Monday, October 31, 2011

Fundamentals of Project Management by James P. Lewis - One thing that I think every athlete learns at a young age is the importance of fundamentals. I have tried to take that important lesson that I learned early in my hockey career and apply it in other aspects of my life. When I found out my first consulting project would be a project management role at Nike, I went to the local library and picked up Fundamentals of Project Management.

The book is relatively short, which I actually really appreciated. Fittingly, a book on fundamentals shouldn't be extremely long and wordy. I think the book does a great job succinctly laying out an overview of the basics of project management. The book not only delved into the classic project management tools and theories but it also covered topics like team engagement, leadership, and organizational culture,

I would definitely recommend the book to anyone who wants to read a good overview of project management or to anyone who wants to learn how they can hone their skills to better deliver projects on time, within budget, and within the desired performance parameters. Below are some of the notes I took while reading this book.


Chapter 1: An Overview of Project Management:
- A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to produce a unique product, service, or result.
- Repetitive =/ project
- Definite time, cost, scope, performance requirements
- "A problem scheduled for solution"
- Rule = people who do the work should plan it
- PM role is that of an enabler
- "Leadership is the art of getting others to want to do something that you believe should be done." - Lance Packard
- C=F(P,T,S)
- Project Life Cycle: Concept, Definition, Planning, Execution, Closeout
- Projects fail at the definition phase
- Steps in managing a project: 1. Define Problem 2. Develop Solution Options 3. Plan the Project 4. Execute the Plan 5. Monitor & Control 6. Close the Project
- 9 Knowledge Areas pg 20

Chapter 2: The Role of the Project Manager:
- The primary role of all PMs is to ensure all work is completed on time, within budget & scope, and at the correct performance levels
- Must understand mission and vision of the organization
- PM is about influencing people
- Scandinavian Airlines Story
- PM has responsibility but authority. Must use leadership and management to accomplish

Chapter 3: Planning the Project:
- Two barriers to good planning: 1. Prevailing Paradigms 2. The Nature of Human Beings
- Control is exercised by comparing  where you are to where you are supposed to be so that corrective action can be taken when there is a deviation
- No plan = no control
- To plan you must have strategy, tactics, & logistics
- Project plan is: problem statement - project mission statement - project objectives - project work requirements - exit criteria - end item specifications - WBS - schedules - required resources - control system - major contributors - risk areas
- Planning tips pg 42

Chapter 4: Developing A Mission, Vision, Goals, & Objectives for the Project:
- A problem is a gap
- Vision defines done
- Mission, vision, problem statement chart pg 47
- Mission of every PM is to satisfy the customers needs
- 1. What are we going to do? 2. For whom are we going to do it?
- Objectives: what is our desired outcome? How will we know when we achieve it?
- Risk analysis pg 53

Chapter 5: Using The Work Breakdown Structure:
- WBS developed before schedule
- Break work down to a level sufficient to achieve estimating accuracy
- Assign responsibility for each part
- You cannot give a time/cost estimate without considering who will be performing the task
- Base on historical data
- Beware of Parkinson's law and variation
- List assumptions, +- numbers, things that may skew the estimate

Chapter 6: Scheduling Project Work:
- Critical pat determines the longest series of activities that can't be done in parallel
- Unless resource allocation is handled properly schedules are next to useless
- Schedule at a level you can manage
- Diagram what is possible then deal with resource constraints

Chapter 7: Producing a Workable Schedule:
- Harder to catch up than to stay on target

Chapter 8: Project Control & Evaluation:
- Having authority is no guarantee people will do your bidding. In the end people have to do it willingly
- Give people responsibility & control over what they are supposed to accomplish
- Self control needs 1. Clear definition of goal 2. Personal plan of how to do work 3. Skills & resources 4. Feedback on progress from the work 5. Clear definition of authority to take action & deviate from the plan
- If control systems do not result in action then the system is ineffective
- The simpler the status report the better

Chapter 9: Project Control Using Earned Value Analysis:
- There are only 4 responses to deviation from the plan: 1. Cancel the project 2. Ignore the deviation 3. Take corrective action 4. Revise the plan
- One of the hardest things to do is actually measure progress
- Variance formulas pg 118

Chapter 10: Managing The Project Team:
- Project management tools are necessary but not sufficient
- If you can't manage people you can't manage a project
- Have the team participate in planning to promote teamwork
- Getting the team organized: 1. Define what must be done using WBS, problem definition, etc. 2. Determine staffing requirements 3. Recruit the team 4. Complete your project plan with participation of the team
- Rules for developing commitment pg 138

Chapter 11: How To Make Project Management Work In Your Company:
- Leadership must show interest
- Reward good project management
- Train the team
- Plan small wins for people

Chapter 12: Project Management For Everyone:
- Tools should only be used when they give you an advantage


shella said...

As per the PMBOK Guide 4th Edition, “A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.” and the project management is the “application of knowledge, skill, tool, and technique to project activities to meet the project requirements.”

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