Chapter 9 Project Management

Chapter 9 Project Management
9.1. Introduction
Project management is rather different to manage an enterprise or a production
line. The objective of a project is to accomplish its prescribed mission. Since a project is
intended to have a finite life, a team is usually pulled together on an ad hoc basis from
among people who normally have assignments in other parts of the organization (or hired
from outside of the organization as it often incur today). A project may involve a shortterm task that lasts only a matter days or it may run for years. After completion, the team
normally disperses and its members return to their original jobs.
From a historical point of view, the Manhattan project – the development of the
first atomic bomb – is considered by many to be the first instance where modern project
management techniques were used. Nowadays, the project management has become an
integrated part of modern engineering.
By definition, project management refers to as “the entire process required to
produce a new product, new plant, new system, or other specified results.” By
implication, project management deals with a one-time effort to achieve a focused
objective. How progress and outcomes are measured, though, depends on a number of
critical factors. Typical among these factors are performance (specifications, quality and
etc.), cost (total investment, required cash flow and etc.), as well as profit, resource
utilization, and market acceptance. These factors and their relative importance are major
issues in project management.
Figure 9.1 shows the process in project management. As illustrated, most projects
are initiated by a need, followed by the definition of goals A project may have several
goals, such as technical and operational requirements, delivery dates, and cost, which
should be arranged according to their relative importance. Based on the goals, a set of
performance measures can be developed along with a schedule and a budget. The next
step is to integrate the design, the schedule, and the budget into a project plan specifying
the what should be done, by whom, at what cost, and when. As the plan is implemented
the actual accomplishments are monitored and recorded. Adjustments, aimed at keeping
the project on track, are made when deviations or overruns appear. Finally, when the
project terminate, its success is evaluated based on the predetermined goals and
performance measures.
Identify a need for a
product or service
Define the goals and of
the project and their
relative importance
Select appropriate
performance measures
Develop a
Develop a
Develop the
technological concept
Integrate into a project plan
Implement the plan
Monitor and control the
Evaluate the plan success
Fig. 9.1: Major processes in project management
From a life cycle point of view, a project usually runs through five phases within
each some specific tasks would be carried out. In the conceptual design phase, the
necessary tasks include setting goals, determining scope, baseline, requirements, and
conducting a feasibility and desirability study. In the advanced development phase, a
proposal will be developed containing the plan, budget, and schedule. The management
commitment should also be obtained in this phase. In the detailed design phase, the
project team is organized, the responsibilities are defined, the detailed plan is developed,
and the project kickoff. The production phase involves managing the project: monitor and
control the progresses, updating the plan when necessary and solve problems. The last
phase is termination: closeout the project, transit the product / service, present
documents, suggest improvements, and finally dissolve the team. As shown in Figure 9.2,
the majority of the resources and effort is allocated in the final two phases.
Resources and effort
Phase 1:
Phase 2:
Phase 3:
Phase 4:
Phase 5:
Fig. 9.2: Illustration of project life cycle
It should be noted that because projects are characterized by a “one time only”
effort, learning is limited and most operations never become routine. This results in a
high degree of uncertainty and risk. Specifically, there may be uncertainty in scheduling,
uncertainty in cost and technological uncertainty. The principle sources of uncertainty
may include random variations in component and subsystem performance, inaccurate or
inadequate data, and the inability to forecast satisfactorily due to the lack of prior
experience. In fact, because of the uncertainties, it was said that the following laws
always applied in project management:
1. No major project is ever installed on time, within budget, or with the same staff that
started it. Yours will not be the first.
2. Projects progress quickly until they become 90% complete, then they remain 90%
complete forever.
3. One advantage of fuzzy project objectives is that they let you avoid the
embarrassment of estimating the corresponding cost.
4. When things are going well, something will go wrong. When things just cannot get
any worse, they will. When things appear to be going better, you have overlooked
5. If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate
of progress.
6. No system is ever completely debugged. Attempts to debug a system inevitably
introduce new bugs that are even harder to find.
7. A carelessly planned project will take three times longer to complete than expected; a
carefully planned project will take only twice as long.
8. Project teams detest progress reporting because it vividly manifests their lack of
Regardless of the difficulties (uncertainties, risks, and etc.), the successful
projects do exist (e.g., the Manhattan project and more recently, the Desert Storm) and
make great impact to the modern society (and your career). Our task is to learn the theory
from these success (and many other failures), and hence benefit our own projects.
According to the studies of many practical projects, it is found that the following
factors affects the success of a project:
Project mission and goals
Top management support
Project planning
Client consultation
Personnel issues
Technical issues
Client acceptance
Project control
(10) Troubleshooting
2.2. The Road Map Ahead
The following discussions will be divided into several chapters, with reference to
the course material Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), as listed before:
Chapters in the lecture
Chapters in the PMBOK
10: Economic Analysis
Not Applied
11.2: Project Organization
4: Project Integration Management
11.3: Project Control
5: Project Scope Management
11.4: Project Scheduling
6: Project Time Management
11.5: Project Budgeting
7: Project Cost Management
11.6: Resources Management
8: Human Resources Management
11.7: Computer Aided Project Management Not Applied