project management

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Managing Project Teams

Great leadership for great teams.
Great team must have doing the right thing.


Project management needs high performance leader, effective goal, and great team. Team is a small group of people include leader and team, good relationship, work together, same goal, same direction. Everyone in team need to understand direction.
What kind of people to be a good team? “Choosing and developing your team is the most important competency of a leader. This is time-consuming up to one-third of your time.” (From http://jobfunctions.bet.com/) This means leadership is very important and usually come with great team. Team need; knowledge, skill, accountability (work with their heart, work over the job description), talent, passion, and doing the right thing. Project management needs
- Leadership; work in execution, turn ideas into reality, build a great team that is skilled and loves to work.
- Excellent team; they know what and why need to be done, do by themselves
- Put the right people in the right job
- Meeting or brainstorming
- Need positive synergy
- Sharing idea (open mind); “the door swing both way” it possible that you are wrong and other have better idea.
- Problem-solving, make a decision and move the team forward.
- Good environment and culture, measures performance directly; reward, recognize and ignored.
- Training
- Trust
- Work with their heart.
“Now great team must have doing the right thing, character has been described as ethical behavior, intellectual integrity, openness and honesty. No matter what the issue or the personal gain or loss, they always-not occasional-did the right thing. Not only the right thing from a business or economic aspect, but the right thing including social and philosophical dimension.”

Friday, September 08, 2006

Chapter 10- Leadership

Leadership is the soft side or human side or mind side of project manager that not only project manager must have leadership but all of us should have leadership. Project manager must do both sides of management and leadership.
- Leadership relates with people, focus on direction, and deal with effectiveness.
- Leader as a person. Leadership not as a person, as a set of behaviours that helps a group perform a task, reach their goal, or perform their function.
- Leaders as inspiring visionaries, concerned about substance; while managers he views as planners who have concerns with process.
- Leadership is the ability of an individual to lead, convince, motivate and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members" (House, R. J. 2004: page 15)
- Leader realising that the achievement of the task comes about through the goodwill and and support of others, while the manager may not.
- Management concern about thing, focus on resource (manpower is one of resource), and deal with efficiency.
- Managers concerned themselves with tasks while leaders concerned themselves with peopl.
- Evaluate technical side by look at efficiency (output), socio-culture by look at effectiveness (outcome).

What different between leadership and management?

Warren Bennis (1989): twelve distinctions between the two groups:
1. Managers administer, leaders innovate.
2. Managers ask how and when, leader ask what and why.
3. Managers focus on system, leaders focus on people.
4. Managers do things right, leaders do the right things.
5. Managers maintain, leaders develop.
6. Mangers rely on control, leaders inspire trust.
7. Managers have a short-term perspective, leaders have a longer-term perspective.
8. Mangers accept the status-quo, leaders challenge the status-qua.
9. Mangers have an eye on the bottom line, leaders have an eye on the horizon.
10. Mangers imitate, leaders original.
11. Mangers emulate the classic good soldier, leaders are their own person.
12. Mangers copy, leaders show originallity.
From http://en.wikipedia.org/leadership

Goog leadership must have:
Challenging the process; try to do something out of the box, find the new way of doing, and support team members in these efforts (put right man on the right job)
Inspiring share vision; put common understanding sense of purpose, can speak to convince team to follow sense of purpose, share vision for everyone, everyone come though the same goal,
Enabling others to act; get the thing done through the people,
Modeling the way; converse vision into action, lead by action, work more than job description, work by heart;
Encouraging the heart; connect heart to heart, celebrating together, pride in team.

