I was completely unaware of what project management is and how the knowledge of project management helps the project managers to first define a purpose or goal and apply their project management skills to drive the project. But when u decided to apply for this course, I was very eager to learn about new concepts and styles of leadership used by the project managers for completing a project successfully. I was very excited to learn and joined the course to get complete knowledge of project management and its principles.
I learned that project is a temporary endeavor that is undertaken to create a new product or service or process. Projects can be of many types and they have goals attached to them such as in organization, the project goals or objectives may include improved operations, or increase in revenues, cost reduction, or increased efficiencies. I got to learn that projects can be beneficial for the company only when the project leaders define an overall purpose or goal of the project and apply the required project management skills for carrying out the project to achieve the required outcomes. I learned about the necessary skills and traits that help the project manager in completing the projects successfully and handling unfavorable situations effectively. These competencies help a lot in managing global and IT projects.
After the introduction to the Project management and skills and competencies required by the project leader for working efficiently, I was taught about the methods used by the organizations for selecting the projects and the initiation processes. It was an informative lesson for me which taught me that the selection of projects by an organization depends on certain strategies, requirements, benefits, and the resources required for the accomplishments of the projects. The organizations must make the right decisions while selecting the projects based on strategic gaps, needs of the organization, results of project, trade-offs, and the utilization of resources. A business case that justifies the choice of taking up the projects is required during project selection. This new concept of business case taught me that the development of a business case must be conducted in the initial stage of any project. If this business case is approved then in the project initiation process, this business case is usually used to create the project charter. There is a very important role of project definition and initiation in management processes, project lifecycles, and the final deliveries of the projects. In addition to this, I learned about the benefits and the consequences of not using a business case and how important it is to apply the tools and techniques to the project initiation processes. Along with this, the documents relevant to the projects are prepared, and then the projects are initiated.
After learning about the knowledge and traits required to determine the best management approach for projects helps to make us an important asset to our projects as well as organization. There are certain traditional project management approaches and models that are used in IT project management. I explored the factors that need to be considered while selecting the appropriate project management model. I also came to know about the strengths, weaknesses, and risks associated with the linear project management lifecycle (PMLC) model. I understood the use of traditional and alternative project management methodologies. In each situation, there is a need to apply appropriate project management tools and techniques.
Then, I covered the knowledge areas of Project Management. The project management institute developed a standard set of terminologies as well as directions for managing projects known as the Project Management Knowledge Areas (PMKAs). All the projects go through chronological phases which are Project Initiation, Project Planning, Project Execution, Monitoring and Controlling, and Project Closing. For managing the projects, there are ten areas of knowledge that are very important for the effective management of projects.
Then I got practical knowledge of the success and failure of projects through practical examples of industry. According to Charles R. Swindoll, "life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it." The lesson I learned by relating this saying with the project management is that it does not matter how good your project planning is, the success or failure is uncertain and anything can happen in life and everything can't be controlled. Therefore, if we can predict about the future happenings, then these predictions can help the project manager, the project team and the client to make sure that project becomes successful by reducing the defects or faults in defined projects. I got to know about the common causes that cause project failure and the mitigation methods of project failure using the industry examples of project successes and failures. I learned how to appropriately measure the project's success and identified mitigation strategies to reduce the failure of projects in the IT sector. I came to know that to measure project success, time, cost and quality are some very important aspects. The projects must be delivered on time; however, there may be times when projects do not produce any benefits for the company. Therefore, to measure success, there are certain other aspects such as the effect the project produces on the company, relevance to users, and sustainability. From this, I understood that there are six aspects in total that need to be considered to measure the project's success and how does it apply in practice.
The next lesson explained the chronological order of the subjects of study, I learned about the main concepts and components that are included in the previous lessons and modules. This introduced me to the tools, techniques, and methods that are required for successfully managing projects throughout the life cycle of the project and about the terminology used by the project managers given by Project Management Institute (PMI).
Various concepts and topics were reviewed in this last module. In addition to this, I came to know that the role of a project manager is not just limited to leading and managing teams in a diverse organizational environment, but also to simultaneously communicate with all the stakeholders. Then I learned about the different leadership styles that can be used by a project leader and in practice they are crucial along with the personal ability of the leader to manage different situations. I understood that there are six different leadership styles which in practice differ from each other but they try to together help in project’ success. The authoritative style is when the leader creates a vision and inspires the team instead of telling how to get there. Coaching style helps an individual to know about his potential as the leader just tries to encourage them to know what is their vision and how are they going to achieve it. In a democratic style, the problems are shared and it helps in decision making but is not very effective in finding the right decisions. So, in practice, this must be kept in mind. The next style is affiliative, which is all about harmony. In this, the people are given priority and they come first to understand their emotional state and make them feel comfortable and focus well on their jobs. Pacesetting is another style in which the leader takes steps and expects everyone to do the job in a similar way as is shown by him, so there is no room for others to use their mind in creating ideas. Lastly, there is a commanding style, in which the manager takes complete control and everyone is expected to follow the same. This type of leadership style is very important in case of a crisis. I understood from this that each style is helpful in certain situations but the leader must practice a combination of these styles. However, I think the most effective combination of leadership style, in the long run, is authoritative and coaching style as they provide a vision to the team and also helps them to find their ways of reaching there.
Apart from these modules, there were case studies too which helped me in understanding the concepts more clearly using real-life examples. One of the case studies was of Amec Foster Wheeler which is one of the leading engineering, project management, and consultancy companies in the world. The company is proud of its core values and it aims for the creation of a long term company that is sustainable and delivers its promises, works with full potential, and does the right thing. In this, the five dimensions of professionalism were discussed which include breadth, depth, achievement, commitment, and accountability. These are the five dimensions of APM Corporate Accreditation and each dimension is supported by an APM Standard.
In this course, I have learned a lot which I had no idea about before taking up this course. I am very satisfied with the knowledge I gained. I am thankful to the teachers who are from the USA and they still managed to teach during this pandemic and complete the course by using the online videos and platforms for conducting online classes. I liked the way each concept was discussed in detail along with the practical use of these project management concepts in the organization through the industry examples.
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