Project Management In Practice

"Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine." Robert C. Gallagher

Project management is the management of change and it is key part of the skill set of any manager. This course provides a practical overview of how to manage change in a structured way using a project management approach.

The benefits of this approach are to:

  1. Ensure support from the team through proper communication.
  2. Understand clear objectives, the benefits of the project and the reason to change
  3. Agree on realistic plans for implementation of the project.
  4. Identify and manage the risk to the project.
  5. Maintain a simple but effective reporting structure and control changes.
  6. Understand how to build a project team.

The workshop sessions will use active learning methods to engage all the delegates in the learning process. These include:

  • Individual exercises and self-evaluation quizzes.
  • Small group brainstorming sessions "buzz groups".
  • Case study syndicate exercises using a course project.
  • Formal team presentations of the team plans for peer review by the course group and tutors

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course delegates will be able to:

  • Clearly define project objectives and scope based on an analysis of the external project context and stakeholder needs.
  • Prepare a project communication plan based on an analysis of the key stakeholders.
  • Prepare a project brief to authorise the project based on a sound business case.
  • Prepare a project implementation plan and define the detailed scope, budgets and timelines for the project.
  • Control the delivery of the project using simple but effective progress review.
  • Control changes within the project to increase the chances of project success.
  • Use project management startup build project team commitment.

Course Structure

1. Course Introduction

An introduction to the course learning objectives and structure. Delegate introductions and discussion of their individual needs, the skills they bring to the group and ideals for improving project delivery within their team.

2. Defining the Project Objective

As the start of any change, it is crucial to fully understand the objectives, constraints and assumptions. In this module we will use analysis of the external context using the "windows of wisdom" and the needs of project stakeholders to define clearly the project objectives and benefits. In this session we will also develop a plan for project communications based on an analysis of the different stakeholder groups.

Syndicate Exercise: An analysis of external project context and stakeholder groups for a case study or a real delegate project.

3. Developing the Business Case

Sucessful projects often have compelling reasons to change based on a real business need. A full understanding of the project business case is developed by considering a number of options and the relative merits of each; the benefits, costs and risks. Once a clear strategy has emerged, then a project brief (or business case) can be used to authorise the project.

Syndicate Exercise: Preparation of a project brief for a case study or real delegate project.

4. Defining the Scope

The foundation of good planning is a clear definition of the project scope. This can be derived from an analysis of the project deliverables and requirements, followed by the progressive development of the work breakdown structure. In this session we will examine several ways in which a clear project scope can be defined including informal and formal techniques such as "the rope of scope" or the work breakdown structure.

Syndicate Exercise: defining the scope for a case study or real delegate project.

5. Developing the Project Schedule.

Understanding the dependencies between the delivery of different work packages and teams at an early stage is vital to the smooth delivery of projects. The precedence diagram is the method to develop these linkages between activities, work packages and teams. We will explore a range of linking relationship available to develop a fair representation of the work plan. This session includes the use of critical path and other planning techniques.

Syndicate Exercise: defining the project schedules for a case study or real delegate project.

6. Risk Management

All projects involve risk and so understanding and planning appropriate mitigation strategies early in the process can significantly reduce the chances of project delay and overspend. In this session we will apply the principles of project risk management.

Syndicate Exercise: defining the project schedules for a case study or real delegate project.

7. Developing the Project Management Plan

The project management plan needs to be tailored to the needs of individual projects, however it acts as the template for the delivery of the project, defining clear roles and responsibilities, reporting lines, project objectives and timescales. This key document acts as authorisation to proceed with project implementation. Syndicate Exercise: developing a project management plan for a case study or real delegate project.