The shift from PMBOK 6 to PMBOK 7 lead to a complete shift in the way the Standard of Project Management was organized. The radical change was brought into move from a process-based standard to a principle-based standard.
The entire guide consistently delivers message in 3 components – Enablers, Deliverables and Tool.
The new PMBOK 7 Guide has 5 core principles (Lesson1 – Lesson 5) list below:
- Lesson 1: Creating a high-performing team
- Lesson 2: Starting the project (Initiating and Planning the project)
- Lesson 3: Doing the work (Executing the project or directing and managing the project work)
- Lesson 4: Keeping the team on track (Monitoring and controlling the project)
- Lesson 5: Keeping the Business in Mind (Understand the need and continue to align the project with the business objectives)
These lessons or principles of project management are not sequential however can be viewed as below:
Lesson 1: Creating a high performing team:
PMI has put together 7 topics as part of this section (Topic A – Topic G)
Topic A: Build a Team
Project Team Definition:
Set of individuals who support the project manager in doing the work of the project to achieve its objectives
These could be the project management staff, project staff, experts, customers external companies, and business partner members.
The members of project team are also project stakeholders.
Project Resource Management entails:
Estimating, acquiring and managing the project team
Developing the team to improve their competency
Track team performance.
Individual, people, organization units and the entire organization directly or indirectly, negatively or positively impacted by the outcome of the project.
Identification of stakeholders should be done as early as possible in the project life cycle.
RACI Chart – RACI is also called or is a common Responsibility Assignment Matrix. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.
Diversity and inclusion is a key sentiment of the new PMBOK 7 guide as the projects have global scope. The team members are from different cultural backgrounds, industry experience or even have different languages. Such teams must adopt “Project Team Language” which may be different than their native language. The project manager should seek to create an environment that takes advantage of this diversity and builds a climate of mutual trust.
Resource Management Plan: Creating the Resource Management plan early is the key. RMP is a component of project management plan and describes how the resource are acquired, allocated, monitored and controlled.
Resources are not just limited to Human, they can also be financial, assets as well as other physical resources.
Virtual Team – Teams members that are not co-located. They are geographically dispersed.
Virtualization does create challenges for managing the communication and enabling effective team performance.
Adequate use of technology is key while working with virtual teams for effective communication.
Topic B: Define the Ground Rules
In order for the team to work effectively they need to define the ground rules collectively.
Ground Rules are defined as setting Code of conduct for the team members. Ground rules are comprised of all actions that are considered acceptable or unacceptable in the project management context.
Team Charter – is a document that enables the team to establish its values, agreements, and practices as it performs its work together.
The goal of the team charter is to establish team norms, or expected behaviors of the team. By taking the time to establish these norms at the beginning of the project, the team is more likely to be able to handle challenges as the project progresses. These norms should include:
- Communications approaches
- Managing conflict
- Shared values
Topic C: Negotiate Project Agreements
After the team has been assembled, the project manager may need to facilitate negotiations to reach an agreement about the project objectives.
Enablers, Deliverables, and Tools
This topic addresses various enablers from the ECO.
- Analyze the bounds of the negotiations for agreement. (ECO 8.1)
- Assess priorities and determine ultimate objective(s). (ECO 8.2)
- Verify objective(s) of the agreement is met. (ECO 8.3)
- Participate in agreement negotiations. (ECO 8.4)
- Determine a negotiation strategy (ECO 8.5)
|Service Level Agreement||Negotiation skills|
|Performance report||Expert judgment|
|Resource calendars||Lessons learned|
Negotiations: Negotiations are discussions that are aimed at reaching an agreement. While an external negotiation should be led by a member of the procurement team authorized to sign contracts, the project manager and project team members may be present to assist as needed.
Service Level Agreements
Service Level Agreements (SLAs)* are defined as a contract between a service provider (internal or external) and the end user that describes the level of service expected from the service provider. These can incorporate expectations for service utility (functional performance) and service warranty (including availability, speed, security, continuity, and other usability expectations).
Ideally, effective SLAs should reflect business-driven metrics, including such things as transaction processing, customer satisfaction, etc.
Prioritization Techniques to Determine Objectives
One of the important features in agile approaches is the maintenance and management of the product backlog. The product backlog is owned by the customer—in Scrum through the role of the Product Owner—and reflects not only a list of desired capabilities, written as User Stories, but also that the list is prioritized, with the highest business value and highest business risk things listed first. Project managers may be asked to help the customer prioritize this list, and may use a number of techniques to assist them in this work.
Prioritization techniques include:
- Kano model—Identifying certain features or capabilities as Basic, Performance, or Excitement helps in the prioritization of which capabilities are truly must-have, what features may create meaningful competitive differentiators, etc.
- MoSCoW (MSCW) analysis—Categorize features as Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, and Won’t Have (for now). Helps customers organize their thinking about what are truly must- have capabilities, and enables identification of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
- Paired Comparison Analysis—Looking at each pair of stories and prioritizing one over the others.
- 100 Points Method—Each stakeholder is given 100 points and can multi-vote their points across all the stories, which then give a weighted priority when
Many of the project management processes use expert judgement as a key input. As part of negotiating a project agreement, the project manager needs to identify relevant subject matter expertise that can be used during the project to help assess needs, identify potential solutions and approaches, and ensure understanding of the larger project context.
Negotiations for the exact parameters of a contract are generally driven by the procurement manager, and the project manager and project teams may be engaged as part of the negotiations. In a traditional project approach, one important objective is a clear designation of the project’s intended deliverables and how they will be measured and compensated. In a more agile approach, the exact deliverables will be variable as the customer modifies, adds, and reprioritizes items in their product backlog, and so clearly delineated ways to ensure agreed performance levels must be defined.
The resource calendar identifies working days, shifts, and when specific resources are made available to the project.
The calendar will be used to determine which resources (people, equipment, material, etc.) are available during a planned activity period and should be taken into account when estimating project activities.
The calendar may also identify key resource attributes such as skills and experience levels to ascertain if the resources with the proper skills to carry out certain types of work will be available during different aspects of the project.
The lessons-learned register* is a project document used to record knowledge gained during a project so that it can be used in the current project and entered into the lessons learned repository. Having this register can improve the team’s project performance and potentially that of other teams, and other projects as well.
Lesson learned are compiled throughout the project.
Agile teams schedule a ceremony called a retrospective at the end of each iteration to identify potential issues, identify potential solutions, and improve the processes the team uses to improve its overall performance.
Topic D: Empower Team Members and Stakeholders
Project Management is all about building a great team and one of the traits of a great team is they are empowered. Empowered teams are self-directing and self-organizing. Project managers need to get a feel for their teams, identify and organize around team strengths, and set up systems to ensure the teams are accountable for their tasks.
SWOT Analysist can be used to assess team Strengths along with Weakness, Opportunities and Threats.
The key focus areas from exam standpoint focus on various estimation and decision making tools:
Estimation and prioritization tools such as Planning Poker, Dot Voting and MoSCoW analysis
Decision tools such as Roman Voting, Fist of Five and Polling can be used to form consensus.
