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Getting Started in Project Management

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Editor:            Paula Martin and Karen Tate

Publisher:        John Wiley and Sons, Inc

Reviewer:        Goke Ilesanmi

Project management, the process of guiding a project from the beginning through the middle to the end is indeed very taxing. This is because the project manager coordinates other professionals to achieve results. It is therefore a big intellectual relief that Paula Martin and Karen Tate, two project management experts, have proffered solutions in this text entitled “Getting Started in Project Management”.

Martin is the chief executive officer of MartinTate,a management consulting and training company. She works with project teams to help them improve on performance.Tate is the president of MartinTate and a project management professional with about 30 years’  experience.

According to Martin and Tate, project management is a valuable component of both professional and personal life.They educate that whether you are working on an international project for a Fortune 500 company or organising a family reunion, project management is essential to ensuring timely and efficient completion of any project.Martin and Tate remark that if you are new to project management, you are definitely not alone.

These authors say for many people, working on a project can be frustrating as team members refuse to agree on what should be done or how to do it and deadlines are missed. Martin and Tate however stress that projects can be both fun and successful if you use an effective method.

Using their Collaborative, Open architecture, Results-oriented and Easy-to-use Project Management methodology called “CORE Project Management methodology” for short, they offer a foundation for anyone willing to learn or enhance his or her project management skills.Martin and Tate identify four phases of project management as project initiation, planning, execution and close-out. They submit that you will also learn in this text, the seven keys to project management success; different approaches to the process; how to assess risk and avoid pitfalls by identifying them early; scheduling and budgeting techniques, etc.

Structurally, this text is segmented into 14 chapters. Chapter one is entitled “The basics”. According to these authors here, before we can begin our journey through the land of project management, we need to cover a few basics. The first question we need to address is, “What exactly is project?” In the words of these authors, “For example, is building a custom house a project? What if you’re a developer and you have a crew that builds a standard house over and over again? Is that a project?”

They say obviously, projects and business processes are not the same thing. They educate that project management is a set of tools, techniques and knowledge that, when applied, will help you produce better results for your project. Martin and Tate add that trying to manage a project without project management is like trying to play football without a game plan.

Chapter two is based on the subject matter of initiating a project. Here, these authors educate that the first phase of a project, which is called “initiation”, begins after the management has decided to authorise the project. According to them, the goal of initiation is to set the direction for your project and define any constraints on the project.They add that both project direction and constraints should come from the sponsor, because the sponsor is the management person who is accountable for ensuring that the project meets the strategic goals of the organisation and that the benefits of the project outweigh its costs. Martin and Tate say the direction and constraints for the project are outlined in a document called the “charter” and this document is the responsibility of the sponsor.

They add that however, many sponsors either do not know how to write a charter or claim not to have the time to do so. Martin and Tate say as a result, it is very probable that you will find yourself writing the charter for the sponsor and then have the sponsor review and approve it when you are through.These authors stress that in the customer-needs section of your charter, you are trying to define the real reason why the project is being undertaken for the customers.

In chapters three to nine, Martin and Tate examine concepts such as leading the project team; kicking off the project; planning the scope; organising the project; assessing risk; developing a schedule and developing a budget.

Chapter 10 is entitled “Assembling the project plan”. The authors say after the planning activities, it is time to assemble the plan. They add that the project plan is the output of the planning phase. Martin and Tate educate that it captures the information you have compiled with the team and lays out how the project will be executed.These experts also discuss the scope plan. They say the scope plan defines what will be produced for the customers, adding that in order to produce the final deliverable, you have to organise the work of the project.

They say you need to break down the final deliverable into interim deliverables and someone in the team is assigned accountability for each one.The authors add that then, you define the sub-projects and assign each deliverable to a sub-project. They say finally, you need to make sure you have the right people in the team. They stress that you now assess the skills you need to create the deliverables and review your list of stakeholders to make sure they have representation in the team or a team member liaison assigned to keep them involved in the project.

In chapters 11 to 14, Martin and Tate analytically X-ray concepts such as team-based tools; executing the plan; closing out the project and summing up.

Conceptually, this text is impressiveas the 14 chapters are brilliantly discussed. As regards style, it is laudable. The language is simple, embroidered with standard punctuation. Martin and Tate use an acronym by collapsing their Collaborative, Open architecture, Results-oriented and Easy-to-use Project Management Methodology into CORE Project Management Methodology for short. This is a conceptual amplification and creative structural compression. They use graphicsto achieve visual enhancement of understanding. The layout is also visually appealing.

However, some concepts are repeated in this text. Probably these authors deliberately use this style to create emphasis and ensure long memory. It is also written in Standard American English. That is why you have “…someone on the team…” (page 156), instead of the Standard British English “…Someone in the team…”, etc.

Finally, this text is intellectually revealing. It is a must-read for those who want to achieve success in project implementation.

GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.

Tel: 08056030424; 08055068773; 08187499425

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng

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Corruption biggest threat to security in Nigeria – Interior minister

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The Minister of Interior, Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, says corruption and corrupt practices fuel insecurity in the country, calling for all hands to be on deck to fight the menace.

The minister said this, when he paid a courtesy visit to Dr Musa Aliyu, SAN, the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), on Tuesday in Abuja.

Tunji-Ojo said the purpose of his visit was to strike a synergy between his ministry and the ICPC.

He expressed the belief that collaborating with anti- corruption agencies could help to tighten the belt and block loopholes even within the administrative processes.

