. .



Managing Project Based Business

 

By Sheikh Nisar Ahmed
June 18 - 24, 2001

This paper briefly describes the Methodology for Managing Project Based Business hereinafter MMPB, and the tool Project Management Complete System hereinafter (PMCS). PMCS automates project management processes defined in MMPB. The MMPB, its associated tool (i.e. PMCS), and associated documentation are the result of very successful project management experience its author has in managing Information Technology projects over almost quarter of the century.

The Methodology: MMPB provides a single and consistent methodology for project / business managers to manage project based business. It formalizes the essential components of every project to plan, analyze, define, design, deliver and maintain project components and the set of resultant work products. Thus it provides a platform for managing projects successfully.

MMPB Methodology is developed from a large base of proven methodologies, which have been used successfully by project managers for a number of years.

The author has used common vocabulary currently being used in project management subject while preparing its specifications. Thus qualified project managers and leaders find no difficulty in understanding it. MMPB simplifies project management and defines this complex subject as the process consisting of sub-processes for defining the project, and then delivering the project to achieve agreed upon end-products and services.

MMPB shifts project managers focus from managing the projects to managing the project based business. This has a great significance and makes this methodology unique from other similar methodologies. This has been done keeping the fact in mind that most of the projects fails because of business reasons and not because of technical reasons. Most of the available methods and tools focus on project delivery processes (i.e. project tracking, performance monitoring etc). While the seeds of the failure of the projects are sown in project definition phase. That is why MMPB (and PMCS) focuses more on project definition processes (i.e. project qualification, risk assessment, quotation, proposal and contract building etc.) but still does not ignore delivery phase process.

MMPB Framework: MMPB Methodology Framework has been defined as "Composite". The Composite defers from normal Framework definition in one important aspect. It is mandatory in Composite that each product in the Functional Box must interface with each product in the adjacent Functional Box through a common platform using common specifications.

MMPB as shown in the Framework design above is based on seven independent "Module or Functional Box". Each Module Box will include Processes. Each process is defined to perform a single function. The function will be performed following the series of the "Activities". The activities are further divided into tasks. A common set of deliverable is defined for each activity. A Function should produce one or more deliverables. Each process in a Module Box will adopt common interfacing specifications to and from the common platform.

The Tool (PMCS): PMCS is a set of integrated tools developed based on MMPB. In other words PMCS is the translation of MMPB (i.e. methodology) into reality (i.e. the Tool). PMCS enhances project team effectiveness, by automating all processes defined by MMPB. It allows all team members to work in a collaborative manner throughout the project life cycle. Whenever required PMCS users are able to obtain MMPB guidance on-line.

PMCS, a Complete Project Cycle Tool: PMCS helps and guide project and business managers in qualifying an identified opportunity, assess initial risks, helps in preparing accurate quotation / price for the project, preparing a quality proposal, and once your proposal is accepted by the client it helps in preparing a risk free contract. PMCS manages the milestones and associate deliverables. PMCS also manages project cost and revenue. It helps project managers in evaluating employees performance and identifies good and bad performers. PMCS tracks projects profitability in multi project environment and clearly point out the profitable projects, and the projects where the service organization is loosing money.

PMCS provides facilities where project team members can report their performance and compare their performance against their colleagues. PMCS produces number of MIS reports to help top and project management in understanding their project based business.

PMCS Helps in Learning from the experience: As defined in MMPB, PMCS enriches its Information Base with the experience its users gain while managing the projects and make this experience available to the project managers for planning and tracking future projects. Thus PMCS helps users in preparing better quality proposals quotations, proposals, work breakdown structures (WBS) and project plans. Based on the experience PMCS helps project managers in selecting the right strategy for project delivery.

PMCS Value to the Project Based Business: While MMPB and PMCS both seem to have ability to support all types of projects, the author wants to restrict its use to Information Technology projects. This is because it is IT where PMCS is able to add high value and provides lot of benefits to the users.

PMCS can help steer projects no matter where you are in the project lifecycle. In the project definition phase it helps qualifying the projects, perform risk assessment, preparing proposals/contracts and developing the initial project plans. In the project delivery phase it helps in preparing detailed work schedule, managing the changes, performing the work, managing the cost and closing the project.

What makes PMCS unique is that it helps business and project managers in managing project's financials and on the click of the button makes each project's up to date cost, income and profitability available to the authorized users in easy to understand on-line queries and reports. This helps management in decision making.

To be successful and gain a leadership position in today's competitive and dynamic IT business environment, the IT solution providers must create a project culture within their organization. PMCS helps in doing this.

Conclusion: At MSCL we have already started realizing PMCS's advantages. While MMPB takes input from well known project management methodologies, it is specially defined for IT companies of small to medium size. PMCS is entirely new development. The objective is to provide a complete solution for managing the project based business at affordable price.

For more information about MMPB and PMCS or demo CD please contact the author on e-mail (nisar@attglobal.net).

Sheiks Nisar Ahmed

Nisar is the Managing Director and CEO of MSCL, Pakistan. He has M.Sc Degree in Mathematics from Karachi University in Pakistan and has over thirty (30) years of professional experience in the Information Technology Industry. He has an unparalleled exposure to all IBM products and services along with those of the other major IT vendors. He brings with him a vast experience of providing quality solutions and strategically marketing them to clients of all sizes.

Throughout his career, Ahmed has successfully attended and completed over fifty (50) professional training courses and management seminars in the United States and in Europe. He has written and contributed several articles in the arena of Information technology, which were published by NCC, CSP national conference and IBM.

He is an expert in CASE implementation aspects and in software development related Project Management Methodologies. An acknowledged Information Technology leader, he is a recipient of several excellence awards.

Nisar started his career as a systems analyst/engineer with IBM in 1968 and went on to lead several software related large projects and programs in Pakistan, which include; Government of Pakistan computer information technology projects, business applications automation for TOYOTA (Indus motors), Exxon, Pakistan International Airlines, Artesia Data Systems (Dallas Texas), Axon (Paris), Bank La-Henin (Paris) Pakistan army, Pakistan Airforce, Pakistan Steel and IT consultancy for Projects Pakistan. He has also worked in IBM Software centers in Boeblingen (Germany) and Boca Raton (Florida). Ahmed specializes in IT project management and has worked as regional instructor for teaching IBM project management courses.

Additionally, Nisar has established and managed IBM IT training centers in Pakistan and has held senior management positions with IBM, including heading IBM's data center operations and leading IBM's professional services organization in Pakistan.

Nisar is a acknowledged figure in the Pakistan's IT industry. He brings with him a vast experience in understanding complex IT as well as business related customer requirements and then managing provision of quality solutions to meet those business driven technology needs.