Collaboration between the team and the stakeholder is the key while making decisions and estimates.
Topic E – Train Team Members and Stakeholders
Training teams is a constant process and project managers must continuously assess team’s performance and identify any training. Users, customers, and other stakeholders will require training and other knowledge transfer to ensure successful onboarding of the solution, and this is a critical component of the overall organizational change management work required to ensure customer readiness.
Some of the key areas addressed as part of this topic are listed below:
- Determine required competencies and elements of training.
- Determine training options based on training needs.
- Allocate resources for training.
- Ensure training
- Measure training outcomes.
Understanding the needed competencies is a prerequisite to considering what elements of training might need to be provided.
The first step is to identify the required competencies that the stakeholder will require.
Different families of stakeholders may have substantially different needs for training. Some will be direct users of the solution while others may be using the solution (or various reports or dashboards) to oversee the work.
There may also be need for the team members themselves for specific training on the customer’s business, culture, desired outcomes, and the project’s context in order to prepare themselves to successfully contribute to the project’s outcomes.
Elements of Training
The primary reason why training is provided is for the team members acquire new or enhanced skills, knowledge, or attitudes. Depending on the project needs the training can be formulated to provide generic skills, or customized to provide a specific skill set that is unique to the project. Training should be made available to team members as soon as the need becomes apparent.
Reference: Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2017, Page 342.
Training can be delivered in many ways. While not an exhaustive list, some training delivery models include:
- Instructor-led classroom
- Virtual classroom
- Self-paced e-learning
- Document reviews
- Interactive simulations
- On-the-job training
Training Gap Analysis
Key to effective training is early gap analysis between the current skills and the required skills Based on your project’s stakeholder analysis, you will need to assess current skills, the needed skills based on the project’s deliverables, and the changes this will make to customer workflows and roles.
Training Calendar: Maintaining a training calendar is extremely important. Training usually is provided at the end of the project delivery and must not coincide with the project critical path and impact the scheduled project delivery.
Measure Training Outcomes
Training is ultimately measured in the ability of the stakeholders to perform the work needed and generate the intended results for their business. While methods such as post-assessments or certifications are useful in measuring the successful knowledge and skills transfer activities, highly effective training outcome measures are often done in the workplace, where performance and use of the knowledge are assessed as the stakeholder performs the work, and where necessary remediation can be performed to support knowledge retention and business value achieved.
Paring and mentoring are other ways of providing training. Mentoring is provided by subject matter expert (SME).
Topic F: Engage and Support Virtual Teams
All mission critical projects require geographically dispersed teams or in other words Virtual Teams. Virtual team members need what all team members need: a shared goal, a clear purpose, and clarity on their role and what is expected of them.
While it’s trite to say that communications is key, it clearly is. Successful teams get to be successful by working together to execute work, solve problems, and produce solutions. In a virtual team, the need for effective communications is even greater due to the lack of opportunity for osmotic learning from just being around your other team members.
Part of an effective team charter is to make decisions as a team about how, when, and why you communicate with one another, and what the shared expectations are. This may include shared work hours for scheduling team meetings, how the team is expected to use and not use tools like threaded discussion groups, shared document repositories, and even webcams.
There are quite a few questions on the PMP exam from this topic. Reading this topic clearly in the PMBOK Guide is the key.
Topic G: Build Shared Understanding about a Project
Shared understanding means that the team and stakeholders understand the objective of the project and there is a consensus on the value that the project will deliver.
Visualizing the End State and establishing common understanding on the Vision is the key.
Vison is the desired end state.
A project charter* is a document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities. It is a key artifact in establishing the shared understanding of the project as it clearly list the objective and success criteria.
Project teams may have one or a number of project kickoff meetings. These meetings seek to establish project context, assist in team formation, and ensure proper alignment to the overall project vision. Activities during kickoff may include:
- Defining a vision statement
- Defining a team charter
- Assisting the customer/Product Owner with user story writing, estimation of effort, prioritization planning, and production of an initial product backlog
XP is one of the flavors of Agile. A common Extreme Programming (XP) technique describes a common vision of how a program works, which is called the Metaphor. Metaphors should be simple and non-technical, enabling a broad array of stakeholders to understand the overarching approach that is being taken to provide a capability or solve a problem.
Agile teams often invest in becoming more cross-functional. T-shaped* refers to a person with one deep area of specialization and broad ability in the rest of the skills required by the team. By leveraging all of the team members to help accomplish the team goals, the team improves its efficiency and is more likely to achieve the objectives.
A technique used to perform these estimates is called planning poker. In planning poker, a user
story is presented to the team, there is conversation among the team members and with the customer (Product Owner in Scrum), and when the team has asked its questions, the facilitator (Scrum Master or Agile coach) asks the team to use a card deck (generally with the modified Fibonacci numbers) to vote for the number of points to assign to the story.
If there are disagreements, the facilitator will coordinate a discussion and try to help the team to either come to consensus on the point totals or leverage their team charter to delineate how to manage any sustained disagreements. This is repeated for several of the stories at the top of the backlog to ensure they are ready for inclusion in an iteration (or Sprint).
A common Extreme Programming (XP) technique describes a common vision of how a program works, which is called the Metaphor. Metaphors should be simple and non-technical, enabling a broad array of stakeholders to understand the overarching approach that is being taken to provide a capability or solve a problem.
Product Box Exercise
Another technique used to explain an overarching solution is called a product box exercise. In this exercise, the stakeholders try to describe aspects of a solution in the same way a marketer might describe product features and benefits on a box. This exercise can help the teams better understand the different types of users of a solution, their priorities and likes/dislikes, key aspects of the solution that drive the most critical value aspects of the solution, etc.
Brainstorming is a simple technique used to generate a list of ideas; it should be led by a facilitator and the group tends to be a group of stakeholders, team members, or subject matter experts.
Fist of Five Technique
One of these techniques for building consensus is called Fist of Five. As a team is discussing an issue, a facilitator can call for the team to vote on its level of agreement or disagreement with the team’s conclusions. A fist (or 0 fingers) is a strong statement of disagreement and will require adjudication. An open hand showing five fingers means agreement with the team’s conclusions. The rest of the scale would be:
- 4 fingers might show general agreement with minor
- 3 fingers might show abdication—willing to go along with the group but
- 2 fingers might show general disagreement but the questions at hand are relatively
- 1 might be almost as strong a disagreement as a
A simpler version of check-in than Fist of Five is Roman voting. In a Roman vote, people vote either thumbs up (agreement) or thumbs down (disagreement). If anyone is thumbs down on the approach, the facilitator then will work to try to identify and enable the team to try to address the objections.
Another technique is simple polling of the team members to assess their point of view on an issue. If the team is unanimous, a decision has been reached and the team moves on. If objections are raised, then the facilitator works to surface the objection and tries to help the team work to solve the problem.
