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Project Management

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LESSON 17
PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.)
Broad Contents
Elements of a Project Plan
System Integration
17.1
Elements of a Project Plan:
As we know that the process of developing project plan varies from organization to
organization. However, any project plan must contain the following elements:
Overview:
This is short summary of objectives and scope of project. It is directed to top management
and contains statement of goals of project; brief explanation of their relationship to firm's
objectives, description of managerial structure that will be used for project, and list of major
milestones in project schedule.
Introduction:
This contains more detailed statement of general goals noted in overview section. Statement
should include profit and competitive aims as well as technical goals.
General Approach:
This section describes both managerial and technical approaches to work. Technical
discussion describes relationship of project to available technologies. For example, it might
note this project is extension of work done by company for earlier project. Subsection on
managerial approach takes note of any deviation from routine procedure ­ for instance, use
of subcontractors for some parts of work.
Contractual Aspects:
This critical section of plan includes complete list and description of all reporting
requirements, customer-supplied resources, liaison arrangements, advisory committees,
project review and cancellation procedures, proprietary requirements, any specific
management agreements (for example, use of subcontractors) as well as technical
deliverables and their specifications, delivery schedules, and specific procedures for
changing any of above. Completeness is necessity in this section. If in doubt about whether
item should be included or not, wise planner will include it.
Schedules:
This section outlines various schedules and lists all milestones events. Estimated time for
each task should be obtained from those who will do work. Project master schedule is
constructed from those inputs. Responsible person or department head should sign off on
final, agreed-on schedule.
Resources:
There are two primary aspects to this section. First is budget. Both capital and expense
requirements are detailed by task, which makes this project budget. One-time costs are
separated from recurring project costs. Second, cost monitoring and control procedures
should be described. In additional to usual routine elements, monitoring and control
procedures must be designed to cover special resource requirements for project, such as
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special machines, test equipment, laboratory usage or construction, logistics, field facilities,
and special materials.
Personnel:
This section lists expected personnel requirements of project. Special skills, types of
training needed, possible recruiting problems, legal or policy restrictions on work force
composition, and any other special requirement, such as security clearances, should be
noted here. (This reference to "security" includes need to protect trade secrets and research
targets from competitors as well as need to protect national security). It is helpful to time-
phase personnel needs to project needed and in what numbers. These projections are
important element of budget, so personnel, schedule, and resources sections can be
crosschecked with one another to ensure consistency.
Evaluation Methods:
Every project should be evaluated against standards and by methods established at project's
inception. This section contains brief description of procedure to follow in monitoring,
collecting, storing, and evaluating history of project.
Potential Problems:
Sometimes it is difficult to convince planners to make serious attempt to anticipate potential
difficulties. One or more such possible disasters such as subcontractor default, technical
failure, strikes, bad weather, sudden required breakthroughs, critical sequences of tasks,
tight deadlines, resource limitations, complex coordination requirements, insufficient
authority in some areas, and new complex or unfamiliar tasks are certain to occur. Only
uncertainties are which ones will occur and when. In fact, timing of these disasters is not
random.
There are times, conditions and events in life of every project when progress depends on
subcontractors, or weather, or coordination or resource availability, and plans to deal with
unfavorable contingencies should be developed early in project's life cycle. Some project
managers disdain this section of plan on grounds that crises cannot be predicted. Further,
they claim to be very effective firefighters. It is quite possible that when one finds such
project manager, one has discovered arsonist. No amount of current planning can solve
current crises, but preplanning may avert some.
These are elements that constitute project plan and are basis for more detailed planning of
budgets, schedules, work plan, and general management of project. Once this basic plan is fully
developed and approved, it is disseminated to all interested parties.
Below is detailed discussion on some important parts/aspects of a Project Plan.
Introduction/Overview:
The project management plan introduction/overview includes an introduction both to the
specific project and to the project management plan document itself. Some background
information may be included to set the stage or provide perspective on the information that
follows, such as how the project was initiated, who the customer or sponsor is, how the project
is funded, or other factors that are important to those who read the plan. Introductions are
always short, allowing the reader to move into the plan quickly. Additional external or historical
information can be referenced or included in the Appendix.
