Lean Project Management

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Lean project management is the application of lean concepts such as lean construction, lean manufacturing and lean thinking to project management.

Lean project management has many ideas in common with other lean concepts; however, the main principle of lean project management is delivering more value with less waste in a project context.

Lean Project Management applies all five of those principles to project management.

“Lean” is a systematic method for the elimination of waste (“Muda”) within a manufacturing system. Lean also takes into account waste created through overburden (“Muri”) and waste created through unevenness in work loads (“Mura”). Working from the perspective of the client who consumes a product or service, “value” is any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.

Lean approach makes obvious what adds value by reducing everything else which does not add value. This management philosophy is derived mostly from the Toyota Production System (TPS) and identified as “lean” only in the 1990s. TPS is renowned for its focus on reduction of the original Toyota seven wastes to improve overall customer value, but there are varying perspectives on how this is best achieved. The steady growth of Toyota, from a small company to the world’s largest automaker, has focused attention on how it has achieved this success.

In general, a project can be said to be Lean if it applies the principles of lean thinking.. There are, however, different implementations of this idea that don’t necessarily apply all of the principles with equal weight.

Two well-known types are “Kanban” and “Last Planner System”.

The term Kanban comes from manufacturing but was adapted for software development by David Anderson when he was working at Microsoft in 2005 and inherited an underperforming maintenance team. The success of the approach in that environment, led Anderson to experiment with Kanban in projects, with similarly positive results. As Anderson publicised his findings through talks and his book , software developers began to experiment with Kanban and it is now one of the most widely used methods for managing agile software development projects.

The Last Planner System is used principally in construction and particularly focuses on pull and flow but perhaps more important than those is its emphasis on a collaborative approach in which all trades work together to create a visual representation of the work that needs to be done.

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Change Control

15Change control within quality management systems (QMS) and information technology (IT) systems is a process—either formal or informal—used to ensure that changes to a product or system are introduced in a controlled and coordinated manner. It reduces the possibility that unnecessary changes will be introduced to a system without forethought, introducing faults into the system or undoing changes made by other users of software. The goals of a change control procedure usually include minimal disruption to services, reduction in back-out activities, and cost-effective utilization of resources involved in implementing change.

Change control is used in various industries, including in IT, software development, the pharmaceutical industry, the medical device industry, and other engineering/manufacturing industries. For the IT and software industries, change control is a major aspect of the broader discipline of change management. Typical examples from the computer and network environments are patches to software products, installation of new operating systems, upgrades to network routing tables, or changes to the electrical power systems supporting such infrastructure.

Certain portions of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library cover change control.

There is considerable overlap and confusion between change management, configuration management and change control. The definition below is not yet integrated with definitions of the others.

Change control can be described as a set of six steps:

Consider the primary and ancillary details of the proposed change. Should include aspects such as identifying the change, its owner(s), how it will be communicated and executed, how success will be verified, the change’s estimate of importance, its added value, its conformity to business and industry standards, and its target date for completion.

Impact and risk assessment is the next vital step. When executed, will the proposed plan cause something to go wrong? Will related systems be impacted by the proposed change? Even minor details should be considered during this phase. Afterwards, a risk category should ideally be assigned to the proposed change: high-, moderate-, or low-risk. High-risk change requires many additional steps such as management approval and stakeholder notification, whereas low-risk change may only require project manager approval and minimal documentation. If not addressed in the plan/scope, the desire for a backout plan should be expressed, particularly for high-risk changes that have significant worst-case scenarios.

Whether it’s a change controller, change control board, steering committee, or project manager, a review and approval process is typically required. The plan/scope and impact/risk assessments are considered in the context of business goals, requirements, and resources. If, for example, the change request is deemed to address a low severity, low impact issue that requires significant resources to correct, the request may be made low priority or shelved altogether. In cases where a high-impact change is requested but without a strong plan, the review/approval entity may request a full business case may be requested for further analysis.

