Michael Alan Smith/6343HNDDL
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00420 608 52 11 96
Project Management for Business
Section 1 of this unit will demonstrate an understanding of project management principles. It will describe the background and principles of project management and appraise the viability of projects developing success/failure criteria. It will explain the principles behind project management systems and procedures. Finally it will explain the key elements involved in terminating projects and conducting post-project appraisals.
Background and principles
Project management in its most basic form has been with us for centuries, the ancient Egyptians building the pyramids, the Great Wall of China and so many other huge building projects from centuries ago. But it was not until 1917 when Henry Gantt developed the self-named Gantt chart that we start to see the developments of a more modern way to manage projects. The Gantt chart was basically a scheduling diagram.
The idea behind the Gantt chart was to list all process within the project and give a start and end date for them. This was first used on the hover dame project.
However, the use of the Gantt chart didn’t take into account other aspects of project management such as budgets or the political aspects that can come with projects.
It wasn’t until after the end of the Second World War that the development of more modern approaches to project management began to develop. The 1950’s marked the begging of the modern project management era. In 1956 the DuPont Corporation develop the critical path method (CPM) to predict the estimated length of a project. The idea was to analyse which sequence of activities and determine which one has the most flexibility in scheduling. The tool was developed to help with the shutdown of chemical plants for maintenance to take place. It was estimated to save to corporation $1million dollars in the first year of implementation.
A simple example of critical path analysis can be seen below; this example is what is needed to make spaghetti carbonara.
The project will take 21 minutes to complete
The critical path lies on the activities - "Get Ingredients - Cook Spaghetti - Drain Spaghetti - and Mix Sauce and Spaghetti and Serve".
Any delay in these activities will increase the total project time (as well as spoiling the meal).
Other developments in the 50’s and 60’s included:
PERT programme evaluation review technique. This is used to analyse the time needed to complete each task involved in completing a project identifying the minimum time for completion.
Prince in the late 1980’s was developed by the UK government, Projects in controlled environments became the UK governments standard for IT/IS projects. The method was based on the principle of “assuring progress” within a project from 3 separate but linked perspectives.
A revision of the methodology in the late 1990’s after it was said to be too rigid and only usable on larger projects gave us Prince2; a more generic tool that can be used on projects other than just IT/IS.
Despite the continued use of these and many other project tolls that have been developed, the princible of modern project management have changed over the years. Project managers are now concerned with aspects of a project such as defining objectives, the bases of most projects is to achieve a set objective and this should be defined at the initial stage or formability stage of a project. The project