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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chapter 42: Summary - PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Lets summarize the core Ethics & Professional Responsibility related items:

• Ethical violations — Report possible violations of code to PMI and cooperate with investigations.
• Conflict of interest — Occurs when personal interests are placed before professional responsibility. Avoid this; if that’s not possible, identify and communicate all potential conflicts to all parties.
o Personal gain — Tied to conflict of interest, it’s when someone benefits inappropriately in exchange for influencing a project. Prohibited.
o Inappropriate compensation — Tied to conflict of interest, this can include payments and gifts for personal gain. Prohibited.
• Appearance of impropriety — When conflict of interest is not communicated to all parties, your work and actions might appear improper.
• Intellectual property — A product developed and owned by others with commercial value. Recognize and respect copyrighted material.
• Confidentiality — Maintain and respect sensitive information, including intellectual property, obtained through your work.

Prev: Chapter 41

Chapter 41: Summary - Project Management Knowledge Areas

Not all project management knowledge areas apply to all projects or project phases. Knowledge areas can interact and overlap.

All the 42 project management processes in the PMBOK are part of one of the nine project management knowledge areas:
1. Integration Management
2. Scope Management
3. Time Management
4. Cost Management
5. Quality Management
6. Human resource Management
7. Communications Management
8. Risk Management
9. Procurement Management

Project Integration Management

The processes that are part of Project Integration Management are:
1. Develop project charter
2. Develop project management plan
3. Direct and manage project execution
4. Monitor and control project work
5. Perform integrate change control
6. Close project or phase

Project Scope Management

The five processes that are part of Project Scope Management are:
1. Collect requirements
2. Define scope
3. Create WBS
4. Verify scope
5. Control scope

Project Time Management

The six processes that are part of Project Time Management are:
1. Define activities
2. Sequence activities
3. Estimate activity resources
4. Estimate activity durations
5. Develop schedule
6. Control schedule

Project Cost Management

The three processes that are part of Project Cost Management are:
1. Estimate costs
2. Determine budget
3. Control costs

Project Quality Management

The three processes that are part of Project Quality Management are
1. Plan quality
2. Perform quality assurance
3. Perform quality control

Project Human Resource Management

The four processes that are part of Project Human Resource Management are
1. Develop human resource plan
2. Acquire project team
3. Develop project team
4. Manage project team

Project Communication Management

The five processes that are part of Project Communication Management are
1. Identify stakeholders
2. Plan communications
3. Distribute information
4. Manage stakeholder expectations
5. Report performance

Project Risk Management

The six processes that are part of Project Risk Management are:
1. Plan risk management
2. Identify risks
3. Perform qualitative risk analysis
4. Perform quantitative risk analysis
5. Plan risk responses
6. Monitor and control risks

Project Procurement Management

The four processes that are part of Project Procurement Management are
1. Plan procurements
2. Conduct procurements
3. Administer procurements
4. Close procurements

Prev: Chapter 40

Next: Chapter 42

Chapter 40: Summary - Project Management Process Groups

Not all project management processes apply to all projects or project phases. Process groups can overlap and interact. Forty-two project management processes are contained within the five project management process groups:
1. Initiating
2. Planning
3. Executing
4. Monitoring and controlling
5. Closing

Initiating Process Group

The Initiating Process Group Formally authorizes new project or project phase. The two processes in it are:
1. Develop project charter - Authorizing project or project phase. The project charter defines the project’s purpose, identifies objectives, and authorizes the project manager to start the project.
2. Identify stakeholders - Documents all of the people or organizations that have an interest in the outcome of the project and their level of interest, impact, and involvement.

Planning Process Group

The Planning Process Group Defines objectives and plans course of action required to meet objectives and project scope. It also facilitates project planning across process groups. The Processes in the Planning Process Group are:
1. Develop project management plan - Primary source for how project is planned, executed, monitored, controlled, and closed. It’s an iterative and ongoing process often resulting in changes to the project management plan. This progressive detailing is called rolling wave planning.
2. Collect requirements - Documenting the stakeholders’ needs to meet the project objectives.
3. Define scope - Developing a detailed project scope.
4. Create WBS - Subdividing major project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components.
5. Define activities - Identifying specific activities to be performed to produce project deliverables.
6. Sequence activities - Identifying and documenting dependencies among schedule activities.
7. Estimate activity resources - Type and quantity of resources required to perform each schedule activity.
8. Estimate activity durations - Number of work periods needed to complete individual schedule activities.
9. Develop schedule - Analyzing activity sequences, durations, resource requirements, and schedule constraints to create project schedule.
10. Estimate costs - Developing approximation of costs of resources needed to complete project activities.
11. Determine budget - Aggregating estimated costs of individual activities to establish cost baseline.
12. Plan quality - Identifying relevant quality standards and determining how to satisfy them.
13. Develop human resource plan - Identifying and documenting project roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships.
14. Plan communications - Determining stakeholder communication needs.
15. Plan risk management - Deciding how to approach, plan, and execute risk management activities.
16. Identify risks - Determining which risks might affect the project and documenting their characteristics.
17. Perform qualitative risk analysis - Prioritizing risks for subsequent further analysis by assessing and combining their probabilities of occurrence and impacts.
18. Perform quantitative risk analysis - Numerically analyzing the effect on project objectives of identified risks.
19. Plan risk responses - Developing options to enhance opportunities and reduce threats to project objectives.
20. Plan procurements - Documenting products, services, and results requirements and identifying potential sellers.

Executing Process Group

The Executing Process Group Integrates resources to carry out project management plan. The processes in this group are
1. Direct and manage project execution - Directing technical and organization interfaces to execute work defined in project management plan.
2. Perform quality assurance - Applying planned, systematic quality activities to ensure project employs processes needed to meet requirements.
3. Acquire project team - Obtaining human resources needed to complete project.
4. Develop project team - Development improves competencies and interaction of team members.
5. Manage project team - Tracking team member performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and coordinating changes to enhance project performance.
6. Distribute information - Providing information to stakeholders in a timely manner.
7. Manage stakeholder expectations - Managing stakeholder expectations to satisfy their requirements and resolve issues.
8. Conduct procurements - Obtaining seller responses, selecting sellers, and awarding contracts.

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group

The Monitoring & Controlling Process Group Monitors progress to identify variances from the project management plan so corrective action can be taken to meet project objectives. The processes in this group are:
1. Monitor and control project work - Collecting, measuring, and disseminating performance information and assessing measurements and trends to affect process improvements. Includes risk monitoring to ensure risks are identified early, their statuses reported, and risk plans executed. Monitoring includes status reporting, progress measurement, and forecasting.
2. Perform integrated change control - Ensure changes are beneficial; determine whether a change has occurred; and manage approved changes, including when they occur. Performed throughout project life cycle.
3. Verify scope - Acceptance of completed project deliverables.
4. Control scope - Controlling changes to project scope.
5. Control schedule - Controlling changes to project schedule.
6. Control costs - Influencing factors that create variances and controlling changes to project budget.
7. Perform quality control - Monitoring project results to determine compliance with quality standards and identifying ways to eliminate unsatisfactory performance.
8. Report performance - Collecting and distributing performance information, including status reporting, progress measurement, and forecasting.
9. Monitor and control risks - Tracking identified risks, monitoring risks, identifying new risks, executing risk response plans, and evaluating their effectiveness throughout the project life cycle.
10. Administer procurements - Managing contract between buyer and seller, reviewing and documenting seller performance, and managing contractual relationship with outside buyer of project.

Closing Process Group

The Closing Process Group Formalizes acceptance of product, service, or result and brings project or project phase to an end. The processes in this group are:
1. Close project or phase - Finalizing all activities across process groups to formally close project or project phase.
2. Close procurements - Completing each procurement, including resolution of open items, and closing each procurement relevant to project or project phase.

