PMP notes

Project Management Knowledge Areas Project management knowledge areas describe key project management competencies. There are four core knowledge areas, four facilitating knowledge areas and integration management.

Core knowledge areas of project management

  1. Scope management: defining and managing work required to complete the project
  2. time management: estimating time required to complete the project and scheduling work
  3. cost management: preparing and managing budget for the project
  4. quality management: ensuring the product of the project is satisfied its requirements

Facilitating knowledge areas of project management

  1. human resource management
  2. communications management
  3. risk management
  4. procurement management
  1. integration management

Project phases

Project phases are subdivisions within a project created to effective management and control of a specific deliverable within the projects. Phases are created by management based on the nature of the project, its area of application and the management requirements of the organization. Phases can be usually sequential but can be overlapping based on the nature of the project and the phases. Phases must have distinct focus and distinct deliverables and they should facilitate management and control of the project.

When a sequential phase ends, it is called a phase exit or milestone. This is a good time to reassess the project.

There is plenty of literature on how projects should be structured but there is no single way to define an ideal structure for a project. Each project is unique and the project structure should reflect the requirements of the environment and requirements of the project.

Projects and project management occurs within the context of a broader environment. Therefore it is necessary to make sure that project work is carried out in accordance with the goals of the organization and its processes.

Phase-to-phase relationships

Phases are generally sequential but in certain cases it is more beneficial to have overlapping or iterative phases. There are three basic types of phases:

  • Sequential Phases: A sequential phase begins after the previous phase is completed. This reduces uncertainty and simplifies management but reduces options to optimize the project schedule.
  • Overlapping Phases: An overlapping phase begins before the previous phase is completed. It reduces time to complete the project. However, the project could take longer if an overlapping phase needs to be reworked in response to expected changes in the phase it is overlapping.
  • Iterative Phases: In an iterative relationship, only one phase is planned at any given time. The planning of the next phase depends on the progress and deliverables of the current phase. Such a relationship is ideal for environments such as research which are highly undefined, uncertain, and changing rapidly. Projects with iterative phases are difficult to plan.

A project can have multiple phase-to-phase relationships. For example, in a nanotechnology project, the nanotechnology research part is highly uncertain but procuring equipment, hiring staff, setting ups a database, and building website are not as uncertain. So it makes sense to use overlapping or sequential relationships for all phases except for those related to the nanotechnology research itself. The choice of phase-to-phase relationship depends on the level of control required, degree of uncertainty, and effectiveness.

Organizational influence on project management

An organization's cultural norms and structure influence how projects are performed. A cultural norm includes common knowledge about how a project is executed, how work is evaluated and who is influential in getting work done. An organization's structure is an enterprise environmental factor which can affect the way a project is conducted and what resources become available to the project.

An organization's culture refers to shared visions, values, norms, beliefs, expectations, policies, methods, procedures and views on authority and work ethic. Project manager must understand the organization's cultural norms that may affect a project. He must know the decision makers (individuals) and work with them to influence project success.

There are many different kinds of structures such as functional, matrix, and projectized. The project must be aware of the structure of the organization.

Organizational process assets include any process-related asset from any organization involved in the the project that can be used to influence project's success. Process assets are plans, policies, procedures, guidelines and knowledge-base. Knowledge base is the accumulated lessons-learned, and historical information. Information such as schedules, risk data, and earned data may be highly valuable for a project.

Organizational process assets can be: - processes and procedures - corporate knowledge-base

Project management processes

Project: temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result Project Management: application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements Project Management Process: a set of interrelated actions and activities performed to achieve a pre-specified product, result, or service (PMBOK Guide, 5th edition)

A project management process is characterized by its input, output, and tools and techniques that can be applied. Project manager must take organizational process assets and enterprise environmental factors into account for every process. Organizational process assets provide guidelines and criteria for tailoring the organization's process to project requirements. Enterprise environmental factors may constrain project management options.

For a project to be successful, the project team must

  1. select appropriate processes to meet project objectives
  2. use a defined approach that can be adopted to meet requirements
  3. comply with requirements to meet stakeholder expectations
  4. balance competing demands of time, scope, cost, quality and resources to product specified product, service, or result

Project process can be either a project management process or a product-oriented process:

  • Project management processes: ensure effective flow of the project by specifying tools and techniques involved in applying skills and capabilities in different project management knowledge areas.
  • Product-oriented processes: specify and create the product.

Initiating process group

Initiation processing group is a group of processes performed to define a new phase or new project. In this process,

  1. initial scope of the project is defined
  2. initial financial resources are committed
  3. internal and external project stakeholders are identified
  4. project manager is selected if one has not yet been selected

This information is documented in the project charter. Once the project charter is approved, the project become officially authorized.

As part of the initiating process group, large or complex project may be subdivided into phases where successive initiating processes are conducted to validate decisions, keep the project focused on business requirements, and verify success criteria.

Initiating processes may be performed by organizational, program, or portfolio processes outside the project's scope of control. In such cases, all documentation is given to the project manager and he is given authority to apply organizational resources to the subsequent project activities.

