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The Nature and Purpose of Project Management.

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Introduction

1.0 The Nature and Purpose of Project Management Project Management has evolved in order to plan, co-ordinate and control the complex and diverse activities of modern industrial and commercial projects. All projects share one common characteristic - the projection of ideas and activities into new endeavours. The ever-present element of risk and uncertainty means that the events and tasks leading to completion can never be foretold with absolute accuracy. For some very complex or advanced projects even the possibility of successful completion might be of serious doubt. The purpose of Project Management is to foresee or predict as many of the dangers and problems as possible and to plan, organise and control activities so that the project is completed as successfully as possible in spite of all the risks. 2.0 Project Management The open university Software Project Management module (1987) suggests that management involves the following activities: * Planning - deciding what is to be done * Organizing - making arrangements * Staffing - selecting the right people for the job * Directing - giving instructions * Monitoring - checking on progress * Controlling - taking action to remedy hold ups * Innovating - coming up with new solutions * Representing - liasing with users Traditionally management has been seen as a preserve of a distinct class within the organisation. ...read more.

Middle

* The project can be temporarily abandoned if more urgent work crops up. * Job satisfaction is increased for developers who see their labours bearing fruit at regular, short, intervals. Disadvantages of this approach * Software breakage, that is, later increments may require modifications to earlier increments. * Programmers may be more productive working on one large system than on a series of smaller ones. * Grady Booch, an authority on OO, suggests that with what he calls requirements driven projects (which equate to incremental delivery) 'Conceptual integrity sometimes suffers because there is little motivation to deal with scalability, extensibility, portability or reusability beyond what any vague requirements might imply'. Booch also suggests that there may be a tendency towards a large number of discrete functions with little common infrastructure. The delivery plan The nature and order of each increment to be delivered to the users have to be planned at the outset. The process is similar to strategic planning, but at a more detailed level. Attention is given to the increments of a user application rather than the whole application. The elements of the incremental plan are that the system objectives, open technology and the incremental plan. 4.0 SETTING OBJECTIVES Effective objectives are concrete and well defined. ...read more.

Conclusion

A project plan will be based on a huge number of assumptions, and so some way of picking out the risks that are most important is needed. Step 7 - Allocate resources The type of staff needed for each activity is recorded. The staff available for the project are identified and are provisionally allocated tasks. Step 8 - Review/publicise the plan A danger when controlling any project is that an activity can reveal that an earlier activity was not properly completed and needs to be reworked. This can transform a project that appears to be progressing well into one that is badly out of control. It is important to know that when a task is reported as completed that it really is - hence the importance of reviews. Step 9 and 10 - Execute plan and lower levels of planning. Once the project is underway, plans will need to be drawn up in greater detail for each stage as it becomes due. Detailed planning of the later stages will need to be delayed because more information will be available nearer the start of the stage. However it is necessary to make provisional plans for the more distant tasks, because thinking about what needs to be done can help unearth potential problems, but sight should not be lost of the fact that these plans are provisional. 6. ...read more.

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