Friday 11 February 2022

Five processes and nine areas of knowledge in project management



A project is a one-time effort to complete a unique product or service. according to this definition, the project has the characteristics of clear goal, one-time activity and resource consumption. in other words, activities with the first three main characteristics can all be considered projects. real-life projects can be seen everywhere, such as equipment shortages, conference organization, technical competitions, wedding ceremonies, home renovations, etc., can be regarded as projects. in the implementation of these projects, there are project management problems, but in real life and work, there may be more attention to the things themselves, and there is a relative lack of attention to the organization, planning, control and other processes related to doing things well, or there is no experience and ability to pay attention to them.

project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to achieve project requirements in project activities. there are five processes in project management: initiation process, planning process, implementation process, execution process, closing process, etc., which contain knowledge in nine major areas: scope management, time management, cost management, quality management, risk management, human resource management, communication management, procurement management and system management methods and tools. as a project manager, you should fully grasp the knowledge of these nine core areas, and focus on the concept of system management, avoid entering a certain detail, and pay attention to the key points in the five different stages.

First, the three constraints of project management

any project will be constrained in terms of scope, time and cost, which are the three constraints of project management. project management is to use scientific methods and tools to find a suitable balance between scope, time and cost, so that all stakeholders in the project can be satisfied as much as possible. projects are one-off and designed to produce unique products or services, but cannot be viewed and run in isolation. this requires the project manager to treat the project with a systematic concept, to recognize the position of the project in a larger environment, so that there will be a more appropriate coordination principle when considering the scope, time and cost of the project.

1. scope constraints for the project

the scope of the project is to define what is the task of the project? as a project manager, you must first understand the core of the project's commercial profits and clearly grasp what kind of products or services the project sponsor expects to obtain through the project. for the scope constraints of the project, it is easy to ignore the commercial goals of the project and favor the technical goals, resulting in a difference between the final results of the project and the expectations of the project stakeholders.

because the scope of the project may change with the progress of the project, which conflicts with constraints such as time and cost, the scope constraints of the project are mainly based on the commercial profit core of the project to do a good change management of the project scope. it is necessary to avoid unprincipled changes to the scope of the project, but also to change the scope of the project in a reasonable and procedural manner according to the constraints of time and cost, and in the case of obtaining the consensus of the project stakeholders.

2. the time constraint of the project

the time constraint of the project is to stipulate how long the project takes to complete, how the progress of the project should be arranged, the time requirements of the project's activities, and the order of the activities in the time arrangement. when there is a discrepancy between the schedule and the plan, how to readjust the activity duration of the project to ensure that the project is completed on schedule, or by adjusting the overall completion period of the project to ensure the time and quality of the activity.

when considering time constraints, on the one hand, it is necessary to study the impact on the project time due to changes in the scope of the project, and on the other hand, to study the impact on the cost of the project because of the change in the duration of the project. and timely track the progress of the project, through the analysis of the actual project progress, to provide a accurate report to the project stakeholders.

3. the cost constraints of the project

the cost constraint of a project is to stipulate how much it will cost to complete the project. the measurement of the cost of the project is generally measured by how much money is spent, but it can also be expressed in a specific unit of measurement according to the characteristics of the project. the key is to enable project stakeholders to understand the scope and time requirements of the project that can be completed under the current cost constraints. when the scope and timing of a project change, how much cost changes occur to determine whether to change the scope of the project, change the progress of the project, or expand the investment in the project.

in many of the projects we actually complete, most of them only pay attention to the progress of the project, and do not pay attention to the cost management of the project. usually, the project is settled only at the end of the project and handed over to the budget staff of the financial or planning management department. for projects that consume resources internally, the cost estimation and analysis of the project are often not done, so that the project stakeholders do not realize the waste of resources caused by the project. therefore, some projects carried out internally should also be managed costly.

because the project is unique, each project has many uncertainties, there is a competition between the use of project resources, except for very small projects, it is difficult for the project to be completed in full accordance with the expected scope, time and cost of the three constraints. because project stakeholders always expect to complete the largest project scope with the lowest cost and the shortest time. these three expectations contradict and check each other. the expansion of the project scope will lead to the extension of the project duration or the need to increase overtime resources, which will further lead to an increase in the cost of the project; similarly, the reduction of the project cost will also lead to the limitation of the scope of the project. as a project manager, it is necessary to use the knowledge of the nine major areas of project management, in the five process groups of the project, scientific and reasonable allocation of various resources, to achieve the expectations of the project stakeholders as much as possible, so that they can get the greatest satisfaction.

