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Project Management

Project management is a set of methodologies to plan and direct the processes of a project. A project comprises a specific accumulation of operations designed to achieve an objective with an established scope, resources, start and end. The objectives of project management are:

- Manage the start and evolution of a project;
- Control and respond to problems that arise during a project;
- Facilitate the completion and approval of the project.

The projects are independent of the daily business activity, so it's required that a series of meetings be organized to see what the specific objectives of the project are. For the project to succeed, it's essential that efficient teamwork be carried out. The way in which project management will direct the work depends on several factors, including: scalability " the possibility of the project growing ", the importance and complexity of tasks.

Project management is essentially aimed at achieving the pre-established objectives to provide a benefit to the organization. The objectives can be expressed in terms of: results " such as the creation of a new headquarters "; consequences " such as relocating employees to new headquarters "; benefits " cost reduction of food checks, maintenance of machines or facilities " or strategic objectives " such as doubling corporate performance in three years ".

There are many restrictions when developing a project. However, the three most common are time, cost and scope. These restrictions are part of all projects and together form the Project Management Triangle. The scope is important to specify all the steps of the project development. On the other hand, time is an invaluable resource. While we can control the processes, we can't control the time. So it's a real challenge to be able to use time efficiently, keep the project within the schedule and achieve the desired objectives. However, the costIt's made up of a budget established in the initial stage of the project. Then, it's compared with the figure that was initially proposed. The three restrictions are interconnected and depend a lot on each other. Once the time allocated for the project is reduced, the cost increases. In addition, the scope of the project dictates the pace and a series of resources necessary to successfully complete and complete the project.

The ISO standard that sets standards for project management and management is the ISO 21500 standard. The main objective of these regulations is to provide guidance to organizations in their management. It describes the different concepts and processes within a company to stabilize and systematize tasks, as well as the homogenization of activities. That is, it intends that the result of a process be the same regardless of the person performing it. The structure of the ISO 21500 standard continues with the guidelines of the PMBOK, one of the certificates of the Project Management Institute " PMI " or project management institute.

The 5 phases of project management

The PMI is an organization that offers training in project management. To accredit project management knowledge, this organization has eight types of certificates. The PMI divides the projects into 5 phases:

1. Feasibility study analysis of the project

It's the first phase of a project and it's based on analyzing if it goes ahead. This step is done because, often, the benefit that the company would obtain when implementing the project is greater than the investment. To investigate the possibilities of the project, factors such as time, resources and cost must be taken into account. The feasibility analysis of the project must include:

- Creation of the project tracking record in business software;
- Previous analysis of the scope of the project " it's proposed what scope the project should have, what methodology is going to be carried out, which departments should be involved, etc. ";
- Analysis of project execution risks;
- Analysis of the benefit and the expected cost, the viability of the agreed deadlines and the intended quality.

If the balance of the feasibility analysis is positive, you can proceed to the second phase.

2. Detailed planning of the work to be done

The objective of this phase is to detail all those tasks to be performed and the necessary resources. If it's not clearly defined, this can have a " very " negative impact on the company. To establish these tasks and resources with the greatest precision, you must:

- Review the analysis of the scope of the project;
- Make estimates of effort, costs and resources;
- Define the project plan.

If the project continues, all this information should be written in the terms of agreement.

3. Execution of the project

During this phase, companies display all their know-how. The know how is the set of techniques, ways of managing resources and managing processes. Some project management softwares allow you to automatically create a report. In this phase the problems usually arise. The actions carried out during this stage are those of:

- Establish the work environment " groups and workflows ";
- Assign planned tasks to available resources;
- Execute the planned tasks;
- Manage change requests.

4. Work monitoring and control

This phase, together with the previous one, is one of the most important for the project. In this stage it's checked if all the planning is being fulfilled and if all quality expectations are exceeded. This way you can respond quickly and efficiently to problems that arise. With a project management module you can keep track of the processes, including progress, times and costs. In this phase essentially four types of activities are carried out:

- Follow-up of tasks and planned milestones;
- Deliverables management " including quality control ";
- Management of incidents that have arisen and that may arise during the process " such as that a workflow isn't well connected or connected ";
- Generation of follow-up reports " reports for directors or project managers informing about whether the project goes according to plan ".

