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What Is Project Management?
A project is an undertaking by one or more people to develop and create a service, product or goal. Project management is the process of overseeing, organizing and guiding an entire project from start to finish. Here are more facts about project management.
Project Management Helps Teams Work Together
A competent project manager pulls together all of the people involved in a project to ensure that tasks are done cooperatively and with regard to the tasks’ effects on other people’s project outcomes. For example, when a new building is being constructed, a project manager will schedule electrical wiring installation before scheduling installation of light fixtures and electrical equipment. If the lighting crew is scheduled before the structure is wired, the lighting crew wastes time arriving on site only to find they can’t perform their work.
Project managers also schedule meetings between various teams to foster cooperation and increased communication about projects. In the example above, the project manager may schedule a meeting during which the electricians explain the wiring, wall-switch operation and receptacle layout to the lighting contractors. Both teams communicate their needs and concerns to help the project move forward without delays.
Project Management Performs Vital Processes
According to the Project Management Institute, five main management processes are used to see a project through to completion. The five processes are:
- Monitoring and controlling
At the initiating phase, key individuals share ideas about a proposed project. In the planning stages, the project is defined and schedules are created to complete the project in a defined time frame. Execution of the project requires organizing and scheduling supplies, materials and workers to complete the project. Monitoring and controlling in project management is the process of inspecting work, crunching budget numbers and keeping track of deadlines. Closing the project involves site cleanup, turning over the project to the owner, collecting payments and scheduling meetings to discuss the lessons learned from a project.
Project Management Focuses on Key Areas of Knowledge
Project management draws on a diverse set of skills. While project managers don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of all key skill areas, they do need to have a basic understanding of the limitations and concerns of each knowledge area. Project managers need to view a project in its entirety and understand the relationships between costs, quality, supply procurement, human resources, communication, risk management and stakeholder management.
Project Management Requires Document Management
A competent project manager organizes all documentation including invoices, e-mails, bids, proposals, permits, and project changes. The project manager ensures documents are submitted on time and to the correct businesses, agencies or individuals. The project manager is also responsible for secure storage of all project documents.
Project Management Helps Meet Goals
Project management is a relatively new field of practice and study but has become a proven method to meet lofty goals and bring diverse groups of people together for a common purpose.
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Information technology project definition
Examples of information technology project in a sentence.
Information technology project management: Providing measurable organizational value.
Information technology project write-off represents the impact, net of income taxes, on net earnings (loss) per share resulting from a charge in the Fourth Quarter of Fiscal 2020 for the write-off of previously capitalized costs related to a project that was abandoned.
Information technology project approval is contingent upon compliance with all ITEC 2000 series policies.
Cross- departmental/agency/community/ business collaboration.• Information technology capital investment and budgeting.• Technology refresh initiative and minimum standards development.• Information Systems Department resources and structure.• Information technology project management.
Information technology project - An effort of defined and limited duration which implements, effects a change in or presents a risk to processes, services, security, systems, records, data, human resources or architecture related to technology or information.
More Definitions of Information technology project
- IT applications, infrastructure and operations
IT project management
- Ben Cole, Executive Editor
IT project management is the process of planning, organizing and delineating responsibility for the completion of an organizations' specific information technology ( IT ) goals.
IT project management includes overseeing projects for software development , hardware installations, network upgrades, cloud computing and virtualization rollouts, business analytics and data management projects and implementing IT services.
In addition to the normal problems that can cause a project to fail, factors that can negatively affect the success of an IT project include advances in technology during the project's execution, infrastructure changes that impact security and data management and unknown dependent relationships among hardware, software, network infrastructure and data. IT projects may also succumb to the first-time, first-use penalty which represents the total risk an organization assumes when implementing a new technology for the first time. Because the technology hasn’t been implemented or used before in the organization, there are likely to be complications that will affect the project’s likelihood of success.
Managing the Project
These five process groups comprise the project management life cycle and are universal to all projects. The specific phases within a project, however, are unique to each project and represent the project life cycle.
- Initiation – the project goal, need or problem is identified. The project manager is assigned to the project and the project charter is created.
- Planning – the project manager and the project team work together to plan all of the needed steps to reach a successful project conclusion. The project planning processes are iterative in nature and it’s expected that planning will happen often throughout the project.
- Execution – once the project plan has been created, the project team goes about executing the project plan to create the deliverables of the project. The project can shift to project planning as needed throughout project execution.
- Monitoring and controlling – as the project is being executed by the project team, the project manager monitors and controls the work for time, cost, scope , quality, risk, and other factors of the project. Monitoring and controlling is also an ongoing process to ensure that the project addresses its targets for each project objective.
