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Project Management Blog
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 19:58

Are You A Master?

In the April 2007 edition of PM Network, there is an article titled "Master Plan: IT executives need to develop an eye for project managers" that I would like to comment on.

The article is mostly based off a study done by Gartner Inc., in Stamford CT, USA. One sad but true statistic stated that 20-30% of IT executives "have a 'dismissive attitude' toward project management". Those are the same execs that suffer "from poor quality, late delivery and unrealistic project costs." I can related to this information from my personal experience, and would venture a guess that when you move into executives in operational areas, the dismissive attitude towards proper project management increases. The majority of IT execs seem to have seen the light and made the realization that there really is value to be delivered by well run projects by individuals who have the right skills to do so in a formal manner. 
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Saturday, 27 January 2007 17:15

Risk Identification

PMI defines risk identification as determining which risk events are likely to affect the project and documenting the characteristics of each. This process involves identifying three related factors: (1) potential sources of risk (schedule, cost, technical, legal, and so on), (2) possible risk events, and (3) risk symptoms.

The timing of risk identification is also of vital importance. PMI® advocates that risk identification should first be accomplished at the outset of the project and then be updated regularly throughout the project life cycle. 

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Saturday, 27 January 2007 17:05

Project Risk Management

Risk Management is the process of measuring, or assessing risk and then developing strategies to manage the risk. In general, the strategies employed include transferring the risk to another party, avoiding the risk, reducing the negative effect of the risk, and accepting some or all of the consequences of a particular risk. The Risk Management Plan (RMP) is the document prepared by a Project manager to foresee risks, to estimate the effectiveness and to mitigate them.

 

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Thursday, 25 January 2007 21:02

Project Quality

What is Project Quality Management? Project quality management is concerned with the management of the project and the product of the project. The project Quality Management Processes include:

  • Quality Planning
  • Perform Quality Assurance
  • Perform Quality Control

PMI’s approach to quality management is intended to be compatible with that of the International Standardization Organization (ISO). This generalized approach should be compatible with proprietary approaches to quality management such as those recommended by Deming, Juran, Crosby and others. Non-proprietary approaches should be compliment Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, etc. 

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Thursday, 25 January 2007 20:45

Cost Estimating

Analogous estimating - Uses similar historical information to predict the cost of the current project. Such estimates are usually performed early in a project and rely on knowledge of the actual cost outcomes from similar projects.
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Thursday, 25 January 2007 17:41

Configuration Management

Configuration management is the term given to the identification, tracking and managing of all the assets of a project; it focuses on controlling the characteristics of a product or service (also referred to as deliverables). In a general sense, configuration management consists of the following:

 

  • The documentation of the features, characteristics, and functions of a product or service
  • The applied control to restrict changes to the features, characteristics, and function of the product or service
  • The process of documenting any changes to the product or service
  • The ongoing auditing of products and services to ensure their conformance to documented requirements
  • Establishes a method to consistently identify and request changes to established baselines
  • To assess the value and effectiveness of changes
  • Provides opportunities to continuously validate and improve the project by considering the impact of each change
  • Provides the mechanism for the project management team to consistently communicate all changes to the stakeholders.

 

Configuration management activities included in the integrated change control process are:

  • Configuration Identification - Providing the basis from which the configuration of products is defined and verified, products and documents are labeled, changes are managed, and accountability is maintained.
  • Configuration Status Accounting - Capturing, storing, and accessing configuration information needed to manage products and product information effectively.
  • Configuration Verification and Auditing - Establishing that the performance and functional requirements defined in the configuration documentation have been met.

When it comes to configuration management, think paperwork. Think about all the paperwork that is involved in documenting every single component of a system deliverable and making sure that there are no changes to that deliverable, or if there are changes, that they are thoroughly documented. Configuration management is traceable. For the exam, know that all change must be screened, tracked, accepted, approved, and the development process updated thereafter.

 

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 25 January 2007 14:56

Defining "Project"

Several definitions exist for “project.” According to the PMBOK®Guide, it is: “A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” Whichever specific definition you choose, nearly every project you manage will have many of the same characteristics. Let’s examine some of the most important ones.

At the most basic level, a project is actually the response to a need, the solution to a problem. Further, it’s a solution that promises a benefit—typically a financial benefit. The fundamental purpose for most projects is to either make money or save money. That’s why projects should be financially justifiable.

By definition, a project is temporary in nature; that means that it has a specific start and finish. A project consists of a well-defined collection of small jobs (tasks) and ordinarily culminates in the creation of an end product or products (deliverables). There will be a preferred sequence of execution for the project’s tasks (the schedule). A project is a unique, one-time undertaking; it will never again be done exactly the same way, by the same people, and within the same environment.

This is a noteworthy point, as it suggests that you will rarely have the benefit of a wealth of historical information when you start your project. You’ll have to launch your project with limited information or, worse yet, misinformation. There will always be some uncertainty associated with your project. This uncertainty represents risk—an ever-present threat to your ability to make definitive plans and predict outcomes with high levels of confidence. All of your projects consume resources—resources in the form of time, money, materials, and labor. One of your primary missions is to serve as the overall steward of these resources—to apply them as sparingly and as effectively as possible. So, there’s a general definition or explanation. Here are some examples of projects: introducing a new product to the marketplace, building and installing a piece of equipment, and running a political campaign. In contrast, the following activities are not projects: operating a manufacturing facility, supervising a work group, and running a retail business. These activities are ongoing.

There are three main characteristics of a project


   1. Temporary Endeavor
      A. Opportunity or Market Window
      B. Project team seldom outlives project
   2. Unique Product, Result or Service
       A. Project Product, Service or result is not temporary
       B. Uniqueness is an important characteristic
   3. Progressive Elaboration
       A. Works in steps or increments
       B. Coordinated with proper scope and definition


 

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