Project Management as a Discipline essay
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Project all over the world have a high tendency of not maturing to their expected final stages if proper project management techniques and principles are not applied. There exists a chunk of evidence of projects that have failed throughout the globe and the trend is particularly high in developing nations. This is mainly because the required skills has not be developed successful in those work force responsible for spearheading project management. Other emerging economies, for instance the Asia Pacific economies have transformed their economies to market oriented.
Their economies have registered a constant growth due to their urgent need to strengthen and improve all the aspects of project management. The economies have accelerated their strategies in modernization, industrialization and globalization together with the launch of projects that put into consideration aspects of complexity and diversity in different industries. As a result, project management as a discipline has been experiencing a tremendous growthin the past years in emerging economies. The rapid evolution has been registered in those economies that have acted with speed to adapt the tools of project management but the move has been of less fortune to economies that have acted slowly.
There are other factors that hinder the success of projects in developing nations, some of which include social and political systems, lack of support in terms of finances and resources and the cultural block. These challenges, however, could be reduced if the developing economies put in place to ensure that proper project implementation is done. The measure can include the transfer of experts with skills in project management from industrialized nations. For instance, a country like Vietnam which has registered good economic growth for the last around ten years and with their good economic policies, have in all times embraced the need to have proper implementation of projects and the use of project implementation techniques from more developed nations in the world. With the membership of economies in the existing international organization their knowledge in project management will be ignited and become indispensable.
A project by definition is a temporary undertaking with both defined end and beginning. The project is usually constrained by time and in other instances by resources. The project is undertaken with a view of attaining certain unique goals together with objectives. The end result of a project is either value addition or beneficial change. The project is temporary in nature as compared to the repetitive nature of businesses. The management of both the business and project is different in a lot of aspects. Therefore the two requires a distinct usage of technical skills and management (Barclay, 2002).
Project management is a tough undertaking that encompasses a lot of processes and stages. For a well established project management it must undergo the full stages of a business normally termed as the business lifecycle. The skills of a project manager are of essence from the start. The approach to be employed in a particular project will greatly depends on the clearly understanding of the project process, reliable estimation and a well considered planning. The major challenge that a project faces is the achievement of the required objectives and goals in lieu of the existing constraints. For a project to attract the anticipated benefits it requires both the administrative resources and the special skills (Costin, 2008). This will necessitate the involvement of different personalities to play the different existing roles. The role to be played by the different groups is indicated below:
The key responsibility of a project manager is to ensure that the initiated projects succeed. The successes of the project can either be direct or indirect. The manager plays a centre role as far as everything concerning the project. The project manager put in place clear and realistic objectives, setting up a list of the requirements needed for the projects objectives to be realized, offer management skills on the constraints such as time, costs and scope (Nowak, et al., 2010).
The project manager will also act as a client representative. The manager will also ensure that the needs of the clients are satisfied. The manager also identifies the particular needs of various clients as per the knowledge of the industry they are representing is concern. The manager will also liaise with the other third parties that are contracted to ensure that the needs of their clients are realized.
They are the key stakeholders and the backbone in any give project. Without their support the project will not be initiated. Therefore they have some defined role to play in ensuring the success of a particular project. The sponsors therefore ensure that the project has enough financial support and resources. The financial support can either be in kind or cash. The presence of this support will ensure a success of the project initiated.
The project sponsors together with the project management solve matters of the scope of the project, finances, monitoring of progress and also influence of others so that they can benefit from the project. The sponsors are also responsible in leading the project through the stages or process of selection or engagement all the way to its formal authorization. They therefore play a less important role in the initial development of charter and scope. In addition they play an external role of authorizing the charter. On other projects, the sponsors are also among the project team. They therefore play an active role to ensure the success of the project.
Sponsors also with the help of the management team provide solutions to issues that have been identified in the project. Their decisions are highly appreciated in instances that high level risks are encountered or being faced by the project. They also carry out periodic reviews in the early stages of a project so as to give a go ahead that the project objectives are still intact. The role of the sponsors is also required during the closure phase. They are required to accept that the project has come to an end and normally their acceptance is documented (Soota, et al., 2006).