- Closing – at the end of each phase and at the end of the entire project, project closure happens to ensure that all of the work has been completed, is approved, and ultimately transferred ownership from the project team to operations.
Managing the Project Knowledge Areas
There are ten project management knowledge areas. These ten knowledge areas segment different actions completed by the project manager throughout the project. The ten project management knowledge areas are:
- Project scope management: the project scope is defined, documented, and approved. The project scope is protected from unauthorized changes, edited with approved changes, and validated by the project stakeholders for project acceptance.
- Project schedule management: the project schedule is defined first by the working hours of the project, any project milestones, and ultimately a project deadline. The project team’s availability throughout the project is documented and planned accordingly. The project manager will work with the project team to identify the project tasks and task duration estimates in order to create a project timeline.
- Project costs management: the costs of the project are estimated so that a budget for the project can be assigned. Project costs include materials, services, facilities, software licenses , and other expenses attributed directly to the project.
- Project quality management: what constitutes quality in the project is defined in specific metrics and agreed upon among the stakeholders as early in the project as possible. Quality assurance programs and policies direct the project work, while quality control inspects the project work to confirm that quality has been ascertained in the work.
- Project human resources management: the project manager works with the project team to verify that each team member is completing their assignments, working well with others, and that their participation and performance is reported to their respective managers.
- Project communications management: stakeholders will need information from the project manager will need to provide information to the project manager throughout the project life cycle. This knowledge area create a communications management plan that address who will need what information, when the information is needed, and the best modality for the communications.
- Project risk management : risks are situations, events, conditions that can threaten, and sometimes benefit, the objectives of the IT project. Risks must be identified, analyzed, and a response created for the risk event. The probability and impact of each risk event is evaluated to create a risk score to justify the costs needed to manage the risk event.
- Project procurement management: should the project need to purchase goods or services, a formal process for procurement will need to be created. The plan should address the project’s selection of contract type, administration of the contract, purchasing audits, and contract closeout. Many project managers do not manage procurement, but defer to the organization’s centralized procurement or purchasing department and processes.
- Project stakeholder management: stakeholders are anyone that has a vested interest in the project. Stakeholder management is the identification, inclusion, and communication with the groups of project stakeholders. It manages the anxieties and concerns the stakeholders may have about the project work.
- Project integration management: this special knowledge area is the coordination of the events in all of the other knowledge areas. How well the project manager performs in one knowledge directly affects the performance of the other knowledge areas. Project integration management examines the interactions and contingencies among the knowledge areas to ensure that the project is adequately planned, executed, controlled and closed.
These ten knowledge areas are to be managed iteratively throughout the project. With the exception of procurement, a project manager will likely encounter all ten of these knowledge areas in every project. There is no set order in which the areas should be managed, but rather the project manager shifts to the appropriate knowledge and processes based on what’s occurring within the project.
IT Project Life Cycle
There are several different approaches to managing an IT project that affect the project life cycle. Organizations can select one of these popular approaches to help reduce the risk of expensive rework, risks from quickly changing technology, or expansive planning at the launch of the project. The project life cycle of a typical IT project moves through iterations of planning, executing, and controlling until the project is ultimately closed and transferred into operations. However, there are three distinct IT project management life cycles:
Predictive life cycle: this is the most common and traditional project life cycle for IT projects. In this approach the project manager and the project team first define the project scope, project schedule, and expected project costs before the project execution begins. As part of the project planning it’s typical for the phases of the project to be defined (each phase does a specific type of project work). In order for the project to move from its initiation to its closure each phase must be started and completed in the specific order as planned. This type of approach is sometimes called a waterfall approach as the project “waterfalls” down the phases of the project.
Iterative life cycle: this approach to IT project management requires that the project management be defined early in the project, but the cost estimates and activity duration estimating are planned at a higher level early in the project. As the project execution occurs costs and duration estimates are created for the most imminent work through iterations of planning. The iterative life cycle also plans for iterations of benefits released to the organization. For example, an iterative life cycle may create a new software with more features with each new release as part of the project.
Adaptive life cycle : this project life cycle also uses an iteration of planning and executing, but the planning that typically last for two weeks. This approach uses a rolling wave of planning and executing through short bursts of both planning and executing. Change is expected in this approach to the IT project and it’s ideal for software development project. Agile project management and Scrum are examples of the adaptive life cycle.
All of these life cycles use the concept of phases to move the project work forward. A phase describes the type of work that will take place in that portion of the project. The project manager, the organizational requirements, and even customer requirements can influence what type of project life cycle the project manager will adapt in the project.
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IT Project Management Standard
Section 1 – introduction.
