Understanding Projects

project management reviewing blue prints

A simple explanation of Projects and project management.

A project is  a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.

A project is temporary because it has a defined beginning and end in time, unlike normal operations.

Projects can be anything from software development, changing or improving business processes, improving a product or service, creating a new product or service, disaster recovery, implementing new software or hardware or even building a bridge or building.

Understanding what a project is, leads to Project Management. Project Management is the application of skills, tools and techniques to plan and control the activities that affect key milestones in the project’s lifecycle.

Successful Project Management falls into these 5 categories

  1. Starting
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring and Controlling
  5. Ending

In order to successfully manage a project, goals should be clearly defined in order to initiate the project. A scope should be created to identify the milestones of the project. time, budget, required resources and risks involved.

Constant communication and monitoring of the project plan is essential to the success of any plan. If you have a runaway process, the timeline, budget and end result of the project is at risk for failure.

Project Management

Cyber Axial has been involved in Project Management for various sizes, budgets and scopes of projects. We can help you clearly define expectations, which leads to a proper scope.

Without understanding what you expect from the project, you can never measure the success of the project.

We can help you define both short term, and long term objectives for the project. Let’s say that you have 5 employees at your business today, and need to create a formal network to share data. You are expecting to grow to 50 employees within the next 3 years. We would help prioritize the project into different phases, allowing for scalability. Your budget wouldn’t include buying additional servers and resources in the first phase of the project. We would help to identify milestones that would ‘kick off’ the next phase of the project.

There is an old saying in Project Management – Time, Money, Quality – Pick two, sacrifice one. What does this mean? If you are on a short timeline (time), you either have to pay more (money) or sacrifice quality. You can rearrange the three key points  listed above in any manner and the same truth applies. The exception is when you have the ability to balance the three key points. If you have a realistic timeline for the project and have researched realistic costs, you can expect a successful project that meets your quality requirements.

A poorly executed plan could put much more at risk than just the project. Let’s assume you have just purchased an ERP system because you read through the ‘Manufacturing – Is It Time for ERP’ article on our site. You purchased the software without proper assessment of your requirements. Your budget didn’t account for proper implementation. You expected to pay $50,000 for the software and have your accountant figure out how to use it. None of your employees were properly trained, so it appears to them that the software doesn’t work correctly. They spend hours upon hours trying to figure it out, and you still cannot get the reports out of the system you need. The employees are less efficient because they spend so much time struggling to use the software. Everyone gets frustrated. You abandon the software and look for something else. Now, you are out the $50,000, and have nothing but an Installation CD and a revolting workforce to show for it.

With a properly managed project plan, you would have evaluated a few different software products. You would have created a realistic budget (to include implementation) and timeline. Your employees would have been properly trained, your data would have been converted, and you would get the reports you expected to get – when you expect them.

Don’t let a poorly executed project distract you or your employees. We can help to see most projects are a success. Use the form to the right to let us know what kind of project you need help with. We can be as involved as you need us to be.