Project Management Triangle

Dissertation concept
The fundamental question considered in this dissertation is, in the past, the success of project management was based on focusing on the objectives of the Project Triangle of cost, time and quality. Although this has lead to the success of many projects, there is an increasingly popular viewpoint that this focus is too limited. Analyse the importance of the other emerging success factors of projects such as customer focus and a move away from the traditional project end point towards aspects that act through the lifetime of the product or service created.

Project Management
Projects are temporary organisations with a clearly defined beginning and end with unique defined objectives and resources.
Project Management is a method for bringing change in a company (no-repetitive activity) e.g. banking systems; moving from paper based to computer based. It’s a socio-technical system (involvement of humans and technical tools). PM is not only for building a new system but also modifying an already existing system.
A project can be defined as an activity with a specific goal occupying a specific period of time. . (Ray Wild 1995 pg 353) Project is a limited activity, not only in time, but also in the use of resources. Project management, therefore is concerned with the pursuit of a specific goal, using given resources over a defined period of time. This will often require the planning and establishment of an operating system, acquisition of resources; the scheduling of activities and evaluation/review of completed activities. Project Management is all about managing these resources in order that the project is delivered
To specification
On time, and
Within budget
Project Planning
Good project management starts with good planning – the objectives of a project should be clear and would conform to the SMART model:
Realistic, and
Activities or groups of activates that contribute to risks of delays
Projects do not always go according to plan and it is generally the case that when this happens, work takes more, rather than less time, than expected. Good project management recognises the internal and external factors that might throw a project off schedule. Monitoring progress carefully will help identify the likely impact of any delays so that action can be taken to get the project back on track. This is explained further in chapter 2 under project environment and risk.
Contingency planning: Strategies that could bring the projects on time
The three key learning points
1. Identifying risks of the project: Once the risks are identified, it is easy to manage risks properly rather than trying to put out fires during the project.
2. Indentify the critical path using network diagrams
3. Gantt charts
The critical path
The critical path is the path through the network with the greatest total duration. (Andrew Greasley pg 375 2006) the critical path method was developed by Dupont during 1950s to manage plant construction. The PERT approach was developed by the US Navy during the development of the Polaris Submarine launched ballistic Missile System during the same decade.(Sapolsky,1972, Andrew Greasley pg 375 2006) A project can have more than one critical path, if several paths tie for the greatest duration. Activates on the path must be started and completed on time; otherwise the total project will not be completed on time.
Gantt charts
Gantt charts are line diagrams, with lines representing both time and activates. They can be used to estimate the amount of resources required for a project. Where activates are continuous ‘chain’ with one activity able to follow immediately after the other, these can be drawn as a continuous line on the chart.
Project Scope Management
Project Scope Management includes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully (PMI 2004). In Project scope management the primary concern is to define and control the scope of work that should or should not be included within the constraints of Cost, Time and Quality.
This phase can be break down into 5 basic steps:
Scope Planning
Scope Definition,
Create Work Breakdown (WBS),
Scope Verification and
Scope Control.
Project failure
Projects fail when they do not meet the following criteria for success:
It is delivered on time.
It is on or under budget.
The system works as required.
Only a few projects achieve all three. Many more are delivered which fail on one or more
of these criteria, and a substantial number are cancelled having failed badly.
Why things go wrong
Marsh (2000) proposed an analytical framework to categorize project failures.
Quality Problems
The wrong problem is addressed – A primary cause of failure is that some projects are started with no clear idea of what exactly are the goals and strategy of the client organization.
Analysis is carried out incorrectly – Team is poorly skilled, or inappropriately resourced. Majority of projects fail as a result of poorly skilled and unqualified staff, resulting in poor project management.
Project undertaken for wrong reasons – Technology pull or political push. This was evident during the DOT.COM crash during the year 2000. Many companies were simply following a trend set by either their competitors or by internal personnel.
Productivity Problems
Users change their mind – Many projects have failed over the years as a result of change of requirements by users of the project. This has resulted in increasing costs and time constraints that many projects cannot handle.
External events change the environment – New legislation or political intervention can result in failure of projects. Natural environment hazards put projects at risk.
Implementation is not feasible – Many projects are over-ambitious and result in project failure.
Poor project control – Inexperienced project manager, he/she is ultimately responsible for the completion of the project and therefore it can be argued that any project failure is also the failure of the project management.
Quality and productivity play an important part in the success of a project. Quality in terms of the purpose and measurement of what the project is intended for. Productivity relates to the potential rate of progress a project could have. This is in terms of both financial and time invested in a project and its potential return.