The University of Mary Washington is committed to continuously improving the delivery of information technology (IT) solutions within budget, on schedule, within scope and in such a way as to best contribute to accomplishing the university’s strategic mission. To this end, the University has established a standardized IT project management methodology based on proven “best practice” guiding principles as promoted by the Project Management Institute appropriately tailored to the specific circumstances of the university.
This standard and associated guidelines were developed in full accordance with and in support of the UMW Information Technology Project Management Policy and will be maintained by the UMW Project Management Office (PMO). The PMO will monitor the future development of project and portfolio management best practices and incorporate into UMW’s methodology those that are proven to improve project performance in a higher education setting.
The Commonwealth of Virginia Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act of 2005 and Chapters 824 and 829, Virginia 2008 Acts of Assembly grant public institutions of higher education certain operational authority in the areas of information technology and procurement, on condition that certain commitments to the Commonwealth are met. The University of Mary Washington’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth provides delegated responsibility for management of the institution’s procurement and information technology project management. This delegation includes the authority to conduct these activities in accordance with industry best practices appropriately tailored for the specific circumstances of the university, in lieu of following Commonwealth determined specifications. Responsibility for IT projects costing under $2 million is delegated to the university to approve and manage such projects in accordance with industry, Commonwealth, and/or Project Management Institute (PMI) best practices.
IT projects costing $2 million and over remains under the purview of the Commonwealth’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), and the Project Management Division (PMD) of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA).
The President of the university has final project management oversight authority and may review, suspend or terminate any project.
This standard establishes the required processes and documentation for all University information technology projects.
This standard is applicable to all IT projects implemented by UMW faculty, staff, students, contractors, business partners, and IT service providers.
SECTION 2 – STANDARD
The definition of a project covered by this standard is a temporary information technology endeavor with an established beginning and end time that has a set of defined tasks and assigned resources, undertaken to develop a unique product, service or result.
An information technology project is a temporary effort undertaken by or on behalf of the university that:
- Establishes a new technology-based system or service
- Facilitates a significant business process transformation using technology; or
- Includes a major change in technology architecture or a system migration beyond that considered as general maintenance, enhancement, or refresh activity
In our organization a project typically performs one or more of these functions:
- Develop a new system or service
- Improvements to a system or service
- Improve business processes or introduce new ones
- Build or enhance infrastructure
- Apply new technology
- Upgrade enterprise applications
Some examples of work that are NOT projects:
- ETF/Operation efforts
- System administration
- System operations
- Break/fix activities
- Customer support
Activities undertaken in support of an existing product or service will not be defined as projects for the purposes of this standard, so long as the bulk of the effort involves continuation, with improvement, to the current product or service. Significant cost for a procurement or operational activity does not make the procurement or activity a project. For example, routine software upgrades or network component replacements are not necessarily projects. Utilization of project management principles and techniques in the management of maintenance and operational activities are encouraged, whether they are defined to be projects or not.
“Projects and operations differ primarily in that operations are ongoing and produce repetitive products, services, or results. Projects (along with team members and often the opportunity) are temporary and end. Conversely, operations work is ongoing and sustains the organization over time. Operations work does not terminate when its current objectives are met but instead follow new directions to support the organization’s strategic plans.” (PMBOK, Fourth Edition)
If an individual/department is considering an information technology project, they are encouraged to work with Information Technology to assure appropriate analysis, classification, approval and documentation steps are undertaken. In addition to promoting good technology management decisions within the university, these steps also assist the university in meeting requirements set forth in Commonwealth of Virginia policies and standards.
Prior to soliciting acquisition or development of an information technology project, the following steps must be completed:
- Define the idea or need to be addressed by this project. Be able to communicate the project purpose and scope clearly to others.
- Submit the IT Project Research Form (PRF) on line at http://technology.umw.edu/pmo/evalform/ Any inquiries should be directed to the PMO for Information Technology at ext 5975.
- The PRF notifies the Technology Portfolio Management Committee and initiates the Project Research Phase. During the Project Research phase the requestor begins the process of investigating possible solutions, scheduling demos, gathering information, and answering questions.
- At the conclusion of the Research Phase, a potential solution/system is identified and an IT Project Approval form is submitted. During the Approval phase, the form goes to the Technology Portfolio Management Committee for review and recommendation to the Cabinet.
- Following Approval, the project moves to Project Management. At this point, IT PMO will review the requested solution/system with the PMO team. IT PMO will work with the project initiator to collect any additional information and complete any further analysis that may be necessary.
- In general, the level of oversight during the selection and management of technology projects varies with the cost and complexity of the project. For this purpose, projects are first classified as either major or non-major:
A major information technology project is one:
- For which the costs, from project initiation to project closeout (generally operational production go-live), are greater than $1M. These costs are to include all hardware and software costs. Salaries for technical and functional personnel are to be considered part of the project costs and the individual’s involvement will be tracked as a project expense.
