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Project Planning and Control Methods

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Project Planning and Control Methods

Project planning and control methods came to be in the 1980s with the

introduction of microcomputer software. In the 1990s project

management was accepted into the mainstream business as a means for

developing new products and services. In the 20th century project

management appears to be the solution to many of the challenges

confronting global business enterprises (Gray, C. & Larson, E., 2003).

Trends such as the globalization of business operations increase in

mega mergers and acquisitions, increased focus on results, need for

speed in delivery, and pressure for accountability have fueled a

growth in project management activities across the organization.

Traditional organizations are undergoing significant changes, which

are being driven by the advances that information technology is

bringing to the business world (Gray, C. & Larson, E., 2003).

Project management must include management of product life cycle.

Gray and Larson states that the shortening of the product life cycle

is perhaps the most enormous force driving changes in the process of

managing projects. The average life cycle of all products 50 years ago

was in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 years. Now it is estimated that

the life cycle for all products is three years. High-technology firm

executives estimate that the average life cycle of products to be six

months. Short life-cycles increase the number of projects an

organization will have to handle simultaneously. A new product creates

a need for a new project.

Once the product life cycle ends, it is up to the project team to help

bring the company up to date with ideas and concepts. Improved

knowledge and technology support innovation and innovation results in

new projects. Global competition has reached all parts of the world.

Surviving and being successful in harsh competition intensifies the

need for sustained innovation and process improvements (Gray, C. &

Larson, E., 2003). Organizations have to be leaders in innovation and

process improvement to win the competition.

Organizations are adapting to support more effective project

management as projects become the focal point of businesses. The more

successful organizations of the future will be the ones that support

flexibility, places high importance on projects, and maintain a

sustained effort by members to...

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* Have a clear agenda and document actions

* Focus on team member similarities

* Communicate regularly

* Give performance feedback

Because leaders/managers can not see team members, it is easy to

forget that people are working in context that are different and that

they might have different support needs, resources, and

demands.

There exists a wide array of challenges involving project management

with members of a different ethnic or cultural background. Environmental,

political, legal, economic, and cultural differences can act as

barriers towards completing projects. Due to these factors, it becomes

extremely important for the project manager to step in and make an

assessment of its team member’s ability to communicate effectively

across cultural boundaries. A look into past performance reviews as to

how well they work within a team constraint and possible work issues

with other employees, should information on potential conflicts that

may arise. Project managers should never just look at skill-set as the

determining factor in putting together a team, because other

intangibles may outweigh an individual’s ability to handle the

project.
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