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2017 | Book

A Forward Looking Approach to Project Management

Tools, Trends, and the Impact of Disruptive Technologies

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About this book

This book is intended as a basis for advanced treatment of concepts in project management. In the current scenario where most questions are answered through the internet, the knowledge element in project management has come under the influence of disruptive technologies. In other words, project managers no longer get 'points' for knowing something that is easily available on the internet. This has far-reaching consequences. The present day project managers need to orient themselves to newer benchmarks of what is required for success on the business front. This book deals with a few such advanced concepts in project management. This book is not designed as an elementary primer to the field of project management, rather it is an advanced level treatment on the subject, to be read after the preliminary study has already been completed.
The book is designed for practicing project managers, and graduate students in engineering and management, who need to understand the dynamics that are typically encountered in a project-based environment. The content in the book is based on extensive study of literature and training programs. Many of the tools have been developed on the basis of modeling and simulation methods that are specially designed by the author. These were tested at several live projects across the globe.
Most of the exercises in the book are actually meant for the reader to perform as they go. The book is not designed with a ‘read-all-and-come-back-later’ approach, rather it focuses on ‘learning by doing’, whereby the reader is expected to do the exercises before reading on. The book will prove useful in self-learning, as well as in classroom teaching and professional training programs.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

A Reality Check

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Introduction
Abstract
In this chapter, we systematically try to understand the genesis of the debate on the understanding of project management as an Art or as a Science. In doing so, we go back to the evolution of project management as a faculty and the current practices today. We also question the perspectives from the limitations that we see in the project experiences across the world. To keep the focus, we stick to business perspectives first, and methods later. We try to evaluate the approach from an action perspective rather than a reporting perspective. Two important introductory components that are touched upon here are Consulting Connoisseurs models on (a) the types of project environments and (b) the classification of projects (types of projects). Limitations of the conventional literature only emphasize the need to have a better system to structure and leverage from the definitions of project environments and the projects. We question the usability of the classification system from the perspective of the project manager who is in the field / on the job. In order to make such exercises more meaningful, we define alternative frameworks for both the project environments as well as the project classifications. In the process, we have also delved into the distinction between the two approaches: project environment versus project itself. The Ownership Model for Classifying Project Environments, introduced in this chapter, touches on the way project environments drive the success of a given manager in a given project/environment. The Business Abstraction Based Model for Projects defined in this chapter typifies projects by helping the project manager understand the broader controls associated with the project contexts. The chapter opens a vast range of potential perspectives that the project manager could develop for his specific situation. We also touch upon the use and misuse of stereotyping in such applications.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 2. Basic Misconceptions in Projects
Abstract
The chapter begins by questioning the fundamental distinctions between projects and operations. While there are significant differences between the two faculties, the reader is also made aware of the marked similarities between them. This helps the reader align better in using the literature and management developments in other areas that are in the other knowledge faculties. The chapter then covers the basics of the interface between the project and the business viz. the project feasibility study (PFS). We then try to understand the common problems of the PFS from the perspective of the project manager (who is subsequently responsible for the success of the project). In doing so, we identify the areas of improvement of PFS analyses in practice. An overview of the financial perspectives of the PFS is then presented. This is followed by a cursory treatment of financial appraisal methods. As a commonly observed conceptual gap in project management, the chapter then goes on to explain the basic accounting principles in deriving cash flows. The chapter concludes with an integrated model to evaluate projects using a multiperspective criteria.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 3. A Quick Honest Beginning!
Abstract
This chapter is meant for the reader to come up with specific issues and cases that are observed in the projects where he is involved. In doing so, we ask the reader to come up with a rigorous evaluation of his issues. Rigorous evaluation would help the reader understand: (a) the current style of thinking in his project environment, (b) the way issues have impacted projects, (c) the application of conventional wisdom in identifying issues, (d) the potential of using conventional wisdom in solving the issues, (e) the reasons these issues were not identified earlier, (f) the probability that they would recur in future projects, (g) the probability that they would be contained in subsequent projects (at the cost of another potential problem), and (h) a potential alignment of objectives with the objectives of this book.
Nikhil Gurjar