- That is of such significance to the university that failure to achieve its expected outcomes could prevent UMW from accomplishing its mission or meeting its legal obligations until a workable alternative could be established; OR
- Set forth by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) as having “statewide application”.
Non-major information technology projects are those technology projects that have an estimate total project cost of less than or equal to $1M and are neither mission critical to the university or designated by VITA as having statewide application.
- As the initial analysis is completed and the project selection is approved by IT PMO, in conjunction with the initiator and appropriate management approvers, will assign a final project categorization (High/Medium/Low) and outline more specifically the project management and documentation requirements to be fulfilled as the project proceeds. The specific requirements vary with project categorization.
UMW IT projects are categorized as High, Medium or Low based on a variety of parameters including but not limited to budget, resources, time to complete and risk. An IT Project Categorization Matrix is used to evaluate and determine each projects category. The IT Project Categorization Matrix can be found at https://sharepoint.umw.edu/departments/it/pmo/Shared%20Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx?RootFolder=%2fdepartments%2fit%2fpmo%2fShared%20Documents%2fTemplates&FolderCTID=0x012000E69BBE4E7DAADE4B9574321E05944FEB
Any activity that is determined by management to be undertaken as a project in one of these categories is covered by the Project Management Standard. The amount of oversight and documentation required is directly related to and increases with project complexity. The goal is to apply just the right amount of management control needed for a specific project to succeed.
Certain other characteristics may elevate the category for technology projects. These projects involve systems that:
- interface to the university’s Banner Administrative Systems (for date related to Student Administration, Finance, Human Resources, Advancement, Financial Aid, Student Accounts Receivable, etc);
- authenticate using the university’s directory services (i.e. Active Directory); or,
- access, transmit, process or store highly sensitive data such as Social Security Number (SSN).
Project Documentation by Categorization
- Projects over $2M require a Project Charter and are reviewed by VITA PMD before initiation.
Project Management Knowledge Areas
The project life cycle is comprised of phases: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Control, and Closing. In addition to these process groups, processes can also be classified into nine categories referred to as the Project Management Knowledge Areas. These Knowledge Areas combine and bring together processes that have characteristics in common. The level of project categorization is used to determine the required documentation associated with each of the nine Knowledge Areas and processes (reference Project Documentation by Categorization matrix).
The nine Knowledge Areas of Project Management are as follows:
- Project Integration Management: This process coordinates the other areas to work together throughout the project. The six processes associated with Project Integration Management involve identifying and defining the work of the project and combining and integrating the appropriate activities. This is the only Knowledge Area that contains processes across all five of the project management process groups. The processes within Project Integration are tightly linked, as they occur continuously throughout the project:
- Develop Project Charter
- Develop Project Management Plan
- Direct and Manage Project Execution
- Monitor and Control Project Work
- Perform Integrated Change Control
- Close Project
- Project Scope Management: The five processes of Project Scope Management are used to ensure that the project includes all of the requirements and no new requirements are added in a way that could harm the project.
- Collect Requirements
- Define Scope
- Verify Scope
- Control Scope
- Project Time Management: The Project Time Knowledge Area consists of six processes that help to ensure the project is completed on schedule.
- Define Activities
- Sequence Activities
- Estimate Activity Resources
- Estimate Activity Durations
- Develop Schedule
- Control Schedule
- Project Cost Management: The Project Cost Management Knowledge Area consists of three processes that monitor costs to ensure the project is completed within budget.
- Estimate Costs
- Determine Budgeting
- Control Costs
- Project Quality Management: The Project Quality Management Knowledge Area consists of three processes. These processes ensure that the project meets the requirements, or does what it is expected to do.
- Plan Quality
- Perform Quality Assurance
- Perform Quality Control
- Project Human Resource Management: The Project Human Resource Management Knowledge Area consists of four processes. These processes organize, develop, and manage the project team.
- Develop Human Resource Plan
- Acquire Project Team
- Develop Project Team
- Manage Project Team
- Project Communications Management: The Project Communications Management Knowledge Area consists of five processes. These processes determine what information is needed, how that information will be sent and managed, and how project performance will be reported.
- Identify Stakeholders
- Plan Communications
- Distribute Information
- Manage Stakeholder Expectations
- Report Performance
A good project manager spends up to 90 percent of their time communicating. Overall, much of the project manager’s work involves managing project communication.
- Project Risk Management: The Project Risk Management Knowledge Area consists of six processes involved in identifying, managing and controlling risk of a project.
