General project management concepts and explanations

Project management is a complex discipline and profession that requires knowledge in many subjects and the use of various tools.

In the article, we will describe several basic concepts, which it is advisable to know if you are now entering project management or starting such training.

What is Project Charter?

A project charter is a document that acts as a starting point for starting a project. It describes the needs of the business, the goals, the main stakeholders, the resources, the possible deadline for completion, and the various risks. Before starting the implementation of a project, this document must be approved by the relevant parties. The document is usually created by the project manager.

Why you might not need to do a Project Charter for your project?

In my opinion, it is better to make a Project Charter whether the project is internal, small, or something else. This is a document that describes the main elements of the respective project and serves as a starting point for the following more detailed documents related to the project. Reference: “Project Management Terminology and Glossary”, https://www.yahowto.com/project-management-terminology-and-glossary/

How will an officially signed scope help you?

The officially signed scope sets the framework of the project that the stakeholders have agreed to. The scope clearly describes what functionalities, products, services, developments, and other work will be done for the given project. Its function is not to harm either party, in creating something extra or some flake of that scope.

What won’t a signed scope help you with?

The signed scope does not cover the items that will not be developed for the project. For this, it is good to create the so-called: Out of Scope, which, similar to the Scope describes what functionalities, products, services, developments, and other types of work will not be carried out for the given project.

What is Scope creep?

This is a term used to add additional features or functions to the creation of a new project, requirements, or some work that is not authorized, i.e. not within the signed scope.

How can you avoid Scope creep?

To avoid scope creep, the scope of the project must be well defined. To follow good project management practices and methods. Not to add unnecessary functionality to impress the client. To have simplified communication between project stakeholders.

When do you think you won’t be able to avoid Scope creep?

In my opinion, Scope creeps often occur from the client side, as they may not have a clear vision of what they want, and in this case, the project and scope descriptions suffer changes.

Why should we have a change management plan?

A change management plan is necessary to have a process by which changes related to the scope of the project will be made. Through this plan, Scope creep is placed within certain frameworks. It defines who will have the right to create a change, what it will be, what benefits it will have, how urgent or how burdensome it is, what its function is, who will review and approve it, and what costs such as resources and time will be required for the change and through its incoming number and date, a change sequence will be created.

Problems and solutions related to changes in the project

With a new change, there may be a need for an additional service that is provided by a third party. Contact and review the third-party service and determine possible integration to the given project.

A change affects part or all of the project. Determining the impact of the change and its neutralization.

Incorrectly determining the resources or timing of the change. Review of inconsistencies in change.

Why should you have a WBS? And what if you don’t have one?

A work breakdown structure is a good tool for visualizing the work required because it breaks down larger tasks into smaller ones until they end up as stand-alone and independent tasks. Through them, we can determine more precisely the time, money, and human resources that we will need to complete the respective tasks. Accordingly, in the absence of a WBS, the exact opposite will occur – there will be several large work tasks for which the resources and means for their implementation will not be well defined. It will not be possible to give a more accurate idea at the time of implementation, as well as how many developers, designers, and other human resources will be needed.

What is a Gantt Chart and how will it help you?

This is another tool where all the small tasks are completed in the form of a diagram and it shows the relationship between them. Tasks are on the vertical axis below each other, and the time required to complete them is represented vertically. Through this diagram, both the availability of all tasks and their execution time can be monitored, and in this way, work can be more easily and comprehensively analyzed, and time, means, and resources can be planned.
Describe any possible disadvantages of a Gantt Chart for a software project.
In software engineering, the breakdown of large tasks into smaller, self-contained tasks results in a large set of tasks to be completed in this diagram. Because of their large amount, keeping track of time, percentage of work done, and which task is the “predecessor” of another are some of the disadvantages of the Gantt Chart. Not all tasks are visible in the tool window. When the scope of the project changes, the table must be supplemented with the new tasks and requirements, which takes time.

What do we “monitor” in “monitoring” in project management?

Monitoring is a phase in the creation of the software project, in which we monitor several project parameters, also called “variables”:

  • Time – the duration of tasks and their progress, changing technologies, tools, changing suppliers, software, and even human resource movement.
  • Costs – these are mostly tied to time, but can be forced down or up if needed.
  • Quality – can also be forced down or up depending on other variables such as time, cost, and personnel.
  • Scope – frequent changes in the scope of the project also change other parameters.
  • Risk – during this phase the risk of the project should be taken into account and tried to be avoided. Reference: “Project risk management, BVOP.org
  • Staff – the human factor/resource should not be underestimated either. There are periods when people are productive or less productive due to other factors and this affects the other parameters.

What is gold plating?

This is a slang or phenomenon that comes from the idea of ​​polishing a gold bar. The comparison is that when a gold ring is made, it is polished to a perfect shine. In software engineering, when a task is done, it is completed by its doer, but he or someone else doesn’t like it enough, and the task is returned to be redone for a better result. In this way, a task is completed several times, as long as the result of the first execution was sufficiently satisfactory.
Describe 10 possible Gold plating situations in a software project. How would you avoid each one?

Possible Gold Plating situations:

Creating design elements such as a logo or other type of image, email campaigns
Create a prototype page design
Creating functionality on a given task
Creating settings related to automatically raising servers
Create responsive design
Creating a Database Architecture

In my opinion, the best approach to avoid such situations is to monitor their process and completion time, and if there is a delay or no progress, to be interested in what is happening with the respective task. This can also happen during daily team meetings. More on the topic: “How to become a project manager without experience?“, https://customer-service-us.com/how-to-become-a-project-manager-without-experience/

By Samantha Rhine

Samantha Rhine, Editor-in-Chief of BusinessPad.org

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