Aim: To Understand the Project Management Framework
The Project Management framework is the first section of the PMBOK and serves as the foundation for the rest of the book. In short, the project management framework represents the structure used to discuss and organize projects. The PMBOK uses this structure to document all facets of a project on which consensus has been reached among a broadly diverse group of project managers. The PMBOK is not only the document that defines the methods to manage projects; it is also the most widely accepted project management foundation. This document provides a baseline of reference for managing projects and teaching the fundamental concepts of project management.
Note: The PMBOK is generic and does not address the project management aspect of any particular industry. Also, it does not address every possible area of Project Management. Most organizations have their own specific project management process that is built on top of the PMBOK.
The PMP exam tests your knowledge of project management in the context of the PMBOK and PMI philosophy. Regardless of the experience you might have in project management, your answers will only be correct if they concur with PMI philosophy. If the PMBOK presents a method that differs from your practical experience, go with the PMBOK’s approach for answering the PMP Exam questions.
What a Project Is and What It Is Not
The starting point in discussing how projects should be properly managed is to first understand what a project is and also what it is not. According to the PMBOK, a project has two main characteristics that differentiate it from regular, day-to-day operation. They are:
1. A Project Is Temporary
Unlike day-to-day operations, a project has specific starting and ending dates. Of the two dates, the ending date is actually more important. A project ends either when its objectives have been met or when the project is terminated due to its objectives not being met. If you can’t tell when an endeavor starts or ends, it’s definitely not a project. This characteristic is important because projects are, by definition, constrained by a schedule.
2. A Project Is an Endeavor Undertaken to Produce a Unique Product or Service
In addition to having a specific/definite timeframe, a project must also have one or more specific products or services it produces. A project must “do” something. A project that terminates on schedule might still not be successful, it must also produce something unique.
The PMP exam contains a few questions on the definition of a project. Simply put, if an endeavor fails to meet both of the project criteria, it is an operational activity. Remember this: Projects exist to achieve a goal. When the goal is met, the project is complete. Operations conduct activities that sustain processes, often indefinitely. (Like Cleaning of Washrooms in an office building)
You can learn more about Projects by visiting the chapter that deals exclusively with explaining them. Click Here
Programs, Portfolios, and the PMO
It is common practice for an organization to have more than one project running at any given time. In fact, several projects that share common characteristics or are related in some way are often grouped together to make management of the projects more efficient. A group of related projects is called a program. If there are multiple projects and programs in an organization, they can further be grouped into one or more portfolios. A portfolio is a collection of projects and programs that satisfy the strategic needs of an organization.
You can learn more about the Relationship between Programs, Portfolios & Projects by Clicking Here
The PMP exam and the PMBOK only cover techniques to manage single projects. You need to be aware of what programs and portfolios are, but you will only address single project management topics in regard to the exam.
Many organizations have found that project management is so effective that they maintain an organization unit with the primary responsibility of managing projects and programs. The unit is commonly called the project management office (PMO). The PMO is responsible for coordinating projects and, in some cases, providing resources & guidance for managing projects to the Project Managers. A PMO can make the project manager’s job easier by maintaining project management standards and implementing policies and procedures that are common within the organization. According to the PMBOK, the PMO supports project managers by
• Managing shared resources across all projects administered by the PMO.
• Identifying and developing project management methodology, best practices, and standards.
• Coaching, mentoring, training, and supervision.
• Monitoring compliance with project management standards policies, procedures, and templates via project audits.
• Developing and managing project policies, procedures, templates, and other shared documentation (organizational process assets).
• Coordinating communication across projects.
You can learn more about the Project Management Office by Clicking Here
What Project Management Is
According to the PMBOK, “Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.” In other words, project management is taking what you know and proactively applying that knowledge to effectively guide your project through its life cycle.
The purpose of applying this knowledge is to help the project meet its objectives. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? The PMP exam tests your project management knowledge, but it’s more than that. It is also a test that evaluates your ability to apply your knowledge through the use of skills, tools, and techniques. The application of project management knowledge is what makes the exam challenging. Understanding project management is a lot more than just memorization.
I don't deny that you have to memorize certain key things like definitions & formulae, but the more important aspect is the fact that, you must know how to apply all that you learnt from the PMBOK.
Some of the hardest questions on the exam look like they have two, or even three, correct answers. You really have to understand the PMBOK to choose the most correct answer. In fact, many questions on the exam will have multiple answers that can be considered correct. You need to be able to choose the one that best satisfies the question as asked. Read each question carefully, and always remember that the PMBOK is right from the exam perspective.
Next: Chapter 2