ConceptDraw PRO: The PM System
ConceptDraw PRO comes with a large selection of plain and colored drawing shapes that, as you might expect, can be manipulated as vector artifacts with full drawing capability including such things as control over opacity. There is also a Template Gallery of over 20 topics, each offering multiple templates to get you started quickly. Interestingly, this Gallery includes Project Management as a topic and this offers five useful charts frequently used in PM communications. When you open one of these templates you automatically get the associated library of shapes to work with, to say nothing of a variety of backgrounds if you want to get really fancy. Personally, I prefer to avoid clutter that is uninformative and hence unnecessary.
However, without dwelling on the technicalities too much, Figure 1 demonstrates the diagramming capability of the ConceptDraw PRO program. I created this stunning graphical explanation of the typical systems view of project management and its environment in about half an hour - once I'd figured out what I was trying to convey.
Figure 1: The Project Environment
To emphasize the true value of this graphic, here is its explanation.
At the core of any project is the business of creating some new or improved product. This is strictly a technological issue that requires its own specific methodology or process. Those in IT, for example, know very well what it takes to create a new program, just as those in construction likewise know what it takes to create buildings or real infrastructure. Each requires its own technological approach, and often there are alternative ways available for doing so. This is shown clearly by the green arrows moving resources (people, equipment and materials) through a Product Creation process of some sort, to arrive at a final Product - with inevitable Waste being produce in the process.
But this project production process needs managing, that is to say, it needs project management. Project management has a distinct process of its own that, unlike the diversity of technological processes, is relatively uniform for all projects. The basic artifacts of the project management process are the two inputs of Scope and Quality requirements, and the resulting outputs arising from the Product Creation process are Time and Cost. These are illustrated in our graphic by the two yellow documents of scope and quality requirements feeding into project management with the gray arrows and subsequently resulting in the schedule and cost documents as outputs.
And all of this takes place in an environment of Opportunity and Risk that we call Project Risk Management. This is depicted by the circle that fades from green (for "Go") to red (for "Take care!") Now, just observe how these three concepts sit one on top of the other. The Product Creation process is backed by Project Management that takes place in an environment of Opportunity and Risk.
The most important point to note is that the process of product creation, and the necessary steps involved, i.e. the technological life cycle, is not the same as the process for managing the project, the project life span sequence.