Project Management

Course CodeBBS201
Fee CodeS4
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
  
Well Managed Projects Save Money and Run Smoothly!
Learn established and well trusted project management processes to ensure successful project outcomes.
  • Plan, Manage and (on completion) Review Projects
  • Understand technical and human resources, marketing, and other aspects of a project
  • Apply these skills to property development, mining, agricultural, engineering, events or other projects
  • Enhance your employability across a wide range of industries
Who Uses Project Management?
Project management skills are applied to all industries, and in all sorts of situations.

This course is just as relevant to a construction project as it is to managing a new product launch.  It is best suited to someone who has some prior experience or training in management, but is also useful as an adjunct to management studies.


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Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Scope and Value of Project Management
    • Understanding what project management is
    • The Need for Project Management
    • The Project Lifecycle
    • Project Identification and Initiating Process
    • Project Planning
    • Project Implementation,Execution and Control
    • Project Completion and Evaluation
  2. Project Identification
    • Scope and Nature
    • Formulating Project Objectives
    • Developing a Project Outline
    • Assessing a Projects Feasibility
    • Feasibility Checklist
    • The Identification Test
    • Three Types of Risk
  3. Planning Projects
    • Planning Heirachy
    • Planning Parameters
    • Planning Quality
    • Developing a Strategy Framework
    • Project Breakdown Structure
    • Planning Time
    • The Gantt Chart
    • PERT Charts
    • Planning Expense
    • Delegating Responsibilities
  4. Project Implementation
    • Introduction
    • Implementation
    • Controlling Process
    • Applying Standards
    • Events Control Chart
    • Budget Control Chart
    • Monitoring Performance
    • Evaluating Performance
    • Regulating Process
  5. Completion and Evaluation of a Project
    • Introduction
    • Why is a Closing Phase Necessary
    • Declaring Iminent Completion
    • Reassignment of Resources
    • Considering Project Sustainability
    • Project Assessment; Final Report, Performance Reviews
    • Appraising the Project
    • Why Projects Succeed or Fail
  6. Technical Project Management Skills
    • Preparing a Project Proposal
    • Proposal Layout
    • Drawing Up a Budget
    • Constructing a Post Project Appraisal
    • Software for Projects; How Project Management Software Works, choosing software
    • What Project Management Software Cannot Do
  7. Leadership Skills
    • Scope and Nature of Leadership
    • How to Be A Project Leader
    • Visibility & CommunicationsLeadership Characteristics
    • Leadership Skills
    • Improving Leadership Skills
    • Giving Directives and Introducing Change
    • Orders
  8. Improving Critical Personnel Skills
    • Inevitability of Problems
    • Common Problems
    • Schedule variations
    • Changing priorities
    • Administration overload
    • Deadline Changes
    • Cash blow out
    • Inappropriate skills
    • Role Confusion
    • Exhausted Team
    • Politics
    • Reduced Motivation
    • Communication Breakdown
  9. Major Assignment
    • Development of full documentation for projects.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


How to Control a Project

Project management is different to forms of management because it is finite.

Managing a business is ongoing. You don't know when the job will finish; because the business could keep trading for years to come; but a project has a time limit. If you are building something, it is finished when the construction finishes. If you are running an event; it is finished when the event concludes. If you are developing a property, you are finished when it is ready to be used.

  • Controlling a project is a process that involves gathering and analysing information, in order to make the best decisions as a project progresses.
  • The aim of control is to minimize the differences between where you are, at project completion, and where you had planned to be, at project completion.
  • Gathering information can happen both formally (e.g. through reports) and informally (e.g. through communicating with people and observing progress first hand)
  • Analysis of information gathered will at times reveal problems, and a need for corrective actions to be taken.
     
    The project manager needs to prompt and enable appropriate corrective actions as and when the need is determined.
  • Corrective actions need to solve problems in a way that has the least possible impact on the project (i.e. not disrupt the schedule, not increase the costs, not reduce the quality, etc.).
  • Any decisions to take corrective actions should be influenced by the preferences of all stakeholders in the project.
Control Tools
In any project you need to introduce identified and defined project control procedures i.e. part of the project plan that establishes the tools you will use to fulfil and control the work of the project, in an effective manner.
This will:
  • Identify all the procedures needed for the entire project.
  • Define the appropriate standards and levels of tolerance.
  • Outlines procedures and other tools used for progress control (time lines etc.), version control (dating and filing etc.).

There are many different tools that can be used to control a project. Some are more useful than others. The most appropriate tool will depend on the size of the project and other factors.

