To complete a project, the project manager uses different techniques for each of the project implementation phases of initiating, planning, executing, and closure. Each step uniquely contributes towards the project completion (De Bruijn & Ten Heuvelhof, 2010). The techniques for each step are as follows:
At the initiation stage, the project manager creates and organizes the project team, establishes good working relationship with the customer and other stakeholders, determines the required resources, and defines the project initiation activities (De Bruijn & Ten Heuvelhof, 2010). The resources include skilled people, money, machinery, time, and inputs from the project team.
Planning the Project stage
The necessary techniques involve determining the start and completion of project tasks as well as establishing the project scope and feasibility (Kerzner, 2013, p.2). The manager divides the project tasks into manageable chunks and lays them out on a work breakdown structure. A resource plan is created to compare the available resources with those required to complete the project. The manager should prepare a statement of work consisting of the project baseline details for each activity.
This phase includes “initiating the project, establishing the project baseline plan, and monitoring the project progress using the project scheduling tools such as the Gantt chart” (Kerzner, 2013, p.2). The manager has the responsibility of ensuring that the project is always on course by managing changes that are introduced on the way.
Communication is mandatory because it enables the manager to collect data on the project progress, clarify goals, and resolve conflicts. According to Kerzner (2013), communication enables the manager to share information on the changes that are made on the way as well as share the project plan with the entire project team.
At the closing stage, the project manager notifies interested parties and stakeholders about the intended closure of the project, conducts project reviews to identify project weaknesses and strengths, and terminates the terms of contract with the customer.
Importance of start and finish dates
The start and finish dates are important because they enable the project manager and the execution team to determine the proper sequence of activities and estimate the time and resources for each activity (Kerzner, 2013). The dates can be modelled using the optimistic time, which is the shortest time an activity can be done, the pessimistic time, which is the longest time taken to execute an activity, and the most likely time, which is the highest probability of completing a task.
Role of software in Project management
The software enables the project manager to create a snapshot of the project for training the project teams and to manage the execution of project activities from start to end to stay on schedule as well as capture inputs from employees (Kerzner, 2013). The team is able to establish the project budget, document the progress, and ensure quality project management.
The software enables the project manager to track the use of resources, monitor project progress, track the time for completing each task, share calendars and contact information, and enable reliable communication. It enables effective management of the project team, estimation of project risks, forecasting, and determination of the work breakdown structure (Kerzner, 2013). The manager is able to handle complex projects, perform high speed calculations, handle a huge volume of information, perform a what-if analysis, ensure greater levels of security, enable milestone tracking, and create the project charter. It enables knowledge and issue management.
De Bruijn, H., & Ten Heuvelhof, E. (2010). Process management: why project management fails in complex decision making processes. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.
Kerzner, H. R. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. New York: John Wiley & Sons.