E2: Project Management

What is Project Management?

Project management is a topic that crops up in the E2 syllabus and the official definition from CIMA can be seen below:

“The integration of all aspects of a project, ensuring that the proper
knowledge and resources are available when and where needed, and above
all to ensure that the expected outcome is proceeded in a timely, cost-
effective manner” – CIMA Terminology

Project management is human activity that achieves a clear objective against an agreed timescale. The follow types of activity can be seen as “projects”:

  • A one off event.
  • A budget and set of resources to achieve a specific goal.
  • A project manager organising the project.
  • A clear objective with an agreed timescale.

The Project Management Institute (PMI)

Was setup in 1969 and is a non-profit professional organisation for project management and has around 500,000 members and counting.

They provide a framework and set of standards that project managers should adhere to. The PMI also offer a host of different courses and accreditation’s their members can take and they range from CAPM (Certified associate in project management) to the PMP (Project management professional).

For more information on the PMI you can visit their website here.

9 Key Areas of Project Management

The PMI have identified the 9 key areas of project management that need to be understood and managed correctly if projects are to be successful.

They are the core objectives of the project and they need to be met.

  • Scope: In order to provide clarity and ensure team members stay focused, a clear scope of what the project covers and doesn’t cover is crucial. Otherwise tasks can wonder off track and lead to non-value added time.
  • Time: Another key objective is time. The project should have a realistic time frame and act as a deadline for when activities need to be completed. It’s no use have an open ended project otherwise results will be never be achieved.
  • Cost: The project board and directors will be keen to keep costs under control too, otherwise the benefits gained in the project may not outweigh the expense occurred in delivering the results to the business.
  • Resources: The right resources and expertise should be allocated to the project otherwise the delivery will be in danger.
  • Quality: The end customer will want to receive the required quality they was set out in the deliverable’s. If the quality is not met then the project will deemed to be a failure.
  • Procurement: The materials purchases need to be kept under control and also the quality needs to the be maintained. A focus on procurement is crucial for the project manager.
  • Integration: The project should be well managed and integrated into the business at every possible stage. There needs to be sufficient control and well planned tasks.
  • Communication: Possibly the biggest point to consider, ALL stakeholders need to be well informed and communication to the end customer and business should be clear, concise and on a regular basis.
  • Risks: They need to be understood by the project manager and minimised at every opportunity.

Who are the Stakeholders?

The project manager is responsible for co-coordinating and communicating to the project stakeholders on a regular basis. But they also need to consider the importance of each one and act accordingly.

Here are a few of the stakeholders to be considered.

  • Project sponsor
  • Project board
  • End Customer
  • Board of directors
  • Project team
  • Suppliers

Stakeholders who hold little interest and power will require minimal effort and time invested into them, whereas the stakeholders with a lot of power should be at the forefront of the project managers mind.

Stakeholder Mapping

Mendelow’s Matrix is used to map the important of the stakeholder so the project manager can see what action he needs to take with each group.

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For example, the end customer would be considered to have HIGH power and HIGH interest so, according to Mendelows Matrix, should be Managed Closely.

Whereas the project team would have HIGH interest but LOW power so they will would fall under the Keep Informed category. This of course is dependent on the project itself and the dynamic of the company but you get the idea on how this works!

Project Success

In order to achieve the goal of a successful project all of the points above need to be considered and the appointment of the project manager and coordination of the project team members are crucial.

Project Manager – needs to have excellent communication skills and will need to inspire his team to achieve the results required. They will also need to be able to present and communicate to a range of different stakeholders.

The Project Team – will need to be well organised and familiar with the project management process. They will also need to be team players and be able to identify problems and risks and build solid working relationships with a range of different departments and areas of the business.

If projects are beginning to wonder off track then the project manager can go the project sponsor or board and look for further support. This could be in the form of more resources, expert advice or a change in scope or deliverable’s of the project if they are deemed to be unrealistic.

All in all, the project team will need to have the right blend of experience, skills and be able to create a good team spirit to achieve the results required.

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