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Project Management Best Practices

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Introduction of Best Practices

A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product or service and must have a beginning and end. For any project to be successful, it is important to understand what the project is supposed to achieve and is gauged by two parameters, that the project be delivered on time, and within budget. Utilising project management best practices, tools and techniques I would recommend to the Information Technology Manager the following guidelines for implementing the Voice over IP system.

It is important to clearly identify and document the objectives and scope of the project, as the time spent properly planning the project will result in reduced cost and duration and increased quality over the life of the project. A technique known as SMART (specific, manageable, attainable, realistic and timely) can be utilized as a guideline for goal setting. In addition, managing scope is the most important activity required to control a project. Many project failures are caused by the project team working on major and minor deliverables that were not part of the original project definition or business requirements. Establishing who the stakeholders are will also be vital in ensuring their needs are met and their support given to the project.

Most projects fail due to poor definition, which can lead to the project being over budget and not completed on time. Therefore the project deliverables should be defined and documented in a clear and unambiguous way, for use by the persons who will produce them. A deliverable is a tangible and measurable result, outcome, or product that must be produced to complete a project or part of a project. Clarifying the deliverables before the project work begins can help ensure that the outcome of a project meets all the stakeholders' expectations and that the goals of the project are aligned with FundAccess' goals.

Planning the project inevitably follows and the plan demonstrates what is possible, shows an overall path and clear responsibilities, contains the details for estimating the people, money, time, equipment, and materials necessary to get the job done, and will be used to measure progress during the project and act as an early warning system. In this regard, a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) will be utilized, which is designed to help break down a project into manageable portions that can be effectively estimated and supervised. The WBS will:

* Assist with accurate project organization

* Help with assigning responsibilities

* Show the control points and project milestones

* Allow for more accurate estimation of cost, risk and time

* Help explain the project scope to stakeholders

"...the intelligent structure of work breakdowns is a precursor to effective project management." - Homer and Gunn, 1995

Constant, effective communication among everyone involved in the project is essential in order to coordinate action, recognize and solve problems and react to changes. What occurred at FundAccess was that the communication was ineffective, some staff were unaware of the implementation, never received the emails due to problems with their systems and the manual although sent, was not clear. It would have been prudent to hold a meeting with staff advising them of the aforementioned and obtain essential support and cooperation. Also, a demonstration detailing the functionality of the new system could have been held with staff. Failing to communicate to staff and customers of FundAccess could result in objections or resistance.

Tracking is fundamental, once the project is planned, it must be tracked to ensure that



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