TOPIC 1: INTRODUCTION TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT
1. Meaning of Terms related to Project Management
2. Characteristics of a Project
3. Types of Projects
4. Principles of Project Management
5. Importance of Project Management
6. Difference between a Project and a Functional Operation
7. The Project Problem Tree
MEANING OF TERMS RELATED TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT
A project is a set of activities implemented in a logical order or sequence to achieve a well-defined objective which usually addresses the needs of a people in a community locally or in a specified place. A project has a definite start time and end time and is implemented within the constrains, the resources such as time, money , human manpower , capital , materials , etc.
A Project can also be defined as a temporary endeavor to create a unique product or service.
It is usually about creating something new but it could also be of complex process to improve an existing product or service in order to maintain the status e.g installing a new computer system.
In summary a project ca be defined as the effort of multitude of men and machine engaged in the conversion of an idea to a reality.
All of us have been involved in projects whether they are ours personal projects
or in a business or industry Projects have 4 parameters: Time / Schedule ,Scope / Activities ,Cost / Budget Quality / Standards
Management- It is the art of coordinating, directing, controlling, monitoring and measuring the performance of a project Project management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters. Project management has final deliverables that are constrained to a finite timescale and budget.
Project management is therefore the planning and controlling of events that together comprise the project.
Project management aims to ensure the effective use of resources and delivery of the project objectives on time and within cost constrains
project management can also be said to be the collection of management tools tailored to maximize the success of a project
Project management is therefore facilitating communication between the management, the technical staff and the client’s satisfaction.
Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to achieve project requirements.
Characteristics of a good Project Manager / Functions of a Manager
i. Must possess leadership skills – To lead means to influence people toward a desired values, the norms and establishes the atmosphere of the project and the way various project activities are approached.
ii.Has Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Skills – The project manager must have a good negotiation skills and the ability to feel for a situation . Should be able to ensure that conflicts within the team members is resolved immediately and amicably.
Should avoid favourism and extending undeserved favors on a section of employees
Should be able to negotiate the relationship between the project and its evaluation that is able at the center of all the stake holder and respond to the concerns of all.
iii. Exercise Interpersonal Skills – The project manager should be able to relate with other stakeholders peacefully -Persons who put their emotions under control.
iv.Should be a Change Agent – As a changed agent the project manager should insist on accuracy and honesty instill a sense of urgency
v.Excellent Communication Skills-A project manager should be able to communicate clearly in oral and written forms
vi. Knowledgeable and Confident – project managers should be research oriented people with a high appetite for searching new knowledge -A person full of knowledge is a confident person .
vi. Innovative and Creative – Life is a game of strategies employed. A proper analysis of the b/s environment has seen very small organisation overtake giant organisations e.g Equity Bank of Kenya. Innovative and creativity allows the Project Manager employ the right strategies in re-engineering the product and service.
vii. Excellent Time manager – Time management in projects is essential are critical since all activities are scheduled alongside time, money, materials, and human resource.
Lacks of management of time will definitely translate to a cost and time overrun This simply means extra payment must be made for extra time taken therefore making the completion of the project unachievable At the basic level a a project manager should be an example of a time manager in regards of daily routines by taking the lead.
Viii. Should be relevantly dressed – Everybody forms an opinion of the character, the personality, the temperament, occupation, of another person when they are wearing, their posture, lifestyle and what they say.
What one wears talks volume about them and therefore project managers should be
sensitive to the (HALLOW EFFECT)
Functions of a project Manager
i. Developing the nation – A vision is a desired goal -Visions are usually developed to be achieved within 3 years ,5years , or 10 years -He /she should have a sharp focus to vision and draw others to it, ensure relevance , set objectives and remain inspirational .
ii. Maintaining Commitments -Project Managers should communicate constantly the project vision in order to rekindle the fire.
iii. Be an Integrator – Project managers should coordinate activities , provide overall project system ,define the end ,complete task definition and provide the performance criteria.
iv. Should be a change agent -The world is quite dynamic and technology is fast changing. The project manager should be quick or fast to adopt new ideas and skills that will propel the organisation into higher heights of performance
v. Should be a resource provider- project managers should provide the human resource, finance, and infrastructure as well as define the resource requirement and management
vi. Should manage conflict -should be able to anticipate bottle necks and problems and ensure conflict resolutions.
