Project management involves applying skills, knowledge, and established project management tools and techniques to your project to fulfill the requirements of the project to the customer's satisfaction.
The benefits of a projectized organization are the project manager has ultimate authority over the project and the focus of the organization is on project work.
Initiation, Planning, Executing, Controlling, and Closing are the five life-cycle phases.
During project planning, you'll define project deliverables, define project activities and estimates, and publish the scope statement.
The Executing process involves developing, leading, and directing the project team, communicating project progress, and implementing quality assurance procedures.
The Closing phase is the project life-cycle phase most often skipped.
The criteria to determine if the work assignment is a project includes: Project's have definite beginning and ending dates, they're temporary in nature, they produce a unique product or service, resources are dedicated to the work of the project, and deliverables are easily determined.
Constraints are anything that restricts or dictates the actions of the project team.
The triple constraints are time, resources, and quality.
PMP stands for Project Management Professional. PMPs are people who have received certification in project management processes from the Project Management Institute.
The most important skill a project manager can possess is communication skills.
Good time management practices allow you to control the priorities over your time instead of letting the day's happenings control you.
Some examples of fire-fighting priorities include emergencies, unplanned risks, and service interruptions.
Some example of low importance/low urgency activities include extraneous documentation, cube hopping, and web surfing. You should avoid these activities because they are time wasters and will prevent you from completing the things you should be working on in the "Planning Zone." (Note: The name of the zone should provide a clue.)
The rule for information management is to handle every piece of information one time, then do something with it.
The elements involved in information exchange are sender, message, and receiver.
Senders are responsible for making messages clear and concise and targeting the information for the right audience.
Receivers are responsible for understanding the information, making certain they have received all the information, and asking clarifying questions.
Three effective listening techniques are to make eye contact, paraphrase what you heard, and not interrupt.
Effective communication techniques include making the messages clear and to the point, combining communication methods (like using visual aids during a project meeting), and eliminating noise.
The output of the Initiation process is the project charter and the appointment of the project manager.
The needs or demands that bring about projects include business need, market demand, customer request, legal requirement, technological advance, and social needs.
The project concept document is used to formally request a project. It outlines the purpose and objectives of the project at a high level for review by the selection committee. The selection committee uses the project concept document to make a go/no-go decision.
The most common financial methods used to select projects include payback period, discounted cash flow, cost-benefit analysis, and internal rate of return.
The project sponsor is usually an executive in the corporation who rallies support for the project. This executive has the authority to commit resources to the project, make decisions, and settle disputes. The project sponsor is a partner with the project manager and shares responsibility for a successful outcome.
The roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders should be documented in the project charter and filed in the project notebook. They should also be posted to the project's intranet site if you have one.
The purpose of the project charter is to acknowledge the existence of the project and appoint the project manager. The project charter should be a written document that's filed in the project notebook.
The project charter is published by the project sponsor or another executive manager in the organization.
The project charter should be signed by the project sponsor, the project manager, the key stakeholders, the customer, and vendors if appropriate. Signing the document shows support and endorsement of the project. It should also signify that the stakeholders understand the purpose and intent of the project and are ready to participate as needed on the project.
The project kickoff meeting establishes verbally what the project charter establishes in writing. The project kickoff meeting allows participations to ask questions, and it assures the project sponsor and project manager that all the project participants have the same understanding regarding the project objectives and that they understand their roles in the project.
The acronym SMART describes the criteria for defining project goals. That is, goals should be specific, measurable, accurate and agreed to, realistic, and time bound.
Deliverables are the specific items or services that must be produced in order to fulfill the goals of the project. Deliverables must have measurable results and measurable outcomes, or they must detail specific products or services to be produced. Deliverables, like goals, should be specific and measurable.
Requirements are the specifications of the goal or deliverable. They describe the characteristics of the deliverable. Requirements cannot be broken down further, whereas goals and deliverables can.
Critical success factors are the things that absolutely must be completed correctly in order to consider the project a success.
Assumptions are often overlooked because we presume that things will continue to operate in the future as they have in the past. We assume that key team members will be available or vendors will deliver on time because they have in the past. These items should be documented so that you can develop a plan to deal with the assumptions with severe impacts later on in the project Planning process.
Lack of commitment from the executive team or project sponsor, poor communications, and unrealistic expectations of project outcomes can also hamper a project.
The purpose of the scope statement is to document the goals, deliverables, and requirements of the project. The scope statement will be used as a baseline for future project decisions and as the criteria for determining project success when the project ends.
The scope management plan documents how changes to project scope will be requested, processed, and implemented on the project.
Sign-off of the scope statement ensures that all the stakeholders are in agreement of and support the goals, deliverables, and requirements of the project. It also serves as a handy reminder when memories get foggy later in the project. The project manager can refer back to the scope statement to determine whether the request is a change or is part of the original requirements.
The communications plan documents who will receive project communications, how they will receive them, when they will receive them, and how to access project information. It also describes how project information will be collected, stored, filed, and archived.
The purpose of task definition is to break down the work of the project into manageable components in order to establish time, resource, and cost estimates.