Reviewing Projects: First Level

Frontmatter
Chapter 4. The Systems View of Management-I
Abstract
In this chapter, the systems view of project management is touched upon. We begin with the understanding of the basic systems thinking approach as applied to a project situation. In doing so, we attempt to clarify the similarities and the differences between the systems thinking approach from the conventional approach. The systems approach helps refine the practical business and management level evaluation for a given project. However, when one further breaks down the project, one can evaluate the project management context. Two important concepts are touched upon: Project Phases and Project Life Cycles. We cursorily touch upon the concept of project phases. However, the more crucial concept of the project life cycle needs to be elaborated in greater detail. The types of life cycles are then focused on. We cover three ‘standard’ models, viz., the linear model, the incremental model, and the rapid application development model. The uniqueness of this chapter is that it shows the reader the application of simulation methods to determine optimal life cycles for a given project situation. A simulation case is presented to help the reader understand variants and factor them in to determine the appropriate life cycles. While real-life cases would be complex, the simplified versions in this chapter help the reader understand the method of application and enable the reader to take this up in the real world with an improved basis. A generic conceptual framework is also presented in this context, to help the reader align his thinking to life cycle modeling and simulation.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 5. The Systems View of Management-II
Abstract
This chapter focuses on the organizational system in the project management context. It begins with the identification of four frames of reference in the context of the project organization. These four include: (a) The structural frame, (b) The human resource frame, (c) The political frame, and (d) The symbolic frame. In line with conventional literature, the chapter restricts itself to the structural frame and defers the tacit treatment of the remainder of the frames in other sections within the book. The focus then moves toward the conventional understanding of the three types of organizations viz. functional, projectized, or the matrix types. The chapter then delves into making an informed decision on how one should choose the type of the organization. This is followed by an interesting new paradigm called the Biological Entrepreneurial Model for the structural frame of the project organization.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 6. Basic Mantras of Project Management
Abstract
In this chapter, the focus is on the typical failures encountered in project situations. While a lot of these are known, most companies have issues because they tend to keep even the cardinal factors ‘flexible’. This is nothing, but a recipe for disaster. We systematically touch upon six key mantras that are critical for any project’s success. The first mantra is on stakeholders and stakeholder management; the mantra provides an improved framework of stakeholder management, involving the identification and the basic guidelines that need to be followed. The second mantra is on the scope management in a project. It shows the essence of scope management and control. The third is on schedules in the project context and how schedule management needs to be understood in the overall environment. The fourth mantra is on costing principles. These are not on accounting, rather touch upon the basics of how costing estimates are to be derived and incorporated in the project. In many cases, creative talents demand innovative execution options. While these are to be welcomed, the costing and the estimation are to be dealt with in a slightly different way. This is elaborated in the fourth mantra. The fifth and the sixth are on quality and communication. These key areas are often treated as support faculties and ignored in conventional literature.
Nikhil Gurjar