Second, the five main process groups of project management

the life cycle of a project is roughly divided into concept, development, implementation and closing process. in the conceptual phase, the cost is mainly analyzed, the feasibility of the project is studied, and the result is to come up with a report and obtain approval and support. in practice, we just have a new idea and concept and immediately move on to the development process. during the development phase, there is a project proposal, budgeted costs, and a work breakdown plan.

when we do things, we may just come up with a simple work breakdown with a rough project plan schedule and it's over. in the implementation phase, to have the underlying work package and determine the cost of our work, we may just come up with a simple work breakdown and a rough project plan schedule, and it's over. in the implementation phase, there was going to be a low-level work package with a definite cost estimate, but we didn't, and at this point, we basically started to lose control, without clear milestones, i we just think of a phase as a project. in the closing phase, we often discuss the lessons of each project, but the documentation of the completed work is basically not
kept up in time, and the handover with the user is also not done well.

the five process groups of project management: start, plan, execution, control and closure, run through the entire life cycle of the project, for the project start-up process, pay special attention to the analysis of the organizational environment and project stakeholders; and in the later process, the project manager should grasp the control of the project, and the ideal result of control is to complete the project scope that is satisfactory to both parties within the required time, cost and quality limits.

1. the startup process of the project

the process of starting a project is the process of identifying and starting a new project. it is important to recognize the concept that small successes in important projects are more meaningful and valuable than great successes in unimportant projects. in this sense, the start-up phase of a project is particularly important, as it is a critical stage in deciding whether to invest and what to invest in, when mistakes in decision-making can cause huge losses. attaching importance to the project start-up process is the first step to ensure the success of the project.

start a field of knowledge involving the scope of the project, and the output of which is the project charter, the appointment of a project manager, the determination of constraints and assumptions, etc. the most important part of the start-up process is to carry out the feasibility study and analysis of the project, which should be based on the core of the business objectives, not the core of the technology. whether it is a leadership concern or a project purpose, it should focus on clear business objectives, focus on achieving business expected profit analysis, and provide scientific and reasonable evaluation methods so that they can be evaluated in the future.

2. the planning process for the project

the planning process of the project is a very important process in the implementation of the project. through the development of a scientific plan for the scope of the project, task decomposition, resource analysis, etc., the work of the project team can be carried out in an orderly manner. also because of the plan, we can have a reference in the implementation process, and through the continuous revision and improvement of the plan, make the later plan more realistic and more accurate to guide the project work.

there was a false notion that the plan should be accurate, that is, the actual progress must be carried out according to the plan. in fact, this is not the case, the plan is a means of management, only in this way, so that the project resource allocation, time allocation is more scientific and reasonable, and the plan in the actual implementation can be constantly modified.

there are different plans in different knowledge areas of the project, and different plans should be prepared according to the actual project situation, among which the project plan, scope description, work breakdown structure, activity list, network diagram, schedule plan, resource plan, cost estimation, quality plan, risk plan, communication plan, procurement plan, etc., are common outputs of the project planning process, and should be focused on grasping and applying.

3. the implementation process of the project

the implementation of the project generally refers to the main content of the project implementation process, but the implementation includes the preliminary work of the project, so it is not only necessary to pay attention to the scope change in the specific implementation process, record the project information, encourage the project team members to work hard to complete the project, but also emphasize the key content of the implementation in the beginning and end of the process, such as formal acceptance of the project scope.

in the implementation of the project, the important content is the communication of project information, that is, the timely submission of project progress information, in the form of project reports, regularly through the project progress, which is conducive to project control and provides a means for quality assurance.

