A project should always end with the delivery of a valuable product or the realization of a business goal. However, can we define the areas of project activity? Who is affected by the project and through what stages does it progress or cycle if we consider the entire duration of the project?
Project activity – table of contents:
- Areas of project activity – introduction
- Project phases
- People in the project
- Formal project management
- Areas of project activity – summary
Areas of project activity – introduction
The 2021 PMBOK singles out as many as eight areas whose interaction is crucial to the totality of any project. These are:
- measurement and analytics, and
- project implementation risks.
The above fields intermingle and are interrelated. During the project life cycle, the importance attached to each also changes. However, none is excluded or definitively closed before the end of the project. This statement seems obvious when thinking about the importance of project team participation for each phase of the project. However, it is worth keeping in mind when thinking about the phases of a project. After all, planning is not completed before moving to the execution stage. It cyclically takes place as more work is detailed and the details of its execution are agreed upon with stakeholders.
Now, let’s look at the project areas from a broader perspective. What are the issues and problems to be solved in each of them?
The time dimension of a project is primarily linked to its planning, execution, and delivery. However, how these phases are interrelated, how many times, and in what cycles they follow each other is closely related to the method of project implementation, which determines its life cycle.
In PMBOK, a project phase is defined as a set of logically related activities that lead to one or more deliverables. A project lifecycle is simply a series of phases leading from vision to project completion.
For example, in the cascade method (Waterfall), project phases follow one another sequentially and only once. If, on the other hand, the project is implemented in one of the agile methodologies, they follow each other multiple times, each time taking the result delivered in the previous iteration as the starting point.
For example, let’s assume that the goal of the project is to develop a custom mobile application for monitoring seniors’ physical activity. In the first approach to planning, we set the general framework of the project and choose an agile methodology. Firstly, we need to define the scope of the project. In other words, find out:
- What time and budget do we have available,
- What kind of team do we need, and
- What are the expectations of the stakeholders, i.e., on the one hand, the customer, and on the other – the seniors who will use the application?
However, in the first approach to planning, we write out in detail only the tasks intended to be completed in the immediate sequence. That is, usually those related to the planning itself, but ending with a specific result – for example, the creation of a team. Only in the second and subsequent rounds, already with the participation of the project team, will we delve into the tasks related to the division of labor and implementation of tasks belonging to the project.
People in the project
The people crucial to the project are the stakeholders and the project team. Stakeholders can denote organizations, groups, and individuals, among others:
- customer or customers
- business partners
- project beneficiaries – for example, the seniors from the project we described above.
Thus, the word “stakeholders” describes all those who are or may be affected by project implementation.
A project team, on the other hand, is made up of specialists performing jointly assigned tasks that lead to the realization of the project goal. In the example with the mobile application, there would be at least four roles to fill on the team:
- programmer – responsible for the technical side of the mobile solution,
- researcher – whose job would be to contact seniors and assess how their activity can be optimally monitored using a mobile device,
- UX/UI designer -the person responsible for the content and operation of the application from the user’s point of view, as well as its visual design.
The person responsible for the team and the project is the Project Manager, also called Project Lead. It is up to him to handle both the interpersonal and formal dimensions of project management.
Formal project management
The formal side of project management, for which the Project Managers are responsible, includes:
- selection and implementation of the management method,
- planning and maintaining the necessary documentation, statistics, and measurements, such as monitoring project progress,
- risk management.
These are key areas from a business point of view. Indeed, the choice of a management method tailored to the tasks at hand is an important factor that can determine the success or failure of the entire project. Continuously updated planning, project monitoring, and risk analysis are essential not only because of the benefits of knowledge-based project management, which enables conscious learning from one’s own mistakes. They are also crucial because of – often formally mandated – stakeholder requirements for ongoing access to documents showing the current status of the project.
Areas of project activity – summary
Each project consists of eight areas of action, which include issues concerning: the temporal framework for project implementation, people who are affected by it in different ways, and formal governance framework. All of them are relevant throughout the project and influence each other supporting or hindering the goal.
The most important questions
Since all eight areas of operation are interrelated, what is the relationship between the project team and risk?
The very formation of a project team involves risks. It depends on the experience and competence of the Project Manager to accurately develop the project assumptions, as well as to select the composition of the team and match its capabilities to the time and budget of the project. During the project, the competencies of the team members are constantly tested, and they often face new challenges that they must meet.
What is the relationship between the method and project progress analysis?
Depending on the choice of project delivery method, different analytical tools work best. For example, with Scrum, a burndown chart is most often used. On the other hand, with the Cascade method, a Gantt chart and similar tools are more often used in particular.
Getting started with project management:
- What is a project?
- What is project management?
- How to manage projects?
- Project management methods
- Types of projects
- 4 examples of projects
- Prioritization of projects
- Areas of project activity
- Definition of success in project management
- Why use project management software?
- How to choose the best project management software?
- Overview of project management software
- Project life cycle
- What is the project vision for?
- Project goal. What is it and how to define it well?
- Project initiation phase - what to pay attention to?
- The domain of planning in project management
- What is a project schedule and what is it for?
- How to use milestones in a project?
- Project execution
- How to prepare a successful project contingency plan?
- Importance of project closure
- Project failure. 5 reasons why projects fail
- 4P of management: project, product, program and portfolio
- Most important tasks and responsibilities of the Project Manager
- Most useful project manager skills
- How to become a project manager?
- 5 books every project manager should read
- How to set up a project team?
- Work breakdown structure - how to delegate work in a project?