PMBOK is taking a project and breaking it into the different phases or life cycles of a project. You can apply PMBOK to any project at work or at home. It is first identifying the need of a project. After you have realized there is a need to do the project you then develop a proposed solution. Phase 3 is to perform the actual project. Finally when the project is complete you terminate the project. (Gido and Clements, 2006, pg 78)
Now that I understand what PMBOK is and how it can be applied I can think of many applications where I have used this at work. For instance, we changed fabric choices during in January. We first identified the need to update the swatches. I then developed a solution and delegated the work among 3 employees to complete the task of updating the swatches. Detailing what we would do with the old swatches and how we would highlight the new swatches so customers would know they are “new” swatches. I then decided on a reasonable time line to complete the task. When the task was complete I reviewed the work and terminated the project.
For LRH, the project life cycle can start with identifying the need to attend the major trade show event. We then develop a proposed solution as to how we are going to go about doing this trade show. The brochures, signs, presentations, travel. Given the trade show is a scheduled event, our time line to complete these tasks should be well in advance to the start of the trade show. Perform the project. At the end of the trade show it will be the termination of the project.
As I said earlier, you can apply this technique to everyday life. One task could include cutting the grass. You identify the need by neighbors complaining, develop a solution, hire the neighbor’s kid to cut the grass, allow him to perform the task, then terminate the project.
The 3 most important aspects from PMBOK in regards to the trade show project are recognizing the need to do the trade show, planning the trade show and then executing the trade show. Recognize the need to do the trade show. We then develop a proposed solution as to how we are going to go about doing this trade show. The brochures, signs, presentations, travel. Given the trade show is a scheduled event; our time line to complete these tasks should be well in advance to the start of the trade show. Perform the project. At the end of the trade show it will be the termination of the project.
However, I feel that the last step of PMBOK of termination of the project, is also as important as recognizing the need to do the trade show. In this phase of PMBOK, we can determine the impact the trade show made on our products, the increased sales or awareness of our company and the networking that was done during the trade show. All these items are done in the termination of the project. This data will also allow us to determine our return on investment of the trade and made decisions as to weather we do the trade show again next year.
The possible impact if any of these steps are missed could result in loss of sales during the trade show, sales personnel not are prepared, hand-outs or demonstrations not be ready. If shipments don’t arrive on time, could be a total loss of not being able to set up your booth. If planning is not done properly it could result in low sales for that trade show. If we never recognize the need to do the trade show the trade show will not take place.
Looking back on my past experience when doing trade shows, I found it most useful to list out the tasks that needed to be completed, who is going to complete them, when they needed to be completed by and checked off when they are completed. Looking at the scope of the people involved in doing the trade show for LRH projects, you could make this simple list in Microsoft Word or by using an excel spreadsheet.
I would also create a materials needed list, along with what vendor is responsible and who is responsible for shipping the products. In most cases, my past experience tells me to have all products shipped to the office well in advance of the trade show date and then to have everything shipped to the trade show along with the booth set-up using one company. When you arrive at the trade show and have to start tracking down products that have come in, this can be very hectic is items are arriving at different times from different shipping companies. This also allows for you to review the products you ordered before the trade show and give you an opportunity to make any corrections before the trade show begins.
I am personally a huge Microsoft Excel fan, and currently use it for multiple tasks and for tracking information at work. The best tip that I can give for using this software is to learn how to use multiple worksheets instead of creating new files. Especially if you are tracking data for certain stores or projects. This allows you to create and pull data from the different worksheets without having to copy over information. In addition, if you need to change one number on a worksheet, and you are using that number to mutilate data on another worksheet, you only have one spot you need to change that number at. Another feature I use often is the data sort feature. You can use this feature to quickly get the items you are looking for to the top of the page. Another feature I find very useful is the freeze panes features, this allows you to read the column headings or side headings.
I personally have never used Microsoft Project for any projects at work, nor do I think the scope of the projects I work on at work require the use of a particular software just to handle the projects. When I think of projects that would require these types of tools I think of product development, or research and development, perhaps new building construction and the likes.
Gido and Clements, 2006, “Successful Project Management”, published by, Thomson South-Western, Mason OH 45040