- Plan Risk Management
- Identify Risks
- Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis
- Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
- Plan Risk Responses
- Monitor and Control Risk
According to the PMBOK® Guide , a risk is an uncertain event or condition that has a positive or negative effect on a project objective. Every project has some level of uncertainty and, therefore, some level of risk. Keep in mind that a risk is different from an issue. A risk may or may not occur. But when a risk materializes and impacts the project, it becomes an issue that must be handled.
- Project Procurement Management: The Project Procurement Management Knowledge Area consists of four processes. These processes are used to acquire the materials and services needed to complete the project.
- Plan Procurements
- Conduct Procurements
- Administer Procurements
- Close Procurements
Project management activities begin at the Initiation Phase where a project has been approved by management with funding identified. It continues on through the remaining life cycle phases of Planning, Execution and Control, and Closeout. This PM standard addresses the governance and management of any IT activity that meets the definition of a project.
The lifecycle of a project begins when a person or organization recognizes a business need or problem requiring a solution. Projects are NOT just a set of tasks to perform! A project is a process that produces a unique product or service which allows the organization to achieve a desired business goal.
All projects are reviewed and managed through a lifecycle of phases, Initiation, Planning, Execution and Control, and Closeout.
The initiation process defines a new project and obtains authorization for that project to start. A project research form outlining the business justification for the project is prepared by the Project Sponsor. The sponsor serves as a “champion” for the project.
After the project research stage, a Project Approval form is submitted for review and approval by the Technology Portfolio Management Committee. Once approved, the project goes to the PMO, is appropriately classified, and the CIO and PMO will appoint an IT Project Manager. The Project Sponsor and Project Manager will identify the appropriate team members, and the Project Manager and project team will complete the project charter document.
Approval of the project charter by the CIO authorizes the Project Manager to staff the project team, procure resources, and oversee the people and resources necessary to complete the project. The project charter must be approved by the CIO before the project is considered approved for planning.
During the planning phase, information used in the Initiation phase is used to further refine the scope and define the objectives to be met by the project. The IT PMO will work with the Project Manager and team to identify documentation and project management activities that will be required (see the Project Documentation matrix for details). A project plan is developed, which includes the schedule, milestones, and plans for testing and training, security, procurement, resources, communication, and risks. The planning phase is complete when the project plan is completed and submitted to the CIO and PMO. With the submission and acceptance of all project planning documentation by the CIO and PMO, then and only then is the Project Manager given approval to officially activate the project and proceed to the Execution and Control phase i.e. begin project work, assemble project team, procure materials/equipment, etc.
Execution and Control
Executing begins when team members begin the actual work, as defined in the project plan, to complete the defined tasks and develop the deliverables. This includes building, developing and managing the project team; distributing relevant project information to stakeholders as planned; and managing stakeholders’ expectations to ensure their needs are met.
Monitoring and Controlling processes track, review and regulate the project’s progress toward meeting the performance objectives as defined in the project plan. These include, but are not limited to, ensuring changes to the plan are tracked and approved; that decisions, issues and risks are documented and appropriately addressed; that timely and accurate project status reports and other relevant information are communicated; and that testing and training activities proceed according to plan.
When the Project Sponsor has accepted the project’s deliverables as complete and signed off on the project, the project manager initiates action to finalize the project and submits a final status report to the sponsor and the IT PMO. An archive of the project’s documents must be stored on SharePoint. The final deliverable is transferred to operations and support staff where it becomes part of the operational activities of the university.
Project Manager Selection and Training
Project Managers are selected and assigned to projects by the CIO in consultation with the IT PMO. The training and certification required depend on the project classification and level of experience required to manage the project.
For projects with High classification, a Project Management Institute (PMI) or Virginia Information
Technologies Agency (VITA) certified project manager is required or equivalent experience. For all other projects, a non‐certified project manager may be assigned. However, it is recommended that a certified project manager serve as a consultant on these projects.
Activity Schedule – the planned dates for performing schedule activities and the planned dates for meeting schedule milestones
Information Technology Project ‐ a temporary effort undertaken by the university with the primary purpose of creating a unique information technology product or service. Temporary means that the project has a definite beginning and a definite end. Unique means that the technology product or service is different in some distinguishing way from all other products or services provided.
Maintenance, Enhancement or Refresh (MER) Activity – development, migration or upgrade activity undertaken as part of the normal, on-going operation of an information technology system and that is not of such significance to be considered a system replacement or major architectural change.
Project Charter – a document that provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.
Project Research Form (PRF ) – a list of general information questions to be completed by the project initiator and submitted to IT PMO as the basis for preliminary discussion, analysis and possible project identification and classification.
Procurement Management Plan – the document that describes how procurement processes from developing procurement documentation through contract closure will be managed.
Project Management Office ‐ provides project methodology guidance and support for the university’s IT projects. The PMO maintains Project Management Institute (PMI) or Virginia Information Technologies Agency(VITA) certification.
