project management

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.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Defining the project

I think the defining the project is very important to lead project managers to do projects easier by follow step by step like navigator or map. This map show clearly detail of all activities of the project life cycle, start from defining, planning, executing, and delivering. What the end result, what do you have to do, when do you have to do, who have to do or response or support, how long the project done, cost, how much (resource), how to monitoring.
The defining the project is the first important step that all project participants have to clearly understand (publish) and do follow for the projects success.
The defining the project have 5 steps:
Step 1: Definition the project scope
Step 2: Establishing project priorities
Step 3: Creating the work breakdown structure (WBS)
Step 4: Integrating the WBS with the organization
Step 5: Coding the WBS for the information system

Step 1: Definition the project scope
Project scope is a definition of the end result or mission o your project-product or service for your customers.
Clear scope definition and projects success come together. An unclear defined scope or mission is the most frequently mentioned barrier to project success.
Project scope checklist
1.1Project objective: What the project or your customer need? The first step, answer the questions of what, when, and how much.
1.2Deliverables: to define major deliverables
Milestones: show only major segment of work, estimates of time, cost, and resource for the project.
1.3Technical requirement:
1.4Limits and exclusions:
1.5Reviews with customer: for understanding and agreement of expectations.
Close communication with your customer-internal and external is necessary to develop a project definition that meets all the requirements of the customer.
Project objective:
To conduct cassava production cost in Nachon Ratchasima province by sample survey method, within one month, July 20-August 23, 2006, cost THB 25,000.
- Cassava production cost per rai, per kilogram.
- Activities of cassava production.
- Fixed and non-fixed cost.
1. Questionnaire design, pretest questionnaire- July 20-31, 2006
2. Training - August 1-3, 2006
3. Interview- August 4-10, 2006
4. Analyze- August 11-20, 2006
5. Seminar- August 21, 2006
6. Publish- August 23, 2006
Technical requirements
1. Programmer for data analyze
2. SPSS program
Limits and exclusions
- Cassava production cost: start from planting until harvesting at field.
Customer review
- Department of Internal Trade, Ministry of commerce
- Bank of Thailand

Step 2: Establishing Project priorities
Project manager must define and clearly the priorities of the project, brainstorming with all project participants (customer, upper and lower management) to make the relative importance of each criterion. The one technique is useful is a project priority matrix: which criterion is constrained, which should be enhanced, and which can be accepted.

Step 3: Creating the work breakdown structure (WBS)
WBS is a map or outline of the project; subdivide the project into smallest work activities (work package). All of activity levels, first step until end step (priority), coding, and cost in project will showed in WBS. WBS helps the project manager and all of project participants by:
- Clearly direction work for everyone to understand their responsibility and priority,
- Easy to evaluate of cost, time, and performance at all levels,
- Clearly a map or clearly WBS, show integrate function between project and organization, it help everyone in many parts of the project work together, easy to communicate and coordinate.
- Each work package has information about time, budget, resource, responsibility, and control points that can help PM and everyone go directly and correct way to make project success.
Work package in WBS: what, how long, cost, resource, who, and monitoring.

Step 4: Integrating the WBS with the Organization
- integrate WBS with OBS
- usually projects are under the organizational parent, mix WBS and OBS, for help project managers and everyone: identify who in organization response or support work package within a cost account.
Step 5: Coding the WBS for the information system
- Coding help you to fine the position of each activity in WBS and tell you about related priority and activity information.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Structure and Culture of Organization:
On July 30, 2006 I learned about different between explicit and tacit knowledge, which explicit knowledge come from text book, theory, model,…..,but tacit knowledge come from your knowledge, idea, brain, after you read many text books or learning or experience, then conclude or analyze your knowledge from your brain or mind, and write your idea or try to pull your knowledge out. Tacit knowledge like your own knowledge.
We learn about important criteria to do project success, there is strong connection between project management structure, organizational culture and project success.
We will start projects with mission, goal and objective, strategies, and implement. How to select projects? What criteria? What are multi-weighted scoring model? project proposal, project portfolio, not only these information, you should have to understand about people act, think, feel, behavior, attitude,…… these are their culture, lead to organizational culture and need to know organizational structure. Project manager need to balance between the project and parent organization in term of authority, allocation of resources, and eventual integration of project outcomes into mainstream operation. Project manager has to understand the organizational structure, culture, and project, try to balance all of these to make the project success.
Organizing project has 4 types:
- Organizing projects within the functional organization
- Organizing projects as dedicated teams
- Organizing projects within a matrix arrangement
- Organizing projects within network organizations
Which one of organizing project you will select, up to size of project, strategic importance, novelty and need for innovation, need for integration, environment complexity, budget and time constrains, and stability of resource requirements.
Culture influence to members, to organizational structure. What is organizational culture? “Organizational culture refers to a system of shared norms, beliefs, values, and assumption which binds people together, thereby shared meanings.” This system is manifested by customers, norms, and habit that exemplify the values and beliefs of the organization. The basis for understand that the members have about the organization, how things are done, and the way members are supposed to have. An organization’s culture provides a sense of identity for its members. Culture reflects the personality of the organization and, similar to an individual members. We have seen matrix structure break down because the culture of the organization did not support the division of authority between project managers and functional managers.
10 primary characteristic of the essence of an organization’s culture:
1. Member identity
2. Team emphasis
3. Management focus
4. Unit integration
5. Control
6. Risk tolerance
7. Reward criteria
8. Conflict tolerance
9. Means versus end orientation
10. Open-systems focus

The way, help you to identifying culture characteristics:
1. Study the physical characteristics of an organization
2. Read about the organization
3. Observe how people interact within organization
4. Interpret stories and folklores surrounding the organization

Implications of organizational culture for organizing projects: First, we have to interact with the culture of parent organization as well as the subcultures of various departments. Second, they have to interact with the project’s client or customer organizations. Finally, they have to interact in varying degrees with a host of other organizations connected to the project: include suppliers and vendors, subordinators, consulting, firms, government and regulatory agencies, and, in many cases, community groups. Project manager need to understand and organize different culture, structure, can work and balance to reach the goal of project.
From the Chapter 3: Organization: structure and culture. It makes me to understand how to do the project? Many factors influence to the project, strong related between project and parent organization. The project managers need to read and speak and understand the culture. How members act, think, behavior, attitude, . How to select an appropriate project organization? How to balance project and parent organization? These are very useful for help me to do projects success.