Gregory T. Haugan
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Gregory T. Haugan, Ph.D., PMP, has been a Vice President with GLH Incorporated for the past 16 years, specializing in project management consulting and training. He has more than 40 years of experience as a consultant and as a government and private sector official in the planning, scheduling, management, and operation of projects of all sizes, as well as in the development and implementation of project management and information systems.
Dr. Haugan is an expert in the application and implementation of project management systems. He participated in the early development of WBS and C/SCS (earned value) concepts at DoD and in the initial development of PERT cost software. He was the Martin Marietta representative on the Joint Army Navy NASA Committee developing the initial C/SCS concepts. He is particularly expert in the areas of scope management, cost management and schedule management, setting up new projects, and preparing proposals.
Dr. Haugan received his Ph.D. from the American University, his MBA from St. Louis University, and his BSME from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Many people and organizations do not manage time well. If time is managed well, other factors are much easier to manage, and projects will be more effective and efficient. Lack of time management can and probably will result in failure of the project. Time management, therefore, is crucial to project success. In fact, many years of project management experience have demonstrated over and over that an integrated project plan and schedule is the single most important factor in project success.
It is not possible to control costs if the schedule is slipping; if the schedule slips, product performance is at risk if costs are held constant.
The world of project management is full of jargon and acronyms. The purpose of this section is to provide a set of definitions of the most common project management terms used frequently in this book. Most of these definitions are commonly used in the project management field and are also included in similar form in the Glossary of the Project Management Institute’s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, known as the PMBOK ® Guide. 1 This document and its role in project management are discussed later in the section Planning, Scheduling, and the PMBOK ® Guide.
The dictionary has several definitions of “plan” and “planning.” For our purposes, the most relevant one is: “any detailed method, formulated beforehand, for doing or making something.” 2 “Planning” is the process of establishing objectives and determining beforehand the best way of achieving those objectives. The dictionary also lists the word “project” as a synonym for “plan” and goes on to state: “project implies the use of enterprise or imagination in formulating an ambitious or extensive plan (they’ve begun work on the housing project).” Also, according to the dictionary, the word “plan” is derived from a French word meaning “earlier.” The key words here are “beforehand” and “earlier.” A plan is something you prepare prior to the work to achieve specific objectives.
Definitions for frequently used terms that relate directly to planning and scheduling concepts include:
Activity: An element of work performed during the course of a project. An activity normally has an expected duration, cost, and resource requirements. Activities have defined beginnings and endings. The terms “activity” and “task” are frequently used interchangeably, but activity is preferred and is used in this book.
Deliverable : Any measurable, tangible, verifiable outcome, result, or item that must be produced to complete a project or part of a project. All work packages and most activities have output products that can be referred to as deliverables. The term is commonly used more narrowly in reference to an external deliverable, which is a deliverable that is subject to approval by the project sponsor or customer.
Milestone : (1) A significant event in the project, usually completion of a major deliverable; or (2) a clearly identifiable point in a project or set of activities that commonly denotes a reporting requirement or completion of a large or important set of activities.
Plan : An intended future course of action.
Program : A group of related projects managed in a harmonized way. Programs may include an element of ongoing work until the lifecycle of the program is completed.
Project: A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.
Project Schedule : The planned dates for performing activities and meeting milestones. Schedules or related portions of schedules list activity start or completion dates in chronological order.
Task : A generic term for the lowest level of defined effort on a project; often used interchangeably with the term “activity.” Tasks are sometimes used to define a further breakdown of activities.
Work Breakdown Structure : A deliverable-oriented grouping of project elements that organizes and defines the total work scope of the project in a hierarchical structure. Each descending (or “child”) level represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project work, and the set of child elements under a “parent” includes 100 percent of the work represented by the parent element.
Work Package : The lowest level work element in the work breakdown structure, which provides a logical basis for defining activities or assigning responsibility to a specific person or organization.
The same dictionary defines the noun “schedule” as “a timed plan for a procedure or project” and the verb “schedule” as “to appoint or plan for a certain time or date.”
Planning is therefore the process of determining in advance the work to be done on a project, and scheduling is assigning specific times or dates to the work. Why a project manager should plan is another question. Three answers follow:
1. Koontz and O’Donnell explain it very concisely: “Planning is to a large extent the job of making things happen that would not otherwise occur.” They go on to state: “Planning is thus an intellectual process, the conscious determination of courses of action, the basing of decisions on purpose, facts, and considered estimates.” 3
2. The Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has another, but similar response: 4
“Cheshire-Puss, would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—As long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Alice felt that this could not be denied.