Management and Business Review

Frontmatter
Chapter 7. Second Level Review-I
Abstract
In this chapter, the focus shifts to the project tools. Often, the project tools are operationally treated ‘larger than life’ but from a management perspective, they are seen as ‘operational enhancements’. The mantras touch upon how one needs to balance both the perspectives. We then move on to understanding a typical business situation involving an ‘on-time’ and, an ‘on-budget’ project requirement with changing boundary conditions. In doing so, we come across various concepts such as the critical path analysis, crashing strategies, and costing challenges in Schedule Optimization. We introduce the Quick Solutions three-parameter-framework of Consulting Connoisseurs for risk management. The chapter then demonstrates how modeling and simulation could also be used to evaluate risks. In the process, we touch upon how the reworking of budgets needs to be done and how risk management needs to be factored in the corporate context in terms of probability and costs using modeling and simulation. In doing so, we have also delved into probabilistic evaluation in a practical scenario and have cursorily touched upon the PERT methodology as well.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 8. Second Level Review-II
Abstract
This chapter focuses on reporting processes and conceptual challenges to defining reports in a project environment. It delves on the complexity of the choices that are available to the project manager. We have, then, described a new framework that assists the project manager to define the right metrics. This Consulting Connoisseurs Simple Metric Definition Framework is then elaborated. The chapter then moves on to the Earned Value Analysis. We look at the problems with the EVA methodology and despite them, the chief reasons for its popularity. An accounting- centric approach, the EVA has a lot of information that does not really help the project manager translate his thoughts into action. We also touch upon certain scheduling issues including the concepts of retained logic and progress override.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 9. Second Level Review-III
Abstract
Despite all the knowledge a project manager might have, he might still find himself misaligned with the corporate objective. In other words, the project manager needs to broaden his frame of reference. In this chapter, we begin by understanding this concept by touching on a broader phenomenon that involves the concept of Truth and its Forms at various levels of the organization. We then move on to help the project manager understand this concept in a practical scenario. A simple case study is used to identify the impact of cost and time and the role of conventional analyses on the same. This is taken further by assisting the reader integrate these concepts with two business-level issues viz. the Strategic Time Window and the Opportunity Costs. The exercise helps the manager understand the difference in perspectives at the corporate and the business strategy level while defining the future course of action in many projects.
Nikhil Gurjar

Active Project Risk Management

Frontmatter
Chapter 10. Basics Mantras of Risk Management
Abstract
In this chapter, the basic mantras of risk management are covered. Like the previous chapter on mantras in general project management, this is an advanced treatment on risks. Six cardinal mantras of Risk Management are defined here. The first mantra involves the understanding of a Risk Prioritizing Framework that incorporates the three basic parameters in defining priorities. The second mantra introduces a new concept called the Golden Rule of Risk Focus, which helps the project manager to understand how to take on priorities in the Risk Management Scenario. The third mantra touches upon focus and delegation of risks along the organizational hierarchy and taking it further from there. The fourth mantra introduces the reader to a new concept called the Risk Web that is used to define, understand, and control the risks in the organization. The fifth mantra touches upon the sensitive aspect of risk evaluation cycles. The last mantra touches on the alignment and leveraging of the Risk Breakdown Structures along the Work Breakdown Structures and the Organizational Breakdown Structures.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 11. How Risky Is Your Risk Management?
Abstract
Contrary to books that cover conventional risk management, this chapter focuses exclusively on the practical failure points in the Risk Management Process. It is, therefore, a unique compilation of critical ‘audit’ points when one is evaluating the risk processes. A total of nine such failure points are described in this framework.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 12. Project Management in R&D
Misconceptions Galore!
Abstract
This chapter touches upon a less researched area of project management viz. R&D projects. It begins with the characterization of R&D projects that are typically misunderstood in their fundamental premises. Most people associate such projects with significant breakthrough innovation, while most R&D projects are not in the objective breakthrough innovation to that extent. Hence, given this backdrop the chapter touches upon the key challenges in such projects. Notable among them are those of defining exit gates, getting the right team sizes, and having a robust estimation model.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 13. Tools in Risk Management
Abstract
This chapter looks at established tools and techniques that have come from the Operations Research domain. Popular tools like the Decision Tree are first understood. We then modify the objective function using the utility function concept. In doing so, the chapter also touches upon how this could be used against the procrastinator manager. We provide with a few mantras on how these tools could be successfully applied in practical situations. The chapter then covers some of the common strategies that one could derive based on the analyses of decision trees like the Risk-Averse strategy, the Ready-to-Jump strategy, and the Balanced strategy. We then move on to understand another important concept called Game Theory and the applications of Game theory in reporting. The phenomenon of Schedule Chicken is touched upon and the common ‘CYA’ strategy is also touched upon using this tool.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 14. Risk Parameters
Abstract
As a concluding chapter on Risk Management, this chapter looks at certain risk parameters and how the risk management methodology ties into their definitions and applications. The focus is on parameters, processes, tools, and techniques used for risk control. The fundamental distinction between risk monitoring and risk control is first looked into. This is followed by a new framework called the Consulting Connoisseurs layered view of risk perspectives that is to be applied in the risk management processes. The chapter then goes on to touch upon how risk management ties into scenarios (not strategic scenarios, rather operational case scenarios). In dealing with risk management, we then focus on two interesting and important concepts that distort the practice of risk control viz. the sunk-cost fallacy and the greyhound fallacy. We then move on to another interesting phenomenon called the Last-Mile Phenomenon. The discussion shows how parallel tasks increase the complexity and add to the risks. We also show how controlling risks through meetings also has its own limitations. Following this discussion, we revisit the utility functions for risks and incorporate advanced concepts to define them. We also create a case for the application of systems thinking in risk management. As a concluding concept, we introduce the phenomenon of Micro-planning and discuss on how this needs to be effectively used by the project manager.
Nikhil Gurjar

