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Friday, December 9, 2011

Project Planning

Below are the important themes that you must remember from the PMI Perspective for the Planning Phase of the Project.

1. The project planning process comprise 20 of the 42 total processes in PMBOK
2. The project plan is much more than a project schedule. It is an all-encompassing document used as the basis for project controlling and executing.
3. A project charter is not a project plan. It is the starting point that is used to build/develop the project plan
4. The WBS is not the project schedule.
5. The WBS serves as the foundation for most project-planning activities.
6. The WBS should include all the work to be done as part of the project and should be developed with the project team.
7. The granularity of the WBS depends on what detail is needed for effective management and control.
8. WBS is created by decomposing the Scope Statement.
9. Activity definition is done using the WBS as input and generates the activity list.
10. A project schedule must meet three key criteria to be complete: It must have buy-in, be achievable, and be realistic and formal.
11. Developing a project schedule is a four-step process: (1) define work activities (2) identify activity/task relationships (3) estimate effort and duration of each activity (4) apply calendar and resource availability to build a schedule.
12. Network diagrams highlight relationships among project activities.
13. The three types of project network diagrams are Activity-on-Node (most popular), Activity-on-Arrow (uses dummy activities), and GERT (uses loops and conditional branches).
14. Estimating should be performed by the person doing the work.
15. Key project success factors (cost, time, scope, resources) should be managed to baselines and only changed when an approved project change has been executed.
16. All assumptions used in estimating should be documented & checked for their validity at the appropriate time.
17. Historical information is vital to improving estimates.
18. The key facts about the “critical path” in a project schedule are as follows:
o It's the longest sequence of activities.
o There is zero slack (float).
o It's the focus of any schedule-compression activity.
19. The three scheduling techniques are CPM (uses one estimate), PERT (uses three estimates), and GERT (can show various project outcomes).
20. The Monte Carlo technique is the most popular simulation scheduling technique and is also used for risk analysis.
21. The three methods for presenting the project schedule are milestone charts, Gantt charts, and network diagrams.
22. The two most popular methods for compressing the schedule are crashing (adding extra resources to critical path tasks to reduce overall time) and fast tracking (performing critical path tasks in parallel).
23. Cost estimates for an activity are affected by activity duration, resource rates, and risk level.
24. The three levels of estimating accuracy are order of magnitude (-50% to +50%), budget (-10% to +25%), and definitive (-5% to +10%).
25. The risk management plan is not a risk response plan.
26. All project management activity should be “thought about” and planned.
27. Effective project management is proactive.
28. The “core” planning processes are those that must be done in a specific sequence. (Defining Scope, Creating WBS, Defining Activities, Sequencing Activities, Estimate Resource Requirement & Durations and Creating Budget)
29. The “facilitating” planning processes are always performed, are not optional, and directly impact many of the core planning processes. (Planning communications, Planning for Human Resources, Quality etc)
30. The formality and detail of each supplemental plan will vary depending on project need.
31. Ninety percent of a project manager's time is spent communicating. Communication is the most important project management skill. Identifying all stakeholders is paramount to an effective Communication plan and directly impacts the success or failure of the Project
32. Remember the three C's in project communications: Clear, Concise, and Courteous.
33. Quality management addresses both product (goods and services) quality and project management quality.
34. The project manager has ultimate responsibility for the project product quality.
35. Quality is planned in, not inspected in.
36. The PMI definition of quality is “conformance to requirements” and “fitness of use.”
37. The identification of risks is an iterative, continual process throughout the project.
38. Risk management will change the project plan during planning, executing, and controlling.
39. After procurement planning, the other steps of procurement management (including solicitation planning) are only performed if a “buy” decision is made.
40. All requirements should be specifically stated in the contract and should be met.
41. Project communication dealing with procurement management should always be formal and written.
42. Incentives should be used to align the seller's objectives with the buyer's.
43. The risk management plan, risk response plan, procurement management plan, quality management plan, communications plan, and staffing plan are all considered part of the project plan.
44. The three main types of contracts are cost reimbursable, fixed fee, and time and materials.
45. Once a contract is signed, as a buyer we must uphold our end of the contract and be fair in all dealings with the seller. We should not request anything to be done that is not part of the contract

Other PMI Themes:

General PMI Themes
Project Framework
Project Initiation
Project Execution
Project Monitoring & Controlling
Project Closure
Ethics & Professional Responsibility

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