At different times the team may choose to brainstorm a list of something: a list of risks, reports, activities, etc. At that point it may be useful to help prioritize the list. One technique to prioritize any list is called dot voting. In dot voting, each stakeholder is given a number of sticky dots; the number should be sufficient to help produce spread in the results.
Agile teams generally do not use absolute estimates to predict the level of work involved in a task; Instead, agile teams tend to use a relative estimation approach that takes all factors into account and uses a relative sizing method to help assess the overall effort. A couple of popular methods include:
- T-Shirt Sizing: S, M, L, XL, XXL based on the combination of risk, complexity, and
- Modified Fibonacci Sequence: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 100, ∞ based on the same factors. These are often referred to as story points; they are unit-less and attempt to capture the overall impact of the
Planning Poker (Estimation Technique)
A technique used to perform these estimates is called planning poker. In planning poker, a user
story is presented to the team, there is conversation among the team members and with the customer (Product Owner in Scrum), and when the team has asked its questions, the facilitator (Scrum Master or Agile coach) asks the team to use a card deck (generally with the modified Fibonacci numbers) to vote for the number of points to assign to the story.
Starting the Project
The project managers start building a high performing team and at the same time could start the project. Starting the project entails 3 core areas:
- Review historical documentation such as business case and project charter to understand the objectives of the project.
- Determine and recommend a project methodology.
- Create a project management plan
The Topics to be covered in this section are listed below. The order of these topics however is not in the true order as these tasks would take place. PMI somehow here seems to have missed the point.
Below is the true order as we will follow in our sessions. This is the order in which you will get tested on the exam and would also make the learning seamless.
Topic A -> Topic F -> Topic B -> Topic D -> Topic C -> Topic E -> Topic G -> Topic H -> Topic I
The primary idea of this lesson is to determine and recommend a methodology along with development of project management plan. Let us take a look at the mind map for the various topics of Lesson 2.
Ideally below is how Starting the Project lesson must be read:
Step 1: Topic A
Step 2: Topic F (create the project management plan). All other 6 topics are part of Topic F or in other words, to crate a project management plan you will have to integrate Scope, Schedule, Cost, Resources, Quality, Procurement, Compliance and processes related to project closure into project management plan.
Topic A : Determine the appropriate project methodology/methods and practices
- The purpose of this topic is to understand the project need, complexity and magnitude followed by recommending project execution strategy as well as project methodology.
Key here is to first review the business case and the benefits management plan. Business case provides justification of the project and benefits management plan is a document that contains the benefits that the project is expected to deliver. Project Managers must keep an eye on the justification as well as the benefits of the project and recommend changes if any shift is detected.
In the PMP exam there may be questions around the various methodology and at what time should a specific methodology be recommended. The three below mentioned approached could be recommended based on the size, complexity, industry, scope, stakeholders and risk associated with the project.
A more modern approach wherein the team works collaboratively with the customer to determine the project needs, quickly building outputs based on those assumptions, getting feedback, and continuing forward or adapting as much as needed. The coordination of the customer and the team drives the project forward. The aim is to deliver value by regularly confirming and incorporating input.
Predictive / Plan Driven
A more traditional approach wherein as much as possible, the project needs, requirements, and constraints are understood, and plans are developed accordingly. Those plans drive the project forward. The more well planned out, the more predictive and controlled the project is.
Another option is to incorporate components of both approaches. This may be done by utilizing a particular strategy or technique for a certain need. This may also be accomplished by blending the various approaches concurrently on the project. Or the project may switch approaches based on need, changing work requirements, or circumstances.
Based on the methodology listed above various project life cycles such as Agile Life Cycle also called change driven, Predictive Lifecycle also called plan driven and Hybrid lifecycles could be recommended for the project. Agile Lifecycle could be incremental lifecycles or iterative life cycles.
Topic F: Integrate Project Planning Activities:
The key here is integration of all other planning processes (previously called knowledge areas) to create a project management Plan.
What is a project management plan?
Remember simple ground rule: Any plan in the world is done to sketch a roadmap. It could be a simple plan for a trip to Disney in Florida.
Similarly Project Management Plan also is a roadmap or a guidance document on how we will plan the project, execute the project and manage changes to the plan during the course of its execution.
What does Project Management Plan Contain?
Rule: 4 Baselines +10 Plans + 3 other plans + 2 other
- Scope Baseline
- Schedule Baseline
- Cost Baseline and
- Performance Baseline
- Scope Management Plan
- Requirement Management Plan
- Schedule Management Plan
- Cost Management Plan
- Quality Management Plan
- Resource Management Plan
- Communication Management Plan
- Risk Management Plan
- Procurement Management Plan
- Stakeholder Management Plan
3 other plans:
- Change Management Plan
- Configuration Management Plan
- Compliance Management Plan
- Project life cycle
- Development approach
How do you develop a project management plan?
Scrum of Scrums and SAFe
Project environments where there are multiple agile based projects operating, coordinating plan and analyzing the data and dependencies between them can be performed on a regular cadence throughout the project. Two popular formats are Scrum of Scrum and SAFe.
Scrum of Scrums
As more and more groups within a department or organization implement Agile-based projects, there emerges the necessity to roll the individual agile projects up into larger formations or levels of coordination. As such, the Scrum of Scrums (SoS)*, sometimes referred to as a “meta scrum,” is a method wherein two or more scrum-based agile projects send representatives to an oversight scrum team organization in order to be knowledgeable of, and coordinated to, each other’s efforts and progress. These representatives from each scrum team meet daily to ensure all teams are effective and supporting each other and the customer or customers.
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
Scaled Agile Framework, more commonly referred to by its acronym SAFe, is a more holistic view of agile approaches across an organization or enterprise. The focus of SAFe is to build a useful knowledge base of scaling development work across all levels of the enterprise. To accomplish this, organizations are not simply applying agile methodologies as the small team, local level, but also need to think larger and in systematic ways. Knowledge is shared and cultivated across the organization. SAFe methodology promotes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across large numbers of agile teams.
Topic B: Plan and Manage Scope
The first step in developing a project management plan is definition of scope and creation of WBS.
What that work is, what must be done, guiding that work, ensuring the work is done, and setting criteria as to what “done” is, so it can be properly validated are all elements the project team must plan for and manage throughout the project.
The first step is to Plan Scope Management to create a Scope Management Plan (remember Scope Management Plan is a subsidiary of Project Management Plan). Just like the definition of Project Management Plan, Scope Management Plan also provides guidance on how the scope will be managed through out the life cycle of the project.
Once the Scope Management Plan is created, the project team (primarily the Business Analyst), starts collecting the requirements to create Requirement Document as well as the Traceability Matrix. Various requirement gathering techniques are used to capture stakeholder requirements.
Stakeholder Requirements listed in the requirement documents are then prioritized to understand the critical as well as non-critical requirements. Or in other words, Project Scope Statement is created.
Project Scope statement is further decomposed to create a WBS and Scope Baseline.
Topic D: Plan and Manage Schedule
The primary goal of this topic is to develop a schedule or a schedule baseline.
