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sequencing the work
The end result can be performance measures that do not measure performance meaningfully. Moreover, it is difficult to see this early in the project lifetime. As a project nears completion, it becomes obvious that improperly calculated performance measures are meaningless. But by then, it is often too late. The very tools you have used to guide you through the pitfalls of project management now appear to have betrayed you.
This book has been designed to provide you with the right balance of theory, methods, psychology, and practice to become an effective project manager the very first time you get the opportunity to manage something more than a ten-person project. For many professional project managers, gaining this ability comes hard. Moreover, there are many would-be project managers who have abandoned their attempts along the way. Effective project management on todays projects, where the emphasis is often on the rapid completion of the project, is not something that is learned entirely in the classroom or by reading a book. But having the right training and the right tools makes a big difference. The purpose of this book is to give you this experience.
Two common misconceptions about project management are: (1) that project management is primarily the project scheduling activity, and (2) that it is just general management of an organization, where that organization happens to be organized as a project, rather than as a division or department or some other component of an organization.
To be sure, project managers on large projects know how projects are scheduled, and they know how to read the various forms in which project schedulers cast their schedules. Moreover, they probably understand the purpose and meaning of the schedules better than the project schedulers do themselves. Project scheduling is only a detail of project management, and project managers on large projects hire others to handle these
details for them, such as cost accountants, project administrators, project schedulers, and control package managers.
The misconception that project management is just general management where the organization to be managed happens to be organized as a project is more subtle. There are many similarities between general management and project management. Both of these professions have their own methods, techniques, and computerized systems. Being a master of one of these disciplines does not guarantee that an individual will be a success at the other. For a manager who is not familiar with the methods and techniques of project management, the first five chapters of this book are especially relevant.
It is the authors viewpoint that most project management training is unnecessarily disjointed, and so are most project management tools. One of the purposes of this book is to show that this need not be the case. Today, most project managers get their training either through company training programs or at short, intensive training conferences offered by training companies or professional societies, rather than through college courses. This book presents an integrated treatment of project management theory, methods, and tools that is simple and easy to remember. This book should be well suited for any of the previously mentioned training vehicles, especially corporate training programs or college-level classes.
The author hopes this book and the accompanying toolset will contribute to a better understanding of how to manage projects and how to utilize automated project management tools. While this toolset is covered by copyright, the author and the publisher give you, the reader, the right of unrestricted usage for his or her own use. For instance, you are free to try to use the toolset to manage a real project. They do not, however, give the reader the right to sell this toolset or modified versions of this toolset.
Finally, the author wishes to thank Lance Barlow and Douglas Tiner for our long association and for the many enlightening conversations we have had over the years. Several
of the ideas contained in this book are directly or indirectly attributable to these two long-term project managers. They are among the finest the author has ever met.
NORMAN R. HOWES ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA
How to Use the CD
Before using the programs on the CD, you should read and understand the license contained in this book or read the file on the CD titled License.doc.
The files on the CD of the form xxx97.mde can only be executed by using Microsoft Access 97. The files of the form xxx2K. mde can only be executed by using Microsoft Access 2000. You will need to have one of these versions of Microsoft Access to execute these files. The version of the desktop project management toolset that is distributed with this book is implemented as a Microsoft Access application. As such, it is packaged together with a database. Each of the files of the form example97ChaptX.mde or example2KChaptX.mde is an Access database that contains the Modern Project toolset. The databases in these files represent snapshots of what the example project database should look like at the end of Chapter X, where X is a chapter number. The files of the form example97.mde and example2K.mde contain an empty database that will be used to construct the example project that is used throughout this book.
In order to use the files on the CD, you will need to copy them onto a hard drive or a diskette. After you have done so, you may need to change the read only attribute of the Access files. For instance, if you use Microsoft Windows Explorer to copy the file from the CD to your disk drive, it will set the read only attribute to true since the CD is a read only file. This will
prevent you from entering new data into the example97.mde and the example 2K.mde files.
To change the read only attribute to false, first open the file using Access. Then click on the File control button on the menu bar at the top of the Access window. Next, select the Database Properties option. This will cause the Properties window to appear. Make sure the Properties window is displaying the General properties. If not, click on the General tab at the top of the window. Now look at the Read only attribute. If it has a checkmark in the box in front of it, click on the box to remove the mark. Finally, click on the OK control button at the bottom of the Properties window. You should now be able to write data into the file.
The file on the CD named example.mpp is a Microsoft Project 98 schedule file. It contains the example schedule used in Chapter 7 of this book that demonstrates the automated interface between Microsoft Project and Modern Project. You will need to have a version of Microsoft Project 98 to run this program. However, it is not essential to an understanding of Chapter 7 to actually execute this example schedule. It is intended primarily as an exercise in tranferring scheduling dates from Microsoft Project into the Modern Project database.
The file on the CD named example.html is an intermediate file that is produced during the process of moving scheduling dates between Microsoft Project and Modern Project. You can look at this file with a browser to see how the schedule dates are contained in a Microsoft Project HTML export file.
Chapter 1- Introduction
Modern project management is a well-understood discipline that can produce predictable, repeatable results. The methods of modern project management are highly analytic, usually requiring automated tools to support them on large projects. Like most other disciplines, it is learned through both practice and study. Since this chapter is an introduction, it is fitting that we explain how we will be using the term project management. Project management encompasses many different skills, such as understanding the interdependencies among people, technologies, budgets, and expectations; planning the project to maximize productivity; motivating others to execute the plan; analyzing the actual results; and reworking and tuning the plan to deal with the realities of what really happens as the project is executed.
