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Project Organization

Continuing with Mulcahy’s Chap 2.

Project Management Office:

Centralizes the management of projects. May do one (or more) of the following:

  • Provide the background structure for projects within a company (policies, methodology, templates) (Mulcahy 23)
  • Provides support and guidance to others in managing projects, provides training and tools for project management (Mulcahy 23)
  • Runs some or all projects (Mulcahy 23)
  • Also, coordinating communication across projects (PMBOK 11)
Differences between PMO and Project Manager:
  • PM focuses on project objectives, PMO focuses on program scopes and aligning projects for strategic benefits
  • PM controls project resources, while the PMO coordinates resources across projects
  • PM manages constraints, PMO manages methodologies and standards at the enterprise level (PMBOK 12)
Project Objectives
We need to assume we manage to objectives. This requires establishing concrete and unambiguous objectives, reviewing progress toward them throughout the project and implementing corrective action on the ones that won’t be met, and terminating the unrealistic ones. (Mulcahy 24)
Features of a project, including cost, time, risk, scope, quality, and resources. This are established in the charter, and are prioritized as to importance (Mulcahy 25). To successfully complete the project, we need to hit the objectives, within the constraints. Or, to use a sports analogy (which is highly unusual for me): get the ball through the goal, without going outside the boundaries and before the buzzer goes off, while only using the teammates currently on the field.
“People or organizations whose interests may be positively or negatively impacted by the project (Mulcahy 25). For the exam, they are recommending we think of them as assistant team members, who’s desires, goals and inputs are sought out throughout the project. Contributions for stakeholders are not necessarily constant or equal, and can include occassional input, constant input, and sponsor level support (PMBOK 24). Stakeholders obviously have differing goals, occassionally which conflict with each other, that need to be managed (PMBOK 24).
Stakeholder identification is critical at the outset, to make sure that needs are being met up front and aren’t addressed after the fact (PMBOK 24). Thinking back to my lessons learned about change management, part of the issue was that when Compliance and Quality Assurance started complaining, it was out of the blue, since neither group was included as stakeholders from the beginning of the project.
Organizational Structure
The company’s internal culture and organizational structure impacts the project. Mulcahy identifies 3 styles of organization: functional, projectized, and matrixed. While most of us probably work in a functional environment, she recommends assuming a matrix environment unless specified differently (Mulcahy 26).
  • Functional: Most common form of organizations. Siloed functionality, projects generally occur within each silo. If work is needed from a different department, the request occurs between department heads. Team Members perform project work in addition to daily work. Functional manager is the most powerful (Mulcahy 26). Project Manager has little authority, little resource availability, perhaps part-time project admin staff, role in the project is part-time (PMBOK 28)
  • Projectized: All work is organized around projects. Staff answer to project managers. When the project is over, staff are assigned to the next project or leave. (Mulcahy 27). I would imagine this is most similar to a consulting firm.
  • Matrix: A blend of functional and projectized, where the PM has more power than in a functional environment, but the staff still answer to functional managers. Communications go between staff and both the project manager and the functional manager.
  1. Weak matrix: PM has limited authority or resource control, is usually part time, and the Functional manager controls the budget
  2. Strong matrix: PM has high amounts of authority and resource control, controls the budget and is full-time engaged in the project.
  3. Balanced matrix: PM has medium amount of authority, some budget control and may be full or part time. (PMBOK 28)
Life Cycle: Project life cycle is generally sequential and occasionally overlapy set of phases. THe phases, duration and names are determined by management needs , the nature of the project, and the area of application. The lifecycle provides the basic framework (PMBOK 15).
Project Life cycle: Can be simplified into: starting, planning, working, finishing. During the beginning of these phases, the cost of the project is low, the stakeholder influence and risk is high, but the cost of making changes is very low. As the project progresses, the stakeholder influence and risk reduces, while the cost of the project and the cost of changes increases. (PMBOK 17). The project life cycle is occassionally refered to as the organization’s methodology for projects. The five phases for Project and Product Life Cycle are: Conception, Growth, Maturity, Decline, and Withdrawl (Mulcahy 29)
Product Live Cycle: The complete lifecycle of a product from conceptualization to create to development to release to upgrades to withdrawal. This can span many projects. (Mulcahy 29). Efficiencies may be gained by managing all the projects under one product together. (PMBOK 16).
Project Management Process: There are 5 Process Groups in the Project Management Process
  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing
More about these later
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