Published here June, 2008.

Introduction | Book Structure
What We Liked: Project Initiation | Project Planning | Project Execution | Project Closure
Downside | Summary

What We Liked - Project Execution

In much of the literature, and in training programs, project management is all about project planning while project execution gets short shrift. This is not the case in Jason's book. As Jason explains:

"This phase involves implementing the plans created during the project planning phase. While each plan is being executed, a series of management processes are undertaken to monitor and control the deliverables being output by the project. This includes identifying change, risks and issues, reviewing deliverable quality and measuring each deliverable produced against the acceptance criteria. Once all of the deliverables have been produced and the customer has accepted the final solution, the project is ready for closure."[9]

"The execution phase is typically the longest phase of the project in terms of duration. It is the phase within which the deliverables are physically constructed and presented to the customer for acceptance. To ensure that the customer's requirements are met, the project manager monitors and controls the activities, resources and expenditure required to build each deliverable. A number of management processes are undertaken to ensure that the project proceeds as planned. The activities shown in Figure [4] are undertaken.

Figure 4: Project management execution activities
Figure 4: Project management execution activities

"Build the deliverables: This phase involves physically constructing each deliverable for acceptance by the customer. The activities undertaken to construct each deliverable will vary depending on the type of project being undertaken. Activities may be undertaken in a 'waterfall' fashion, where each activity is completed in sequence until the final deliverable is produced, or in an 'iterative' fashion, where iterations of each deliverable are constructed until the deliverable meets the requirements of the customer. Regardless of the method used to construct each deliverable, careful monitoring and control processes should be employed to ensure that the quality of the final deliverable meets the acceptance criteria set by the customer.

"Monitor and control: While the project team are physically producing each deliverable, the project manager implements a series of management processes to monitor and control the activities being undertaken by the project team. An overview of each management process follows.

   "Time management: Time management is the process of recording and controlling time spent by staff on the project. As time is a scarce resource within projects, each team member should record time spent undertaking project activities on a timesheet form. This will enable the project manager to control the amount of time spent undertaking each activity within the project. A timesheet register is also completed, providing a summary of the time spent on the project in total so that the project plan can always be kept fully up to date.

   "Cost management: Cost management is the process by which costs/expenses incurred on the project are formally identified, approved and paid. Expense forms are completed for each set of related project expenses such as labor, equipment and materials costs. Expense forms are approved by the project manager and recorded within an expense register for auditing purposes.

   "Quality management: Quality is defined as the extent to which the final deliverable conforms to the customer requirements. Quality management is the process by which quality is assured and controlled for the project, using quality assurance and quality control techniques. Quality reviews are undertaken frequently and the results recorded on a quality review form.

   "Change management: Change management is the process by which changes to the project scope, deliverables, timescales or resources are formally requested, evaluated and approved prior to implementation. A core aspect of the project manager's role is to manage change within the project. This is achieved by understanding the business and system drivers requiring the change, identifying the costs and benefits of adopting the change, and formulating a structured plan for implementing the change. To formally request a change to the project, a change form is completed. The status of all active change forms should he recorded within a change register.

   "Risk management: Risk management is the process by which risks to the project are formally identified, quantified and managed. A project risk may be identified at any stage of the project by completing a risk form and recording the relevant risk details within the risk register.

   "Issue management: Issue management is the method by which issues currently affecting the ability of the project to produce the required deliverable are formally managed. After an issue form has been completed and the details logged in the issue register, each issue is evaluated by the project manager and a set of actions undertaken to resolve the issue identified.

   "Procurement management: Procurement management is the process of sourcing products from an external supplier. Purchase orders are used to purchase products from suppliers, and a procurement register is maintained to track each purchase request through to its completion.

   "Acceptance management: Acceptance management is the process of gaining customer acceptance for deliverables produced by the project. Acceptance forms are used to enable project staff to request acceptance for a deliverable, once complete. Each acceptance form identifies the acceptance criteria, review methods and results of the acceptance reviews undertaken.

   "Communications management: Communications management is the process by which formal communications messages are identified, created, reviewed and communicated within a project. The most common method of communicating the status of the project is via a project status report. Each communications message released is captured in a communications register.

"Perform a phase review: At the end of the execution phase, a phase review is performed. This is a checkpoint to ensure that the project has achieved its objectives as planned."[10]

What We Liked - Project Planning  What We Liked - Project Planning

9. Ibid, p5
10. Ibid, p10-13
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