Project Management (PM)

Planning For Success

In order to improve the chances of your project being a success a well structured Project Plan is needed.

A project plan helps you to achieve your objectives and deliver the benefits to your customers.
This is your responsibility as the project manager.
To help, MPI offer these guidelines for writing your project plan.

  1. Requirements and Assumptions:
    Record the background to the project, it helps if everyone knows why the project is needed.
    Make a record of the customer's requirements, and any assumptions by him or by you.
    This is called the "scoping" exercise to agree what is to be included and what is to be excluded from the project.
    Make a record of all deadlines or target completion dates.

  2. Feasibility:
    It may be necessary to carry out some research of costs, methods and likely time-scales as the basis for a second round of exploratory discussions.

  3. Business Case:
    The person (Project Sponsor) who is financially supporting the project will need a sound business case, or justification for going ahead.
    He might be seeking a "Return on Investment" (ROI).
    It is always good practice to record the "benefits" that are being sought, once the project has delivered all that is set out to achieve.
    And then regularly review these benefits with the Sponsor to check if anything has changed.

  4. Project Plan:
    The Project Plan is a diagram that links the individual activities and milestones in a logical sequence.
    It can be enhanced with timescales, budget, resources (human and equipment, etc.) responsibilities, etc.
    Micro Planner X-Pert software is recommended for this purpose as it is an easy to use package and enables everyone to see exactly the state of the project at day one and as the project progresses.

  5. Risks:
    Do keep a record of the risks that might stop your project from being a success.
    Talk to everyone involved eg, Sponsor, the Team, Suppliers, etc.
    Record their assumptions, risks, worries, concerns.
    If everyone can say " Yes- together we can make this happen" then you have a good and agreed basis for the project to go ahead.

  6. Acceptance:
    Make a record of the customer's criteria for receiving and accepting each item of produce or service that you will deliver.

  7. Quality:
    Depending who the customer is, he may ask for specific "quality control" policies, procedures, standards, and reviews.
    Make a record of these and if the quality control imposes additional costs then include those into the budget.
    By understanding the customer's quality requirements it will make his "acceptance" easier.
    Do keep records that show you have complied with the quality requirements.

  8. Communications:
    As the project manager it is your job to keep everyone involved aware of progress, issues, schedules, risks, etc.
    Make a record who needs to be informed and consulted, what they need to know, and when.

  9. Procurement:
    Record all the significant, partners, services and materials needed for the project and record the method for purchasing, eg, quotation(s), invoicing, payment terms, cash, cheques, etc.

  10. Reviews:
    People's ability to manage projects improves if they will only learn from their experiences.
    It is important to set aside time to "learn" the lessons from a project's success and mistakes.
    This wisdom often called "Lessons Learnt" should be recorded and read before embarking on similar projects in the future.

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If all this sounds too daunting, then MPI are happy to offer a professional project planning and consulting service - tailored to your needs and budget.

Please call John Cornish on +44 (0) 1725 553 199 to find out how we can help you improve the chances of delivering successful projects.

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Some Useful Definitions

" Project management is the process by which projects are defined, planned, monitored, controlled and delivered such that the agreed benefits are realised. Projects are unique, transient endeavours undertaken to achieve a desired outcome. Projects bring about change and project management is recognised as the most efficient way of managing such change."
Source: UK. Association of Project Management

"The planning, monitoring and control of all aspects of the project and the motivation of all those involved in it to achieve the project objectives on time and to the specified cost, quality and performance."
Source: UK. Office of Government Commerce PRINCE2

"Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements."
Source: USA. Project Management Institute

In simple terms, project management is the art (some would say process) of

  • Organising and managing resources to deliver a unique product or service.
  • Completing that deliverable within defined scope, quality, time and cost constraints.
  • Integrating, optimising and allocating the resources, e.g. money, people, materials, energy, space, provisions, communication, quality, risk, etc., for the purpose of achieving the delivery.
  • Bringing about beneficial change or added value, often called "Management of Change".

PM Novice

As a novice to project management, you may be expected to meet challenging targets under constraints of time and resources. Quite often you may be working on these "projects" on top of your "real" job.

PM Practitioner

As a PM Practitioner, you will have already demonstrated you skills and have had a few years experience behind you.

Also, you will be eager to manage your career and keep those skills up-to-date through attending training courses, conferences, seminars, exhibitions, etc.

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We would be delighted to hear from you. Please call.

Main contact:
John Cornish MBA, FCIM, Chartered Marketer
Micro Planning International Ltd
Dorset, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1725 553199
Mob: +44 (0) 7799 516 735

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