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Project Management for Experts



Lessons

Understand the inter-relationship between the triple constraints on a project of scope, schedule, and resources.

Circles of project management are a framework for considering different project management aspects.  Based upon project and organizational considerations, some aspects may be emphasized and others de-emphasized.

Know the role and responsibilities of the project leader.

Most large projects are managed by a cross-functional core team.  Core team members have a dual responsibility; they are responsible for the project achieving its goals and they are responsible to ensure that the project complies with their function’s standards and best practices.

Know how to identify stakeholders and understand how they measure project success.

Understand the phases of a project lifecycle and know how to approach a predictive project versus an adaptive project.

A methodology or system of project management helps those in the organization involved with projects to know what to expect.

The organization needs to establish a management discipline for selecting and approving projects.

Portfolios are often comprised of programs which are often comprised of projects; all of which either create or support operations.

Project governance is the organizational institutionalization of a project management methodology.

Identifying stakeholders enables the project team to create a strategy for each communicating and interacting with each stakeholder.

Many stakeholders have additional goals for a project beyond the primary business goal.  Understanding those goals can help the team ensure project success and maintain stakeholder support.

Learn how to quickly identify project boundaries using the W questions.

In-Frame/Out-of-Frame is a technique for clarifying project boundaries by list both the activities and deliverables that are in scope for the project and listing the activities that are not required as part of the project.

The Project Charter is the document that approves the initiation of the project and identifies goals, objectives, boundaries and constraints.

The business case provides the business rationale, normally in financial terms, of whether the project should be done.

Most projects will have a specific date or event at which the stakeholders will approve the Project Charter in order to authorize work to begin. Often this immediately followed by a kickoff meeting with the project team and stakeholders to ensure alignment on project goals and objectives.

The approach taken when planning a project should be based upon the primary project constraint.  Attributes of that constraint are planned first and then other aspects of the project are planned to support the primary constraint. 

Projects are often organized into phases.  Phases provide structure and logic to the project and aid the project team and management to track progress.

Progressive elaboration is the principle of steadily adding detail to the project plan as more information becomes available.

The integrated project plan that includes scope, schedule, and resource information for all aspects of the project is the project baseline plan.

The unique nature of projects leads to an inherent level of uncertainty.  Project managers should expect and plan for project change.

Learn how to identify project tasks and activities using the deliverables deployment technique.

Task Descriptions are the statements of scope for each of the project activities.  They are written in the format of “action – completion point.”

Project requirements are often vague, incomplete or contradictory at the time of project initiation.  Normally, additional effort is required to collect and verify the true project requirements.

The project scope statement is a summary description of the project scope used to maintain alignment between stakeholders and team members.

The WBS Dictionary is a table or spreadsheet that is organized by project task and contains all project planning details.

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is the most commonly used technique for organizing the project scope.  The WBS decomposes the scope into tasks and organizes the tasks into logical groupings.

Understand when and how to use a milestone schedule on a project.  Learn how to create a milestone schedule. 

Understand when and how to use a Gantt chart on a project.  Learn how to create a Gantt chart.

A Task List Schedule is a schedule format used to communicate tasks with dates to extended team members or those who do not have a major role in the project.

A 2D Task List is a project scheduling tool for managing a batch of similar items that must be processed through the same project steps.

A network diagram is a project scheduling technique that shows the relationship between tasks by depicting project activities as a flowchart.

Critical Path is a project scheduling technique that determines the shortest time that the current project plan can be completed.

Float (slack or buffer) is extra time that a task could consume beyond its duration estimate without impacting other aspects of the project.   Total float is extra time without impacting the end date of the project and free float is extra time without impacting another project task.

Critical Path calculations are the method used to determine the critical path within a project.

Understand what is normally shown in a project budget.  Learn how to create a time-phased project budget.

The project Resource List is a list of all individuals working on the project with their contact information and all special equipment and facilities required to accomplish project tasks.

The Responsibility Matrix is a project management tool for correlating project work assignments with project team members.

Contactors, vendors, and suppliers are used on projects to reduce risks.  These external resources have capacity and capability that allows them to complete project tasks better than internal resources would be able to complete them.

Project resource demands are often inconsistent throughout the life of the project leading to times when resources are over-allocated.

Earned Value Management is a comprehensive project management technique that combines scope, schedule and resource management into one set of measures.  It starts with task level planning.

