Project Management Training Made Easy

The project management training is made easy today with the use of the high speed internet that most companies now have access to. This means of communication has changed forever the way your staff can receive the necessary training for them to improve their skills on the job.

By having your staff take a project management training course online, they will miss less work and be able to absorb the knowledge at their own pace. This is because unlike a huge seminar where the speaker dictates the speed and topics of the course, your staff now does. This is since most of this type of training is done individually. You can set up a screen in a conference room so more than one can attend, but then applying the knowledge in a real world situation will be delayed till after the training is over.

The advantage of conducting the project management training course separately allows for the critical topics that each individual needs training in, to be chosen first by the individual. Since each project team member has different responsibilities in the project, each one will be studying a different section. They can also then review what they learned at their own pace. This allows for a greater absorption of the knowledge. They can also apply what they are learning when they are acquiring the knowledge.

One of the reasons you may wish to have your entire project team to be involved in the project management training courses is so they can make a bigger and more efficient contribution to the business ventures. The more they know, the less ambiguous any situation involving the project will be. With fewer questions, there is a deceased chance of delays when the deliverable is being created.

The accessibility to the project management training courses is set by the management. What has made it easier for management to include more people in this type of training is the reduction in the cost. With no plane tickets or hotel costs to be included more of your staff can learn how to help your projects to be more profitable.

Using a Project Management Process

Using a project management process is comparitable to following a set of instructions. Once the process is fully documented, it has the outline of what tasks are to be accomplished along with the resources that will be needed in the process. This allows for the completion of the process to occur in the most efficient manner possible.

The writing of the project management process should take place in the planning phase of the project’s life cycle. This documentation of the process can now be done in an efficient manner with the use of the project management templates. This is the tool of choice by the modern project manager so this task can be completed in a timely manner with more detail and following the best known path for this process.

There is more than just one project management process involved in a project of today. At the last count there were a total of 9. Each one has its own specific purpose and reason for being. The exclusion of just one of them would jeopardize the efficiency and productivity of the project as a whole. For that reason, each one has to be done separately and completely.

Each project management process has a specific area they are responsible for in the project. When combined all together they will be the project management plan. This is the document that your customers will wish to review before accepting your deliverable. This way they can visibly see if your project follows the acceptable standards they require for the production of the product they have ordered.

Without the documentation of each project management process, your deliverable will not have the requirements necessary for the global market place. This will allow your competitors to reach places and customers you will be forbidden to sell to. This will affect the size of your revenue stream and the profitability of your organization.

By using the project management process as it is written, you will be able to avoid such problems and cut through the red tape in more places. This will help to bring in the revenue stream necessary to keep your business open and functioning.

Lean Methodology

The creation of the lean methodology was necessary after the end of World War Two when there was a shortage of manpower for the production of civilian goods. Just as all wars do, there was a great amount of life lost. To help compensate for this low allowable allowance of manpower, the project managers in the Far East had to devise a new approach to getting their factories working so they could once again turn a profit.

The basic concept of the lean methodology is simple. It is the reduction of all waste from a process so only the components that contribute in a positive manner towards the deliverable and its staying on its production schedule are allowed to remain in place. One of the hardest parts of developing this methodology is deciding just what makes a positive contribution to the deliverable and what really is waste.

What most realize is that when deploying the lean methodology, it is a continuous process towards the improvement of all processes involved in the planning and production of a deliverable for the global market place. This process should involve every level of management to help make the final decisions. It will also be necessary to involve the entire project team. It is their hands on experience with the project that can pinpoint areas where improvements can be made. These small contributions from the project team have an accumulative effect that will make the difference in just how successful your project is at cutting and eliminating waste from the project.

One of the newest additions to the lean methodology is the “just in time” supply network. By bringing in the required resources necessary for your project as they are needed, the elimination of storage for them has been eliminated. This saves both money and space in providing a warehouse for the resources just to sit in waiting to be used.

The lean methodology has expanded far beyond its intended purpose of dealing with a manpower shortage. Today most manufactures have implemented it to some extent to best fit their needs. This increases the profitability of every project it is used in when implemented correctly.

Incorporating a Project Management Process

By incorporating a project management process with your next business venture, its chances of success will increase. This is what stakeholders are referring to when they demand their employees to become better organized. By establishing a set plan of attack to planning and controlling your next project, the performance of the plan will be enhanced.

The project management process is an all encompassing approach to developing a revenue stream with the production of a deliverable. This will even begin in the inception phase of a project’s lifecycle. To come up with an idea and actually place it into a business case will not occur without a set plan. Then to ensure the idea is feasible and profitable must also be known before any planning of how the deliverable will begin. There is no need to plan the production of an item if you are not going to be able to make money with it.

