Search results for: Role

The Role Of Expert Consultants In Project Management

Successful project management is always a team effort. However, sometimes this team isn’t all in house. For larger and more complex projects, it is not unusual for even an experienced project manager to require outside assistance to help with the planning  process or to perform some of the work. When is a specialist worth the extra expense?

The Need is Temporary

In some cases, the expert knowledge required is only needed for the project at hand. For example, a project for a large telemarketing organization might be to implement a new suite of software applications for call routing, billing, customer service, etc. The necessary IT leadership resources for such an ambitious project are unlikely to be available on staff. The current IT personnel may be generalists or might have been hired mainly for their familiarity with troubleshooting the existing system.

Creating a full time position to fill this gap can cost much more in terms of total compensation than hiring a consulting firm. An added advantage of sourcing an expert to collaborate with existing team members is that the firm can share responsibility for ensuring a successful project outcome.

The Issue is Complicated

Project management planning is only as good as the information it is based on. In some situations, contracting with an expert to collect data that will be used in scope planning and scheduling makes sense. This might be the case when industry-wide information on a specific topic is needed. An outside consultant with lots of industry networking connections may have a better chance of compiling accurate statistics and other information for use in planning than someone on your staff.

Risk identification is an example of such an area of expertise. A ‘blind spot’ in risk planning can lead to disaster. This type of mistake is particularly likely when historical information is low (e.g. when the current project has little in common with previous projects). A third party risk assessor who does not have a financial stake in any risk protection coverage purchased may be able to offer more accurate insights and strategies.

Potential Problems with Hiring Consultants

There are a number of potential pitfalls to consider before investing in an outside knowledge expert. First, this can represent a significant expense. With a tight budget, it can be difficult to justify hiring a consultant for the planning phase when (in the minds of some stakeholders) no visible work is produced. They may question why you need to pay for advice since you are the project management expert and “should already know all this stuff”. Let the consulting firm share the burden of making the case that their services are necessary and valuable.

Second, bringing in an expert may create friction with your team members. This is especially true if someone on staff feels that they are being passed over in favor of an outsider. A consultant should not be hired unless and until you have fully explored the resources available in house. Acknowledge each team member’s expertise in their field and reward their contributions. Also, make it clear that the role of an adviser is to help out – but that your team will be taking the credit for a job well done.

Filed under: UncategorizedTagged with: , ,

Role

At the very onset of a given project, one of the most important tasks tat befalls the project management team and or the project management team leader is to do a careful analysis of exactly what the project is going to entail from a personnel standpoint, how many people they will have to assign to the project, and as a result of the answers to each of those questions, what role they will assign to each individual team member,. Specifically speaking, roles refer to the particular defined function that is assigned by the project management team and orthe project management team leader to an individual project team member that they are to specifically undertake. This particular role can be in any number of areas associated with the project, such as day to day activities, conducting specific tests, conducting an completing filing, conducting and or performing inspections, and doing some sort of coding function,.

This term is defined in the 3rd and the 4th edition of the PMBOK.

Develop Team

High performing teams are a key element in the success of project performance. It can reduce costs, reduce wastage and provide better quality products. The Develop Team process aims to improve the competency of team members and their integration with each other within the project environment.

There are many aspects of Developing Teams within a project that start with a proficient project leader who can assess the current performance of the team. Tools such as assessments and structured interviews can be used as well as previous performance history for an individual. This type of engagement with a team member is beneficial in other ways as the individual feels valued.

Any assessments of team members should be aligned with the skills and knowledge required for the project tasks assigned to them. Where gaps are identified, mentoring, training or knowledge sharing can be used to reduce the gap, making the team member more effective in the assigned role.

The next steps in Developing Teams involve facilitating a working environment that encourages teamwork and motivation. Using clear objectives and open communications can promote the correct behaviours within teams and help them work cohesively towards a common goal whilst understanding their individual importance within the team.

Using team building exercises outside of the project environment can be useful to help a team get to know each other and how to communicate and work with each other. This can also help the team build trust and openness with each other.

Project managers should also be conscious of the motivation levels of the team and individuals and respond to this by providing challenges and opportunities that provide interest. Giving feedback on the performance of a team member is a vital part of this process, rewarding successes or providing support where performance falls below what is expected.