Prev: Chapter 39

Next: Chapter 41

Chapter 39: Summary - Project Management Framework

1. Project - Temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.
2. Progressive elaboration - Developing in steps and continuing by increments; it’s a characteristic of projects.
3. Project life cycle - Phases that connect the beginning of a project to its end; project life cycle phases are not the same as project management processes.
4. Level of uncertainty - This is highest, and risk of failure is greatest, at the start of a project.
5. Ability of stakeholders to influence project - This is highest at the start and gets progressively lower as the project continues.
6. Cost of changes and correcting errors - These increase as the project continues.

Prev: Chapter 38

Next: Chapter 40

Chapter 38: Honesty

Aim: To understand the term “Honesty” as per the PMI Code of Ethics

The final value in the four core values for project managers is honesty. In some perspectives, it is the most basic and elemental of the four. Without honesty, the other values have virtually no impact. In an environment lacking trust, no one believes they are being treated fairly or with respect. Honesty lays the foundation for all project activities and interaction.

Aspirational Standards for Honesty

The aspirational standards for honesty are pretty basic and straightforward. In short, you should understand the truth and always act in a truthful manner. The aspirational standards for honesty include
• Earnestly seeking to understand the truth
• Being truthful in all that you do and say
• Providing accurate and timely information
• Making all commitments in good faith
• Making every effort to create an environment where everyone feels safe to tell the truth

Mandatory Standards for Honesty

The mandatory standards for honesty include
• Never engaging in, nor condoning, any behavior that knowingly deceives others
• Not engaging in dishonest activity designed to benefit one person at the expense of another

Qualifications, Experience, and Performance of Professional Services

As a project manager, you are required to be accurate and truthful in your representations to PMI as well in your professional undertakings. You have a duty to properly represent your qualifications, experience, and performance of professional services when soliciting work and advertising. Estimates of costs, services, and expected results should be justly presented. You are accountable for providing accurate, trustworthy information to customers and the public.

Exam Watch:
You are responsible for accurate and truthful representations in the information you present to PMI and to the public. The concept appears throughout the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Expect questions on the exam regarding this concept.

To know more about the PMI code of Ethics Click Here

Prev: Chapter 37

Next: Chapter 39

Chapter 37: Fairness

Aim: To understand the term “Fairness” according to PMI Code of Ethics

As a project manager, you are responsible for managing the project and moving toward a successful outcome of the project. Because all projects are initiated to meet some need of the sponsoring organization, it is your responsibility to ensure that goal is fulfilled. The only way to ensure the needs of the sponsoring organization are being met is to manage the project fairly. An unfair decision is one that puts the project manager’s desire above the stated goals of the project. All your decisions should be made impartially and fairly. The tangible and intangible effects of transparent fairness strengthen your project team and increase your ability to meet your project’s goals.

Aspirational Standards for Fairness

The aspirational standards for fairness affect how project managers make decisions. Fair decisions are those made impartially and objectively. It is important that the project manager does not render decisions that involve competing self interests, prejudice, or favoritism. In short, your decisions as a project manager should benefit the project, not yourself. The aspirational standards for fairness include
• Demonstrating transparency in your decision-making process
• Reexamining your impartiality and objectivity on a continual basis
• Providing equal access to information for authorized personnel
• Making opportunities available to all qualified candidates without favoring one over another

Mandatory Standards for Fairness

The mandatory standards for fairness include
• Fully disclosing any real or potential conflicts of interest to the appropriate stakeholders
• Not participating in the decision-making process any time you identify a conflict of interest until the conflict of interest has been addressed by the stakeholders and you are authorized to re-engage
• Not allowing personal considerations to enter into any decisions related to personnel decisions
• Not discriminating against others for any reason
• Not allowing favoritism or prejudice to influence how you apply the rules of your organization

Conflict of Interest

Full disclosure of any conflicts of interest, either real or perceived, to all stakeholders is crucial in complying with the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. You are responsible for informing clients, customers, owners, contractors, and/or vendors of even the appearance of impropriety.

Conflicts of interest can arise if you are related to a vendor performing services for your company or have previous unacknowledged relationships with contractors who are bidding on work you are responsible for managing. This applies to your entire project team. In an ideal situation, you would address any potential conflicts of interest prior to project initiation.
Identifying conflicts of interest is a best practice for all business transactions and assures all business associates are acting in good faith. If an actual conflict of interest is determined, all stakeholders can decide the best course of action for resolution of the conflict. By disclosing any perceived conflicts of interest, you avoid the appearance of impropriety.

As a project manager with decision-making responsibility that affects a project, you must take the high moral ground. Your judgments and decisions must be beyond reproach. If a conflict of interest arises that is not disclosed, this potential conflict can impair your ability to successfully lead the project. Your client, your fellow team members, and your professional colleagues might question your choices regarding any conflict of interest as well as all other decisions you are responsible for making.

Your truthfulness, reputation, and integrity are paramount as a project manager. PMI believes this is an obligation to the profession as well as to the stakeholders. The concept of a conflict of interest being tied to your responsibilities as a project management professional is addressed in all of the four core values in the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, but is most strongly identified with fairness.

Exam Watch:
Conflict of interest is a key concept. Understanding this concept and its implications to a project is key to truly understanding fairness. Expect the exam to include one or two questions related to conflict of interest.

You have an obligation to acknowledge a conflict of interest but you must also ensure a conflict of interest does not compromise the legitimate business interests of your customer. You cannot allow a conflict of interest to influence nor interfere with your judgment or the fulfillment of your professional project management responsibilities.

This is particularly important when you are accountable for decision-making as the project manager. You have a responsibility to your client to be forthright. If you engage in behavior that is questionable, yet alone improper, you are compromising your credibility as a project management professional. Your decisions regarding the specific incident can be tainted, as well as your behavior and judgment regarding all facets of the project. Every decision becomes suspect.
Inappropriate payments, gifts, or other forms of compensation for personal gain must be declined. Examples of inappropriate compensation can vary from the seemingly innocuous, such as theatre tickets or lunch paid for by a vendor, to the more extreme, namely cash payments or vacation packages.

Similarly, you should refrain from offering inappropriate payments, gifts, or other forms of compensation to another party for personal gain. You might be familiar with the term kickback, which has been used to describe this activity in various industries. The PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct is explicit in condemning this activity.

An exception is made by PMI in cases where offering or accepting payments, gifts, or other forms of compensation for personal gain conforms with applicable laws or customs of the country where project management services are being performed. In instances where you believe this exception might be valid, consult a legal professional. This practice is not acceptable for companies incorporated within the United States regardless of where they are doing business.

Your obligation to be trustworthy and exemplify a high standard of integrity is implicit within the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Inflating the number of project hours worked by team members to appear ahead of schedule or even on schedule is inappropriate. Overstating your hourly rates to make the project appear to be operating within budget when you are funneling those funds to other project costs, tinkering with progress/status reports, and manipulating project milestones to appear on-time and on-budget are simply wrong. It is an insult to the profession of project management and it’s not ethical.
More often than not, you know if your actions are creating a conflict of interest or if you are engaging in questionable behavior. If you cannot be completely honest with all parties regarding your actions, they are suspect. If you catch yourself thinking, “What the client doesn’t know want hurt them,” or not fully disclosing information to your own project team, your actions are improper. You might have the greater good of the project at heart when you claim Phase I of the project completed on schedule because you plan to use more resources in Phase II to make up the gap, but this is false reporting. You must be honest with your client regarding the true status of the project and then work with the affected parties to develop strategies for mitigating the problem.

You must also be honest with your project team. Your responsibility in this regard is two-fold: You have an obligation to communicate openly with your fellow team workers; furthermore, as the project manager, you are the team lead for the project and must lead by example.

Communicating honestly, openly, and effectively with your client and your project team can be difficult. It is hard to tell a paying client that a project is facing severe setbacks and obstacles, particularly when the client might (rightly or wrongly) hold you accountable for the problems. A client might continue to make change requests late into development or place unrealistic demands on you and your team in terms of the project budget, scope, and timeline.

