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Project management

Project management – why the foundation should be laid before the project begins

Various recent studies show, that, still, a large number of IT projects fail or are only partly successfully finished. Most projects are completed far too late or the budget is exceeded severely. And when budget and time schedule are actually met, unwanted compromises are often made, which will very likely interfere with the businesses processes.

This seems odd, especially as a distinct project management has developed into a commonly recognized success factor for projects.

Therefore, we want to highlight different project management methods in our article as well as the essential factors and prerequisites that are necessary to successfully implement IT projects.

The benefits of using a project management is often underestimated in (small and medium-sized) companies!

Not all projects are the same

Every project has its own characteristics and special requirements. Projects should not be perceived as isolated endeavours, they are always embedded in a project environment and interact with it. Influences from this environment can have strong effects on the whole project.

Let us first take a closer look at the different types of project management.

Types of project management in the IT environment

1. “Traditional project management”

Traditional project management

Characteristic for this type of project management is a sequence of project phases divided in milestones in initiation, planning, monitoring, control and project completion. The network planning technique is usually used as a method for process planning. Dates, costs, use of resources and results are determined as far as possible at the beginning of the project. This planning-oriented method is mainly used for projects that have to be completed on a certain date. Changes to the plan are handled via change request.

2. Agile project management

Agile project management aims to make project implementation flexible to unpredictable changes in the environment and also in the scope of services. This is mainly done with the help of short planning and execution cycles called “sprints”. An exact specification of the product takes place only during the project. There are strict budget specifications. A characteristic of this approach is that the focus is mainly on the (partial) result and acceptance by the users. The management and control of agile projects and processes is very dynamic and flexible in order to quickly implement change requests from the user.

Agile project management

The best of both types

In practice, there is often a mix of traditional and agile approaches – better known as a hybrid project management approach. The traditional process model forms the organizational framework, whereby product development takes place according to agile principles.

But what is the best way to carry out your project?

Which methodology fit my projects best?

Method selection:

Whether agile or traditional – for each project, the appropriate method has to be found, depending on the respective conditions. With the right approach, a successful project will always be on time and in budget.

There is no ” template” for successful project management!

Here is the good news: project management is not based on fixed templates, there is no such thing as the one and only perfect project management each project, and it is also not bound to a certain size of the company or the project. Rather, project management can be flexibly adapted to the needs of the company and to the project structure. Usually, the best suiting project management concept is developed individually for each company and tailored in such a way that it fits the project and the objectives.

Is it worthwhile for your company to develop such a concept?

Investing in project management pays off in the long term!

Initially, project management means increased planning effort at the project’s run-up, which ultimately pays off at the end of the project through cost and time savings. This investment, at the beginning of the project, ensures a smoother course and offers quite a number of advantages:

  • Common understanding of all participants in regard to the project goal
  • Reduction of the project costs
  • Reduction of the required time
  • Improved adherence to deadlines, milestones, etc.
  • Early detection of plan deviations and initiation of countermeasures
  • Improved cooperation between team members / project participants
  • Achievement of objectives according to a schedule agreed upon

In order for projects not to be doomed to failure even before the start, and for the increased investment in planning and control also to pay off, it is desirable to have the project manager start working before the start of the project.

Getting the project manager (PM) on board early will benefit a project tremendously

Essentially, the PM is responsible for the successful planning, implementation and control as well as for the completion of a project. Furthermore, he guarantees a structured approach from the very beginning. Many discussions with PM colleagues showed that the greatest challenges during the management of the project are often similar in different projects and can often be traced back to a too late integration of the PM. It is therefore advisable – especially before the actual start of the project – to get the project manager on board early in order to progressively minimize the potential dangers of failure.

The PM can provide support on the following topics:

  • a clean clarification of the order, i.e. definition of the scope of the order/target
  • a good project setup
  • the definition of measurable goals and acceptance criteria
  • promoting a common understanding of the project

The main tasks of the PM

  • Clarification of the project objective and the assignment
  • Designing the Work Breakdown Structure
  • Estimating expenses
  • Creating the schedule
  • Coordination and control of project processes
  • Leadership and organization of the project members
  • Cost calculation
  • Risk assessment and budgeting
  • Planning, implementation and control
  • Takeover of project communication

A bad start of a project cannot only endanger the success of your IT project. Under certain circumstances – if the project budget is large – an unprofessional implementation of a project can also jeopardize the success of your company!

