The PMI process groups are called:
- Control & Monitoring
You may need to repeat these processes repeatedly in a large project. These processes will integrate with your particular organizational or industry project management methodology.
- Cost-Benefit Analysis: compares the predicted costs and potential benefits of a project.
- Decision matrix/scoring models: a decision-support tool allowing decision makers to solve their problem by evaluating, rating, and comparing different alternatives on multiple criteria
- Opportunity Costs: a comparison of what an organization cannot do if they choose to do the project.
- Economic Methods: Payback period, net present value, or internal rate of return. The payback period is the number of years required to return the original investment from the net cash flows (net operating income after taxes plus depreciation).
- Balance Portfolio Method: Selecting projects to provide a good mix of project types and market segments, projects completing at staggered times, and varied risk distribution.
- Is the project technically feasible?
- Does the project have management support, employee involvement and commitment?
- Does the project generate economic benefits?
- Can the project be financially supported?
- Can the project be integrated well with the local cultural practices and beliefs?
- Will the project elevate or hinder the participants’ social status?
- Is the project physically and organizationally safe?
- Is the project politically correct?
- What is the environmental impact?
- What is the market demand, expected competitive activities, commercial start-up, and price wars potential?
- Think beyond your first approach idea. List at least five alternative approaches that could be used to achieve the same objectives:
- Retrieve previous project lessons learned. Note them here.
- Line up plan options, from which the PM can review in consultations with SMEs. What optional approaches are we seriously considering?
- Plan with an emphasis on suitability, quality, robustness, and effective integration
Selecting the right project manager for the project is like selecting the right tool for the job. If it is a complex project, crossing departmental boundaries, requiring risk and change management…you should be selecting a person who is both experienced and has been well-trained in project management.
Name the Project Manager and determine their level of authority.
- Project Expeditor
- Project Coordinator
- Project Manager with very limited authority
- Project Manager with balance authority with the Department Managers
- Project Manager with authority over the Department Managers
- Project Manager with full authority over all team members
Stakeholder analysis is the starting point of requirements elicitation. Your information production techniques are not going to be very effective if you are not talking to the right audience!
Start with a stakeholder analysis (a brainstorming session and all individuals, departments, and organizations impacted by the project) and plot the stakeholders based on their levels of interest in the project, and their level of power and influence on the project. This becomes the basis for your project communication plan.
Your next step will be to ensure that you consult with the interested project stakeholders. Many times individuals who feel that they should have been consulted on the decision to undertake the project, or whose point of view was not heeded, will not support the project or will continue to actively oppose it.
The project charter is a simple, yet very powerful tool to empower the project manager. A common technique is to initiate the project charter for your project sponsor, then review it with them and request to have them edit it as desired and send it out in their name.
Considerations for your project charter:
- Who should send it out?
- What do you want to be sure to include in your project charter:
- Name the project manager.
- Background on the business purpose and objectives for the project.
- Scope of work.
- Initial constraints and assumptions.
- Project Statement:(A quick overview of the project in 15 to 20 words.)
- Business Purpose:(What are we trying to accomplish?)
- Specific Project Objectives/Background and Goals: (Reasons for recommending the project, including background information, business problem and more specific goals.)
- Project Work Statement. (At a high level, what work will you do in this project to deliver the project product? What is the approach you have decided upon?)
- Key Deliverables: (Verifiable outcomes of the work.)
- Out of Scope List. (Work that might be part of other projects, purposely decided as out, or on a future wish list.)
- Key Milestones and Schedule Goals:(Major events and points in time indicating the progress in implementing your work. Potentially define the phases.)
- Major Constraints and Cost Goal. (Constraints may be physical, technical, resource, or any other limitations.
- Major Assumptions. (Factors that are not entirely known.)
- Team Composition. (Identify the core team members including the project manager, sponsors, known vendors, and known subject matter experts.)
Make a list of all the project SMEs. Consult with them regarding these topics:
- What improvements would you suggest to the scope or high-level plan?
- What team members should be involved?
- Who should have approval responsibilities?
- Which technologies should be used or avoided?
- What risks might we encounter?
- How much should things cost?
- What do you predict regarding the schedule?
- What do you suggest for quality specifications?
- What other stakeholders should be involved?
Draft your project work breakdown structure (WBS) to organize all of the work (written in terms of deliverables) in outline or organizational chart format.
When you review your first draft, consider these aspects:
- The WBS has been written to create every aspect of the project work.
- Contingency funds and time has or will be allocated.
- The project team participated in building the WBS or has reviewed and approved it.
- Project management work is included in the WBS
- Work packages have been broken down to a level that can be delegated, but not so far as to be micromanaging.
- Milestones are added to indicate major approvals, phase gates, and other important time indicators – but with zero duration.
Here is a very brief summary of the most important estimating best practices:
Compare actuals to estimates
After the work has been done, compare the actual time the work took to the original estimate. Track the percent off (either under or over) and report that information back to the team members. The best way to improve estimating accuracy is by paying attention. The best way to pay attention is by tracking metrics.
Use more than one approach or more than one person, or both. After you have one estimate, compare the logic using either another approach or another person’s perspective.
Clearly write out what makes this work complete. Many times there are unknown needed revisions, quality acceptance criteria, and a level of completeness that has not been clearly thought out, not to mention communicated to the person doing the estimating.
Present estimates in either a range or by indicating your level of confidence. For example, our project team estimates this will cost $100,000, and we have a confidence level of -20% to +60% (meaning it could very possibly fall between $80,000 and $160,000).