In summary, avoid conflicts of interest. If this is not a viable option, identify and acknowledge conflicts of interest, both real and potential, as soon as possible. Avoid all situations where your honesty and integrity as a project manager can be questioned or condemned. If you question the ethical consequences of an action or feel a decision should be hidden from your project team, you should not engage in the behavior.

To know more about the PMI code of Ethics Click Here

Prev: Chapter 36

Next: Chapter 38

Chapter 36: Respect

Aim: To understand the term “Respect” according to the PMI Code of Ethics

The manner in which we treat people and things is based on the value we place on them. The standard of respect states that we should treat people and resources as though we value them. In the context of project management, these might include people, money, reputation, safety, and environmental resources. These resources are entrusted to the project manager and must be treated with the utmost respect.

Aspirational Standards for Respect

The aspirational standards for respect include developing an environment that promotes trust, confidence, and excellence for all who are engaged in the project. The aspirational standards for respect include
• Learning the norms and customs of others and avoiding behaviors that could be disrespectful
• Listening to and attempting to understand to others’ points of view
• Dealing with conflict and disagreement directly with the other person
• Conducting yourself in a professional manner, even when not everyone else does so

Mandatory Standards for Respect

The mandatory standards for respect include
• Negotiating in good faith
• Not using your authority to influence others to your personal benefit
• Never acting in an abusive manner towards others
• Respecting others’ property rights

Remember that respect includes showing a high regard to more than just other people. There might be questions on the exam that require you understand that respect also applies to money, reputation, the safety of others, and natural or environmental resources.

The Impact of Respect

An overwhelming number of conflicts among any group of people boil down to one simple issue: a lack of respect. Failing to show respect or actively showing disrespect will cause a conflict faster than nearly any other single action (or omission). Every person has a set of expectations on how to act. Trying to react to different behavioral standards can be tricky, but it is an important skill for the project manager.

There are many different issues when discussing respect, but the most important areas in which most people have well-developed respect expectations include
• Religious beliefs
• Political beliefs
• Allegiance to other people and/or organizations
• Perceived, or actual, rank or status
• Cultural practices

The preceding list is only a partial listing of areas in which certain levels of respect are expected. If a person, through intent or ignorance, shows disrespect to something or someone, conflict might result. Examples of a disrespectful act can be as simple as a comment about a revered sports team or as egregious as a religious slur. You should avoid all forms of disrespect and you must treat all people equally with respect in all cases.

To know more about the PMI code of Ethics Click Here

Prev: Chapter 35

Next: Chapter 37

Chapter 35: Responsibility

Aim: The understand the term “Responsibility” as per the PMI Code of Ethics

Taking responsibility simply means that the project manager takes ownership for the decisions and actions made, and the consequences of the results. This responsibility also addresses decisions and actions that should have been made but were not. The position of project manager carries a lot of responsibility and we, as project management practitioners, must treat that responsibility with care. In a nutshell, this section says that the project manager will honor the commitments of the project and take responsibility for the result of the project.

Aspirational Standards for Responsibility

The aspirational standards for responsibility include the decisions and approach to the decision-making process that lead to a transparent method of managing projects that instills confidence in the process. Remember that the aspirational standards are things we should do. The aspirational standards for responsibility include
• Upholding the best interests of society, public safety, and the environment in all decisions and actions
• Only accepting assignments for which you are prepared, based on your background, experience, skill, and qualifications
• Doing what you say you will do—fulfilling your commitments
• In making a mistake, owning up to it and correcting it promptly
• Protecting proprietary and confidential information
• Upholding this Code and holding others accountable to it

Mandatory Standards for Responsibility

In all categories of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, the mandatory standards are the things we must do. Failure to comply with the mandatory standards will likely tarnish the overall perception of project managers. The mandatory standards for responsibility include
• Knowing and upholding all policies, rules, regulations, and laws that are applicable to work, professional, and volunteer activities
• Reporting any unethical or illegal activity
• Reporting Code violations for resolution
• Only filing ethics violations that are substantiated by facts
• Pursuing disciplinary action against any individual who retaliates against anyone who raises an ethics issue

Exam Watch:
It should go without saying that a project manager should obey all the rules. However, pay attention to the fact that obeying all the rules is clearly stated in the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. You very well might see a question on the exam based on this simple premise.

Ethics Complaints

As a project management professional, you have a professional responsibility to report possible violations of professional conduct within the project management professional community. This is a self-policing provision. However, before you bring any accusations to the appropriate authorities, you must ensure you have the facts. If you cannot substantiate your claims, do more research or drop the complaint.

In accordance with your charge to report professional conduct violations, you are also required to cooperate with PMI in its investigation of ethics violations and the collection of pertinent information. An investigation requiring your cooperation might arise independently of you actually reporting a possible ethics violation. Further, you are required to pursue disciplinary action against any individual who retaliates against a person raising ethics concerns.

Responsible Conduct

In performing professional project management services for customers, it is imperative you meet your customer’s expectations and complete all work in accordance with the agreed-upon scope and objectives. Your customer should approve any deviations or changes to the work plan.

Confidentiality should be maintained at all times. This applies in the case of intellectual property, but also in the context of all professional activities performed.

To know more about the PMI code of Ethics Click Here

Prev: Chapter 36

Next: Chapter 36

Chapter 34: The PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Aim: To understand the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

The PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct focuses on conflicts of interest, truthful representation, and your responsibility to the profession, the customers, and the public. Most of the information contained in the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct will seem obvious and intuitive upon your initial read, but it ensures that all project manager practitioners have an equal understanding of the responsibilities for honesty and integrity in the profession.

The PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct is not a component of the PMBOK; rather it is a six-page stand-alone document available on the PMI website. You should read it carefully and thoroughly.

Exam Trivia:
No PMP Prep book will cover the entire details of the PMI code of Ethics & Professional Conduct. They will cover only the salient points. It is a nice idea to go through the whole document to get a better idea of the same. The PMI Code of Ethics can be found in the link below:

Core Values

The PMI Code of Professional Conduct is comprised of five chapters:
• Vision and Applicability
• Responsibility
• Respect
• Fairness
• Honesty

Each section challenges all practitioners of project management to apply ethical standards to work efforts, acting in an accurate, trustworthy, honest manner while acknowledging and minimizing conflicts of interest.

The first chapter sets the overall tone of the call for high standards in professional and social behavior. This initial chapter also increases the scope from previous Codes of Conduct to include all project management practitioners. Prior to the release of the current version of the Code, several Codes of Professional Conduct existed. Membership status in PMI and the particular certification held dictated the specific Code(s) that applied to you. The current unified Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct applies to all project management practitioners, regardless of credentials held.

Taken together, these core values provide the basis of the project manager standards of conduct. These standards exist to both promote confidence in the field of project management and to challenge each project manager to strive for excellence. Don’t take the code lightly! PMI views the code as an integral part of the continued development of the project management profession.

Exam Trivia:
To answer scenario based questions in the exam, ask yourself this question “If someone in your company (that you own) engage in such an activity, will I be ok with it?” If the answer to this question is NO, then you must not engage in such behavior yourself and select the answer that does this. Remember that as the Project Manager you must be a role model and behave in a way that people look up to you.

Aspirational and Mandatory Conduct

Each chapter in the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct contains two sets of standards. First are the aspirational standards. These are the behaviors to which we aspire. In other words, these are the behaviors all project managers would exhibit in the best of situations. Some of these take work to achieve, but they give us good goals that strengthen each project manager and the profession as a whole. There are no specific consequences for violating the aspirational standards.
Second, the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct presents the mandatory standards. These standards provide the minimum acceptable behavior for project managers. Violation of any of the mandatory standards carries consequences. Such consequences can result in loss of credentials, or worse.

