Chapter 2: Management of Project Things


OVERVIEW

By definition, the primary focus of the project team is the final deliverable of the project. However, the team must focus on the deliverable in conjunction with the activities that assure the delivery of the desired product, or the facilitation of the desired service, in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. The project team must plan the delivery of the product or service through adoption of best practices and consistent procedures. Then, during the implementation phase of the plans, which usually occurs in a dynamic environment, the team must manage emerging issues that influence its performance in delivering the desired results.

The activities of the project team can be divided into two major categories: those that deal with things and those that deal with people. The things issues include quantifiable performance of planning procedures, cost management, schedule management, scope management, risk management, change management, and integration efforts. The goals and objectives of the procedures for managing things issues are nearly the same for all projects independent of the type of team employed in delivering the product. People issues include the usually nonquantifiable characteristics of client satisfaction, vendor satisfaction, team morale , and communication (Figure 2.1). The separation of things issues and people issues is only for purposes of topical coverage, because these two sets of issues are almost always intertwined. This chapter deals with management of the things issues of the team's performance. The management of the people issues of the team's performance is addressed in Chapter 3.

start figure
  • Things

    • Hard

    • Science

    • Quantitative

    • Project Side of Project Management

  • People

    • Soft

    • Art

    • Qualitative

    • Management Side of Project Management

end figure

Figure 2.1: Project Management Skills

Successful performance of the project team, traditional and virtual alike, is characterized by the team's performance in handling the full complement of life-cycle issues of the project. The life-cycle issues include early definition of the project scope, establishing a scope modification process, and formalizing the scope enhancement process. Beyond the project scope, other important issues are the original and final values of cost and schedule. In order to characterize the success and effectiveness of the project manager, and the team, in achieving the desired project objectives, one would need to identify three separate elements: existence of standardized processes and procedures, consistent conformance of the project team with those procedures, and the efficacy of these procedures (Figure 2.2). The rationale for using this three-part system is to determine whether the success of the project manager was by accident or by design. For example, if there are no existing procedures and yet the desired value of that facet is achieved, as much as the occasion is to be celebrated, that performance cannot be expected to be repeated in future projects by this project manager. On the other hand, if the achievement of success in an element is concurrent with these formalized procedures, the likelihood of success in future projects is far higher. Thus, the mission of the project manager and the supporting team is to define and plan each of these components as clearly and carefully as possible, execute the plan, monitor the performance of the plan, optimize the plan, and install the optimized plan (Figure 2.3). An ideal project team is one that has the full set of tools and templates to meet all aspects of the project mission in accordance with the optimized plans.

 

Procedures

Presence

Compliance

Efficacy

Scope

Full

Full

Full

Quality

Full

Full

Full

Cost

Full

Full

Full

Schedule

Full

Full

Full

 

Risk

Full

Full

Full

Integration

Full

Full

Full

Reporting

Full

Full

Full

Contract

Full

Full

Full

 

Communication

Full

Full

Full

Team

Full

Full

Full

Client

Full

Full

Full

Vendor

Full

Full

Full


Figure 2.2: Successful Project Management Procedures
click to expand
Figure 2.3: Project Management Process Dynamics

There are some traditional practices that, although not fully formalized, tend to produce results when these practices are used in traditional teams . An example of such a practice is to hold review meetings without any specific agenda with the expectation that, as the conversation progresses, areas of concern will present themselves for solution; this expectation is often satisfied. Another example is the practice of management by walking around, again with the expectation that the project manager would notice practices, or results of interest, and guide those points appropriately (Figure 2.4). Even then, their success depends on a specific behavior and specific organizational culture, such as the tendency to share information openly with the project manager. The success of this pattern also depends on having a seasoned manager who knows how to handle unexpected occurrences. These two examples are classic cases that require development of unique procedures so that virtual teams effect the same results as traditional teams. In general, all traditional procedures that have a face-to-face component will have to be modified, or replaced entirely, with a novel medium that would still enable the expression of words, emotions, feelings, preferences, etc.

start figure
  • Unwritten Rules

    • Normally Promulgated Through Informal Channels

    • Saves Managers the Trouble of Drafting and Updating Them

  • Management by Walking Around

    • Progress Monitoring

    • Conflict Identification/Resolution

end figure

Figure 2.4: Collocation Practices

If the virtual team concept is new to an organization, then seasoned project managers might chart an intuitive path toward efficient virtual team operations. As such, the migration of procedures starts with wholesale importation of traditional procedures into the virtual environment. With passage of time, these procedures might be modified to fit their new circumstances. Ultimately, these seasoned managers will begin to develop virtual-specific procedures and guidelines (Figure 2.5). To put these issues in perspective, these procedures will ultimately deal with the full complement of the knowledge areas of project management (Figure 2.6). In essence, the project manager should revisit the procedures for management of all of the knowledge areas in order to verify their applicability to the virtual environment for his or her project within the specific organization.

start figure
  • Manage Traditional Team

    • Use Traditional Tools and Techniques

  • Manage Virtual Team

    • Use Traditional Tools and Techniques

  • Manage Virtual Team

    • Use a Combination of Tools and Techniques

      • Traditional

      • Modified and Situation Specific

      • Innovative and Unique

end figure

Figure 2.5: Stages of Transition
start figure
  • Manage Things

    • Scope

    • Quality

    • Cost

    • Time

    • Risk

  • Manage People

    • Integration

    • Procurement

    • Communications

    • Human Resources

end figure

Figure 2.6: Project Management Performance Areas

At the higher level of detail, the elements of project planning and implementation are the same for virtual and traditional teams. The means and modes by which these phases and elements are implemented are what separate the virtual team from its traditional counterpart . Even though the procedures for managing things do not need to be changed dramatically, policies and procedures must be modified in order to allow the team members to conduct communications and negotiations dealing with things issues in modes other than face to face. Finally, unusual facilitation tools may need to be employed in order to solicit and receive the input of all team members in a collaborative fashion, albeit the subject of discussion may be one of the things elements of the project.




Achieving Project Management Success Using Virtual Teams
Achieving Project Management Success Using Virtual Teams
ISBN: 1932159037
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 75

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