Proposed Core Concepts of Project Management - Part 2
The following core concepts may be somewhat more controversial, but nonetheless essential.
5. Project Commitment
An equitable commitment between the provider of resources and the project delivery team must exist before a viable and potentially successful project exists.
Explanation: The provider of resources (money, and/or goods and services, and general direction) is typically called the project's owner or sponsor. The project delivery team is responsible for developing appropriate tactics, plans and controls for applying the necessary skills and work to convert those resources into the required deliverables or product. An equitable commitment means that both parties are sufficiently knowledgeable of the undertaking, i.e. the overall objectives, the technology, the processes involved and their associated risks, and that both parties willingly undertake the challenge.
The attributes of both parties should encompass relevant skills, including those of the technology involved, experience, dedication, commitment, tenacity and authority to ensure the project's success. The owner of the project must understand that even with appropriate management controls in place, there must be a sharing of the risks involved. (See also Discussion: Project Commitment below.)
6. Project Management
Policies and procedures that are effective and efficient must be in place for the proper conduct and control of the project work to deliver the agreed commitment.
Explanation: This core concept is an extension of the strategy concept. The Strategy concept determines what is going to be done and when. The Project Management concept establishes how it is going to be done and by whom. The attributes of this management control encompass the project's assumptions, its justification and a reference baseline in each of the core variables as a basis for progress measurement, comparison and course adjustment. The attributes of good management encompass clear roles and responsibilities, delegation of authority, and processes for maintaining quality, time and cost, etc. as well as managing changes in the product scope and/or scope of work.
7. The Single-point Responsibility Concept
A single channel of communication must exist between the project sponsor and the project's manager for all decisions affecting the product scope, quality, delivery date or total cost.
Explanation: This concept is an extension of the project management concept and is necessary for effective and efficient administration of the project commitment. For example, the owner of the eventual product, if represented by more than one person, must nevertheless speak with one voice through a primary representative with access to the sponsor's resources. Similarly, the project's delivery team must always have a primary representative.
However, this only applies to the decisions affecting the product scope and quality and hence the project's overall cost and delivery. In all other respects, free and transparent communication is indispensable for the coordination of a complex set of project activities. Therefore, this concept must not in any way inhibit the proper exchange of information through the network of project communication channels that is required to integrate all aspects of a highly complex project.
8. The Five-point Inherent Trade-off Concept
The core variables of the project management process, namely: product scope, quality grade, time-to-produce and total cost-at-completion must all be mutually consistent and attainable. The inevitable existence of risk appears to be an outlier, or "wild card".
Explanation: This concept is an extension of both the Project Commitment concept and the Project Success concept. The core variables of product scope, quality grade, time-to-produce and total cost-at-completion collectively, often loosely called scope, quality, time and cost, respectively, are measures of internal project management efficiency. If these variables prove not to be mutually consistent and attainable, the commitment is neither equitable nor are any Key Success Indicators likely to be met. The interrelationships of the four basic but separate variables are somewhat similar to a four-sided frame with flexible joints. One side can be secured and another moved, but not without affecting the remaining two. That's assuming, of course, the avoidance of the risk of the joints of our four-sided frame from falling apart.
At this point, please take another look at Figure 1 to refresh your view of the relationship between managing the project and creating the product. It is presented in the first part of this paper.