A Definition of Project Management

What is a project? In everyday life, we are having projects. It is just we don’t know that it is a project. Just by cooking breakfast, we are doing a project. It is already considered as a project because it is a plan or work to be done and accomplished within a specific period of time.

When we enrolled at field trip and seminars of BSIT 3-day, Days have been so long waiting for the much awaited week of the semester. Sleepless nights were done just to prepare. Meetings and plans were held just to settle and organize. As a part of the group, I was very excited about the said event because it will be the first and I think will be the only time that I’ll be out of the town with my friends and classmates since we were always just within Davao’s boundary. We were also excited on what we will see there since they say it will be something new.

The quorum decided and voted the Maynilad Tours and Educational Services, Inc as the official provider. Maynilad offered many options of hotels, number of meals, etc and among those options, we opted to choose in staying in Garden Plaza Hotel and Suites located at Paco, Manila over El Rico because of some minor problems. The tour package costs Php 13,195 each participant which includes the hotel accommodation, airfare (Davao-Manila and Manila-Davao), 13 meals during the tour, seminar fee, sinking fund and of course the ride-all-you-can ticket at Enchanted Kingdom.

Hearing some IT and CS students from different schools talking on their facebook about on where they will go whenever they will have their field trip, they just answered “Net Express? Sequel??” then followed with LOL or HA3 (both are internet cafes here in Davao City). Hearing these people joking around, they made me think of what we will really see and learn outside Davao. IBM, UP Diliman, Technohub, Hitachi, etc are just the gigantic names and places of the many companies that we will visit during our trip and from those names, we expected more and not just merely internet cafes and more internet cafes.

We were also divided into 3 or 4 groups because the companies that we will visit can’t accommodate us together and some companies can only accommodate few of us.

Counting 157 students and 4 faculty members, we flew on the 4th day of October and said bye Davao for a while and good morning Manila and returned on the 8th day of October.

On that trip, many projects had been involved in the gathering of the amount to be paid for the trip. It is our project to collect the amount of money to pay to its respective due dates. I have also a project for myself that I must try Starbucks and Krispy Kreme within that trip. We also have a project that we must go to Manila on the 4th day and return on 8th day of the October for our field trip and seminars as compliance for the course.

The word project comes from the Latin word projectum from the Latin verb proicere, “to throw something forwards” which in turn comes from pro-, which denotes something that precedes the action of the next part of the word in time (paralleling the Greek πρό) and iacere, “to throw”. The word “project” thus actually originally meant “something that comes before anything else happens”.

When the English language initially adopted the word, it referred to a plan of something, not to the act of actually carrying this plan out. Something performed in accordance with a project became known as an “object”. A Project is any plan or piece of work attempted within to be done in specific time.

According to System Analysis and Design by Whitten Bentley, project is defined to have or is a sequence of unique, complex and connected activities that have one goal or purpose and that must be completed by a specific time, within budget and according to specification. So this means that in this course, we are to be involved or be studying complex sequence of activities like those stated above.

What is management? Management is the handling and managing certain activities or things that needs to be managed. Management in all business areas and organizational activities are the acts of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives efficiently and effectively. Many a times we come across a line that we really identify with and it immediately boosts our confidence and may helped us in managing.

Stay hungry, stay foolish by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple. In his speech towards the graduates, he just wants to relay to aim high and think beyond the box. “No one knows what he can do until he tries” by Publilius Syrus. Trying is not merely trying but it is an action where your heart is. If there’s a will then there’s a way. It’s just a matter of courage and action. I think a person can do anything if he will just put his heart and mind into it. Being hardworking is a thing to achieve and attain success so keep believing in yourself that you can do it. . “To infinity and Beyond”, a tagline of Buzz Lightyear from the animated film Toy story which tells us to hold on beyond what we can reach. Why settle for little? While you can have bigger. Management goes like this also, artful mind will help you in accomplishing your goals and motivation will help you in management. Smile by Dale Carnegie. Everyone and especially the manager must be chill in order to see a clearer view on what he is doing. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall by Stephen Covey. Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere by Barack Obama. Time is what we want most, but what we use worst by Penn. Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal by Vince Lombardi. Not all projects meet the criteria, and as a result, not all projects are successful. Overoptimism is the demonstrated systematic tendency for people to be over-optimistic about the outcome of planned actions. This includes over-estimating the likelihood of positive events and under-estimating the likelihood of negative events. Along with the illusion of control and illusory superiority, it is one of the positive illusions to which people are generally susceptible. Excessive optimism can result in cost overruns, benefit shortfalls, and delays when plans are implemented or expensive projects are built. In extreme cases these can result in defeats in military conflicts, ultimate failure of a project or economic bubbles such as market crashes. If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants by Isaac Newton When a management team with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad by Warren Buffett . Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things by Drucker . The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny by Hubbard.

