Project Management
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Functional management, is a term used to describe the traditional day to day management role. Project management is about managing the unique tasks termed as projects.

Projects are often described as being short term tasks aimed at bringing about change. The essential features of a project will include (a) A specified objective, (b) Target start and finish dates, (c) Some form of funding/allocated resource.

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  • The associated research and development of a new product.

  • The initial launch of a new product.

  • Major business purchases such as new factories, machines, computers, etc.

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Depending on the size and scope of a project, it may require a project team to be established. The core focus of the project team is to control and implement the project itself. Project teams would generally be for medium and large sized projects.

For a medium sized project, expect the project team to consist of:

  • Project Manager/ess - Responsible for the overall project leadership

  • Assistant Project Manager/ess

  • The project team itself - Consisting of specialists from various disciplines required for the project, such as engineers, accountants, etc.

Larger projects will of course have much bigger project teams, with higher number of personnel in the teams.

Once a project team has been established, clear lines of responsibility need to be established, to ensure everyone in the team is aware who is supposed to complete which tasks. The lines of responsibility can be shown in a variety of ways such as a written report, verbal communication, e-mails, but the best method is in a diagram format with the tasks/roles displayed on one side and on the top side the person responsible highlighted. The diagram should be agreed by all members of a team to ensure everyone is aware of their individual roles. 

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  • To make people within the organisation aware that a change is about to happen

  • To reduce uncertainty in the implementation stage.

  • To develop a method for monitoring the change.

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The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a term used to phrase how the work of a project team is broken down into smaller manageable chunks to be achieved by the completion date.

The logic of WBS is, that as the work is broken down further and further, the tasks can be defined against the costing and risk analysis to ensure that the project monitors and controls itself to achieve it's objectives.

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The critical path method was first developed at duPont during the 1950's.  CPM analysis consists of using a lot of diagrams to look at the activity, time needed and result. We advise you to read a CPM based book in conjunction with reading this section to see how the diagrams develop. We shall now briefly discuss CPM logic.

There are 2 basic areas of CPM: 



ACTIVITY ON ARROW - Basically the diagrams are constructed using arrows. An activity is used describe a task that needs to be completed or is waiting to be completed. An event is the start/completion of a activity/series of activities. 

Normal activities are show as straight lines with arrows attached. Dummy activities are described as being something that needs to occur but which does not take up any resources, these are shown as:

The general convention of the diagrams (a) time goes from the left to right, (b) the arrow length has no meaning (c) the logic is that as one activity emerges from another activity it gets a higher number

ACTIVITY ON NODE - Essentially the same as the Activity on Arrow method except instead of using circles in the diagrams, we use nodes (rectangles). The essential problem with the Activity on Node method is that there exists several standards of use.

The activity in the Activity on Node method is the same as the Activity on Arrow method.  An activity can be described as the work entailed in a project, the nodes are numbered from left to right. The nodes contain an activity, a description and the duration time. Dependencies are shown as the relationships between activities.

CPM is a good method of analysing tasks for a project, but before using the models please read further texts on the matter.

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If your business is about to embark on the implementation of a major strategy/investment program, it is vital that a team be selected adequately to manage the project. The team needs to consist of the most suitable people required on the project. The team needs to be nurtured by senior management and allowed to make decisions that are the may not seem suitable to senior management but are for the good of the business.

CPM is a good method of analysing tasks, there are however several methods for anlaysing both tasks and major capital expenditure, be sure to read further books on the subject.

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(c)  Est 08/00 - Last Updated 28/05//2001