Project any cycle, the organisation should always

Project Methodologies:

Waterfall:
8

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Prince2:
8

Agile:
8

Critical
Path: 8

Scrum:
9

Feature and benefits: 9

References: 10

 

Introduction:

Project
management can take a large number of forms, with different project lifecycles
and different methodologies to use when undertaking a project. Many of these
life cycles share features and themes between them, as do the methodologies,
but they all offer slightly different approaches to the same task. How efficient
one is will depend on the project being carried out, and the team undertaking
the project.

Project Life Cycle:

The
project life cycle helps define how the project will be carried out, and how it
will be developed. The life cycle portrays each main step of the project and
helps to show a clear method for handling the project. The lifecycle is usually
define by a number of phases, depending on the life cycle followed. Throughout
the whole cycle, and with any cycle, the organisation should always manage the
scope that they have defined, to ensure that they never exceed it.

Initiation:

The
initiation phase of the project’s life cycle involves beginning the project,
and the parameters for the project are defined. This would include defining the
timescale, scope, resources, and the purpose of the project. As well as this
the end goal for the project will be determined for the first time, allowing
the planning to begin. This should also place the first restraints on the
project.

This
phase is important as it limits how far the project can go. This should ensure
that the project is manageable within the restraints laid out. It prevents
plans from becoming too complex and prevents excess work during the project.
This prevents more items from being added to the agenda as time goes on.
Something which doomed Apple’s Copland OS. This project suffered from a large
number of new features being added part way through development. This resulted
in the projects finish date, and release date, being pushed back. If the
project had had stronger restraints placed on it during initialisation, such as
a tighter budget, it would have allowed better planning and the project may not
have failed.

 

Planning:

The
planning phase defines how the project will be carried out. When planning all
the variables must be taken into account to ensure that the end plan will be
successful. For each step of the plan to work the planning must be a thorough
and in a great level of detail. It should also take into account the restraints
defined earlier, and the plan must not exceed these restraints. By the end, the
plan should have set up a time line for the project, which outline what task
needs to be carried out by what time. This allows the plan to be followed
easily and ensures that it will not exceed the earlier restrictions. As well as
setting up the procedure the plan should create a backup system in case the
original fails or does not work. This should include backup solutions and a
backup plan if the original proves to be impractical. As well as this, the
risks of the project, what could go wrong and any issues that could occur,
should also be identified so that they can be handled quickly, if they should
arise. These risks should be stored in a risk register so that they can be
accessed and referenced quickly if required. As well as this, a project plan
document could also be created. This will contain the main plan in a form that
can be accessed by those who need it. This will place the plan into one
location and allows team members to understand how the whole plan will fit
together. This allows the team to better understand their role in the project
and will help to ensure that they finish all of their tasks on time.

This
is very important as it ensures that the project will run smoothly without any
delays or setbacks. It also ensures that if anything goes wrong at the end of
the project, there is a fall-back solution to prevent any major consequences.
One clear example of this is the LASCAD failure, where the main system failed.
The organisation responsible for the project failed to set up a backup systems
in case of a failure. The main system that they produced for the NHS ended up
with a fatal error, a memory leak, which resulted in the system failing. There
was not another system to fall back onto. This resulted in many ambulances
being delayed or not arriving at all. This failure resulted in many adverse
consequences, including multiple deaths.

Execution:

This
stage is the primary phase where the project plan is carried out. At this stage
all the objectives laid out in the planning phase should be completed, and the
end goal should be achieved. This stage must conform to the plan and the
restraints defined earlier in the lifecycle. It must not differ from the plan,
otherwise the project could over run as more features are added and changes are
made. Throughout the entirety of the execution an issues register should be
kept. This should be used to record any issues that occur with project, and the
details about them. Including the date, a description of the issue, and the
priority of the issue. This will allow the issues to be fixed at a time
suitable and will guarantee that they will not be forgotten and left in the
product. This stage is where earlier work is put into effect, and as such
relies heavily on the planning and initiation being of a high quality. However,
the execution stage must also be good. If the work carried out is not up to the
standards of the rest of the project, it could fall flat. A low quality
execution would result in the work not meeting the restrictions and deadlines
of the plan, as the work would not be finished. These delays would increase the
overall cost of the project drastically.

This
has been seen in the past, when projects are delayed and the budget extended
multiple times due to poor execution. One example of this was the construction
of Wembley Stadium. The workers were not finishing task to their deadlines, and
the management was conflicted, with half of it being temporary, and the other
due to leave the company. Although the project was finished the costs were
higher than intended.

