Project management training online must prepare you for all of the following challenges. They start when the boss calls you into his office and says something like, “We’ve got a big problem with the supply room. Our people are wasting dozens of hours every day because they can’t find the office supplies they need to do their jobs. I want you to run a project to fix the supply room problem.” That’s when you may do a Google search on “project management “to find out what the heck to do. Well, here’s the answer. The first thing you do is pin the boss down about exactly what he means by “fix the supply room problem.” To do project management the right way, you need to have a definition of the project’s scope, the goal that defines success. The boss’ “fix the problem” statement is way too vague. It will be a moving target and your goal will change each week because everybody can interpret it differently. . So you must ask the boss questions about how he will measure your work at the end of the project. When he says something like, “People will be able to find the supplies they need in less than 2 minutes,” you have a clear scope. Project managers know how to ask the right questions to pin down the scope. The second thing you do is subdivide that scope into the major deliverables that will take you from where you are now to the end result the boss wants. You will usually have 4 to 7 major deliverables and each one must be defined with a metric like, “fewer than two stock-outs a week in the supply room.” That’s a measured deliverable and it defines success before you and your team start work.
The third step in project management is to write your project charter. That can be a one page document that tells the boss: your understanding of the project goal, the resources you need to do the work on the major deliverables and the risks you see in the project. When the boss signs off on the charter, you can start work creating the project plan. The fourth step is to develop your project plan and schedule. To do that, you work with your team to estimate how much work each of the deliverables and tasks will require and lay out the sequence in which you will do them. Then you make the work breakdown structure (WBS) which is a hierarchy of the deliverables in your project. It’s easiest to use project software to develop your schedule. One of the best programs is Microsoft Project®, but it’s expensive. There are less expensive options like Gantter which is a free project management scheduling software that you use with your browser. (I don’t think it’s going to be free forever.) The fifth step is to get the sponsor to approve the project schedule. Then you and the team can start work on the tasks in your project plan. The sixth step is to track actual progress on those tasks and compare them to your approved schedule. You will give the sponsor status reports on how things are going and what problems you’re encountering.
When the project is complete, the seventh step is to archive all the information about the project. That data will make doing the next project a lot easier.
That’s what project management is in a nutshell.
You learn all of those skills in our project management basics courses. Take a look at the basics course in your specialty.
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