Effective Project Management Planning

Introduction

In life, progress is always a necessity (Knutson & Ira, 1991). This is because people are able to monitor how they are developing, based on how they are achieving certain objectives. In this case, people have often found it necessary to bind their development ideas into projects (Wirick, 2005). In essence, projects are tasks which are unique in nature. Projects are, therefore, well-organized developments towards an end product or goal. In order to achieve or realize that project, a form of discipline should be injected into the process in order to ensure that the project is accomplished. The discipline, in this case, cultivates the expertise to monitor, track and manage the people, time, the budget, and the quality of the work on projects. Project management fulfils two main purposes (Thomsett, 2009).

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First, it provides the technical knowhow regarding the entire plan and the status which facilitates comparison of the plan against the actual performance. Secondly, it supports the development of the managerial skills to facilitate better management of the people and their projects. Thus we can define project management as a set of principles, methods, tools, and techniques for the effective management of objective-oriented work in the context of a specific and unique organizational environment (Webber & Webber, 2006). Project management involves a series of activities. These activities include assembling a project team, establishing the technical objectives, planning the project, managing changes to the scope and controlling the undertaking so that it is completed on schedule and within the budget. It is worth noting that project management is an evolving process. As an evolving process, implies that it integrates the processes of producing the end product with the stated phases. In essence, project management begins when a decision is made to devote resources to an effort and ends when the desired result has been accomplished.

Project management plan

A project management plan may be defined as a plan which is documented that is used or referred to when coordinating the activities within a certain project (Schwalbe, 2010). As plans, these documents are created in the assumptions and decisions regarding choices and the avenues which are chosen towards a defined end. Project management plans should bear certain qualities. Project management plans should be documents which are dynamic, flexible, and subject to change when the environment or project changes (Kendrick, 2010). These plans should greatly assist the project manager in leading the project team and assessing project status. Project management plans are unique documents. This is because no two projects are alike. Projects are unique in all aspects. It is, therefore, important to tailor-make the project management plan in order to fit the specific needs of specific projects (Knutson & Ira, 1991).

Project managers

Project managers are people who are concerned with attaining both quality of the finished product and the quality of the execution of the project. Based on this, project management plans should be tailor-made to meet the unique aspects of the projects (Webber & Webber, 2006). Essentially, if organizations which are benefiting from the projects do not have quality standards which evaluate these projects, then the international standards should be brought to the fore to evaluate the quality of these projects. In this case, the ISO can be used.

The project sponsor should work towards ensuring that effective quality assurance measures are brought to the fore. It is worth mentioning the fact that although project manager can be in a position of recommending actions, there is usually an implied conflict for the manager to execute the plan and at the same time evaluate the performance of the project. Thus, the key to any quality project process is the attitude of the leaders. No matter what the project leaders say, the attitude that the leader has towards the project is what influences the kind of performance that the team will follow. When times are uncertain and tough, if the first thing that the project managers will do is to develop a strategy on how to deal with it, then chances are high that the team will follow the same path. Eventually, what follows is the realization of a quality project. However, in cases where the manager does not follow the strategies, then the likelihood is that the project management plan will not live to see the day (Webber & Webber, 2006).

Challenges facing project management plan The problem with organizations: as a matter of fact, projects are avenues which can be used to accomplish major tasks within an organization. The challenges which face the projects are not mastering the plans (Schwalbe, 2010). Rather it is employing the methods and approaches which are outlined in the projects plans. In essence, employing effective project management entails establishing certain changes in an organization. Some of the changes when it comes to effectively accomplishing these include ensuring that financial input is integrated into the project processes. Organizations which are seeking to effectively execute worthwhile project plans should seek to invest in time and resources. Managers who are attempting to make better use of project management plans face enormous challenges. Some of the factors which frustrate these plans include the lack of understanding among the leaders who are within the organization. For instance, some managers may not be in a position of understanding the importance of the stated plans (Thomsett, 2009). This hinders the collective efforts which are needed in accomplishing some of these projects. The other challenge which hinders that the project plan is the organizational boundary which may not be experienced. In this case, the project managers need to acquire the necessary resources and manage their teams effectively. However, there are cases and instances when the organizational hierarchies bring hindrances that impede the progress.