Exam Trivia:
Exam questions from this topic are almost exclusively application questions. PMI doesn’t care that you have memorized the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. They want to see that you can apply the Code to specific situations. As you study, consider how you will apply the Code to your projects.

To know more about the PMI code of Ethics Click Here

Prev: Chapter 33

Next: Chapter 35

Chapter 33: The Closing Process Group

Aim: To understand the below two processes in the Closing Process Group
• Close Project or Phase
• Close Procurements

Look at it from this perspective; if you would have known everything that you know today about your project(s) when you started, would you have done things the same way? Would you have used the same resources?

Of course, probably by now you are thinking, what a crock, we are not born experts. How am I supposed to know when to do what and how to avoid execution problems? This is where trusted consultants and an experienced project manager come into play; they help in identifying what pitfalls to avoid.

One of the key recurring messages of the PMI methodology is to leverage expert resources and to use the project archives; executing the proper closing process ensures that the groundwork for your own internal expert resource and knowledge base is built combining knowledge and experience of your people, culture, and enterprise.
This process takes into account the needs for documentation and the understanding of the associated risks, the risks analysis techniques, and the decision-making process.

Exam Trivia:
What is a project deliverable? A project deliverable is the specific, quantifiable product or service that is attained after the completion of a project phase or the project.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the close project or phase process.

Close Project or Phase
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Accepted deliverables
Organizational process assets

Expert judgment

Final product, service, or result transition
Organizational process assets updates
The key input elements for the close project or phase are
• Project management plan
• Accepted deliverables

Exam Trivia:
For the PMP Exam, you must remember that the close project or phase process and close procurements process are both processes of the closing process group and that the close procurements process happens before the close project or phase process.

Why have these been designated as key input elements? The intent is to take this time to verify that all of the project deliverables are met. Use the work breakdown structure (WBS), the work packages, and the packages’ resource assignments as a roadmap to identify any remaining critical work elements to be completed and ensure the proper transitions.

If there are any unfinished tasks, you need to make arrangements to prepare their termination plan and measure their combined risk materiality to the long term viability of the project, services, and deliverables.

For example, one of the contracts calls for the return of all graphite composite containers to the lease company within 30 days of project completion. Your job as project manager is to issue all the proper closeout work orders and see that these containers are returned to the provider on time. Does this task have anything to do with the long-term functionality of your project? Probably not. However, if not addressed by the deadline, it has the potential of affecting your company at a potentially high annual cost.

This process must be repeated throughout the entire work package dictionary to ensure that deliverables are in line with the project and the performance metrics that you assigned to the service provider.
One of the most important realizations of the project management process should be that the project does not stop when the end is in sight or the product or services are delivered. If anything, this is where you need to concentrate and make sure that all tasks and their peripheral activities are completed. Examples of some of these activities are
• Client or user final acceptance
• Updates to all pertaining historical records
• Transitions to ongoing support
• Release all project resources
• Get final signoff and release from the project sponsor

To know more about the Close Project or Phase process Click Here

Close Procurements

At project build-up, you might have been faced with the need to have extra capacity by bringing in external resources. The close procurements process is the place where you accept delivery of the product and close the corresponding procurement agreements.
For example, you work for a multinational company that decides to leverage its internal expertise in building bridges over long water bodies by combining the resources from the steel and cement business units with its engineering unit. In addition to coordinating the building of the bridge, you are now faced with the challenge of having to orchestrate all the intercompany contracts, expenses, and revenue-generating models in order to ensure the proper level of synergies.

Not that this is any different than using external resources; however, you need to pay close attention to the human factor. The human factor refers to any cultural and personal differences between your culture and the inbound resources.

Another example for contract management might include a combination of internal, external, and outsourced relationships. These relationships might call for a different set of closing instructions that depend on the type of relationship. For example, relationships that exist within a single organization are different from outsourced relationships. Likewise, closing procedures are apt to be different.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the close procurements process.

Close Procurements
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Procurement documentation

Procurement audits
Negotiated settlements
Records management system

Closed procurements
Organizational process assets updates
As per the PMI methodology, the formal outputs of the close procurements process are
• Closed procurements
• Organizational process assets (updates)

Of course, this also means that you are part of the contract negotiation and interpretation, thus requiring a special dose of leadership and management techniques in an environment with multiple moving parts.

For closing procurements, you need to be well aware of your vendor’s or provider’s
• Performance metrics
• Assigned work packages
• Deliverables
• Schedule performance
• Quality control metrics
• If applicable, inspection reports pertaining to regulatory requirements

In addition, you need to address items such as
• Considerations to perform product or service verification that ensures all work was completed in accordance to the service level agreements (SLA) and the deliverables specified in the contract
• Review of contract terms and conditions in the event that the product is not delivered to specifications
• Enabling of early terminations clauses and remediation due to the vendor’s inability to deliver the product, agreed budget being exceeded, or failure to assign the required resources

Exam Trivia:
Early contract terminations can be a result of a mutual agreement or due to a failure to fulfill the contract deliverables. Early termination can occur at any time during the project.

To know more about the Procurement Closure process Click Here

Closing a Project or Phase Criteria

Everyone hopes for a successful project completion, but the cold hard reality is that on occasion some projects are presented with challenges from their inception up to their ultimate demise. Some of the outside reasons that can trigger an early termination could be linked to elements such as
• Market conditions— Where the company or client is forced to discontinue a project simply because the initiative is no longer in line with their long-term market share or presence objectives.
• Customer requirements— Your client decided to implement changes that are well beyond the capabilities of the current initiative, making it cost prohibitive to tackle the project at this time.
• Insufficient resources— You do not have the people, money, facilities, supplies, and so on to complete a project.
• Technical problems— In the project management arena technical problems go beyond the computer. Technical problems could include things such as variances in the density of the material used in a building to the inability to devise a way to hold the insulation in the space shuttle main fuel tank.
• Enterprise culture— The project and its product or services contradict the culture of the company. For example, a company is known for its face-to-face customer service practices and, after implementing a test of self-service point-of-sale checkout lines, discovers that implementing this initiative has a direct impact on the customer perception.
• Bankruptcy— Your client or company will not gain a cash position or additional market share by implementing your project, so the project is cancelled.

Even in these instances, you must ensure a successful transition by leading your project toward project closing criteria elements, which include
• The formal acceptance of the project results or product by your customer
• Documentation and forms resulting from organizational requirements
• Project performance metrics and reports
• Budget expenditures
• Cost benefit metrics and verifications
• Lessons learned

Think of the project closing criteria as those elements that give reasonable assurance that your project took into account the initial deliverables, the client, and the sponsor approval.
In addition, this process works closely with the communication management and the procurement management plans to formalize the ending of your project.

Some of the key participants of this process are
• Project sponsor— This is who gives final validation that the project’s services and products are inline with the original objectives and deliverables of the project before the official hand-off to the client and the operational support team takes place.
• Project manager— This is who keeps coordinating the execution of the communication, procurement, human resources, cost management, and quality plans until such time that the project is officially closed and turns over all the archives.
• Team members— These are the people who assist the project manager in performing the aforementioned tasks, plus assist in transitioning the new product or service to operational support.
• Quality assurance team— These are the people who ensure that all work adheres to agreed project quality expectations and deliverables.

Exam Trivia:
Formal acceptance is the binding process between the customer and the seller (provider) of the product or services that the product or service has been accepted. Its form and contents are predicated by the service agreement or negotiated in the contract.

The key item to remember when preparing for closing a project or phase is that the actual project criteria plan and requirement definition began the day that the project charter and the project scope were defined and agreed upon by the client, sponsor, and the entire project team.

You are just making sure that there is an effective transition between what was agreed upon at the beginning of the project and what was delivered and accepted by the client.