The project team represents that group of individuals that are responsible for the execution and planning of the project. The team consists of the project manager and other members such as executive sponsor, steering committee, project sponsors and customers.
Project management as a technique to aid managers in the day to day running of the project sounds like a newly conceived concept but in reality it was developed as early as 1950s and 60s. The concept has received a very warm welcome in different sectors with every manager looking at it as the panacea of their long encountered problems. The approach is believed to be compatible to any firm regardless of its size or market share. With the changing technologies, environments like economic, social, financial or political, new competitors among others. These changes can only be incorporated in the long term plan of the project through project management (Razavi, 1996).
According to a number of scholars, project management can be characterized as looking in, looking out and looking ahead. "Looking in" mean a critical review and intensity of organizations systems and structures for managing finances, personnel and other resources. "Looking out" implies discovering away from the boundaries of your organization to set viable objectives, recognize key stakeholders and put together constituencies for change. Lastly "Looking ahead" involves bonding the organizations policy with structures and resources to arrive at the policy goals, at the same time as monitoring organizations progress and adjusting your approach as needed (Kreimer, 2000).
Firms practicing project management practices tend to outperform their counterparts that do not. In fact, executives have reported higher levels of satisfaction with project management tools and ideas than with most other management tools. Furthermore, 81 percent of companies across the world are doing project planning. In North America, the figure is even higher (89 percent). Hospitality firms also benefit from project planning as suggested by a recent study of hotels in the United Kingdom, which found that performance was positively associated with the thoroughness, sophistication, participation and formality of project planning processes.
Generally developing economies depend on foreign institutional support in order to implement their macro projects like infrastructural projects. The funds could be from bretton wood institutions such as World Bank. The qualification of these funds will include the attachment of an history on well managed projects. The emerging economies normally experience a slow release of the funds due to their known poor strategies on implementation of projects. The projects in developing nations usually experience delays, major changes and cost overrun. Though there are other factors that contribute to poor performance of projects, the most considered one is the lack of proper project management training on the group of individuals that are spearheading the projects.
Donors look at the people responsible for the implementation of the project before they accept to make any disbursements (Al-Shammari, 2009). In this case they look at their knowledge and experience as far as management of projects is concern. They also believe that the existence of the modern methodologies on project management will boost economic growth hence an improvement in the living standards of the people. Vietnam has endeavor in restructuring its economy to a market oriented one since 1986 (Parnaby, 2003). This has been seen through a continuous training of the team responsible for the implementation of the various projects. The country is supposed to be industrialized by the year 2020.
Emerging economies have varying degrees of development with a less maturity in terms of project management; they have a continuous desire to have their tools, techniques and knowledge on project development upgraded. The success in the transfer of both the modern principles and methodologies on project management will depends on the motivation the relevant project team has. When the team is well motivated in terms of government support and availability of enough resources they will discharge their responsibilities properly. Project management will not be complete if the management team is not well motivated. Motivation is more than the remuneration paid to the project managers.
The implementation of projects also involve the participation of a number of people, therefore the project managers should exercise proper leadership skill. The project management should not exercise authoritative form of leadership because some of the people who are under him have their loyalty vested in other authorities. Therefore, for a smooth management of the project the kind of leadership that the project executives should practice should be a liaises faire style. This form of leadership will give the different parties to the project a conducive environment to undertake their and put into experiment their professional skills. All these will work together in ensuring the success of the project. The project manager should also exercise control as a management tool in ensuring that the project still go along the stipulated objectives. The control will also help in accountability and transparency in terms of project resources (Agrahari, 2007).
Developing economies face a lot of challenges in the process of adopting modern project management, the challenges include;
Project integration management which include the activities and processes that are required to define, identify, combine, coordinate and unify the different project management processes and activities. It ensures a proper coordination of the different components of the project. The training in integration management is of essence in carrying out project management processes. The developing economies pose a challenge to the training because there is a difficulty in the process of ensuring a top-down approach to any process. The developing economies have a difficulty with decision making process. This will hamper the planning process of the different projects (Kiggundu, 2002).
