Project Management Planning

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MGT202 Project Management| 2012
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Ashleigh Giles 00062511T| Planning Phase Essay|

A project can be described as any series of activities or tasks that have specified objectives, time constraints, budgets, human and non human resources and are multifunctional (Kerzner 2009). Project management is the process by which a project is achieved within time, within cost, at a desired level, utilises resources effectively and is accepted by the customer (Kerzner 2009). Project management often uses the existing organisational structures and resources and is focused on planning and control. Project management, as identified in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide is made up of five processes: initiation/conceptual, planning, execution, monitoring & control and closure (Kerzner 2009). These processes form the phases of the ‘project life-cycle’. Often the most time consuming phase is the second, planning (Sheid 2010). It is in the planning phase that all the ground work is laid out for the project. The planning phase requires “firm identification of the resources required and the establishment of realistic time, cost, and performance parameters” (Kerzner 2009). This is done through ten operational steps in which the project manager is required to create a project plan, a resource plan, a financial plan, a quality plan, a risk plan, an acceptance plan, a communication plan, a procurement plan, a supplier contract and a project review (Method123 2011). The planning phase is a combination of two interrelated processes; Core Processes and Facilitating Processes (ITRM 2006). The Core Processes represent the critical activities that are dependent on each other and must be carried out in a particular order. The operational steps that are considered core processes are the project plan, the resource plan and the financial plan. The remaining steps: quality plan, risk plan, acceptance plan, communication plan, procurement plan and project review, all fall under the banner of facilitated processes. Facilitated processes represent planning activities that are not dependent on each other and that can be executed at different stages throughout the planning phase. It is important to note that facilitated processes are not optional; they simply are not required to be performed in any particular order. Facilitated processes are more often than not completed on a needs basis (ITRM 2006). Together, these two processes and ten steps form the planning phase of project management. The first step, the project plan, is the most important document in the planning stage as it provides the project manager with a road map of the project and allows them to track their progress (Method123 2011). The project plan defines the scope, milestones and delivery dates of the project. It also identifies all the activities, tasks and phases throughout the duration of the project. Within the project plan, the project manager will create a detailed project planning schedule and document all project interdependencies. The project plan lists planning assumptions and constraints and also calculates the effort that will be needed to complete all tasks and activities. The project plan however is “more than just a set of instructions” (Kerzner 2009). It is used as a strategy to eliminate crisis by preventing problems and conflicts. All levels of an organisation are involved and this allows potential issues to be raised and adjusted within the planning phase. One of the most common reasons for making changes to the project plan is trade-off decisions involving human resources, scheduling and performance. Once the plan is approved by both the customer and the contractor it is distributed to all team members so they have a clear overview of what it expected of them. The second step in the planning phase is the resource plan. This document allows the project manager to identify the quantity of labour, equipment and materials needed to complete the...
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