Project Management: Strategic Design and Implementation by David I. Cleland, Lewis R. Ireland in 2006 posit that the successful design, development and implementation of projects are very complex and at times daunting tasks for many project managers. The authors argue that the sum of growth in competition and globalization, institutionalization of innovation-based economics, rapid development of technologies, the uses of outer resources, increase in the significance of customers focus and the shortening of products and services cycles means that projects management has become a multifaceted issue for majority of businesses today. In essence, this has resulted in the need for the adoption and focus on project based management of business activities. Indeed the authors emphasize the need for a multi-project environmental management of projects that pays cognizance to the key ingredients that will ensure for the success in projects.
This paper will synthesis, analyze and dissect the key attributes that are seen to be inherently important for ensuring effective project management as presented by David I. Cleland, Lewis R. Ireland in their collection - Project Management: Strategic Design and Implementation- 5th edition. Towards this, an insightful and succinct discussion of the following key factors for successful projects shall be done; appropriate senior management levels commitment to the project, adequate project funding, project requirements analysis and specifications, stakeholder's involvement, risks management and presence of a contingent plan. While several dimensions could be pursued under each element, the authors abide in the fact that all key ingredients to effective project management demand the best management of information.
The authors call for paying cognizance to the following key factors:
The success of projects will to a large extent rely on the interests, support and commitment of the senior management. This is in order to ensure that everybody in the project team and indeed the whole employees are focused and committed. Most projects in organization are sometimes conceived, funded and developed without appropriate senior management involvement or approval. Armstrong (2007) has for example noted that some projects go forward without the management clearly conceptualizing what the project entails. A distinction between mere approval and commitment should be clearly discerned so that the projects run smoothly. Efficient project management should however ensure that projects approvals are not based on hype and unrealistic calculations but on a framework that encapsulates a realistic assessment of the projects benefits, risks and costs.
Requirements analysis should be carried out in order to develop the architectural design or frameworks for the initiation and inception of the project. This calls for a
Thorough discussion between the clients and/or the stakeholders in order that all the salient issues are brought to the fore and the project is set off on a sound footing. According to Armstrong (2007), client consultation at all the stages of project development should always be done in order to avoid situations where repeated references to the project requirements are the case or projects are discontinued entirely. Requirements analysis should be detailed and the analysis or the project manager should visit, communicate and discuss the project requirements with the clients on a conclusive and comprehensive manner. A clear delineation of what will be delivered or not within projects scope should ideally be done.
Basically, the authors point it out that there are three main benefits to be realized through the development of a clear, comprehensive and elaborate project plan. One such benefit is that through adequate planning, the planners are able to present a clear and well documented or properly focused understanding of project. Secondly, adequate planning ensures that all issues have been underlined which helps avoid instances of overlooking some issues that may later prove problematic. Finally, adequate planning reinforces and helps build confidence in the success of the project. Jiang and Gary (2001) elucidates that project planning should never be viewed as a waste of time. This point has been buttressed by Armstrong (2007) who has advanced that a very strong correlation between the lengths of time allocated to the project planning and the ultimate project's success abides.
It is important that a detailed risks assessment is carried out so as to ensure for the success of a project. Essentially, risks assessment may fall into two categories, i.e. the more usual and obvious risks and the risks that may be generated from the functions and requirements of a particular problem (Lock, 2007). A businesslike approach to project management requires carefully considering and addressing these risks with internal customers and senior management as part of the project's approval process. If the risk analysis leads to a decision not to move forward, it is much better for everyone involved that the decision is made sooner, rather than later. Armstrong (2007) has advised that it is prudent to consider the possibility of some failures in the projects that would call for the development of contingent plans to overcome difficult situations should they arise. As (Raz, & Erez, 1999) a project may have to incorporate items that were overlooked, or changes in the business needs associated with the project. This means schedule delays and additional project expense may have to be experienced. This may result in delay of some projects that were dependent on this project or indeed some other business activities. Successfully and efficient project management will therefore entail the development of contingent plans to mitigate against such occurrences.
In the course of projects development, a lot of issues and difficulties may arise. Thus, while some problems may have been anticipated, some occurrences, the need to clear to meet deadlines among others may create insurmountable pressures and tensions. These must be mitigated through the adoption of sound management approaches that ensures that issues and matters arising are addressed and mitigated. In some instances, continued top management support must be continually sought so that commitment to the project remains true, un-anticipated funding requirements are met or delays in operations are understood. In obtaining senior management support, project managers must be willing to present an accurate picture of the potential difficulties inherent in the project. Insofar as is practical, senior management must be given a realistic assessment of the potential for difficulty and be willing to stay the course if things go wrong.
Organizations attempting to find and resolve all project difficulties and potential difficulties may not find the issues presented in this books all inclusive as there are a lot more issues that must be paid cognizance for the efficient project management. However, while this may not be perfect information source, it can nonetheless be adjudged that paying attention to the issues raised, a project manager will be better prepared and knowledgeable enough that undoubtedly greatly enhances the likelihood of a successful project.