Project Management Essay

Project Management / innovative techniques / implementation / strategic plan

Essay Topic:

The problem of implementing the main strategies of project management.

Essay Questions:

What is the strategic design of project management?

What are the project management key elements?

In what way can project management be implemented?

Thesis Statement:

Project management is designed for not only large organizations with a lot of experience but for small industrial organizations.


Project Management Essay


1. Project Management: Strategic Design and Implementation

2. Project Management Process

3. Project management key elements

4. Strategic Issues in Project Management

5. Interpersonal dynamics and teams

6. Project management implementation

Introduction. Project Management: Strategic Design and Implementation

As it is now known project management is one of the integral parts of the contemporary management system due to its ability to make sure that the goals set in the beginning of a project correspond exactly to the goals that were achieved later on. It goes without saying that the primarily aim of any project is a certain definite result. It can be a definite product, a service or information concerning the required aspects. Project management came as an answer to a great demand on quality management using special innovative techniques. Since a project can be applied to various spheres of activity of a company it automatically gets a wide range of usage. The fourth edition of David I. Cleland’s and Lewis R. Ireland’s “Project Management: Design and Implementation” appeared just in time to satisfy the growing need for effective management of the projects in any company. David Cleland is often called the father of “project management”. His prime target in the book is the explanation of the necessity of project management as a “tool” to reach strategic goals of any project. He views management as a constantly transforming solution-inventor directed to a successful result. The book examines the basic advantages of project management starting with general process and ending up with alternative project teams and the future of project management. The author emphasizes that project management takes into count many other important aspects such as cultural elements of project management, interpersonal dynamics, possible prospects and the exact instruction for its implementation within any project.

The book begins with the detailed explanation of how a manager is supposed to design and execute organizational strategies, or in other words to manage to control a project at any stage of its realization on practice. It offers the newest achievements in the sphere of state-of-the-art team design and project life-cycle evaluation. Project management is designed for not only large organizations with a lot of experience but for small industrial organizations, too. Cleland introduces flexible teams for the implementations of the strategies in practice. The implementation primarily occurs through the realization of changes either in products, services or in the processes of functioning of the organization.

Project Management Process

The principles of project management are completely related to the control of the organizational process. Cleland himself defines a principle as:” fundamental rule or law of action based upon desirable ends or objectives”. Such principle as: the principles of success, of commitment, the tetrad-tradeoff principle, the unity-of-command principle, the suitability principle, the process principle and the life-cycle principle. All of the principles listed above play a giant part in the right use of the project management strategy in order to successed. These principle state that first of all before beginning any activity within a project this step has to be revised in detail, in other words strategic planning goes before the step itself. Cleland sees a plan and its realization as a “rule” that cannot be violated under any circumstances. The project life cycle regulates the start, and the termination of the project, depending on the expenses and the productivity of the projects. Project management requires a clear division of responsibilities between different teams, which all together form one solid management block. The person, who is in charge of the project, a project manager has to be competent enough in order to lead the project to its best potential. The project sponsor and the project team are supposed to present a mutual commitment to the project. The main word to describe the notion of the future result of project management is success. This success is achieved through constant communication between the members of the project team, which provides a high quality cooperation that becomes rather effective in the long run. There must be a planning team to set a plan with concrete objectives, goals, and tasks and limit the budget for the project and its deadline. The implementation of the project owing to the communication between the project members is expected to go in the given direction without any deviations at all. It is this criterion that defines the effectiveness of the project management the most from the point of view of Cleland. So with the adjustment of the project plan the project itself goes through several phases: study of its feasibility, project planning, implementation, evaluation and the maintenance of the project in its most productive position. The maintenance is the vital part for any project product. It requires deep planning and more strategy than any of the other phases.

Project management key elements.

