What are the tools of Project Management?
Certainly not 14 different hammers as shown in this image!
Reading many Project Management text books there is no agreement on the “Tools for Project Management”, and many people when asked for “tools” start, and end, with “Gantt Charts”.
So here is my list of Project Management tools. It is ordered in a fashion, but that order could be debated! I will attempt to add more blogs expanding each tool:
- Stakeholder Engagement. Several documents listing and describing the project stakeholders. A matrix of their power and influence, and an action plan to engage the stakeholders via regular communication.
- Project Charter. A document that outlines the business case (benefits) and project objectives. High level costs, risks, and milestones and key stakeholders will be mentioned, along with roles and responsibilities.
- Work Breakdown Structures. A graphical breakdown of the project into work packages (or work streams), and then broken into activities, and tasks.
- Organisation Breakdown Structures. A title for several tools, but including project organisation reporting structures, communication plans, thoughts on leadership and team working, project locations, and contracting strategies.
- Responsibility Matrix. A matrix linking the project tasks (from the WBS) to the project resources (from the OBS).
- Cost Account. An expansion of the responsibility matrix showing task work effort in hours, and material and expense costs.
- Dependency Chart. The linking of the project tasks (names only) with dependency arrows. Shows the concurrency and lead/lag between tasks.
- Network Analysis. A full critical path analysis showing the Early Start Time, Latest Start Time, Earliest Finish Time, Latest Finish Time, Duration, and Float (Slack) for each task.
- Gantt Chart. A representation of the task durations against a timescale.
- Risk Management. An evaluation of the project identifying, then assessing and controlling the project risks. Often includes a risk log and risk map.
- Resource Analysis. A check to see if the resources are available and not overloaded (or underworked) throughout the project life. (See a previous blog on Resource Management here).
- Baselining. Creation of a copy of the estimates, so that actual progress can be compared to planned progress. (see a previous blog on Project Baselines here).
- Monitoring and Control. Measuring and reporting progress against the original plan. this will involve measuring progress, comparison with the project baseline, and reporting and communicating progress (or lack of!) and taking actions to resolve issues.
- Project Reviews. A reflection on the project performance on completion, and a no-blame evaluation of what went well, and what went not so well.
Just like the Swiss Army Knife, each Project Management tool is designed for a specific purpose, and is best for that purpose. Trying to use a tool to double-up, or replace another tool will ony compromise the project plan.
What are the tools of project management? There is no agreed defined list across many text books. Here are 14 (or so) tools of project management in an attempt to move people away from the ubiquitous Gantt chart! Not all projects will require every tool, but each tool should be considered as a project planning aid.
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