Planning Projects

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Course Learning Outcomes for Unit III Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

3. Determine the scope of a project. 3.1 Organize a project scope document. 3.2 Describe the customer requirements, deliverables acceptance criteria, potential risks, and work

breakdown structure.

5. Evaluate sources of project risk strategies. 5.1 Explain risks associated with recommended project strategies.

6. Assess proven scheduling techniques.

6.1 Describe deliverables and schedules. 6.2 Organize a detailed sequential milestone chart.

Course/Unit Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity

3.1 Unit Lesson Chapter 11: Planning Unit III Assignment

3.2 Unit Lesson Chapter 11: Planning Unit III Assignment

5.1 Unit Lesson Chapter 11: Planning Unit III Assignment

6.1 Unit Lesson Chapter 11: Planning Unit III Assignment

6.2 Unit Lesson Chapter 11: Planning Unit III Assignment

Reading Assignment Chapter 11: Planning

Unit Lesson Planning—think about the planning you do both professionally and personally. What about short-term planning vs. long-term planning? The ultimate goal of these plans is to maintain some level of control as you look to achieve certain goals or objectives through a series of strategies with an established level of resources. Project management is a planning process that establishes policies, procedures, and programs that will achieve the goals with the use of milestones or checkpoints all within a prescribed budget of resources. Justification of the project is maintained through use of several documents including a business case, project proposal, and a project scope document. These documents look to establish important criteria such as need, opportunity options, benefit realization, assumptions, evaluation and measurement methods, risks, resources needed, deliverables, and schedules. Through this documentation, assumptions will also be quantified, communicated, and ultimately modified throughout the project’s life.


Planning Projects

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After the project proposal, the project scope document is an important second-step document. Within the project scope document, you need to begin by defining the objectives. This should include what is to be accomplished and the rationale for its completion. What is the value proposition or expected benefits to the client? It is important to develop specific, measurable objectives that encompass exactly what the client is attempting to achieve. Look at video below, which describes how a project manager might compile objectives within the project scope document. Click the link below to view the video. Project Management Software – Easy Projects. (2015, June 26). Project scope: Defining objectives [Video

file]. Retrieved from Click here to access the transcript for the video above. Once the objectives have been clearly identified, the customer requirements need to be identified. This could include functional, operational, and performance specifications that are necessary in order to provide for the deliverables. Many times, the customer will issue a request for proposal (RFP) that states the specific requirements, which provies assistance in the development of these objectives. This section must include significant details in order to provide a clear understanding between the customer and project manager with respect to overall project goals. The statement of work (SOW) is the next section of the project proposal. Through the SOW, the major tasks that need to be accomplished are explained with significant detail. It is a listing of everything that will be accomplished during the project with an explanation of how each task will be completed. Milestones are included within this document as well, as they play an integral role in the process of the project. Milestones are defined as actions or events that mark a significant change or stage in development of the project. They can also be thought of as checkpoints in the process (Kerzner, 2017). A SOW template is included in this free source to provide additional guidance: Piscopo, M. (n.d.). Statement of work. Retrieved from

documents/statement-of-work.html#axzz4cuzUdnJk Risk can be defined as an uncertain event that can hinder accomplishing the project’s objectives. Obviously, identification of potential risks can aid in preparing the team, client, and all stakeholders, resulting in a decrease of surprises. It can also lead to the identification of strategies that will mitigate the effect of these events. A common approach to identifying these risks is simple brainstorming by key project team members. Once this list is compiled, it can be organized into project risk categories, which align them to specific points in the process. This could include changes in the technical requirements, schedule, cost of materials, human resources, or customer requirements. Modifications in the external environment, such as changes in laws, federal/state agencies, or other regulatory entities, also have significant effects. Changes in the economic environment or technological advancements also could impose a risk to the project. Other external risks, such as changes in the industry as a whole or movements by competitors, could also impose significant risks. At this point, a risk-response plan is usually compiled. This involves a defined set of actions to prevent or reduce the impact of a risk. A person is assigned to be responsible for following through with the assigned tasks to mitigate these risks. This risk-response plan should include a trigger point or a warning indicating that the risk- response plan needs to be executed (Kerzner, 2017). Project managers use the risk assessment matrix tool to communicate risk responses. This chart looks at the severity of the event and the probability of it actually occurring and its overall impact on the project itself. A nice holistic view of the risks provide the project manager with the ability to plan for implementation of strategic counter measures. Click the link below to view a template that displays a risk assessment matrix. Smartsheet. (n.d.). All the risk assessment matrix templates you need. Retrieved from The schedule of deliverables represents a listing of exactly what will be produced and provided to the customer during and at the completion of the project. The RFP will state what the customer is looking for and again will aide in the production of this schedule. A work breakdown schedule (WBS) includes the major work tasks identified in the SOW along with the detailed list of deliverables compiled into a sequenced, organized flow of processes that lead to timely