In each project management process, there are nine separate and different processes that must be coordinated for it to be a success. Each one of these processes must be documented for each process so there is a paper trail for not only the project team to follow, but so there is a record of what was attempted.

To do the documentation of the project management process, the use of project management templates are most often used. This not only speeds up this documentation process of the process, but also helps to bring consistency to the paper trail. There will also be similarities from past project that can be used in your present project so the entire process does not have to be constructed from scratch.

Not every part of the project management process will be used by each member of your project team, but all nine processes need to be written because someone will need them during the course of the project. This documentation of the process is now a requirement in the industry set forth by the standards that are used globally.

By using a project management process for your next business venture, you will be able to meet the requirement set by these standards. This will allow your deliverable to be acceptable in more markets than ever before.

 

Project Solutions

The number of project solutions for any particular problem will vary. It all depends on how much revenue you are willing to spend to solve your problem and the amount of resources you have available to you. Another factor in this equation is how serious is the problem and even if it is economically feasible to mitigate the problem or just choose another path.

To know what type of project solutions to utilize, you must first define your problem. If you have a communication problem, then the use of collaboration technology might be the perfect fit. This will help your staff to send messages and use virtual conferences to make sure the message being received is the same one that is being sent. This is a common problem in corporations. The content of the message changes as it is passed down the chain of command.

Another common project solutions utilized in today’s business world is the project management office program. There are many different tools that will help the project manager in multiple ways. There are solutions to help with the documentation processes along with monitoring programs. Each one has a specific purpose that can help an organization to become more efficient on how they use their time and resources while on the job.

One of the not so apparent of the project solutions that makes use of the monitoring programs is all the data these programs acquire in the execution phase of a project’s lifecycle. This makes it easier to analyze the results for a possible solution in helping your organization to being more efficient. It can also make a significant contribution in the assembling of the necessary reports for the project. With each one being used, the time required to complete a project will be reduced.

The use of project solutions in a business venture is how problems are solved. It also lays down a path for improvement of an organization’s systems so improvements can be made. This makes it possible to cut out the waste in a process and make your production facility more efficient so the profits of your revenue stream will increase.

Financial Planning with Project Management Tools

Creating a Financial Plan with Project Management Tools

Within this article, we will help you as a Project Manager to budget for project expenditure by describing:

How to create a Project Financial Plan with Project Management Tools

Early in the Project Planning phase, you will need to define the overall budget for the project implementation. However setting a budget isn’t an easy task. In fact, many experienced Project Managers would say that its more of an Art rather than a Science! As challenging as it is, there are 4 steps you can take to create an accurate and realistic budget, by documenting a project “Financial Plan”:

Step 1: List the Financial Expenses

The first step taken when defining a Financial Plan and setting a project budget, is to identify all of the types of expenses that are likely to be incurred throughout the Project Lifecycle.

Typically, most projects spend the majority of their budget on purchasing, leasing, renting or contracting the resources to the project (e.g. labor, equipment and materials). However other types of expenses incurred may include those related to the:

  • Procurement of resources from suppliers
  • Establishment of a Project Office
  • Administration of the project

Step 2: Quantify the Financial Expenses

Once you have identified a detailed list of expenses to be incurred throughout the project, the next step is to forecast the unit cost of each expense type listed. The unit cost is simply the cost of a single unit of a particular expense item. For instance, the unit cost for:

  • labor may be calculated as the cost per hour supplied
  • equipment may be calculated as the rental cost per day
  • materials may be calculated as the purchase cost per quantity

After listing the unit costs, you should calculate the total amount of each expense item needed to undertake the project using these project management tools. For instance:

  • Identify the number of roles required
  • Quantify the items of equipment needed
  • Determine the amount of materials required
  • Quantify the procurement items to be sourced from suppliers
  • Calculate the administration costs the project

Step 3: Construct an Expense Schedule

You have now collated all the information needed to build a detailed expense schedule. This schedule enables the Project Manager to calculate the total cost of undertaking the project on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

To create an Expense Schedule, build a table which lists all of the expense types down the left hand side of page, and all of the weeks in the year across the page. Then identify for each week and for each expense type, the amount of financial expenditure to budget. Once complete, you can sum up all of the expenses for any particular week to gain a weekly budget for the entire project.

Of course you may wish to calculate a daily, monthly or yearly view, based on your particular project need. Also don’t forget to list any assumptions made during the creation of this Financial Plan. For example, it may be assumed that:

  • “The project delivery dates will not change during this project.”
  • “The unit costs forecast are accurate to within 5%.”
  • “The funds listed by this plan will be available as required.”