The optimal use of project management minimizes the risks that can disrupt a project. That way, opportunities can be exploited, project goals can be achieved qualitatively, and the success of the company can be ensured.

We will help you with our expertise in project management!

Our project managers possess the necessary methodical tools as well as know-how and experience from many successfully implemented projects for the execution of your project. At Inspiricon, both, practiced project management and leadership skills as well as proven and tested methods and tools are used in the project process.

Author
Thomas Dietl Project Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de
How a PMO Can Help You Build Higher Levels of Business Development

How a PMO Can Help You Build Higher Levels of Business Development

Let’s start with a simple question and try to find the answer:
Why did companies introduce and develop the Project Management Office (PMO), even though they already had the Project Management (PM) knowledge?

Let’s make some clarifications regarding the PM and the introduction of a PMO.

Nowadays, we have loads of PM documentation that can satisfy everyone’s needs. The topic needs no further discussion, as it should be clear to all people involved in this field of activity. Moreover, everything is structured and target-oriented.

More about Project Management

According to the PMBOK, Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project the activities that meet project requirements. *

Likewise, these standards also apply to the PMO and have a high impact on its operative tasks. Well, let’s find out more about it.

“Project Management sets up the rules,
the PMO creates the frame to make sure that the rules are being followed!” 

What is the impact the Project Management has on a PMO? A few points should be considered first:

  1. The PMO should be developed according to the company’s own culture, based on the PM specifications.
  2. It is not always suited to customers and their needs, but rather to the company itself.
  3. The involvement of different management levels should be carefully organized.
  4. Continuous improvement should take place.
  5. We need the ability to scale well, as the company develops.

Now, why is a PMO the new trend and why does it get more and more attention? Let’s find out!

Why Your Company Needs a PMO!

The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition – defines the PMO as an organizational structure that standardizes the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools and techniques. Additionally, a PMO will provide support for the direct management of one or more projects. **

I believe that a PMO is vital for a company when it reaches a certain size and experiences a certain growth in a short period of time.

In my experience, the role of a PMO is…

  1. to ensure that the project teams follow the needs of a project to be delivered in time and within the budget. This cannot be done only at the beginning or at the end of a project; this is done step by step, offering support and guidance. In the meantime, the customer must always be in the focus, while staying in contact with the project, the project team and the customer.
  2. to analyze and to control that the agreed rules and setups are followed and implemented by each of the involved participants.
  3. to improve everything that has already been set up and implemented. This can be done with new tools, new techniques or methods.

We can confirm with certainty that the PM was created first and that only afterwards the PMO emerged. But it is intriguing to find out what happens when a company with a long PM tradition introduces the PMO. So, let’s have a closer look!

What Happens After Introducing a PMO?

Project Managers, heads who lead projects and deliver their best, will find out that there will be some constraints after having a local PMO. What are some of these constraints in this new world?

  • New organizational setup, focused on the new PMO strategy.
  • New rules and strategies are defined, topics that will govern the future development of the entire company, rules and strategies that will have to be applied by every PM in close collaboration with the PMO and with the customer.
  • Tools introduced and developed for a better reporting which helps the management of the company take the best decisions.
  • Additional support methods for Project Managers, like trainings and trainers are suitable for a better professional development.
  • Project Controllers, team members whose primary role is to analyze and check if the defined structures, roles and methods are applied in the rolling projects.

Furthermore, stakeholders will find out that the rules upon which they had agreed have been set up, and now must be also followed and respected. Meanwhile, they have the confidence that everybody else follows the same agreed rules.

PMO at Inspiricon

All the above-mentioned facts are based on the experience gathered while building the new structure inside of Inspiricon, with a deep impact on outside deliveries. The department was born in the spring of 2016 and, during the summer of the same year, it already made the first steps. After running it for more than a year, it has a well-established and consolidated structure. And it keeps on developing day by day, involving as much as possible the entire crew.

Conclusion

One cannot stress enough how important it is to understand that a PMO offers support and creates new levels of business development, while taking care that all the agreed topics are implemented and developed further.

Source: *, **   A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition

Author
Gabriel Simon Project Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: cluj@inspiricon.de