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Project Management Tutorial. Objectives. This tutorial provides an overview of Project Management. For the full details of our methodology, download the pdf of the methodology from this site. There are also templates available to assist with projects. . Topics. What is a Project?

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Project Management Tutorial

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This tutorial provides an overview of Project Management.

For the full details of our methodology, download the pdf of the methodology from this site.

There are also templates available to assist with projects.

  • What is a Project?
  • Common Project Terms
  • What does a Project Manager do?
  • What’s in a Project?
  • Project Management Processes
  • Getting Started
  • Planning a Project
  • Executing the Plan
  • Finishing the Project
what is a project
What is a project?
  • A project is an activity that :
      • is temporary having a start and end date
      • is unique
      • brings about change
      • has unknown elements, which therefore create risk
Generally projects are formed to solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. It is difficult to get buy-in from people to assist on a project if it is not delivering a reasonable benefit or solving an annoying problem.
  • Business as usual activities can often be mistaken for projects, as they may be completed using project methods. Generally it is the uniqueness of the activity that is the deciding factor – do we do this every year? If so, then it is not truly a project – although you can use project methods to get it done.








Building a deck

A restaurant planning a menu

Implementing a new system

Mowing the lawn

Planning a wedding

Setting up a business

Planning a student graduation

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You are correct.

This is a project because it is a unique, one-off activity

Well done!



You are correct.

This is not a project because it is not a unique, one-off activity

Well done!



Sorry, that is not correct.

This is a project because it is a unique, one-off activity

Try again



Sorry that is not correct.

This is not a project because it is not a unique, one-off activity

Try again


common project terms
Common project terms
  • Deliverables: Tangible ‘things’ that the project produces
  • Milestones: Dates by which major activities are performed.
  • Tasks: Also called Actions. Activities undertaken during the project
  • Risks: Potential problems that may arise
  • Issues: Risks that have happened
  • GanttChart: A specific type of chart showing time and tasks. Usually created by a Project Management programme like MS Project.
  • Stakeholder: Any person or group of people who may be affected by your project
example building a deck
Example – Building a deck
  • Deliverables: A plan, a consent form, the deck
  • Milestones:
  • Tasks:
example continued
Example Continued
  • Risks:
  • Plan is not approved after first round of feedback
        • Materials are unavailable at the required time
    • Resources are not available at the required time
    • Plan is not given consent
    • For each you should have a contingency plan, or do some activity that may prevent it happening in the first place. What are some ways these risks could be reduced?
  • Issues:
    • If any of the above actually happens, then it becomes an issue to solve.
  • Gantt Chart:
  • Stakeholder:
    • House owner, Builder, Council, ???

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what does a pm do
What does a PM do?

Project managers are essentially jugglers. They must make sure that everything keeps to task, that potential issues are quickly eliminated and the project is delivered on time, all the while making sure everyone knows what is happening and the project quality and budget are acceptable. Specifically they:

  • direct all activities required to successfully meet the project objectives
  • manage risk – scanning ahead for potential issues and resolving them before they become a problem
  • solve problems - recommending alternative approaches to problems that arise and providing guidance to the Project Sponsor
  • track and report project progress
  • communicateto all stakeholders in the project

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what s in a project
What’s in a project?

There are typically four phases to a project. A large project will move formally through each phase, in a small project some phases may be combined. They may have different names in different organisations, but essentially they are:

  • Propose
  • Prepare
  • Produce
  • Present

In this phase the project moves from an idea through to a project proposal. It will culminate with either a business case or a formal proposal to continue. For a small project this may simply be an acceptance from the budget holder to continue.

The question to be answered is “Are we going to do the right thing?”


In this phase the planning will commence in earnest. The project will be fully scoped, the outcomes designed and resourcing assigned. This phase will finish with a Project Management Plan and completed user requirements, design and test documents.

The question to be answered is “Are we going to do the thing right?”


In this phase the creation of the major deliverable is undertaken – eg build a computer system, implement a vendor computer system, create processes, build a deck. This stage ends with an elegant handover to operational areas who take full responsibility for the outcomes.

The question to be answered is “Are we getting the thing done right?”


In this phase the project outcomes are presented back to major stakeholders. It includes a formal handover to support services, a post implementation review that reflects achievements against the business case, future actions and lessons learned, and finally project closure.

The question to be answered is “Did we do the right thing?”

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project management processes
Project Management Processes

During each phase, there are five process groups that Project Management will undergo.

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Closing
  • Controlling

In early phases, types of activities here include scoping the project, preparing terms of reference, engaging sponsors and project teams. In later phases, it is checking that the scope of the project is still valid, that all parties are clear about what is going to be delivered and confirming that the project should still continue.

