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describe the background and principles of project management

Higher National Diploma in Business and Marketing 

Unit 42: Project Management

Edexcel BTEC Level 5 HND Business and Marketing

General Note:

Many people think of a Project as being a large, complex, and very visible event, such as the building of the 2012 Olympics facilities, or a housing estate, or a city by-pass - but in the business world - in both public and private sectors - it is now accepted that many of the activities carried out within organisations are actually projects.

For example: relocating offices, restructuring, recruiting new staff, entering new customer markets, changing the product or services portfolio, implementing a new computer network, are all internal projects. As a result, it is also now widely accepted that most managers, in most organisations, need to be familiar with and able to apply project management tools and techniques.

Section 1

Demonstrate that you understand project management principles

You will need to:

 describe the background and principles of project management

Project Management was known in ancient times, but you will need to research the background to modern Project Management approaches. Today, PM principles are based on Defining Objectives, Understanding Constraints, Managing the Life Cycle of the Project, and numerous sub-principles within those.

 appraise the viability of projects, developing success/failure criteria

You’ll need to explain why an essential, critical, first step in managing any project is to carry out a Feasibility Study, and Risk Assessment, in order to be sure that the project will be viable – in financial and non-financial terms – and then discuss the importance of implementing measures/checkpoints to determine if the scope, goals, and objectives are being met, the project stages are completed on time, and the project comes in at or under budget, and if not, as there is failure, knowing what action to take.

 explain the principles behind project management systems and procedures

Following on from then first point in this Section, this is about the principles behind the systems, procedures, project team structures, technological approaches, control systems, used in managing most projects – check out the PMI Book of Knowledge and research systems such as Prince, to help with this.

Higher National Diploma in Business and Marketing Unit 42: Project Management

 explain the key elements involved in terminating projects and conducting post-project

appraisals

This is about the “Closure” stage, also known as the “Closedown”, and as well as completion of the project activity it includes the Review and Evaluation process. It is a critical stage which is often poorly managed. You need to explain what activity should be carried out in this stage, and why it is so important.

Section 2

Explain how you would manage a project’s human resources

Ideally, in your responses to this Section you should refer to a range of projects – different in size, complexity, and duration – to demonstrate that you are aware of how the structure and roles are different in different types of projects.

You will need to:

 identify the most appropriate organisational structure, roles and responsibilities of participants

within a project

The project organisational structure, and roles and responsibilities of each team member, will depend on the size, duration, and complexity of the project. There is a group of established templates – for example the Matrix Structure – which can be applied to projects. You will need to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of these, not forgetting to focus on the difference they may to the role and responsibilities of the team members and the project manager.

 control and co-ordinate a project

Remembering that the “theme” of this Section is the project’s human resources, describe the role of the project manager, specialists, and other team members, in managing and-or contributing to the progress of the project. Don’t forget this can include “external” human resources such as consultants, agency staff, temporary team members, and the Sponsor or Senior Management who are not actively involved in the operational activity.

 assess project leadership requirements and qualities

It can be argued that the leadership needed for a project is not very different to that needed in any business situation, but there are some key differences which you will need to identify and discuss. One example is that, for many projects, the team can be a temporary one, made up of individuals who may not have worked together before. This presents the leader with particular problems!

 plan and specify human resources and requirements for a project

With this one you will need to discuss the way in which human resource requirements are planned and specified in a range of different project types. Searching on Google using the phrase human resources+project+planning will produce many useful links, as will visiting the recommended websites listed at the end of this podcast.

Section 3

Demonstrate how you would apply project processes and procedures

This does require you to use a real-life project that has been agreed with your Tutor. It is not acceptable to complete this Section in a purely theoretical format.

You will need to:

 prepare project plans and establish the project organisation

You will need to select a project from within your organisation, or your local area of it, and prepare plans for that project. Ideally, discuss this with your line manager to find a reasonably complex project which

Higher National Diploma in Business and Marketing Unit 42: Project Management

is useful to your organisation, and also one that you can apply the assignment requirements to. Obtain the approval of your Tutor before you proceed. If it is impossible to select an internal project, talk with your Tutor who will help you to select a suitable external project to use.

 apply project scheduling, estimating and cost control techniques

In this section you need to discuss how you would apply tools and techniques such as Gantt Charts, Network (PERT) Charts, forecasting budget requirements, setting costs limits, and the allocation of budgets

 analyse the methods used to measure project performance

Following on from the previous point, you need to explain what methods you would use to monitor progress – such as CPA, Project Status Reports, Budget Reports, Change Management reports, etc

 explain project change control procedures

A brief description of what Change Control is, and why it is necessary to have procedures for this, plus it would help to show an example of such a procedure, as applied to the project you have selected.

 evaluate the completed project

You will need to briefly explain the Review and Evaluation process that occurs as the very last stage of any project, and why it is so important (think “lessons learned”) and apply this to your selected project. A Google search using the phrase project+review and evaluation+example will lead to many useful examples, as will visiting the websites recommended at the end of this podcast.


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