If the change control request is approved to move forward, the delivery team will execute the solution through a small-scale development process in test or development environments. This allows the delivery team an opportunity to design and make incremental changes, with unit and/or regression testing. Little in the way of testing and validation may occur for low-risk changes, though major changes will require significant testing before implementation. They will then seek approval and request a time and date to carry out the implementation phase. In rare cases where the solution can’t be tested, special consideration should be made towards the change/implementation window.

In most cases a special implementation team with the technical expertise to quickly move a change along is used to implement the change. The team should also be implementing the change not only according to the approved plan but also according to organizational standards, industry standards, and quality management standards. The implementation process may also require additional staff responsibilities outside the implementation team, including stakeholders who may be asked to assist with troubleshooting. Following implementation, the team may also carry out a post-implementation review, which would take place at another stakeholder meeting or during project closing procedures.

The closing process can be one of the more difficult and important phases of change control. Three primary tasks at this end phase include determining that the project is actually complete, evaluating “the project plan in the context of project completion,” and providing tangible proof of project success. If despite best efforts something went wrong during the change control process, a post-mortem on what happened will need to be run, with the intent of applying lessons learned to future changes.

In a Good Manufacturing Practice regulated industry, the topic is frequently encountered by its users. Various industrial guidances and commentaries are available for people to comprehend this concept. As a common practice, the activity is usually directed by one or more SOPs. From the information technology perspective for clinical trials, it has been guided by another U.S. Food and Drug Administration document.

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Process Area Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)

The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) defines a Process Area as, “A cluster of related practices in an area that, when implemented collectively, satisfies a set of goals considered important for making improvement in that area.” Both CMMI for Development v1.3 and CMMI for Acquisition v1.3 identify 22 process areas, whereas CMMI for Services v1.3 identifies 24 process areas. Many of the process areas are the same in these three models.

In CMMI models, the process areas are organized in alphabetical order according to their acronym. However, process areas can be grouped according to maturity levels or process area categories.

There are Five maturity levels. However, maturity level ratings are awarded for levels 2 through 5. The process areas below and their maturity levels are listed for the CMMI for Development model:

Maturity Level 2 – Managed

Maturity Level 3 – Defined

Maturity Level 4 – Quantitatively Managed

Maturity Level 5 – Optimizing

The process areas below and their maturity levels are listed for the CMMI for Services model:

Maturity Level 2 – Managed

Maturity Level 3 – Defined (this includes the process areas that make up the previous levels; Maturity Level 3 is made up of the process areas in Level 2 and Level 3)

Maturity Level 4 – Quantitatively Managed

Maturity Level 5 – Optimizing

The process areas below and their maturity levels are listed for the CMMI for Acquisition model:

Maturity Level 2 – Managed

Maturity Level 3 – Defined

Maturity Level 4 – Quantitatively Managed

Maturity Level 5 – Optimizing

There are two categories of goals and practices: generic and specific. Specific goals and practices are specific to a process area. Generic goals and practices are a part of every process area. A process area is satisfied when organizational processes cover all of the generic and specific goals and practices for that process area.

Generic goals and practices are a part of every process area.

Each process area is defined by a set of goals and practices. These goals and practices appear only in that process area.

CMMI for Development, Version 1.2 contains 22 process areas indicating the aspects of product and service development that are to be covered by organizational processes. For a summary of process areas for each model, see these quick reference documents available on the SEI website:

Purpose

The purpose of Agreement Management (AM) is to ensure that the supplier and the acquirer perform according to the terms of the supplier agreement.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Capacity and Availability Management (CAM) is to ensure effective service system performance and
ensure that resources are provided and used effectively to support service requirements.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Causal Analysis and Resolution (CAR) is to identify causes of selected outcomes and take action to improve process performance.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Configuration Management (CM) is to establish and maintain the integrity of work products using configuration identification, configuration control, configuration status accounting, and configuration audits.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Decision Analysis and Resolution (DAR) is to analyze possible decisions using a formal evaluation process that evaluates identified alternatives against established criteria.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Integrated Project Management (IPM) is to establish and manage the project and the involvement of relevant stakeholders according to an integrated and defined process that is tailored from the organization’s set of standard processes.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Measurement and Analysis (MA) is to develop and sustain a measurement capability used to support management information needs.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Organizational Process Definition (OPD) is to establish and maintain a usable set of organizational process assets, work environment standards, and rules and guidelines for teams.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Organizational Process Focus (OPF) is to plan, implement, and deploy organizational process improvements based on a thorough understanding of current strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s processes and process assets.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Organizational Performance Management (OPM) is to proactively manage the organization’s performance to meet its business objectives.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Organizational Process Performance (OPP) is to establish and maintain a quantitative understanding of the performance of selected processes in the organization’s set of standard processes in support of achieving quality and process performance objectives, and to provide process performance data, baselines, and models to quantitatively manage the organization’s projects.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Organizational Training (OT) is to develop skills and knowledge of people so they can perform their roles effectively and efficiently.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Product Integration (PI) is to assemble the product from the product components, ensure that the product, as integrated, behaves properly (i.e., possesses the required functionality and quality attributes), and deliver the product.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Project Monitoring and Control (PMC) is to provide an understanding of the project’s progress so that appropriate corrective actions can be taken when the project’s performance deviates significantly from the plan.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Project Planning (PP) is to establish and maintain plans that define project activities.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Process and Product Quality Assurance (PPQA) is to provide staff and management with objective insight into processes and associated work products.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of the Quantitative Project Management (QPM) process area is to quantitatively manage the project to achieve the project’s established quality and process performance objectives.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Requirements Development (RD) is to elicit, analyze, and establish customer, product, and product component requirements.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Requirements Management (REQM) is to manage requirements of the project’s products and product components and to ensure alignment between those requirements and the project’s plans and work products.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Risk Management (RSKM) is to identify potential problems before they occur so that risk handling activities can be planned and invoked as needed across the life of the product or project to mitigate adverse impacts on achieving objectives.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Supplier Agreement Management (SAM) is to manage the acquisition of products from suppliers.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Technical Solution (TS) is to select design and implement solutions to requirements. Solutions, designs, and implementations encompass products, product components, and product related lifecycle processes either singly or in combination as appropriate.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Validation (VAL) is to demonstrate that a product or product component fulfills its intended use when placed in its intended environment.

Specific Practices by Goal

Purpose

The purpose of Verification (VER) is to ensure that selected work products meet their specified requirements.

Specific Practices by Goal

Only changes made to the set of Process Areas are considered here. For more information about the changes made to Version 1.2, see the Version 1.2 Release Notes or for the definitive list of changes, take the CMMI Version 1.2 Upgrade Training.

Some significant improvements in CMMI-DEV, V1.3 include the following:

For a more complete and detailed list of improvements, see http://www.sei.cmu.edu/cmmi/tools/cmmiv1-3/comparison.cfm. An overview of the changes is described in http://www.benlinders.com/2011/cmmi-v1-3-summing-up/.

Table: Process Areas, Categories, and Maturity Levels

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Project Workforce Management (PWM)

Project workforce management is the practice of combining the coordination of all logistic elements of a project through a single software application (or workflow engine). This includes planning and tracking of schedules and mileposts, cost and revenue, resource allocation, as well as overall management of these project elements. Efficiency is improved by eliminating manual processes, like spreadsheet tracking to monitor project progress. It also allows for at-a-glance status updates and ideally integrates with existing legacy applications in order to unify ongoing projects, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and broader organizational goals. There are a lot of logistic elements in a project. Different team members are responsible for managing each element and often, the organisation may have a mechanism to manage some logistic areas as well.

By coordinating these various components of project management, workforce management and financials through a single solution, the process of configuring and changing project and workforce details is simplified.