Project Planning and Scheduling

Frontmatter
Chapter 15. Basics of Scheduling
Abstract
As the opening chapter on advanced topics in scheduling, we revisit the basics of the scheduling process. In doing so, the different types of floats are defined and understood. The influence of resources and calendars on schedules is also touched upon. The interesting concept of Resource Leveling is next touched upon. The first treatment of this concept is done using the conventional approach (often found in traditional books and softwares). This is followed by a management reflection of resource leveling using a simplified framework of Consulting Connoisseurs. Apparently, the contrasting results are expressed in detail. The next advanced concept is that of schedule detailing. While most schedule details involve adding newer activities, we cover the tacit requirements of the process. The focus then goes to understanding schedule updation as a management process. While touching this sensitive topic, we also elucidate good scheduling practices that are required to ensure a reliable planning backbone for the project. The chapter concludes with a management reflection of activity relationships in project schedules.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 16. Advanced Planning and Schedule Analysis
Abstract
The chapter begins with a detailed treatment of the WBS and the common approaches used to define the WBS. In doing so, we have tried to explore an interesting concept called the 3D WBS that combines the faculties of Geography, Product, and Activity. We then describe a new concept called the WBS Maturity Model that helps the manager understand the potential of his WBS. We then move on to an independent topic that covers the phenomenon of Multi-tasking in projects. We provide a numerical analysis and an alternate perspective to this concept. Following a better understanding of this subject, we move on to the challenging area involving the establishment of successful baselines in projects. In doing so, we touch upon a new framework that looks at the Uncertainty Portfolio in Baselining. We delve deeper and refine the Portfolio to one of its critical components (Time to Closure) and define an additional Uncertainty Portfolio for the Time to Closure. We then conclude the chapter by helping the reader understand how Baselines are linked to the Business Case.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 17. More Advanced Planning
Abstract
This relatively large chapter begins by touching upon a case study that deals with changes in WBS structures during the project execution. It touches on the nuances of such changes and the sensitive management dimensions associated with such changes. We then move on to Integration in Planning. Today, there are technological products that could model integration (particularly 4D models). However, we have also focused on lighter versions of 4D models. In doing so, we have elucidated the complexity of perspectives involved in 4D planning. We have also touched upon modeling critical issues and areas through appropriate (and innovative) schedule analyses. In the subsequent sections, we have introduced the Integration of Schedules with Logistics viz. Deliveries, Parallel Activities, and Infrastructure. This section demonstrates how the schedules are useful in their integrated forms. We then focus on integrating schedules as schedules (incorporating one schedule into another). In doing so, we touch upon the challenges in updation along with the influence of the phenomenon of Retained Logic and Progress Override. Another important concept that is dealt with is that of selective updation of schedules. We then debate on the philosophies of Activity-based Scheduling versus Milestone-based Scheduling. We touch upon some useful and critical aspects of Activity Detailing from an Integration Perspective. And finally, we touch upon the concept and the application of the Critical Chain Project Management.
Nikhil Gurjar