Just like Scope, Schedule planning also starts with creating a subsidiary plan called the Schedule Management Plan. Schedule Management Plan is integrated into the project management plan and is one of the subsidiary plans of Project Management Plan.
Imp: Scheduling Model is part of the schedule management plan. The various steps involved in developing the schedule are listed below:
From exam standpoint the focus must remain on the following:
- Critical Path (3 questions on PMP exam)
- Critical chain
- What are milestones?
- Lead and Lags
- Schedule compression or fast-tracking
- Activities and relationships
- Schedule is key input to resource allocation and management.
- Techniques such as analogous estimation, Parametric, three point, bottom-up estimation
- Scheduling on conventional and Agile based projects
Topic C: Plan and Manage Cost
The primary purpose of this topic is to come up with an cost estimate for work packages and activities and determine the budget.
In the PMP exam there will be extensive testing from this topic. The following topics will be tested as part of this topic:
- Estimation techniques:
Analogous estimating* Uses the cost of a previous project with similar scope or activities to predict the cost of future activities.
Parametric estimating* Relies on the statistical relationship that exists between historicalinformation and variables so as to arrive at an estimate for parameters such as duration and cost.
Bottom-up estimating* Estimates the cost of individual activities then “rolls up” to higher levels.
Three-point estimating* Incorporates three types of estimates into a singular cost estimate scenario: most likely, optimistic, and pessimistic.
2. Common Estimate Types
Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM): Generally made early in the project. Developed without basis of detailed data and often based on high-level historical data, expert judgment, or a costing model. Accuracy: –25% to +75%.
Definitive estimate (or “control” or “detailed”): Based on detailed information about the project work. Developed by estimating the cost for each work package in the WBS. Accuracy: –5% to +10%.
Phased estimate (or “rolling wave” or “moving window”): Allows the use of a less-detailed estimate (perhaps ROM) for some later parts of the work, whereas work that must be done earlier in the project life cycle is estimated more accurately (perhaps at the definitive level).
- Cost Baseline
A cost baseline* is the approved version of the time-phased project budget, excluding any management reserves*, which can be changed only through formal change control procedures and is used as a basis for comparison to actual results. It is developed by adding the estimated costs of project components by period.
4. Guidelines to Determine a Budget
To determine a project budget effectively:
- Review the cost management plan* for information on how project costs will be managed and controlled, and the method used and level of accuracy for estimating activity
- Review the resource management plan for staffing attributes, personnel rates, and reward and recognition
- Review the scope baseline for the project scope statement, WBS, and WBS
- Check the project schedule for type, quantity, and duration of resources needed for project activities.
- Review the risk register to consider any risks that may impact cost
- Review the OPAs that can influence this process such as cost estimating policies, cost estimating template, historical information, and lessons
- Use tools and techniques such as cost aggregation*, reserve analysis, expert judgment, historical information, and funding limit reconciliation to determine a budget for the
- Document the project budget and create a cost
- Understand project funding This includes ensuring that project expenses are not incurred faster than project income is received.
Plan and Manage Quality of Products and Deliverables
There are quite a few question on the PMP exam from this topic. Considering the new updated PMBOK 7, it is critical that this section is reviewed diligently. The question from this topic are and always have been very straight forward, provided we spend adequate time preparing here and understanding all the concepts.
Quality* is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements. Remember that quality represents what the stakeholders expect from the project. The stated and implied quality needs are inputs for devising project requirements. In business, quality should be feasible, modifiable, and measurable.
Quality Management Plan
A quality management plan* is a component of the project or program management plan that describes how applicable policies, procedures, and guidelines will be implemented to achieve the quality objectives. It also documents and defines how the project’s quality requirements will be met, and how the quality aspect of the project will be managed. Quality requirements and standards need to be gathered and documented for both the project and its deliverables. How the project will demonstrate that the quality requirements and standards have been met and how that will be validated will also need to be determined and documented.
Cost of Quality
Cost of Quality (CoQ)* refers to all costs incurred over the life of the product by investment in preventing non-conformance to requirements, appraisal of the product or service for conformance to requirements, and failure to meet requirements.
Cost of conformance is the money spent during a project to avoid failures and includes prevention costs that build a high-quality product and appraisal costs that assess the quality. Examples of prevention costs include training, doing things right the first time, and following documented processes. Appraisal costs include testing and inspection.
Cost of non-conformance is the money spent after a project is complete because of failures and includes internal and external failure costs. Internal failures found during the project include rework and scrap. External failures found by the customer include liabilities, warranty work, and lost business due to a poor-quality product or damaged reputation.
Guidelines to Manage Quality
Effective quality management provides confidence that the project’s product or service will satisfy relevant quality requirements and standards. To manage the quality of your project, follow these guidelines:
- Ensure that random and/or scheduled quality audits are conducted by qualified auditors to evaluate the quality management plan, quality testing procedures, and measurement
- Are the quality parameters set forth in the quality management plan valid?
- Are the operational definitions and checklists adequate and appropriate to achieving the desired final results?
- Are the testing methods being implemented correctly?
- Is data being interpreted, recorded, and fed back into the system properly?
- Use one or more of the Manage Quality tools and techniques to determine the causes of quality problems of the project’s product, service, systems, or
- Identify and implement the appropriate actions to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the project team’s work results to improve quality in the product or
Thorough understanding of Quality tools such as control charts, statistical sampling, flow charts, design of X, pareto analysis are the key and will be tested on the PMP exam.
Topic G: Plan and manage procurement
Establishing an early procurement strategy is the key. Make or buy decision should be made in the early stages such as planning of the project.
When considering a make-or-buy decision, it is important to consider several factors.
- Consider the impact on cost, time, or quality. For instance, if current personnel must be retrained for services requiring a new skill set, it may be less expensive to outsource those
- Consider the ongoing need of a specific skill set—even for future, unrelated projects. It may be a worthwhile investment to train current personnel to perform that
- Think about the learning curve. Although it may make financial sense to develop an in-house solution, there may not be enough time to train personnel and/or implement the necessary policies and equipment to produce that
- If the required resources are readily available internally, organizations will usually use them. However, if the project involves technology, skills, materials, or resources that are beyond the organization’s capabilities, it may be cost-effective to hire outside
The make-or-buy analysis can be made using one or more of the following financial tools:
- Benefit cost analysis
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Internal rate of return (IRR)
- Net present value (NPV
A procurement SOW (statement of work)* describes the procurement item in sufficient detail to allow prospective sellers to determine if they are capable of providing the products, services, or results. It is distributed to potential sellers, who will use it to evaluate their capability to perform the work or provide the services. In addition, the SOW will serve as a basis for developing the procurement documents* during the solicitation process. Information in the project scope baseline is used to create the procurement SOW. The procurement SOW goes through multiple rounds of reviews and fixes until the contract award is signed.
Procurement Management Plan
The procurement management plan* is a component of the project or program management plan that describes how a project team will acquire goods and services from outside of the performing organization. It specifies the types of contracts that will be used, describes the process for obtaining and evaluating bids, mandates the standardized procurement documents that must be used, and describes how multiple providers will be managed.