External factors, such as general or specific economic trends, constraints, or opportunities;
political or governmental conditions; population demographics; or internal organizational
factors, should be discussed.
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Mission and Objectives:
The purpose or mission of the project is stated in one or two paragraphs, followed by a set
of concrete objectives. The mission statement is all encompassing, establishing why the
project exists. Mission statements can be general or specific. They also reference the
customer if the project is being performed under contract or for a third party.
Project objectives are outlined as specific goals to be accomplished and to which status they
can be applied. For instance, objectives for a small construction project might include a
good location; a modern energy-efficient economic design; a fully furnished facility; a
complete set of project documents; compliance with all laws, codes, and requirements; a
standard profit margin; and a completion date.
Planning becomes straightforward when objectives are defined for key areas. Objectives
can be established for every aspect of the project, including scope of work, organization,
management, systems, environment, safety, and overall completion of the project (i.e., final
cost and schedule dates). Established objectives in the following areas facilitate detailed
planning, systems development, and work performance:
Technical objectives
o
Schedule objectives
o
Cost objectives
o
Organizational/personnel-related objectives
o
Quality objectives
o
Environmental safety and health objectives
o
Contracting/procurement objectives
o
Management system objectives
o
Well-defined objectives enhance the reliability of subsequent planning. Once objectives are stated in
concise terms, they allow for the development of the project scope of work and the work breakdown
structure.
Work Scope:
The work scope section of the project management plan demonstrates how well the project
is understood.
It includes narrative descriptions of all elements of the project's scope of work. It clearly
identifies the products or services to be provided to the customer. The statement of work
contains enough information to allow development of the Work Breakdown Structures
(WBS), schedules, and cost estimates, as well as assignment of responsibilities.
This section can address the project phases and include special plans associated with those
phases, such as the Research and Development plan, engineering/design plans, construction
plan, manufacturing plan, facility start-up plan, or transition plan. It may also describe the
systems management activities, including systems engineering and integration, to ensure
project life cycle perspective. In other words, it shows that the activities necessary to ensure
that the design and final products meet customer requirements are all planned and managed
properly and can be integrated and operated as intended, and that start up, transition,
operation, and completion activities are also planned and managed properly.
To simplify preparation, the work scope can be prepared in outline form, which can then be
used to develop the Work Breakdown Structures (WBS). Often the Work Breakdown
Structure (WBS) and work scope are prepared in parallel, with the resultant narrative
description of the work called a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) dictionary.
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Planning Basis:
The planning basis section provides for the documentation of key approaches, assumptions,
requirements, and other factors considered during preparation of the project management
plan. The following topics are addressed in this section:
1.
Project Deliverables/End Products:
A list of all products, documents, and services to be delivered to the customer
over the life of the project is required.
2.
Requirements:
Requirements are specifications or instructions that must be followed during
project performance.
They may include technical requirements, facilities requirements, data
requirements, management requirements, or special instructions. Technical
requirements may include codes, standards, laws, engineering or design
specifications, models, or examples for mandatory or recommended compliance
on the project. When there are mandatory requirements, such as laws, these
must be identified and listed, or project performers run the risk of
noncompliance and legal prosecution.
Facilities requirements include an initial assessment of types, amount, and
quality of facilities needed for the project, along with related utilities, furniture,
and equipment.
This provides initial bases for estimating quantities and costs associated with
those resources. Overlooking facilities issues during project planning leads to
schedule slippages, cost overruns, unhappy project participants, and untold
headaches for the project managers. For small projects, facility requirements
may not be a big issue; for larger projects, they can be critical.
Functional and operational requirements spell out what the system, facility, or
product being produced is intended to do. They provide the basis for the
engineering, design, and planning of the system, facility, or product. Where
Functional and operational requirements exist, listing or identifying them
greatly simplifies and facilitates the design process. Mandatory data
requirements, management directives, or special instructions are also identified
and documented during the planning process. Special instructions may include
directions from the customer or upper management or may be spelled out in
contract documents.
3.
Constraints:
Constraints may include known technical limitations, financial ceilings, or
schedule "drop dead" dates. Technical constraints may be related to state-of-
the-art capabilities, interface requirements with other systems, or user-related
issues (e.g., software that must run on certain types of personal computers).