Project plans are built with an accumulation of estimates, each of which has a level of uncertainty associated with it.  The level of uncertainty is a major contributor to the accuracy of the plan and the amount of project risk.

The most commonly used techniques for creating project estimates are analogous estimates, bottom up estimates, three point estimates, and using a parametric model.  

Project estimates of effort, duration, and money are inter-related.  Based upon the cost and availability of the resources involved, once you have one of the estimates you can derive the other two.

Time Boxes are an estimating technique that sets a finite time for a task or task group.  The amount of scope that is completed is variable.   Whatever scope is done when the time box ends is the amount of scope for that activity on the project.

Understand the difference between positive and negative risk.  Learn the major steps of project risk management. 

The Risk Register is a table that tracks the project risk management activities.

The practice of identifying positive and negative conditions that may occur within the project and impact project objectives.

All project risks are not equal in their effect on a project.  Project risks that have been identified are prioritized using qualitative techniques such as the Risk Matrix.  

The Risk Sensitivity Analysis is a technique to assess the magnitude of impact from a risk.  

Negative Risk Response is determining what actions the project will take to address risk threats.

Positive Risk Response is determining what actions the project will take to address risk opportunities.

Contingencies are potential risk response actions that will only be implemented if some triggering event or condition has shown that the risk probability has gone from unlikely to likely.

Project quantitative risk analysis techniques provide a deeper understanding of the nature and impact of project risks.

Learn the characteristics of a project core team and understand the stages of a  team building lifecycle.

Project Decision Making is the process whereby the project leader and project team decide upon project strategy, tactics, and acceptable actions.  For Project Stakeholders, the decisions normally concern project boundaries.  For Project Core Team members, the decisions normally concern project plans and execution.

Team Meetings are a gathering of team members to discuss aspects of the project.  Team pulse meetings focus on status.  Team problem solving meetings focus on problem resolution.

Task Accountability is the project management activity associated with ensuring successful completion of project activities.

Quality Control and Quality Assurance are processes used for managing the project.  Quality Control determines if the overall project result meets the requirements and Quality Assurance determines if appropriate standards and procedures are used to do the work of the project.

Contractors and vendors are often used to accomplish project tasks.  The complexity, uniqueness, and uncertainty of the activity will determine the nature of the relationship between the project team and the contractor or vendor.

Understand the characteristics of the major categories of project communication.  Know the communication constraints typically encountered on project. 

The Project Management Information System (PMIS) is the method that the project manager and core team use to share and disseminate project information.  It often is based upon the use of a project management software application.

Earned Value Management is a comprehensive project management technique that combines scope, schedule and resource management into one set of measures.  An element, in fact the element that provides the name of the technique, is the setting of Earned Value.

Learn how to create and use a project dashboard to communicate project status with both management and your project team.

Understand the purpose of a project management review and learn how to prepare for one.

Project technical reviews are formal decision meetings between team members and a panel of subject matter experts.  

Scope creep is the uncontrolled expansion to project scope without adjustments to time, cost, and resources.

Issues are any request, complaint, or unexpected condition that leads to unplanned, but in scope, work that must be accomplished on a project.  They normally result in the need to implement a workaround in order to resolve them.

A formal documented process for changing the project baseline.

The project performance is tracked against an integrated set of project baselines that support the achievement of the project’s triple constraint goals and objectives.

Variance occurs when the actual situation is different from the planned or expected situation.  In projects, variance analysis applies to schedule variance and cost variance.  It determines both why the actual situation is different than what was planned and the impact that will have on the project.

Since projects seldom go exactly as planned, part way through a project the project team is typically asked to estimate how much time and money are required to complete the project.

There are several approaches a project team can take to accelerate project tasks.  Each approach has its own unique characteristics and risks.

Understand how to gain stakeholder acceptance during project closeout and learn how to create and use a Punch List.

To fully realize the benefit of a project, often business systems need to change to implement the project results.  This transition can be a challenging aspect of the project.

Lessons Learned are a retrospective look at a project, or phase of a project, to identify best practices to be repeated and performance gaps to be improved.

In addition to transitioning the result of the project into the organization’s operations, projects often have accounts, systems, and resources that must be closed or disposed of before the project is fully closed.

In many organizations, a final report is prepared after all project activities have been completed and the impact of the project results have been demonstrated in business performance metrics.

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PMI, PMP and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.