Lessons Learned

Contrary to popular practice, lessons learned should be part of all phases of your project and recorded as they occur; do not get this confused with the post-mortem connotation used by some project managers. If you follow this approach, you might miss the opportunity to write down important elements that might prove essential in future projects.

Why make lessons learned throughout the project? An out-of-context example would be not writing down the license plate and color of a car involved in a hit and run; the more time that passes, the less clarity you have about the details.
The main intent of the lessons learned is to help build an information store that allows anyone in your company to look back in time and understand the decisions made and the circumstances that surrounded the decision-making process.

Some of the triggering events for lessons learned records are
• Significant course corrections are implemented
• Corrective or preventive actions are taken
• Scope changing events occurs
• Root cause for variances between planned and actual project events

It is incumbent upon you to make every effort to be extremely honest and include items that performed well and those that did not. You must highlight individuals involved in the process and the risk factors considered at the time of making the decision.
Some of the elements this report might have are
• Executive summary
• Project phase
• Related work package
• Event description
• Event duration
• Action taken
• Decision makers
• Results
• Areas of improvement
• Time stamp

Exam Trivia:
Do not make the mistake of confusing a project execution satisfaction survey with a lessons learned document—they have different functions.

In addition to recording lessons learned, you must make every effort to collect any evidence and include it as part of the project archive.

Ending a Procurement or a Project

Ending a procurement is not the same as ending the project. There might be cases where they coincide but that is not to be expected as the normal behavior. You could have a case where a contract for a service ends but the project continues with another provider or project phase.

In contract execution, there are two actors: the buyer of goods and services and the seller of those goods and services. During the life of the project, contracts might end for one of the following reasons:
• Successful completion— Successful completion occurs when goods and services have been delivered in accordance with the contract specifications. At this point no further action is required with exception of formal acceptance of the product or services and final payment.
• Collective agreement— This occurs when both parties agree to end the contract. A collective agreement or mutual consent termination allows you to present and negotiate contract closing terms, such as a no-cost settlement, payment of all fees and charges accrued prior to the effectiveness of the cancellation, and payment at a reduced cost by settlement.

For the most part, the parameters of what is available as recourse is specified in the contract by the paragraph that reads something such as, “This agreement may be terminated by either party at the renewal/anniversary date by giving the other party notice at least 15 days prior to the renewal/anniversary date of the Term. This Agreement may also be suspended or terminated by....”

And, you must issue your collective agreement notice for cancellation of services with something such as, “Pursuant to the termination section of the professional services agreement between client and provider, this contract is hereby terminated effective on dd-mm-yy. You are directed to cease all work upon presentment of this notice and start the close procurement process,” (which you need to have defined by now).

When there is a breach— A breach of contract states that one of the parties is not complying with the terms and specifications of the contract. A breach of contract or contract default situation requires immediate and special attention from the legal counsel. Remember that the actions to take are as varied as the different clauses stipulated in the contract.

In addition, because good providers are difficult to find, executing a breach of contract procedure should be viewed as the last resort. Of course, it all depends on your long-term objectives with the relationship and the provider’s willingness to solve the problem that caused the breach. For example, if the default occurs at the service level agreement (SLA) level, your contract might allow you to consider mitigating factors and make adjustments to the SLA. Or, you might be able to outsource, supplement, or augment the function in question at the provider’s expense in order to deliver according to the SLAs.
Another key element to consider is a cure or remediation period. Basically, this is a cooling-off period that allows the provider a pre-ordinate amount of time to remediate the problem before taking any actions.

For contracts where the deliverables, products, and services go according to the plan, the next step is to ensure that
• All issues have been resolved.
• All contract deliverables have been delivered and accepted by the client and the sponsor.
• The project manager gives final approval.
• All assets have been accounted for.
• Final payment has been issued.

Project contracts rarely go beyond the actual life of the project; project phases might end several times throughout the project but there is only one project closing.

Some of the reasons a project might conclude are
• The company loses interest in the project and its deliverables.
• The company, project, or group is replaced or displaced.
• The project comes to a normal end after all the products and services are delivered.
• The project becomes its own organization living beyond the end date as an organizational process.
• The project is replaced by another initiative.

Exam Trivia:
For test purposes, you need to be familiar with project conclusion states such as extinction, inclusion, integration, starvation, addition, collapse, absorption, and deterioration.

Another element to consider when processing a project closing is what to do with the team that was assigned to your project. A project might end, or terminate, in one of several states.
• A project that ends in integration mode has its resources assigned to other areas and integrated into the normal operations of the business. Most often they are reintegrated to the department or group from which they came.
One challenge to this project ending mode is that the responsibilities of the position could have been reassigned or replaced by new processes. This gives the returning team member the special opportunity to flex her muscles and take on new and more demanding responsibilities.
• A project that ends in extinction or collapsed mode is a project that has ended before meeting its stated objectives. Simply stated, in this situation people do not have a place to which to return.
• A project that ends in inclusion, absorption, or addition mode is a project that has been accepted and has transitioned to be part of the organization. In this type of project ending, your team members keep performing their assigned project functions as their new day-to-day responsibilities, maintaining the project performance in accordance to specifications.
• A project that ends in starvation or deterioration mode is a project for which all its resources have been cut. You just have an empty shell.

From the process group perspective, closing a contract is part of the project procurement management process and closing the project is part of the project integration.

Final Review Meetings

At this point, you have received final approval from the client and the sponsor, compiled the final set of reports, released all your team members, and delivered the project products and services. Your next task is to meet with the project sponsor for the final review meeting. This meeting is where the project manager gets final release, receives project performance reports, and is able to return to the bench to wait for the next assignment.

The bench could be going back to your regular job or actually sitting in your company’s project management office to oversee the final archiving steps and get a new assignment altogether.

To know more about the final things to be done while closing the project Click Here

Prev: Chapter 32

Next: Chapter 34

Chapter 32: Procurement Management during Monitoring & Controlling the Project

Aim: To understand the Administer Procurements process

The administer procurements process is the blueprint for managing the procurements process and making any changes as necessary. It is the process of comparing vendor or service performance to the contractual service level agreements (SLA). Due to its implications and its potential effect across several sections of the project or the enterprise, all team members must be aware of the legal ramifications of any change in the contractual relationship. In addition, project-vendor disbursements tend to tie the SLAs, or performance agreements, and deliverables to direct cash expenditures.

At all cost, you must avoid any undocumented or unapproved cash disbursements or change that might go against your project deliverables.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the administer procurements process.

Administer Procurements
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Procurement documents
Project management plan
Performance reports
Approved change requests
Work performance information

Contract change control system
Procurement performance reviews
Inspections and audits
Performance reporting
Payment systems
Claims administration
Records management system

Procurement documentation
Organizational processes assets updates
Change requests
Project management plan updates
In general, the project procurements administrator is from the procurement management office and/or your legal department and has the authority to issue change requests or early terminations.

Remember that all communications pertaining to procurement administration must follow formal channels and be logged in your project log.

Your procurement administration process should include mechanisms that allow for contract renegotiation, management response, and payment terms definitions.

To know more about the Administer Procurements process Click Here

Prev: Chapter 31

Next: Chapter 33

Chapter 31: Risk Management during Monitoring & Controlling the Project

Aim: To understand the Monitor and Control Risks process

The monitor and control risk process enables the project manager to keep track of how risk responses are performing against the plan, as well as the place where new risks to the project are managed.

There could be cases in which risk might be identified as having a material impact to the enterprise but not to the project. For these risk types, the project must allow for an alternative communication path that forwards alerts to the people in enterprise risk management functions. In addition, the project manager must remember that risks can have negative and positive effects. For example, consider a project for a bridge that interconnects two roads with a max traffic flow of 10,000 cars and 300 tons. A weather event forces a traffic change from other roads, which doubles the capacity requirements for the bridge for at least 18 months after project completion. Although this wrinkle does not directly affect the project’s deliverable, it is important to consider the new information. In this case, the added traffic could affect the lifespan and performance of the deliverable after delivery.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the monitor and control risks process.