A project workforce management system defines project tasks, project positions, and assigns personnel to the project positions. The project tasks and positions are correlated to assign a responsible project position or even multiple positions to complete each project task. Because each project position may be assigned to a specific person, the qualifications and availabilities of that person can be taken into account when determining the assignment. By associating project tasks and project positions, a manager can better control the assignment of the workforce and complete the project more efficiently.

When it comes to project workforce management, it is all about managing all the logistic aspects of a project or an organisation through a software application. Usually, this software has a workflow engine defined. Therefore, all the logistic processes take place in the workflow engine.

This invention relates to project management systems and methods, more particularly to a software-based system and method for project and workforce management.

Due to the software usage, all the project workflow management tasks can be fully automated without leaving many tasks for the project managers. This returns high efficiency to the project management when it comes to project tracking proposes. In addition to different tracking mechanisms, project workforce management software also offer a dashboard for the project team. Through the dashboard, the project team has a glance view of the overall progress of the project elements.

Most of the times, project workforce management software can work with the existing legacy software systems such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. This easy integration allows the organisation to use a combination of software systems for management purposes.

Good project management is an important factor for the success of a project. A project may be thought of as a collection of activities and tasks designed to achieve a specific goal of the organisation, with specific performance or quality requirements while meeting any subject time and cost constraints. Project management refers to managing the activities that lead to the successful completion of a project. Furthermore, it focuses on finite deadlines and objectives. A number of tools may be used to assist with this as well as with assessment.

Project management may be used when planning personnel resources and capabilities. The project may be linked to the objects in a professional services life cycle and may accompany the objects from the opportunity over quotation, contract, time and expense recording, billing, period-end-activities to the final reporting. Naturally the project gets even more detailed when moving through this cycle.

For any given project, several project tasks should be defined. Project tasks describe the activities and phases that have to be performed in the project such as writing of layouts, customising, testing. What is needed is a system that allows project positions to be correlated with project tasks. Project positions describe project roles like project manager, consultant, tester, etc. Project-positions are typically arranged linearly within the project. By correlating project tasks with project positions, the qualifications and availability of personnel assigned to the project positions may be considered.

Good project management should:

When it comes to project workforce management, it is all about managing all the logistic aspects of a project or an organisation through a software application. Usually, this software has a workflow engine defined in them. So, all the logistic processes take place in the workflow engine.

The regular and most common types of tasks handled by project workforce management software or a similar workflow engine are:

Regularly monitoring your project’s schedule performance can provide early indications of possible activity-coordination problems, resource conflicts, and possible cost overruns. To monitor schedule performance. Collecting information and evaluating it ensure a project accuracy.

The project schedule outlines the intended result of the project and what’s required to bring it to completion. In the schedule, we need to include all the resources involved and cost and time constraints through a work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS outlines all the tasks and breaks them down into specific deliverables.

The importance of tracking actual costs and resource usage in projects depends upon the project situation.

Tracking actual costs and resource usage is an essential aspect of the project control function.

Organisational profitability is directly connected to project management efficiency and optimal resource utilisation. To sum up, organisations that struggle with either or both of these core competencies typically experience cost overruns, schedule delays and unhappy customers.

The focus for project management is the analysis of project performance to determine whether a change is needed in the plan for the remaining project activities to achieve the project goals.

Risk identification consists of determining which risks are likely to affect the project and documenting the characteristics of each.

Project communication management is about how communication is carried out during the course of the project

It is of no use completing a project within the set time and budget if the final product is of poor quality. The project manager has to ensure that the final product meets the quality expectations of the stakeholders. This is done by good:

There are three main differences between Project Workforce Management and traditional project management and workforce management disciplines and solutions:

All project and workforce processes are designed, controlled and audited using a built-in graphical workflow engine. Users can design, control and audit the different processes involved in the project. The graphical workflow is quite attractive for the users of the system and allows the users to have a clear idea of the workflow engine.

Project Workforce Management provides organization and work breakdown structures to create, manage and report on functional and approval hierarchies, and to track information at any level of detail. Users can create, manage, edit and report work breakdown structures. Work breakdown structures have different abstraction levels, so the information can be tracked at any level. Usually, project workforce management has approval hierarchies. Each workflow created will go through several records before it becomes an organisational or project standard. This helps the organisation to reduce the inefficiencies of the process, as it is audited by many stakeholders.