Task sequencing puts the tasks in a logical order. This will help you build the project schedule. It's also a means of grouping similar types of work together.
Milestones signify important accomplishments that have been achieved on the project. They are not work in themselves but consist of a grouping of tasks that when completed are a significant portion of the project.
A WBS is a tool used to graphically display the deliverables of the project in a hierarchical fashion. They can be displayed in tree form, much like an organizational chart, or in outline form.
A work package is the lowest level of a WBS. This is the level where resource assignments, estimates, and costs are assigned.
Codes are to track the cost of each element in the WBS, generally at the work package level. They also serve as a reference number to identify the WBS element and tie it to explanatory information.
A RAM is a Responsibility Assignment Matrix. It's used to show what types of resources are needed for each element of the WBS. These are constructed in chart form, and the intersection of a row and a column indicates the level of activity needed by the resource for that WBS task.
Two methods used to determine activity duration estimates are expert judgment and quantitatively based durations.
The four types of dependency relationships are Finish to Start, Finish to Finish, Start to Start, and Start to Finish. The most often used dependency is Finish to Start, which says that the independent task must finish before the dependent task can start.
The three ways to display network diagrams are precedence diagramming, also known as AON, and AOA. Precedence diagramming is a method of placing tasks in the correct sequential order, taking their dependencies into account. There are two ways to display precedence diagrams. One method displays activities in boxes or nodes, with arrows showing the dependencies between the nodes. The activity on node method displays activities in circles or nodes, with arrows showing the dependencies between the nodes. Activity on arrow displays the activities on the arrows, with milestones or events represented on the nodes.
You should review your organizational policies and recruitment policies before organizing your project team. There may be specific requirements regarding job descriptions or transferring employees that should be followed.
When choosing project team members you should consider skills, personality, experience, ability to work with others, and knowledge.
Skills assessments and skills definition charts are useful tools for outlining the type and level of skills needed for the tasks of the project.
The WBS is one of the first documents you should review when determining what supplies, materials, and equipment are needed for the work of the project.
The project team directory is a quick reference for locating the names and contact information for everyone involved on the project including the project sponsor, stakeholders, project manager, project team members, and vendors.
The purpose of a make-or-buy decision is to determine whether it's more cost-effective and efficient for the organization to make or buy the products or services needed.
The resource plan describes all the resources needed for the project, including people, supplies, materials, and equipment. The resource plan documents in one place the skills needed for the tasks of the project, the resources assigned to the tasks, and a materials list. This, as well as all the other project planning documentation, can be used in the future to help plan projects of similar size and scope.
The project manager is the person who communicates with the vendor regarding their performance and fulfillment of the terms of the contract. The project manager also reports the status of the vendor's work to the procurement department so that payment can be made to the vendor.
The purpose of the requisition process in the contract life cycle is to prepare the RFP, RFI, or RFQ, which contains information regarding the project objectives and deliverables for the vendors who will be bidding on the project work.
Weighted scoring systems and screening systems are tools used to evaluate RFP responses, select a vendor, and award a contract during the award phase of the contract life cycle.
A risk is the possibility of a problem occurring on the project that threatens the project's successful outcome in some way or poses an opportunity the project team should investigate.
Some documents you can use to help start identifying risks are the WBS, the task list, the list of project constraints, and critical success factors.
The three most common project risks are associated with the triple constraints: time, resources, and quality.
Participants in the risk-identification process should consist of the project manager, key project team members, key stakeholders, subject matter experts, and people with previous experience on similar projects.
The Nominal Group technique is like brainstorming in that all the participants are together in the same room, but they write risks, one at a time, on sticky notes and give them to the facilitator to post. When all the risks are identified, the group then ranks the risks.
Some techniques you can use to help with the risk-identification process are brainstorming, the Delphi technique, interviewing, using checklists, and researching historical information.
A probability impact matrix is a way to assign probability values and impact values to each risk event to determine an overall risk score. The overall risk score is used to determine which risks need risk response plans.
Risk tolerance is the amount of risk an individual or an organization is willing to tolerate in exchange for the benefits of partaking in the activity.
The four risk response strategies are accepting, avoiding, transferring, and mitigating.
Contingency reserves are used to handle risks that have minimal impacts, such as secondary risks or residual risks, that must be dealt with but don't require an individual risk response plan.
Three items that will assist you in building the project schedule are the WBS, task list, and network diagram.
PERT uses the optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely estimates to determine duration.
Expected value is the weighted average of the three time estimates used in PERT.
The formula for determining the expected value of PERT estimates is Expected Value = (Optimistic + Pessimistic + (4 × most likely)) ÷ 6.
A confidence factor is the level of confidence that the estimate given is accurate.
The critical path is the longest full path on the project with the tasks that have zero float.
Float is the amount of time you can delay the start of a task without delaying the start of a successor task or delaying the end of the project.
Things you can do to shorten project duration include adding more resources, changing the project scope, rescheduling the tasks in a different order, bringing in more skilled resources, asking for more time, and starting two tasks simultaneously.
Resource leveling evens out the task assignments so that overloading and under-utilization problems are lessened or eliminated.
