Project Management Support

KIC’s expertise in this particular field of Projects also extends to Management and organization. We draw upon our experience to provide our clients with project co-ordination whilst providing guidelines for professional financial and administrative reporting. We will help all clients with their co-ordination of project tasks which involves: the mapping of project processes, the monitoring of progress, continuous risk analysis and communication with partners.

Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. A project is a temporary endeavour designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.

The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honouring the preconceived constraints. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget. The secondary —and more ambitious— challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and integrate them to meet pre-defined objectives.

Our typical Project Management Support revolves around three principle stages:

PREPARATORY PHASE

DEVELOPMENT PHASE

RESULTS/OUTPUTS

Preparatory Phase

KIC’s Management strategies involve dealing with the Financial and Human Resources aspect of every project. KIC will ensure that these aspects of the project will be managed by the Project Officer to design a clear dissemination and marketing strategy which are vital components for every project. As management involves: co-ordinated plans, activities which are then implemented, reviewing of partners activities etc…KIC’s expertise will ensure that the management of the project will always be professional and efficient. In this connection, having a good infrastructure is paramount in ensuring that the tasks are completed: Access to the internet, Skype and telephones will aid in the Management process – these basic procedures and practices are vital in order to maintain the necessary support and stick with every form of deadline.

Development Phase

The Development of every project usually revolves around effective management of what are termed Work Packages. A work package is a building block of the work breakdown structure that allows the project management to define the steps necessary for completion of the work.  Breaking down the work into work packages allows multiple teams to work simultaneously or sequentially on different components of the project. Each team follows the steps defined in the work package plan and completes them by the specified deadline. Depending on the kind of tasks, a distinction can be made between content work packages, which focus on the tasks that will lead to the project outcomes, and horizontal work packages, that are concerned with the management of the project.

As a work package can be considered as a sub-project, the key elements of a work package resemble those of a project. They include the following:

Work package objectives

Each work package aims to achieve one or more of the project objectives. The description of the work package should start with the statement of those project objective(s) which the work package aims to achieve. As for the project in general, the work package objectives define the methods, actions, and evaluation of the work package outputs and deliverables.

Description of activities

To achieve the work package objectives, a series of activities need to be undertaken by the project team. The work package plan should describe these activities in a comprehensive, logically structured and clear way. Specifically, attention should be paid to:

  • the link between the objectives, methods and activities, and outputs and/or deliverables of the work package
  • the link with the objectives, methods and activities, and outputs and/or deliverables for the project in general.

Timetable with milestones

All activities to be undertaken in the work package must be presented in a realistic timetable, taking into account the fact that some activities must be completed before others may start. In most projects, months are used as the unit for the timing of the activities.

In addition to the earliest start date and latest completion date of the work package, the timetable should also define clear milestones. A milestone is a scheduled event signifying an important decision making moment or the completion of a deliverable. Milestones can be used as project checkpoints to validate how the project is progressing, thus allowing a proper monitoring of the project implementation.

Outputs and deliverables

The activities of the work package should result in specific outputs, which are the products, services, activities, or attributes resulting from the activities and linked to the objectives. The work package plan should clearly state which outputs are foreseen.

Certain work package outputs may take the form of deliverables. A deliverable is a physical output related to a specific objective of the project, e.g. a report, publication, newsletter, tool, website, or conference. A distinction can be made between external deliverables, which are created for customers and stakeholders, and internal deliverables, which are produced for the purpose of executing the project, and are usually only needed by the project team and the commissioning authority. Both types need to be specified and listed in the work package plan.

Roles and responsibilities

In multi-partner projects, work packages are usually divided between the organisations which collaborate in the project. Although different organisations can contribute to a work package, it is important that one organisation is in charge. The work package plan should make clear which organisation is responsible for the work package. Furthermore, it should be specified which tasks will be carried out by whom and with whom, and who in the organisation will oversee the completion of the work package. This may be a manager, supervisor, team leader, or a designated team member.

Relationship to other work packages

Breaking down a project into different work package is a way to manage the steps that are necessary for the completion of the project, and not a way to create projects-within-a-project. Therefore, it is important to ensure the integration of the work of each work package within the broader project framework. The relationship of work package to other (horizontal and content) work packages can be made explicit by stating how the actions build on the results of other work packages, and how the outputs and deliverables will be used by others. The interrelation between the work packages can also be made explicit via a Gantt chart, diagram, or flowchart.

Stakeholders

The involvement and management of internal and external stakeholders from the start of the project is critical to achieving optimal results. Stakeholders are those people who hold a stake in the project – they are people who are interested by the project’s outcome. Anyone who might be affected by the project could be regarded as a stakeholder.

It is important to identify your stakeholders so that you can understand their points of view, and get an idea of the pressure they will try to exert on your project. Failure to involve stakeholders may lead to decisions being overruled, delayed, challenged, or questioned afterwards.

KIC helps clients identify the key stakeholders and consider their roles from the outset. Key stakeholders may include

  • the project team
  • partners
  • sponsors
  • politicians and decision makers
  • representatives from the target community or target group
  • the media, the scientific community, civil society group, etc…

To identify stakeholders and manage their involvement in the project, it is useful to draw up a project organization chart. This is a simple graphical illustration of who’s involved in the project and where they fit in the overall organizational plan. A project organization chart is created by:

  • Writing down the names of everyone who’s involved in the project.
  • Grouping them according to their roles—project board members, stakeholders, and project team members. In most cases, you will need to split the stakeholders’ group further into the various stakeholder categories.
  • Charting the results graphically, with project board at the top, the project team in the middle, and stakeholders radiating out from them. If some of the stakeholders report to the project board members, it may be worth indicating this on the chart.

Keeping all this information in mind, KIC’s knowledge of technical infrastructure such as the use of intranet, document-sharing, mailing lists and financial reporting ensure efficiency is the order of the day. KIC will also help clients prepare Progress Reports including financial reports for funding organisations.