4. the control process of the project

the process control of project management is an important process to ensure that the project moves forward in the direction of the target, that is, to find deviations in time and take corrective measures to make the project progress in the direction of the target.

control can make actual progress in line with the plan, or it can modify the plan to make it more relevant to the current situation. the premise of modifying the plan is that the project meets the desired goals. the focus of control is on several aspects: scope changes, quality standards, status reporting and risk response. basically deal with the control of the above four aspects, the control task of the project can be basically completed.

5. the closing process of the project

a project through a formal and effective closing process is not only a complete document for the current project, an account of the project stakeholders, but also an important asset for future project work. in many of the projects experienced, more attention was paid to the beginning and process of the project, and the final work of the project was neglected, so the level of project management has not been improved.

in addition, we must pay attention to the finalization of the type of project that has not been successfully implemented, and the closing work of the unsuccessful project is more difficult and more important than the closing of the successful project, because the main value of such a project is the lesson of the failure of the project, so it is necessary to extract these lessons through the closing.

the project closure includes the acceptance of the final product, the formation of the project file, the lessons learned, etc. in addition, a reasonable arrangement should be made for the project stakeholders, which is also easy to ignore, and simply sending them back is not the best way to deal with them, but also irresponsible to the project team members.

the form of the project closure can be freely decided according to the size of the project, and can be carried out by means of holding a press conference, commendation meeting, announcing performance evaluation, etc. the form is adopted according to the situation, but it must be clear and can achieve results. it would be nice to be able to audit the projects at the end, and of course there are many projects that do not need to be audited.

Third, the nine major areas of knowledge of project management

The nine areas of knowledge in project management refer to the nine important pieces of knowledge and capabilities that must be possessed and mastered as a project manager. The core four areas of knowledge are scope, time, cost and quality management. There are also many management tools and techniques involved in these knowledge areas to help project managers and project team members manage projects. For example, network diagram method, critical path method, brainstorming method, earned value method, etc., different tools can help us complete different management work. In addition, there are many project management software, such as: Microsoft Project, P3, etc., as a project management tool, it can also help us solve the management process of planning, tracking, control and so on in the various processes of the project.

1. overall project management knowledge

the overall management of the project, or integrated management, is not wrong, it is the key to the comprehensive use of knowledge in the other eight areas, the rational integration and balance of the relationship between the various elements, to ensure the successful completion of the project.
the overall management of the project consists of three main processes:

  • project plan formulation: that is, collecting the results of various plans and forming a unified and coordinated project plan document.
  • project plan execution: implement a plan by executing the activities of the project plan.
  • overall change control: controls changes to the project.

the project manager is responsible for coordinating the personnel, plans and work required to complete a project, leading the overall situation and leading the team to achieve the project's goals; when there is a conflict between the project goals or between the people involved in the project, he is responsible for making decisions; and is responsible for timely reporting the progress of the project to the senior management. all in all, the project manager is mainly responsible for the overall management of the project, which is also the key to the success of the project.

looking back at the previous projects i was responsible for, i feel that the following problems mainly exist:

  • the project sponsor has not been found, or the project sponsor is not clear, and often regards himself as the project initiator;
  • project deliverables are so poorly defined that they cannot be accepted against the plan at the end;
  • lack of organizational structure description;
  • failure to standardize control over the project, especially control of project-wide changes;
  • risk management is not taken seriously, it is only discussed within the project team and stays in the mind of the project leader;
  • lack of project stakeholder analysis;
  • there is no standardized progress report, and the project progress report is more arbitrary.

to effectively carry out project management, it is necessary to refer to the knowledge system and method tools of project management, first draw a gourd, and further understand these contents through practice.

2. project scope management knowledge

the uncertainty of the project scope will lead to the continuous expansion of the project scope, as a project manager, at the beginning of the project, it is necessary to come up with a scope description document that is recognized by the project stakeholders and understands the scope of the project - the project charter. then, in order to ensure the implementation of the project and clarify the work responsibilities of the project team members, the scope of the project must also be decomposed into a smaller project task package , the work breakdown structure (wbs).

finally, it is necessary to realize that the project itself is not isolated, so sometimes the scope of the change is also necessary, and the key is how to control the change when it occurs.

before the above discussion, the most important thing is how to manage the scope when faced with a project, or when you don't know exactly what to do. there are four
steps to identifying a potential project:

  • determine what kind of project to do;
  • business analysis, identifying important business processes and analyzing the processes that best benefit from the project;
  • form the possible advantages of the project and determine the scope, benefits and constraints;
  • select a scenario to assign resources.