How to develop leadership? Reading books, intensive training; can improve communication and political skill, workshop. But everythink up to yourself, if you want to develop you can.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Session 10: Reducing Project Duration
Reducing Project Duration, When you want to reduce a project’s duration? You must think about project objectives and project priority matrix, which factors between time, performance, or cost are constrain, enhance, or accept. Because you can not achieve all of time, cost, and quality, when you reduce time, direct cost will increase, and in another way when you reduce cost, time will go up. So you have to find optimum cost-time, and think about another constrain; quality and limited resource (4M).
How to reduce the project duration?
First; find the critical path by write early start time and late start time.
Second; select an activity that has the lowest crashing cost on critical path for reduce time.
Third; check the critical path every time after you reduce time by recalculates ES and LS, because critical path will change and can have more one of critical path.
Forth; continue to reduce time in lowest crashing cost and until you find the optimum cost-time. and
Fifth; draw a graph of cost-duration between costs and duration, consist of 3 linear;
- indirect cost, vary by time its mean time increase indirect cost will increase,
- direct costs, inverse vary by time, its mean time decrease direct cost will increase, and
- total costs (sum of indirect and direct cost). You will find the optimum of cost–duration from this graph. Project manager must to think about another constrain when you use time-cost tradeoff analysis. Because when reduce project time, critical path increase, decrease flexibility of project, increase risk, and some time decrease quality. Brainstorming all of stakeholder, think about project objective and not just only think about technique, you must think about socio-culture too; customer expectations, teamwork, negotiation, politics, problem solving and leadership .

Friday, August 18, 2006

Chapter 8: Scheduling Resources

We learned how to select the resources of the project network and how to optimize the resource, because of resource constraints. Resources are 4M’s: Man, Materials, Machines, and Money. The resources of project are very important, project manager try to balance or allocate the resource in each activities, if you don’t have a good scheduling resource, may be your project is not success, because some resource are not available when you need, no machine, waste time for wait machines, plenty or lack of labor. So Project manager need to do the scheduling resources, select the major one or two of resources. We have to know what are the project constraint, see project priority matrix.
Project usually face to time- constrain or resource-constrain. We have to look at the whole of schedule, and try to balance resource for reduce the problem. How to allocate or balance resources? Time-constrain projects, we use smoothing resource demand by reduce the peak demand first, and fill the resource in the valleys, arrange the resources smooth, and minimize fluctuations. For resource-constrained, not available and insufficiency of machines, we need the use of rule of the thumb (heuristics); first priority is minimum slack, second is selected smallest duration, and last is select the lowest activity identification number.
The best way to understand the project network and scheduling resource is do it by yourself, learning by doing, use the Microsoft project, follow the basic roles first, do it and do it, try to find the better and better way to allocate the resource, minimize the resource and maximize the resource utilization.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Chapter 6: Developing a project plan (continue)
The project network

Last week I learned about AOA and bar chart of the project network. In this week, we start with a question: if you want to decrease a project time, what will you do? The first, I tried to reduce the critical path time, but some activities are fixed, we can’t do. We can do by divide of some activities by logistic thinking (activities on node need logic), use of lags time: start to start relation (SS), or finish to start relation (FS). Form example: the pipeline project, it has 5 activities, mobilize and survey (MS), excavate trench (ET), purchase pipe (PP), lay pipe (LP), and backfill (BF). We can divide ET to 3 sub activities, after finish the first sub activities, we can start LP, use of lags time or start to start, SS = 2, it means after ET start 2 days, LP will start, we no need to wait until SS finish (finish to start). SS can reduce the project time 3 days.
We can reduce the project time by use of lags:
FF: Finish to Finish
SF: Start to Finish
SS: Start to Start
Hammock Activities mean the activity span over a segment of a project, use to aggregate section of the project to smooth the right amount of detail for specific sections
Basic rules of project network
Networks flow from left to right.
An activity cannot begin until all of its activities are complete. (ES)
Arrow indicates precedence, flow, can cross over.
Activity number: a unique number, and greater than its predecessors.
No looping.
No condition
Use common start and stop nodes.

