Effective Project Management
Introduction to Project Management...
The key lean components in a regulated environment
by Larissa Potapchuk and Patrick Lucansky
As organizations identify opportunities for growth and improvement, successfully managing activities to realize these opportunities is critical for achieving results and benefits. Effective project management starts with the application of key principles and tools in order to increase the likelihood of success of the initiative, regardless of whether the intended improvements are focused on strategy, products, processes, or technology.
Most growth and improvement initiatives are, by definition, outside of the usual tasks comprising the organization's daily business functions and processes; hence, the implementation of these opportunities is structured as a project, where unique activities are defined, developed, and executed to meet objectives and realize benefits. Realizing benefits from achieving the intended objectives is the ultimate measure of a project’s effectiveness.
Effective project management is supported by proven guidelines and principles. These can be applied to any type of project, such as those focused on implementing lean management practices, to those focused on launching new products, developing new drugs, and even those focused on software development and system’s implementation. These and other types of projects, while differing in their objectives, resources, and required activities, all have components common to the definition of ‘project’ and will benefit from the same effective project management principles. Effective project management becomes more challenging as project complexity increases due to any number of factors such as project design, scope, and reach. The principles of Lean present a further challenge due to its cross-functional involvement and scope. [Lean projects are specifically addressed and noted in Italics.]
Overview of a Project
A project is defined as a set of specific activities intended to produce predetermined results and is identified by:
Projects are designed for the purpose of accomplishing a specific goal guided by a set of activities that:
Projects are Identified by:
A project is also defined by the existence of limited resources to be managed throughout the duration of the project. Schedules, resources, and controls cannot be applied without time constraints to manage against; project resources are identified as time, money, people, and equipment that need to be applied as effectively as possible. Time frames are critical for responsible resource management and deadlines should be viewed as key opportunities to highlight activity completion, identify achieved results and recognize successes. Project reviews can provide ‘lessons learned‘ for enhancing management effectiveness for future projects.
As projects differ from each other, there will be variations in the resources, tools and methods needed to accomplish project activities. However, there are common elements critical to success of any project like, focus, discipline and
communication. The model for successful project management requires a disciplined approach to methodically plan tasks, monitor and manage activities and resources, communicate, and track results.
Due to the breadth of change required in a lean initiative, a clear understanding of Lean concepts, involvement, support, and commitment are required by all those either directly or indirectly affected by the initiative.
Projects focused on implementing lean principles encompass:
Project Success Elements
The Project life cycle encompasses critical elements necessary to support the success of the project; guidelines exist at each phase in a project and ensuring these are fully addressed is key for building a foundation for success in the next phase of the cycle. Methods and tools exist to enhance the effectiveness of each project phase and can be customized by project type. An overall set of guidelines should be included in a fully developed and comprehensive Project Plan.
These guidelines are the governance tool for effective project management. A comprehensive project plan is comprised of high level activities or tasks. Project activities consume most of the time and resources spent on a project. These activities, as documented in the Project Plan, should ensure that deliverables are met and milestones are attained.
Key components for completion of a project.
Phase 1: Project Initiation and Development
The key elements for success in any project start in the Initiation and Development phase where agreement and understanding for the project is obtained as a result of the project definition and project scope.
For projects to be successful, they should contain the following:
Once the Project Scope is developed, the Project Sponsor is identified; the Sponsor represents the interests of the ‘sponsoring organization’, or ‘funder’. The Sponsor is the owner of the project’s business case, its primary ‘risk taker’, and can be the ‘customer’ for the project; this Sponsor acts as management's representative on behalf of the company. The Sponsor (or the Sponsoring Team) provides the funds to complete the project and is responsible for ensuring that the strategic direction of the organization is considered and integrated into the project. The project manager and project team (appointed by the Sponsor) share the responsibility for integrating the organization strategy into the project goals and objectives.
The development of the Project Scope also facilitates the identification of Project Stakeholders. These Stakeholders are individuals or groups that are involved in or may be affected by project activities and have a 'stake’ in the successful completion of the project. Since Stakeholders are not directly accountable for the project success, they may be a barrier or obstacle in achieving project objectives.
Since many ‘Lean’ projects involve multiple functions in an organization, it is important to ensure that the Project Sponsor is dedicated to the concepts of Lean and can be considered a ‘Lean Leader’ for the rest of the organization. The Sponsor is the high level contact point for the Stakeholders and needs to have assurance from the Project Manager that the Stakeholders concerns are being addressed. In addition, as many Lean projects involve groups external to the organization such as customers and suppliers, the Stakeholder may be responsible for strategic business negotiations and communicating to senior