Initiating process group include the following processes:

Developing project charter This process involves developing a document to formally authorize a project or phase. In this process, initial requirements document is created which fulfills the requirements of the stakeholders. In multiphase projects, this process serves to validate or refine existing decisions.

Identifying stakeholders This process involves all persons and organizations whose interests and involvement could positively or negatively impact the project.

Planning process group

Planning process group is a group of processes required to define the scope and objectives of a project. Planning processes develop project management plan and project documents necessary to carry out the project such as documents related to scope, schedule and cost. Due to the nature of planning, these processes are completed iteratively. Planning process group include the following processes:

  • Develop project management plan: involves documenting actions necessary to define, prepare, integrate, and coordinate all subsidiary plans
  • Requirements gathering: defining and documenting stakeholder requirements
  • Define scope: developing a detailed description of the project and product
  • Create WBS: subdivide project deliverables and project work into manageable units
  • Define activities: identifying specific action items
  • Sequence relationships: identifying and documenting relationships among the project activities
  • Estimate activity resources: Estimating the resources required for each activity
  • Estimate activity durations: Estimating time required to complete each activity
  • Develop schedule: analyzing activity sequences, durations, resource requirements, and schedule constraints to create project schedule
  • Estimate costs: developing a cost approximation for activities
  • Determine budget: aggregating estimated costs of activities
  • Plan quality: identifying quality requirements and/or standards for product and project and documenting how project would demonstrate compliance
  • Develop human resources plan: identifying and documenting project roles, responsibilities, and required skills, reporting relationships, and creating a staffing management plan
  • Plan communications: defining a communications approach
  • Plan risk management: defining how to conduct risk management activities
  • Identify risks: identifying project risks and documenting their characteristics
  • Perform qualitative risk analysis: prioritizing risks for further analysis or action by assessing and combining their probability of occurrence and impact
  • Perform quantitative risk analysis: process of numerically analyzing the effect of identified risks on overall project objectives
  • :
  • Plan procurement: documenting project purchasing decisions, specifying the approach, and identifying potentially sellers

Executing Process Group

Executing process group is a group of processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan. It involves coordinating people and resources and integrating and performing project activities as outlined in the project management plan. Bulk of the work of the project is done in this process group and a large portion of the budget is dedicated to this process group.

Executing process group include the following processes:

  • Direct and manage execution: performing the work defined in the project management plan
  • Perform quality assurance: auditing the quality requirements and results from quality control measurements
  • Acquire project team: hiring and assigning workers to the project
  • Develop project team: improving competencies, team interaction, and team environment
  • Manage project team: tracking team performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and prioritizing tasks
  • Distribute information: making relevant information available to stakeholders
  • Manage stakeholder expectations: communicating and working with stakeholders
  • Conduct procurements: selecting seller and awarding contract

Practice Questions

Where should project governance approach be outined? In the project management plan

What is the role of a project manager?
To achieve the project objectives

What happens in the closing phase?
- formal acceptance of project or phase - orderly end to the project

Projects are composed of _________? processes

What is involved in the initiating phase?
Authorizing the project or phase

What is the primary purpose of projects?
Projects are utilized as a means of achieving an organization's strategic plan

What are the five process groups?
1. Initiating 2. Planning 3. Executing 4. Controlling 5. Closing

What are project phases?
- divisions within a project phase where extra control is needed to manage the completion of a deliverable - typically sequential but may overlap - provide basis for control

What is the purpose of product-oriented processes?
Product-oriented processes specify and create the project's product.

**What happens in the planning phase? - defining and refining project objectives - selecting the best course of action

What is the purpose of project management processes?
To describe, organize, and complete the work of the project

What is a process?
A process is a series of actions leading to a result

When is the impact of a change lowest in a project and how does it progress over time?
- impact is lowest at the beginning of the project - impact increases as the project progresses

What happens in the executing phase?
coordinating people and other resources to carry out the plan

How can organizational structural influence a project?
it can influence the availability or terms under which resources are available to the project

When is the ability of a stakeholder to influence a project highest and how does it vary over time? - highest at the beginning of the project - decreases as the project progresses

What strategic considerations can lead to project authorization?
- market demand - organizational requirements - customer request - technological advance - legal requirements

What happens in the controlling phase?
- ensuring project objectives are met by monitoring and measuring progress regularly to identify variances from plan - taking corrective action as necessary

What is a portfolio?
- a collection of projects or programs that are grouped together to facilitate effective management to meet strategic business objectives - organize portfolios based on specific goals

What is a program?
A program is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available if projects are managed individually

What is the role of a project coordinator?
- acts as a liaison - has limited authority

Who is a project expeditor? - acts as a liaison - verifies assignments are complete - checks status - has no authority

What is the purpose of Project Management Office (PMO)? PMO is an organizational unit to centralize and coordinate management of projects. It focuses on coordinated planning, prioritization, and execution of projects e.g. support functions such as training, procedures, and actual management of projects.

