Tasks in Project Management

In project management, a task is an activity that needs to be accomplished within a defined period of time or by a deadline to work towards work-related goals. It is a small essential piece of a job that serves as a means to differentiate various components of a project. A task can be broken down into assignments which should also have a defined start and end date or a deadline for completion. One or more assignments on a task puts the task under execution. Completion of all assignments on a specific task normally renders the task completed. Tasks can be linked together to create dependencies.

Tasks completion generally requires the coordination of others. Coordinated human interaction takes on the role of combining the integration of time, energy, effort, ability, and resources of multiple individuals to meet a common goal. Coordination can also be thought of as the critical mechanism that links or ties together the efforts on the singular level to that of the larger task being completed by multiple members. Coordination allows for the successful completion of the otherwise larger tasks that one might encounter.

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Project Stakeholder

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the term project stakeholder refers to, “an individual, group, or organization, who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project” (Project Management Institute, 2013). ISO 21500 uses a similar definition.

Project stakeholders are entities that have an interest in a given project. These stakeholders may be inside or outside an organization which:

The following are examples of project stakeholders:

Rather than focusing on one subset of stakeholders, Lynda Bourne advocates prioritizing all stakeholders and focusing your attention on the “most important” at this point in time. Her view of importance encompasses an assessment of the power, proximity and urgency associated with each stakeholder. She calls her methodology a “Stakeholder Circle”.

The rationale for this emphasis on decision makers is part of project stakeholder management and a key component in affecting change in an organization. John Kotter describes stakeholder analysis and stakeholder management as essential components of change management.

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Project Portfolio Management (PPM)

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Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the centralized management of the processes, methods, and technologies used by project managers and project management offices (PMOs) to analyze and collectively manage current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics. The objectives of PPM are to determine the optimal resource mix for delivery and to schedule activities to best achieve an organization’s operational and financial goals, while honouring constraints imposed by customers, strategic objectives, or external real-world factors. The International standard defines the framework of the Project Portfolio Management

PPM provides program and project managers in large, program/project-driven organizations with the capabilities needed to manage the time, resources, skills, and budgets necessary to accomplish all interrelated tasks. It provides a framework for issue resolution and risk mitigation, as well as the centralized visibility to help planning and scheduling teams to identify the fastest, cheapest, or most suitable approach to deliver projects and programs. Portfolio Managers define Key Performance Indicators and the strategy for their portfolio .

Pipeline management involves steps to ensure that an adequate number of project proposals are generated and evaluated to determine whether (and how) a set of projects in the portfolio can be executed with finite development resources in a specified time. There are three major sub-components to pipeline management: ideation, work intake processes, and Phase-Gate reviews. Fundamental to pipeline management is the ability to align the decision-making process for estimating and selecting new capital investment projects with the strategic plan.

The focus on the efficient and effective deployment of an organization’s resources where and when they are needed. These can include financial resources, inventory, human resources, technical skills, production, and design. In addition to project-level resource allocation, users can also model ‘what-if’ resource scenarios, and extend this view across the portfolio.

The capture and prioritization of change requests that can include new requirements, features, functions, operational constraints, regulatory demands, and technical enhancements. PPM provides a central repository for these change requests and the ability to match available resources to evolving demand within the financial and operational constraints of individual projects.

With PPM, the Office of Finance can improve their accuracy for estimating and managing the financial resources of a project or group of projects. In addition, the value of projects can be demonstrated in relation to the strategic objectives and priorities of the organization through financial controls and to assess progress through earned value and other project financial techniques.

An analysis of the risk sensitivities residing within each project, as the basis for determining confidence levels across the portfolio. The integration of cost and schedule risk management with techniques for determining contingency and risk response plans, enable organizations to gain an objective view of project uncertainties.

In the early 2000s, many PPM vendors realized that project portfolio reporting services only addressed part of a wider need for PPM in the marketplace. Another more senior audience had emerged, sitting at management and executive levels above detailed work execution and schedule management, who required a greater focus on process improvement and ensuring the viability of the portfolio in line with overall strategic objectives. In addition, as the size, scope, complexity, and geographical spread of organizations’ project portfolios continued to grow, greater visibility was needed of project work across the enterprise, allied to improved resource utilization and capacity planning.

Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) is a top-down approach to managing all project-intensive work and resources across the enterprise. This contrasts with the traditional approach of combining manual processes, desktop project tools, and PPM applications for each project portfolio environment.

The PPM landscape is evolving rapidly as a result of the growing preference for managing multiple capital investment initiatives from a single, enterprise-wide system. This more centralized approach, and resulting ‘single version of the truth’ for project and project portfolio information, provides the transparency of performance needed by management to monitor progress versus the strategic plan.

The key aims of EPPM can be summarized as follows:

A key result of PPM is to decide which projects to fund in an optimal manner. Project Portfolio Optimization (PPO) is the effort to make the best decisions possible under these conditions.