Activities in this group are:

  • Develop Project Charter (Terms of Reference)
  • Develop Preliminary Project Scope Document
  • Confirmation the project should continue

In the early phases, this is preparing the Project Management Plan and defining exactly what will happen. In later phases it is ensuring that the earlier planning is still valid, and incorporating any changes in resources or contingencies arising.

Activities in this group are:


In early phases, this is undertaking the actions required to complete the deliverables – maybe the business case, or the user requirements. In later phases this becomes the biggest process, where the major project outcomes are developed and delivered. Assigning resources, communication and quality assurance are major parts of this process group.

Activities in this group are:

  • Direct and Manage Project Execution
  • Perform Quality Assurance
  • Acquire Project team
  • Develop Project Team
  • Information Distribution
  • Request Seller Responses
  • Select Sellers
monitor and control
Monitor and Control

During all of the phases and the process groups, regular monitoring and controls are required. These include scope change management, change management, quality control, time management, budget management, risk management and contract administration.

Activities in this group are:

  • Monitor and Control Project Work
  • Integrated Change Control
  • Scope Verification
  • Scope Control
  • Schedule Control
  • Cost Control
  • Perform Quality Control
  • Manage Project Team
  • Performance Reporting
  • Manage Stakeholders
  • Risk Monitoring and Control
  • Contract Administration

In the early phases, this is determining that the deliverables for the phase are complete, before handing over to the next phase. In the Present phase, this would result in the closing of the project itself.

Activities in this group are:

  • Close Project
  • Contract Closure

Across the phase, the process groups resemble the first picture.

For small projects there will appear to be only one phase (“do project”), and therefore the PM processes will also only be used once. For large projects, where there is a formal handover between the four phases, the PM Processes will repeat for each phase. So in a big project, the Closing Process in Phase 1 - Propose, forms the start of the Initiating Process in Phase 2 – Prepare. In the University environment there will be overlaps, as information collected in one phase is used for another.

Understanding the difference between phases and processes is important to understanding how to manage projects. Project Management follows the project management processes, project delivery follows the phases.


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getting started
Getting Started
  • Projects start in the Propose phase - the first step is to determine what exactly is the problem or advantage you are hoping to achieve.
    • Identify stakeholders and expectations
    • Gather information from stakeholders as to their requirements
    • Define exactly the problem you want to solve or the benefit you want to gain
    • Define scope – how much do we want to do/ what won’t we do?
    • Complete risk assessment – what is the worst that could happen? How likely is it?

The Phase ends with a Project Terms of Reference that details what the project will deliver. It is important that a sponsor group signs off this document as it is your mandate to continue with the project. It may also result in an approved Business Case for funding.

managing expectations
Managing expectations

When the project is started, you will be meeting with stakeholders, gathering information and requirements – this unfortunately has the added effect of waking up some stakeholders to expect that the project will meet every need they can think of. You will need to manage the message to ensure that they are not disappointed.

The best way to do this is to divide requirements into:

  • Must have
  • Should have
  • Like to have

Get agreement on them, to ensure that expectations are not raised past the level the project can deliver. Generally the must haves will be done, as many should haves will be done as possible and the like to haves may be done if time and cost permit.

planning for managing scope creep
Planning for managing “scope creep”

If a requirement can be misinterpreted, then the probability is that it will be. There will always be those that believe the project is planning to achieve something different than what they expected. It is important then to plan for that.

  • Define the requirements carefully, and use as many mediums as you need to get a common understanding – picture, graphs, physical models – the more effort you spend now, the less heartache later.
  • Get key stakeholders to explain back to you what they believe the requirements mean – and not just generally but in detail.
  • Get a picture in stakeholders minds of what the project will look like when it is done – and clearly articulate this in writing. The project will be completed when……..
  • Define a process to follow where there is conflict after the Project Charter is signed off and deliverables are completed that were not what was expected.

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planning a project
Planning a Project

The next phase is Prepare. You need to take the information in the Project Terms of Reference and Risk assessment and come up with a plan of how you will finish the project. In this phase, it helps to always think of what the project will look like when it is finished (keep your eye on the prize). This will help to decide what you need to do to get there.

work breakdown structures
Work Breakdown Structures

Work Breadkdown Structures (WBS) identify all tasks to complete the project. Start with high level deliverables, and then break each one down into work packages. At the end, you should have a list of tasks that you can then start estimating time and attaching resource to.

activity scheduling
Activity scheduling

Network Diagrams

  • The most popular method is called Activity on Node (which is what most computer packages use).
  • The task (activity) is represented by a node, which also shows the time expected.
  • Take the list of tasks from your Work Breakdown Structure
  • Determine any tasks that depend on other tasks.
  • Attach resources to each task (people cannot do two jobs at once).
  • Determine the timeline for the project.