3. time management knowledge of the project

time management of a project is the process of ensuring that the project is completed on schedule. first of all, we must formulate the progress plan of the project, and then track and check the difference between the progress plan and the actual completion, and adjust the resources and work tasks in time to ensure the progress of the project. in the tracking process, it is necessary to communicate with the project stakeholders in a timely manner, and find the deviation of the scope in time, and the difference in time and schedule, or the project team members intentionally or unconsciously falsely report the completion of the project, resulting in the loss of control of the progress.

this includes the following:

  • activity ordering: clarify the dependencies between activities;
  • use gantt charts to help track project progress;
  • use network diagrams and critical path analysis to help determine the importance of finish dates or adjust the impact of duration on project durations, as well as address focus activities.
  • it should be noted that after learning the time management tools and methods of the project before, i thought that i could realize the tracking control of the project, but in fact, it was not, these workers

tools are all through people to function, activities are also done by people, so the project manager can not spend too much attention on the tools, but learn to use the tools to coordinate the conflict between people and resources.

4. cost management knowledge for projects

for project managers, in terms of cost management, it is necessary to strive to reduce and control costs and meet the expectations of project stakeholders. the process includes:

  • resource planning: i.e. developing a list of resource needs;
  • cost estimation: cost estimation of required resources;
  • cost budget: configure the overall cost estimate to each individual work, and establish a cost baseline plan;
  • cost control: control changes in the project budget, revise the cost estimate, update the budget, correct the actions of the project team members, and analyze the completion estimate and cost control.


5. project human resource management knowledge

  • the human resources management of the project is the process of effectively playing the role of each person involved in the project. the project's human resources management process includes:
  • organizational planning: forming an organizational chart of the project;
  • acquisition of relevant personnel: where the focus is on business stakeholders;
  • team building: clarify the responsibilities of each project stakeholder, train and improve their skills, and achieve team cooperation and communication.
  • because of the relationship with people, the first thing is to clarify their respective responsibilities, which should be clear when planning, and can help project managers improve efficiency through project management software, and can find the rationality of task decomposition in time, and finally form a reasonable task decomposition table.

at the same time, it is necessary to help project members implement the project plan and improve efficiency through effective incentive methods. projects are achieved through the joint efforts of the team, and it is a challenge for the project manager to pay attention to the full role of the team and make the team members do their best. in the process of processing, strive to do the right thing and not the right person, through effective meetings to help the project to achieve communication, inspection and goal realization.

6. quality management knowledge of the project

in the past experience of the project, the quality management of the project has basically not been taken seriously, the the quality of the project, understood as the degree of consistency with which the project meets the explicit or implicit requirements of the client. note that explicit requirements are included here, as well as implicit requirements. for it projects, how to meet the implicit quality requirements of users may be an important reason for the failure of it project quality. it is possible that the system developed meets the requirements in the requirements description, but differs greatly from the actual requirements of the user (including the implicit requirements), resulting in inconsistencies, resulting in the failure of the it project.

modern quality management has undergone a development process, has established a relatively perfect quality system, international organizations also have relevant quality documents, in order to review the general production quality, such as iso2000 series of quality standards; for the production quality of software, there are also some evaluation models, such as sqfd model, cmm software maturity model and so on. the cmm maturity model is divided into five levels: spontaneous, simple, organized, managed, and adaptive, identified as distinct levels."

for project management, it is necessary to develop a quality plan and apply quality assurance tools to ensure the implementation of the quality plan. in the process of quality control, there are many ready-made tools and methods, such as pareto analysis, statistical sampling and standard deviations. to improve the quality of the project, it is necessary to form a quality awareness in the leadership, improve the quality by establishing a good working environment, and improve the quality by forming a quality culture, which is one of the key factors for comprehensively improving the quality management of the project.

in the past experience of the project, the quality management of the project has basically not been taken seriously, the company is carrying out qc activities every year, the purpose of the activity is to improve the quality, but the activity has become a scientific and technological innovation activity, and more project implementation process, how to carry out quality management, but failed to reflect, this is also worth exploring the problem."

