Project management principles
Project management principles are typically learnt from experience and are generally valid for all projects and the project manager has to know when and how to apply them to a project (Harold, 2009). In the library building project these principles could have helped reduce problems during and after renovations of the library. Tailor to suit the environment: whatever project management methodology or framework a manger favours, it must be tailored to suit the needs of their project. Levy (2002) says, rather than blindly following a methodology, the project manager must be able to adapt procedures to meet the demands of the work in hand. How the manager plan on a two-week project is likely to be very different from how they plan on a two-year project. Understand the customer’s requirements and put them under version control. Thoroughly understand and document the customer’s requirements, obtain customer agreement in writing, and put requirements documents under version identification and change control. Requirements management is the leading success factor for systems development projects. Business justification: every project should lead to a worthwhile return on investment. In other words, we need to understand the benefits that a particular project will bring, before committing ourselves to any significant expenditure. During the lifecycle of a project, however, circumstances can change quickly. If at any point it becomes clear that a return on investment is no longer feasible, then the project should be scrapped and no more money wasted. Manage by exception: project sponsors should avoid getting too bogged down in the day-to-day running of projects and instead allow the project manager to concentrate on this area. Levy (2002) goes on to say Micro-management by a project sponsor is a hindrance, not a help. Project sponsors should set clear boundaries for cost and time, with which the project manager should work. If he/she cannot provide the agreed deliverables within these constraints, concerns must be escalated to the sponsor for a decision. Manage by stages: break the project up into smaller chunks, or stages. Each stage marks a point at which the project sponsor will make key decisions. For example, is the project still worthwhile? Are the risks still acceptable? Dividing a project into stages, and only committing to one stage at a time, is a low risk approach that enables the sponsor to manage by exception. Focus on products: it is vital that clients and customers think carefully about the products, or deliverables, they require, before the project begins. The clearer they can be about their requirements, the more realistic and achievable the plans that can be produced. This makes managing the project much easier and less risky. Learn from experience: don't risk making the same mistakes on every project; consider why certain aspects went well or badly, then incorporate the lessons learned into your approach to your next project. Humans have an amazing capacity to learn, but when it comes to repeating errors made during previous projects, we all too often fail to learn the lessons. Business justification: every project should lead to a worthwhile return on investment. In other words, we need to understand the benefits that a particular project will bring, before committing ourselves to any significant expenditure. During the lifecycle of a project, however, circumstances can change quickly. If at any point it becomes clear that a return on investment is no longer feasible, then the project should be scrapped and no more money wasted. Defined roles and responsibilities: everybody working on the project needs to understand the nature of their involvement: for what is each person responsible, and to whom are they accountable? Without clear roles and responsibilities, nobody will know precisely what he or she is supposed to be doing (and everybody will pass the buck at the first sign...
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