PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGY

To address the needs of large, complex projects, a consolidated Project Management Methodology should encompass managing customer relations, contract management, team management, configuration management, risk management, and quality management. Traditionally, these have been viewed as separate disciplines. In practice, however, the activities and tasks of each of these disciplines are highly complementary and must be tightly integrated to avoid the "stovepipe" effect of separate and distinct methodologies.

In contrast to other methodologies, a consolidated Project Management Methodology provides specific processes for managing the customer relationship and improving customer satisfaction. In addition, it directly incorporates the concepts of quality management, such as focus on customer, empowerment, measurement, cost of quality, and continuous process improvement across the entire project.

The scope of the Project Management Methodology includes all aspects of the work for which Professional Services is responsible, including the work of subcontractors and customer personnel assigned to the project team. Any consolidated methodology begins with contract award and ends with the acceptance of the solution by the customer.

Objectives

The Project Management Methodology should include activities, work products, tools and techniques designed to:

- deliver a quality product or service that meets user specifications, adds business value, and is successfully implemented,

- emphasize using COTS products to the maximum extent possible while minimizing the amount of systems integration and customization work

- ensure that projects are delivered within schedule and within budget in accordance with all of the terms of the contract,

- ensure that the customer receives business value for a fair price and that the delivery organization achieves an optimum return for the effort expended,

- facilitate effective management of project staff and user resources,

- create a productive and motivated team that is empowered and committed and is given opportunities for growth,

- ensure that the approach to quality is based on rigorous measurement and optimization of the cost of quality,

- ensure that quality assurance works positively and constructively as an integral part of the project team, while retaining access to more senior levels of the company should that be needed,

- ensure that the quality of processes and products is continually and consistently measured and improved,

- produce a fully satisfied customer who commissions additional work, acts as a positive reference, provides positive feedback on performance, rates the delivery organization highly on integrity, honesty, consistency and accessibility, and recommends the delivery organization to superiors and associates.

A methodology is a well-defined, written set of processes and responsibilities describing how projects are to be managed. Use of a methodology significantly increases the likelihood of a successful project, while decreasing the potential for missing key issues or encountering unforeseen, last minute, surprises. The methodology also ensures early project definition by identifying scope and task assignments. Obtaining "up front" customer involvement and commitment to the project is also an important aspect of the methodology. Other benefits include improved workload control and better communications between those affected by, or involved in, the project. Finally, the methodology brings consistency to all projects and ensures proper project documentation.

The project team benefits from use of the methodology because their tasks are clearly defined. The fact that each step of the project is analyzed and documented early in the process helps ensure important tasks are not omitted. Having a structured process where issues regarding requirements, resources, target dates, etc. are resolved jointly by the project team and the customer is invaluable. This methodology recognizes a "one-size-fits-all" approach does not apply and that the level of project management "overhead" must be scaled appropriately to each project; thus, the methodology matches the project team's planning effort, and required documentation, to the size and impact of the project. In essence, the methodology provides a "menu" from which project teams select appropriate options for their specific project.

The organization benefits because the methodology provides communication tools that will help keep management informed regarding the progress of all projects. Clear definitions of go/no go decision points are an important aspect of the methodology that is valuable to management. Finally, management involvement is improved because of the consistent process and terminology used for all projects, and because they have a wealth of historical data with which to evaluate future projects.

Author:.

Dr. Uchil is an entrepreneur, business-owner and author embodying almost three decades of management and consulting experience. Prior to founding The Uchil Group and Uchil, LLC, Dr. Uchil spent over eighteen years in a variety of senior management roles at several large consulting organizations. In addition to his PhD in Business Administration Dr. Uchil also holds an MBA in Consulting Operations Management, a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunicati...

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