methodologies and processes
Any reader of this book undoubtedly has been associated with an IT project in distress. It is the fundamental nature of every IT project. First, IT projects are always complex with a multitude of variables. Most application implementations cut across multiple business units, each with their unique business requirements. The implementation often has differing degrees of priority, depending on the business unit. Second, a new or altered application must often interface with many other applications, thereby creating an integration challenge that is difficult to estimate in both time and resources. Worse yet, the downstream impact to these other systems may cause adverse consequences that may not be felt until long after go live day. Further, assigning and managing scarce resources often cause a project manager to rethink his or her chosen profession. And what about your clients responsibilities? Whether a paid external engagement or an internal business unit, your client, too, has deliverables along a projects path. Strong requirements definition, design approval, end user testing, and end user training are typical client tasks that, if not completed on time, cause schedule slippage and cost overruns. And the finger of blame usually gets pointed at the project manager.
Who among us has never been associated with a failed project? Some very extensive and well-documented surveys indicate that 84 percent of IT projects either fail outright or are delivered late. A Fortune 100 CIO once told me that an IT project is like the Bermuda Triangle: cost, schedule, quality. On a good day, you can hit two out of three, but you never can declare success in all three. Well, I strongly disagree!
Effective project management begins with executive commitment and sponsorship. Without the chief declaring a sense of urgency and importance to the project, it is doomed to dismal results right from the start. Second, it is critical that an enterprise adopt a common process and a common toolset for how projects are managed. Your company must select a project management methodology and a standardized framework for measuring progress. Then, select a toolset for project plan and milestone capture. Next, deploy a plan to educate the enterprise. Finally, aggressively communicate status with clients and stakeholders. This is easier said than done. But what I am describing is a systemic, methodical approach to making project management a part of everyday culture. When all projects in the enterprise follow a standardized template, then and only then will project management evolve gradually into an everyday way of life. When an organizations maturity reaches a repeatable model, management of projects becomes an institutionalized process. Hence, results become predictable. Therefore, all three corners of the Bermuda Triangle can be achieved on every project.
In Project Management Methodologies: Selecting, Implementing, and Supporting Methodologies and Processes for Projects, Jason P. Charvat deals explicitly with the manner in which project methodologies relate to organizational processes. He deals with the essentials of selecting a project framework not only for competency on a particular project, but for the entire enterprise. He also recognizes that corporations are dynamic and ever changing and instructs us, therefore, on how organizational project methodologies and processes can be maintained and supported. As he points out, It is a rare occasion that a project process will remain the way it is.
Perhaps most important, Jason discusses the crucial role of the project office within the organization the role of managing project methodologies and project processes in general. For an enterprise to truly make its approach to project management part of its everyday culture, the role of the project office cannot be understated.
This book ideally covers topics from simple project management templates to the challenges of implementing a common framework across an entire enterprise.
ROBERT D. SIMPLOT
RCG Information Technology, Inc.
Most conferences are based on technology gadgets or operating systems or the latest stuff and it was during an international gadget show that I remember being asked by an attending delegate exactly what it was that we did, as he didnt see many gadgets lying around. We provide companies with various solutions using various project management methodologies and best practices. We will help you achieve the business benefits you need, because we can bring projects within specification, schedule, and cost, I said. It has been my custom to attend as many leading-edge technology conferences and seminars as time permits, as I believe that project management can be applied to any conceivable industry and I was now hoping to provide the best answers where and when needed.
The delegate asked me a fundamental question: Which methodology would you use in my company, as we use various technologies and platforms? Some projects are not IT-related but fall more into the manufacturing and logistics environments. I was very bluntly told to cut all the superfluous nonsense, as hed sent many of his staff on project training and, to date, nothing much had changed! Projects were changing almost every second week. This directness amazed me and made me wonder what perception businesses had regarding project management structures and methodologies needed for companies worldwide.
Nonetheless, I invited the delegate into our meeting room to discuss some of his concerns, the projects they were managing, their technologies, and the products being produced. In a short time, I realized they had no formal project framework by which their projects were managed. It seemed that even their product development was incorrect. I subsequently illustrated a few methodologies they would most likely need. He seemed impressed and we exchanged some details. It turned out the delegate was the president and CEO of a Fortune 100 company who needed some detail surrounding project management methodologies and someone to design and deploy this for his company. The delegate was very excited about this, and we set up another series of meetings with his executive team. Within a few weeks, a purchase order was signed allowing us to implement an enterprise-wide project methodology framework, establish a project management office, and tailor his development practices for his product lines. Additionally, we included a fresh relook at the companys project templates and processes.
I realized some time later that there werent many publications that addressed project methodologies and templates. Those that did were either too complex or extremely expensive. Information available at project conferences I attended was limited and you had to spend a small fortune to buy a generic project methodology, which attempted to solve everything. By that stage, I knew about 20 methodologies in use, but those methodologies were not well known by the project management community.
I knew something was missing and concluded that I needed to add value to the project community by filling in some or most of the project methodology gaps. This publication on project management methodologies shows various project life cycle approaches, which any newcomer or practicing project manager can work with. If you are in the construction, aeronautical, energy, education, social, government, or information technology sectors, you soon realize that there are many common factors evident throughout this book that can be universally applied to your projects. Even if it looks very IT-orientated, you can use it elsewhere.
This is a book of loosely coupled project methodologies and development strategies used by project managers today. They are coupled in that they all focus on the same broad subject project methodology/processes. Todays
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