Knowledge of various contract types such as Fixed price contract, Cost Reimbursable and Time and Material contract are on the exams. Either one or 2 questions can be expected from the PMBOK 7 based PMP exam. As part of your PMP Exam Prep ensure that you read this section carefully.
Guidelines to closing procurements are as follows:
- Ensure that all required products or services were provided by the
- Make sure that any buyer-furnished property or information was returned to the
- Settle any outstanding contracting issues. Are there any claims or investigations pending on this contract?
- Conduct a procurement audit* to identify successes and failures of the procurement process and to evaluate the performance of the
- Address any outstanding invoices and
- Archive the complete contract file with the project
- Provide the seller with formal written notice that the contract has been
- Communicate that all procurements are closed and update OPA documents as
Topic H : Establish Governance structure
A governance structure must be established early on the project and is the key to success to any project. Governance includes but not limited to system and methods that must be put in place to ensure success of the project by enabling decision making.
Organizations use governance guidelines to establish strategic direction and performance parameters. The strategic direction provides the purpose, expectations, goals, and actions to guide business pursuits and is aligned with business objectives. Project management activities should be, and must stay, aligned with business direction to increase project success.
As stated in the PMBOK 7 Guide, a project governance framework can include:
- Project success and deliverable acceptance
- Process to identify, escalate, and resolve
- Relationship between project team, organizational groups, and external
- Project organization chart with project
- Communication processes and
- Processes for project decision-making.
- Guidelines for aligning project governance and organizational
A phase gate*, also known as a governance gate, tollgate, or kill point, is a review at the end of a phase in which a decision is made to continue to the next phase, to continue with modification, or to end a project or program. Each review is used to check if each phase has fulfilled the exit criteria and is eligible to move to the next phase. These criteria serve as thresholds for the project to continue.
Guidelines to Determine Appropriate Governance for a Project
Projects often have several phases, and it is important that they be planned and executed in an efficient manner. Here are several guidelines to determine the appropriate governance for a project:
- Involve the organization’s decision managers, who are frequently its senior
- Choose the most appropriate governance goals, and try to keep them
- Select a group of experienced individuals to be responsible for all governance
- Practice governance for projects, programs, and
- Keep the governance process transparent to the project
- Remember that governance is an evolutionary process, and take advantage of the lessons you have learned during
Topic I – Plan and Manage Project / Phase closure
Closing a project or project phase is one of the last steps in completing a project or phase. Because a project is a unique, one-time activity, the formal closing out of the project is essential. In some cases, without an official close out of a project or phase, the next related activity, phase, or project will not get started.
On conventional project Validate Scope must be completed before the project closure can be initiated.
On Agile based project, the Acceptance and Evaluation criteria must be developed and only when the Definition of Done is met, is when the project can move into closure.
Closing a project or project phase is one of the last steps in completing a project or phase. Because a project is a unique, one-time activity, the formal closing out of the project is essential. In some cases, without an official close out of a project or phase, the next related activity, phase, or project will not get started.
Close-out meetings are sessions held at the end of a project or phase; they involve discussing the work and reviewing lessons learned. Close-out meetings may include stakeholders, team members, project resources, and customers. They typically follow a formal agenda and may require official minutes to be recorded. Not all organizations or projects require close-out meetings. Some organizations require the minutes from close-out meetings to be completed in full, approved by management, and preserved in a specific manner.
The close-out meeting in an agile project is called a retrospective and consists of the agile team, Product Owner, and key stakeholders. Conducting a retrospective encourages the participants to review what went well and what could have been done better. This assessment includes the work on the product, but also the processes, level of collaboration inside and outside the agile team, and other areas that influence the effectiveness of product delivery.
At the end of the project, you have gathered all of the relevant information about the work done in a project or a project phase and documented it in the lessons-learned register. It’s important to include both what the project team did well and what needs to be improved on. When the project is closed and the lessons-learned register is complete, the register content needs to be added to the lessons-learned repository so future project teams can benefit from this knowledge.
Guidelines to Close a Project or Phase
Each phase of the project must be properly closed to ensure that valuable information is safeguarded for future projects. To properly close a phase or project, do the following:
- Review the project management plan, accepted deliverables, and OPAs to confirm that the activities for the project are
- Some organizations and application areas have a project termination checklist that may be useful when closing out a project or phase. You may find it useful to prepare one if there is not one available. This helps to ensure that you are thorough in your administrative close
- Gather and organize performance measurement documentation, product documentation, and other relevant project records for ease of review by
- Confirm project’s products meet compliance
- Release project
- Update records to ensure that they reflect final
- Be sure to update the resource pool database to reflect new skills and increased levels of proficiency.
- Analyze project success and effectiveness and document lessons
- Prepare lessons-learned reports and a final project
- Obtain project approval and formal project Demonstrate to the customer or sponsor that the deliverables meet the defined acceptance criteria to obtain formal acceptance of the phase or project. This may involve preparing an end-of-project report or giving a presentation.
- Archive a complete set of indexed project
- Celebrate the success of the project with the team and other stakeholders
Lesson 3: Doing the Work
Pre-requisite to doing the work: Project Management Plan should be developed and signed off. Doing the work in PMBOK 7 maps to the Execution phase or process group in PMBOK 6 Guide.
Doing the work is all about delivering the business value to the stakeholders.
PMI PMBOK 7 has put together 8 topics as part of this process. These topics are all concurrent and there is no sequential relationships between them. All these 8 aspects move in parallel as part of Doing the Work.
Topic A – Assess and manage risks.
Topic B – Execute the project with the urgency required to deliver business value.
Topic C – Manage communications.
Topic D – Engage stakeholders.
Topic E – Create project artifacts.
Topic F- Manage project changes.
Topic G – Attack issues with the optimal action to achieve project success.
Topic H – Confirm approach for knowledge transfers.
Topic A – Assess and manage risks
Risk can be identified throughout the lifecycle of the project from the beginning to the very end. Just because the Topic is part of Doing of the work, it does not mean that identification and management of risk happens just here. Identification and happens throughout the project. Anytime as risk is identified, it should be analyzed, response should be developed and it should be prioritized.
What is a risk?
Risk is an uncertain event or capability which may or may not take place, but if it takes place, it will impact one or more objectives of the project. Risk could be positive risks or negative risks.
Negative Risks are also called threats.
Positive Risks are called Opportunities.
First few steps as part of Risk Management –
Develop the Risk Management Plan – The risk management plan is created based on the overall risk approach established for the project. Risk management plan is a guidance document that provides overview on how risks will be planned, managed, implemented and monitored.
Risk Management entails development of Risk Register which is a log of all the risk identified. Below is a sample risk register:
|Risk Id||Risk Description||Owner||Category||Prioritization||Probability||Impact||Numeric Id|
What are Prompt lists?
Prompt list tool to identify risks. A predefined list of risk categories that might help project team members as they are gathering and analyzing risk-related data.