Benchmarking
Benchmarking is a valuable tool that can be used to improve business processes and performance by identifying, understanding and comparing best practice used by other organisations world-wide, inside and outside of your industry. The process is only useful if the companies you are benchmarking are known for their high performance; there is no point for example in benchmarking a low performing competitor as then your standards will reflect theirs. When benchmarking, identify companies whose business processes are efficient, compatible and adaptable to your own business.

Benchmarking implementation decisions should be regularly evaluated and reviewed to ensure that corporate, operational and individual targets are reached.

Benchmarking research information is easily obtained through: email, internet, telephone, the European Benchmarking Code of Conduct etc. 

Practical Ways of Staying in Tune with Your Project
You cannot exert influence upon what is happening unless you are first aware of what is happening. A big part of being a Project Manager is to gather information; enough to remain acutely aware of the current state of affairs at all times. There is always a danger though of spending too much time gathering information, that you don’t have enough time to act upon what you gather. Like most things, you must be sensitive to balancing these.

Ways of gathering information can include:
  • Meetings - with teams, individual workers, suppliers, contractors
  • Site visits - informal visits to the site of the work. Walking around, talking informally to people, observing.
  • Formal reporting mechanisms - statistics derived from bookkeeping (e.g. purchases); administrative records (e.g. materials delivered, staff work sheets, accounts tendered by contractors), questionnaires or forms filled in by staff, etc.
  • It is important to recognise that the information you gather is not always straightforward. Some can be tainted by bias (e.g. if you talk to an employee who does not like their boss); some may be inappropriate or irrelevant, some might not be precise (some people do exaggerate), and some might not be credible (opinionated people may offer opinions that are ingrained in their psyche, rather than true reflections of the project).

Procedures 
Procedures, such as quality assurance documents, staff manuals and so on can help the project manager to keep control of certain regular aspects of project management procedures, design how a project will be managed and ways to communicate processes to the project team, stakeholders and customers. They may be seen as time consuming to develop, but often they only need to be developed once.  The procedures can then be simplified and amended for other projects. A template can be developed called Project Management Procedures, which describes the processes.  They can be used to develop a work plan. 

A work plan is a way to review the work on a regular basis. This could be weekly, two weekly etc. On the plan, things such as hours spent, cost and so on can be identified. It can also determine what activities are required to be completed, what have not been completed and so on.

Work plans can also be used to review budget situations – such as how the project is performing against a budget.  This may be done on a bi-weekly, weekly or fortnightly basis.  The work plan is important to ensure the project is not going above costs, and it also gives an early warning if the project is behind schedule and so on. It can make you aware that the project might run behind schedule, that overtime might be required, that team morale is declining, quality is deteriorating and so on. 

Gantt Charts
A Gantt chart is a sort of bar chart. It was developed by Henry Gantt and is used to illustrate a project schedule.  The Gantt chart illustrates the start and finish dates of terminal elements of a project and also a summary of the elements of a project.   Summary elements and terminal elements are the work breakdown structure of a project.

CPA (Critical Path Analysis)
This has greater emphasis on known completion times (expected and fastest or ‘crash’ times). It involves complex and careful planning techniques for more complex projects. It takes into consideration the sequence of events throughout the life of the project i.e. what order they should be in and then estimates the time needed to complete each step. The formulated pathway is then followed through to the end of the project.




HOW CAN THIS COURSE HELP YOU?


Some people study a course in an industry that is all about "projects". Engineers, architects, landscape architects and property developers are just some such industries.  Others however, may well start out working in an industry in a semi skilled or trade level job; and be promoted through the ranks toward a position where they are in charge of projec
Finding themselves challenged with such a situation; a course such as this can be extremely useful as a form of professional development; and may greatly improve the prospect of further advancement.

Project managers need to be able to set a clear series of reasonable and appropriate goals; then maintain a strong and clear focus on the project, working to achieve those goals.
Their work involves planning, organising and overseeing how the goals are met, in accordance with an established timetable.

Everyone can benefit from project management skills, if not in the work place; in their personal life.

Businesses engage project managers to get specific jobs done; sometimes only occasionally, but for larger businesses, more often, and sometimes permenantly. 

The Job
It can be stressful; largely because you are working to a timetable. Some people don't perform well when they have to perform on time. For others though, the black and white nature of the job has great appeal, and the challenge of delivering a job on time and under budget can be extremely rewarding.
Project managers may come from and work in any industry. They may be experts who know their industry better than most; who have learnt the necessary management skills.

Anyone who can combine a knowledge of project management, with a relevant industry expertise, is a valuable commodity for someone wanting to undertake a project.

Good project managers who work on large, expensive projects, can make a huge difference to the bottom line. If you can do this, you can command very high levels of remuneration






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Credentials

ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA

ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development
ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association

ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council
ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council



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