While all these topics are covered in some detail in the book, the focus is on the theory and techniques project managers use to plan and control projects. So, when we use the term project management in this book, we often use it in this more specific sense. Several books on project management have already been written that deal with the organizational and teambuilding aspects of project management. Our intent is not to duplicate this work but rather to fill a gap in the presentation of the theoretical and practical aspects of project management. To a large extent, modern project management theory and methodology (the practical aspect) take into consideration the
psychological and motivational aspects of project management and are designed to communicate the standards and measures that project management is using to the project workforce.
Also, several current books on project management deal extensively with requirements development and requirements specification. In the Information Technology (IT) field in particular, requirements specification has essentially become a profession in its own right. In order to keep this book relatively small and accessible, we have chosen to largely omit this aspect of a project and just assume that the requirements for the project have been adequately defined and documented. For many first-time project managers, the projects they will be managing will be small to medium in size. While project requirements development and specification are always important, they are often straightforward. It is usually on larger projects that requirements development and specification become complex. There is some discussion of requirements in Chapter 10 as they relate to rescuing a failing project. If you are trying to learn about project management for a large project, you should take a look at that material as you read Chapter 2 or consult a book on requirements engineering.
In this book we differentiate between general management and project management. While project management shares many of the concerns and methods of general management, project management is different from general management in essential ways. Project management is not to be confused with management in the sense of supervising workers, although many project managers perform that function. Whether project managers are supervisors or not often depends on an organizations structure.
In companies that are organized around the matrix management model, project managers may not have supervisory responsibilities. In such organizations, supervision is usually delegated to discipline managers, such as engineering managers, programming managers, and quality control managers. In companies that are organized around the project model,
project managers supervise the personnel that work on their project. In either case, the issue of who does the supervision does not concern us here. Instead, we focus on the methods project managers use to plan, estimate, monitor, and ultimately control projects for which they have performance responsibility, whether or not they directly supervise the project personnel.
We now turn to presenting some examples of project management tools to convey a little of the flavor of modern project management methods and to provide some motivation for the need for these methods. These examples are the only introduction the reader will get, and it is not too important that the reader understand these examples in any depth at this point. Several existing project management books give extensive introductions as to what project management is, how it fits into the organization of an enterprise, and the challenges that face the project manager. Again, our reason for omitting such an approach is to keep the book small and easy to use, that is, to get the reader into project management as quickly as possible. The book is designed to unfold the topics of project management in the order in which the new project manager will need them. The explanation of the concepts occurs simultaneously with the introduction of the concepts throughout the book, rather than in a lengthy introduction.
We will not attempt to define the terms that appear in this introduction, saving that for the chapters that lie ahead. The inexperienced reader (inexperienced in terms of project management) should not be concerned if he or she does not understand the meaning of any new terms that might be encountered. The intent is to convey some of the spirit of modern project management. At this point, new terminology should just be accepted naively. Even with a naive interpretation, it is likely that the uninitiated will still capture the spirit of the subject.
Figure 1 -1 shows a typical project management chart, called the Earned Value Report. To the untrained eye this chart
Figure 1-1. Earned Value Report.
may appear interesting, but to the experienced project manager it speaks volumes about the current sit that exists on the project that this chart depicts. It gives the experienced project manager a summary o the project is being managed and the information needed to begin the process of isolating problems an finding solutions.
On this chart there are three curves (graphs). They are labeled baseline man-hours, actual man-hou earned man-hours. The baseline man-hour curve expresses how much labor project management inte expend and how this labor will be expended over time. The actual man-hour curve expresses how lab actually being expended on the project. The actual man-hour curve is an accumulation of labor expen date, plotted against time.
These two curves together tell a lot about a project overall. If the two curves are very close together, t know that the project is expending labor-hours at about the same rate as called for in the plan. If these curves diverge significantly
at any point in time, then we know that during that period, labor was not being expended as planned. But these two curves do not tell the whole story. It is possible that labor is being expended as planned but little is being accomplished. The third curve, the earned man-hours curve, completes the picture.
The earned man-hour curve on the chart in Figure 1-1 is a special case of a more general concept called earned value, which is discussed in Chapter 4. Earned value is a measure of what has been achieved (earned). Earned value is an expression of worth and as such can be expressed in various ways. It can be expressed in dollars or in the amount of labor needed to create this worth. It is frequently the case that the client is more interested in the dollar value of the achievement, whereas the project manager is more interested in the labor-hour value of what has been accomplished, because labor-hours are what the project manager directly controls (primarily). And, on most projects, labor-hours account for more than half the cost of a project.
Earned value is calculated by a simple formula. It is the percent complete multiplied by the budgeted (planned) value of the project. Earned value is a measure of accomplishment that can be applied equally well to a single task within a project, a group of tasks, or the total project. For example, if the budgeted value of the project is 100,000 labor-hours or $8 million, and the project is 50% completed, then the earned labor-hours are 50,000 and the earned value is $4 million.
In the chart in Figure 1-1, the baseline (budgeted) labor-hours curve and the actual labor-hours curve are close together. This means that the rate of expenditure of labor-hours is very close to the estimated rate of expenditure envisioned in the budget. If the actual labor-hours curve is below the baseline labor-hour curve, then we know the labor-hour expenditure is less than what was planned. On the other hand, if the actual labor-hour curve is above the baseline curve, we know that the rate of expenditure is greater than what was anticipated in the budget. In Figure 1-1 we also notice that the earned labor-hours
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