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. The selection of the proper Process for a project is a task that cannot be overlooked.
The source of the process
Project managers are often times in charge of determining the process in which a project will be completed. The process may be defined by the current environment or executive leadership, but the project manager is looked upon to help lead those decisions at other times.
The decision on which process is to be used includes:
- The end-users of the product and the team who is doing the work.
- The product itself.
- The environment in which the developing teams work.
There is no one best process to have a successful project. Others will tell you an agile approach is the way to go. Others will swear by SCRUM or another variation. Whether the project is big or small the best way process is what gives your project and team the best chance for success.
The process and project plan
Once you have the process chosen you need to include it in the project plan. Determine the tasks that need to be completed and create a roadmap to the end product. Identify tasks, milestones and dependencies on the project and arrange them to fit your process. In your project plan you should include roles, communications, planning, creation and deployment.
The external factors of a process
The process may be influenced by external factors that are not always your control. The process is determined with a set scope of work in mind, but what happens when the scope, dependencies or team changes? Factors that can effect or alter the original process include:
- Leadership may change or change it’s direction for the product.
- Requirements and scope may change.
- Team members and roles may change.
- Budgetary limitations of the project scope.
- Technical limitations by the chosen platform to deliver the product.
- A lack of content or information to execute project tasks when needed.
The project manager must be flexible and proactive in identifying and adjusting the process to meet external and internal factors that can effect the end result. It’s important that a project manager keeps a clear line of communication with the stakeholders on the project early and often to ensure the process chosen is the best option. Finally, whatever the chosen process may be, the project manager must be a champion of the process and lead with decisiveness to guide the team through it.
Pressman, Roger S. (2005). Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
This concludes Part 3 of the Four P’s of Project Management. How do you choose your process model for your projects?