Financial and schedule constraints can be introduced by the customer and lead-
time associated with procured hardware or funding/ budgetary limits.
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4.
Approaches/Strategies:
The approach or strategies to be utilized can have a major impact on subsequent
planning.
For instance, if all project work is to be performed within the parent (host)
organization with minimum subcontract support that approach impacts planning
of resources and organizational issues. If work is to be "fast-tracked" by
overlapping design and construction activities, or by performing more work in
parallel, then that approach can be described. Communication of strategies to
project participants can be done effectively by devoting several paragraphs to
that topic in this section of the project management plan.
5.
Key Assumptions:
Every project is planned under some degree of uncertainty. Therefore,
assumptions are required to estimate work scope, schedule durations, resource
requirements, and cost estimates. Assumptions are also required when defining
the management strategies, systems, and procedures to be utilized.
Major assumptions are to be documented because they can have a significant
impact on planning and estimating. This is true on all projects, regardless of
size. Large projects, which involve numerous participants and major
complexities, generally depend on more key assumptions during project
planning than smaller projects. The major reason for documenting key
assumptions is to provide the project manager with a basis for revising plans
when the assumptions are changed (that is, when a customer changes his or her
mind).
6.
Specifically Excluded Scope:
This subject may be needed to limit the scope of work. It highlights specific
and relatively obvious issues, such as documentation, training, or follow-on
support, which customers often assume but which cost money and have not
been included in the project plan. Clarification of these scoping questions saves
headaches later, in some cases even avoiding litigation.
17.2
Systems Integration:
Systems integration (sometimes called systems engineering) plays crucial role in performance
aspect of project. We are using this phrase to include any technical specialist in science or art of
project who is capable of performing role of integrating technical discipline to achieve
customer's objectives, and/or integrating project into customer's system.
As such, system integration is concerned with three major objectives:
1.
Performance:
It is what system does. It includes system design, reliability, quality, maintainability,
and reparability. Obviously, these are not separate, independent elements of system, but
are highly interrelated qualifies. Any of these system performance characteristics is
subject to over-design as well as under-design but must fall within design parameters
established by client. If client approves, we may give client more than specifications
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require simply because we have already designed to some capability and giving client
over designed system is faster and less expensive than delivering precisely to
specification. At time, esthetic qualities of system may be specified, typically through
requirement that appearance of system must be acceptable to client.
2.
Effectiveness:
Objective is to design individual components of system to achieve desired performance
of optimal manner. This is accomplished through following guidelines:
Require no component performance specifications unless necessary to meet one or
more system equipments.
Every component requirement should be traceable to one or more systems
requirements.
Design components to optimize system performance, not performance of
subsystem.
It is not unusual for clients to violate any or all of these seemingly logical dicta.
Tolerances specified to far closer limits than any possible system requirement,
superfluous "bells and whistles," and "off shelf" components that do not work well with
rest of system are so common they seem to be taken for granted by both client and
vendor. Causes of these strange occurrences are probably associated with some
combination of inherent distrust between buyer and seller, desire to over-specify in
order "to be sure" and feeling that "this part will do just as well". These attitudes can be
softened and replaced with others that are more helpful to process of systems
integration.
3.
Cost:
Systems integration considers cost to be design parameter, and costs can be
accumulated in several areas. Added design cost may lead to decreased component
costs, leaving performance and effectiveness otherwise unchanged. Added design cost
may yield decreased production costs and production cost may be traded off against
unit cost for materials. Value engineering (or value analysis) examines all these cost
tradeoffs and is important aspect of systems integration. It can be used in any project
where relevant cost tradeoffs can be estimated. It is simply consistent and thorough use
of cost/effectiveness analysis. For application of value engineering techniques applied
to disease control projects.
