Customer Focus and UX: Introduction and Project (Online)
What is the purpose of a Project Management Plan?
The Project Management Plan (PMP) details:
- The purpose of the project
- Roles and responsibilities (who’s doing what)
As a Data Analyst, you may be required to provide information for this plan, or to use this plan to conduct research.
It is also an agreement between all parties to which everyone must adhere.
Critically, it is a working document and is updated continuously. A PMP that is not updated is not a project management plan, it might just be the starting brief to get the project underway.
A PMP is a document that can be used by everyone to:
- Explain: Nature of the project, scope, major deliverables, timescales, roles, and responsibilities
- Communicate: various strategies, plans to all audiences, working document, visible to everyone
- Baseline: measurement, analysis of variations, key document recording and reporting
- Contract: between Project Manager and sponsor, clearly defined with measurable outcomes
- Continuity: throughout the lifecycle, independent of staff, all relevant up to date information
Contents of the PMP
The PMP is an explanation to the Project Team why the organisation should invest time, money, and effort on the project.
This can be one separate document or a collection of documents, so it might be that you as a data analyst would only see a part of it.
The document can come in any form, yet it should as a minimum contain:
- Descriptions of benefits (short term and long term)
- A statement of the requirements (what is needed)
- Project objectives (measurable)
- Strategic fit (how does this fit within the wider organisation or how does this fit to achieve them)
As a Data Analyst, you could be asked to provide supporting evidence to make the case.
When a project is planned, there needs to be a descriptive outline of what must be built.
This is called the project scope: what is included, what is not included: Product specifications for each of the main deliverables, Acceptance criteria (what does it need to have for the client to accept the project as done), Constraints, Assumptions made (e.g., availability of resources).
- Part of the assumptions made in previous points is to know WHO will be working on the project. Everyone directly or indirectly involved should be mentioned. So, your name or function has to be included if you are part of the research team.
- Such breakdown is typically done with an OBS: Organisation Breakdown structure. Then depending on the project and the team of specialists, the responsibilities of the project team are presented in a RAM: Responsibility assignment Matrix
- There must be a mention of who can sign off or delegate tasks, in order for the project to run smoothly. That is done through Authority and delegation schedules.
- Role descriptions: every role must be allocated to a member within the organisation, some sharing roles, or some roles’ responsibilities might be split amongst several people.
This is the interesting part: how much will it cost?
- Project budget, cost management and variances
- Budget: including time phasing, when funding is required.
- Earned Value Management for tracking cost and progress against the plan (we cover this topic later)
- Cash flow management: balance of income vs costs
- Variation strategies: the allowance of how much we can exceed the budget
- Cost management procedures, including reviewing estimated costs and maintaining up to date forecasts
The project schedule is a key document in the PMP.
This can be limited (in the early stages of the project) to high-level summary Gantt chart of the key milestones and stages and could include:
- Precedence diagrams (overview of the sequence of tasks and the dependencies of each task)
- Resource diagrams (overview of what skills, resources are needed for the project at what stage of the project)
- Gantt charts (task planning overview)
- Project life cycle (high-level overview of the sequences of the project)
- Describes the strategy for running the project
- Contains all subsidiary plans and strategies
- Most of such strategies have already been defined by company governance and templates plans created to be adjusted to the project environment and context
- Project methods, standards and reviewing of products
- Health and safety plan
- Quality plan, how ‘fit for purpose’ is assessed
- Procurement strategy
- Communication management plan: how communication with stakeholders will take place
- The risk management plan, how the approach to risk will be identified and managed
- Change control procedures, how the change process will happen
Policies - how
Strategic documents, set at the beginning and not updated:
- Stakeholder management policy
- Risk management policy
- Change control process
- Configuration management process
- Issue management policy
- Quality policy
- Resource management policy
- Monitoring and safety policy
- H&S policy
- Planning and estimating process
Schedules and plans – what, when, why, how much, who
Continuously updated, working documents:
- Stakeholder analysis
- Risk log
- Change control log
- Configuration library
- Issue log
- Quality (defects log)
- Resource plan
- Earned value reports
- Health & Safety logs
- Gantt Chart
- The PMP is owned by the project manager. The project sponsor signs off and approves the PMP. It is a communication tool and should be circulated to those who have a need to see it.
- It should be regularly reviewed and needs to reflect the requirements set out in the business case
- Each section can refer to other ancillary documents (i.e. risk logs), it is important that all those links are maintained. Changes must be conveyed to the audience of the document.
- It can be used as a basis for audits and reviews.
- As a data analyst attached to the project team, the PMP will likely detail your roles and responsibilities. It may also form part of your research.
Project vs BAU
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