Some organizations fail to adequately involve the users of the products or the end service described within the project when it is in its planning phase. Consequently, the plan delivers products which are not in line with the customer’s needs. In essence, the quality of the product may be within the budget and the outlined plan, however, due to the fact that there were no adequate consultations which were carried out, the project fails to effectively pick and consequently, the key stakeholders do not benefit (Thomsett, 2009). Though these challenges are common, some of them can handicap the effective implementation of the project management plan. With all of these challenges, it is a wonder that organizations have made as much headway as they have, and it is clear that most could do better if these challenges could be addressed.

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The successful plan

Making the project plan to be successful requires many factors to be put in place. This involves, among many other things, the commitment from the stakeholders who are involved in the implementation of the project (Webber & Webber, 2006). Furthermore, the fact that a project is likely to succeed or not does necessarily imply that people are going to buy into the idea. Therefore, for this project to succeed, different views and objectives need to be brought to the fore in order to work towards ensuring that the objectives which have been set, are realized (Thomsett, 2009; Barker & Rob, 2007). Some consistency of purpose and unity of thought about project management must be created. At a minimum, the stakeholders of the project will need to commit to the experiment to improve project management. In addition, it is important to treat the initiative as a learning opportunity for all the stakeholders to learn and benefit from it.

There are cases where the project managers through organizations have tried to make a big sale for a project management initiative without having built a solid foundation for the stated project plan. One of the adages of project management is that for a project to be successful, the scope of the project has to be known. Part of defining the scope of the project is enshrined in identifying the people who are going to be served with the project (Barker & Rob, 2007). Consequently, the project plan is going to be successful and sustainable because people who are within the organization are able to associate the objectives and the goals of the project with the benefits that will directly have an impact on them. The major challenge in this regard is that managers presume that the successes of the initiatives are visible and known by all, which is usually not always the case. As a result, the success of the project will have to be declared, and the marketing initiatives of the project need to be done or carried out after the initial investment has been made. Conclusion

In conclusion, in order to be successful, the project management plans need to be accompanied by adequate training. This ensures that the project is both effective and efficient. In this manner, the efficiency which will be achieved from the project will ensure that the project running costs are lowered. To create effective outcomes within any project management plan, the objectives of the training must align themselves to the project needs, which are outlined within the goals and the objectives. In this case, the project management plan should have a capacity improvement initiative. Through this initiative, the measures which may be realized include improving project time and or cost performance, improving internal and external satisfaction with the project results and standardizing the project reporting for better results.

What is important to note is that these objectives should be related to improving the skills of the project managers. Furthermore, in order to make plans to be fully successful, the project management plan needs to be flexible enough to move beyond a standard training model in order to model a performance approach which is in line with quality. Based on effective planning and strategy, the project team members will benefit from an understanding of the concepts of the project managers. This understanding will give room for processes and effective practices which will be translated in the quality of work which is aimed at. Finally, regardless of how good the project plan appears to be, it is necessary to thoroughly review the plan always and update them as frequently as possible. This is necessary to create plans that one understands and believe in.

References

Barker, S., & Rob, C. (2007). Brilliant project management:what the best project managers know, say and do. California: Pearson Prentice Hall Business.

Kendrick, T. (2010). 101 Project Management Problems and How to Solve Them:Practical Advice for Handling Real-World Project Challenges. New York: AMACOM.

Knutson, J., & Ira, B. (1991). Project Management:How to Plan and Manage Successful Projects. New York: AMACOM.

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Schwalbe, K. (2010). Information Technology Project Management. California: Cengage Learning.

Thomsett, M. C. (2009). The Little Black Book of Project Management. New York: AMACOM.

Webber, L., & Webber, F. (2006). IT Project Management Essentials, 2007. New Jersey: Aspen Publishers Online.

Wirick, D. (2005). The Project Management Imperative:Mastering the Key Survival Skill for the Twenty-First Century Organization. New York: iUniverse.

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