This video outlines the key roles and responsibilities of a project manager in shaping a project, and the benefits and challenges that come with this.
- In the "APM Body of Knowledge" seventh edition, a project is defined as "A unique transient endeavor to bring about change and to achieve planned objectives." Let's unpack this a little more as it's a pretty dense statement. First up, a project always has three specific things. A defined start and end point, specific objectives and specific resources assigned to perform the work. If you're working on a project and you don't have all three of these, it isn't a project. I want to talk a little bit more about the objectives as part of a project as there are a few things that impact this idea. The specific objectives should also be linked to the more general ones of delivering clearly defined outputs to either internal or external clients who will use them to deliver outcomes and benefits. So the output is the actual thing delivered, while the outcomes and benefits are results of the output. And this is an important distinction. I'll been making this throughout the course. Of course, clients might ask for changes to be made to the output while it's in development, so that it can create better outcomes. You'll need to be prepared for this in every project you manage. The last thing we need to talk about when it comes to objectives is the business case. This sets out the rationale for the project and is basically the motivation for why a project is being done. A great business case will set the stage for specific objectives. So it's important to get this right during the project's conception phase. Okay, so we've covered the basics of what a project is. Let's move on to the difference between a project and business-as-usual, or BAU. The main differences are, they create specific results or products and their objectives are usually measured in terms of time, cost and quality or performance. They follow a lifecycle made up of specific phases. They're made up of complex interrelationships and are often cross-functional. The cost of changing the project's objectives rise towards the end and the level of stakeholder influence, risk and uncertainty is usually highest at the start. Okay, so that's the difference between projects and BAU, but what are the major factors in project failure? It turns out that the main culprits for failing are failing to understand the scope of the project before it begins, and poor project management throughout the lifecycle. The last topic I want to talk about in this video is the triple constraints, which impact all projects. These are time, cost and quality. And while each of these will always be different for every project, it's important to define controls for each of these before the project begins, and to evaluate the project on these throughout the life cycle. You'll also need buy in from stakeholders, on which of them has the highest priority. Of course, the gain in one constraint leads to a compromise in another. For example, if you try and complete a project in a very short period of time, it will increase the budget and compromise aspects of quality and performance. It's also worth noting that while the triple constraints are common factors for every project, you may also have to deal with other constraints like benefits, resources, risk, and health and safety. And that's it for this video. In it we've focused on the major elements involved in project shaping, including a deeper dive into the importance of specific objectives, the business case, the difference between a project and business-as-usual, why projects fail and the constraints on a project.