Project Procurement Management

Frontmatter
Chapter 18. Procurement: Commercial Risks Dimension
Abstract
In this chapter, we focus on risk management exclusively from the commercial dimension in a project. In doing so, we begin by looking at the conventional approaches and define a Coin Model Approach to Risk Management. We also look at the Pricing Framework that is typically used for commercial perspectives of Risk. The chapter then covers some of the bidding and contracting strategies that are commonly employed in project management. We next delve into the contract types. We define a new framework to help the project manager develop a Cost Perspective to Contracting. We then describe the traditional Risk and Control perspectives from the supplier perspective. We finally discuss contracting types from the business case perspective. We conclude with a few pointers on innovations in the contracting domain.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 19. Account Management
Abstract
This chapter touches the unconventional area of Account Management in Projects. We begin by touching upon the conventional key account management framework. Thereafter, we describe an innovative account management framework used by Consulting Connoisseurs. In doing so, we first define the critical areas. We first define the Communication Philosophy and help the reader understand the Account Management Philosophy Grid. We then move on to the Partnering or Engaging Principles and describe the Framework on Account Management Partnering Principles in detail. The third critical dimension is that of Posturing and we also define and describe the Account Management Posturing Framework for the reader. Finally, we define the critical dimension of Content and describe the Account Management Interactions on the Content Framework. We conclude the chapter with a case study that evaluates the Communication Leverage in a Project Procurement Scenario.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 20. Public–Private Partnerships in Projects
Abstract
This chapter exclusively covers the Public–Private Partnerships aka PPP mode of contracting in projects. We first touch upon the existing models and literature on PPP and then move on to define a new conceptual model for PPP. In doing so, we begin by understanding PPP by way of analogies. After refining the basic concept, we conceptualize PPPs in the project management domain to enable a better understanding of how the framework is developed. The chapter next covers the key dimensions and challenges in four phases of PPP projects, viz., Environmental Readiness Phase, Initiation Phase, Realization Phase, and Post-Implementation Phase. In the Environmental Readiness Phase, we define the Bureaucratic Competence Framework for PPPs that often drives the course of the project. We also define a new Pricing Scenario Framework that incorporates the environmental readiness factors in PPP. In the realization phase, we define a new Quality Framework for PPP projects.
Nikhil Gurjar
Chapter 21. Key Mantras in PPP Projects
Abstract
This chapter is, again, a unique compilation of the Key Mantras in PPP Projects. In all, five mantras are discussed and described for the reader. The first mantra is on factoring the experience of the partnering agency (notably the Public Agency) in PPP Projects. The second mantra speaks of how one needs to incentivize a PPP Model in the contracting. This again is a different paradigm from the traditional approach. The third mantra provides room for a new concept called Independent Contracting that is very essential in PPP projects. The fourth mantra talks about Integration and the Balance of Trust in PPP projects between both the parties involved. The fifth and the last mantra talks about corruption and its impact on PPP projects and how these need to be circumvented.
Nikhil Gurjar

Other Project Areas

Frontmatter
Chapter 22. People Dimensions
Abstract
This chapter covers two important aspects, viz. hiring and attrition. In Hiring, we look at the cardinal question from the HR perspective, viz., 1-2-3 of HR. The question is whether one has to recruit 1 super performer or 2 mediocre performers or 3 average performers. A modeling and simulation framework is presented for the reader to understand and evaluate his own independent situation. The second aspect that is covered in this work is that on attrition management. We begin by delving into the basics of attrition management strategies that are common in projectized organizations. The chapter then moves on to show the limitations of traditional frameworks and presents the Neo-Attrition Analysis Framework. The remainder of the framework describes the classical approach and develops the model and simulates to show results in a typical organization.
Nikhil Gurjar
Backmatter
Metadata
Title
A Forward Looking Approach to Project Management
Author
Nikhil Gurjar
Copyright Year
2017
Publisher
Springer Singapore
Electronic ISBN
978-981-10-0782-8
Print ISBN
978-981-10-0781-1
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-0782-8

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