A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service. A project is temporary in that there is a defined start (the decision to proceed) and a defined end (the achievement of the goals and objectives). Ongoing business or maintenance operations are not projects. Energy conservation projects and process improvement efforts that result in better business processes or more efficient operations can be defined as projects. Projects usually include constraints and risks regarding cost, schedule or performance outcome.
Project Management is the application of a collection of tools and techniques (such as the CPM and matrix organization) to direct the use of diverse resources toward the accomplishment of a unique, complex, one-time task within time, cost and quality constraints. Each task requires a particular mix of theses tools and techniques structured to fit the task environment and life cycle (from conception to completion) of the task.
Project Management Life Cycle
The process flow of Project management processes is shown below. The various elements of project management life cycle are;
1. Need Identification
The first step in the project development cycle is to identify components of the project. Projects may be identified both internally and externally:
- Internal identification takes place when the energy manager identifies a package of energy saving opportunities during the day-to-day energy management activities, or from facility audits.
- External identification of energy savings can occur through systematic energy audits undertaken by a reputable energy auditor or energy service company.
- In screening projects, the following criteria should be used to rank-order project opportunities.
- Cost-effectiveness of energy savings of complete package of measures (Internal rate of return, net present value, cash flow, average payback)
- Sustainability of the savings over the life of the equipment.
- Ease of quantifying, monitoring, and verifying electricity and fuel savings.
- Availability of technology, and ease of adaptability of the technology to Indian conditions.
- Other environmental and social cost benefits.
Initiating is the basic processes that should be performed to get the project started. This starting point is critical because those who will deliver the project, those who will use the Bureau of Energy Efficiency project, and those who will have a stake in the project need to reach an agreement on its initiation. Involving all stakeholders in the project phases generally improves the probability of satisfying customer requirements by shared ownership of the project by the stakeholders. The success of the project team depends upon starting with complete and accurate information, management support, and the authorization necessary to manage the project.
The initiation stage should include a plan that encompasses the following areas:
- Analyzing the business needs/requirements in measurable goals
- Reviewing of the current operations
- Financial analysis of the costs and benefits including a budget
- Stakeholder analysis, including users, and support personnel for the project
- Project charter including costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedule
The planning phase is considered the most important phase in project management. Project planning defines project activities that will be performed; the products that will be produced, and describes how these activities will be accomplished and managed. Project planning defines each major task, estimates the time, resources and cost required, and provides a framework for management review and control. Planning involves identifying and documenting scope, tasks, schedules, cost, risk, quality, and staffing needs.
The result of the project planning, the project plan, will be an approved, comprehensive document that allows a project team to begin and complete the work necessary to achieve the project goals and objectives. The project plan will address how the project team will manage the project elements. It will provide a high level of confidence in the organization’s ability to meet the scope, timing, cost, and quality requirements by addressing all aspects of the project.
Project planning generally consists of;
- determining how to plan (e.g. by level of detail or rolling wave);
- developing the scope statement;
- selecting the planning team;
- identifying deliverables and creating the work breakdown structure;
- identifying the activities needed to complete those deliverables and networking the activities in their logical sequence;
- estimating the resource requirements for the activities;
- estimating time and cost for activities;
- developing the schedule;
- developing the budget;
- risk planning;
- gaining formal approval to begin work.
Additional processes, such as planning for communications and for scope management, identifying roles and responsibilities, determining what to purchase for the project and holding a kick-off meeting are also generally advisable.
For new product development projects, conceptual design of the operation of the final product may be performed concurrent with the project planning activities, and may help to inform the planning team when identifying deliverables and planning activities.
Once a project moves into the execution phase, the project team and all necessary resources to carry out the project should be in place and ready to perform project activities. The project plan is completed and base lined by this time as well. The project team and the project manager’s focus now shifts from planning the project efforts to participating, observing, and analyzing the work being done.
The execution phase is when the work activities of the project plan are executed, resulting in the completion of the project deliverables and achievement of the project objective(s). This phase brings together all of the project management disciplines, resulting in a product or service that will meet the project deliverable requirements and the customers need. During this phase, elements completed in the planning phase are implemented, time is expended, and money is spent.
In short, it means coordinating and managing the project resources while executing the project plan, performing the planned project activities, and ensuring they are completed efficiently.
5. Monitoring and Controlling
Project Control function that involves comparing actual performance with planned performance and taking corrective action to get the desired outcome when there are significant differences. By monitoring and measuring progress regularly, identifying Bureau of Energy Efficiency variances from plan, and taking corrective action if required, project control ensures that project objectives are met.
Monitoring and Controlling includes:
- Measuring the ongoing project activities (where we are);
- Monitoring the project variables (cost, effort, scope, etc.) against the project management plan and the project performance baseline (where we should be);
- Identify corrective actions to address issues and risks properly (How can we get on track again);
- Influencing the factors that could circumvent integrated change control so only approved changes are implemented
- In multi-phase projects,process also provides feedback between project phases, in order to implement corrective or preventive actions to bring the project into compliance with the project management plan.
In this stage, auditors should pay attention to how effectively and quickly user problems are resolved.
Over the course of any construction project, the work scope may change. Change is a normal and expected part of the construction process. Changes can be the result of necessary design modifications, differing site conditions, material availability, contractor-requested changes, value engineering and impacts from third parties, to name a few. Beyond executing the change in the field, the change normally needs to be documented to show what was actually constructed. This is referred to as Change Management. Hence, the owner usually requires a final record to show all changes or, more specifically, any change that modifies the tangible portions of the finished work. The record is made on the contract documents — usually, but not necessarily limited to, the design drawings. The end product of this effort is what the industry terms as-built drawings, or more simply, “as built.” The requirement for providing them is a norm in construction contracts.
When changes are introduced to the project, the viability of the project has to be re-assessed. It is important not to lose sight of the initial goals and targets of the projects. When the changes accumulate, the forecasted result may not justify the original proposed investment in the project.
6. Closing Out
Project closeout is performed after all defined project objectives have been met and the customer has formally accepted the project’s deliverables and end product or, in some instances, when a project has been cancelled or terminated early. Although, project closeout is a routine process, it is an important one. By properly completing the project closeout, organizations can benefit from lessons learned and information compiled. The project closeout phase is comprised of contract closeout and administrative closure.
This phase consists of:
- Project close: Finalize all activities across all of the process groups to formally close the project or a project phase.
- Contract closure: Complete and settle each contract (including the resolution of any open items) and close each contract applicable to the project or project phase.