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How To Use Project Management

1. Start your project with the end in mind: picture your goal, how much budget you have to spend, and a target date when you want to finish. Write a sentence or two describing your project.  This is the Start-Up .

2. The next five steps are called Project Planning.  They include identifying stakeholders, making a schedule, calculating an estimate, determining contingency , and setting a baseline.

    2.1 Find out who may be interested in your project and can help or hinder you from reaching your goals and target date. Ask for their cooperation. These people are called the stakeholders.

    2.2 Make a list of the tasks to achieve your goal. Estimate how long each will take to get done and how they fit together (first things first, etc.).  This is a schedule.

    2.3 Make a list of things you need to meet your goal, check to see if you have them available or need to buy them and estimate how much they will cost. This is called the estimate.

    2.4 Think of any risks that you may encounter in doing the project: some thing or some one that might prevent you from achieving your schedule and estimate. Use your best persuasive skills to get cooperation from your opponents.  Add more time or money to minimize your risks and prevent surprises. This is called contingency.

    2.5 Compare your goal and target date with your schedule, estimate and contingency and adjust either to fit your available budget or time to finish.  Notify your stakeholders of your plans and get their buy-in.  Set up checkpoints or milestones to keep track of progress and accomplishments.  This is called a baseline.

3. Do the work following the plan (Project Execution).

4. Use the checkpoints and milestones to keep track of progress and accomplishment.  When things don't go according to plan (and they rarely do), make adjustments and trade-offs, keeping the end in mind and the original budget and time to finish.  This is called Project Control.

5. Review the finished project goal, budget, and time. Write down the things you learned while doing this project as a reminder for next time.  This is called Project Close-Out.

Copyright ©  James N. Salapatas, PE, PMP  All Rights Reserved.