The cost of quality is the cost to produce the product or service of the project according to the quality standards.
A project budget is an itemized list of allocated expenses needed to complete the work of the project.
The three categories of project costs are human resource costs, administrative costs, and resource or project costs.
The two types of project costs are direct costs and indirect costs. Direct costs are costs that are specifically related to the project, such as team salaries, equipment rentals, and training. Indirect costs are not specifically related to the project but are necessary to complete the work of the project. Indirect costs include building leases, administrative support expenses, and management salaries.
Top-down estimating, also called analogous estimating, establishes one estimate for the whole project (or deliverable) at once.
Bottom-up estimating establishes individual estimates for each task and then adds together all the estimates to come up with a total estimate for the project.
A contingency reserve is an extra percentage of the total budget added into the budget to account for unknown and unplanned events or risks that may occur on the project. All project managers build contingency reserves into the project budget.
Some of the ways you can adjust the project for a reduced budget are reducing the project scope, reducing project quality standards, and reducing the number of team members.
A cost baseline is the expected cost of the project. It's used to track and measure future project performance to make sure actual expenses are in line with the project budget.
Changes in project scope require changes to the project schedule and project budget.
Approval of all Planning documents does not guarantee overall project plan approval. Organizational changes, budget changes, personnel changes, and risk tolerance changes are just some of the factors that could kill a project even though all the plans up to this point have been approved.
The four stages of team development are forming, storming, norming, and performing.
The storming stage is where conflicts arise and team members struggle with one another to determine position or status within the team.
Documenting the problem, your assumptions about the problem, and alternative solutions will help you prepare for face-to-face meetings where negotiations or problem resolution must take place.
The five approaches to problem solving are forcing, smoothing, compromise, withdrawal, and problem solving (also known as confrontation). Problem solving is the technique project managers should use most often.
Intrinsic motivators are things that are internal or specific to the individual that drive them to perform. Extrinsic motivators originate from outside the individual and include things like bonuses, stock options, and so on.
Rewards linked to desired performance will produce more of that behavior in the future. The reverse is true also. If you reward bad performance or behavior, you'll get more of it in the future. Rewards should be realistic or they lose their power to motivate.
Expert power comes about as a result of a person's knowledge of a subject or as a result of specialized skills they have. The other types of leadership power are punishment power, reward power, and referent power.
In this situation a conflict of interest would have occurred if you had accepted the tickets from the vendor. You'd have experienced a personal gain while allowing the vendor to influence you to make a decision in their favor regarding the project work.
Stakeholders require status updates on the progress of the project, and status usually includes updates on work completed this period, project schedule updates (changes, dates that were met, and dates that were missed), project issues, budget updates, and change requests.
Corrective actions are an output of the Controlling process but an input to the Executing process.
Change comes about on projects for many reasons: stakeholder requests, customer requests, team member recommendations, business changes, the result of risks, and so on.
Change requests should be written to avoid miscommunication and confusion and so that they can be tracked, reviewed, and analyzed for their impact on the project.
A change management plan helps you understand what causes change to come about and when and why the change is needed, and it establishes the procedures for change. It should be created in the Planning stage of the project life cycle.
The change management plan should describe where to obtain forms for change requests, how to submit change requests, how the changes are approved, and the authority level of the project manager and change control board.
The change control board is responsible for reviewing, approving, or denying change requests.
Scope changes always require changes to the project schedule and include any changes to the agreed-upon WBS.
When faced with scope or schedule changes, you can consider bringing in more resources, modifying the scope of the tasks, or reducing the scope of the project by moving deliverables to another phase of the project.
Schedule compression can be accomplished with fast tracking or crashing the schedule.
Fast tracking means starting two tasks at the same time that were originally scheduled to start sequentially.
The most important technique you can use to monitor the progress of the project in the Controlling phase is to stay up-to-date on project status by holding regular team meetings and maintaining open communication with project team members by meeting with them informally.
A successful project meets or exceeds the expectations of the stakeholders.
The Closing process involves getting final approval of the product of the project, closing out the accounts, documenting lessons learned, and archiving project information.
The project accounts should be closed at the end of the project so that no more spending is charged against the project budget. If more charges are applied to the budget than what are called for in the plan, you'll have budget variances.
After performing contract closeout, the project manager should formally notify the seller in writing that the contract is complete and the product or service of the project is satisfactory and acceptable.
Teams in the performing stage of development sometimes delay the close of the project by creating problems or dragging out due dates. They're reluctant to move on because they are enjoying their work on the project and don't want it to come to an end.
A warranty period provides a period of time after the implementation of the project when stakeholders or customers can report problems and have them addressed immediately.
Lessons learned are the successes and failures of the project, and they should be noted and archived with the project documentation for future reference.
Final, formal sign-off on the project assures that the customer and stakeholders have verified that the outcomes of the project meet all the requirements outlined in the scope statement.
All project documentation should be archived at the close of the project. This includes the project charter, all project planning documents, lessons learned, and more.
Celebration brings closure to the project and helps the team members formally recognize the end of the project. It's also a chance for the project manager to recognize the contributions of the team members and thank them for their participation.