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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

PMP Exam Nuggets - Project Life Cycle and the Organization

Project Life Cycles

o Projects follow a logical sequence of phases to completion. Phases are typically different from project to project, since the project work will differ from one project to the next. The point of segmenting projects into phases is to allow for smaller, manageable sections and to provide deliverables in support of the ongoing operations.

o The collection of the project phases, as a whole, is known as the project life cycle.

o Project life cycles define the beginning, middle, and end of a project. Projects have a greater risk and uncertainty in the early phases of the project life cycle than near their end. The project is also most susceptible to change, failure, and stakeholder influences at the beginning of the life cycle than near its end.

o In tandem, project costs and demand for resources are generally low at the beginning of the project, have a tendency to peak near the end of the project work, and then diminish.

Meeting the Project Stakeholders
o Project stakeholders are individuals, businesses, or communities that have a vested interest in the project’s outcome. Typically, project stakeholders are involved in the project process, and their expectations drive the project requirements.

o It is essential to scan for hidden stakeholders early in the project life cycle to eliminate the need for change when addressing stakeholder needs later in the project.

o There are several key stakeholders that have direct influence over the project. They are:
• Project manager Manages the project
• Customer Pays for the project; uses the project deliverable
• Performing organization The organization hosting the project
• Project team The collection of individuals completing the project work
• Project management team The collection of individuals that contribute to the management of a project
• Project sponsor Authorizes the project work and budget
• Influencers People who can influence the project for better or worse
• PMO May have direct responsibility for the project’s success

Identifying Organizational Models and Attributes

o Organizational structures have direct influence over the project. Organizational structures determine the procedures that the project manager must follow and the amount of authority the project manager possesses. A project office may oversee project management activities and provide additional support in any of the organizational structures. The organizational types and the level of authority a project manager can expect are shown in the following table.

o Beyond the concept of getting the work done, project managers must also consider the social, economic, and environmental influences that may sway a project. Specifically, the project manager must evaluate the project to see its social, economic, and environmental impact—as well as note the project’s surroundings. The project manager may have some external guidance in these areas in the form of standards and regulations.

o Standards are guidelines that are generally followed but not enforced or mandated. Regulations come in the form of laws and industry demands, which are enforced by various governing bodies.

Defining Key General Management Skills

o Management is all about key results. It is about the project team getting things done in the project.

o Leadership is about motivating, inspiring, and directing people to accomplish the project objectives and personal goals.

o Project managers spend the bulk of their time communicating information—not doing other activities. Therefore, they must be good communicators, promoting a clear, unambiguous exchange of information. Communication is a two-way street; it requires a sender and a receiver.

o Project managers must negotiate for the good of the project. In any project, the project manager, the project sponsor, and the project team will have to negotiate with stakeholders, vendors, and customers to reach a level of agreement acceptable to all parties involved in the negotiation process.

o Project managers have to work with stakeholders to influence the decisions within the project. This includes politics; tradeoffs; and managing requirements, changes, and issues within the project.

PMP Exam Nuggets - Introduction to Project Management

Defining What a Project Is—and Is Not
o Projects are temporary, unique, and create a product or service.

o Projects move from concept to completion through progressive elaboration.

o Not all projects get selected. The decisions to choose one project over another may vary from organization to organization. The process, however, may be called project portfolio management.

o Projects have a definite beginning, middle, and ending; operations do not.

o Project management offices standardize the project management approach within an organization.
Defining Project Management
o Within the project management framework are nine knowledge areas, which span the project management life cycle.

o The focus of project integration management is managing all of the interactions of project components, processes, and knowledge areas.

o The focus of project scope management is on protecting, fulfilling, and delivering the project scope.

o The focus of project time management is on scheduling activities, monitoring the project schedule, and working with the project team and stakeholders to ensure the project completes on time.

o The focus of project cost management is on estimating and maintaining project costs.

o The focus of project quality management is on setting the quality expectations and then delivering the project product with the expected level of quality.

o The focus of project human resources management is on developing the project team to work together to deliver the project as expected.

o The focus of project communications management is on delivering needed information to the correct parties at the correct time. Much of project communications is on keeping the stakeholder informed of the project issues, risk, progress, and overall performance.

o The focus of project risk management is on identifying, mitigating, and managing project risks.

o The focus of project procurement management is soliciting, selecting, and managing vendors to complete project work or supply project materials.
Examining Related Areas of Project Management
o Projects often operate under the auspices of a PMO or a program. A program is a collection of projects working together for a common goal.

o A project manager must have multiple skills to be successful, including the ability to communicate, manage a budget, be organized, negotiate, and provide leadership for the project.

o Project managers in different sectors of business and nonprofit entities will encounter situations unique to their area of expertise. For example, a project manager of a construction project will have different issues and concerns than a project manager of a manufacturing project.

o Project managers require organization, problem solving, communication, and leadership skills and management abilities.

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