Monitor and Control Risks
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Risk register
Project management plan updates
Work performance information
Performance reports

Risk assessment
Risk audits
Variance and trend analysis
Technical performance measurement
Reserve analysis
Status meetings

Risk register updates
Organizational processes assets
Change requests
Project management plan updates
Project document updates
Remember that to determine how much of an effect a risk will have, multiply its probability by its material impact. As the probability of risk materialization increases, the risk register should make resource (money, equipment, people, and time) allocations ahead of time, thus increasing reserves. It is also important that the risk management plan include the processes that would replenish these reserves before they become depleted.

The purpose of project risk control is to
• Identify the events that can have a direct effect in the project deliverables
• Assign qualitative and quantitative weight—the probability and consequences of these events that might impact the project deliverables
• Produce alternate paths of execution for events that are out of your control or cannot be mitigated
• Implement a continuous process for identifying, qualifying, quantifying, and responding to new risks

The risk register accounts for positive and negative risks. A positive risk is a risk taken by the project because its potential benefits outweigh the traditional approach. A negative risk is one that could negatively influence the cost of the project or its schedule.

One of the techniques to evaluate risk control and monitoring effectiveness is to compare actual risk resolution practices to those that were planned at the time the risk was identified. Any deviations (negative or positive), would be cause to implement a corrective action in the risk management plan.

Exam Trivia:
Risk triggers are those events that cause the threat of a risk to become a reality. For example, you have identified the fact that you only have one water pump station available and the replacement takes six weeks to arrive. In the middle of your irrigation and recycling process tests, you discover that water pressure tends to fluctuate beyond pump tolerance levels. If you do not find a way to solve this problem your risk will become a reality.

Remember that for each identified risk, it is important to provide a response plan. It is not much help if the risk becomes a reality and there is no alternate execution path or an emergency procurement plan.

Exam Trivia:
Business risks and pure risks are different because a pure risk takes into account impacts on loss of financial profits, and business risk concentrates on events that might cause a company to lose position with its investors or to have financial difficulty.

In addition, the risk reserves must be evaluated to determine the best way to replenish them. Some examples of events that could have a negative impact in your risk mitigation and control strategies are
• Resource shortage
• Scope creep
• Contractual issues
• Lack of key resources availability

To know more about the Monitor & Control Risks process Click Here

Prev: Chapter 30

Next: Chapter 32

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chapter 30: Communications Management during Monitoring & Controlling the Project

Aim: To understand the Report Performance process

Communicating How Your Project Is Performing

Communicating with the project team and the outside world is one of the project manager’s primary jobs. As a communicator, the project manager must understand the mechanics involved in sending a message. There has to be an initiator, encoding of the message, sending of the message, and the receiver whom decodes the message, acknowledges the message, and, last but not least, confirms receipt of the message. It is important to maintain open communication with the stakeholders to provide timely and informative updates of the project’s progress. The report performance process addresses issues with communicating with the stakeholders.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the report performance process.

Report Performance
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Work performance information
Work performance measurements
Budget forecasts
Organizational process assets

Variance analysis
Forecasting methods
Communication methods
Reporting systems

Performance reports
Organizational processes assets updates
Change requests
In the normal exchange of information with the stakeholders, the project manager will use methods and techniques that help with formal and informal communication. Formal methods include items such as contracts, status reports, public speeches, and performance appraisals. Informal methods are those such as “The Scuttlebutt,” email, and telephone conversations.
One way to determine how complex communication will be in a project is to determine its communication channels by using the formula (n*(n–1))/2, where n represents the number of participants in a project. For example, a project with 10 participants will require 45 communication channels.

With this in mind, it is important to adjust the message and its delivery method based on the audience and the level of impact the project might have on the individuals with whom the project manager is communicating. For example, consider a board member versus the person doing the work. For the worker, getting information about revenue projections and return on investment might be of little or no consequence in her daily duties. However, providing figures on how many additional widgets can be made in an hour would definitely have an impact on her duties and equipment maintenance cycles.

In addition, the project manager must be cognitive that when delivering a message, nonverbal communication and physical appearance have a direct effect on the message been delivered. For example, the project manager delivers a message to a construction team. First, ensure that language and colloquialism used are appropriate to the group. Bear in mind, though, that the same approach might not work when giving a project update to the company senior team. It is important to ensure that the message and intentions are clearly understood by the audience who is the target of the message.

To know more about the Report Performance process Click Here

Prev: Chapter 29

Next: Chapter 31

Chapter 29: Quality Management during Monitoring & Controlling the Project

Aim: To understand the Perform Quality Control process

In the project context, quality is not only defined as delivering the right thing at the right time and at the right cost, but also delivering to customer expectations. As such, you, the project manager, have to ensure that the required metrics, tolerances, reports, and checklists are in place to ensure a quality-prone execution and delivery sandbox is in place. The perform quality control process enables the project manager to assess the level of quality of the project’s deliverables and take any required action.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and, techniques, and outputs for the perform quality control process.

Perform Quality Control
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Quality metrics
Quality checklists
Work performance information
Approved change requests
Deliverables updates
Organizational process assets

Cause and effect diagrams
Control charts
Pareto chart
Run chart
Scatter diagram
Statistical sampling
Approved change requests review

Quality control measurements
Validated changes
Validated deliverables
Organizational processes assets updates
Change requests
Project management plan
Project document updates
Exam Trivia:
Some of the tools available to the project manager in controlling quality are
• The Ishikawa (also called the fishbone or cause and effect) diagram
• Control charts, such as the ones available using Three or Six Sigma
• Six Sigma—99.99% defect free or about 0.002 defective parts per million
• Three Sigma—99.73% defect free or about 2,700 defective parts per million
• Pareto chart (the 80/20 rule)
• Statistical sampling, such as the ones used in the standard audit processes

To more about the Control Quality process Click Here

Prev: Chapter 28

Next: Chapter 30

Chapter 28: Cost Management during Monitoring & Controlling the Project

Aim: To understand the Control Costs process

The control costs process helps the project manager ensure that the work is occurring within the project budget and identifies any variances early in the process.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the control costs process.

Control Costs
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Project funding requirements
Work performance information
Organizational process assets

Earned value management
To-complete performance index
Performance reviews
Variance analysis
Project management software

Work performance measurements
Budget forecasts
Organizational process assets updates
Change requests
Project management plan updates
Project document updates
The control costs process identifies any areas that are costing more than planned. As a project moves toward completion the value of the project’s deliverables changes. The “value” of a project at any point in time is known as its earned value. One method of comparing the earned value of a project to the budget is earned value analysis.

Exam Alert:
Do you remember Earned Value Analysis? The calculations where we calculate SPI & CPI using the EV, PV and AC. Remember??

The whole idea behind a corrective or preventive action is to help preserve the healthy execution of your project and maximize its resource utilizations.

Let us Recap the Terms & Formulae used during Earned Value Analysis:
• BAC – Budget At Completion – This is the amount that you planned that your project will use at completion
• EV – Earned Value – The value (in monetary terms) your project has earned so far
• PV – Planned Value – The value that your project is supposed to have earned so far
• AC – Actual Cost – The Actual cost that you have spent so far
• ETC = Estimate To Complete – The amount of money you will need to complete the project
• EAC = Estimate At completion – The Amount of money you would have spent when the project completes
• TCPI – To Complete Performance Index – The Cost Performance Index that you must attain in order to finish the project as per the planned amounts
• SPI – Schedule Performance Index = EV / PV
• CPI – Cost Performance Index = EV / AC
• SV – Schedule Variance = EV – PV
• CV – Cost Variance = EV – AC
• ETC = EAC – AC
• TCPI = BAC – EV / BAC – AC or
• TCPI = BAC – EV / EAC – AC

To know more about the Control Costs process Click Here

To know more about the Earned Value Measurements with examples Click Here

Preb: Chapter 27

Next: Chapter 29

Chapter 27: Time Management during Monitoring & Controlling the Project

Aim: To understand the Control Schedule Process

After the project enters the executing phase, work is performed to produce the project’s deliverables. All work should be performed according to the project schedule, budget, and quality standards. But does it happen that way all the time? Unfortunately No. As Project Manager, we must closely monitor these constraints to ensure that the project progresses as planned and adheres to the scope/time/cost baselines decided during the Planning Phase.

