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Project Management

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Project Management

Whenever the word Project Management is used to express a managerial responsibility many people imagine a person running around to meetings all day giving out orders to others in hopes to get a job done. This is some what the truth. The Project Management Institute provides the following definition of a project: "A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result" (Larson & Gray, 2011, pg. 13). According to Larson and Gray, "Integration means applying a set of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a collection of projects in order to move the organization toward its strategic goals. This integration movement represents a major thrust of project driven organizations across all industries" (Larson & Gray, 2011, pg. 21). Project managers perform the same functions as other managers. That is, they plan, schedule, motivate, and control.

Project Management is significant because as businesses and technologies have developed so has the science and art of PM. The nature and scope of business global today are distributed, matrixed and virtual. According to ARMA Records Management Quarterly, "The project manager performs each of the project management functions with respect to each of the eight elements, in relation to each of the project-specific tasks" (Gannon, 1994). It is now trouble-free to get a single task completed between a supervisor and their employee when they are together in the same building with each other. It has always been the philosophy if the supervisor asks, the employee delivers. However, now the nature of work has changed and companies have now become global. Project team members may be a group of people on several continents and different time zones. Projects now may be a complex assignment broken down into smaller pieces and distributed around the world.

Project Life Cycle Management

Project life cycle management (PLM) attempts to describe the stages through which a project moves from conception to completion. It has many variants and names, but basically follows a number of basic stages throughout which the main skills utilized are communication, managing of time, scope and resources, and collaboration. According to Larson and Gray, "Some project managers find it useful to use the project life cycle as the cornerstone for managing projects. The life cycle recognizes that projects have a limited life span and that there are predictable changes in level of effort and focus over the life of the project" (Larson & Gary, 2011, pg. 15). The project life cycle typically passes sequentially through four stages: defining, planning, executing, and delivering.

* Defining stage: Specifications of the project are defined; project objectives are established; teams are formed; major responsibilities are assigned.

* Planning stage: The level of effort increases, and plans are developed to deter- mine what the project will entail, when it will be scheduled, whom it will benefit, what quality level should be maintained, and what the budget will be.

* Executing stage: A major portion of the project work takes place--both physical and mental.

* Closing stage: Closing includes three activities: delivering the project product to the customer, redeploying project resources, and post-project review.

Project Organization

One of the major components of project design is being able to define a project team. Project teams are the group of individuals who come together for a limited period of time in order to complete a project. The defined group may have never worked together before - they may not even know each other. Team members may sit across the hall from each other or they may not even speak the same language. Thus, in order for a project to be successful, is important to know who the people are that will comprise the team, that will be the project manager and to describe the nature of the relationship between the project manager, the project team members and the relationship between the project team and the business units from which the project team members come from.

If a Project Management Plan is a guide to an individual project then the Program Management Plan (PMP) is the charter for the project management process for an organization. It is a broad brush that is used to identify how the organization as a whole is going to approach the Project Management process and what the internal structure is going to be to accomplish the goals of any project within the organization. This guide identifies things like schedule management, roles and responsibilities, commitment responsibilities within the matrix organization, and how projects will be measured and evaluated.

Leadership and Sponsorship

According to Larson and Gary there are "Two different activities represent the distinction between management and leadership. Management is about coping with complexity, while leadership is about coping with change" (Larson & Gary, 2011, pg. 348). Leadership involves recognizing and articulating the need to significantly alter the direction and operation of the project, aligning people to the new direction, and motivating them to work together to overcome hurdles produced by the change and to realize new objectives. According to Larson and Gary, "Conversely, the higher the degree of uncertainty encountered on a project-- whether in terms of changes in project scope, technological stalemates, break- downs in coordination between people, and so forth--the more leadership is required" (Larson & Gary, 2011, pg. 348).

Sponsorship approval when concluding each phase of the project is also very important. According to Barkley, "Preparing the organization starts with a corporate and enterprise policy on

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