Evaluation:

The
evaluation phase focuses on examining the results of the project, whether the
products achieve the goal set and the parameters defined. It also examines how
effectively and efficiently the project achieved the goal. The purpose of the
evaluation is to decide whether the project was a success or not. As well as
this the evaluation should also describe any lessons learnt in a log. This will
help improve any future projects as it will allow them to avoid and decisions
that lead to issues and to re-use those that proved to be beneficial. The
evaluation allows the approach to be altered for further projects. This will
help improve them and allow future projects to be of a higher quality than the
previous.

A
good evaluation is very important for the organisation as it allows them to
save money and time in the future. It will also highlight if the project needs
to be re-done, due it falling short of the goal that was set at the beginning.
If it was not effective at all, then the whole project will need to be re-done
so that the goal can be achieved, or scrapped to avoid extra cost. It will help
prevent future projects from failing, by ensuring that mistakes are not
repeated but anything that went well will be repeated.

After
Sainsbury’s’ warehouse automation project they found that the system was not
effective. The system caused delays and items could not be transported to the
desired location. This lost the company £39 million pounds, before tax. A good
evaluation will allow them to understand what went wrong with the project and
what, if anything, went well. This will allow them to avoid making the same mistakes
again.

Documentation:

The
documentation ensures that all the necessary preparation is made throughout the
project and that the project is properly closed once it is finished. It also
helps to limit any issues in the current and further projects.

Project Brief:

The
project brief gives an overview of the scope of the project. It holds the goals
and restrictions in it, so that team members understand how to approach the
project. This document should be made during the initiation phase of the
project to ensure that all later phases follow the guidelines laid out here.

Project Initiation Document:

The
project initiation document give a more detailed outline of how the project is
to be undertaken, how it will be delivered, and when it needs to be finished
by. It covers all of this in greater detail and is one of the most important
documents. It should be created either in the initiation phase or in the
planning phase.

Contract:

The
contract is an agreement between the organisation and the client. Both parties
have to agree and sign the document to confirm that they understand what will
be done and under what circumstances. The contract will contain what the
customer expects from the project and the restrictions that they want applied.
It will also contain anything that the organisation requires of the customer.
Usually the contract will be written up and signed during the initiation phase.

 

Business Case:

The
business case contains the benefits that undertaking the project will have for
the organisation. It usually outlines the organisation’s reasons for accepting
the project from the client, mainly with regard for profit. This will be
produced during the initiation phase.

Client Acceptance:

The
client acceptance document is produced at the end of the project, during the
evaluation phase. The client decides whether the product developed is
satisfactory, and whether the goal was successfully achieved. This document is
important to decide if the project was a success or not.

Work Breakdown Structure:

The
work breakdown structure is used to outline exactly how the project will be
carried out. It is a very important document used to inform team members of how
they will be carrying out the project, to achieve the end goal. This document
would be made during the planning phase so that it can be carried out during
the execution phase of the project.

Project Closure Report:

The
project closure report, produced during the evaluation phase, is used to decide
whether the project was a success or not. It is used to solve any outstanding
issues and to identify methods used that should be carried over to other
projects. Finally, it formally closes the project.

Lessons Learnt Report:

The
lessons learnt report is used to identify the positive and negative lessons
learnt throughout the project. It will help the team identify practices that
should be re-used and others that should be avoided. It should be created
during the evaluation phase of the project, though it could be created as the
project progresses.

Project issues:

These
are the issues that could occur throughout the project. They can have large
consequences, possibly even ending the project, for the results of the project,
but can often be easily managed if they are correctly prepared for. If the
issues are not correctly managed then the project could fail.

Communication:

A
lack of communicating can result in the wrong tasks being carried out, the
wrong decisions being made, and the wrong information being transferred. If two
employees do not communicate with one another they may not inform one another
about delays, which would result in the project progressing when it shouldn’t,
and the issue would get greater. Communication can be an issue during any
phase, though it is most common during the execution phase, and often results
in the plan being carried out badly or not at all. This form of issue can be
minimised by ensuring that communication between team members is quick,
efficient, and easy.

Lack of management:

Lack
of management occurs when the project managers are not organised or are not
managing the team properly. This could be caused by a few reasons; for example,
the manager may dislike the company, or they may not have the skill to manage
the project. A lack of management can result in the entire plan going wrong.
Steps can be carried out incorrectly or they may have the wrong result. A lack
of management can cause a series of other issues. For this reason, a lack of
management can be the biggest issue a project could have. Management issues can
be minimised by ensuring that the managers are fully trained and employed,
rather than temporary managers, or managers due to leave.

External factors:

The
project could also be affected by factors from without the project. This would
not include team members, but may be environmental factors. For example, bad
weather could prevent travel and cause delays, which could result in deadlines
to be missed. Other factors can affect the project in different ways, creating
more issues, such as communication issues. The external issues cannot be
prevented easily, but can be prepared for.