Project Manager ‐ assigned by the CIO and PMO and responsible for managing the project on behalf of the sponsor. Approval of the project charter authorizes the Project Manager to staff the project team, procure resources, and oversee the people and resources necessary to meet the project objectives. Project managers are responsible for reporting project status, budget, schedule and issues to the project stakeholders and the IT PMO. Every IT project must have a designated Project Manager.
Project Plan – according to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), the project plan is: “…a formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and project control. The primary uses of the project plan are to document planning assumption and decisions, facilitate communication among stakeholders, and document approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines. A project plan may be summarized or detailed.” The project plan is the planning document, capturing the entire project end-to-end, covering all project phases, from initiation through planning, execution and closure.
Project Sponsor ‐ the individual, usually part of the senior management team, who makes the business case for the project. This individual has the authority and responsibility to define project goals, secure resources, and resolve organizational issues and conflicts. The sponsor approves and provides formal sign‐off of the project deliverables and closeout report.
Project Team ‐ comprised of the individuals responsible for completing the project tasks and objectives. The team members may be assigned to the project in a full or part‐time capacity, and may report directly or indirectly to the Project Manager.
Stakeholders ‐ persons or organizations that may be impacted, positively or negatively, by the execution or completion of a project. Stakeholders may be actively involved in project activities and may influence the project outcome and deliverables. The Project Sponsor and Project Manager are responsible for identifying all stakeholders at the start of a project.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) ‐ a deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables. It organizes and defines the total scope of the project.
SECTION 3 – REFERENCE AND SUPPORTING INFORMATION
Project Management Institute. 2008. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) , 4th ed. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
Virginia Information Technologies Agency. 2013 Project Management Standard (CPM 301-01) . Chester, VA: Commonwealth of Virginia.
Section 4 – governance, section 5 – standards review and maintenance.
This standard is reviewed annually by 1 July of each succeeding year. The IT PMO or assigned designee will review the standards for accuracy and relevancy and make any necessary revisions or adjustments.
Document footers will be updated to include the date of the most revision.
The Change History matrix will be updated accordingly.
Any exceptions or changes to this process will be approved by the CIO.
Approved v1.0 March 26, 2014 by the Acting CIO
March 22, 2016: v2.0 revised and approved standard based on newly implemented Technology Portfolio Management process.
May 31, 2016: v2.1 document aligned with IT template.
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Project Definition: The Meaning of a Project
What is the definition of a project, exactly? We talk a lot about specific facets of project management, but it’s sometimes valuable to start at the root and dig into the basics.
In order to fully understand high-level project management concepts, it’s important to know the simple answers. When you can call on this knowledge, more complicated concepts are easier to master. Whether you’re the project manager or a stakeholder, give your next project definition with these project management tips in mind.
A project is a set of tasks that must be completed in order to arrive at a particular goal or outcome. Depending on the size and scope of the project, these tasks may be simple or elaborate, but all projects can be broken down into objectives and what needs to be done to achieve them.
Organizations and individuals manage projects with a wide range of objectives. These can take many forms, from constructing a building to planning an event and even completing a certain duty. Retailers, for example, may pursue projects that improve the way they track order fulfillment. Construction teams complete projects any time they plan and build something—and so on!
7 Key Project Terms to Know
No matter the project, there are universal project terms that are used regardless of project type, project size or any other factor. Know these seven terms like the back of your hand and you’ll be a step ahead before the project begins:
1. Project Lifecycle
The project lifecycle refers to the five phases all projects must progress through, from start to finish. The five phases of a project lifecycle serve as the most basic outline that gives a project definition. These five phases are initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and closure.
2. Project Scope
Project scope is a key aspect of the project planning stage. In many ways, it is the starting point. Determining project scope requires the project manager and their team to set goals and objectives, detail deliverables, create tasks, establish important dates and more. Project scope defines desired outcomes and all specific factors which will affect reaching them.
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Use this free Project Scope Template for Word to manage your projects better.
A stakeholder refers to anyone and everyone involved in a project. A stakeholder can be involved at every stage of the project, or just in a certain way. Stakeholder analysis helps categorize how investors, team members, vendors, contractors and more can affect your project.
A deliverable refers to the specific outcome(s) a project creates. Deliverables can be “tangible” or “intangible,” meaning they can be a physical product or something conceptual. Typically, deliverables are the need that inspired the project in the first place. If someone contracts a builder to design and construct an office space, the office is a tangible deliverable.
Milestones are predetermined achievements that help track project progress. Think of milestones as checkpoints. These checkpoints are decided on before a project begins, so the project manager and team know when they are on track to achieve deliverables. Without milestones, it’s difficult to know if the project is on the road to success or needs to reroute.
