Project Management Tools
Project Management requires the use of a set of tools to effectively control the various elements of the project. These tools are, for the most part set up during the initiation or planning phases of the project.
The Project Schedule is the timeline of the project. Typically this is represented as a Gantt chart which shows the specific activities, the timing for each activity, the dependancies and the resources required. The most common way of creating such a chart is using the Microsoft Project tool.
Either included within the Schedule, or managed separately, you will also need to plan the resources you need to complete each task and the cost of delivering each component. This is covered in the Resource and Cost Management Tools
The Project Business Case. Many people don’t think of this as a tool but it is the critical measure against which any project must be compared. Projects cost money and time and so running one needs to deliver some benefits. The comparison between the cost of the project and the benefits it will deliver are the business case. The business case should be checked periodically throughout the lifecycle, and in particular when anything in the project changes, to make sure that it makes sense to continue.
The Project Scope sets out the extent of what the project is going to deliver and, perhaps just as importantly, what it is not going to deliver. Requests to change this should be managed through Change Control.
Project Change Control is the tool by which changes to the scope, timing or budget should be controlled. The change should be logged and the impact of the change estimated, and compared to the business case.
Project Risk Management. When planning a project the risks to success should be identified and actions planned to prevent them from causing problems. Risk Management should then continue throughout the life cycle with new risks being logged, evaluated and actions planned. (note. It is acceptable for the action to be do nothing, this requires that the risk, and its potential consequences is accepted.)
Project Issue Management. Sometimes things go wrong, it happens, and when it does we call on the Issue Management process to deal with it. First we evaluate the impact of the issue and then decide on the course of action that is appropriate to deal with it.
Project Quality Management. How do you know if the project is delivering to the right standard? That’s where Quality Management comes in. The Quality plan defines what the quality requirement is and how it will be checked and measured.