The first I tried to do an AON by Microsoft Project, after finish, I read basic rules of project network, and found some mistake, such as: number of activities that smaller than its predecessors (I adjust a sequence again, make a sequence follow a number in right hand must bigger than left hand), some path not connect to their predecessors, and some activities are same name but different group (use indent). I think we have to understand and follow the basic rules in developing project network; the rules can help project manager and participants easy to understand the network.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Chapter 6: Developing a project plan
The project network

Engineering project management teaches me step by step about how to plan and develop a project. Start from what is a project, what do you want to do (try to reach customer need or satisfy and optimize resource), who response, when do you do, how long, and how much. You should have to answer these questions, and do a plan: mission, goal, selected a project, selected strategies, selected implement, and forecast time and cost, after finish a plan, you will develop the project by draw the project network.
Chapter 6, we learned developing a project plan, related to the project network. The project network come from work package (WBS), show detail: activities, sequence and relation of each activities (this one finish, another one will start), activity time (from start to finish: Early Start or Late Start), tell the shortest time that a project can completed: Critical path (you can not delay in critical path, it will make a project delay), and float path (you can delay in float path, but not more than total float time). The project network usually shows in Bar chart/Gantt chart, or network diagrams; 2 kinds, Activity on Arrow (AOA) and Activity on Node (AON), easy way to understand all of project process, easy to follow a plan, show the critical path, forecast a project time, activity time, show cash flow, decrease the problem, and help project manager make decision in the right way.
Example: page 183 q. 9

Friday, July 21, 2006

Chapter 5: Estimate project Times and Costs

Times and costs
are the important information, lead to the project successes. Project manager need to estimate project times and costs, help project team to understand schedule work, direction, how long of a project, how much of budgets, cash flow, progression, and support good decision, help upper managers or stakeholders to make decision to do this project, or not. Project managers need accurate times and cost. There are 2 approaches: top-down (macro) and bottom-up (micro) approaches. Which approach project manager will selected, up to project situation and level of detail or what are important criteria. Top-down estimate is used when estimate come from top manager, use when project is internal and small project, do not need detail, high uncertainly, and unstable scope. Bottom-up estimates come from relative and experience people in work package (project estimates should come from the people most knowledge about the estimate needed), need details, need accurate costs and times, and fixed-price contract. Bottom-up approach show the detail of time and cost in each work package. But we should to use both approaches together, make rough top-down estimates first, develop the WBS/OBS, make bottom-up estimates, develop schedules and budgets, and try to reconcile differences between top-down and bottom-up to reach accurately estimates. How to estimate project times and costs? Estimating guidelines: responsibility (people who are experienced and familiar with the task), brainstorming (use several people to share experience and knowledge, discussion, consensus, decrease errors), base on normal conditions, use consistent time units in task times, each task should be independent, beware allowances contingencies, and adding risk assessment to warning stakeholder. There are many methods to help project manager or project team to estimate times and costs. Method for estimating project tomes and costs, Macro approaches:- Consensus or brainstorming with expert people by uses a meeting where experts discuss, argue, and make a decision, Ratio method, Apportion, function point methods for software and system projects, and learning curves. Micro approaches: Parametric procedures applied to specific tasks, detailed estimates for the WBS Work packages, a hybrid: phase estimating. Project manager has to be carefully about excessive and insufficient detail because they make costly.
There are 3 types of costs: direct costs, project overhead costs, and general and administrative overhead costs.
- Direct costs: directly to a specific work package such as labor, materials, equipment, and other.
- Project overhead costs: directly tied to an identifiable project deliverable or work package such as salary of PM., temporary rental space,
- General and administrative overhead costs: organization costs indirectly linked to a specific package such as advertising, accounting, and upper manager above project level.
After get the times and costs estimates, project manager has to adjusting estimates, up to the risks, resources, and situation, contingency funds and time buffers, changing baseline schedule and budget. We have to develop and improve project all time by creating a database (saving historical data), collect estimate data and actual, provide a knowledge base for improving project time and costs estimating.