“We know the Ministry of Interior is responsible for the enhancement of internal security and, of course, corruption is one of the biggest threats to security in Nigeria.

“So, we don’t need to move too far before we get to the point of intersection, where our interests remain.

“We believe that in leveraging and collaborating with ICPC, we might just be saving our country from a lot of effort that is needed in righting the wrongs.

“We believe that all over the world the language is pro-activeness, the language is prevention, the language is no more detection or correction,” he said.

According to him, the world is moving and is moving so fast.

He noted that as product of the 20th and 21st century, there was the need to learn the language of the 22nd century.

“And, the language of the next generation, which we must learn as a country is to build strong institutions.

“One believes that the strategic relationship between these two agencies can of course block a lot of reports, can prevent and, of course, can deter even the imagination of ill doings.

“If we do not do that, we will continue to run after the criminals. And, once we are running after the criminals, it becomes a game of fun to the criminals,” he said.

He explained that all over the world the criminals would be running after the state to meet up with the state, not the state running after the criminal.

“It means we have to up our pace.

“And we believe that the management of ICPC is well poised towards ensuring that a new Nigeria, not just built on hope, but on renewed hope comes to life.

“I realise that a lot of errors that people or mistakes that people make in government are actually very avoidable. That’s the truth.

“And, I believe that the lack of knowledge transfer has created a lot of lacuna and has reduced the level of performance of government officials.

“So, we are looking at the area of capacity building, strongly collaborate with you in areas of capacity building.

“As the saying goes, you will always be a slave to what you don’t know. So, we need to collaborate, we need to build capacity or run capacity,” he said.

He stressed the need on collaboration with the agency to tighten the belt and block loopholes within the administrative processes.

“How do I mean by that? I’ll tell you, I sincerely believe that if we have a functional unit of ICPC officers saddled with certain responsibility of going through certain decisions before they are activated, we might save ourselves a lot of stress in detection.

“I sincerely believe, and I say this with all utter insincerity, that I think the Ministry of Interior will be where we can use to test this particular idea,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the minister was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Aishetu Ndayako, and heads of paramilitary agencies in the ministry.

The ICPC chairman in his remarks said that the commission had been trying as much as possible to discharge its mandate within the confines of the law.

“This is to ensure that we have Nigeria, which is less corrupt and a country whereby people have confidence within and outside the country.

“This is because I keep on saying that we need investments.

“And two major key issues that you need to have on ground to have investment in the country, is one secure environment, which the Minister of Interior has responsibility in ensuring that Nigeria is secure.

“Also, there is less corruption because no investor will come to a country whereby you will feel insecure. And there is also challenge of bribery and corruption,” he said.

Musa said that he had always tried to see how ICPC could achieve its mandate of prevention, enforcement, education and enlightenment to combat the serious challenge facing the country.

“I have been in discussion with the minister; we have discussed a lot about how we can partner to ensure that ICPC, Ministry of Interior and its agencies work closely to ensure that we help this country in fighting this challenge of corruption.

“The only way we can do that is by coming together like the gathering we are having today and also to sit down and carefully look at how we can work closely,” he said.

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3 injured as 2 armed drones from Lebanon explode in Israel

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Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Lebanon carrying explosives exploded in northern Israel on Tuesday, lightly injuring three people, Israeli authorities said, amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran and its allies.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the armed drones crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory and exploded in the area of Beit Hillel in the Galilee.

Three people sustained light injuries, Israel’s state-owned Kan reported.

The drones did not trigger air raid sirens, and the military said the incident was under review.

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CBN expresses commitment to harnessing digital technologies

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says it is committed to harnessing the power of digital technologies to enhance financial inclusion.

Mr Yemi Cardoso, CBN Governor, said this on Tuesday in Abuja, during a strategic institutions tour by participants of Senior Executive Course 46 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

Cardoso, who was represented by Dr Bala Bello, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, said that digital technologies would also boost productivity and create an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.

According to him, the apex bank has already deployed robust digital technologies in driving most of its processes towards achieving optimal performance.

He said that NIPSS, as a foremost national policy think-tank, had made invaluable contributions to the socio-political and macroeconomic development of Nigeria.

“We are, therefore, not surprised at the apt and relevant choice of your research theme.

“The CBN and NIPSS have had a long-standing and robust working relationship since the establishment of the institute. This has culminated into positive mutual benefits for the two institutions.

“The CBN, on the one hand, has provided infrastructural support to the institute through construction of an auditorium and a hostel, in addition to the provision of technical support.

“On the other hand, NIPSS has supported the technical capacity of the CBN through the training of some personnel both at senior executive course level and intermediate course cadre,” he said.

The Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, said that the study visiting would be representing the institute in getting information from operators of the apex bank on the relevance of digital technology to developing jobs for Nigerian youths.

According to Omotayo, a lot of progress has been made globally in using digital systems to run the economy.

“The more of our activities that we can put in digital format, the more we get the opportunity of providing employment access to a whole lot of the 120 million active Nigerians.

“We at NIPSS always knock at the frontiers of knowledge, checking what is going to happen in the immediate future.

“We are working towards a system where we believe that almost every service can be delivered digitally,” he said.

The Acting Director, Monetary Policy Department of the CBN, Dr Lafi Bala Keffi, commended the NIPSS study group for its interest in the apex bank.

She urged the participants to explore the time-tested culture of NIPSS, which is to diagnose national, profer practical solutions and recommend ways of making such solutions realisable.

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