Project Team Performance – Beyond Appraising and Reporting

By | August 29th, 2013|Project Management, Resource Management, Team Management|Comments Off on Project Team Performance – Beyond Appraising and Reporting

project team performanceOne of the project manager’s main responsibilities, team performance management is more than evaluating, monitoring, and reporting how the team is doing. It implies planning and creating the right environment for performance, monitoring performance, providing team members with constant feedback on their performance, finding solutions for below-expectations performance, and rewarding good performance.

Is Team Performance Evaluation a Good Thing?

Appraising team’s performance using the appropriate metrics remains an important, though not essential, part of performance management. The objectivity of performance evaluation is a soft spot. Some claim that no evaluation of an individual’s performance, whether done with the right metrics or not, is objective since performance is not a quantitative measure. Others claim that evaluating individual performance instead of team’s performance is detrimental to the team’s morale and productivity, as well as the quality of the project’s deliverables. Comparing one team member to another can destroy team cohesion and trust, but not comparing team members to each other can allow some to take a free ride.

Is it Necessary for a Project Team?

In most cases, team performance evaluation needs to be done, whether it is to satisfy program management, to identify and reward top performers with a pay increase, or to identify and address any deficiencies in the team’s performance, which, if left unattended, may pose risks to the project’s schedule. But evaluating team performance is not only done for the sole purpose of creating a report for the upper management. A good project manager informs (in private) each team member of the outcome of his or her performance appraisal and works with each team member to find ways of improvement. (more…)

Dynamic Project Planning For Increased Productivity and Flexibility

By | August 15th, 2013|Project Management, Project Management Software|Comments Off on Dynamic Project Planning For Increased Productivity and Flexibility

Every project starts with a well-defined plan and schedule. But the reality offers a lot of uncertainty so the project may very well not evolve according to the initial plan. The result is that measures are required to adjust the state of the project to reflect the new reality.

Planning a project is not an easy job. It requires some knowledge and an amount of experience. The steps are simple… Create the list of activities that need to be performed, structure them accordingly in phases and sub-phases and establish durations (or amount of work depending on the types of tasks). Next create the project flow by adding dependencies between tasks. This way it is established the order in which tasks are executed.

Up to this point there is nothing related to time and this is the biggest hint to keep in mind: avoid hard constraints. As long as tasks are scheduled to start as soon as possible then every task will depend only on its predecessors and on the project estimated start. This is the perfect project template that can be easily shifted in time by just changing the project estimated start.

It is unlikely that a novice project manager will be able to produce such a scalable project plan… There are situations when it is just impossible to keep a project flexible even for a senior project managers. But this is due to the nature, the requirements and the constrains of the project.

How To Adjust The Schedule

So the schedule is done and the project is ready to go. But it may take no more than one week for the project plan to stop corresponding to the reality: some tasks take longer than estimated, others are executed faster or even worse the project is put on hold for various reasons (lack of funds or personnel, a financial crisis period, bad weather conditions and the list can continue). What now? Synchronizing the old plan with the reality takes some effort and attention.

It is obvious that the already completed or started tasks will remain at their location. The only discussion is about moving the uncompleted ones and/or splitting the tasks that are partially completed. This adjusting process is similar to planning the project but done on a smaller scale. If the initial plan was not time flexible then each particular conflict needs to be manually solved.

As mentioned above the best case is the one when the plan was created with as few as possible hard constraints. This allows an increased flexibility when it comes to shifting the activities in time. (more…)

PM 1.0 versus PM 2.0. What Is Next – Project Management 3.0?

There are certain individuals nowadays, mostly “project managers”, that decided to add version numbers to the notion of Project Management… And they created PM 1.0 and PM 2.0. More than probably the numbering idea came from the software domain: different tools and different versions for various needs.

A Little History Background

Since ancient times man created spectacular structures. The Great Pyramid of Giza around 2550 BC and The Great Wall of China around 206 BC are just two of them. Both survived to the test of time and even now are still standing. For this to happen it required a well done preparation, knowledge and workforce. These are clear proofs of an extraordinary construction engineering. Can we talk about project management at that moment? Perhaps not under this name but in reality it was exactly that.

The notion of Project Management as we know it today began to take root around year 1950. At that time organizations started to systematically apply management tools and techniques, developed in earlier years, to complex engineering projects. A famous tool that is being heavily used even today is the Gantt chart. One way or another businesses and other organizations began to see the benefit of organizing work around projects. So it was not just management anymore but it was also about projects: Project Management.

The Software Era

Managing projects on paper, as it was done at that time, is a time consuming process, prone to errors and costly. Obviously all these are true for medium to large projects and not for the small ones where the management is a lot easier to be done. But with the technology advances between 1970 and 1980 the first few project management related software solutions were created. This was an incredible increase in the performance of managing projects: faster computation, more reliable data and all the advantages that came from using a computer.

Over the years from users feedback better and better project management tools were created. Some solutions became deprecated and died while others evolved. However there is one particular point in time that can be considered a milestone: the evolution of Internet and the appearance of Web 2.0. All the fuss around the new World Wide Web aka Web 2.0 started around year 2000. The new way of dynamically rendering pages over the Internet offered an increased flexibility in using web application as a team as opposed to desktop ones. The gate to collaboration between team members directly through project management software was opened. And starting from this people created the term of Project Management 2.0[1][2][3].

How did that happen? Simple: the traditional way of managing projects (this approach was renamed into PM 1.0 at a later stage) was lacking in one regard they say – collaboration – and the new approach came with that. It is a hard thing to believe that before Web 2.0 there was no collaboration between stakeholders when managing a project… Maybe not through the use of PM tools but there were other means like email, chat, phone etc. So is it right to say that PM 2.0 = PM 1.0 + collaboration? (more…)

Project Management Glossary Of Terms – D

By | August 6th, 2013|Project Management Glossary|Comments Off on Project Management Glossary Of Terms – D

Damages

Dangle

Data

Data Application

Data Bank

Data Collection

Data Date(DD)

Data Entry Clerk

Data Item Description (“DID”)

Data Processing

Data Refinements

Data Structure Organization

Database

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