Like Koontz and O’Donnell, the Cat suggests that if you want to get somewhere in particular, you need to know where it is and prepare a plan to achieve it.
3. A plan provides the basis for control. Without a plan, there is no basis for determining when variances occur and no basis for any corrective action. If it makes no difference which path Alice takes, then no control is needed, and eventually she will get “somewhere.”
There are three purposes of planning: (1) to think out the steps that should be taken to achieve an objective, (2) to give direction to the persons working on the project to help ensure that they are synchronized in working toward the same objective, and (3) to provide a basis for identifying variances so that you can take corrective action when necessary.
However, there are several reasons that more and better planning and scheduling are not performed:
1. Laziness: It is often more fun or interesting to start working than to sit down and plan.
2. To avoid accountability: If there is plan, there is no basis for measuring performance.
3. Inability: Some people have difficulty thinking out the logical steps in a process.
4. Ignorance: Some people may not know how to plan and schedule.
The first two items are management and internal discipline problems, and the third is a characteristic of some otherwise valuable project team member that needs to be worked around. The fourth is the purpose of this book—to provide a basis for developing plans and schedules.
When people are part of a planning effort, they develop ownership of at least a part of the results. This internalization is constructive and, perhaps more than any other single activity, builds a strong project team with a desire to have a successful project.
If they were not part of making the plan, they might not want to be part of executing the plan!
The work breakdown structure, Gantt charts, and activity networks are the key tools used in the planning and scheduling of projects. These will be discussed in turn.
Managing projects is a continuous process. Figure 1-1 illustrates the basic project management process. It focuses on achieving the project objectives within the project management triple constraint of time-cost-quality (performance).
Each of the ten steps has a specific output that is defined and documented. The steps are frequently iterative, that is, circumstances that arise in accomplishing later steps may require revision of an earlier step and subsequent repetition of all or part of the succeeding steps. This constant iteration and replanning characterize the day-to-day activities of the project manager and the project team.
The basic project management process has five phases or types of activities: initiation, planning, executing, controlling, and closing, as illustrated in Figure 1-1. This categorization emphasizes the importance of planning before extensive project work begins and of bringing the project to closure once all the work is done.
Because project management is a process with feedback loops, whenever the information system that collects the data for Step 6 and the analysis conducted during Step 7 indicate an adverse variance, the process is repeated for those portions of the project that are affected. This may include one or more steps of the planning phase and perhaps a rethinking of the initiation phase.
The lead in monitoring and documenting project management practices transitioned from the public to the private sector in the 1980s with the reductions in the space program, the end of the Cold War, and the rapid growth of the public sector’s awareness of the importance of formal project management.
The Project Management Institute (PMI®), a professional association of more than 70,000 members, through its conferences, chapter meetings, monthly magazine PMNetwork, and quarterly journal, provides a forum for the growth and development of project management practices. In August 1987, PMI® published a landmark document, The Project Management Body of Knowledge, which was followed in 1996 by A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. This was last updated in 2000. 5 The PMBOK ® Guide reflects the 30 years of experience gained in project management since the seminal work of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), other government organizations, and the aerospace industry in the 1960s.
The PMBOK ® Guide documents proven traditional practices that are widely applied as well as knowledge of innovative and advanced practices that have seen more limited use but are generally accepted. The material in this book is consistent with the material contained in the PMBOK ® Guide.
The PMBOK ® Guide is not intended to be a “how-to” document, but instead provides a structured overview and basic reference to the concepts of the profession of project management. The PMBOK ® Guide focuses on the project management processes. Planning and scheduling are addressed in the PMBOK ® Guide in two sections: Project Integration Management and Project Time Management.
1. PMBOK ® is a trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc., which is registered in the United States and other nations.
2. Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition (New York: The World Publishing Company, 1966).
3. Harold Koontz and Cyril O’Donnell, Principles of Management, 2nd edition (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1959), p. 453.
4. Lewis Carroll, The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll (New York: The Modern Library, Random House, 1922), p. 71.
5. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK ® Guide) (Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, 2000).
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