Project management

For Alfa Resonance Capital Ltd, business project management is the most advanced approach to doing business. The possibility of applying this method in any field determines its versatility. Each business requires an individual approach, a lot of attention and responsibility. It is difficult to manage projects, but achieving specific goals in the allotted time span is a job characterized by serious development prospects.
There are many benefits to a design approach for business. First, the predictability of the results. The project is developed with a specific goal, drawing up a calendar plan – a schedule of work, divided into blocks or stages. If necessary, it is allowed to adjust the plan at any stage. At the planning stage, identification of possible risk situations that jeopardize the achievement of the project goal, and a number of measures are being developed to address them. Secondly, the transparency of the company. All processes are easier to control, easier to manage. During the implementation of the project, it is always clear at what stage it is, what results have been achieved, what resources have been spent and how much is still needed. And thirdly, improving the efficiency of the project team. There is a direct interest of each member of the working group in its successful implementation.
The project management business process involves the management of:
  • the subject area of ​​the project, ie, directly by the process of realizing the goal for which the project was developed;
  • the timing of the project, because the success of the project requires the implementation of work in strict accordance with the schedule;
  • cost, since the planning stage of a project involves drawing up its budget and forecasting costs and revenues;
  • quality, because consumer demand will be only for that product or service that meets the needs of customers;
  • risks, because all possible threats to the successful implementation of the project are identified at the planning stage;
  • staff, because the success of a project depends on the effectiveness of the actions of the project team;
  • communications, since modern projects involve the participation of a sufficiently large number of professionals, many members of the working group are not even familiar with each other and are often geographically distant. This explains the particular importance of maintaining an effective project workflow;
  • contracts, because in order to minimize risk situations, it is necessary to conclude agreements with suppliers on mutually beneficial conditions;
  • changes, because almost every project plan necessarily undergoes changes until it reaches a successful conclusion.
There are various reasons that affect the implementation of the project and require changes to the plan. It can be organizational and staff changes, resource availability, financial need, etc. Traditional management and project technologies are distinguished by both the main content and management practices. More recently, business design has come down to descriptions of sets of drawings and related documents. The modern concept of business design has expanded significantly and consists of:
  • setting a clear goal;
  • determining the start and end of design work;
  • personnel, financial and other resource constraints;
  • formulations of uniqueness of this offer in the market;
  • clarification of special requirements for costs, quality and terms of work;
  • development of a business project management system with the participation of experts and specialists.
Project management professionals focus on “7 pro” – seven features that distinguish business project management. German experts define them as follows:
  1. Business projects are always focused on problem solving.
  2. For business projects, the professional competence of the participants is extremely important.
  3. Business projects are focused on the future and require careful planning.
  4. Business projects are focused on interdisciplinarity and sociability, which emphasizes their preventive nature.
  5. Business projects, their productivity is evaluated only upon achievement of the result.
  6. Business projects are unique, because they are unique and require an individual approach.
  7. The humanitarian nature of business projects is achieved due to the lack of hierarchy in the work of the project team, everything is done by people and for people.
The logical development of the process is quite simple and predictable: it all starts with the emergence of the idea of ​​the need to create a product, service, technology that is potentially in demand and either completely absent from the market or in small quantities.
By analyzing the current situation on the market, studying its condition in detail, determining prospects, taking into account possible risks, experts verify the viability of the proposed idea. A clear statement of the purpose of a business project helps its participants and stakeholders understand what should be checked. The specific goal of the project should contain requirements for the result in terms of time, quality and costs. This means that the business project will be considered successfully implemented only if the quality standards are met, not exceeding the planned costs and not violating the deadlines. All information is entered into the project management plan. During the implementation, business processes are compared and reports are compiled.
Planning a business project consists in the formation of a typical structure that contains sections describing the history of the company, its place on the market, the essence of the project, analyzing the situation of the industry as a whole, indicating the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, bringing in marketing, financial, production and organizational plans, and also identifying possible design risks. The completion of all sections ends with the preparation of a resume, which is placed at the beginning of the business plan and helps to quickly, but fully familiarize yourself with the design of the project.
