Project management is essentially the organization and management of resources, including human resources, in a way that ensures the desired project quality is achieved, given a set of defined scope, time, and cost constraints, together known as the triple constraint. The relationships between quality and these constraints are illustrated in Figure 27.1.
What the quality-time-cost-scope relationship means is that if one factor changes, one or both of the others must be adjusted in order to maintain the same level of quality. Effective project management involves manipulating these factors to suit prevailing circumstances. For example, if the time available to complete a project is reduced, then cost must be increased to cover the increase in manpower and/or overtime that is needed in order to maintain intended quality. Similarly, the scope of the project may be reduced by prioritizing features and removing some of them, so that there are fewer tasks and fewer people needed. On the other hand, instead of spending more money to hire more people to reduce completion time, fewer expensive experts that are more efficient may be employed to finish the project more quickly.
FIGURE 27.1 The triple constraint in project management.
Basically, project management ensures that the various elements that are essential for the success of a project are defined and managed correctly, and the criteria that broadly determine this success are primarily:
- Whether the client’s requirements have been met.
- Whether the project is within budget.
- Whether the project is completed on time.
To ensure the accomplishment of these criteria, project management defines goals that are said to be SMART (i.e., Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time- bound). These guidelines, which vary according to context, are used to set and assess project goals in order to maximize their chances of success.
A specific goal is one that is clear and precise rather than general. It addresses the “W” questions, which are what, where, why, which, who, and when of the goal. It should state what will be accomplished, where it is to be accomplished, why it needs to be accomplished (including, for example, the benefits it will bring), which requirements and constraints are considered, who will be involved, and when completion is expected. In some cases, goals may even be as concise as simply stating what is expected, when it is expected, and how much it will cost.
A measurable goal is one that has numeric or descriptive ways of measuring progress toward its achievement as well as its achievement. This is important in helping to stay on track and meet necessary targets. Measures can include quantity, quality, time, and cost. The typical questions to ask in relation to them include how much or how many, and how will we know when this is accomplished.
An attainable goal is one that is realistic and achievable, given available resources, such as timeframe, budget, abilities of team members, and control over prevailing circumstances. Evaluating whether a goal is attainable may also lead to the discovery of a more efficient way of achieving it. Typical questions to ask include “How can the goal be best accomplished?”
A relevant goal is one that is beneficial to the entity for which a project is being undertaken. It may also be linked to any other relevant goal. A typical question to ask is whether a goal benefits the entity in any way, directly or indirectly, presently or in the future, and whether the right people will handle it.
A time-bound goal is one that has a definite target date for completion as well as for each milestone in a project. This helps focus both individual and team effort on the completion of every milestone as well as prevent a project from slipping behind. Typical questions repeated for every milestone include how much work is required to achieve a goal and how much of it can be accomplished in a working day.
Once goals are defined, various project management tools and techniques are used to plan their achievement, as well as to monitor, control, and evaluate them. The types of goals defined and the difficulties they pose depend largely on the nature of the area of project. In Web projects, what can be straightforward managerial activities in other types of projects can become quite complex, because different media types are involved. This can mean that people from different disciplines are involved who are experts in their own rights, have different work practices, and more often than not have contrasting views of what constitutes appropriate interpersonal behavior. Additionally, the subject of quality control can be far from simple, particularly as there is no one right media quality, since whether or not a quality is suitable depends on several factors, such as media type and context.
Furthermore, where all media assets are not created in-house, there may be the issue of seeking out people to get their permission to use their works, and if a Web application is for use in some areas, this may require extending the scope of management. For example, if an application is for use in the area of marketing and business, this may mean that business and marketing elements need to be incorporated in managerial activities. Adding to this the increasing number of different technologies on which the same Web application can be delivered, such as Web, mobile devices, iPad, iTV, and kiosks, the difficulty of managing a Web project is further compounded.
Source: Sklar David (2016), HTML: A Gentle Introduction to the Web’s Most Popular Language, O’Reilly Media; 1st edition.