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Project Management Blog
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Thursday, 25 January 2007 15:18

Organizational Structure

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Projects, of course, are not operated in a vacuum. They are parts, or subsystems, of much bigger organizations with much larger goals. Each project has or uses elements such as processes, participants, policies, procedures, and requirements, some of which are dependent upon and interact with related elements in the larger business system. By taking a systematic approach, the project manager can see how all the elements interact, and assess the impact on the individual project. Project managers must recognize the role of the project as a component within an organization. The role of the project, as a component, is to support the business model of the organization as a whole-not to necessarily replace it. Organizations are categorized into one of five models:


Functional
This traditional structure groups people by specialization (for example, marketing, contracting, accounting, and so on). The project manager has no formal authority over project resources and must rely on the informal power structure and his or her own interpersonal skills to obtain resource commitments from functional managers. Conflicts tend to develop over the relative priorities of various projects competing for limited resources.

Weak Matrix
The matrix organization maintains vertical functional lines of authority while establishing a relatively permanent horizontal structure containing the managers for various projects. The project managers interact with all functional units supporting their projects. In a weak matrix, the balance of power leans toward the functional manager rather than the project manager. That is, workers’ administrative relationships, physical proximity, and relative time expenditures favor the functional manager.

Balanced Matrix
A balanced matrix structure has many of the same attributes as a weak matrix, but the project manager has more time and power regarding the project. A balanced matrix still has time accountability issues for all the project team members since their functional managers will want reports on their time within the project. In a balanced matrix the project manager has a full-time role as a project manager with a reasonable level of authority and has a primarily part-time project team

Strong Matrix
The strong matrix is the same as the weak matrix except that the balance of power favors the project manager rather than the functional manager. The project manager has medium to high formal authority.

Projectized
In a projectized organization, a separate, vertical structure is established for each project.  Personnel are assigned to particular projects on a full-time basis. The project manager has total authority over the project, subject only to the time, cost, and performance constraints specified in the project targets.

These are the functional organizations; project expeditor, which is little more than a functionary who helps support the concept of project management but not really the practice; the project coordinator is a step up from that. Then a weak matrix is where you actually have the project manager getting resources from the functional organizations; a strong matrix is where the balance of power is shifted to the project manager. The way you tell whether or not that balance of power has shifted is where the money and the reporting come from. If all money and reports are generated by the project and are respected as being from the project, then it is a strong matrix. If the functional organizations are seen as generating revenue for the organization rather than the project organizations, then it is a weak matrix. And finally, PMI’s ideal structure: the projectized organization, a place where the project has its own reporting structure within the organization.


Last modified on Tuesday, 28 April 2009 11:13
Thursday, 25 January 2007 15:15

Stakeholder Management

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You should recognize the importance of involving stakeholders in the development of the project plan. It is the responsibility of the project manager and the project team to create an environment in which all stakeholders can contribute as appropriate, but recognize that who contributes and the level of the contribution will vary by stakeholder. There are usually a number of people who are either directly involved in a project or who have a stake in its outcome. These people are called stakeholders. The key stakeholders in most projects are:

Last modified on Friday, 11 December 2009 01:24
Thursday, 25 January 2007 14:58

Project Management Defined

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The PMBOK®Guide defines project management as “ . . . the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements”. Although this definition may sound pretty straightforward, you will find that the skillful application of those skills, tools, and techniques will come only after you’ve had a significant amount of education and on-the-job experience.

Managing a Project includes Identifying requirements, establishing clear and achievable objectives, balancing the competing demands for quality, scope, time and cost and adapting to the different expectations of the various stakeholders.

Problems, needs, and opportunities continually arise in every organization. Problems like low operational efficiency, needs like additional office space, and opportunities like penetrating a new product market are just a few of a nearly endless number of situations that management must address in the process of operating an organization or company. These problems, needs, and opportunities give rise to the identification of solutions. Executing those solutions entails a change for the organization. Projects are generally established to carry out this change and there’s always someone responsible for the successful completion of each project. As the project manager, you are the primary change agent, and your guide for carrying out the change is the project management process.

 

PROJECT TOOLS

     A. Unique to the project
          a. Work Breakdown Structures
          b. Critical Path Analysis
          c. Earned Value Management

     B. Multiple applications
          a. PMBOK
          b. Standards and Regulations
          c. General Management skills
          d. Interpersonal skills


PROJECT WORK VS. OPERATIONAL WORK
For the exam you should know the similarities and differences between Project Work and Operational Work.

1. Similarities
      A. Performed by People
      B. Constrained by limited resources
      C. Planned, Executed and Controlled

2. Differences
      A. Projects end while operations are ongoing
      B. Objectives are fundamentally different
      C. Projects attain an objective and then terminate.
      D. Projects are bound by multiple constraints


The project manager is a professional who has a responsibility to have a good education, a good understanding of the practice, and experience in the respective field. The PM will play a series of roles: project manager, integrator, communicator, team leader, decision maker, etc...

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 28 April 2009 11:09
Thursday, 25 January 2007 14:56

Defining "Project"

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Several definitions exist for “project.” According to the PMBOK®Guide, it is: “A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” Whichever specific definition you choose, nearly every project you manage will have many of the same characteristics. Let’s examine some of the most important ones.

At the most basic level, a project is actually the response to a need, the solution to a problem. Further, it’s a solution that promises a benefit—typically a financial benefit. The fundamental purpose for most projects is to either make money or save money. That’s why projects should be financially justifiable.

By definition, a project is temporary in nature; that means that it has a specific start and finish. A project consists of a well-defined collection of small jobs (tasks) and ordinarily culminates in the creation of an end product or products (deliverables). There will be a preferred sequence of execution for the project’s tasks (the schedule). A project is a unique, one-time undertaking; it will never again be done exactly the same way, by the same people, and within the same environment.

This is a noteworthy point, as it suggests that you will rarely have the benefit of a wealth of historical information when you start your project. You’ll have to launch your project with limited information or, worse yet, misinformation. There will always be some uncertainty associated with your project. This uncertainty represents risk—an ever-present threat to your ability to make definitive plans and predict outcomes with high levels of confidence. All of your projects consume resources—resources in the form of time, money, materials, and labor. One of your primary missions is to serve as the overall steward of these resources—to apply them as sparingly and as effectively as possible. So, there’s a general definition or explanation. Here are some examples of projects: introducing a new product to the marketplace, building and installing a piece of equipment, and running a political campaign. In contrast, the following activities are not projects: operating a manufacturing facility, supervising a work group, and running a retail business. These activities are ongoing.

There are three main characteristics of a project


   1. Temporary Endeavor
      A. Opportunity or Market Window
      B. Project team seldom outlives project
   2. Unique Product, Result or Service
       A. Project Product, Service or result is not temporary
       B. Uniqueness is an important characteristic
   3. Progressive Elaboration
       A. Works in steps or increments
       B. Coordinated with proper scope and definition


 

Last modified on Thursday, 04 February 2010 16:34
Thursday, 25 January 2007 14:37

Exam Taking Strategy

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Become familiar with the test that you are about to take and have a mental plan for how you will spend your time most productively during the examination.  If you follow a positive plan of action as you take the test, you will be less likely to feel helpless or to be preoccupied with anxious thoughts. Here are some useful test-taking tips:

Last modified on Thursday, 10 December 2009 20:07

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