The project plan is one of the key deliverables necessary to carry out the project, and the plan execution is the main process associated with it. The project plan is covered in Section 126.96.36.199 of the PMBOK, but it is important enough to reiterate in this chapter. The definition of a project plan according to PMI is "a formal, approved document used to manage project execution."
The organizational policies affect project plan execution by potentially putting limitations on execution options. For example, a company may state that it will only allow a certain group of people to work on the project. This may limit resource options for the plan execution. The organizational policies associated with the plan are constraints for the project and have a direct impact on the project plan execution.
You should be familiar with these variables for the PMP exam. Another one of the inputs to the project plan execution is preventative actions, which include any actions taken to reduce, eliminate, or transfer the risks of the project. These are frequently identified during the risk analysis of the project.
Many times, corrective actions are utilized by the project management team to bring the project back on track with the plan. Corrective actions are outputs of the control mechanisms and are a necessary ingredient to effectively manage the project.
The execution processes, tools, and methodologies are emphasized on the test since they have numerous implications for effective project management. Therefore, almost 25% of the questions are related to the execution phase of the project. These items are summarized in the Table 6.1.
The first set of tools is general management skills, which include universal skills, such as communication, negotiation, and leadership needed to work effectively with your team and stakeholders for fulfillment of your project objectives. General management skills are further explained in the Framework section of the PMBOK.
The second set of tools applicable to the plan execution is product skill and knowledge. A well-trained and developed project team is knowledgeable about the products it represents. Knowledge is power and is developed during the planning and staff-acquisition processes of the project.
Another procedure that is used to make sure the work is completed, in the proper sequence and time, is the work authorization system. This system is considered the third tool and is usually triggered by a written or verbal authorization to begin the work and encourages control of the work processes. The intent is to have only the work that is supposed to be done worked on. A big problem with some projects is keeping human resources focused on the tasks they need to do as opposed to the tasks they want to do.
Because project managers are constantly providing updates to team members and stakeholders, it is appropriate that the fourth set of tools for project plan execution is status review meetings. The official definition, according to the PMBOK, for status meetings is "regularly scheduled meetings held to exchange information about the project."
As you would expect, consistent and timely scheduling of status meetings is a necessity for the team and stakeholders to allow the continual flow of information among the participants. These meetings typically identify problem areas and encourage discussions related to action items, deliverables, deadlines, and expectations. You need to know the purposes and participants of the various meetings for the PMP exam.
You will likely see questions related to the project management information system (PMIS) and how it is used to gather, integrate, and distribute the process outputs. Therefore, the PMIS is considered the fifth tool for the project plan execution process. Although it sounds complex, the PMIS is actually utilized throughout the entire project as a means to communicate how the team is going to accomplish the project while also providing updates and direction as the team advances toward project completion.
The sixth and final set of tools utilized for project plan execution is the organizational procedures frequently linked with organizational policies. These include informal and formal procedures that may be associated specifically with the organization facilitating the project or are mandated by the stakeholders.
Project Plan Execution Outputs
The PMBOK encapsulates two outputs from the project plan execution: work results and change requests. Work results are simply the byproducts of events and activities related to the project. These results are interpreted and evaluated to provide an input for the performance-reporting process. It is also important to realize that work results are generally deliverables that are outputs from the tasks associated with the project.
Change requests are frequently responses to scope creep, project alterations, or changes to project objectives and goals. The change request process is elaborated further in the Change Control Management section of the PMBOK; however, it is important to note that change requests generally have a direct influence on the work results.