In class, we learned about project management. I have always wondered about how project managers begin working on expensive projects. Before project managers begin their work, they must understand the project triangle: performance, cost, and time. All three aspects of the triangle are critical to the success of a project. I currently work in a fitness accessories company, and I decided to apply what I learned in class to my work. We recently formed a partnership with a manufacturer, and our current project involves establishing the manufacturing process for our product. In addition to learning about the project triangle, I learned about project management activities. Project management activities include planning (goal setting, defining the project, and team organization), scheduling (relates people, money, and supplies to specific activities and activities to each other), and controlling (monitors resources, costs, quality, and budgets; revises plans and shifts resources to meet time and cost demands).
We already finished the planning phase, and now we are working on the scheduling phase. Our manufacturer wants to assign three employees to our product’s manufacturing process, but that number is too high because our product is so simple that we only need two people to manufacture the product. We still need to record the activity times and the duration of the overall project, and we still need to develop standards so we can effectively measure our performance and maintain quality control.
In addition to the project triangle and project management activities, we learned about the project network (i.e. precedence diagram, activity on arrow (AOA) network. All three are essentially the same because all of them depict major project activities and their sequential relationships. The project network is the best way to depict major project activities and their sequential relationships because it shows precedence. For example, C and D must be completed before E can start. Activities in my company’s project network include cutting the material, sewing, silk screening, and packaging. Although it does not take weeks to complete the project, the project still requires project management. It is important that we write down the necessary activities, what their predecessors are, and how long it takes to perform each activity. From there, we can develop a Gantt chart for our process.
The most difficult part of working on the project with our manufacturer is making sure that they are on the same page as us. Teamwork is one of the most important things in business, and developing synergy with a partner is a difficult task. It is inevitable that our manufacturer will try to maximize its profits by assigning more employees to the project and increasing our costs. It is also inevitable that there will be inefficiencies in our manufacturing process. However, applying what I learned about project management and how to create a project network will help my company and our manufacturer stay on the same page, and it will allow both of us to work together and find ways to reduce costs and maximize efficiency.