Managing projects is difficult under the best of circumstances. Any person managing a project (subsequently refered to as 'project manager') must balance competing stakeholder interests against the constraints of limited resources, time and cost, with ever-changing technologies and environment. Unfortunately, many new project managers receive little training in how to do the job. Taking survival tips from others can save the project manager from learning such lessons the hard way and help drive consistency in delivering high quality successful projects.
What is a project? A project is a temporary endeavor with a specific start and end date, which requires coordination of tasks across teams or within a single team to create a unique product, service or result to meet a specific set of objectives. Whenever an effort includes one or more of the following, it should be treated as a project:
- Multiple tasks
- Multiple task owners
- Multiple teams
- Multiple days to complete
Any of the project management best practices or tools can be leveraged for any other effort that may not meet the above definition of a project or may not be considered a project by the organization as long as they are clearly identifiable from any effort the organization recognizes as projects.
This set of best practices describes techniques and procedures that should be used for Information Technology Services managed projects. When initiating a new project, consider this list of practices to see which ones would be valuable contributors to the project. Build the corresponding activities into your thinking and plans. Recognize that none of these practices will be the silver bullet for all project problems. Remember that even best practices are situational. They need to be selectively and thoughtfully applied only where they will add value to the project.
Project Management vs Solution Life Cycle
Project Management and Solution Life Cycle are often used interchangeably as if they both referred to the same thing. That is a mis-conception. They are related to each other, i.e. complimentary; however, they are not interchangeable. Doing either one to the exclusion of the other is begging for failure.
Project Management addresses the definition, planning, execution, control, and closure of a project regardless of what type of project it is. Solution Life Cycle consists of those actions that are planned for and executed to deliver and support an IS solution. Both sets of activities require different skill sets. Keep in mind if the project manager has to be down in the trenches doing many of the solution delivery tasks then chances are very good that neither project managment nor solution delivery will be done well, especially for larger projects.
PMI and PMBOK
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the accepted premier organization for establishing best practices for project management. PMI best practices are collected into the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). They also provide certification for project management specialists. There is no point for us to reinvent the wheel and define a lot of project management best practices; they already exist, are vetted and are successfully used by many project management professionals. Instead this guide will highlight those things specific to UNL that should be done by ITS personnel with regards to project management; the PMBOK will serve as a supporting reference guide.
- Project Selection
- Project Initiation
- Project Planning
- Project Execution
- Project Monitor and Control
- Project Risk Management
- Project Communication
- Project Closure
- Project Accessibility