Effect-based risk classification is a method of analyzing the way that risks to a project could impact its success. A risk can have an effect on time, cost, quality, and scope. All these effects are interrelated; therefore, any changes to one element will affect all the others. Effect based risk classification is best to use with complex projects
Source-based risk classification is a method of analyzing risk in terms of its origins. Sources may be internal or external to the project and technical, nontechnical, industry-specific, or generic.
Risk Tolerance refers to maximum amount of risk and tolerance that the Project Manager and stakeholders are will willing to accept. When analyzing project risks, the risk tolerance must be known and understood by the project risk team so that identified risks can be evaluated against the accepted risk tolerance for a project.
- Risk appetite is the degree of uncertainty an organization or individual is willing to accept in anticipation of a In a literal sense, think of appetite as how “hungry” a person or group is for risk. Risk appetite exists along a spectrum, ranging from avoiding risk and uncertainty to choosing options that offer higher rewards but that come with inherently more risk.
Appetite and tolerance sound similar, but they are not identical. Appetite refers to the amount and type of risk, whereas tolerance refers to the maximum risk an organization is willing to take.
- Risk threshold* is the level of risk exposure above which risks are addressed and below which risks may be accepted. Risks below the threshold are by definition of no
Qualitative Risk Responses – Subjective analysis performed to assess probability and impact, category and prioritization of the risk.
Quantitative Risk Analysis – Relies on mathematical models and algorithms to re-assess the risks. Should only be done on risks where organizational threshold is breached. There are 4 techniques discussed in PMBOK 7 Exam Prep Guide by PMI
Execute Project to Deliver Business Value
As part of the PMP Exam Prep, this topic primarily talks about delivering the deliverable of the project in the form of Product, Service or Result. The development approach could be conventional – Predictive or Adaptive – Agile.
With the changing landscape of project delivery, in a fast-paced world, time is of the essence. Organizations and customers want to see and consume the value sooner rather than later. Project managers must execute the project in the most appropriate manner to balance the urgency to realize the value with the abilities of the team based on quality expectations.
This topic explores this important aspect of project management in the modern era.
Important topics from exam standpoint –
Delivery iteratively and incrementally
Minimum Viable Product (ignite short-term urgency and feeling of accpmplishment)
In order to determine a usable product for the customer in each increment, the core value must be understood. Based on the essential value sought by the project, the bare minimum of how the value can be realized is established. This is referred to as the minimum viable product (MVP).
With a MVP, all stakeholders have an opportunity to see and experience some form of project outcomes. A tangible output channels targeted conversations. More valuable feedback can be provided. Ideas and concepts become reality, even if only at a bare minimum.
Minimum Business Increment
Some projects are improving or revising products that are live and in-use. As such, an MVP with minimal features and functionality may be disruptive to the users and business, especially when a basic preliminary product to gauge interest is not necessary. Utilizing the concept of a Minimum Business Increment (MBI) is more viable.
TOPIC C: Manage Communications
Project Manager’s spend 90% of their time communicating information. From PMP Exam Prep standpoint, this section may seem simple however in the exam may present complexity.
To start planning communication, one would need the Stakeholder register and stakeholder engagement plan.
Communication models* are a description, analogy, or schematic used to represent how the communication process will be performed for the project. There are five steps to a standard communication model:
- Encode: Ideas are translated into language used by the sender to convey
- Transmit message: The information is actually sent to the receiver by the
- Decode: The receiver translates the message into meaningful
- Acknowledge: The receiver signals that he or she has received the
- Feedback/response: The receiver encodes a message and transmits it back to the
Communication methods* are a systematic procedure, technique, or process used to transfer information among project stakeholders. They help the team communicate project performance and progress. These ensure that the concerned people in the issue resolution process are aware of the impending severity of the issue, which enables them to take immediate action. Communication methods are specified in the communications management plan.
Communication methods can be broadly classified into three types:
- Push communication: Involves sending information to a receiver. It ensures that the information has been distributed but does not guarantee that it has reached the
- Pull communication: Involves receivers accessing information whenever
- Interactive communication: Involves communication between multiple people performing multi-directional information exchange.
Communication is a two-way street. The initiator of every communication should expect that recipient(s) might offer their response or reaction to the sender’s message. This feedback can be verbal, non-verbal (body language and facial gestures), or written.
TOPIC D – Engage Stakeholders
This section is another critical section when it comes to the PMP Prep. The exams presents questions to test practitioners deeper level of understanding around the area. So to be successful on the PMP exam read this section carefully on the PMBOK Seventh Edition Guide
Stakeholder Register: A log to document stakeholders and their attributes.
Stakeholder Engagement Strategy
You should develop a strategy to involve each project stakeholder, based on their needs, expectations, interests, and potential impact on the project. The strategy can be used to guide project managers in effectively involving stakeholders throughout the life cycle of a project. This strategy enables you to provide the right level of management to the number of stakeholders you have on a specific project. It also enables you to develop appropriate management strategies to effectively engage stakeholders throughout the project life cycle, based on the analysis of their needs, interests, and potential impact on the project success. This strategy is about the creation and maintenance of relationships between the project team and stakeholders while satisfying their respective needs and requirements within project boundaries.
Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix
Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix* is a matrix that compares current and desired stakeholder engagement levels. This matrix can be used to classify project stakeholders into smaller groups that are rated based on a classification level. Stakeholder engagement and involvement will vary with every project. Classification levels can include:
- Unaware: Unaware of project and potential impacts
- Resistant: Aware of project and potential impacts and resistant to change
- Neutral: Aware of project yet neither supportive nor resistant
- Supportive: Aware of project and potential impacts and supportive of change
- Leading: Aware of project and potential impacts and actively engaged in ensuring the project is a success
TOPIC E: Create Project Artifacts
Project create deliverables but in the interim a number of various project artifacts are also created.
A project artifact is any document related to the management of a project. The project team will create and maintain many artifacts during the life of the project, to allow reconstruction of the history of the project and to benefit other projects.
Artifacts are normally living documents, and are formally updated to reflect changes in project requirements and scope.
Project Artifact Management
Artifact management includes the procedures used to create, store, retrieve, and distribute project documents. An effective archive management system includes these provisions:
- A way to produce and control documents without unnecessary administrative
- Standardized formats and
- A structured process for the review and approval of
- Version control and
- Timely distribution of
There are some other topics that have been covered as part of this section however they have also been captured in other areas such as version control, Configuration management and documentation management.
Guidelines to Continually Assess the Effectiveness of Management of Project Artifacts
To continually assess the effectiveness of management of project artifacts, follow these guidelines:
- Use an appropriate degree of configuration management for your
- Follow any organizational procedures regarding project management
- Develop an archive management system that is of appropriate size and complexity for your project. Pay particular attention to these issues:
- Types of documents needed and their
- Templates to facilitate document creation.
- Authors, reviewers, and approvers of
- Implement version control of documents, so you will be able to reconstruct changes and revert to an earlier version if
TOPIC F: Manage Project Changes
A great project manager is an effective manager of change, able to anticipate, respond to, and deal with the changes that will inevitably arise on any project. Throughout the life of a project, there will be changes in the project that can turn risky if not handled at the right time.