A resource is anything necessary to complete a project. In a construction project, materials are an essential resource. That said, other resources — like time, labor and equipment — are just as important. A project manager must be able to identify all of the project resources in order to create a resource plan and manage the resources accordingly. When resources are left unaccounted for, it is easy to mismanage them.
Project dependencies refer to how resources must be shared and allocated within a project. Many projects will use the same physical materials for different purposes and across different stages. Understanding this dependency is the only way to ensure there is enough of resource to go around. Similarly, all projects are broken down into tasks. When one task cannot begin before another is completed, these tasks share a dependency.
What it Means to Work on a Project
Whether it’s the project manager, a team member or any other project stakeholder, they’re a member of the greater project team and their actions directly affect other team members. Like any team, you “win” or “lose” as a unit, so it’s incredibly important to communicate and listen to other team members in order to coordinate efforts and succeed. Most project mishaps and project failures are the direct results of poor communication or lack of collaboration.
Why does this matter as long as the work is getting done? Working on a project is about understanding the project as a whole just as much as it is about doing the work. The only way to see this big picture is by listening to the team and learning from one another.
What is Project Management?
The process of project management starts with the conception of the project and continues all the way through the project lifecycle. This requires detailed knowledge of company resources and how to assign them in order to complete tasks, duties, events and other projects.
A wide range of industries relies on project management methods and tools to execute projects. A few examples of these industries are construction, IT, engineering, marketing and advertising. Any team working together to reach a shared objective is engaging in some form of project management.
What Does a Project Manager Do?
A project manager is more than just a manager, in the traditional sense. This individual is the leader of the project team and oversees every aspect of the project, from beginning to end. The project manager will typically write the project plan, run team meetings, assign tasks and do quality control tests to ensure everything is running smoothly. A project manager can’t carry the entire project on their back, though. One of their key duties, in fact, is knowing how to entrust various responsibilities to team members.
With the help of their team, project managers will create project schedules and budgets. They will also create project reports throughout the project lifecycle.
As you can see, their responsibilities are widespread, but that doesn’t mean spreading too thin. Ideally, a project manager creates the foundation of the project—like the foundation of a house. They then appoint other individuals to finish out each room.
Project Definition: Best Practices for Project Management
Regardless of the project, the size of the team, or anything else, there are practices that exponentially increase the chances of success. As vital as it is to hit goals and achieve deliverables, it is just as important to create a positive culture within the project. These five tips may seem simple, but they make all the difference in the world:
Set Regular Team Check-ins
It’s easy to meet with the team “as needed,” but once a project begins it gets harder to find time in everyone’s schedule. Instead, schedule regular meetings before a project even starts. These meetings serve as check-ins where team members can give each other updates, voice concerns, ask questions, make adjustments and do anything else they may need. When these check-ins are already built into the schedule, no one is waiting to meet until there is a mishap or issue.
Part of what gives a project definition is knowing how to delegate. Whether it’s the project managers or a team member, they’ll more than likely need help with a task at some point. Now, this doesn’t mean just passing along the task to someone else. What it means is that every team member has equal responsibilities. Instead, the best project managers know how to relinquish some control and delegate to team members.
Know the Team
Everyone on the project management team should be familiar with each other’s strengths, weaknesses and specialties. For example, if a team member needs information from a different department, they should know exactly who to ask. This familiarity cuts down on lost time. It is especially important for a project manager to know their team extremely well.
When project member knows these things, they can make decisions that play to their team members’ strengths, not around their weaknesses. Knowing the team is a huge aspect of creating a positive culture within a project, as it celebrates everyone’s abilities.
Speaking of positive culture, never underestimate the power of taking a moment to mark meeting a milestone. Reaching one means the team has made significant progress and the project is still on track. At the very least, it’s important to announce reaching milestones during team check-ins. This keeps everyone on the same page and improves team efficacy.
Choose Superior PM Tools
Project management is an extremely complex job. Without the proper tools, it’s easy to make mistakes, become disorganized and even fail to complete the project. The best way to protect your project from these missteps is by choosing tools that simplify the entire process.
The best project management software does just that. Using project management software unleashes your team’s and the project’s full potential and takes the end result to new heights. The key is finding an intuitive, user-friendly project management software that makes no compromises in functionality.
How ProjectManager Makes Managing Projects Easy
ProjectManager is an award-winning project management software that makes managing projects easier than ever. Our cloud-based software allows the entire team to work on the project while in the field or on the go, and our modern interface combines functionality with user-friendly navigation. This means no more wasted time just trying to familiarize yourself with a new tool and more time perfecting your project definition.
Plan on Gantt Charts
Plan your projects from start to finish with ProjectManager’s powerful Gantt chart feature, which allows you to map out project tasks in phases. You can even create dependencies and set milestones. Plus, you can import Excel files and Microsoft Project files, so switching over to our software is seamless.
Track on Project Dashboards
As the project team moves forward with tasks, project managers can track every status update on our real-time dashboard that you can personalize to show the most important metrics. Every change to a task is tracked, and automatically updates the colorful, easy-to-read charts and graphs. Keeping an eye on your project’s progress has never been easier!
Get all these features and more when you use ProjectManager. All of these tools are available in our software to help you plan, track and report on your project in real time. See what it can do for you by taking this free 30-day trial run!
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How to Cheat at IT Project Management
Chapter 5 - defining it projects, publisher summary.
The chapter discusses the Information Technology (IT) project management steps that can be used to get a visual idea of a process. This chapter considers each phase of project management, beginning with the definition phase. This is an element of IT project management that is often skipped or short-changed, but it is the definition phase that begins the building of success into a project. Some project management methodologies begin with project initiation. The chapter is simple and includes initiation and definition together in it. It begins by discussing project origins and briefly discusses types of projects. It also discusses the important elements in defining a project that build the foundation for success. The next step is developing a list of potential solutions that should be an energizing, creative undertaking if possible. Thinking outside the box helps to come up with innovative solutions that might have been missed if it is simply listed the most logical solutions. Once potential solutions are developed, it is required to rank them according to pre-defined criteria. Once all this is compiled into a project proposal, it should be brought to the project sponsor for approval. Formal approval, whether in writing or in e-mail, is critical to ensure that the project sponsor is in agreement with the fundamentals of the project.
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IT Project Definition Procedure | ITSW101
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IT Project Definition Procedure
The IT Project Definition Procedure defines the scope and purpose of an IT project and determines its projected impact on—and potential risks to—your company.
The IT Project Definition Procedure applies to all software products and updates developed by your company. (28 pages, 7214 words)
IT Project Definition Responsibilities:
Information Technology Managers are responsible for conducting feasibility studies on proposed Information Technology projects, reviewing proposed projects with Top Management, and responding to User Management proposals.
The Information Technology Project Manager is responsible for creating, reviewing, and modifying project descriptions and creating project plans.
Top Management is responsible for reviewing project proposals with Information Technology Managers.
User Management is responsible for communicating its needs and requirements clearly when proposing an Information Technology project.
IT Project Definition Definitions:
Project definition – Stage in project planning that follows a project proposal; preliminary investigation of project’s feasibility, suitability, etc.
Project plan – Stage in project planning that follows project definition; describing the details of a project definition based on a proposal that has been accepted.
Project proposal – User Management’s formal, written proposal of a project for Information Technology. Typically followed by a request to Information Technology for a proposal, commonly known as an RFP.
Request For Proposal (RFP) – A formal user request to Information Technology for project estimates (time, other resources needed to deliver the project) and a description of project results.
Return on investment (ROI) – The annual financial benefit after an investment minus the cost of the investment; or, the total value gained after a solution has been deployed.
IT Project Definition Procedure Activities
- IT Project Needs Identification
- IT Project Definition
- IT Project Definition Review
- IT Project Plan
IT Project Definition Procedure References
- ISO/EIC 12207:1995- Information Technology-Software Life-Cycle Processes
- IEE/EIA 12207.0-Standard Industry Implementation of International Standard ISO/IEC 12207:1995
- IEEE Software Engineering Standard #1058-1998, Standard For Software Project Management
IT Project Definition Procedure Forms
- IT Project Plan Form
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Project Definition Recommendations
A project is defined as an effort to create or modify a specific product or service. Projects are temporary work efforts with a clear beginning and end. Projects can be completely contained within a specific unit or department, or include other organizations and vendors. A work effort may be considered a project if it meets the criteria established by the organization. Example criteria are provided below:
- The project is estimated to take over 250 hours. (each organization can define what they believe is a project)
- The project is estimated to take longer than six months.
- The project or probable solution is considered to be complicated.
- The project involves unfamiliar technologies, new products, or unique solutions.
- The project will involve more than one department, or multiple units within the organization.
- The project has dependencies to other projects or vendors.
- The project has a high impact to other users, or impacts a large number of users.
- The project is considered to be a high profile project for the department.
- The project must be delivered within a short or specific timeline.
Service Request / Work Request
If a work effort is under 250 hours and does not have any of the critical project factors listed above, the effort can be considered a Service or Work Request. These efforts are not required to go through the origination phase or follow the project management methodology. We recommend that the following information is tracked for each service request or work request:
- Brief description
- Work effort estimate
- Target completion date
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