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Top 10 Most Effective Project Management Practices

by Khurram H. Blogger

Why do projects fail so often? There are many reasons for that, but the most importantly, projects fail due to lack of using effective project management processes and techniques. Of course, there are a number of other reasons like the client may change his/her mind due to lack of funds or change of heart etc. However, if the software development company implements project management practices properly then the project is always completed in a much better, cheaper, and faster way. In this post, some of the most important phases of project management will be discussed step by step.

PLANNING

1: Plan Work by Utilizing a Project Definition Document

This is the starting point for any project, here you spend time planning the project and writing down all the details in the form of a document. This document when approved by the client becomes the basis and primary deliverable which describes all the aspects of a project. Many software companies or software developers make a big mistake by jumping straight into the work thinking they will save time, which can hurt them in the long run.

The project definition document includes:

  • ·         Objectives
  • ·         Scope
  • ·         Assumptions and risks
  • ·         Approach
  • ·         Organization
  • ·         Signature page
  • ·         Initial effort, cost, and duration estimates

PROJECT WORKPLAN

2: Create a Planning Horizon

Next step in project management is the creation of workplan. A workplan gives you instructions at each step of the project in order to complete the project. The best way is to use the already built project plan that you made for similar project in the past, however if no such project exists, you can make a new one by using a network diagram and a work breakdown structure.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES

3: Define Project Management Procedures Up Front

In this phase of project management, where you define the project management procedures, all the resources that are going to be used during the project are outlined. It include issues like how the project team will manage scope change, quality, risk, communication and other similar tasks. This phase is also important because it allows a common understanding between the project team, and rest of the stakeholders about the project details.

4: Manage the Workplan and Monitor the Schedule and Budget

After the rigorous planning of the project, this is the time of execution. As there is already an agreement on project definition, workplan, and project management procedures, only thing that is left is executing everything according to the plan in a correct manner. One thing that you need to remember here is, no project can always go perfectly, and there are few things that don’t go according to your plan. But you still need to have good discipline to apply your project management skill proactively.

5: Look For Warning Signs

In this step, you look for any sign that shows you are making a mistake or may get into trouble in near future. These may include things related to budget increase early in the project lifetime. If this happens and you are not quick to respond, your project may get into unrecoverable state.

MANAGING SCOPE

6: Ensure That the Sponsor Approves Scope-Change Requests

Managing scope of the project is very crucial, you need to make sure that the sponsor approves all the scope change requests. In order to effectively control the project, this phase is very important as most project failures occur due to unnecessary changes made within the scope of the project, these changes could be both minor and major. Along with effective scope management procedures, there are two parts that you need to understand well, these are scope creep and knowing who the customer is.

7: Guard against Scope Creep

A scope creep is a term often used within project management, which is associated with number of small changes that are made within the project. These changes do not tally with scope-change management procedures. Although these small changes do not have a great effect on the project individually but when these are grouped together, they can have a significant impact overall on the project. There are large number of project that breakdown due to scope creep, which is why every project manager must be aware of them and diligently guard against them.

MANAGING RISK

8: Identify risks up front

Along with managing the project related risks, the project manager should also find out the probability of that risk occurring and having any impact on the project. Events that have high risk need to have specific plans in order to stop them from occurring. If the risk is medium, then it is the responsibility of a project manager to manage it proactively. As far as low level risks are concerned, these are identified as assumptions, and you hope for a more positive outcome in their case. Some risks are associated with the technology being used

9: Continue To Assess Potential Risks throughout the Project

During the project lifetime, as a project manager you need to continuously look for any risks that have surfaced and perform periodic risk assessment to control the outcome of the project.

10: Resolve Issues As Quickly As Possible

Issues that can create a problem during the project need to be resolved as soon as possible. If there is something that needs to be redesigned, it should be done without wasting any time. If there is an issue that is present for some time without creating any problem, then this is a non-issue because real issues are those that requires urgent response.

Conclusion

These project management practices are part and parcel of project, although sometimes developers tend to overlook them in order to speed up the development process, but in doing so they make critical mistake that cost them dearly.

It is the responsibility of every project manager within the software development company to ensure these project management practices are implemented in the most effective manner, as it plays a key role in success and failure of the project. 

About Khurram H. Advanced   Blogger

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Joined APSense since, August 13th, 2014, From Islamabad, Pakistan.

Created on Dec 31st 1969 19:00. Viewed 0 times.

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