Project scope management makes up the processes that are required to ensure the projects incorporates all the work necessary to complete the project. The process therefore encounters a lot of problems because the implementers of the projects are the investors. Therefore the utilization of the modern techniques of project management is at low pace. This clearly points out the lack of sufficient knowledge as far as scope management is concerned. The project will face the difficulties of scope changes. The presences of bureaucracy also pose a threat to the embracement of modern methodologies (Kerzner, 2010).
Project time management encompasses the processes that ensure that all the projects are completed within the specified time period. There should be use of modern technologies for instance software's on project management and proper training on project time management. There are a lot of in efficiencies that hamper the ability of the projects to be completed within the required timelines. The process also relies on the client's ability to understand and implement the importance of timelines in a particular project. The required training should be on how to decentralize the process of planning. The decentralization will lead to a proper establishment of the project activities. The willingness of the clients will be a necessity for a proper training to be carried out.
Project cost management is the processes that include planning, budgeting, estimation and controlling of project costs. The processes ensure that the projects are completed as per the stated budget. The measure of costs is the most important element in project implementation process n emerging economies. The approval of the budget is the biggest milestone that has t be overcome in developing nations. There is a known lack of cost management skills in developing world (Ajmal, 2009). There are inefficiencies in training and tools required in cost estimation and methodologies. Again existence of bureaucratic regulations and corruption has hampered the process of giving adequate training to the cost management team. The cost management teams are responsible in the promotion of transparency in budgets. The training is of great help during the process of project implementation.
Project risk management comprise of the processes that deals with the issues of ascertain the risks that are to be encountered in the process of project implementation. Therefore the management of these risks are of essence in ensuring a proper project management. The risks are normally related to failure of machines and not management. The training will ensure a quick understanding of signals of any risks whether technical or non-technical. The emerging economies have experienced a failure in ensuring that good procedures exist in the management of risks (Hittiz, 2009).
Human resource management encompasses processes that manage and organize the project team. They form part of those activities that are required to ensure that the people are well organized. The better organization of the people ensure that the project survive for its entire life span. Developing economies still lack the abilities to put in place effective and efficient project structures. The staffs that are carrying out the process of project implementation should be given enough training to ensure that the projects are implemented to the later (Al-Shammari, 2010).
Project quality management deals with all the processes that are concerned with the policies to be put in place to ensure quality objectives so that the projects initiated satisfy the needs of the clients. The developing economies have poor results as far as the implementation of the project is concern. Proper training should be given on aspect to deal with clear set of policies and objectives (Diamond, 2006).
Developing economies are openly and increasingly recognizing the need to have all projects managed well especially in this time of globalization. Even though the emerging economies have varying degrees of development, they all embrace the fact that for them to have better implementation of projects they should transfer expertise and technology from the developed economies in the world. This is because the developed economies have registered benefits that have resulted from proper management of projects. Successful implementation of projects is appearing to be a prerequisite in the existing competitive open market economy. It has therefore acted as the cornerstone for the success of the developing economies; this is due to the growing competition globally. An effective training on project management techniques will help developing economies to upgrade the skills of the work force in project management especially the project managers. The skills will greatly help in ensuring a proper management and execution of projects.
In addition it will ensure the use of new technologies and a more transparent, just and accountable ways in which projects are managed and the satisfaction of clients realized. The success of the Chinas economy for the last ten years has been attributed to the effective training that has been constantly offered to the project team. There is a strong believe that, the access and availability of project management tools, knowledge, skills and techniques which is acquired from the training that is offered by international experts on the matter of project management has greatly helped the project managers in emerging economies to discharge their responsibilities in a smart way. The knowledge has contributed in the growth of their businesses translating to a higher growth rate in the country and an improve n the societies living standards. The training will help equip the project managers with the relevant skills that are necessary during times of big challenges that occur during the process of ensuring an efficient and effective management of the projects. The world is ever changing and project managers should have as a necessity a periodic training so as to improve their excellence scale. When the developing nations succeed in their fight against the challenges that they face in the process of managing projects through the adoption and utilization of modern project principles and techniques of management, they will register a growth in their project management facets, hence the realization of both the globalization and industrialization processes.