Essay: Project Management

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Project Management

A project is a temporary group activity that is designed to produce a unique result, service, or product. It is temporary since it has defined end and a beginning and has defined resources and scope. Project management is the process of controlling resources, planning, motivating, organization, protocols, and procedures to achieve the desired goals in daily organizational activities. It is meant to bring about benefit or beneficial change. The temporary nature of projects contrasts with other business operations, which are semi-permanent, repetitive and permanent functional activities to produce services and products (Dinsmore, 2005). This essay endeavors to expound on projects and the benefits of Project Management as presented from the book (Gray, & Larson, 2011).

Chapter 1 summary

From this chapter, it is clear that most people who excel in the management of projects they never gain the titles of being called project managers. They include community advocates, accountants, administrators, public health officials, and teachers whose successes depend on the ability manage and lead any project. The skill is transferable across most businesses. More employers are seeking graduates with project management skills. The main challenge of project management is to achieve all the set goals and objectives (Ireland, 2006) while at the same time honoring the preconceived.

The project life cycle

The authors have shown that some managers prefer to use the project life cycle as the cornerstone for the management of projects. The life cycle identifies that projects have a limited life and that there are predictable changes in the level of focus and effort over the life of the project. A project life cycle sequentially passes through four stages as identified in this chapter include defining, planning, executing, and finally delivering.

Defining stage

In this stage, specifications of the project are clearly defined, terms are formed, and project objectives are established while major responsibilities are assigned

Planning stage

At this stage, the level of effort put on the project increases and plans are developed to determine when a project will be scheduled, what the project will entail, what the budget will be, and what quality level a project should be maintained

Executing stage

At this level, a large portion of the project work takes place both mentally and physically. The physical part entails a software program, a bridge, and a report. Specification, time, and cost measures are used for the management of the project. Some of the questions that authors have shown to be pertinent include; Is the project meeting specifications, on the budget, on schedule? What changes/revisions are necessary? What are the forecasts of each measure?

Closing stage

Closing stage includes three activities: post-project review, delivering the project to the customer and redeploying project resources. Delivery of the project might include transferring documents and customer training. Redeploying usually entails finding new assignments for team members and releasing project materials/equipment to other projects. Post-project reviews include capturing lessons learned and assessing performance (Dinsmore, 2005).

The Project manager

Project managers perform similar functions like other managers; they motivate, schedule, control, and plan. However, what makes them unique is that they manage non-repetitive, temporary activities, to complete a fixed life project. Project managers create an organization and project team where none existed before unlike functional managers who take over the management of existing operations. They must decide how and what things must be done instead of managing processes that are already set. They must meet the challenges of each stage of the project life cycle and oversee dissolutions of the projects when they are completed (Gray, & Larson, 2011).

Project managers are the direct link to the clients and must manage between what is feasible and reasonable with the customer's expectations. They often work with a cadre of outsiders such as subcontractors, vendors, and suppliers who do not necessarily share their allegiance in projects. Good managers are in demand since every industry is looking for managers that are effective and can get the correct things on time. Project management has a number of significances such as compression of the product life cycle, knowledge explosion, triple Bottom Line, corporate downsizing and increased customer focus.

Compression of the product life cycle

Shortening of the product life cycle is one of the most important driving forces behind the demand for project management. Time to market is a strategy that is becoming increasingly important for new products with short life cycles. Speed is a competitive advantage that has caused more organizations to rely on cross-functional project team in order for them to gain new services and products (Ireland, 2006).

Knowledge explosion

New knowledge growth has increased the complexity of projects because projects entail the latest advances. Complexity in products has led to the increase in the need to integrate divergent technologies. Project management aids in the achievement of this task

Triple Bottom Line (profit, planet, and people).

Global warming threat has brought sustainable business practices to the forefront. Organizations can no longer focus on profit maximization alone to the detriment of the society and the environment. Efforts to utilize renewable resources and reduce carbon imprint are realized through effective project management. The move and impact towards sustainability can be seen in changes of techniques and objectives (Gray, & Larson, 2011).

Corporate Downsizing

In the last decade, there has been a dramatic restructuring of organizational life. Sticking to the core competencies and downsizing have become necessary for the survival for many companies. In today's leaner and flatter organizations, where change is constant, project management is quickly replacing middle management to ensure that things are done. Firms outsource important segments of project work, and project managers have to manage their counterparts in different companies and manage their employees properly (Dinsmore, 2005).

Increased customer focus

From this chapter, it is shown that a premium has been placed on customer satisfaction by increased competition. Clients no longer simply settle for products and services that are generic. They always want customized services and products catering for their desired needs. It requires a much closer relationship between the receiver and provider. Sales representatives and account executives often assume the role of project managers because they work to satisfy the requests and unique needs of customers (Ireland, 2006). Increased customer attention has led to the development of customized services and products and to sustaining lucrative relationships with clients.

Chapter 2

An integrative approach to project management

Integration in an organization is meant to improve project management in the entire firm over the long haul. The main reasons for integration of project management were to provide management with a big picture of how the company's resources are being used. Secondly, it provided managers with an overview of all management activities regarding a project. Thirdly, it provides a link of senior management with the actual project execution method. Fourthly, it provides a rough metric used in the measurement of other organizations' improvement in project management (Gray, & Larson, 2011).

Integration of projects with the company's strategy

In some companies, management and selection of projects often fail to support the strategic plan of the company. In most cases, strategic plans are written by one group, projects are selected by a different group of managers, and projects are integrated with another. The independent decisions by a different set of managers often create a set of conditions that often leads to unsatisfied customer, confusion, and conflict. Under these conditions, the organization's resources are often wasted in non-value-added activities. The management of a project portfolio ensures that only the valuable are managed and approved across the entire organization

Integration of projects through portfolio management

The portfolio management encompasses project management at the organization level through the project level. Project portfolios are often managed by a project office linking the project managers and teams with senior management. The main functions of the portfolio management are to monitor aggregate skills and resource levels. Secondly, it oversees project selection whilst improving the overall management of projects within a given period. Fourthly, it is to improve communications among all shareholders. Besides, it creates an organization perspective that goes beyond silo thinking (Gray, & Larson, 2011).

The integration process of implementing actual projects

There are mainly two dimensions within the execution of projects as identified in this chapter. These are the socio-cultural and technical dimension. The technical side of the management process consists of the disciplined, formal, and purely logical parts of the process. The technical side includes the scheduling, planning and controlling projects. This integrated information approach can give all the customers and project managers with decision information appropriate to their needs and level. The second and most opposing dimension is the socio-cultural side. It centers on creating a temporal social system within a larger company environment that the talents of professionals working to complete a certain project.

Prioritizing of projects

Prioritizing of projects by managers is a major responsibility that requires discipline, responsibility, and reduced flexibility, loss of power, constraints, and accountability. The management needs to rank and weigh strategies, objectives and in concrete terms. This public declaration… [END OF PREVIEW]

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