Some of the key techniques in the Develop Team process include:

  • Clear and open communications
  • Allowing time out for team building opportunities
  • Responding to conflicts in a positive manner
  • Encouraging team members to work together in decision making and problem-solving
  • Providing variety in work where skills and knowledge allow

Change Management Plan

The Change Management Plan is a part of the Change Management Process. The Change Management Plan is used to describe the process for dealing with changes within the project.

The Change Management plan will specify how changes are requested, usually via a Change Request form. The plan will specify what information will be captured by the Change Request and who can generate such a request.

Following this, the plan will detail who the Change Request is submitted to and the process that will follow upon submission. The plan will specify the process for the Change Control Board that will be required to evaluate the change. It will contain the roles and responsibilities of the membership of the Change Control Board along with the agenda or process for evaluating and decision making.

The Change Management Plan will provide guidance for the Change Control Board on how to deal with Change Requests and what criteria to use to assess each Change Request. It is expected the Change Control Board will meet regularly during the project lifecycle, however, for urgent changes the plan may provide a fast track process to allow the decision making to be made quickly.

The process of considering a Change Request will usually consider how the change impacts the project budget, schedule and quality of the final products. Changes can be approved if they are considered to support or enhance the project objectives or avoid a problem that may affect the outcomes of the project.

It may be that the Change Request is beneficial for a project, but the impacts to the schedule may cause the decision to be deferred to a later date. Changes that don’t have a benefit to the project will usually be rejected.

The process will then record the outcomes of the consideration of the change request. There are usually three outcomes, approved, rejected or deferred. Each decision will be recorded in the Change Log.

The final part of the Change Control Plan will outline the process for incorporating an approved change in the delivery of the project. This will involve communicating the change request to the appropriate project team members in order for the change to be undertaken. The project plan will then be altered to accommodate the change and any impacts to resources, budget and deliverables will be reflected in the appropriate project documentation.

Acquire Resources

Acquiring resources is the process of securing team members, equipment, materials or other resources required to deliver the project.

The key input to acquiring resources is the project plan. This will detail what resources are expected to be needed in order to fulfil the delivery of products or for the management of the project. This should provide a reasonable estimate of the resources required for the project and also provide a schedule for when the resources are required and for how long.

The Acquire Resources process is repeated at several stages throughout the project as the need arises. In the early stages of the project, a high-level requirement of resources will be available, but as the plan is refined, further detail is added which leads to more accurate specifications for the resources.

The selection criteria for resources may include:

  • Skills and experience relevant to the assignment
  • Cost when considered against the project budget
  • Availability at the required time of the project plan
  • Attitude of the resource with respect to the project objectives

Using a scoring matrix to assess potential resources will provide a tool to ensure the resources with the best fit for the project are selected.

Each time the Acquire Resources process is carried out, the budget for the project needs to be updated to reflect the expected costs for the resources to ensure the budget remains accurate.

A Resource Management Plan is an essential part of this process to ensure that resources are planned, procured and assigned at the optimum time in the project schedule. This is especially relevant where one resource may be assigned to more than one task in the project.

Once the resources have been acquired, they need to be assigned to the appropriate project tasks and given the information needed to undertake their role effectively. With human resources, the building of the role into the project team and the management of that resource is key to using them efficiently.

Stakeholder Analysis

determine whose interest should be taken into account throughout the project is called a stakeholder analysis. It identifies the interests, expectations, and influence of the stakeholder and relates them to the purpose of the project. It also helps to identify stakeholder relationships (with the project and with other stakeholders) that can be leveraged to build coalitions and potential partnerships to enhance the project’s chance of success, along with stakeholder relationships that need to be influenced differently at different stages of the project or phase.

According to the project management, stakeholder analysis follows certain steps, such as identifying all potential stakeholders and relevant information, such as their roles departments, interests, knowledge, expectations, and influence levels. Another step that stakeholder analysis follows in the project management is analyzing the potential impact or support each stakeholder could generate, and classify them so as to define an approach strategy.

In large stakeholder communities, it is important to prioritize the stakeholders to ensure the efficient use of effort to communicate and manage their expectations. It also assesses how key stakeholders are likely to react or respond in various situations, in order to plan how to influence them to enhance their support and mitigate potential negative impacts.

This term is defined in the 5th edition of the PMBOK.