Manage the Project Schedule

The control schedule process helps the project manager to ensure that project work is being carried out according to the planned schedule.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the control schedule process.

Control Schedule
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Project schedule updates
Work performance information
Organizational process assets

Performance reviews
Variance analysis
Project management software
Resource leveling
What-if scenario analysis
Adjusting leads and lags
Schedule compression
Scheduling tool

Work performance measurements
Organizational process assets
Change requests
Project management plan updates
Project document updates
The control schedule process identifies any deviations from the project schedule. What happens if work is falling behind? Your recourse is to implement corrective or preventive actions or a change request to align the project execution with its expected results and timelines.

Exam Trivia:
A corrective or preventive action is an action that is implemented to bring future project events and tasks into alignment with the project plan and its baseline.

Some options available at this time could be to
• Update the project baseline to reflect the current situation using the documented change process.
• Level resources. When possible, reassign over-allocated resources to avoid schedule conflicts.
• Crash the schedule. Add people (internal/external) or resources to the tasks that have fallen behind and have a direct effect on the critical path; the down side is that this might cause unscheduled expenses.
• Fast track. Rearrange your activities to perform activities in parallel.
• Outsource the project or the affected part.
• Reduce the scope of the project.

Exam Trivia:
Reducing the Project Scope should be the last resort measure only. As the manager you must exhaust all other possibilities to bring the project schedule back on track and if all measures fail, then we must use Scope Reduction. Do remember that you are likely to face significant heat from both your management as well as the customer if you suggest scope reduction.

To know more about the Control Schedule process Click Here

Prev: Chapter 26

Next: Chapter 28

Chapter 26: Scope Management during Monitoring & Controlling the Project

Aim: To understand the following two processes related to Project Scope Management Knowledge Area in Monitoring & Controlling Phase.

• Verify Scope
• Control Scope

Verifying and Controlling Project Scope

The scope management knowledge area defines two processes in the monitoring and controlling process group. The first process, verify scope, is the formal process of accepting project deliverables. It provides a mechanism to verify that deliverables meet or exceed project requirements. The second process, control scope, is the process of managing the project’s status and any changes to the scope baseline. Let’s look at each of the processes individually.

The verify scope process provides the project manager with the formal process to classify deliverables as acceptable or unacceptable.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the verify scope process.

Verify Scope
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Requirements documentation
Requirements traceability matrix
Validated deliverables


Accepted deliverables
Change requests
Project document updates
One output of the verify scope process is the collection of change requests. These requests are individually addressed through the “Perform integrated change control” process and might result in approved change requests.

Exam Trivia:
Pay close attention to how the outputs of processes are used as inputs to other processes. When I took the exam, the questions were not only about identifying inputs/tools/outputs of a single process but about entities that were a common input/tool/output of multiple processes. I do understand that memorizing all these inputs, tools & outputs is difficult, but, if you understand what they are and how they are related to one another, it will be easy to crack these questions.

To know more about the Verify Scope process Click Here

The next process in the monitoring and controlling process group is the control scope process. This process monitors and controls all changes to the scope baseline to ensure the changes are being handled in a structured manner.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the control scope process.

Control Scope
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Work performance information
Requirements documentation
Requirements traceability matrix
Organizational process assets

Variance analysis

Work performance measurements
Organizational process assets updates
Change requests
Project management plan updates
Project document updates
A primary component of the project management plan is the scope baseline. The scope baseline defines the project scope and its associated deliverables, and documents the acceptance parameters of the final product. This baseline helps in clarifying any details that might have been left in a to-be-determined (TBD) mode during the project initiation phase or items that require further clarification with the project sponsor or its stakeholders. The project process indicators in this process are
• The work breakdown structure (WBS)
• Work package progress reports

Exam Trivia:
Do you remember what a work breakdown structure is? A work breakdown structure (WBS) decomposes the project work into manageable chunks or work packages.

The idea behind effectively defining the WBS is to create the roadmap that defines all the activities that will be executed to accomplish the project goal.

The WBS is one of those elements that changes as time and resource utilization passes. Why? As you perform the tasks outlined in your baseline, the recorded changes accommodate any differences between the planned theory and the actual execution.
An effective WBS assists the stakeholders to understand the activities and events that help in delivering the project promise, as well as outlining internal and external resource use. The entire project execution team looks at the WBS to inquire about present, past, and future deliverables and their effectiveness.

Due to its nature and importance, the creation of the WBS should not be taken lightly. It must be considered as the one element that all project participants might want to be considered when formulating an opinion.

To know more about the Control Scope Process Click Here

Prev: Chapter 25

Next: Chapter 27

Chapter 25: Integration Management during Monitoring & Controlling the Project

Aim: To understand the following two processes related to Project Integration Management Knowledge Area in Monitoring & Controlling Phase.

• Monitor and Control Project Work
• Perform Integrated Change Control

Exam Trivia:
Why is monitoring and controlling important? In general, all project failures and cancellations can be tracked back to the lack of effective controls in one or more of these areas: scope, cost, quality, and risk management.

Factors That Cause Project Change

To effectively monitor and control a project, the project manager must prepare organizational processes that work like sentinels on the fence. These sentinels help the project manager identify events (people, cultural, or strategic) that might force a change to the project or the environment where the project is executing. In other words your project will be influenced by elements outside of its normal execution and identified risks. These processes can include elements, such as
• Execution trend analysis
• Risk trigger management
• Forecast reports (just like the weather)
• Work package progress status and variances reports
• Lessons learned from similar projects
• Best practices
• Corporate strategy committee resolutions

Some examples of project control processes and their elements are
• You could use earned value analysis to determine how your project is performing against the planned activities, schedule, and cost.
• You can prescribe corrective or preventive actions after performing trend analysis in work packages variances.
• You can identify a potential project change request after evaluating defect and frequency control charts.
• When executing enterprise projects, you can arrange a monthly meeting with the company CEO to discuss progress and new corporate initiatives.

Exam Trivia:
Monitoring and controlling is an iterative group of processes. Milestones tend to have a compilation of work packages and deliverables under them. If you monitor and control activities only at their completion you might not learn of problems until late in the project. Like the autopilot in an airplane, the main function of project control is to make frequent minor course corrections instead of waiting until you are far off the planned course.

Monitor and Control Project Work

The monitor and control project work process is the first process in the monitoring and controlling process group. This process formally specifies what the project manager requires as inputs to properly monitor and control the project execution activities.

The table shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the monitor and control project work process.

Monitor and Control Project Work
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Performance reports
Enterprise environmental factors
Organizational process assets

Expert judgment

Change requests
Project management plan updates
Project document updates
As you can see, this process is a high-level process that requires expert judgment on the part of the project manager to assess whether the project is within the constraints of the plan or not. Any deviations require intervention or requests for changes to the plan.

To know more about the Monitor & Control Project Work process http://getpmpcertified.blogspot.com/2011/07/chapter-74-monitoring-and-controlling.html

Perform Integrated Change Control

When an opportunity for change is identified, the project manager must make the time to acknowledge the request for change, evaluate its associated risks, and consider its potential not just to the timeline but also to the other aspects of the project namely scope, cost, staff, quality, make or buy, and communication. The perform integrated change control process helps you to identify if a requested change is gold plating or if it has direct effect to the project deliverables and its return on investment.