Unlike traditional disconnected project, workforce and billing management systems that are solely focused on tracking IT projects, internal workforce costs or billable projects, Project Workforce Management is designed to unify the coordination of all project and workforce processes, whether internal, shared (IT) or billable.

A project workforce management system defines project tasks, project positions and assigns personnel to the project positions. The project tasks and project positions are correlated to assign a responsible project position or positions to complete each project task. Because each project position may be assigned to a specific person, the qualification and availabilities of the person can be taken into account when determining the assignment. By correlating the project tasks and project positions, a manager can better control the assignment of the workforce and complete projects more efficiently.

Project workflow management is one of the best methods for managing different aspects of project. If the project is complex, then the outcomes for the project workforce management could be more effective.

For simple projects or small organisations, project workflow management may not add much value, but for more complex projects and big organisations, managing project workflow will make a big difference. This is because that small organisations or projects do not have a significant overhead when it comes to managing processes. There are many project workforce management, but many organisations prefer to adopt unique solutions.

Therefore, organisation gets software development companies to develop custom project workflow managing systems for them. This has proved to be the most suitable way of getting the best project workforce management system acquired for the company.

Systems Design

Systems design is the process of defining the architecture, modules, interfaces, and data for a system to satisfy specified requirements. Systems design could be seen as the application of systems theory to product development. There is some overlap with the disciplines of systems analysis, systems architecture and systems engineering.

If the broader topic of product development “blends the perspective of marketing, design, and manufacturing into a single approach to product development,” then design is the act of taking the marketing information and creating the design of the product to be manufactured. Systems design is therefore the process of defining and developing systems to satisfy specified requirements of the user.

Until the 1990s, systems design had a crucial and respected role in the data processing industry. In the 1990s, standardization of hardware and software resulted in the ability to build modular systems. The increasing importance of software running on generic platforms has enhanced the discipline of software engineering.

The architectural design of a system emphasizes the design of the system architecture that describes the structure, behavior and more views of that system and analysis.

The logical design of a system pertains to an abstract representation of the data flows, inputs and outputs of the system. This is often conducted via modelling, using an over-abstract (and sometimes graphical) model of the actual system. In the context of systems, designs are included. Logical design includes entity-relationship diagrams (ER diagrams).

The physical design relates to the actual input and output processes of the system. This is explained in terms of how data is input into a system, how it is verified/authenticated, how it is processed, and how it is displayed.
In physical design, the following requirements about the system are decided.

Put another way, the physical portion of system design can generally be broken down into three sub-tasks:

User Interface Design is concerned with how users add information to the system and with how the system presents information back to them. Data Design is concerned with how the data is represented and stored within the system. Finally, Process Design is concerned with how data moves through the system, and with how and where it is validated, secured and/or transformed as it flows into, through and out of the system. At the end of the system design phase, documentation describing the three sub-tasks is produced and made available for use in the next phase.

Physical design, in this context, does not refer to the tangible physical design of an information system. To use an analogy, a personal computer’s physical design involves input via a keyboard, processing within the CPU, and output via a monitor, printer, etc. It would not concern the actual layout of the tangible hardware, which for a PC would be a monitor, CPU, motherboard, hard drive, modems, video/graphics cards, USB slots, etc.
It involves a detailed design of a user and a product database structure processor and a control processor. The H/S personal specification is developed for the proposed system.

Rapid application development (RAD) is a methodology in which a system designer produces prototypes for an end-user. The end-user reviews the prototype, and offers feedback on its suitability. This process is repeated until the end-user is satisfied with the final system.

Joint application design (JAD) is a methodology which evolved from RAD, in which a system designer consults with a group consisting of the following parties:

JAD involves a number of stages, in which the group collectively develops an agreed pattern for the design and implementation of the system.