By Victor Paa Kwesi Mensah
[unpublished paper – Work in progress]
This note discusses the general/basic concept of management in relation to the life cycle of everyday actions. Be it a programme, project, activity, task, or an intention, several processes take place. Whether consciously or not, we all follow some PROCESS in completing one or more of the actions listed above. The fact that a process is followed is NOT in contention in this note.
This note argues that ALL actions should follow a simple but systematic process at ALL times. The core word here may be systematic, however, the note further stresses on the need to incorporate the log term vision for any task. In this note, long-term vision may signify any time frame from a second to years. There is however less accommodation for the notion of infinity.
The E2E Approach encapsulates the fundamentals of thinking-through actions. “Think before you act” is an age old saying. While it may sound somewhat primeval, it is the nexus of the foundations of management – planning.
This note does not attempt to re-write management, project management, or its derivatives. It does not attempt to propound a theorem or hypothesise on what can happen. It only attempts to place a lay-persons outlook on actions in life and how they may gain from such management concepts.
To understand the nature of E2E, a few pointers must be revisited under management:
- Management is getting things/actions done through and with other people. Shelf this definition for now. If fact, you may not even need a definition of management in this situation at all. You should just have it at the back of your mind.
- Management involves planning, organising, staffing, leading (or directing), and controlling. Although there have been several variations to this, you still need this point.
- A programme, project, activity, task, or an intention, can all fall into the purview of Project Management (or the management of projects). So what is a project?
- A project is a unique/temporary endeavour, having a defined beginning and end and to produce a set of deliverables within clearly specified time, cost and quality constraints. The beginning and ending of projects are usually constrained by date, but can be by funding or other deliverables. Projects are undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, usually to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast to having a status quo or repetitive process.
- Project Management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives. Note the convergence between the definition of management and Project Management? Well, the only addition here is that, it is management of projects.
Project Life Cycle
While the elements of project management as in the definition above consist mainly of planning, organizing, and managing resources, the systematic approach to managing projects entails phases and processes.
Phases in project management include project initiation, project planning, project execution and project closure. According to Method123®, the processes entailed herein include project definition, detailed planning, monitoring and control, and post implementation review. These are jointly referred to as the project life cycle. A project life cycle is therefore a chain of project phases which are undertaken in either sequential or parallel order.
One distinctive element of projects, and for that matter Project Management is that, there has to be a visible beginning and an end (or intended end). The concept of looking critically at the life cycle of projects however brings out the possibility that, the end of a project can become the beginning of another. In many programmes and some projects therefore the line between these two stages becomes hazy.
But the question is, why should we care about how a project ends? In “normal” routine work, social activity, task, corporate function, or office desk activity, do we need to be mindful of the “end” of a project? I will say YES!! And you will most probably ask: REALLY?!! Even in some ordinary human actions, like cooking, eating, smiling to someone, giving a hand shake or a hug, etc? I will then say again YES!!!
The End2End Approach then comes to play here.
The End2End Approach
In the simplest sense of the concept, "do NOT start any activity unless you EXPRESSLY know WHAT will indicate that the activity has been COMPLETED and has been a SUCCESS".
[to be continued ...]