Definition of Boundaries in Project Management

Topics: Project management, Management, Project planning Pages: 7 (2554 words) Published: June 2, 2012
According to Kerzner “the first step in making project management work must be a complete definition of the boundaries across which the project manager must interact”. Critically examine this statement. (From: Kerzner, H. (2009). Project Management:a systems approach to planning, scheduling and control. (10th ed.) New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons. p. 381.)

In discussing this question I will first define the key terms in the statement provided for discussion as a means of building the main premise of my essay. It is necessary to define some of the key terms which will facilitate the critical examination of the statement. Kerzner (Kerzner, 2009) defines project management as the planning, organising, directing and controlling of resources for a relatively short-term objective that has been established to complete specific goals and objectives.

The need for the definition of project boundaries is inherent in the nature of a project plan as the project boundaries are the main factors that differentiate a project differs from ‘business as usual’. (What??!!)

The fact that projects require an organisation’s input into activities different from normal business activities means that there must be a means of measuring whether the organisation’s goal in commencing the project has been achieved. (Not clear- remove!) There are four main criteria for assessing the success or failure of a project or as Stephen Hartley (Hartley, 2009, pp. 10- 13) calls them, constraints or variables. These constraints or variables are time, resources, costs and service or product specification. These constraints form the boundaries of the project and as a result they are the limits within which the PM will operate in delivering the project. Rick Morris (Morris, 2008) argues that if the project manager does not ascertain these boundaries the project will fail. He further argues that the answer to project success is through proper project management through establishing change initiatives, boundaries of project scope and transparent communication. The key to project success is to define the variables and manage them. The PM can define the variables by securing ….? (Incomplete sentence- remove?) As such the PM - at the beginning of the project, must ascertain exactly how much of each variable is available for the delivery of the project and manage the project within those constraints. To do this the PM must consult with the stakeholders to secure; (remove bullet points below! Write paragraph instead) i.agreement on realistic timeframes for completion,

ii.approval for adequate financial budgets
iii.allocation of adequate resources to the project either from within the organisation or procured from outside the organisation and iv.agreed specifications of the service or product to be created by the project. The ascertaining of the variables enables the PM to prepare a project plan in order to manage project and resources within the specified time. With the project management plan the PM can allocate costs and resources along a timeline to ensure that the project activities are completed on time. Another function of the project plan is to facilitate the measurement of success in delivering the specified services against a specified time frame. The project manager will achieve this by carrying out a number of activities to further clarify the project boundaries these will include; i.Sequencing or the process of identifying and documenting relationships among the project activities;

ii.Resource identification or the process of identifying or estimating the types and quantities of material, people, equipment, or supplies required to perform each activity; iii.The process of approximating the number of work periods needed to complete individual activities with estimated resources; iv.Scheduling which is the process of analyzing activity sequences, durations, resource requirements, and schedule constraints to create the...
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