Exam Trivia:
What is gold plating? Gold plating is a change to the project or a work package within the project that has not gone through an adequate change control management process. Such requests often initiate from informal requests. Ensure all change requests are routed through the formal procedures. Remember that during your practical experience as a Project Manager, your organization may endorst Gold Plating & even suggest to all Managers that they deliver more value to customer by means of gold plating. But, as per PMI gold plating is incorrect and we must deliver only what was promised as part of the Projects Approved Scope Statement.

The table shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the perform integrated change control process.

Perform Integrated Change Control
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Work performance information
Change requests
Enterprise environmental factors
Organizational process assets

Expert judgment
Change control meetings

Change request status updates
Project management plan updates
Project document updates
After you determine that a proposed change has merit and supports the project objectives, the change request is submitted to the project control team for final determinations. For the most part, the interaction with the control board is defined in the planning stage and can remain in place until the completion of the project. In the event that the organization has a project management office, the members of the change control board can change to accommodate strategic impact or affected areas in the project organization.

Exam Trivia:
Do you remember what a change control board is? A change control board is an enterprise decision body tasked with approving the changes to projects or their impact in strategic initiatives.

In addition, you should monitor any trends in requested changes that could indicate inadequate requirements definition in the planning stage of your project.

To know more about the Perform Integrated Change Control Click Here

Prev: Chapter 24

Next: Chapter 26

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chapter 24: Procurement Management during Project Execution

Aim: To understand the Conduct procurements process

During the Planning phase, the approach to handle procurements is created. During project execution is when we actually conduct the procurements. This is done through the “Conduct Procurements” process.

Conduct Procurements

Using the procurement management plan and other procurement documents such as the invitation for bid, statement of work, or request for quotation, developed during planning, the project team seeks out potential sellers for the items being procured. The request might be made via a bidder conference, advertising, or through the use of a qualified seller list. The most important outputs from this process are the selected sellers list, procurement contract awards, and resource calendars.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the conduct procurements process.

Conduct Procurements
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Procurement documents
Source selection criteria
Qualified seller list
Seller proposals
Project documents
Make-or-buy decisions
Teaming agreements
Organizational process assets

Bidder conferences
Proposal evaluation techniques
Independent estimates
Expert judgment
Internet search
Procurement negotiations

Selected sellers
Procurement contract award
Resource calendars
Change requests
Project management plan updates
Project document updates
Exam Watch:
The bidder conference is also known as the contractor conference, vendor conference, or pre-bid conference. Don’t get confused if the exam uses either of these terms. They all mean one and the same.

With proposals in hand, the project team must select the seller(s) that are best able to deliver the product or service. In addition to the proposals, evaluation criteria were identified during planning that are used to evaluate the proposals.

The evaluation criteria used can include any of the following:
• Seller’s overall understanding of the need
• Price
• Overall life cycle cost
• History of seller with the company
• Seller capabilities and approach including technical, managerial, and financial
• Seller’s production capacity, business size, and interest in the product/service
• Seller’s desire to assert intellectual property or proprietary rights on the product or service.
• References

PMI lists other inputs with which you should be familiar, including the procurement management plan, procurement policies, the procurement document package, proposals, qualified seller list, and the project management plan.

There are a number of tools that are used during selecting sellers. They are:
1. Proposal Evaluation Techniques
2. Independent Estimates
3. Procurement Negotiation
4. Expert Judgment
5. Bidder Conference

The proposal evaluation technique should be able to take into account both objective and subjective criteria. The technique incorporates the weighting system for the evaluation criteria. The proposal evaluation is conducted by multiple reviewers.
The output of the whole process is the signing of the “Contract” between you and the vendor/seller who is selected as part of the process.

To know more about the Conduct Procurements process Click Here

Prev: Chapter 23

Next: Chapter 25

Chapter 23: Communications Management During Project Execution

Aim: To understand the following two Communication Management related processes
• Distribute information
• Manage stakeholder expectations

Communicating with the project team, and with any other stakeholders, is one of the project manager’s most important tasks. In fact, a project manager spends the majority of his time communicating. Some say as much as 90% of a project manager’s time is spent communicating. Exchanging information is the only way a project manager can know how the project is progressing. The distribute information process keeps stakeholders informed. This includes communication outlined in the communication plan as well as responding to ad-hoc requests. The communication must be both timely and accurate.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the distribute information process.

Distribute Information
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Project management plan
Performance reports
Organizational process assets

Communication methods
Information distribution tools

Organizational process assets updates
Communication management is a crucial topic due to both its importance to the smooth operation of the project team and its complexity.

Communication Channels

Based on the number of people in a team, the number of communication channels would vary. The total number of channels increases exponentially as the number of individuals in the team increases. The number of channels can be calculated as:

No. of Channels = N * (N – 1) / 2

Where N is the number of people in the team.

For ex:
For 3 people = 3 * (2) / 2 = 3
For 4 people = 4 * (3) / 2 = 6
For 5 people = 5 * (4) / 2 = 10
For 6 people = 6 * (5) / 2 = 15

As you can see, when the team doubled in size from 3 to 6, the number of channels went up 5 times from 3 to 15.

Exam Watch:
You must be able to calculate the number of communication channels given the number of team members. Don’t be in a hurry to use the formula. Sometimes, the question maybe like: “Team A had 3 members last week and 3 more people joined this week. How many new communication channels were created?”. If you use the formula in a hurry you will end up with 15 as the answer and unfortunately it will be a choice as well. But the question isnt about the total number of channels but the new channels. So, the answer will be 12 (the increased number). Be careful while answering such questions.

Tools and Techniques for Distributing Information

Did you see “Communication Methods” and “Information Distribution Tools” in the Tools & Techniques section of the previous table? If not, I suggest you go back and scan through the table before proceeding further.

Both Communication Method and Information distribution tools are used in the Distribute Information process.

Communication Methods

Communication methods are a part of general management skills. Communication is comprised of a sender, a receiver, and the communication channel. The sender is responsible for making the message clear and accurate. The receiver is responsible for understanding the message. Communication can include the following:
• Written and oral
• Listening and speaking
• Internal and external
• Formal and informal
• Vertical and horizontal

Issues can result if communications are not managed effectively on the project. For example, because email cannot easily convey emotions, an email could be sent with a comment meant to be sarcastic, but the receiver doesn’t understand that and is upset based on the content of the email. The project manager should plan out communications to avoid these types of issues, including the best method for delivering messages based on the audience and content.

Information Distribution Tools

The project manager must ensure that information is effectively collected and distributed to project stakeholders. There are a number of tools to accomplish this:
• Face-to-face project meetings
• Virtual meetings using conference bridges, web conferencing, or video conferencing
• Distribution and filing of printed documents
• Shared access to electronically filed documents and document repository tools
• Email and fax
• Telephone and voice mail
• Access to project scheduling and other project management tools

To know more about the Distribute Information process Click Here

Manage Stakeholder Expectations

A good project manager must do more than just send out timely status updates. In addition to keeping the team informed and ensuring all stakeholders have the necessary information, the project manager must also manage the impact of the information. It is important that the stakeholders remain committed to the project. One of the project manager’s jobs is to recognize and shift in stakeholder commitment and react in an effective manner. The manage stakeholder expectations process addresses exactly that.

The table below shows the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for the manage stakeholder expectations process.

Manage Stakeholder Expectations
Inputs Tools & Techniques Outputs

Stakeholder register
Stakeholder management strategy
Project management plan
Issue log
Change log
Organizational process assets updates

Communication methods
Interpersonal skills
Management skills

Organizational process updates
Change requests
Project management plan updates
Project document updates
Notice that the tools and techniques exclusively address the issues of interacting with other people. That’s what managing stakeholders is all about. It is the job of the project manager to ensure all of the stakeholders continue to contribute in a material manner to the success of the project.

To know more about the Manage Stakeholder Expectations process Click Here

Prev: Chapter 22

Next: Chapter 24

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