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deliverables. This schedule can be housed in the project scope document, and in other cases, it is a completely separate document. At the end of the day, this schedule is an organizational tool where the deliverables are divided into logical groupings to complete the project. Another organizational planning tool that is used quite frequently in project management is the Gantt chart. This is a bar chart with a series of horizontal lines demonstrating the amount of work to be completed and the period in which each task is planned for completion. The suggested readings section provides a link to instructions on how to create a Gantt chart using Excel. Below is a simple Gantt chart example and scenario demonstrating how it might be used to schedule tasks to complete a project:

Take a look at the Gantt chart above that was compiled by a company working on the logistics and scheduling of the marketing for their organization. This organization is a restaurant looking to expand into catering, which is specifically targeting wedding planners and end-consumers who are planning a wedding, as well as businesses or individuals looking to cater any event. Looking at the sample Gantt chart, the marketing techniques or tasks are located on the left of the chart, and the subsequent scheduled months are on the right. For instance, this organization decides that they would like to exhibit at the National Restaurant Association Show that is scheduled in May. While social media is running all 12 months, a direct mailer to companies is scheduled 3 months before the trade show, and a reminder direct mail will be scheduled 1 month prior. Additionally, this company decided to participate in the Windy City Wedding Show and Bridal Exposition, which are both targeted at the end-consumer. In both of these cases, an advertisement in the local newspaper is issued and a direct mailer to end-consumers is sent the month prior to the event. As you can see, the Gantt chart provides a good visualization of the tasks that need to be completed and can be used as an indicator of months that might be scheduled heavier than others, which provides management with the workflow. Finally, the last section of the project scope document is the acceptance criteria section, which describes all of the deliverables in detail and what is provided in the schedule of deliverables. Within each deliverable, the quantitative measures with respect to specifications and standards or codes will be stated. This not only assures the quality of the deliverable, but it also includes the rationale for the customer to accept this deliverable. Additionally, terms of payment might be established and aligned with the customer’s acceptance of certain deliverables. Click the link below to view a short video tutorial overviewing the project scope and managerial process on a more holistic basis. Pluralsight. (2015, March 24). Project scope management tutorial | Pluralsight [Video file]. Retrieved from Click here to access the transcript for the above video. Upon completion of the project scope document, the project begins. Throughout the project, maintaining high levels of quality control is imperative. Scheduled performance checks are critical to this assessment process. While these regular performance checks are time intensive, they will ultimately save with respect to avoiding even more costly mistakes that could occur later in the process. As issues in the quality are identified, necessary corrective actions can be implemented immediately. Appropriate sequencing of activities and assignment of responsibility that maintains efficient completion of the project is important as well. Diagrams demonstrating this sequence and the flow of responsibility are crucial in communicating the relationship for individuals responsible for completing the various stages. In some situations, there are dependent relationships in which the tasks are linked in such a way that one activity must be completed before another starts. Creation of this network diagram again communicates to each stakeholder an understanding of scheduling and timing of tasks that are within their span of responsibility.

Project Management- XYZ Company Gantt Chart

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Throughout the project, it is important to continuously monitor the progress to ensure that the project is moving in the direction as stated in the original plan. Instrumental in this is the measurement of the actual progress and the implementation of corrective actions as necessary. A regular reporting system should be established in order to report and communicate progress to the original project plan. The shorter the reporting cycle, the better it is at addressing problems earlier rather than later, which will minimize the overall impact on the project as a whole. The further the project gets behind, the more difficult it will be to catch up and resume the schedule. In many cases, this requires spending additional money and/or reducing the scope of the overall project.

Reference Kerzner, H. (2017). Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling (12th

ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Suggested Reading Although not required, reading the chapter below will provide you with insight on project success and tips for effectiveness. Chapter 9: The Variables for Success Additionally, reading the chapter below will provide you with additional information on working with stakeholders. Chapter 10: Working with Executives In order to access the following resource, click the link below: The resource below shows steps toward building a Gantt chart within Excel. If you have not already reviewed this video, which was presented in Unit II, you may find it to be helpful now. Esposito, E. (2013, July 8). How to create a Gantt chart in Excel [Blog post]. Retrieved from