Author Topic: 6 Steps to Launching a Project  (Read 436 times)

Sayfullah

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Project Management 6 steps:
Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring & Control, and Closure.

Launching the Project
Step 1: Identify the project. This isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds. Suppose, for instance, you are an office manager and you have been instructed to set up a satellite office in a neighboring town. When presented with such a broad and general assignment, you need to break it down into its major parts before you can have a clear idea of what the project involves. In this case, you would need to address such issues as the office size (e.g., number of lanes), services to be offered, staffing (new or existing staff) and office hours.

Step 2: Determine the desired outcome(s). When you are put in charge of a project, it’s important that you and your supervising physicians sit down together and come to an understanding of the project’s goals. Without that meeting of minds, you might be driving the project toward one “finish line” while the physician is waiting for you to cross another. It is therefore crucial that the person you report to agrees to specific criteria for the project’s completion.

Step 3: Delineate each of the project’s component tasks. You need to delineate in thorough detail what’s involved in the project. In setting up a satellite office, the major tasks might include negotiating the lease, hiring an architect, putting the plans out to bid, getting a contractor, ordering furniture, ordering communication equipment, ordering medical equipment, hiring staff, training staff, marketing the new office and so on.

Step 4: Identify the players. After breaking the project down into its component tasks, you need to identify who has, or will have, responsibility for each of those tasks. Furthermore, these responsibilities should be clearly outlined so that the project’s participants understand which person is responsible for which task.

Identify who the players are within the practice. These may include doctors, the IT manager, the clinic manager, billers and other members of staff. And remember that when somebody is given responsibility for a task, they must also be given the authority to get that task done.

Identify any “project killers.” Is there anyone in the organization who can kill the project or disrupt its timetable? It is very important that you identify and neutralize any such individuals as early as possible.

Identify the external players. How do you maintain control of people who are outside your practice? After all, an idle architect or inattentive attorney could doom your project. One approach is to make sure that contracts are performance-based. These might offer rewards when tasks are done on a timely or early basis and penalties for non- or late-performance.

And suppose, for instance, there is one individual at a firm of attorneys whom you particularly want to work with—perhaps Perry Mason, Esq., provided great service when you set up your last satellite office—then specify that you want him again this time around.

You may have less leverage with other external players, such as the Medicare intermediary, but you still need to identify key individuals and cultivate relationships with them. So when you need provider numbers for your new office, you’ll know which clerk can ensure your application is on the top of the file rather than at the bottom.

Step 5: Determine a time line (or staged time lines) for each project component. The project’s major components can be broken down into stages, and each of those stages might have its own segmented time frame. A Gantt chart is a useful tool for keeping track of these time frames. It shows how long each task should take, but it also shows which tasks can be done at the same time and which must be done sequentially. For instance, you can hire an architect while you’re still negotiating the lease, but the architect can’t start work on the drawings until he or she is hired. And if a particular task takes longer than planned, this chart shows whether that delay will effect the time frame of other tasks.

Keeping the Project on Track
Step 6: Review, revise and reallocate. Run through these three “Rs” on an ongoing basis. Review the status of each project component relative to that component’s completion date. If a particular project component is ahead of or behind schedule, take a look at your Gantt chart and revise the start and completion dates of other components accordingly. In reviewing the project, you may find that you need to reallocate resources, whether that’s cash or people.

Keep everybody informed. With any major project, there will inevitably be changes—for instance, the start date for one project component might be pushed back or the responsibility for completing another might be reassigned. This makes it critical that all the project’s players are kept up to date. Do this by scheduling periodic meetings. These should include everybody who is involved with the project components that will be under discussion. If, for instance, a project component relates to billing, your billers may have great ideas about what may be helpful or necessary for the success of that task.

Provide direction. As the project leader, you need to provide direction to all the project’s players. Make sure they know what steps have been completed and what needs to be done next. And have them confirm to you that they understand what you’re telling them, otherwise you might not find out about a misunderstanding until deadlines have been missed and resources wasted. It is also important that everything is documented (though this documentation needn’t be lengthy).
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Sayfullah

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Re: 6 Steps to Launching a Project
« Reply #1 on: 01, 11 »
Consider taking a course as Project Management Professional (PMI-PMP)
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Sayfullah

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Re: 6 Steps to Launching a Project
« Reply #2 on: 01, 31 »
PM types

A functional organization is one where the functional managers have all the power. Here's an example: most software companies have the programmers reporting to a development manager, who is responsible for hiring/firing, reviews, salaries, and also assigning work to the developers. There's often someone with the title "project manager", but this person really only takes down notes at status meetings and does bookkeeping -- but has no actual authority to plan projects, assign work or manage changes. We call that role a project expeditor, and the person filling that role usually reports directly to the functional manager. Any power he or she has is explicitly delegated. All project management decisions need to be cleared with the funtional manager, and the only "project management" tasks are simple administrative work. From the perspective of the PMP exam, this is the least effective kind of organization.

A matrix organization is one where the team reports to a functional manager, but there is also a project manager who has authority to manage the project and lead the team. There are three kinds of matrix organizations:

- In a weak matrix, the project manager is usually a part-time role. In many cases, the project manager is really a project coordinator, which is more of an administrative role (like the project expeditor) but does have some limited authority over the project and usually reports to a higher-level manager. The budget is controlled by the functional manager, and all major project decisions must be cleared with the functional manager.

- In a balanced matrix, the project manager is a full-time role with more authority. Project decisions and budget responsibilities are shared between the functional manager and the project manager -- the project manager needs to clear decisions with the functional manager, but the functional manager also needs to clear decisions with the project manager.

- In a strong matrix, the project manager has more authority over the project than the functional manager. The functional manager's role is more concerned with making sure the team members' professional development and organizational needs are met, while the project manager makes the bulk of the project-related decisions and generally doesn't need to get the functional manager's approval for them. Of the three matrix organizations, this is the most desirable one.

Finally, a projectized organization is one where the project manager has full authority, and if there is a functional manager he has very limited authority. Many consulting companies and construction companies are set up like this, where a team is put together specifically for one contract or job, reports to the project manager for the duration of the project, and then the team is dissolved (and, when the team members are contracted individually, they are no longer part of the organization). The project manager has complete authority to assign work to the team, work with the budget, manage changes, and carry out all project management processes.

In a matrix organization, project charters are very important -- they're the documents that actually give the project manager authority to assign work to the team. A charter is necessary because the team doesn't report directly to the project manager, so a senior manager or sponsor has to explicitly grant that authority.

You may get questions about which type of organization provides the project manager with the most or least authority. The project manager has the least authority in a functional organization, then a little more in a weak matrix, then balanced matrix, strong matrix. The project manager has the most authority in a projectized organization.

When you're taking the PMP exam, if a question asks about a project manager's role in a project but doesn't specify a specific type of organization, assume it's talking about a strong matrix organization. That means you can assume that there is a functional manager, but that the project manager has authority to make decisions and control the budget.
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