communication plan helps to ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed and that the project stays on track.
Communication planning is an important part of the project management process, as it helps to ensure that all stakeholders are kept informed and that the project stays on track.
Formation of a project team
Forming a project team is an important step in the project management process, as it involves bringing together the people and resources needed to complete the project. Some key considerations in the formation of a project team include:
- Key project roles: A project team typically includes a range of roles, including a project manager, a project sponsor, a project coordinator, and project team members. The project manager is responsible for overall project management, while the project sponsor provides support and resources. The project coordinator helps to coordinate the activities of the project team, and the project team members are responsible for completing specific tasks.
- Relationships between roles: It is important to understand the relationships between the different roles on the project team, as these relationships can significantly impact the project’s success. For example, the project manager may work closely with the project sponsor to ensure that the project stays on track and the necessary resources are available.
- Appointment of a project manager: The appointment of the project manager is an important step in the formation of the project team. The project manager is responsible for the overall management of the project and will typically have a range of skills and experience that are relevant to the project.
Forming a project team involves bringing together a range of key roles and establishing relationships between those roles to complete the project successfully.
Tools and techniques
There are several tools and techniques that can be used when setting up a project to help ensure its success. Some of the most common tools and techniques include:
- Cost-benefit analysis: A cost-benefit analysis is a tool used to evaluate a project’s potential costs and benefits. This can help to determine whether the potential benefits of the project justify the costs.
- SWOT analysis: SWOT analysis is a tool that is used to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a project. This can help to identify potential risks and opportunities and develop strategies to address them.
- RACI matrix: A RACI matrix is a tool used to define the roles and responsibilities of the project team. It stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed and helps to ensure that everyone on the project team understands their role and responsibilities.
- Stakeholder matrix: A stakeholder matrix is a tool used to identify the stakeholders in a project and understand their interests and concerns. This can help to ensure that the project meets the needs of all stakeholders.
- Gantt charts: A Gantt chart is a visual representation of the tasks and milestones in a project, along with their dependencies and duration. It is often used to create a project schedule and track progress.
- PERT charts: A PERT chart is a visual representation of the tasks and milestones in a project, along with their dependencies and duration. It is often used to create a project schedule and track progress, particularly for projects with high uncertainty.
There are many tools and techniques that can be used when setting up a project to help ensure its success. Which tool or technique you choose will depend on your project’s specific nature and your team’s needs.
Project phases are the different stages a project goes through from start to finish. The most common project phases include:
- Initiate: The initiating phase is the first phase of the project and involves defining the project’s scope and objectives, identifying the stakeholders and obtaining approval to move forward.
- Plan: The planning phase involves developing a detailed plan for completing the project, including breaking down the work into smaller tasks, creating a budget and schedule, and identifying the resources that will be needed.
- Execute: The execute phase involves carrying out the work that has been planned and completing the tasks and milestones of the project. This phase typically involves working with the project team and other stakeholders to complete the work on schedule and within budget.
- Monitor/control: The monitor/control phase involves tracking the project’s progress and making necessary adjustments to stay on track. This might involve monitoring the project budget, schedule, and quality and taking corrective action if needed.
- Evaluate/close: The evaluate/close phase involves evaluating the project’s results and determining whether the project was a success. This might involve conducting a post-project review to assess the project’s results and identify any lessons learned.
Project phases are a useful way to organise and manage a project’s work and can help ensure that the project stays on track and delivers the desired results.
Management of a complex project in a selected organisation
Evaluating the management of a complex project in an organisation involves reviewing how the project was set up and how it has been managed throughout its execution. Some key areas to consider when evaluating the management of a complex project include the following:
- Defining the scope and objectives of the project: Were the scope and objectives clearly defined and understood by all project team members?
- Creating a project plan: Was a comprehensive and realistic project plan created and followed? Did the project plan include a timeline, budget, and plan for allocating resources?
- Assembling a team: Was the project team appropriately skilled and experienced to handle the project’s complexity? Was the team properly trained and supported to carry out their roles and responsibilities?
- Obtaining necessary approvals and funding: Was the project approved by upper management, and did it have the funding required to be successful?
- Communicating with stakeholders: Was there effective communication with stakeholders throughout the project? Were stakeholders informed about the project’s progress, and were any concerns or questions promptly addressed?
- Monitoring and controlling the project: Was it effectively monitored and controlled to ensure it stayed on track and met its objectives? Were any issues identified and addressed in a timely manner?
A well-managed complex project should have clear goals and objectives, a comprehensive and realistic project plan, a skilled and experienced team, necessary approvals and funding, effective communication with stakeholders, and effective monitoring and control to ensure it stays on track and meets its objectives.
Managing resources when delivering a project
Physical resources, such as equipment, materials, and supplies, refer to the tangible resources needed to complete a project. Some key considerations when securing, procuring, and organising physical resources include:
- Identifying the resources needed: The first step in securing and organising physical resources is to identify the resources needed to complete the project. This might involve consulting with subject matter experts and reviewing the project plan to determine the specific equipment, materials, and supplies that will be needed.