What is management by objectives (MBO)? Management by objectives (MBO) is a philosophy where projects are evaluated for their support of corporate objectives and aligned with strategic initiatives. The philosophy is:

  • establish clear and realistic objectives
  • evaluate whether projects are being met periodically
  • implement corrective action, if necessary

What is stakeholder management plan?
A stakeholder management plan is a formal plan which describes HOW stakeholders will be managed. The plan

  • identifies all stakeholders
  • describes their requirements and expectation for the project
  • outlines their roles and responsibilities
  • determines how stakeholder requirements/expectations will be managed to ensure project success

List characteristics of effective project managers Effective project managers have good

  • area-specific skills
  • general management skills
  • project management knowledge
  • business process knowledge
  • interpersonal skills
  • application knowledge

Describe characteristics of a functional organization

  • projects are coordinated across functional managers
  • project manager has little or no project authority
  • personnel assigned to projects typically have other work to perform

Who is a stakeholder?
Stakeholders are individuals or organizations who

  • are actively involved in a project
  • may be positively or negatively affected by the project
  • may exert influence over the project and its results
  • may be internal or external

What cultural norms of an organization can influence its ability to meet its objectives?

  • shared vision, values, norms, beliefs, and expectations
  • policies, methods, and procedures
  • view of authority relationships
  • work ethic and work hours

What is the difference between weak, strong, and tight matrix?
Weak matrix

  • Project coordinator has limited authority

Strong matrix

  • Project manager has considerable authority
  • Projects have full-time administrative staff

Tight matrix

  • It is not a type of organizational structure
  • It refers to co-locating project team together

Describe characteristics of projectized organization structure

  • project manager has a great deal of independence and authority
  • project teams are often co-located

What is matrix organization structure? Matrix organizations have a blend of functional and projectized characteristics

Project Life Cycle
A project life cycle is a collection of phases in the project. Phases are created based on the nature of the project, its area of application and the management requirements of the organization. Phases can be sequential or overlapping based on the nature of the project and the phases. Projects often have milestones and deliverables within the project which occur in phases. The project life cycle itself provides a basic framework for managing the project, regardless of the specific nature of work involved in the project. Life cycles can be documented with a methodology.

Projects and project management occurs within the context of a broader environment. Therefore it is necessary to make sure that project work is carried out in accordance with the goals of the organization and its processes.

Project Management Just as the best musicians in the world cannot perform a great sounding symphony without a conductor, the best collection of best engineers cannot successfully complete a project without a project manager. The project manager can be a person or a group, as is very often the case with open source software.

What is a project A project is "a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result" (PMBOK Guide, 4th edition). A project is temporary in the sense that the project itself will not endure forever. The results of a project might endure for centuries (e.g. construction of the pyramids), but the project itself has a discrete start and end. The project could reach its end for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. The objectives of the project have been achieved
  2. The project is no longer feasible
  3. The project is no longer required

Every project is unique in the sense that it creates a new result (product or service). Even though every project is unique, different kinds of projects have similar needs and requirements. For example, almost every software development project uses some kind of bug tracking process and software. New projects can benefit from knowledge of processes, skills, tools and techniques implemented in successfully completed projects. Nevertheless, due to the uniqueness of a project, uncertainties always remain about the expected outcomes of the project. 697 1953 Programs and portfolios Program A program is "a group of related projects managed in coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually" (PMBOK Guide, 4th edition). Programs can include work that is outside the scope of discrete projects and a program is always related to projects.

Portfolio A portfolio is "a collection of projects or programs and other work that are grouped together to facilitate effective management of that work to meet strategics business objectives" (PMBOK Guide, 4th edition). Projects and programs in a portfolio may or may not be related or dependent on each other. Suppose the strategic goal of a bank is to minimize impact of economic downturns on its revenue stream. Since economic downturns don't affect every segment of the economy, and actually improve sales in certain segments, it makes sense to invest in different segments of the economy, investing in dairy products, agriculture, construction, natural resources, tourism sector and high tech sector. High tech and tourism sector might suffer in an economic downturn but the demand for food won't change much and gold prices would climb. In the event of a government-sponsored stimulus, construction businesses are expected to reap profits. Although all these sectors and their projects are not related, they all serve the strategic business goal of shielding the bank and its customers against economic downturns.

Portfolio Management Portfolio management is "centralized management of one or more portfolios, which includes identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, managing, and controlling projects, programs, and other related work to achieve strategic business objectives" (PMBOK Guide, 4th edition). The prime benefit of a portfolio is that it allows a holding company to pool resources of various different companies. Portfolio management involves proper review of projects, programs and resource allocation to different projects and programs.

Program Management Program management is "the centralized coordinated management of a program to achieve the program's strategic objectives and benefits" (PMBOK Guide, 4th edition). Projects in a program must be related through either outcome or collective capability. If projects are not related by outcome or collective capability, they should be manage through portfolios. Program management focuses on minimizing resource consumption by optimizing resource management. For example, one data center can be used for multiple projects. This would save resources by reducing idle time, installation cost, human resources hiring and training.

698 1954 Strategic planning, operations management, and project management Projects are often used to achieve an organization's strategic plan. Benefits from a project can contribute to the goal of a program and objectives of a portfolio. Operations