Efficient Tasks and Project Handling in Business
Projects normally need the coordinated actions of a number of people to reach that outcome, and sometimes incorporate an element of risk.to put in a nutshell a project is a piece of work that is designed to make beneficial changes in a fixed timeframe using specific resources.
Here in this article, we want to focus on changes in an organization alongside the daily routine of an organization.
What makes a task a project?
Projects are the way in which human creativity is most effectively harnessed to achieve tangible, lasting results. In the past, they may have been called something different, but building a pyramid, painting a ceiling, or founding a nation all required vision, planning, and coordinated effort—the essential features of what we now call a project. In practical terms, just about any initiative or piece of work that is too large or unfamiliar to be completed successfully without some measure of preparation and planning can, and usually should, be approached as a project.
Deﬁning a project
At its simplest level, a project is a “one-time” scope of work deﬁned by three parameters time, cost, and quality. In other words, it is the means by which a particular result is delivered using speciﬁed resources within a set period of time. For most projects, one of these three parameters is “ﬁxed” (i.e., should not or cannot change), but there is ﬂexibility in at least one of the other two. Where the Quality of the product is ﬁxed (bringing a new drug to market, for example), costs have a tendency to rise and deadlines to slip if work is more extensive or complex than was ﬁrst envisioned. Where the deadline is ﬁxed (as for a tender deadline or a business conference), people either throw more resources at the project to make sure that it is ready on time, or they cull desirable but nonessential features in order to deliver the essential elements of quality within the timeframe available.
Achieving change through project management
Some projects are highly visible large and prestigious building projects, for example, while for others, no one except those directly involved has any understanding of, or interest in, what they will deliver. Whatever the size and nature of a project, the principal goal is always to bring about a change that is viewed as
Beneﬁcial by the person or people sponsoring it. Many organizations use project management systems and methods to implement change. These systems include CPM (Critical Path Method), PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique), and PRINCE 2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments). Some of these were devised for speciﬁc industries, but have become widespread.
Controlling and implementing in project management
The schedules and budgets that you established while planning will allow you to track progress and make adjustments as needed. As the control phase nears completion, focus switches to preparation for the moment when the results will “go live.” While you should have been considering the needs and expectations of end-users at every stage, your primary focus during this implementation phase should be taking steps to ensure that they react positively to the change your project has brought about. Plan your review stage around predeﬁned criteria by which the project’s success can be measured. These can then be used to declare it complete before moving into a phase where resources are reallocated and lessons learned.
Maintaining ﬂexibility in a project
While in theory, the phases provide a logical sequence, in practice they often overlap, so you need to adopt a rolling process of continuous review during the deﬁnition, planning, and control phases. For example, you may need to modify the initial scope of a project to ﬁt with what proves to be possible once you have produced a ﬁrst draft of the plan. Similarly, experience gained from work early in the project may lead you to identify ﬂawed assumptions about the duration and complexity of tasks, leading to a reevaluation of timescales, budgets, and other resources.
Selling the idea
To be fully convincing as a project manager, you must ﬁrst be convinced of the value of the initiative under consideration of yourself. If you do not believe the results are attainable or are lukewarm about their value, you are unlikely to make the sacriﬁces or identify the creative solutions required when the going gets tough as it almost invariably will at some point. Furthermore, you must be able to communicate your enthusiasm to others and have the conﬁdence to stand up to opposition both inside and outside the project team. Conversely, you must be a good listener able to sift through the opinions of others and take on their ideas whenever they improve the quality of outcome or the likelihood of success.
Putting a team together
An effective project manager builds a team with a strong sense of identity. This is often more challenging in a small team than in one with a higher proﬁle and fully dedicated team members. Start by taking the time to select the right people, with input from the sponsor. Base your decisions on availability and relevant skills/knowledge/contacts, but also take personality “ﬁt” and motivation into account. Stakeholder analysis can be a useful tool for assessing potential candidates and ﬁnding the best way to manage them. Make a personal approach to each person selected and request their participation. Don’t beg; simply explain why you have selected them and the beneﬁts they can expect for being involved.
Identifying key players
All projects have multiple stakeholders. Some will be more important than others, either because of their involvement in delivering elements of the work or because they are inﬂuential in the environment where the work is being produced or will be deployed. Stakeholder analysis allows you to identify the most important people in your project and decide where to invest time and resources. It should lead to a communication plan aimed initially at canvassing opinion and then providing the right people with timely information throughout the project’s lifecycle.
As a general rule, you are unlikely to be able to move strongly negative stakeholders to the positive side, but it may be possible to neutralize their opposition. Where there is opposition from an especially powerful stakeholder or group of stakeholders, steps may have to be taken to reduce their inﬂuence or the project may have to be abandoned. Your relationship with the sponsor, and his or her position in your organization, maybe very helpful. You need to have the conﬁdence to address senior or challenging stakeholders directly, but also the wisdom to know when this may be counterproductive and a situation is better addressed by involving the sponsor.
Clients and end-users should have signiﬁcant input into the scope of your project, but also consider those people with whom they interact, such as anyone who manages the end-users or who will support them in areas relating to your project after implementation. It may also be helpful to speak to anyone who will be responsible for maintaining the product, capability, or facility that your project will deliver.
Peter Hobbs, project management, DK publication
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