- Procuring the resources: Once they have been identified, the next step is procuring them. This might involve purchasing the resources directly or working with suppliers to obtain the necessary materials and supplies.
- Organising the resources: Once the resources have been procured, the next step is to organise them in a way that makes them easy to access and use. This might involve storing the resources in a central location, labelling them, and creating a system for tracking their use.
- Mobilising the resources: Mobilising the resources involves getting them ready for use on the project. This might involve setting up equipment, preparing materials and supplies, and ensuring the necessary technology is in place.
- Maintaining the resources: It is important to maintain the physical resources to ensure they are in good working order and can be used effectively. This might involve performing regular maintenance and repairs and replacing resources that no longer fit for purpose.
Securing, procuring, and organising physical resources is an important part of the project management process, as it ensures that the necessary resources are available and ready to use when needed.
Human resources refer to the people involved in a project, including the project team, stakeholders, and others who contribute. Some key considerations when managing human resources on a project include:
- Selecting and preparing people: The first step in managing human resources is to select and prepare the people involved in the project. This might involve recruiting team members, arranging training and support, and ensuring everyone have the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute to the project.
- Allocating tasks to the team and monitoring work: Once the team has been selected, the next step is to allocate tasks to team members and monitor their work. This might involve assigning specific responsibilities to team members, setting deadlines, and tracking progress to ensure that the work is completed on time and to a high standard.
- Delegation: Delegation is the process of assigning tasks and responsibilities to team members and empowering them to take ownership of those tasks. Delegation can help develop team members’ skills and build their confidence, and it can also help lighten the project manager’s workload.
- Resource levelling: Resource levelling ensures that the resources (including people, equipment, and materials) needed to complete the project are available when needed. This might involve balancing team members’ workloads or adjusting the project schedule to ensure that resources are used efficiently.
- Managing people and performance: Managing people and performance involves effectively leading, motivating, and developing positive relationships with team members. This might involve providing feedback, resolving conflicts, and setting clear goals and expectations for team members.
Managing human resources on a project is an important part of the project management process, as it helps to ensure that the team is motivated, productive, and working effectively towards the project’s goals.
Finance is an important aspect of project management, as it involves managing the budget and resources needed to complete the project. Some key considerations when managing finance on a project include:
- Implementing cost control mechanisms: Cost control mechanisms are tools and processes that are used to manage the costs of a project and ensure that they stay within budget. This might involve creating a budget plan, setting limits on spending, and tracking costs to identify potential overspending.
- Monitoring spending against budget: It is important to regularly monitor spending against the budget to ensure that the project is staying on track financially. This might involve comparing actual costs to the budget, identifying variances, and taking corrective action if necessary.
- Complying with financial governance requirements: Many organisations have financial governance requirements that must be followed when managing a project. These requirements might include rules around procurement, budgeting, and financial reporting, and it is important to ensure that these requirements are followed to ensure compliance.
Managing finance on a project is an important part of the project management process, as it helps to ensure that the project stays on track financially and delivers the desired results within budget.
Managing time is an important aspect of resource management in project delivery. Here are some strategies for managing time effectively:
- Establish clear milestones: Milestones are significant points in the project timeline that mark the completion of a specific task or deliverable. Establishing clear milestones helps to keep the project on track and allows you to monitor progress towards the final deliverables.
- Monitor progress regularly: Monitoring progress against the project plan and milestones helps identify any potential delays or issues early on. This allows you to adjust the plan as needed to keep the project on track.
- Adjust the plan as needed: If the project falls behind schedule, you may need to adjust the plan to make up for the lost time. This may involve reassigning tasks to different team members, adjusting the project scope, or finding ways to streamline processes.
- Communicate with the team: Regular communication is crucial for effective time management. Keep team members informed of any changes to the plan or schedule, and encourage them to raise any concerns they have about meeting deadlines.
By managing time effectively, you can ensure that your project stays on track and is delivered on time.
Managing quality is an important aspect of resource management in project delivery. Here are some strategies for managing quality effectively:
- Set clear quality standards: Establishing clear standards helps ensure that the project meets the required level of quality. These standards should be based on the project’s requirements and should be communicated to all team members.
- Monitor quality regularly: Monitoring the quality of the project’s deliverables helps identify any issues or areas for improvement. This can be done through quality assurance testing, peer review, or customer feedback.
- Establish a process for addressing quality issues: If they are identified, it’s important to have a process for addressing and resolving them. This may involve working with team members to identify the root cause of the issue and implementing corrective actions.
- Communicate with the team: Regular communication is crucial for effective quality management. Keep team members informed of any changes to quality standards or processes, and encourage them to raise any concerns they have about the quality of the project’s deliverables.
By managing quality effectively, you can ensure that the project meets the required level of quality and meets the needs of stakeholders.