Introduction to Mastering Project Time Management, Cost Control, and Quality Management: Proven Methods for Controlling the Three Elements that Define Project Deliverables
Managing Time, Cost, and Quality
In managing the triple constraint, project managers will discover other aspects of the project that have time, cost, and quality associated but are not directly involved in a work activity task or element of a project deliverable. Areas such as managing the project and product scope can introduce challenges in managing the triple constraint. Other areas, such as the cost of quality, the project manager’s time management system, and the management of risk, introduce areas of influence to the triple constraint the project manager must manage. These are difficult areas to quantify at the beginning of the project but nonetheless will be present throughout the project life cycle. The project manager should simply be aware of their existence and, when possible, design aspects of these influences into the schedule, budget, and quality management plan to ensure they are accounted for in some way.
Managing Project and Product Scope
The project manager has an incredible task at the beginning of a project to understand the overall project scope as well as the product scope to determine the boundaries of what the project is intending to accomplish as well as the specific requirements in developing a project deliverable. In some cases, the project manager will find the project drifting off into tangents that were not originally required but are utilizing resources and causing certain aspects of work activity to fall behind schedule. The project manager must understand the importance of managing the scope of the project to ensure the triple. constraint does not have to be managed because of unnecessary work that was not originally part of the project. The project manager also has to monitor the development of a project deliverable to ensure unnecessary additions to the deliverable—that were not originally required and that can increase costs and delay the schedule—are discovered and addressed through a change control process.
One of the first components of developing an overall project management plan is to decipher all the individual components required as work activities to develop an overall project schedule. Once all the individual work activities have been identified, other elements. such as the project budget and quality management plan, can then be developed. Because the project manager develops a project schedule based on individual work activity durations, she needs to consider other factors that will influence both the work activity durations and the overall success of completing a project on schedule, such as the following:
- Time management of the project manager
- Time management of the project staff
- Time management of unrelated project activities
Depending on his organizational skills, a particular project manager might be very good at managing work activity schedules but struggle with his own time management for various reasons. In some cases, a project manager’s disorganization can influence the schedule of a project. For example, a project manager is responsible for critical tasks in the project and does not complete them on time. This could include the management of various meetings required for the project and throughout the organization, critical communications with project staff and other organizational human resources staff, or the preparation of critical documentation that is required either on the project or for other departments within the organization. All these can affect a project schedule if they’re not completed on time.
Another important aspect that project managers can struggle with is the management of project staff. This can include the timely direction of tasks that need to be performed, reports that need to be generated, or the inclusion to meetings where critical information from certain project staff will be required for project updates. The project manager must be good at managing project staff to ensure this does not become an influence to the overall project schedule. Project managers and project staff can sometimes be caught up in unrelated activities within the organization and external to the organization that can put the project work activity schedule at risk. Project managers must be aware that their number-one priority is the management of project work activities to stay on schedule. They must manage other nonrelated activities to ensure they do not influence the primary project schedule.
Much like the influences of time management, costs can be incurred throughout the project life cycle that the project manager simply did not consider as part of direct work activity costs but that do influence the project budget. Most of the project costs directly related to work activities are part of the budget baseline of estimates. however, added costs that happen throughout the project life cycle do occur, and the project manager must address these types of costs and their effect on the triple constraint and project budget. Other costs that are not related directly to the project work activity may include the price of quality and certain elements of risk or uncertainty that can introduce added expenses. This book addresses these added expenses so that the project manager is aware of not only the direct costs involved in estimating a project budget, but also the added costs to consider when evaluating all the costs in developing a project budget.
One of the most important aspects of the triple constraint that project managers need to address is ensuring quality expectations are being met in producing the deliverable required at each work activity throughout the project life cycle to guarantee the completed project deliverable will be acceptable to the customer. This book also introduces several areas in which information can be gathered to define what quality requirements and expectations will be required for a project deliverable. At times, a project deliverable has been completed, but a customer refuses acceptance based on certain aspects of form, fit, or function that do not meet his requirements.
The first step in managing quality is to make sure the project manager understands the customer’s expectations. Customers do not always express all the specific requirements at the beginning of a project, which can be a challenge to the project manager and project team completing a project deliverable. Project managers and other project staff should be proactive in making sure they understand as much detail of the project deliverable, from a quality standpoint, as possible at the beginning to avoid quality expectation issues when the project is completed. It is also important for the project manager to understand the difference between a customer’s quality expectations and a customer’s quality requirements.