QS: What are the activities is project manager expected to undertake when he is managing a project in an organisation.
a) Developing work plans together with other project managers /stake holders
b) Budgeting for the particular task assigned to him/her
c) Identifying risk associated with the project
d) Participating and organizing team building activities
e) Reporting the progress of the project against the plan
f) Producing products to the agreed specifications
CHARACTERISTICS OF A PROJECT
a. Should have a time frame – start time and end time
b. Should have a fixed set of objectives that when achieved will have clearly seen benefits
c. should be flexible to allow changes
d. Should be result oriented /productive
e. Requires teamwork and therefore diverse competencies from different disciplines
should be engaged e.g Construction engineers , accountants and social scientists
f. Should be planned to avoid risks and uncertainties
g. Should be carried out through a series of interdependent tasks
h. Execution of the project should be controlled A project can create : A product that
can either be a component of another item or an end item in itself
i. A service or a capability to perform a service e.g a business function that supports production or distribution
j. An improvement in the existing product or service lines e.g Management systems like Six Sigma, Keizen.
k. A result such as an outcome or a document e.g a research project that develops knowledge that can be used to determine a trend or benefits of existing or new
TYPES OF PROJECTS
i. Civil and Construction Projects – These are projects which are implimented for infrastructure improvement /development e.g roads, buildings, waterways, airways ,SGR, Thika Super highway.
ii. Mining ,Extraction and Quarrying Projects – These projects are focused to exploration of natural resources in a given country such as minerals coal , in Kitui county, Oil in Turkana Stone in Ndarugo Fluorspar in Kerio valley.
iii Manufacturing Projects – Are projects focused on turning raw materials in new materials e.g steel industry , clothing industry
iv. Management processes projects – Projects focused on improving system and the management processes e.g computer technology, software , apps e.g Mpesa, Internet,
v. Research Projects – Are projects carried out by researchers and academicians
focused at providing an existing product or a total discovery on a new product e.g drugs
Features that are common in projects
i. Clear goals – Projects are designed for a particular purpose
ii. Clear time frame – Projects are temporary endeavors with a definite start time and
iii. Limited resources – projects are implemented within the constraints of limited
iv. Clear scope- Projects have a planned schedule activities which is controlled
v. Clear quality specifications – projects are guided on the expected outcomes and
vi. Unique products or services – Projects are expected to provide or produce a
unique product or a service.
PRINCIPLES OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
The completion of a project is a primary objective of a completion of a Project. Every project that is started must be completed 100% The following principals if observed will lead to successful Project Management Commitment Principles -An equitable commitment between principles, resources and project delivery team must exist before a viable project is realized, defined at the beginning of a project as a basis of project management decision making and post management evaluation Principle of Management -Policies and procedures that are effective must be put into place .Projects need to be controlled and directed so that they can be achieved through the cost standard and the budget Single Point response Principle -A single channel of communication must exist between project sponsors, project managers and the project team for all decisions affecting the scope Principle of Continuous Evaluation Management must always provide an informed supportive, continuous, monitoring and evaluation system to ensure that the project delivery terms are adhered to Principle of Strategy Life is a game of strategy .Progressive people think outside the box, employ innovation and creativity and are always willing to learn from past mistakes. Principle of Sustainability -Projects benefits should be realized long after the projects closure
IMPORTANCE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
a. To ensure proper utilization of available resources .Resources are never enough. Time is one of the resources that is depletable and non-renewable. Money once spent also cannot be recovered. These resources are managed in project management through scheduling and leveling time and finances.
b. To align goals to the strategic objectives of the organisation /individuals. All projects are designed, planned and implimented with the aim of achieving a predetermined goal. The strategies that individuals and organisations employ is what makes a distinction in the level of success .strategies are to be adhered to with constituency and regular review.
c. To ensure there is optimal return from the organisation investment .Every organisation enters into an investment both profit and non- profit projects with the aim of attaining returns
d. To ensure timely achievements of the organisations objectives .Every project has a definite start time and end time .Objectives set for every projects should be achieved at the closure of the project.
e. To minimize and control risks. Risks are any occurrence that could cause the objective
of a project not be achieved as intended.
f. To ensure right activities are carried out.
Factors that may lead to a success of a project
1. Formal governance and change approval guidelines
2. Accountability for projects results by implementers
3. Training in project management skills
4. Having measurement and feedback system
5. Formal priorities for requests and changes
6. Regular communications with stakeholders
7. Having a monitoring and evaluation system
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PROJECT AND A FUNCTIONAL OPERATION
There are many differences between projects and Functional operations.
Some differences are as follows:
Projects are unique and temporary, while operations are ongoing and permanentwith a repetitive output.
Projects have a fixed budget, while operations have to earn a profit to run thebusiness.
Projects are executed to start a new business objective and terminated when it is achieved, while operational work does not produce anything new and is ongoing.