And finally, list any constraints identified during this financial planning process. For example:

  • “Limited information was available when identifying costs”
  • “A market shortage has resulted in a high labor costs”

Step 4: Define the Financial Process

Now that you have created a detailed Expense Schedule, you need to define the process for monitoring and controlling expenses (i.e. costs) throughout the Project Lifecycle. Define the Cost Management Process for your project by documenting the:

  • Purpose of the process
  • Steps involved in undertaking the process
  • Roles and responsibilities involved in undertaking the process
  • Templates used to support the process

There you have it! By completing the 4 steps listed above, you will be able to create a comprehensive Financial Plan for your project and ensure that you consistently produce project deliverables within budget. To complete a project inside budge, implement project management tools.

Creating a Quality Control Plan

Creating a quality control plan is not something that can happen overnight or by accident. This is one of the important processes that must be documented in all business ventures that have the deliverable aimed at the global market place.

 

To begin a quality control plan, the use of a project management tool, the templates, is advisable. This is a structured document that has all of the necessary task that must be addresses for your quality plan to be complete. The project management templates are also created so the tasks are listed in the most efficient order to follow. This makes you plan more constructive to use when you are wishing to increase the level or just check the level of quality your deliverable will have.

 

To have a successful quality control plan, you must not only know the requirements of your customer or target audience, but put into place ways to achieve them. The plans are like a set of instructions that should be followed. By constructing your plan in a method that accomplishes the goals you need to obtain, the final result should be acceptable.

 

Just like in the six sigma methodology, your quality control plan should also have a structure that permits improvements to it. This will allow your staff to have valuable input into how to improve the efficiency and quality of the production of your deliverable. This makes it easy for your deliverable to be constantly improving. It also makes it easier to save money on the budget because you and your project team are working more efficiently.

 

By making your quality control plan as complete as possible, you can show your target audience you have addressed all of their needs and concerns when it comes to creating the deliverable they desire. This due diligence is what can help cut thru a great amount of red tape if or when a problem arises.

 

The creating of a quality control plan is not easy, but it is very doable. With the aid of knowing the goals of the business venture along with the right project management tools, this task can be accomplished quickly and easily so you can progress to the next task in your project.

Performing Project Management Life Cycle

Project Management Life Cycle Change Management

In this latest article, we’re discussed the topic of Change Management.

project management lifecycle is typically undertaken within changing business environments, so it’s inevitable that during the life of your project, there will be some element of change required. Whether a customer requests a change to their requirements, management request a change in priority or team members request a change in roles, you will need an effective Change Management Process to minimize the resulting impact on your project. So here, we have described:

How to implement a “Change Management Process”

Change Management is the process of monitoring and controlling changes within a project management life cycle. By managing the implementation of change, you can:

  • Reduce the impact of changes to the project
  • Identify new issues and risks as a result of changes raised
  • Ensure that changes do not affect the project’s ability to achieve its desired objectives
  • Control the cost of change within the project

Change Management is comprised of the following processes:

Step 1: Identify Changes

The first step in the change process is to identify the need for change. Any team member can suggest a change to the project, if he or she believes it is needed to keep the project producing deliverables to the customer’s specified requirements. After identifying a need for change, the team member records relevant information on a Change Request Form (commonly called a CRF), describing the change, and identifying drivers, benefits, costs and likely impact of the change on the project management life cycle. The CRF is forwarded to the Project Manager for review and approval.

Step 2: Review Changes

The Project Manager investigates the change to identify the reason for it and its impact. Then he or she decides whether it is critical to the successful delivery of the project. Changes which are not critical to project delivery should be avoided whenever possible to prevent “scope creep” (i.e. the gradual increase in scope throughout the Project Lifecycle).

If the change is deemed critical to success, the Project Manager either approves the request or seeks approval for the CRF raised. In some cases, the Project Manager has the direct authority to approval minor change requests; however, in most cases the Project Manager needs to seek CRF approval from the Project Board.

Step 3: Approve Changes

The Project Board reviews the details in the CRF to determine whether or not the change should be implemented. Based on the level of risk, impact, benefits and cost to the project, it may decide to decline, delay or approve the change request.

Step 4: Implement Changes

The Project Manager approves all changes, which are then are scheduled and implemented accordingly. After implementation, the Project Manager reviews the effects of the change on the project to ensure that it achieved the desired outcome, when the change is then closed in the Change Register.

Throughout the Change Management Process, the Project Manager can monitor and control changes to the project managemeny lifecycle by keeping this Change Register up-to-date.

There you have it. By completing these 4 steps, you can carefully monitor and control project changes, to increase your likelihood of success. If you would like to use a suite of templates to complete each of these activities quickly and efficiently, then read about the Change Management Kit. This kit includes all of the project management templates, forms and processes required to perform these steps efficiently. Learn more…

Efficient Project Closure with Project Management Tools

Efficient Project Closure with Project Management Tools

How to close projects quickly and efficiently using our project management tools

Once all the deliverables within a project have been completed and approved by the customer, the project is ready for closure. Closing a project is a task not to be under-rated, as it requires the review of the entire project to date and the completion of a comprehensive set of closure actions. Take the following steps to close projects quickly and efficiently.