Systems integration plays major role in success or failure of any project. If risky
approach is taken by systems integration, it may delay project. If approach is too
conservative, we forego opportunities for enhanced project capabilities or advantageous
project economies. Good design will take all these tradeoffs avoid locking project into
rigid solution with little flexibility or adaptability in case problems occur later on or
changes in environmental demand changes in project performance or effectiveness.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Broad Contents, Functions of Management
  2. CONCEPTS, DEFINITIONS AND NATURE OF PROJECTS:Why Projects are initiated?, Project Participants
  3. CONCEPTS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT:THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, Managerial Skills
  4. PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES:Systems, Programs, and Projects
  5. PROJECT LIFE CYCLES:Conceptual Phase, Implementation Phase, Engineering Project
  6. THE PROJECT MANAGER:Team Building Skills, Conflict Resolution Skills, Organizing
  7. THE PROJECT MANAGER (CONTD.):Project Champions, Project Authority Breakdown
  8. PROJECT CONCEPTION AND PROJECT FEASIBILITY:Feasibility Analysis
  9. PROJECT FEASIBILITY (CONTD.):Scope of Feasibility Analysis, Project Impacts
  10. PROJECT FEASIBILITY (CONTD.):Operations and Production, Sales and Marketing
  11. PROJECT SELECTION:Modeling, The Operating Necessity, The Competitive Necessity
  12. PROJECT SELECTION (CONTD.):Payback Period, Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  13. PROJECT PROPOSAL:Preparation for Future Proposal, Proposal Effort
  14. PROJECT PROPOSAL (CONTD.):Background on the Opportunity, Costs, Resources Required
  15. PROJECT PLANNING:Planning of Execution, Operations, Installation and Use
  16. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Outside Clients, Quality Control Planning
  17. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Elements of a Project Plan, Potential Problems
  18. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Sorting Out Project, Project Mission, Categories of Planning
  19. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Identifying Strategic Project Variables, Competitive Resources
  20. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):Responsibilities of Key Players, Line manager will define
  21. PROJECT PLANNING (CONTD.):The Statement of Work (Sow)
  22. WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE:Characteristics of Work Package
  23. WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE:Why Do Plans Fail?
  24. SCHEDULES AND CHARTS:Master Production Scheduling, Program Plan
  25. TOTAL PROJECT PLANNING:Management Control, Project Fast-Tracking
  26. PROJECT SCOPE MANAGEMENT:Why is Scope Important?, Scope Management Plan
  27. PROJECT SCOPE MANAGEMENT:Project Scope Definition, Scope Change Control
  28. NETWORK SCHEDULING TECHNIQUES:Historical Evolution of Networks, Dummy Activities
  29. NETWORK SCHEDULING TECHNIQUES:Slack Time Calculation, Network Re-planning
  30. NETWORK SCHEDULING TECHNIQUES:Total PERT/CPM Planning, PERT/CPM Problem Areas
  31. PRICING AND ESTIMATION:GLOBAL PRICING STRATEGIES, TYPES OF ESTIMATES
  32. PRICING AND ESTIMATION (CONTD.):LABOR DISTRIBUTIONS, OVERHEAD RATES
  33. PRICING AND ESTIMATION (CONTD.):MATERIALS/SUPPORT COSTS, PRICING OUT THE WORK
  34. QUALITY IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Value-Based Perspective, Customer-Driven Quality
  35. QUALITY IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT (CONTD.):Total Quality Management
  36. PRINCIPLES OF TOTAL QUALITY:EMPOWERMENT, COST OF QUALITY
  37. CUSTOMER FOCUSED PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Threshold Attributes
  38. QUALITY IMPROVEMENT TOOLS:Data Tables, Identify the problem, Random method
  39. PROJECT EFFECTIVENESS THROUGH ENHANCED PRODUCTIVITY:Messages of Productivity, Productivity Improvement
  40. COST MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL IN PROJECTS:Project benefits, Understanding Control
  41. COST MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL IN PROJECTS:Variance, Depreciation
  42. PROJECT MANAGEMENT THROUGH LEADERSHIP:The Tasks of Leadership, The Job of a Leader
  43. COMMUNICATION IN THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Cost of Correspondence, CHANNEL
  44. PROJECT RISK MANAGEMENT:Components of Risk, Categories of Risk, Risk Planning
  45. PROJECT PROCUREMENT, CONTRACT MANAGEMENT, AND ETHICS IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT:Procurement Cycles