Research conducted by reputable international organizations confirms the fact that by introducing design technologies into the company’s management, a significant increase in performance indicators can be achieved in a fairly short period of time. It becomes real 20% cost savings, reduction in implementation time, etc. The investments required to implement innovative techniques, as a rule, make up a small percentage of the total amount of a business project and pay off within the first two years.
Business project management gives business the opportunity to:
  • a clear definition of priority areas of activity;
  • clearly articulate expected results and goals;
  • present initiatives in the form of clear, structured forms of projects or programs;
  • correctly identify possible risks and find ways to eliminate them;
  • follow clear criteria for success;
  • optimize the company’s resource costs;
  • increase staff motivation.
The disadvantages of the transition to business project management are:
  • Transitional period. There is a risk of artificial prolongation of this period, caused by management’s ignorance of the basics of Project Management or sabotage of mid-level employees who are losing their influence.
  • Lack of resources. Improper allocation of funds can negatively affect the core business of the company, which is especially true for companies with limited financial capabilities.
  • Personnel. Only a qualified project manager can prevent the process from slipping. In his absence, among the employees of the company, a manager with a team is involved from the outside.
Regardless of all the difficulties, the management of business projects is gaining increasing international recognition. This approach is rapidly popularized, developed and corresponds to the current situation. Having entrusted the management of business projects to a professional, the head of the company will not feel the difficulty of switching to this technique.
  1. The most effective methods of managing business projects are:
  2. Adaptive Project Framework, abbreviated as APF – Use of adjustable (adaptive) project frameworks. Previous experience gained at each stage of implementation contributes to project improvement. The success of marginal prices and the formation of value for future customers is ensured by the project manager by setting project goals and continuously monitoring work processes.
  3. Benefit Realization (BF). Purpose: benefit from the implementation of the project. The essence of the methodology is to obtain the planned profit. Wanting to increase sales of CRM, we can consider the project successfully implemented if the volume of existing ones is increased by 15%. The same condition applies when setting up and setting up CRM on time with a regulated budget.
  4. AGILE – a flexible project management methodology. Managing business projects with AGILE requires the presence of professionals in a project team who are able to quickly adapt to the changes that are taking place, monitor the current trends in the promotion of goods or services and make a profit. Human resources play an important role in this methodology. This justifies the need to organize an active project team, in which flexibility, cooperation and the search for compromises are priority. Stakeholders representing the monitoring of each step of the project are stakeholders. Project team members can make timely adjustments so that the goods or services offered to consumers are in demand and of high quality.
  5. Project management using a critical chain. Helps to eliminate any delays or deviations in the implementation of the project by assigning an integral critical path, establishing the number of resources needed to complete the work. Charts are formed taking into account the availability of resources. It is permissible to increase the duration of the work, while reducing the probability of violation of the dates of the main blocks. The essence of the methodology is in identifying key tasks, maintaining their deadlines, as well as the final project completion date. Logical connections are built between the selected critical tasks, taking into account the possible limitations of the reserve and other funds.
  6. Critical Path Method abbreviated CPM – a fairly common critical path method. This methodology is widely used in construction. The main feature of this system for the control and coordination of design work is a clearly defined project route, formed from the most lengthy work processes. The duration of the entire project is set in accordance with the critical path. Setting the most important tasks makes it possible to determine the completion dates, assess the main stages and project results. The calculation of the duration and planning of all the main works can be logically verified by drawing up a schedule. The Gantt chart highlights important steps and individual operations with a signal red. Any deviations from the planned dates defined for critical tasks lead to an increase in the deadlines for the following work operations. If it is necessary to reduce the overall duration of the project, it is necessary to reduce the time of critical tasks. Thanks to this methodology, daily analysis of the correspondence of the actual parameters to those planned is possible. Using the critical path implies several stages of planning: determining goals and limitations; determination of the period of time required to complete the tasks; creating a network graphic image; execution of a diagram description.
  7. Modeling events. The essence of methods for managing business projects by modeling events is to identify and predict possible risks. Project analysis based on the Monte Carlo methodology and the plan of the chain of events, constructed in the form of a diagram, makes it possible to identify risk situations, determine the degree of their negative impact on the success of the project. A clear display of the relationship between the surrounding events and design tasks helps to form a plan that reflects the reality.