Step 1: Confirm Project Completion

The first step in closing a project is to confirm that the project is ready to be closed. The project is only ready for closure when all the completion criteria specified in the Terms of Reference have been met in full. Examples of completion criteria may include:

  • The project vision has been achieved.
  • All the project objectives have been met.
  • The project has resulted in the stated benefits.
  • All the deliverables specified have been produced.

If you’re confident that the project has met all of the completion criteria specified, then the next step is to identify any outstanding items using the specified project management tools. These are typically activities listed as “Incomplete” on the Project Plan; however they may also be miscellaneous risks, issues or general items that are noteworthy and need to be raised. Identify the outstanding items required to be completed, in order to confirm that the project is ready for completion.

Step 2: Identify Closure Actions

Now that you’ve confirmed that the project is ready for closure, you’re ready to document the actions needed to close the project, within a “Project Closure Report”. This report describes how the:

  • Deliverables will be handed over to the customer
  • Documentation will be handed over to the business
  • Supplier Contracts will be terminated and contractors released
  • Project resources will be released. This includes:staff, equipment and materials.

You should also identify the actions required to close down the Project Office, including the cessation of premise rental agreements and cancellation of supply accounts such as water, electricity and phone lines.

Step 3: Undertake Closure Actions

Following the approval of the “Project Closure Report” by the Project Board, the Project Manager will be responsible for undertaking each of the actions listed within the specified dates. The Project Manager and Project Sponsor will stay in close contact as each closure action is performed, to ensure that the project is closed quickly and efficiently.

Only after all of the actions specified within the Project Closure Report have been completed, will the project be designated as officially closed.

Delivering on Time with Project Management Forms

Delivering on Time with Project Management Forms

To succeed as a Project Manager, you need to deliver projects on time and within budget. But delivering “on time” is not as easy as it sounds. A survey from the Standish Group estimates that up to 84% of projects fail to deliver on schedule. So how can you put processes in place to help you to deliver your projects on schedule? We suggest, by using these project management forms and by taking these steps:

3 Steps to Project Time Management

Time Management is the process of monitoring and controlling time spent within a project. By recording the actual time spent by staff on a project, you can:

  • Calculate the time spent undertaking tasks
  • Identify the staff cost of undertaking tasks
  • Control the level of resources allocated to tasks
  • Monitor the completion percentage of tasks
  • Identify any outstanding work required to complete tasks

To do all of this effectively within your project, you need to implement a structured Time Management Process. This process uses “Timesheets” upon which staff record their time spent undertaking tasks. The process also involves the use of a “Timesheet Register”, upon which you collate the time recorded by staff. With this information, you can update the Project Plan and assess whether or not the project is on time and likely to deliver within schedule. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Document Timesheet

The first step in the process is to capture all of the time spent completing project tasks, using the Timesheet from your project management forms. All project leaders, team members, staff and contractors responsible for completing tasks in the Project Plan should complete Timesheet forms to record the time they spend.

Timesheets exist in various formats, including paper, spreadsheet and software, and they should be used from the moment the Project Plan is approved until the project is closed.

To ensure that all staff members record their time accurately, they should complete their Timesheets as they complete each task, rather than waiting until the end of the reporting period to complete them. They should then forward their completed Timesheets to the Project Manager on a weekly basis for approval.

Step 2: Approve Timesheet

Upon review of each Timesheet, the Project Manager will:

  • Confirm the time spent against tasks listed in the Project Plan
  • Confirm the team member was delegated the task
  • Determine whether the time spent was reasonable
  • Identify whether sufficient progress has been made
  • Identify issues with the time spent and the progress achieved

Based on these conclusions, the Project Manager may decide to approve the timesheet, request further information from the staff member regarding the time spent, or decline it and raise a staff issue.
Step 3: Update Project Plan

After approval, the Project Administrator then enters all time recorded,  against the Project Plan. This allows them to identify:

  • The total time spent per project activity
  • The percentage completion of each project activity
  • The overall delivery of the project against the schedule
  • Tasks that exceed their completion date or forecast effort

The Project Manager is then notified of any exceptions and can choose to take corrective actions, such as:

  • Changing the team member assigned to the task
  • Allocating additional team members to the task
  • Providing additional time for completing the task
  • Requesting assistance from suppliers to help complete the task

Throughout the Time Management Process, the Project Administrator monitors and controls the time spent within the project, by keeping a Timesheet Register up-to-date.

And there you have it. If you take these 3 steps and use project management forms for performing Time Management within your project, you’ll greatly increase you chances of delivering projects on time and within schedule.