Project Management as a business discipline is the ability to deliver any particular project result using certain guiding principles. It can also be defined as the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. Aspira has a long track record of delivering project management as a specialist service to enterprise organisations and companies globally.

Often in larger organisations Aspira Project Managers are on hand to work with many different strategic business units in completing assigned packages of work. The initiation of a project often starts with gathering the project team and selecting the project manager, who will then oversee communication and plan the different parts of the project including the executing and controlling activities. In this article we will look at some guiding principles of project management, will review some methodologies within project management and consider some projects where these methodologies can be applied, such as Mobile, ICT and Change Management.

The Project Planning stage includes estimating the duration for a project to reach completion, breaking down that project into its constituent work packages and allocating that work into a series of achievable milestones. Once the plan is approved, we move into the Executing phase. This is generally where most resources and most cost is eaten up on a project, so it is is especially important to have a solid plan so that the execution is as efficient as possible. Throughout this time the project is monitored and controlled by the project manager, who communicates progress to all stakeholders, including the team members and project owners and senior management.

IT Projects are often completed as part of wider business projects. IT and software development organizations are a particular area of challenge for project managers. The requirement to regulate and control the creation of new applications and software has led to the growth of specific project management certifications and protocols for the IT and software development areas.

“There are several approaches to project managing and one which has become increasingly popular in the IT world is the Agile methodology.”

The Project Management Institute® is the world’s leading professional body for the project, program and portfolio management profession. Founded in 1969, PMI® delivers value for more than 2.9 million professionals working in nearly every country in the world. PMI® has globally recognized standards, and certifications which are the most widely accepted measure of professional competence as a Project Manager – in some countries it is seen as the only option for project management career development.

The PMI organization incorporates other related sources of knowledge: Human Systems International (HSI) provides organizational assessment and benchmarking services; while and create online global communities that deliver more resources, better tools, larger networks and broader perspectives.

The PRINCE 2 Project management methodology has also contributed to the certification and education of Project Managers. PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a de facto process-based method for effective project management. Used extensively by the UK Government, PRINCE2 is also widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and some other countries. The PRINCE2 method is in the public domain, and offers non-proprietorial best practice guidance on project management.

Key features of PRINCE2 include its focus on the business justification for the project and on defining an organisation structure for the project team. It has a product-based planning approach with the emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages. One benefit of PRINCE2 projects is that the team and the project normally has a flexibility that can be applied at a level appropriate to the project.

There are several approaches to project managing any project and one which has become increasingly popular in the IT world is the Agile methodology.

Agile is growing in use as it can be cost effective and easily organised system. Self organised teams form a large part of the process, which appeals to people who enjoy autonomy and ownership of their commitments. It is also reliant on constant feedback. There are different flavours of Agile, with Scrum being the most popular. Scrum promotes daily stand-up meetings which encourage the team to focus only on the essentials and avoid waste.

“Communicating clearly both outside and within the company will help to ensure that the transformation happens easily and with as few challenges as possible.”

Project Management is all about delivering change, and can be used as a tool within the business sphere of change management. The particular skill of Change Management as is often required during turbulent times in businesses, where senior management within an organisation seek to align and manage the culture, people, values and behaviours of that organization to achieve a tactical and strategic objective. Often change management specialists can help keep a stable environment while these objectives are deployed. Communicating clearly both outside and within the company will help to ensure that the transformation happens easily and with as few challenges as possible.

There are some basic principles for the successful implementation of change management within any organisation. These include starting at the top, ensuring all levels within the company are involved within the transformation, always articulating the formal case as to why the change is needed. Individuals often question the need for change because it is difficult and can be hard to understand. Having a specialist change management manager can ensure that the process is not only smooth but fair to all employees.

Mobile optimisation of all software and project management tools continues to be very important for organisations as many team members are using mobile devices. For project management this is something that continues to attract discussion as organisations strive to be efficient while giving employees a strong sense of work/ life balance.

The ongoing trend continues in 2016 where project management sees the increasing popularity of remote teams. Virtual team members, working from different locations and using mobile collaboration technology will become the new norm. Aspira often work with clients in-house, on-site or on remote teams. The needs of the clients and team members within client locations are always considered before a decision on location for teams should be made.

In addition to the increasing geographic spread of team members another trend is emerging where Bring Your Own Device ( BYOD) is more popular. Costs associated with ensuring each team member has the same device and understands how to work it can be cut by allowing each employee to use their own devices for work projects by adding IT software and programmes. Ticketing software within the organisation however has to be resourced to help with the IT Help Desk as this often gets busier after the implementation of a BYOD policy. Often Project Managers will seek to combine the ticketing software for IT projects and the regular project management software in use within the organisation.

Project Management is an exciting and continually evolving area within the IT and ICT sectors. It is an area of expertise and continual development for Aspira. Our specialists regularly push boundaries within the various projects which they lead in client organisations and within our own project management portfolio.

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