A project manager is responsible for the execution of a project from start to finish. Whereby the objectives have already been rendered, monitoring processes, administering all logistical tasks and successfully finishing a project are responsibilities a project manager must commit to.
A project has a clear start to the finish line with a unique, particular outcome. It can be an activity in addition to or outside of the scope of a product.
It is short-term in nature, usually has a fixed budget and a scheduled timeline.
The active contributors consist of a project team and a project manager.
Project management as a concept with specific modeling layers has a few originators that have had a great influence on nowadays planning phases for software development.
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In the context of project management, an often heard name is Henry Gantt, creator of the Gantt-Chart. This approach visualizes a project schedule by illustrating every activity as a horizontal bar with its width depicting an estimated duration.
They become a sequence of dependent tasks, similar to the waterfall approach.
While linear task dependency and critical path management can be helpful to accomplish clear predefined goals, it lacks in its flexibility and room for later adjustment.
Similar looking as the Gantt-Chart yet purposely following a different course of action are roadmaps.
The difference from a roadmap to a Gantt-Chart is, in opposite to a linear fashion of work that needs to be completed, it is a tool that contributes to an agile development process.
While it entails objectives, timeline, deliverables, and dependencies, it isn’t fixed. More detailed tasks are documented in a project plan, while the roadmap gives an abstract and strategic overview of the project.
It helps communicate updates with the team, stakeholders and eventually customers and serves as a reference in high-level decision-making.
With agile frameworks, it is possible to respond to change and to adapt to new circumstances much faster and without much trouble.
Agile as a label was introduced by the authors of the Agile Manifesto in 2001. Now agile as an adjective can represent a general mindset, in the Agile Manifesto its value is explained as follows:
“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
- individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- working software over comprehensive documentation
- customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”
The five processes a project manager must pay attention to are:
After a project has decided to be feasible the project manager may create a project initiation document (PID) possibly outlining a business case, its purpose, and requirements.
During the planning phase, determining factors such as identifying the cost and available sources as well as creating a timeline and project plan will come into play.
Usually, a kick-off meeting initiates the start of the project execution phase. It entails communicating the project goal, roles and responsibilities, and the development of deliverables.
The performing team is now committed to executing tasks in order to achieve the objectives.
The monitoring phase occurs simultaneously to the executing phase. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can help the project manager to assert the performance and progression of a project in alignment with the project plan.
The completed project must be delivered and be handed over.
The project manager may hold a post-mortem meeting to evaluate the project phases and demonstrate improvements.
It will eventually be transferred to another team or person that is obligated to maintain and manage it from now on.
While managing all phases of a project, project managers also provide leadership to their project teams.
They take full responsibility for the success or failure of a project and need to offer great support along the way.
Effective communication and open dialogue are crucial to bringing out the best in one’s team to ultimately get the best possible results.