A project is not something that lasts for ever and is not repetitive
1. A project is not something that lasts for ever and is not repetitive. A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result (Larson, 2014, pg. 6). Since projects are unique, project managers enjoy having work that is interesting and challenging. At times the work can be intensive to achieve a goal. Major goal of a project is to satisfy a customer’s need (Larson, 2014, pg. 6).
There are five characteristics that help differentiate projects from other functions in an organization. The five characteristics of a project are as follows: (1) an established objective, (2) a defined life span with a beginning and an end, (3) usually, the involvement of several departments and professionals, (4) typically, doing something that has never been done before, (5) specific time, cost, and performance requirements (Larson, 2014, pg. 7). Project is something that provides change in an organization, because of this employees that are effected will differentiate a project from a daily operation. This is especially because change can be difficult for many.
2. Some of the key environmental forces that have changed the way projects are managed are compression of the product life cycle, knowledge explosion, triple bottom line, corporate downsizing, increased customer focus, and small projects representing big problems (Larson, 2014, pg. 11). All of these environmental forces have put pressure on companies and business to be effective in project management. Variety of environmental forces interacting in today’s business world contribute to the increased demand for good project management across all industries and sectors (Larson, 2014, pg. 15). For companies and businesses to stay competitive they must pick good project managers and employees with project management experience. Hired project managers and employees who participate in projects have more pressure on getting the project done quickly and effectively.
3. Strategic plans are written by one group of managers, projects selected by another group, and projects implemented by another (Larson, 2014, pg. 16). Because of this confusion and conflict may result. A project manager may get the wrong strategic plan and in the end the project may turn out different then what the customer wanted. Strategic alignment of projects is of major importance to conserving and effective use of organization resources (Larson, 2014, pg. 16). Organizational resources are wasted when there is not strategic alignment. People, equipment, and capital are put to use ineffectively.
4. A project manager must be able to handle both the technical and sociocultural dimension of a project. Technical side of the management process, consists of the formal, disciplined, purely logical parts of the process (Larson, 2014, pg. 17). Technical side, for example, handles schedules and status reports. Socialcultural side centers on creating a temporary social system within a larger organizational environment that combines the talents of a divergent set of professionals working to complete the project (Larson, 2014, pg. 17). An example of socialcultural is leadership and negotiation. Technical dimension represents the “science” of managing management while the sociocultural dimension represents the “art” of managing a project (Larson, 2014, pg. 18). A good project manager must be able to handle both sides or a project will fail.
5. Large organizations may have thousands of projects that are in progress at one time which is why governance is important in today’s environment. These organizations have chosen centralization to monitor and track these projects. Centralization entails governance of all project processes and practices to improve project management (Larson, 2014, pg. 15). Governance means applying a set of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a collection of projects in order to move the organization toward its strategic goals (Larson, 2014, pg. 16). The impact of governance on managing an individual project is that the project is at all times being measured and tracked. Governance has a big impact on what direction the project should be taken.
A. The life cycle recognizes that projects have a limited life span and that there are predictable changes in level of effort and focus over the life of the project (Larson, 2014, pg. 8). Project life cycle has four stages from start to end with a different level of effort for each stage. Project life cycle is used by some project groups to depict the timing of major tasks over the life of the project (Larson, 2014, pg. 9). For example, if a project manager is planning a budget then it will be know that effort is higher and it will take more time then defining goals.
B. The closest PMI chapter in Illinois is the Chicagoland Chapter in Lagrange Park. PMBOK is a book that stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge. It is a global standard for project management, it provides good practices and project management knowledge that includes terminology and guidelines. Pmi.org is a website where one can become a member to eventually get PMI certified. Members who join to get a PMI certification can track their progress. It is also a site where one can do research on project management and contact other project managers.
Larson, E., & Wilmot, G. (2014). Project management: The managerial process.
(6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.