Systems Approach Essay

8206 words - 33 pages

The Systems ApproachThe systems approach to project management has several aspects that would require to be taken into consideration.All elements within a project are dependent on each other and each one of them would have their own special needs or characteristics. Every element would have its own complete properties that are unique and would need to be properly understood.There have to be goals or end results even for intermediate stages of a project, and the project manager would always have to be working towards these and fully understand the importance of these results.All inputs into a project would have to be determined and kept constant or added to whenever necessary. Some inputs may ...view middle of the document...

Systems Approach to Project ManagementFor the academics Systems Theory has been around since the early 1800's popularized by German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Freidrich Hagel who said:'The whole is more than the sum of the parts','The parts are dynamically interrelated & interdependent' and'The parts cannot be understood if considered in isolation from the whole'Systems Theory leads onto Systems Thinking that teaches us to look at the total system performance and the relationships between systems. Take for instance the human body, it is a system that has many inter-related sub-systems like the heart, lungs, arteries and veins. While the heart is the most efficient and relatively maintenance free 'pump' known to man, on its own it is just a pump, but when it is inter-related with the lungs, arteries and veins it provides life to the human body.Every project is a 'system' in that it consists of many interrelated and interconnected parts or elements which must function together as a 'whole'. Project Managers need to be concerned with the 'big picture', and as such, they must be systems thinkers and allocate adequate attention to every part of the project management system.When we talk about controlling projects we are talking about the management of Scope, Time, Cost, Resources and Risk which are all sub-systems of project management as a whole however, as sub-systems they cannot work in isolation they must be interrelated.Scope Management is mission critical for the success of all projects and must be identified, documented and baselined prior to the commencement of any work. This provides a solid foundation to the project management processes to enable accurate progress monitoring and a baseline to determine if additional work is within the original scope. This will decide if the additional work constitutes an authorised variation order that could result in an extension of time (EOT) or additional costs to the contractor.Time Management utilises the documented and baselined scope as the project deliverables in the form of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The project schedule will be developed by assigning activities that define how the deliverables in the WBS will be produced and the duration each of those activities will take.Resource Management sees the assignment of labour, material and equipment resources to the project schedule activities and ensures the activities can be completed through optimisation of the available resourcesCost Management applies the rates in terms of manhours and/or dollars to the assigned resources to enable the generation of performance reports such as progress 'S' curves, Earned Value Management (EVM) and cash flow.Risk Management determines the probability of completing the project through quantitative analysis models such as Monte Carlo and/or qualitative brainstorming sessions. The result from both will identify potential risks as to the probability of occurrence and the impact on the project should they...

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