 

 

Conflicts:

Conflicts
can occur between individual team members and other organisations. If team
members end up conflicting, this could cause communication issues and may
prevent them from working together properly. If the organisation carrying out
the project and another organisation have conflict could have costly
consequences, such as having to set up new supply chains.

Poor planning:

Poor
planning will mainly be caused by poor training or a lack of experience. The
effects of poor planning mainly influence the execution phase of the project.
The steps planned will be ineffective and the project will be carried out
badly. This will affect the product of the project, lowering the quality, and
possibly making the product in such a way that it does not meet the client’s
requirements. Poor planning can render the entire project a failure. Poor
planning is difficult to prevent, thorough training will help and a versatile
methodology may allow the plan to be altered during the execution phase, to
negate the effects of poor planning.

Legislation and regulation:

Legislation
should be taken into account prior to starting the project. However, the
legislation may change during the project. This could alter the restrictions
placed on the project, and could alter the final product at the end of the
project. When planning the project all legislation and any regulations should
be taken into account, to ensure that none are broken. It is impossible to
prevent changes in legislation, but some planning can be made in case it does
change.

Project Methodologies:

The
project methodology defines how the project will be undertaken through out of
each phase of its life cycle. The methodology defines the approach, how linear
the project and how flexible it will be. Although there are many types of
different methodologies they tend to share characteristics.

 

 

Waterfall:

The
water fall methodology is a very linear method. It focuses on getting one task
done and then documenting it. After each step it moves on to the next task that
needs to be done. Eventually the project will be done after cascading through
each step. This style is strictly sequential, with no steps overlapping. Once a
step has been completed it will not be returned to, it is done. The strict
nature of this methodology does mean that it is difficult to change any section
of the project that has not been correctly planned. This method would not be
good for a team that struggles to plan effectively.

Prince2:

Prince2
focuses on having the project set as three controlled and organised stages. It
is composed of a beginning, middle, and end phases. The series of processes
within Prince2 cover all the steps within a project. Prince2 also focuses on
applying roles to the situation, composed of members on the project, the
supplier, and the customer. The manager of the team regularly reports to the
board, which contains the supplier and customer as well as the user (or
representatives of these parties). This group determines how the project will
proceed after each meeting.

Agile:

The
agile methodology allows user to move around the project in a more fluid manner,
without being stuck in a straight and strict route. It focuses using short
sections of work called sprints. At the end of this members meet to discuss
further action and current progress made. It promotes continuous development
and allows the customer to have input at each stage, which helps have an
optimised process. The increased feedback during this methodology allows for a
much more versatile development process.

Critical Path:

The
critical path methodology focuses on ordering tasks based on their priority,
and when they need to be done. It is an ordered method that organises the work
in a manner similar to a flow chart. Tasks that take a small amount of time are
often moved to later down the chain if they do not alter the final date of the
project, longer tasks are given a higher priority. This style makes it easy
identify how late a project will be if something goes wrong.

Scrum:

Scrum
separates work down into small chunks, called sprints, with the team presenting
the deliverable at the end of each sprint. The product should be kept in a
state considered deliverable throughout the project and improved upon during
each sprint. The product is altered during each stage with regards to the
wishes of the client. This method results in a versatile production method and
keeps the product in a state that could be considered finished, allowing the
team to keep on top of deadlines.

Features and benefits:

-Linear
structure and organisation: The waterfall methodology uses a linear structure,
as does the critical path method. The prince2 methodology does also have a
fairly linear method. However, it does allow changes to be made to the next
stage, rather than following the route defined earlier. All of these maintain a
structured approach, though the order of tasks varies. Having a linear
structure results in less flexibility, but ensures that each section gets
finished by the end of the project.

-Non-linear
structure and flexibility: Neither the agile or scrum methods use a linear
structure. Instead they allow changes to be made to the process as it is being
carried out. This allows changes to be made if the plan is not working
properly, something which is not shared as much by the other methodologies.
Prince2 can, however, have changes made to how the project will proceed but
still maintains an ordered structure. Having a less linear structure means that
the project is more flexible, but it does mean that some tasks may be delayed
too long, which could result in issues with development.

-Client
involvement: Prince2, agile, and scrum all have a large amount of client
involvement. At the end of each development step the client is shown the
current product and has the chance to give input, alter the approach and decide
if the product is going in the right direction. This has the benefit of
allowing the product to be altered as the project develops. This helps to
ensure that the product is satisfactory.

Sprints:
Sprints is a feature used heavily within the scrum and agile methods. It allows
the project to be regularly reviewed and the approach altered. This allows
these methods to be more flexible if the initial plan is bad, or ineffective.

References: