Methods & Tools
A collection of essential project management skills, methods, tools and competencies needed for success.
Successful projects start with a good quality project schedule. Creating a schedule is one of the first tasks you should do when given a project to manage. This article looks at a simple, practical approach to creating project schedules.
When looking to gain support and approval for your next project, it might be worth thinking BOSCARD. The acronym stands for background, objectives, scope, constraints, assumptions, risks and deliverables. These headings are commonly found in terms-of-reference and project initiation documents.
The successful implementation of any Six Sigma project depends on the ability of Six Sigma professionals such as black belts to break down a large project into smaller manageable sub-projects. This breaking down of mammoth projects into several smaller projects is technically referred to as work-breakdown structure (WBS).
Many techniques, books and software packages exist to help with estimating project costs. A few simple rules will also help ensure you create an accurate and realistic estimate.
If you are already familiar with the ubiquitous Project Brief and would like to try something new, here's an idea. Why not try writing a Funding Proposal.
Since their first introduction, Gantt charts have become an industry standard. They are an important project management tool used for showing the phases, tasks, milestones and resources needed as part of a project. This video presentation is a step-by-step guide to creating a Gantt chart using Microsoft Excel 2007.
A Gantt chart, Logic Network, PERT chart, Product Breakdown Structure and Work Breakdown Structure are common tools used when planning a project.
The key to a successful project is in the planning. Creating a project plan is the first thing you should do when undertaking any kind of project. Often project planning is ignored in favour of getting on with the work. However, many people fail to realise the value of a project plan in saving time, money and many problems.
Progress reporting is a key activity of project management. The project manager should issue reports to stakeholders regularly. Keep the report brief and sum up the key points in the project. This article lays out a simple approach to reporting progress.
A RAID log is one of the easiest and most effective tools you can create for your project. The acronym RAID stands for Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies.
Requirements gathering is an essential part of any project and project management. Understanding fully what a project will deliver is critical to its success. This may sound like common sense, but surprisingly it's an area that is often given far too little attention.
The Work Breakdown Structure is a tool project managers use to break projects down into manageable pieces. It is the start of the planning process and is often called the 'foundation' of project planning.
As a project manager it is important to think about what future events may impact your project. These events may be positive or negative, so understanding them allows you to prepare, and put plans in place to deal with them. But how can you forecast the future with any degree of certainty? This is where the Delphi Technique can help.
When managing a project, it is important to develop a clear understanding of the customers' requirements and their priority. Many projects start with the barest headline list of requirements, only to find later the customers' needs have not been fully understood. This is where the MoSCoW prioritisation method can help.
The Pareto principle is the idea that by doing 20% of the work you can generate 80% of the benefit of doing the entire job. Or in terms of quality improvement, a large majority of problems are produced by a few key causes. Pareto Analysis enables you to see what 20% of cases are causing 80% of the problems and where efforts should be focussed to achieve the greatest improvement.
PEST is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the impact political, economic, social, and technological factors might have on a project. It involves an organisation considering the external environment before starting a project.
The RACI model is a straightforward tool used for identifying roles and responsibilities and avoiding confusion over those roles and responsibilities during a project. The acronym RACI stands for - responsible, accountable, consulted and informed.
Once you have planned your project, turn your attention to developing several goals that will enable you to be successful. Goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based.
SWOT is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to a project. It involves specifying the objective of the project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable to achieving that objective.
As a project manager it is important to be able to give and receive feedback effectively. Feedback is best given on a one to one basis soon after the event that triggers its need.
Project Planning a Step by Step Guide
The key to a successful project is in the planning. Creating a project plan is the first thing you should do when undertaking any kind of project.
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