Project Risk Management
What is Risk?
“A risk is any uncertain event that, if occurs, could prevent the project realizing the expectations of the stakeholders as stated in the agreed business case, project brief or agreed definition. A risk that becomes a reality is treated as an issue.” (Young, 2007: 107)
Project environment and risk
Kathleen Schwalbe (2003): p6 suggests:
The project management environment directly affects a project
The environment affects HOW a project should be managed
Projects are influenced by stakeholders and issues
The Project environment has two main sections known as the Internal and External Business/Project environment.
INTERNAL Environment
There are a number of issues in the internal business environment that need to be considered when assessing the risks to the project.
The three main stakeholders of a project include the owner, the technical staff and the end-user. Their involvement will ultimately determine the success of the project.
In terms of end-users their participation will include the outputs of the system both directly and indirectly. Project managers’ view is that they are the ones that will produce and oversee the projects, finally those of whom will finance and commission the project (owners). Within this group it only requires one stakeholder to conflict with another for the project to fail.
All stakeholders will determine whether the project succeeds. End-users may not have enough input into the system and thus resulting in a poorly produced project. Developers/project members may feel that budget and time constraints may overshadow the completion of the project, while the owners may feel that the project has exceeded its budget or may be delivered too late leaving it irrelevant.
Factors such as technological advances and changes in the business environment all affect the success of a project.
EXTERNAL Environment
When assessing the risks to the project there are a number of issues in respect of the business environment external to the organisation that need to be considered.
Is there likely to be any major governmental or political change , that may occur during the development of the project, which may affect the stability of the market place, the reason for the project and the scope or content of the project.
Is there likely to be any major change in the economic environment that might occur during the development of the project that may affect the financial aspects, the market place the project provides products or services for now.
The project environment is very important in regards to a project. By understanding factors both internally and externally, only then can a project manager plan a project effectively that will not affect the completion and performance of the project system.
Risk Management
All projects bring with them an element of Risk. In the best-planned projects there are uncertainties and unexpected events can always occur for example project staff might leave unexpectedly, the budget might suddenly be cut or a fire or theft might affect the project progress. The majority of risks are however related to the fact that a project manager’s plan is based on estimates and they are therefore manageable. Risk management is a mechanism that allows project managers to predict and deal with events that might prevent project outcomes being delivered on time.
Identifying Risks
When identifying a new project a Risk Assessment will have to be conducted in order to manage a project without the possible effects of disruption. In order for this to happen the following questions have to be asked:
What could possibly go wrong
What is the likelihood of this happening
How will it affect the projectand
What can we do about it
The sort of areas that risks are associated with includes:
The activities along the timeline and any threats to completion and to timescales.
The project components: stuff, equipment other resources.
Dealings with contractors and suppliers.
Other projects that might have an impact.
Organisational changes that might occur during the project.
Outside influences that might affect the project such as changes in financial support or government policy
The assessment of likelihood of the risk occurring and potential impact if it does occur will come from the experience and knowledge of project stakeholders and others consulted during the risk analysis process. You can think of risks in terms of a matrix (see figure 1) 1
Your greatest effort will be focused on addressing the risks that are most likely to occur and those that will have the biggest impact if they do occur.
Managing Risks
In order to effectively manage risk it is important that each risk is allocated to an identified owner. This should be someone within the project team whose responsibility it is to keep an eye on the situation and ensure that the necessary mitigating actions are actually carried out. Responses to the initial risk assessment may include:
Risk Transfer – move the risk to someone more able to deal with it e.g. contract out the supply and support of the hardware infrastructure
Risk Deferral – alter the plan to move some activities to a later date when the risk might be lessened.
Risk Reduction – Either reduce the probability of the risk occurring or lessen the impact e.g. increase staffing resource on the project.
Risk Acceptance – Sometimes there’s not a lot you can do other than accept the risk and ensure that contingency plans are in place.
Risk Avoidance – Eliminate the possibility of the risk occurring e.g. use alternative resources or technologies
Managing risk is an ongoing process. The nature of the risks that are faced will alter as the project progresses e.g. staff recruitment may be a big issue at the start of a project whereas staff retention is the issue as the project draws near to an end. At the very minimum project managers should review the risk assessment and management plan at each phase boundary before moving into a new phase of the project. This would allow the project to be managed effectively throughout the system development life cycle.
Critical Success Factors
Critical Success Factors are measures used to verify if a project is successful or not.
Traditionally the success factors have been those used by the Iron triangle(Time, Cost, Quality) to determine if the project has been a success I terms of; the project is completed on Time, on budget and as required/specified(good quality and performance). However, other factors have arisen for example; clients, stakeholders, contractors, etc. These are some of the CSF that is used to determine the success of a project.
“Research on project success further shows that it is impossible to generate a universal checklist of project success criteria suitable for all projects. Success criteria will differ from project to project depending on a number of issues, for example, size, uniqueness and complexity”,J. Wateridge, IJPM 16 (1998)
Success criteria
Success criteria are those benchmarks against which the success of the project will be measured.
Success factors
Success factors are those factors that assist in the achieving of criteria.
a. Success of projects implemented in Africa

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