Principles of Project Management: Chapter 1

Part of the Principles of Project Management is understanding how Projects fit into line with the programme, and how following simple principles and processes can actually implement into your every day life… even if it does make you appear a complete sad act.

Every project has someone who is ultimately responsible.  The Executive.  The person who is going to take the flack if something goes wrong, and that something is the project failing.  They are joined on the board by two others – Senior User and Senior Supplier.  But how is this defined, how do you decided who they are?

Users are those that are the end user.  They will decide what they want.  You don’t have all of them on the board – they’re represented.  They tell the representative what they want through focus and stakeholder groups.  The person who represents them all: – the Senior User. They are internal to the company.  The things they want – it has to be descriptive but to a point – too deep a de

Suppliers don’t have to be internal or external.  They are essentially going to be supplying the solution.  If it’s an IT project, it can be your IT department, it can be a contractor.  I’ll draw up a scenario in a moment.

And then you have the project manager.  The project manager should not be from the supplier.  Why? Because they have  a conflict of interests.  The project manager must ensure Quality as an outcome within the costs.

So, quick example:

We need to go to shopping.  MBW has made an executive decision.  I have users – the family – who want food in the house.  They have drawn up a list of requirements – the shopping list.  I have a provider (Saincosons).  I have been assigned the role of project manager.

Now, why is it important that Saincosons are not the project manager?  Because they will go around and pick the most expensive products.  I’m not saying that it’s true to real life and is no way a slur on Saincosons – this is just the fact of most suppliers – its maximum profit.  Heck – I’d do the same.  But – I have a list.  Now, my end users stipulated they want Heinz beans.  What if the cost of a can is £1, but Saincosons own brand is 50p.  Now, typically, if it’s my budget, then it’s my decision as to which can I buy.  But – in a project the users have said they want high quality beans, the executive has agreed the budget… as a project manager, you don’t have an authority to change the requirements.

And then when I get home, the outcome is checked – did I get everything I was asked for.  This is called Quality Assurance.  Does it meet the requirements?  Does it meet the budget?

If yes – successful outcome.  If not – what lessons do I learn?

This is the basics of project management.  Tomorrow I might discuss the Principles, the Processes and the Themes.  Job done.

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