Are The PMP Concepts Applicable To Smaller-Scale Projects?

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    The PMI institute, through the PMBOK® (The Project Management Body of Knowledge) Guide book, gives us a fundamental resource for effective project management in any industry. They also provide great advice on how to tailor down the concepts to your project, team, industry. In my opinion, this book is a powerful tool that provides a detailed and strong theoretical approach in order to help the project managers around the world deliver the project on time, on scope and on budget.

    The challenge in managing projects is that each project is different, therefore the project manager needs to apply different approaches depending on the project’s size, budget, timelines, stakeholders, industry regulations.

    I have been working on Business Intelligence projects for many years and I have had the chance to take part in large-scale projects as well as smaller projects for different clients in diverse industries. At ClicData, I mainly lead smaller projects for clients who request additional dashboard services from our business analysts.

    While connecting with different project managers, the question most often raised was “Can you tailor down the PMP concepts while leading smaller projects “?

    I agree that on a smaller project there is no reason to create unnecessary documents and increase the project management time and the overall project cost. However, there are a couple of concepts and documents that I think are useful when it comes to organizing the work for your project:

    1. Project Charter (Project Initiation)

    No matter the project type or industry you are in, the project charter needs to be signed by the key stakeholders, sponsor, and project manager. This is the official document which states the existence of the project and provides a high understanding of it. You will need to have this document before the kick-off meeting.

    2. Requirements Traceability Matrix (Project Planning)

    Receiving requirements from clients, documenting them and making sure that all stakeholders are on the same page is vital for any project’s success.

    When it comes to the dashboards, most of the times clients don’t have the KPIs defined beforehand. The Requirements Traceability Matrix template will most likely be adjusted from project to project, but when it comes to gathering dashboards’ requirements, a couple of items we need to capture are the KPI Name, Definition, Formula calculation, Data sources used, Filters, Filters Definition, Filters – KPIs relationship, Comments, Status, Dashboard Design specification.

    3. WBS (Project Planning)

    The Work Breakdown Structure organizes the work to be done on the project in a hierarchical structure, down to sections which are easily understood, tracked and tested (called “work packages”). Depending on the project’s complexity, a WBS can we developed for the entire project; or a WBS can be developed at the dashboards’ group/category level. It is a great tool to list down and visualize all the work that needs to be done: dashboards definitions, creation, design, testing, dashboards delivery.

    4. RACI (Project Planning)

    Even if the project team is composed of just a couple of stakeholders, it is mandatory to know who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed for the main activities or deliverables in the project. It doesn’t take a lot of time to build the RACI chart, you can always list the activities at the desired level of detail from WBS.

    5. Change Requests Logs (Project Execution, Project Monitor and Control)

    At ClicData, we are always happy to deliver the best services to our clients and create an excellent relationship with them. On a project, we perform changes per users’ requirements in order to increase the customer’s satisfaction and to make sure that the dashboards delivered bring great value to their organization.

    Following the Agile methodology, changes appear during the execution phase, after each intermediate delivery. The PMBOK advises tracking each change request in a separate document. However, on smaller projects one single document can be used, where you can track the change name, change the description, project section to which refers to (data/dashboards), impact, status, date when it was reported and date when it was implemented or solved.

    6. Formally Close The Project

    A lot of project managers give small importance to the Closing project phase, especially on short projects. An official document/email needs to be sent to the client which states that the project was officially closed, and additional changes will be included in Phase 2. It is also useful to have an internal post-mortem meeting to brainstorm what went well and what went wrong during the project. This way, the team members have time to learn and apply the knowledge to other future projects.

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