Project preparation and management

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Project preparation and management as advocated in engineering degrees, but also useful for many other smaller types of projects, for use by non-engineers.

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Project Preparation & Management

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Index 1. Project Preparation: 2. Project Management: 1.1 Select & define the problem or project 1.2 Gather all the relevant facts 1.3 Analyse facts & draw conclusions 1.4 Project business plan layout requirements 2.1 Different types of projects 2.2 Uniqueness of projects 2.3 What to manage? 2.4 The project life cycle 2.5 Definition 2.6 Planning 2.7 Implementation 2.8 Completion & Evaluation of the project

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Part 1 - Project Preparation

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Select & Define The Problem Clarify your project so that you have a clear picture and target in your own mind . Clarify the parameters to establish how wide the investigation must go and how detailed it must be: in terms of space or quantity in terms of time for fact finding, recommendations in terms of ‘no go’ areas - sensitive areas where you are not to tread Write the above up under the heading: ‘Terms of Reference’, which spell out what you are to do. Your terms of reference authorise you to look into a certain matter , within certain parameters , for a specified purpose. Get it approved. Logical thinking

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Select & define the problem continued ……. Planning 1. Start a rough time schedule by using the time limits from your parameters. Take the report submission date and work backwards Date Week no Things to do Submit project report Zero 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Complete investigation Typing final copy Leave gaps for later identified actions

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Select & define the problem continued ……. 2. What must be done ? Why ? When ? 2.1 To get you going, think about what is happening now in terms of sequence, people involved,space used, work flow, equipment used, material/product/vehicle movement etc. and jot it down. 2.2 Go into a brainstorming session with yourself or with the help of others and try to view the big picture broadmindedly and jot down what comes to light. 3. Planning in more detail: Now add to the above identified things to be done, the where, how and who 3.1 Where relevant info might be 3.2 how you can obtain it 3.3 who might help in obtaining it 3.4 who might be able to provide info 3.5 prioritise things to be done - concentrate on the important ones (devise a rating system) 4. Finalise your time schedule - make sure to build in time buffers

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Gather Relevant Facts The facts you are after will differ according to type of project. If it is an improvement project, present performance will be pertinent. If it is a new construction project, the quality of new material and new equipment performance may be important. While gathering facts, stand outside the problem and do not let your prejudices allow you to miss out on facts. The tendency is to look only for facts which will support prejudiced perceptions. So stay aware and keep an open mind ! After sifting and sorting the data, decide which data to use in your report. Logical thinking

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Analyse facts & draw conclusions 1. When analysing data you may be seeking: Significance Insignificance Similarities Differences Anomalies Danger signals Patterns that suggest future trends 2. Data is best comprehended in visual format like maps, graphs, charts, tables and matrixes for comparisons. 3. Having imaginative ideas for solutions: Look at it from different angles Sleep on it Get ideas from colleagues, superiors Consider root causes, which can trigger new ideas Creative thinking Creative thinking 4. Write up all the possible options

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Analyse facts & draw conclusions continued ……... 4. Evaluate the options: 4.1 Weigh up the costs: Is there a cash layout? What is the manpower cost in time and effort Extra usage of space, material, equipment, machines, vehicles building alteration inconvenience cost 4.2 Weigh up the benefits: more income less expenses saving in use of resources saving of time better safety healthier working conditions better design better facilities other benefits Tangible Intangible

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4.3 Come to conclusions: Compare the options in writing in terms of costs, benefits & effects choose best options Analyse facts & draw conclusions continued ……... Logical thinking Decision making

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Layout of a project business plan 1.Title page 2.Acknowledgements 3.Contents 4.Summary, including terms of reference and recommendations (written last) 5.Introduction (definition,background, assumptions, limitations, parameters, explanations) 6.The present situation (analysis of existing situation, problems in present situation, methods of investigation, facts obtained, possible solutions with implications, costs and human factors) 7.Conclusions by way of reasoning Recommendations (including implications) 8. Statement of cost 9. Appendices 10. Bibliography

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Part 2 - Project Management

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Different Types of Projects Quality improvement Construction - civil/mechanical Encourage staff participation in decision-making Solving equipment problems Introducing new software or technology Etc. …… etc

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Uniqueness of Projects Limited time scales - several stages with milestones Definite purpose to be achieved Each project has its own unique features Teamwork Projects always create changes

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What to manage? The project team The project life cycle The stakeholders - all interested parties

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The project life cycle Definition Planning Implementation Completion & Evaluation The project needs clear objectives, the right team and appropriate parameters such as time scales and resources Agreeing milestones, tasks and activities Monitoring progress and managing the team Plan hand over to customer, winding down the project team and evaluating project outcomes

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Defining the project Setting the overall parameters: The role of the project - How will it contribute to organisational objectives The project aims and objectives - by when? To what standard? Within what costs? Broad time scales and resources - sources of people, money and constraints The likely outputs of the project - how will it improve things?

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Planning Identifying key milestones Divide the project up in manageable phases - according to key events Identifying the activities The team must identify the key activities to take place for each phase Timings Work out how long each activity will take Dependencies Identify which activities are dependant on other activities. This will help you decide when each activity can start and stop. Allocating roles and responsibilities Clarifying functions for members and delegating tasks Make use of planning tools Gantt charts, critical path diagrams

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Planning continued ………….. Gantt Chart

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Critical Path Diagram for each Phase Start 1 2 5 3 7 6 4 Activity 1 Completion of activity 1 1 5 1 Activity no 1 5 Days needed for completion Activities 2 and 4 can only start after completion of activity 1 Activity 6 can only start after completion of both 5 and 3 Activities 5 and 3 can run in parallel from day 11 4 6 2 5 5 2 3 5 6 4 7 5 Critical path determines the shortest time needed to complete the project - activities on this path is important - it can cause delays

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Another important function of the critical path diagram is to highlight those activities which can be tackled simultaneously to speed up the process and to plan man loading accordingly

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Planning in more detail the activities for each phase Activity Time required Dependent on Start Finish Phase 1: Phase 2:

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Implementation Monitoring the project plan As the project progresses you must monitor actual progress against the plan, especially the activities on the critical path. Any deviations will require reviews and change of plans Monitoring the use of resources Equipment, men, money, time Managing the project team You must continue to develop, build and support the team, while also managing possible conflicts Managing the stakeholders All stakeholders must be kept informed and involved for their continued support

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Completion & Evaluation of the Project Handing over to the customer Plan how to brief and support the customer to continue with the project results Winding down the project team Make known when the project will be over and celebrate the end of the project Evaluating the project Learning from success and failure How can failures and part successes be improved next time? Broadcasting success Make sure successes are not forgotten and the organisation benefits in the long term Measure to what extent the aims and objectives have been met

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