5. Project closure

This last phase consists of evaluating and verifying that everything is as it should before closing the project. The analysis of project failures will make more realistic and safe decisions in the future. To carry out this evaluation, a checklist is usually used. The tasks of this stage are:

- Formal closure of the project by all stakeholders " stakeholders ";
- Making the backup " backup " of the project;
- Analysis of the results with respect to the initial estimates;
- Knowledge base update with everything learned.

What are the most used methodologies in project management?

Within all the different methodologies that exist to carry out a project, six different categories can be established. These categories are: the traditional sequential methodology, PMI / PMBOK; Agile; change management; process based; and, other methodologies.

The traditional sequential methodology

Traditional methodologies are based on sequential stages in which one phase has to be completed before moving on to the next. This results in documents that allow checking the correct development and completion of each phase. This type of development has the advantage that it allows control of each phase by all those responsible and their superiors. However, this causes the projects to be very 'static', that is, if you need to change anything within the project, you have to go back to the beginning, and start again almost from scratch. The best known methodologies within this category are those of Waterfall, Critical Path Method " CPM " and Critical Chain Project Management " CCPM ".

PMI / PMBOK

This category is composed of the methodology established by the Project Management Institute. This follows the five phases of project management described in the PMBOK. However, there are many project managers who deny that this is a methodology, but a series of guidelines and conventions to direct projects.

Agile

The Agile category is named as it's composed of the methodology of the same name, and from it came other methodologies: Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming " XP " and Adaptive Project Framework " APF ". In the Agile Manifesto, some elements are valued above others:

- The workers and interactions over processes and tools;
- A functional software on a general documentation;
- A collaboration with the client on the negotiation of a contract;
- The ability to respond about the ability to follow an established plan.

Change Management

There are methodologies that deal with project management, but focusing on change management, specially in risk planning and taking control of change when it occurs. The best known methods are: Event Chain Methodology, whose underlying idea is that there are potential risks that are often beyond the scope of the project; and, Extreme Project Management, being the opposite of Waterfall, since it offers you a way to manage the massive change and move towards the completion of the project.

Methodologies based on the process

In this category, the methodologies are directed towards the areas of business process management " Business Process Management, BPM ", where each method focuses work as a set of processes. The methodologies within this category are: Lean manufacturing " focused on the simplification and reduction of waste "; Six Sigma " based on statistics to improve the quality of a process by measuring the defects or errors present and reduce it until it's as close as possible to zero "; Lean Six Sigma " combines Lean's minimalist approach - " no waste " and improving the quality of Six Sigma " zero defects " "; and Process-Based Project Management o Process-based project management " aligns all project objectives with the mission and corporate values ​​of a company ".

Other methodologies

In this category are those methodologies that, although important, don't fit into the previous categories. These methodologies are: PRINCE2 and PRISM. The first, PRINCE2 " Projects In Controlled Environments " manages projects and is characterized by a product-based planning approach. The PRISM methodology " Projects Integrating Sustainable Methods " aims to manage change while incorporating environmental sustainability into its processes.

Costs of a project management system

The project management system is usually found as a module within the ERP or even as a specialized independent module. An independent project management system can be integrated with ERP software and automatically compare the project estimate with the data obtained from the ERP.

The cost depends on several factors: the licenses, the accommodation, the number of functionalities, the supplier, and even distributed differently depending on whether it's purchased or if it's "rented" " with the software model as a service, SaaS ". Another factor that influences the price of a software would be the size of the company and its specific characteristics. During negotiations with the provider it's very important to write a Service Level Agreement " SLA " to see what conditions, price and duration are established and what services of the provider have to be paid separately.

Another thing that the company has to take into account is the number of licenses and the number of full users and limited users that it'll have, and analyze to what extent the authorization of each user will have scope.

An important decision that the company has to make is whether the solution will be hosted locally " on-premise ", in the cloud or in a hybrid way. Some companies have sensitive data and feel more secure storing their data locally, even if this involves an initial outlay greater than if it's made of SaaS type. The cloud also offers security, however, some companies have some doubts due to uncertainty about the loss of control of their data or for example, by having to ensure that their provider complies with all legal aspects.

The functionalities also suppose a good part of the cost of the implementation of this system. To reduce expenses, it's necessary to take into account what functionalities are the ones that really require. For example, a company may need a quality management tool, but it doesn't require that the system be available in several languages ​​or for different currencies.


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