Understand the definition of an estimate. In many knowledge projects (such as engineering, research, IT, creative, etc) the time work takes to create unique deliverables can be extremely difficult to accurately estimate. And eventually the estimation discussion turns into a risk tolerance question. It generally needs to be agreed that without seriously inflating estimates to turn them into guarantees, that schedules are best planned with some flexibility and contingency for going over. There are diminishing returns in over-analyzing the project.
Ask SMEs. Subject matter experts can be a big help, especially in informing project managers what the commonly overlooked work or costs are. There are very common estimation omissions. You will benefit from questioning what they are.
Detailed instructions, practice exercises, and a problem scenario are available in the workbook.
The cost budget is generally the sponsor-approved total cost baseline of a project. This often includes the estimated amount plus any approved project contingency and management reserves.
Sum of Costs of Work packages
+Total Project Cost Contingency/Reserves
+ Management Contingency/Reserves
= Total Project Budget
For each significantly sized procured service or product answer the following questions:
- How will we identify good potential sellers?
- What type of pricing/service proposal best fits the project (RFI, RFP, RFB)?
- What type of contract legal issues could be written into our procurement contract to protect the project and our organization?
- Are there project risks that can be transferred to the sellers?
- What will payment arrangements be? Should retainage be considered?
- How will we ensure that all bidders receive the same project information at the same time?
The workbook helps in the definition of your quality parameters, quality aids, and in setting technical specifications.
The Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) is one of the HR resource planning templates in the workbook.
Consider including the following components with your communication plan:
- Collection and filing structure for gathering and storing project information
- Example of a project status report (showing the format and type of information to be included)
- Escalation procedures
- Stakeholder communications analysis
- Glossary of new project terms
When you have the plan completed entirely, review the baseline project plan with the major sponsor. Make sure you include a sample of the format planned for the project status reports, and then request sponsor sign-off. Note requested plan changes and sponsor rules for change thresholds:
- The project needs to be stopped, pending authorization to proceed, when the schedule variance is more than ______% off plan.
- The project needs to be stopped, pending authorization to proceed, when the cost variance is more than ______% off plan.
In this conversation “fast is slow and slow is fast”.
- If you are working with functional managers or a workload traffic manager, stress the following:
- Which tasks require experts and which may be suitable for less skilled staff.
- The importance of creating experts within the team by putting the same people on related tasks.
- Ensure that each core project team member has a chance to address any serious project concerns.
- Either involve the core team members in the creation of the WBS or get their approval on the WBS if they are added to the project later.
The first thing to do is assigning people to work on your project tasks. Talk to the individuals and/or their manager (depending upon your organizational processes). Make sure that they have, or can rearrange things to have, the time available to do the work. As the work is going on, check back to ensure they don’t have too much work and carefully monitor the progress. Reallocate tasks, support through training and problem solving, and provide feedback and reinforcements as needed.
The development of the project team also often involves taking steps to improve the team interactions and skill competencies for the project.
- Has the entire team been briefed on the project rules?
- Will the team benefit from having the project manager create a project glossary?
- What skills or training may be needed prior to the project work beginning?
- What team members need to get to know each other in order to facilitate effective work and communications?
- What is in it for the team member? Possibly the ability to learn new skills, add something wonderful to their portfolio, or help their career?
This is the executing of the project work. This is the effort of creating the project deliverables as scoped in the project work breakdown structure.Remember that completion measures accomplishment, not effort expended. Consider using the 0-50-100 rule for tracking the completion of work packages.
- 0% complete = The task has not yet begun.
- 50% complete = The task has been started but not finished.
- 100% complete = The task is complete.
Track this percent complete either in a Gantt chart or in the WBS.
The workbook shows a example of a Weighted Decision Matrix as a tool to assist in the seller selection process.
Determine the current schedule status and what the variance is from the plan. Work on influencing the factors that might affect the schedule, determining what may be causing any large schedule changes, and managing the schedule changes as they do occur.Post your schedule report in the Earned Value chart with step 43-44.
Managing the project team involves tracking team member performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and coordinating changes to enhance the project performance. It usually involves communicating both formally and informally with team members.
The workbook contains a helpful checklist of questions a PM should ask themselves regarding setting up their team members to be accountable and to help in fixing performance problems.
- What deliverables need to go through a quality check?
- What is the most appropriate way to check the quality?
- When should it be carried out?
- Who should be involved?
- Known risks are monitored and, where possible, mitigation strategies are followed to reduce the probability or impact.
- Update the risk log (located with step 23). Are there any new risks?
- Monitor the associated contingencies for both known risks (in your log) and also for the pool of yet unknown risks.
- There is a plan in place to continue to monitor and control risks.
- All risks are assigned to someone.
- Move those things that are actually occurring to your Issue Log.
- Have any significant pricing changes occurred during the timeframe of the project?
- Are there new opportunities to deliver the same or better project quality at a lower cost?
The project manager must communicate with the stakeholders to inform, resolve issues, and set accurate expectations with the people who have interest in the project. This is especially important whenever there are problems on the project.
The workbook provides a good checklist of tips for this.
Documenting the final information pertaining to the acceptance documentation, project files, closure documents, and lessons learned. This often includes the completion of any needed compliance documentation. Archiving involves putting the updated project records into a long-term storage location for later retrieval as needed.
Review the list of “Out of Scope” work and forward it with recommendations when appropriate. Also review the “Wish List for Future Projects” and communicate it for consideration for future project selections.
Acknowledgement and communication that the project team members have completed the required temporary work and that their services will no longer be required for this project. Often this is a point of recognition of the individual team member contributions, appreciation of their efforts, performance reporting, and transition to other activities.
The workbook also provides information on performance feedback best practices.