Project Management. What is so important about it? It’s simply creating something out of nothing.
For seasoned entrepreneurs in large organizations, this is a common term and practice in business. For newcomers in the field of entrepreneurship, this can be an entirely new thing.
The meaning of project management is simply to manage projects initiated and agreed upon by the company. In fundamental terms, PMI (Project Management Institute) defined project mgmt as : “a temporary endeavour to create product or service“.
My understanding of project management is simply this: to create something which would give returns to the company be it monetary or non-monetary value.
What kind of projects are involved in project management?
- Starting up a new business (aha.. got your eyes interested suddenly?)
- Starting up a new venture (products, subsidaries, market development, promotion, marketing)
- Routine tasks (improvement of production of an equipment)
- Any other things that is temporary and needs teamwork effort
So what’s the big deal?
Well just like starting up a new business, you need to get everything carefully planned, implemented & executed to ensure that you can create a business. It’s not just like today you wake up, “eh i wanna start a business and just do it”. Compare it like building a house, you need all the expertise, due diligence and everything settled to get a good house built. It’s not like you just wake up and say, let’s build!
The basics of project management is the triangle.
Your scope is your vision. Any company got to have a vision. Just like when you start a business, you got to have an aim. Whether your aim is getting money, passion, interest, etc, it’s still a vision.
Scope can be derived from this: Your Objective / Aim -> Company Vision -> Project Scope
The cost is of course your budget to start the project.
The time is the duration needed to start the project. Some of the constraints you’ll face about ‘time':
- Limited time given by your senior management on project completion
- Pressure of ‘time-to-market’ rush by other departments for New Product Development (NPD)
- Project activity failure and you need to speed up other activities to meet your deadline
And then comes quality. Why is quality so important?
In my perspective, there’s no compromise on quality. If it’s a product we’re developing or systems for the organization, quality is what we want.
Think of it like this: if you have a child and you ask him to complete his colouring homework. Would you accept it if your child just finish the homework by colouring everything from the trees to the bench in blue. Or would you like your child to colour everything in the right colour? It’s the same as quality. The people who are expecting you to complete the project are expecting something which is what they pictured (their quality).
So how do you ensure quality is met?
Embed quality plan into the project culture right from the first day. Remember the first meeting where you discuss the deliverables (be it participatory mangement style or defined by you the project manager), embed quality as the “acceptance criteria” of a completed activity. That means your team members would have to complete their work according to the quality to get it accepted or rejected. (This method can also be used for employee appraisal)
What is the contents in the quality plan?
- Standards (your standards, government requirements, industry acceptance)
- Quality assurance methods (TQM, etc)
- Responsibilites (who will check the work, who does the work)
How do you integrate the quality plan with project management practices?
In my perspective, it’s better to draft the whole quality plan separately and then integrate it into the “Work Breakdown Structure”. The WBS already has milestones, activity, who’s responsible and the duration, therefore the acceptance criteria derived from quality plan can be inserted in.
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