What is project management? It is the process of planning, scoping, staffing, organizing, directing and controlling the progress of an acceptable system at a minimum budget within a specific period of time. Project management is a carefully planned and organized effort to accomplish a specific (and usually) one-time objective, for example, construct a building or implement a major new computer system. Project management includes developing a project plan, which includes defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, identifying tasks and how goals will be achieved, quantifying the resources needed, and determining budgets and timelines for completion which is usually showed in Gantt and Pert charts. It also includes managing the implementation of the project plan, along with operating regular ‘controls’ to ensure that there is accurate and objective information on ‘performance’ relative to the plan, and the mechanisms to implement recovery actions where necessary. Projects usually follow major phases or stages (with various titles for these), including feasibility, definition, project planning, implementation, evaluation and support or maintenance. Project management is needed to ensure that the project will be completed on or before deadline, to ensure also that quality and specifications of the project, and be also delivered within the budget.

Scope defines the boundaries of the project. A project manager must scope project expectations and constraints in order to plan activities, estimate costs, and manage expectations. Scoping plays a vital role in developing project. In our system analysis and design project, we were planning to make a project of accounting, payroll and inventory systems. We only thought of it as easy one but as we move forward the steps in writing the paper works for the information system, we encountered problems like scope creep and feature creep. Scope creep is the unexpected growth of user expectations and business requirements for an information system as the project progresses. The schedule and budget can adversely affected by such changes. And our biggest problem is the feature creep wherein uncontrolled addition of technical features to a system under development without regards to schedule or budget. Those creeps stated above were haunting us when we made our paper works; it seems that we didn’t set or specifically defined our scope in developing.

Planning. Planning identifies the tasks required to complete the project. This is based on the manager’s understanding of project scope and the methodology used to achieve goal. Planning is part of management that lets the manager strategize on how he’ll handle and how he’ll achieve the goal of the project. Planning also involve the steps that a manager must take to complete the project.

Estimating. Each task that is required to complete the project must be estimated. This includes the time estimation for the project to be completed, the number of people needed to accomplish, expertise need, the interdependencies of tasks, and cost of the project

Scheduling. The project manager is responsible for scheduling all project activities. The project schedule should be developed with an understanding of required tasks, task duration and task prerequisites which can be seen using the Gantt chart.

Organizing. Project managers should make sure that members of the project team understand their respective roles and responsibilities on the project.

Directing. When the project has begun already, the project manager must direct the team’s activities. Project managers must show people management skills to delegate, motivate, and coordinate members. Keeping smiles up and stress levels down will totally help. You don’t have to be the one responsible of making everything work. Just what teachers always say, “No stress, just chill”.

Controlling. The project manager must monitor and report progress against goals, schedule and costs and make appropriate adjustments if necessary.

Controlling is the most difficult for project managers. being able to deal with your difficulties. “I am not afraid of storms, for I have learned how to sail my ship” by Louisa May Alcot. Difficulties are not meant to make you give up but for you to stand out and make your way through it.

Closing. Project managers are to learn and assess their failures and successes at end of the project. Good project managers learn from their mistakes and plans for continuous improvement.

In every project, there are project managers that supervise the development of the project from initiation to conclusion. The project managers are the one responsible and must influence the people involved in the project. Successful project managers possess wide range technical expertise, leadership, good communication skill and management.

But why do projects fail? Projects fail when the project doesn’t meet the criteria. These criteria are as follows:

o The resulting information system is acceptable to the customer.

o The system is delivered “on time”.

o The system is delivered “within budget”

o The system development process had minimal impact on ongoing business oerations.

If those criteria are not passed, the project is already a failure. A project may be a failure if the team takes shortcuts through or around the system development methodology and the reason for this is or are these reasons:

o The project gets behind the schedule, and the team wants to catch up

o The project is over budget, and the team wants to make up costs by skipping steps

o The team is not trained or skilled in some of the methodology’s activities and requirements, so it skips them.

A project failed also because of the reason the team is overoptimistic. Project managers and analysts tend to be so optimists. As project schedules slips, they respond, “no big deal. We can make it up later.” They miscarry to recognize that certain tasks are dependent on the other tasks. Because of these dependencies, a schedule slip in one phase or activity will cause corresponding slips in many other phases and activities, thus contributing to cost overruns.

Resources:

http://managementhelp.org/plan_dec/project/project.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project

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