Effective project management is broken down into four P’s: people, product, process and project. These principles can be attributed to web, software, marketing and so on. Communication and collaboration is all about the people. The product must address the correct problem. A sound process keeps the project efficiently moving forward, and a project plan provides a road map to success. Understanding the four P’s can greatly improve your project’s chances for success.
At the beginning of the project management process the product isn’t always defined. As a BA or PM it will be your task to at a minimum establish and define the scope of the product.
Defining the scope
The project must be understandable at management and technical levels. There is also a great deal of requirements gathering and analysis, but that’s later in the process. Understanding the scope and what you’re trying to accomplish plays into the requirements. Defining the scope begins with answering the following questions:
- Context. How does this product fit into business processes? What systems will the product interact with? What constraints are the result of these dependencies?
- Objectives. What do you want the product to get from the customer? What do you want the customer to do with the product?
- Function. What actions will the product perform? How will you gather and measure metrics from the product?
Understanding the problem
A requirements analysis is where you’ll break down the entire problem into reasonable chunks. Before this can be done, however, understanding the problem is done by understanding two themes: 1) functionality to be delivered and 2) the process to deliver it.
Whether the product is a marketing campaign, website or software there is functionality that will be needed to engage the end user. There are steps that are involved to reach the objectives set for the product. Some examples include:
- Capture user data to enter in a CRM
- Register users for an event
- Allow a user to manage financial data
- A user purchases an item in a shopping cart
Every example is a piece of functionality that could be delivered by a product. They are examples of functionality that could be used to determine whether or not the product has delivered these needs. The product’s end result will be graded on if it can deliver these functions.
The project manager and her team will be responsible to execute the process to deliver the functionality of the product. Those processes may already be defined by other business practices or a new process will need to be created and managed by the project management team. When a PM is developing a new process she will likely to create buy-in from internal stakeholders before execution.
Pressman, Roger S. (2005). Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
This concludes Part 2 of the Four P’s of Project Management. How do you identify the problems a product addresses? What are some other examples of unique products you’ve managed?