temporary management hierarchy that takes precedence over the company hierarchy; andit sets out to deliver something: an IT system, a new product or whatever.Given the following four characteristics of projects:
clear roles and responsibilities
things to deliverHave you ever had this feeling about a project?
not enough time
too few people
people not sure what they should be doing
too much to doWhat causes this feeling of sometimes overwhelming pressure? In its widest sense, a lack of planning. People drift into projects without properly defining or planning them then onethird of the way through they begin to realise what it's really all about and the panic starts.Sometimes the end date is thrust upon them arbitrarily, but sometimes project managersvoluntarily commit themselves to dates, costs and deliverables without troubling to defineand plan the project properly, which is lunacy.You'll never remove the pressure altogether, in fact that's not even desirable: a bit of pressure is good for the soul and gets the adrenaline flowing. But getting the pressure to asensible, containable level is the aim of many of the techniques we will cover. Such thatwhen you make a commitment you at least have a fighting chance of achieving it.Another popular definition of a project is: the way change is achieved. Left to their owndevices many things gradually improve, but to bring about significant change, say to abusiness process, a project is needed. However, to this definition we would add the wordpredictable: projects are a way of bringing about predictable change. That is, at thebeginning of a project we should be able to predict cost, end date, deliverables and evensomething about the quality.What helps make a project predictable? Clear scope, clear roles, clear plans, clear controlmechanisms, clear reporting structures... in other words good project management. Buthere is a question for you: if you take the total cost of a project expressed, say, in manhours, what percentage should be spent on planning, controlling, reporting, etc. - i.e.project management? Five, ten, fifteen, twenty percent?The answer is: it depends. Imagine a simple project being done by a few experts who'vedone many similar projects before. They may need hardly any control - perhaps only 5% of the total cost will go on managing the project. But by contrast imagine a large, complexproject spread across many locations, staffed largely by novices who only spend part of their time on the project. A huge panoply of control may be needed to keep everything ontrack - perhaps even 35% of the project's total cost might be spent simply managing it.