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Check List to Take Over An Existing Project

A project manager is not always lucky enough to get involved in a project right from its inception. For various reasons a project manager may have to get involved in a project mid-way or at times even during the last phase of the project. The ownership of the project that is being shifted to a new project manager, may either be a well-managed project or could be the most troubled project being executed.
Projects have a detailed history behind them and with the limited time that is available during handing-taking over of a project it may not be feasible for the new project manager to check and understand each and every detail of the project. Sometimes the un shared information happens to be the most critical aspect of the project and can put the new project manager in real difficult situations.
Experienced Project Managers know exactly what to ask for during these handing / taking over meetings, but there are times when both the project managers do not have sufficient time to transfer e…
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Perils of Matrix Organisation Structure

Given the complex nature of engineering projects, it is pertinent to mention that there should be a well defined project organization structure at all times. Project teams should know exactly who to report for all matters of the project, diluting this structure affects the overall team dynamics and greatly impairs project progress. An engineering project requires a well defined organization structure and an established chain of command, with project manager at helm of affairs. However, with a matrix organization structure the authority, role, and responsibility of a project manager gets diluted to a great extent.
Theoretically, we have three main types of project organizations viz; functional, projectized, and matrix. Matrix organization has been further sub divided into weak and strong matrix. Irrespective of the nomenclature, the problems faced while working in matrix organization remains the same. The most serious problems faced are lack of centralized leadership, absence of a cohes…

12 essentials for a Project Manager

Project Managers often have to function without formal authority over their teams with in the organisation. They are sometimes refereed to as the "King" but in actual sense they do not posses any legitimate control in the organisation. Project Managers are expected to produce results by working outside the hierarchical structural of the organisation and with out any kind of authority with in their realm of operations. Most of the times project managers do not conduct performance appraisal, offer rewards and incentives to their team members.  Many of the problems faced by the project managers are behavioral in nature rather than technical. These problems though seem to be of a minor nature but have far reaching consequences in successful implementation of projects. A list of a dozen essentials for a project manager, arranged in order of importance and reasoning behind them is as follows.
(a) Planning : 
It is said that if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail. Planning…

10 Project Management Pitfalls To Avoid

(a)Scope Management: All projects whether small or large should have a clear well defined scope. The scope definition should also be included while assigning work to various sub contractors or vendors liable to supply products / services. Lack of clarity in scope between buyer and seller and the associated vendors, suppliers, subcontractors affects the overall project health.
(b)Change Control: All out efforts should be made to document all project change orders. A comprehensive log for all the changes made in the project should be maintained and updated on a regular basis. Changes made in the project should be incorporated in the project status reports. All change orders should be approved and only then should be acted upon.
(c)Contract Management: All team members should thoroughly study the contract and implement the provisions stipulated in the contract. Selection of various equipment, piping invoicing of achieved project milestone etc should be made only after understanding the pro…

Fundamentals of Project Planning and Scheduling

One of my smooth progressing engineering project was suddenly jolted by numerous emails and phone calls from the project sponsor asking the Management to expedite activities at site. The project was going on quite smoothly as it had the best plan to back it up and we all hoped that things would go as planned but eventually it did not work out that way. The project sponsors demanded an unexpected change in the project completion date in order to meet their financial goals. The complete project schedule had to be reworked in order to meet the client expectations. Important milestones like site mobilization had to be advanced in order to commence construction activities and complete the project as per the new deadlines. The subsequent paragraphs describes some fundamental steps followed to develop and implement a new project schedule.
As the site team got mobilized we were bombarded with myriad of problems some of them so mundane that we were at times amazed dealing with the slew of such …

5 Aspects of Project Management

Recently, I read an article  7 Project Management trends to watch. I appreciate the work done by the author as I share similar views on the issues raised by Mr. V Srinivasa Rao. My views on five most important aspect of project management are as follows:
(a) Look Beyond the triple constraint
Many times we do complete projects but still feel unsatisfied with the way the targets have been achieved. I feel the value that the project brings apart from the margin should be quantified and communicated to team members well in advance so that every body can work and achieve both tangible and intangible gains from the project. Organisations should concentrate on achieving internal deliverable (values) as much as on satisfying project stake holders by delivering the project with in triple constrains. Organisations must establish procedures to ensure that the value delivered by the project is assessed, verified and improved upon on subsequent projects. Any organisations that strives to excel in …