The project management system includes 5 main key elements that provide the correct work of the whole project structure. They are: matrix, project-planning, information, project-control and cultural ambience. The division of responsibilities forms the matrix. The Project-planning subsystem deals with dividing the project’s functioning into different components, responsible for different actions, which is also connected to the matrix. The informational subsystem is represented by the general information about the project and the communication within the project’s structure, including stakeholders and so on. The project control system is directly related to the pre and post evaluating of the project, including milestones or in other words full monitoring of the project’s execution. Cultural ambience is very important for the successful implementation of a project due to the presence of the human factor in every single division. This has a high impact on project leadership and is the main factor in team management.

Strategic Issues in Project Management

As David Cleland considers a project to be the leading force in the design and the usage of any strategy by a company he takes strategic issues of a project as the premises of its implementation. The Board of Directors is to be responsible for analyzing strategic plan for any project and establishing capital projects. Stakeholder management is very helpful here, because the board of directors can appeal not to a definite project team in general, but to the senior project manager responsible for the work of the team. He, in turn appeals to the team members he needs to correct the situation or just in order to control. According to Cleland’s book this is the way the whole system in under constant control and checked for following the path chosen by the strategy of the project. To launch any project requires a very scrupulous work and some projects are just not worth of it. That is the reason some projects can be predicted to fail from the very beginning without wasting time and costs on its implementation. One of the possible problems that may cause the failure of the project is ineffective planning, as plan is the core of the project management. Senior oversight, caused by the incompetence in addition to inappropriate organizational design may be fatal for a project. The contingent of the team has to be carefully revised before approving. Another very important aspect is the reality, the reachability of the set objectives. Objectives that are unrealistic form the very start are doomed. The project has to follow the principle of continuous improvement at any times. As Cleland states, strategic planning occurs through the preselection and evaluation of the future possible results of the given project. This evaluation is related to the ultimate evaluation and deals with the level of effectiveness of the project, it’s relation to state-to-the-art technology, possible return on investment, the satisfaction of customer’s needs and the probability of meeting the deadline. The project result is the mission that has to be achieved and fixed. “To be the number one aerospace company in the world and among the premier industrial concerns in terms of quality, profitability and growth.”(The Boeing Company) This is the mission that was set by the Boeing Company and led it to the very top leaders. Their strategic goals meet the requirements of project management and realized them in the business their organization was rotating in. Giving a lot of practical information Cleland makes a strong stress on the ability to set clear objectives one more time. The objective is supposed to achieve the “vision”-the image of what the organization should be in the future in its maximum potential. For instance, the example of Wall-Mart: ”Providing customers with quality goods and making the goods available when and where customers want them”. A clear goal that through correct management perfectly implemented in true life company’s position in the world’s market. From Cleland’s opinion the way to the objective is made of blocks and milestones that have to be evaluated at different times. The usage of different critical resources for each goal is vital in obtaining the best goal for an organization.

Interpersonal dynamics and teams

As the cultural ambience has been already mentioned above throughout the review it is necessary to emphasize its meaning in the process of work and implementation of the project. It influences greatly the interpersonal dynamics within the team members and as there are so many factors to take in count it is very difficult to ignore it. The interpersonal relations form the cultural ambience of the organization making it a stronger or a weaker “body”. Certainly, an organization with a weak ambience will not perform outstanding results due to the lack of unity. Unity is the guarantee of a well-coordinated work with the most effective results. People in project management need to manage various projects and for doing it they need to trust each other and not feel uncomfortable with each other. In order to follow this “golden” rule it is necessary to have employees that are all at an excellent level of performance and competence. Only under the condition of considering this factor senior can be sure to obtain well-adjusted performance. The proper work of the project teams, being an integral part of project management, starts being one of the primary milestone tasks. Cleland considers alternative teams to be one of the most effective existing “tool” to perform efficient quality and operate properly, it is also considered to be a mean of achieving high motivation of any worker no matter how low or high his position is. Cross-functional teams represent units that do not just work with one certain problem, but show a functional and system approach towards the solution of a given problem, including various human resources. These teams are many-sided and confirm the principle of a holistic system. The teams appear to be systems inside of one big controlling system, making this way a great cycle of interconnection. The idea of having teams altogether forming the project management system is completely based on the ability of these teams enable everyone in the company to participate in the design and implementation of different strategies. These strategies will lately make the organization more competitive. Cleland thinks that the formation of a team is a very important phase in the introduction of a project in any organization. An incorrect selection of team members may lead to an unproductive activity, holding up the rest of the structural formations of the project. That is the reason it is very important to “match” the members of the team in order to gain a better productivity and efficiency of work. It is the belief of David Cleland that the ultimate task of the teams is not only to reach for the goals they have set for themselves but also to “building blocks” in the design and execution of competitive strategy of the project management. The integration of the teams and maintenance of interpersonal positive dynamic perfectly suits the strategic plan of any organization using project management as their ruling principle. The teams in the huge block the form have to be in constant change and improvement, using as many resources as they can, especially including critical resources. The culture of an organization as a whole gets definite benefits from using the team-structure. On one hand it gives every employee the opportunity to reveal himself within him team, and constantly move if not vertically, but at least horizontally. On the other hand it endures the commitment to the organization and therefore increases its productivity supported with milestone goal achievement and the phased control.