A change management plan* is a component of the project management plan that establishes the change control board, documents that extent of its authority, and describes how the change control system will be implemented.
A change management plan can answer the following questions:
- Who can propose a change?
- What exactly constitutes a change?
- What is the impact of the change on the project’s objectives?
- What steps are necessary to evaluate the change request before approving or rejecting it?
- When a change request is approved, what project documents must be amended to record the actions necessary to effect the change?
- How will these actions be monitored to confirm that they have been completed satisfactorily?
A Change Control Board (CCB)* is a formally chartered group responsible for reviewing, evaluating, approving, delaying, or rejecting changes to the project, and for recording and communicating such decisions. Normally, the CCB operates closely with the project’s sponsor, customers, and other key stakeholders.
Doing the Work – Topic G
When Risk realizes, materializes or happens it becomes an issue. Risk should have a risk response however when they become issues, they require immediate action and Workaround is the required response.
Keep in mind that risk may impact the baselines too.
Any time an issue is identified, log it into the Issue Register. This is a usual exam question.
All issues in the issue logs should be have a owner assigned to them and there resolution should be tracked. If an issue can not be resolved and if the issue has the potential to impact the objectives of the project, at this time it should be escalated to the sponsor.
Guidelines to resolving the issues:
- Any time an issue is encountered, log it into the issue log if one exists, other wise develop one.
- Train project team members to promptly report potential issues to the project manager, who will determine if they belong in the Issue
- Enter the issue into the Issue Log, and assign an owner and a due
- Monitor progress, and discuss each open issue at every project status
- Develop a response (also known as a workaround) to the
- Assess the impact of the
- Approve the
- Close the
Topic H – Ensure Knowledge Transfer for Project Continuity.
Continue to document the lesson learned into the lesson learned register through out the project lifecycle. This is key to success on any project. At the end of the project, complete and update the register and include it as part of organisational repository to use these lesson learned as preventive measures into the future projects.
Knowledge is created while the execution of the project, it is also important to keep in mind that the knowledge resides within OPA (organisational process assets) and should be leveraged for the execution of the project. Effective project management is knowledge management.
Knowledge can be Explicit which a readily available and codified. Knowledge can be Tacit too which can’t be codified or expressed. Tacit knowledge is personal knowledge that can be difficult to articulate and share such as beliefs, experience, and insights. As the project manager, you are concerned with managing both types of knowledge to take advantage of the knowledge, skills, and experiences that your project team members have gained throughout the project.
Knowledge Transfer Approach
Knowledge transfer consists of connecting individuals, in person or virtually, to share tacit knowledge and collaborate together. This can be accomplished by a number of techniques, including:
- Facilitating special interest groups.
- Meetings, seminars, and various other types of in-person and virtual events that encourage people to interact and exchange ideas and
- Training that involves interaction between
- Work shadowing and reverse shadowing provide a more individualized method to the exchange of specialized
Lesson 4 – Keeping the Team on Track
As soon as we start the work of the project, we also ensure that our team stays on track to deliver the requirements of the project.
Key to remember from PMP Exam standpoint is that one of the best ways to keep the team on track is by management by objectives.
From PMP Prep and PMP Certification Exam standpoint continue to communicate the vision to the team from beginning of the project to the end of the project.
There are 7 topics covered as part of this lesson in the PMP Prep Course.
Topic A – Lead a team
Topic B – Support Team Performance
Topic C – Address and remove impediments and roadblocks
Topic D – Manage Conflict
Topic E – Collaborate with Stakeholders
Topic F – Mentor relevant stakeholders.
Topic G – Apply emotional intelligence to promote team performance
This Chapter should be read in close sync with Creating a High Performing Team. The concepts are similar and have been covered already as part of our PMP exam Prep course in the previous session.
Topic A – Lead a team
Let’s cut to the chase here, PMI Authorized PMP exam prep is repetitive. In this section you have to pay attention to one fact.
Leadership style based on development approach – Predictive (Waterfall), Adaptive (Agile) or Hybrid.
In the PMP exam you will get tested on Servant leadership. The idea of servant leadership is shielding the team from external influences, removing impediments, facilitation, collaboration and facilitation. Letting the team be, and why not, servant leadership works well with certain teams or let’s say Agile teams that are empowered (self directing and self organizing).
Teams are made up of individuals with different skill sets, backgrounds, experiences, and attitudes. Cohesive, collaborative teams typically are more productive and effective. A project manager must cultivate the optimal project environment best suited for the team. You must help the team appreciate the project’s objectives, mission, and goals, as well as see their value in achieving those aims.
The entire idea of leading a team is to communicate the vision, support diversity and inclusion, inspiring, motivating, and influencing team member and stakeholders. Understanding stakeholders influence is the key along with distinguishing various options to lead various team members and stakeholders.
Great Leaders challenge the status quo – Just because something is the way things have always been done or the way the products were made in the past does not necessitate that is the way things are to go for this project. Challenging the status quo can open new ideas and perspectives.
Vision statement is a tool. A simple, short, vision statement is an effective tool that can inspire the project team.
Project managers must put together a rewards and recognition plan. A reward and recognition plan is a formalized way to reinforce performance or behavior. Reward and recognition plans are generally standardized throughout an organization and approved through corporate channels. The purpose is to motivate the team to perform well.
Recognition is more unexpected and a great way of increasing the sense of appreciation among the team members. Recognition is a more personalized, intangible, and experiential event that focuses on behavior rather than outcome. Recognition is not restricted to a set time, is usually unexpected by the receiver, and is intended to increase an individual’s feeling of appreciation;
Topic 2 – Support Team Performance
Supporting team performance means getting the best out of your team.
For a PM whether working on Agile or Waterfall approach (or any development approach for that matter), if the goal is to measure the performance, establish the key performance indicators to measure the performance. This is the starting point to measuring and supporting team performance.
Key performance Indicators help PM understand how the team is performing on the expected outcomes and if there are gaps, what steps must be taken to make the team members achieve higher level of efficiency.
Apart from establishing the team performance indicators or KPIs, the PM must support and recognize team growth and development, determine appropriate feedback approach and Verify team member performance improvements.
When it comes to defining useful KPIs, it’s important to remember the SMART acronym. To be valuable measurement tools, KPIs need to satisfy the SMART criteria: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Although there are varying interpretations of the SMART acronym, within the context of project management:
- Specific means the goal is appropriately focused and targeted, not overly general or vague. The target must be specific to the objective at hand; many targets that are too general could be affected by dozens of factors not associated with the
- Measurable means the change can be quantified and assessed on that basis. You must be able to measure the target; this means figuring out how to get accurate data to assess current and future performance.
- Achievable means that it is plausible and Ensure the target is a realistic one; you need to be able to achieve it within the size and scope of proposed improvement.
- Relevant ensures that the KPI is meaningfully related to its associated critical success factor(s). The target needs to be relevant in the context of the larger objectives and critical success
- Time-bound means the goal is not open-ended but can be assigned a specific target duration. The timescale used needs to assess whether the improvement has achieved the desired
Another important aspect in the team culture and empowerment which is critical to any high performing team.
