Project Management, Its Stages and Techniques

Project Management

Using Google.com search engine, it is possible to find a great deal of information about anything. Typing “project management”, the search engine finds for about 173, 000, 000 results in 0.21 second. The information is various: there are both trusted and distrusted links to the information. Searching for “project management objectives” Google.com finds 23, 900, 000 results in 0.18 second. The information is also mixed and needs analyzing before usage. The links to the information, found by Google search engine for “project management life cycle” (27, 400, 000 results in 0.27 second) and “project management work breakdown structure” (3, 610, 000 results in 0.30 second) also need deep analysis. The Wikipedia source is in the first links in any search result. In spite of the fact that it is considered to be a distrusted source, it contains the biggest part of the information in its database.

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Analyzing the found information, some relevant sources of information may be stated. The link to the book Project Management: 24 Steps to Help You Master Any by Heerkens (2007) where the author introduces the useful hints and may be used as the guide by the project manager, the other book, referred to the theme is Haugan’s (2001) Effective Work Breakdown Structures. The article “The Purpose of Project Management and Setting Objectives” by Brian Miller (2008) is the other relevant source which was found. The Colorado relevant site was accessed, where the information about “Project Planning and Lifecycle” (2008) was given.

At the same time the engine gave a great many sources, which contain some useful information, but it must be checked before citing, as those sites may not be referred to. The examples of such information are Wikipedia information, Project Life Cycle – Project cycle management (2009), Project Management Tools (2009), or Project management (2009).

Planning Tools

Analyzing different project planning tools, the information is also easily available online. There are different tools, which may be used, such as Gantt, CPM, Pert, etc. these tools help to organize information in the charts, which allow perceiving information visually. Describing the tools and their advantages, let us start with the Gantt chart, which has the following look:

Advantages

The advantages of this chart is that it shows on the vertical axis all the tasks which should be performed, while the vertical axis is headed by he columns, which show estimated task duration, the name of the person who is eager to make up the task, the suggested level of the skills and other information, which is discussed (PERT, CPM and GANTT, 1997).

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CPM (critical path method) project planning tools is also the visual, which graphically shows the information. The graph may show the required time to complete the project, and the items which are critical for the project completion, and which are not (). The visual look of CPM diagram is

PERT chart

PERT chart has the similar look as CPM chart, but performs the other function. CPM is aimed to critic the path, which has been chosen, PERT (program evaluation and review technique) shows the task, duration, and dependency information (PERT, CPM and GANTT, 1997). PERT is visualized as

PERT chart

Having discussed the project planning tools, the Gantt chart could be recommended as the chart for the project, as more information may be contained there, the requirements to it are not so strict and the time and the necessary work to be done is reflected there. Moreover, Gantt chart is perceived visually better and there is no need to look for the additional information to consider the main theme of the chart. I suppose it is the best variant of chart for the school project development (PERT, CPM and GANTT, 1997).

Resource Scheduling

Considering the importance of the scheduling resources, especially in the multi project resource scheduling, it is significant to mention that resource scheduling is a long process, which involves several stages: resource definition, resource allocation, resource aggregation, and resource leveling. Providing resource modeling, it is impossible to avoid resource definition. The main resources, which may be used for the project modeling, are human resources, computer programs, machines (for example computer as the particular specification), the time limits (days or hours), materials, and others. The project manager should take into account that the work, which may be provided by 1 worker in 16 weeks, may be better provided by 16 workers in one week. The resource definition stage is the point where the resource profiles are created, which show the number of units of the resources, which are going to be used in the project creation (Lesson 8, 2008, p. 4).

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Resource allocation identifies what number of resources is necessary for the definite step of the project construction and the results of the analysis should be put in the plan (Lesson 8, 2008, p. 5). The resource aggregation stage is just the summation of the work done. All the analyzed and searched information is put in one of the charts, which were discussed below (CPM, PERT, or Gantt chart). This stage allows summarizing all the materials collected with the aim to see the completed plan of the work (Lesson 8, 2008, p. 6).

The next stage is the resource leveling, which combines the resource aggregation and developed profiles. The purpose of this stage is to find out whether the resource demand does not exceed resource availability, as in this case the project will not be completed because of the shortage of resources on some stages of the project. The ideal variant is when the supply of some resources may cover the demand expectations. In the case, when demand exceeds supply, the revision of the first stage should be provided or found in the other sources of supply (Lesson 8, 2008, p. 7). Analyzing the resource leveling stage, the resource smoothing should be characterized as the part it. During this part of resource scheduling, the project manager should try to smooth peaks and troughs in the resources (Lesson 8, 2008, p. 8).

Techniques

Considering effective listening, this means that effective listening is active listening, when the listener not just listens to the speaker, but also analyzes the perceived information and tries to participate in the conversation. Effective listening is the sort of the dialogue, when the listener also participates in the communication by asking questions and responding to some information (Listening Effectively, 2009).

Effective meeting is not just the gathering of people with the aim. The effective meeting should give the results – the aims should not just be stated but also achieved. The effective meetings should precede the preparation: choosing the right time and location, and developing the agenda. The important components of the meeting are building in time of information sharing, the summarizing and next step discussion, people’s time respect and establishing of the common understanding of the problem, following the agenda and promotion of a positive climate (Structured Effective Listening, 1997).

Project report is the summary of the completed work. All the advantages and disadvantages of the work should be stated, the evaluation of the aim, whether it was achieved or not, if it were not achieved, so it should be explained why it failed.

There are some other techniques, which should be used while project modeling, such as project assessment and evaluation, which is almost like the project report, but there are more critics there. The planning is the essential part of the project as thanks to planning the work is completed on time. Project presentation and demonstration is the part of the work under the project, when the results are shown.

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Reference

Foote, K. E. & Crum, S. L. (2008). “Project Planning and Lifecycle.” Web.

Haugan, G. T. (2001). Effective Work Breakdown Structures. Management Concepts, New York. 2009. Web.

Heerkens, G. R. (2007). Project Management: 24 Steps to Help You Master Any Project. McGraw-Hill Professional, New York. 2009. Web.

Lesson 8: Scheduling Resources. (2008). Web.

Listening Effectively. (2009). Web.

Miller, B. (2008). “The Purpose of Project Management and Setting Objectives.” Project Smart. Web.

PERT, CPM and GANTT. (1997). Web.

Project Life Cycle – Project cycle management. (2009). Web.

Project Management Tools. (2009). Web.

Project management. (2009). Web.

Structured Effective Listening. (1997). Web.

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