7. communication management knowledge of the project

the communication management of the project is very important, for the project manager, just like the front-line command needs intelligence management, which is the basis for the entire project team to grasp the project information and implement other management methods, and all the control is based on the communication basis.

at the beginning of the project, a communication plan needs to be prepared, including when, what content will be, in what format, through what method, and to whom. in the communication of the project, written reports, oral reports or informal exchanges can be used, and various ways have advantages and disadvantages, and the key is to see whether it is conducive to the effectiveness of communication.

the complexity of communication increases rapidly with the increase of objects, so it is necessary to control face-to-face communication within a certain range through appropriate tools and means to minimize the responsible impact on project management caused by ineffective communication.
in communication, meetings are one of the effective forms. many salespeople prefer to describe the progress of the project and the problems encountered in the project in simple formal language through meetings, rather than technical charts and documents.

8. risk management knowledge of the project

  • when the risk of the project occurs because of the failure to do a good job in risk management, it will be difficult for the project stakeholders to accept the fact that the risk occurred and the loss caused by the risk, and it will take more time to adjust
  • the whole mental state can resume the implementation of the project.

the risk management of the project is not only to effectively avoid the occurrence of risks in the process of the project; but also to help us face the risk with the right mentality when the risk occurs, without being helpless. many projects fail because of the psychological damage caused to the project when the risk occurs, resulting in the loss of subjective judgment ability and making wrong decisions. in this sense, the formulation of the risk plan of the project is mainly to improve the risk awareness of the project stakeholders, as long as there is enough risk awareness, risk identification is comprehensive or not, in some projects may be of importance but not too obvious.

risk identification can be used brainstorming method, rule of thumb and other methods, after identifying these risk factors, you can add weight to these factors, and finally you can calculate the probability of project success, and can decide whether the project should be started, continue or stopped. 


After identifying risk factors, it is immediately followed by the development of risk response measures. according to the probability of risk occurrence, the risk cost and benefit of the resulting risk, determine the corresponding coping strategy, such as risk treatment, risk acceptance, risk improvement and so on.
in practice, risks may be identified but not dealt with correctly. the risk is thus passed on layer by layer. if the demand is incorrect due to insufficient user participation, further resulting in errors in the estimation of the construction period, the result is a deviation from the plan, and finally the result of the entire project is biased. therefore, we must pay attention to grasping from the source of risk to prevent the layers of risk from being enlarged.

9. procurement management knowledge of the project

sourcing is about getting products or services from the outside world. procurement is becoming increasingly important for it projects. at present, the vast majority of it projects are inseparable from procurement management, and the main content of many projects is equipment procurement or consulting procurement, for enterprises, whether they can do a good job in procurement management is the key content to ensure the success of the project.

effective procurement management includes the following processes:

  • preparation of a reasonable and effective procurement plan: this is an important process of project management, that is, determining which needs of the project can be better met through procurement. in the procurement plan, the first thing is to decide whether procurement is needed, how to purchase, what to purchase, how much to purchase, when to purchase, etc.;
  • preparation of inquiry plan: i.e. preparation of rfq or request for quotation;
  • inquiry: conduct an actual inquiry;
  • bid opening: evaluation and selection of suppliers;
  • management: management of procurement contracts;
  • closure: closing of the procurement contract.

In the whole process, two processes that are easy to overlook, one is the procurement plan, and the other is the contract closure. the preparation of the procurement plan is the premise of the procurement management as a whole according to the demand, if this step is not done well, the rest is in vain; and in the process of the contract closure of the procurement, the most easy to forget or can not do is the procurement audit. as for the process of supplier selection, in it projects, too much emphasis is placed on technology and management and cost are neglected. in fact, management and cost determine the premise of whether the contract can be maintained on schedule. in the actual situation of our company, when the general project takes equipment as the main cost, it is often no longer considered other contents, but only as a general equipment procurement, and the implementation of the equipment department. because not only project management has not been achieved, but also procurement management has not been achieved, although such projects have also been implemented, the quality of project implementation is always unsatisfactory

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