Projects create a unique product, service, or result, while operations produce the same product, aim to earn a profit and keep the system running.
There are more risks in projects as they are usually done for the first time, while in operations there are fewer risks as they are repeated many times.
Projects are performance intensive while operations are efficiency intensive.
Projects are managed through project management and operations require
business process management.
A problem tree provides an overview of all the known causes and effect to an identified problem. This is important in planning a community engagement or behaviour change project as it establishes the context in which a project is to occur. Understanding the context helps reveal the complexity of life and this is essential in planning a successful change project.
A problem tree involves writing causes in a negative form (eg. lack of knowledge, not enough money etc.). Reversing the problem tree, by replacing negative statements with positive ones, creates a solution tree. A solution tree identifies means-end relationships as opposed to cause-effects. This provides an overview of the range of projects or interventions that need to occur to solve the core problem.
A problem tree analysis:
Helps the planning of a project
Provides a guide as to the complexity of a problem by identifying the multiple causes
Identifies particular lines of intervention and other factors that may need to be tackled with complementary projects
Provides an outline of the project plan, including the activities that need to be undertaken, the goal and the outcomes of the project.
A problem tree provides a means to help you select what behaviours you may want to target in your project.
Conducting a problem tree/solution tree analysis provides a means to review the existing understanding of the causes to a specific problem and how it can be overcome.
A problem tree will likely reveal multiple branches (cause & effect relationships) leading to the core problem. This is very valuable as it identifies factors that may not be addressed by the planned intervention. For example, existing regulations may be a factor in the problem, but this may not be impacted upon by the planned intervention. This may result in the failure to achieve project
objectives. It could be that impacting upon regulation is not achievable and thus out of scope for the project. If this is the case, then the evaluators need to account for this when the intervention is evaluated.
Like any other tree, the problem tree has three parts: a trunk, roots, and branches.
The trunk is the main problem. The roots represent the causes of the core problem while the branches represent its effects.
How to develop the Problem Tree
Step 1. Settle on the core problem
The first step in developing the problem tree is to identify the problem that the project seeks to overcome. It may be worth debating what the core problem is with stakeholder representatives. Ideally projects should have a specific problem (eg. saving water inside
the home) that they seek to overcome if change is to occur. Things to help define the core problem include lessons from previous projects, the stakeholder analysis, and other research. If there seems to be more than one core problem, it may be best to develop a problem tree for each one.
Step 2. Identify the causes and effects
Once the core problem has been identified, participants should consider what the direct causes and effects of the problem are. Each cause statement needs to be written in negative terms. There are a couple of ways to undertake this. Participants can either collectively brainstorm all the negative statements about the problem at hand, and a facilitator writes each negative statement down on a piece of paper. The statements would then be placed on a wall, for the participants to analyse and reorder. Alternatively, participants could work through the cause and effect on a sequential basis, starting from the core problem. The immediate causes to the problem are placed in a line below that of the core problem. The immediate effect is placed above the problem. Any further or subsequent effects are placed above the line of immediate effects.
Developing the linear cause-effect relationship for a problem tree
Participants need to continue to repeat the process on further horizontal lines until they are no longer able to identify any further underlying causes. It is important to review the sequence of cause and effects to make sure that they are clear and make logical sense (eg. does this lead to that, or is there a missing step, and is this the effect of that happening). It is important to ensure that there is agreement among the participants. If there is more than one cause to an effect, you can place these side by side.
Once the order or placement of all the cause and effect relationships is agreed, they can be linked with vertical lines. Horizontal lines can be used to join related causes or effects. The result is a problem tree which outlines the cause and effect relationship
between the different levels.
Step 3. Develop a solution tree
A solution (also called objectives) tree is developed by reversing the negative statements that form the problem tree into positive ones. For example, a cause (problem tree) such as “lack of knowledge” would become a means such as “increased knowledge”. The objectives tree demonstrates the means-end relationship between objectives. It is advisable to go through the solution tree and check to see if all the statements are clear, and if there are any missing steps between a means and an end. If so, you may need to revise both the problem and solution trees by adding more statements.
Step 4. Select the preferred intervention
The final step is to select a preferred strategy for the intervention. This step is designed to allow the project design team to select and focus an intervention on a preferred strategy. The solution tree may present a number of separate or linked interventions to solve a problem. Depending on project funding, time, and relevance, a planned intervention may not be able to tackle all the causes. However, it if all the causes cannot be overcome by a project, or complementary projects, it is important to identify if any of the branches are more influential than others in solving a problem.