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Project Management Standards (Part 1 of 5) - Project Management Planning Standards

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 7/6/2011

Project planning standards must address all issues regarding a project such as quality assurance, risk management, security measures, testing procedures, documentation requirements, cost details, staffing needs, resource deployment, and training facilities.

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    Project planning standards are set to attain the project goals – as the term indicates - in a planned way. Project planning standards may obviously vary from project to project, but the goals are usually the same - to complete the project within the time-frame and without exceeding the allotted resources.Project Management and Project Planning 

    Any effective project planning standards must lay down project management methodologies, provide a step-by-step guide and inputs for setting standards for project management, facilitate project reporting and offer required documentation throughout the tenure of the project.

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    Setting Standards for Project Management and the Creating Project Plan

    Project planning standards should be able to clearly define general project activities and address the specific requirements of individual projects. The project standards should provide adequate details to ensure all team members can identify project objectives and relate to its fulfillment. Clearly laid-down objectives are a basic prerequisite for timely and successful completion of projects. The project standards should, as far as possible, involve all persons who can meaningfully contribute to the functional requirements of a project.

    Project planning standards must take into account the overall project management system, its merits and limitations, define golas of the project, organize the information system with easy identification of project objectives and also plan for bridging a system network to monitor and control the projects efficiently. The more elaborate the project planning standards are, the more effective they will be to enhance the productivity of team members, allowing all project team members to better understand the project objectives.

    Organizations that have to manage multiple projects through effective collaboration and coordination should establish planning standards for coordinating and managing the various projects. The project planning standards for coordinating multiple projects should outline procedures for project prioritization, resource utilization and the project status updating and reporting.

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    Project Planning Standards - Parameters and Applications

    Project planning standards, for them to be true to definition, should include features, such as:

    • Quality Assurance Necessities
    • Risk Management Plan
    • Security Measures
    • Testing Techniques
    • Documentation and Portfolio Requirements

    No project plan standards can be deemed complete without cost details, staffing needs, resource deployment (identifying project participants and project management tools), and training facilities.

    Project planning standards should also include configuration management standards aimed at minimizing disruptions affecting a project management system and ensuring smooth flow of project progress. Configuration standards should be evolved and put in place to ensure all steps are scrutinized properly, approved after thorough evaluation and drafted and documented as per requirement, and information shared.

    Quality assurance also forms an indispensable part of project planning standards and quality assurance procedures should, amongst other things, ensure commitment from all team members. Audit and compliance authorities should assist quality assurance personnel to verify, at every stage, conformity of project requirements (internal or external). Project scalability varies from project to project. Quality assurance standards must obviously live up to the project size, project traits and the risks involved.

    Needless to say, risk management standards are critically important while implementing project planning standards. Risk management standards must recognize internal and external project risks and include procedures for identifying and managing such risks.

    No less important in project planning is establishing appropriate testing standards based on test plans which are comprehensive (subjective) in nature. These testing standards are the outcome of active participation of end-users and proper documentation of project progress at every stage. Here it is important to note that if copies of customer/client (user-oriented) data are used during test management procedures, then it becomes extremely important to set standards for the protection of data confidentiality.

    Finally, care must be exercised to ensure that documentation standards comprehensively cover all details, system methodologies and technological resources. Documentation is critical for helping the team members to periodically review and modify the technology applications, system operability and standard project management procedures whenever necessary

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