  8. Extreme Programming – Extreme Programming (XP). The use of extreme programming methods in managing business projects is based on close and partnerships with stakeholders, frequent releases, and demonstration of the special features of small development cycles. The implementation of these principles in practice is reduced to the concentration of the group on partnership and work efficiency. Elementary codes are generated to obtain high quality, depletion and negative results are not allowed. Such projects do not have a clearly formulated final goal; they are determined during implementation. It’s like a guided missile. The first step is to launch. Although the flight path is unknown, it is important to launch. The goal is determined already during the flight. The second step is coordinating the direction of the rocket and gradually choosing priorities. Acceptably large number of adjustments. This principle is characteristic not only for programming, but also for many post-Soviet projects.
  9. Kanban – KANBAN. This methodology is aimed at achieving the key goal of producing a slow but stable stream of long-term results, visualizing them and identifying problem situations in the workplace. Identifying the causes of downtime or loss of time and eliminating them can quickly increase efficiency.
  10. LEAN or lean manufacturing. The essence of this method is to reduce losses, eliminate problem areas, focus on consumer demand and continuous optimization of production activities. Thanks to the Lean business project management method, production costs are reduced, work is done on time, and the necessary results are achieved with minimal involvement of regular and attracted employees.
  11. Lean manufacturing and 6 Sigma. The combination of the two Lean methodologies with 6 Sigma allows to significantly improve the production method of organizing actions. Having determined the real ways of implementing the project, the members of the working group eliminate losses and concentrate their efforts on obtaining an unsurpassed result.
  12. PRINCE (projects in a controlled environment). The essence of the methodology is to guarantee the validity of any project and its focus on creating special value. This method implies the beginning of the planning stage with the study and determination of consumer demand, the benefits obtained, the correct assessment of costs and resources.
  13. PRISM (projects with integrated sustainable / viable methods). The method combines the planning and sustainability of events from an environmental point of view. The emphasis is on reducing energy costs, the rational use of costs, eliminating the negative impact on the environment. PRISM is the perfect choice for supporting green movement.
  14. PBPM. Process-oriented project management. This method of managing business projects is fully focused on the flawless fulfillment of the mission of the enterprise. The launch of the project is impossible without checking its full compliance with the overall strategy of the organization. Upon receipt of a negative result, the company’s strategic vision and goals are adjusted. This approach has successfully established itself in the field of projects aimed at the reorganization and administration of the company. It serves to improve project management, reengineering business processes in general.
  15. SCRUM. The primary goal in the implementation of this methodology is productivity, cooperation and full concentration on obtaining high-quality results in a relatively short period of time, which is facilitated by quick adaptation to the changes that are taking place. Achieving maximum efficiency is facilitated by a special approach to working in a group – in jerks, which allows you to quickly test innovations and instantly fix errors.
  16. SIX SIGMA. The method is based on improving product quality and improving production indicators, by reducing the number of errors and shortcomings. “6 sigma” shows the absence of defects in more than 99% of products. By checking the overall workflow, you can detect corrections or possible improvements before flaws occur.
  17. Waterfall – In-line planning method (waterfall model). In the cascading model of business project management at the planning stage, the workflow is divided into successive tasks, the end of each of which is a milestone or a key event of the project. The sequence of all tasks is strictly regulated; starting a new task is impossible without completing the previous one. Detailed planning emphasizes the detailed graphical scheme and budget size. The cascading project management methodology involves the use of calendar-network project schedules (Gantt chart).
A distinctive feature of business project management is the concentration of basic rights and responsibilities for achieving results in the hands of a small team or one employee who is a project manager. This does not oblige the project manager to be aware of all the specific features of the entire production. His responsibilities include selecting the right specialists, distributing their duties and competently dividing the labor. For successful implementation, a special project team is created. The main task of the project manager is to monitor the implementation of three success criteria:
  1. The quality of work. There are many proven methods for managing resources, both material and human. For example, the load diagram of the resources used, the matrix of responsibility of the performers, etc. The problem lies in the difficulty of formulating the task and monitoring its implementation by the same person. In these cases, developed methods of quality control are used.
  2. Time. There are also various programs that help to create and track the calendar schedules of the work.
  3. The budget. The responsible executor is engaged in the formation of a financial plan and control of spending.
You can evaluate the manager’s competency by experience, knowledge, skills, professionalism, ethics, mentality (professional thinking). Quite often, the success of an entire enterprise is determined by a properly selected project manager. He must professionally and error-free manage internal and external factors on which the success of the initiative depends.
