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Basics of Managing

Managing is about resources and how they interact with each other to get the project completed. The resources that make up a project are people, time and supplies. Supplies can be further broken down into raw materials, tools, and money. A manager works to make sure that the right quantity of each of these areas are coming together at the right time in the project to accomplish the goal or task.

Using stages of development makes managing easier. First you set up a timeline for the whole course of the project. Discuss the major milestones that need to be achieved and when they should be done. For most teams this process starts with defining what is to be built and the functional requirements of the project. You will then have to guess at the timeframe it will take. The more often you do a similar project the more likely you can predict the time to completion. Then you will break that time into your design/brainstorming time, build time and testing time. At each stage it is good to make a timeline to control that section of the project such as a Gantt chart. Below is a process of deciding importance of tasks and goals of the project.

  1. Identify requirements for the project. Weight the requirements based on their importance to the project.
  2. Start brainstorming on designs. Show how designs meet the requirements.
  3. Set up a time period to build prototypes or analysis to reduce designs to one solution.
  4. Build the Gantt chart to produce the design.
  5. In the Gantt chart put weights with each task to show the importance to the team.

By weighting the requirements you are able to judge what is most important to finish. Smaller or less important parts that are not needed to complete the project can be passed over to keep the project on schedule.

Project control can be difficult if done by one individual. For a project to remain in control it takes everyone on the team working together to make sure that all the goals and deadlines are being met. Each team member needs to take the time each week or everyday to look at the schedule and know what has to take place for the success of the team.

A common tool used by managers is the Gantt chart. A sample chart can be found below. The Gantt chart can sometimes be hard to understand how the flow of work relates to each other.

Another tool is the PERT chart. This chart uses blocks to show tasks. The chart is built in a way so that people can quickly scan the timeline and see what tasks need to be done and how they relate to each other. A sample chart can be found in figure 2. The chart starts on the left hand side and moves to the right with time. As each task is finished it can be crossed off to show progress. The chart easily shows what paths need to be worked on concurrently.

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