Task 1

20 days

Task 2

10 days

Task 3

2 days


The easiest way to cost the project is to take the WBS and estimate the costs of each activity. Other considerations include capital costs, disbursements, costs of delays, contingencies.

implementation plan
Implementation plan

This plan details who will be affected, how they will be affected and the plans for transitioning the change. It ensures you have considered training and after change support. What will happen when the project winds up?

quality plan
Quality plan

This plan details the level of quality required in the deliverables. It shows how quality is going to be assured in the project, and what quality control measures you will use. It also may list standards that your deliverables will be measured against (particularly where a product is involved).

communications plan
Communications plan

The objectives of the Communication Plan are:

  • Help manage expectations regarding the project.
  • Ensure methods used for communication will be most effective.
  • Assure appropriate levels of communication with internal and external project stakeholders.
  • Provide relevant, accurate, consistent information at all times.
  • Generate and sustain enthusiasm and support for the project
what is in a project plan
What is in a project plan?

As much or as little as you need to demonstrate to stakeholders that you have thought of everything, and have a plan to get there.

Your plan may include:

  • Introduction
    • Overview, Deliverables, Constraints, Definitions
  • Management structure
    • Project reporting, Communication, Risk Management, Change management
  • Planning and Control
    • Activity schedule
    • Resource identification, Resource allocation
    • Project Charter, Quality Assurance Plan, Test and/or Training plans, Implementation Plan.

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executing the plan
Executing the Plan

The Produce phase is where you actually get on with it. It is the easiest phase to get lost in, and where most projects fail. If your planning has been good, and you have some good change processes in place, it should be easier.

developing teams
Developing teams

Leadership comes in many forms. As a project manager, you may be expected to lead without formal organisational authority. This is referred to as “conferred authority” – influence without power.

So faced with total responsibility, maximum accountability, minimum authority and shared/limited resources, you must rely on a variety of interpersonal, organisation and political skills to ensure support from within you team and outside it.

Ways to achieve this are:

  • Provide leadership
  • Encourage participation
  • Facilitate communication
  • Anticipate events
  • Use proven PM tools
  • Delegate not abdicate
  • Provide adequate training to grow people
  • Keep records
  • Manage conflict
managing versus doing
“Managing” versus “Doing”

If you are a Project manager in an organisation of scarce resources, it is very easy to become the project do-er as well as the manager. You may find that there is little or no project team, functional units who were supposed to supply resource have a crisis and cannot do that, and you end up being the project.

It is important firstly to recognise that this is happening. Once you do, you can request assistance from your Sponsor(s) to change the situation. Once you are the doing the project instead of managing the project, you will find that the PM tasks slip – communication is the first to go, followed quickly by risk management.

useful project meetings
Useful Project Meetings

Useful meetings are facilitated by Project Managers who:

  • Encourage participation
  • Keep people to the point
  • Have a clear agenda
  • Ensure everyone is heard when making decisions
  • Manages difference of opinion to a consensus
  • Have clear actions arising from the meeting
change requests and scope management
Change requests and scope management

Helpful tools for managing change are the Action and/or Issue register and the Change Control form/register. What these two documents do is help you control the issues/risks/actions that people are raising, and if they will change your project outcomes (time, cost or scope) a change process where the change is identified and approved. Just because someone thinks a change would be a good idea doesn’t mean it should be added to your project. Once you start to deliver something amazing, everyone will want to have a say. The challenge is to manage their expectations without compromising your original plan.

status reporting
Status reporting
  • What did we plan to achieve this period?
  • What did we actually achieve?
  • Why is there a difference?
  • What do we plan to achieve next period?
  • How are we managing existing risks?
  • Are there any new risks?
  • What are the current major issues?
  • What are we doing about them?
  • Are there any change requests to be authorised?

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finishing the project
Finishing the Project

This is the Present phase of a project. A project by definition is a one-off activity, with a start and end date. Otherwise you are said to be engaged in operational activity only, as what you are doing is ongoing. In this phase you can also evaluate the project against your original benefits, and present back to the stakeholders your wonderful achievements in the form of a post implementation review.

post implementation review
Post Implementation Review

Once the project deliverables have been handed over to operational areas, it is helpful to do a review of how the project went, and whether it achieved the results expected.

If a business case was prepared, it can be measured against that, otherwise some useful headings to consider are:

  • Description of Project
  • Review Process
  • Review Findings
  • Non-Financial Analysis
  • Financial Analysis
  • Detailed Key Results
  • Project Timeline
  • Risk Management
  • Lessons Learned
how to close and stay closed
How to close and stay closed!

It is important that each project gets closed, and there is a simple mechanism for doing this called the Project Closure Statement. This document requires sign-off by the Sponsor Group, and once signed, the only thing left to do is to archive the project documents. Any issues that have not been resolved can be held over for a new project, or handed to an operational area to complete if they agree.

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