Project management implementation

According to Cleland, the implementation of the project management is a very wide process. It primarily deals with choosing a goal, planning the work and executing it. The projects are expected to bring certain “value” to the organization and that is the reason the implementation needs to start with the analysis and evaluation of the real need of project management for the organization at this defined period. The growth of an organization may have certain risks if the organization does not really posses the required resources at the time of the primary implementation period and the final product is not at a sufficient demand among the customers of the company. The organization, in the opinion of Cleland has to be able at any time to supports strategic goals with all the required resources. The project has to provide something unique in order to completely achieve. Project management means making the right decisions in the right moment at the minimum possible cost. Such companies as Microsoft, General Motors, Daimler Chrysler and many other organizations have already implemented the project management system. The results speak for themselves.

A clear stating of the goal, right planning and scrupulous execution lead to a successful achievement of all the tasks and milestone goals. The presence of these milestone goals in its place becomes on the most important controlling tasks of project management implementation. The selection of a project and its “profitability” and therefore full evaluation is the task that can be completely achieved through working in teams only. The purpose of project management is the achievement of the “vision” of the organization or the achievement of the future possible image in the sphere of its functioning.


The last important issue to mention concerning the book is the project risk. Project risk is designed for the prevention of an undesired outcome of a project. The management of the risk becomes the key of the control over the uncertainty in the project. It evaluates the possible risk of the project and prevents it even before the critical situation may occur and is always based on definite facts and their analysis. This is often done through the standard risk model. It analyses the possible risk event and its possible impact with total loss of the organization. So, mainly it deals with the identification of risks using numerous professional tools such as: work-breakdown structure of a project, schedule-based prevention, process-based prevention, prompt-list based prevention of risks and of course success-thwarting that uses success factors to prevent the possibility of risks.

Generally speaking project management is a great substitution to any management model existing in the contemporary society. David I. Cleland’s and Lewis R. Ireland’s “Project Management: Design and Implementation” is a great book for those organizations that seek the best model of reaching their goals. The constant changing enviroment strongly demands new techniques of management. The model offered by Cleland has a primary goal of doing the best for the development of any project through the cooperation of various departments of the organization. The main focus of the book is the teamwork and strategic planning. According to the book the right and appropriate strategy and structure of an organizaion can be a guarantee of the best possible result. Nevertheless, project management is not only about techniques. It is about converting an organization in one solid formation, one being, that will exist and function for the sake of all of its components. Our society desperately needs a decent enviroment for the implementation of project management. And as Cleland states the strategic context of project management, project governance and the proper organizational design will help it a lot. Periodic risk monitoring also supports this whole system of tools, decreasing the possibility of getting an undesirable result to its minimum.


“Project Management: Strategic Design and Implementation”

by David I. Cleland and Lewis R. Ireland/ McGraw-Hill/4 edition /2002.


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