Management of external factors requires:
  • operational adaptation of all processes to changes occurring in external conditions;
  • stable interaction with all entities involved in the work performed.
Management of internal factors is:
  • in the rational distribution and timely redistribution of resources allocated for the implementation of the project;
  • in the constant coordination of the interaction of project participants.
Controlled and managed internal parameters are the costs of development and production of products, their cost, investment, marketing, production volume. In addition, there are external uncontrolled parameters. These include the economic environment, environmental conditions, the level of competition, consumer demand and taste, the availability of resources, legal framework, social environment, etc. It is quite difficult to influence these factors, therefore, the structure should be established and changed in a timely manner taking into account these aspects .
A business analysis of project management is carried out in two stages: analysis of the plan; analysis of the implementation of planned activities. Conducting an analysis of the plan itself helps to understand how the project will satisfy the goals and requirements of its participants. All participants involved in the project evaluate indicators, planned goals and results.
All this represents the first stage of the project, which is called the planning stage. It is at the planning stage that a decision is made about changes, adjustments, including the main goal and result. All subsequent analysis processes are considered as performance analysis. The planning stage involves the development of estimates and forecasts. Performance analysis helps to monitor the implementation of work and the achievement of the intended forecasts and results.
In most cases, an analysis of the criteria for achieving the project goal is used as a method of managing business projects. Success criteria include meeting deadlines, budgetary frameworks and the high quality of the work performed. If one of the criteria is not fulfilled and negative results are obtained, a decision may be made on minor adjustments, qualitative changes or the closure of the project.
The main processes include the analysis of project success criteria, which directly affect the achievement of its goals. This is the analysis:
  • deadlines – it is checked whether the actual deadlines correspond to the planned ones; –
  • Costs — it is checked whether real costs correspond to the predicted ones, and a conclusion is drawn on the need to optimize the project;
  • quality – monitoring of compliance of the implemented quality standards with the planned ones is carried out.
If the result of this analysis is negative, it is necessary to determine directions for restoring the planned standards; achievement of the goal – the project team members summarize and analyze the compliance of the achieved results with the planned ones.
Ancillary analysis processes include evaluating factors that influence the criteria for project success and achieving its goals. These are: conducting an analysis of resources, ascertaining whether the predicted, planned, and actual load correspond to an analysis of the ratio of actual and planned costs; performance assessment. The results of the work are evaluated, information on the use of resources to achieve the goal is communicated to the project participants. Also analyzed are interactions to optimize information processing, contract execution, which serves to prevent disputes and other processes that are not productive in nature.
As a result of the analysis, a decision is made about the need to make adjustments to the project plan or to continue work in the intended direction.
In small business, they are also increasingly switching to project management methods. However, a number of its features do not always make it possible to fully use standard methods for managing business projects. They are as follows: representatives of small businesses often act as contractors, while in large companies project management is carried out by the customer; with a high degree of probability there will be additional, not stipulated by the plan, work; narrow specialization and small staff entail difficulties in the distribution of workers to various projects; lack of temporary resources for detailed planning of work in projects; the difficulty of distinguishing from operational tasks projects that require the application of the project method; tight deadlines for most projects require a full concentration of labor for all employees.
Large companies manage business projects more easily due to the availability of proven document management systems, complex integrated project management systems, including computer ones. Small business most often has neither the ability nor the resources to implement and apply such complex and expensive systems, but for it project management is possible even with one inexpensive or completely free special program.
Another negative factor for designing in a small business is the lack of time, in particular, for project planning. Small businesses are characterized by short-term projects, orders for which are received unevenly. To invest in the deadlines, the company must immediately begin implementation, skipping the planning stage or reducing it as much as possible. This is a rather risky feature that can negatively affect the company’s activities. For small business representatives managing business projects, knowledge of communication management and stakeholder management is extremely important. This condition is explained by the strong dependence of the implementation of small business projects on the requirements and decisions of the customer. Their true, clear and complete definition affects the speed of information exchange between the parties, and, therefore, the success of achieving the project goal. Analyzing all the difficulties, small business representatives independently determine the need to use a project approach or prefer traditional management methods.