In projects, the team is the most important part. Without a good unified team, the project falls apart and project management becomes insufficient. The team needs to be empowered to make decisions without burden and in a timely manner. This increases the team’s responsibility to deliver a product with complete ownership. Encourage the team to foster team collaboration and decision making. The team does not depend on heavy-handed discipline. The team must recognize the power and influence they possess.
Team Structure and Setting up the physical environment supports the whole team engagement. Co-locating all involved in a shared workspace fosters more informal and immediate collaboration and exchange of information. Even the passive information that is absorbed from the surroundings—such as ad hoc discussions, side conversations, whiteboard drawings, physical body language—have value. Being immersed in the team physically and mentally improves the team’s ability to work faster, more collaboratively, and more unified.
Osmotic communication, Caves and Commons are some key concepts that you may find on the PMP exam.
Effective teams cannot be built without the support of management and project managers primary motive should be to continuously work towards building a highly effective team, trust is one of the enablers towards building a high performing team.
The team members should work in a collaborative way to ensure project success. It is the responsibility of the project manager to build an effective project team and foster teamwork. Managers should give opportunities that challenge the team members’ abilities, provide support and timely feedback, and recognize and reward good performance. To achieve the best team performance, managers should use effective communication methods, develop trust among team members, manage conflicts, and promote collaborative decision making and problem solving.
Management by Objectives – The teams are most effective when they have objectives to meet. Any high performing team has objectives that are defined in a collaborative fashion among the team members including the project manager. There is a PMP exam questions.
Feedback is also key in getting the best out of your team. Feedback requires courage.
For instance, agile methods follow iterative and incremental development, and within each iteration, the product improves. Feedback plays a very important goal behind Minimum Viable Product is to get early feedback to enhance the acceptance and quality.
Value Stream Map
Value stream maps helps identify bottlenecks, inefficiency, redundancy in the process. These are great tools when it comes to making processes leaner and more efficient. Teams and their work must flow and be fluid. Bottlenecks, slowdowns, delays, or other forms of non-value effort creates waste and distraction. Anything not delivering or attributing to value is wasteful. Producing a Value Steam Map can call out how information and materials in the project and between team members may be diluted, clogged, or otherwise wasted of its value. The Value Stream Map presents visual representation and presents complex reality in a simplified form.
Topic C – Address and remove impediments, obstacles and blockers
Servant leadership is about addressing and removing impediments.
This topic is all about impediments and look at the picture below to understand this topic
An impediment* is an obstacle that prevents the team from achieving its objectives. The terms can be synonymous, but generally speaking:
- Impediments reference situations, conditions, and actions that slow down or hinder progress. (For example, the team not coming to a decision on a file saving )
- Obstacles reference barriers that should be able to be moved, avoided, or overcome with some effort or strategy. (For example, the construction crew is unable to arrive at the work site before permits are )
- Blockers reference events or conditions that cause stoppages in the work or any further advancement.
Impediments can lead to backlog or requirement reassessment. Keep this in mind from exam standpoint.
Impediments and obstacles may block work or planned efforts from moving forward. As a result, the product backlog, scheduled activities, and other lists of work items must be assessed in reference to the hindrances. Evaluating the impediments against the pending work forces the team and business stakeholders to assess the backlogged work in terms of value and priority. Backlog assessment and refinement can also explore alternatives to overcome or avoid the risk; or in some instances, remove the work item or blockage altogether.
One practice to assist with uncovering the impediments impacting the team in a timely manner is a Daily Standup meeting.
Also known as a Daily Scrum, the Daily Standup is a short, 15-minute meeting in which the complete team gets together for a quick status update while standing in a circle. Ideally, the standup meetings should be conducted at the start of working hours, and the presence of all team members involved in the Sprint is mandatory. During the meeting, these questions are answered:
- What has been done since the last meeting?
- What needs to be done before the next meeting?
- What does anyone need help with?
Topic D – Manage Conflicts
Conflicts are inevitable on project and project managers by providing servant leadership can help resolve conflicts. As high performing teams make their own local projects decisions, project conflicts should also be first resolved by the team among themselves. This behaviour should be encouraged.
Conflict arises in most groups and working situations. Causes of conflict include:
- Differences in objectives, values, and
- Disagreements about role requirements, work activities, and individual
Conflict management is the application of one or more strategies for dealing with disagreements that may be detrimental to team performance. Effective conflict management can lead to improved understanding, performance, and productivity. Conversely, ineffective or nonexistent conflict management can lead to destructive behavior, animosity, poor performance, and reduced productivity—all of which threaten successful completion of the project’s deliverables.
Refer to Team charter when resolving conflicts. This is a PMP exam question.
Topic E – Collaborate with Stakeholders
All projects and teams must be focused on their stakeholders. Collaboration with stakeholder is the key to any project success. Look this flow to understand some key concepts:
The open dialogue and meaningful communication optimizes the understanding of the aims, as well as the expectations of the results and what needs to be done in order to realize those expectations. Everyone’s involvement and engagement in the project may fluctuate or remain constant. That level of engagement is evaluated and reevaluated throughout the project.
Stakeholders have already been discussed as part of our initial discussion in the course. PMI authorised PMP prep is a great compilation of content but as you must have already realized, it is redundant and at times defeats the purpose and introduced complexity.
Key to success is once you already know something, move on without wasting too much time.
TOPIC F and Topic G – Mentoring Relevant Stakeholders and Appling Emotional Intelligence
Determining Relevant Stakeholders
Determining who is a relevant project stakeholder to mentor varies from project to project and possibly within a project. Information, lessons, and best practices can be shared in many situations. What is determined is who can benefit from mentoring activities relevant to the process, task, or circumstance. For instance:
- When refining the backlog, mentoring the product owner on grooming best
- When onboarding a new project team member, guiding her on the processes used by the
When a team member must purchase material for the project, showing them the procurement best practices and process for the organization
Coaching and Mentoring
Beyond simply paying it forward, coaching and mentoring others helps them become more proficient team members. More proficient team members makes for a more proficient team. Raising the abilities of the team increases their output and their value. That increased knowledge spreads throughout the organization and across the discipline. Project management is constantly growing and refining the best practices that make us all successful. Increasing the knowledge base and the skill sets of all project stakeholders sets up for more successful and effectively managed projects.
That cascading effect is a benefit to all – directly or indirectly.
An important interpersonal skill of all project managers is Emotional Intelligence (EI). EI helps you understand your emotions and those of others to help minimize conflict. The notion of EI evolved in the 1990s and is now recognized as a key set of personal and interpersonal skills. The personal side includes self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation, whereas the interpersonal side comprises social skills and empathy.
- Self-awareness measures how well you know your own emotions in a variety of
- Self-regulation defines how well you can control those
- Motivation describes your intrinsic reasons for
- Social skills address how well you build relationships and rapport with
- Empathy is how well you read and understand the emotions of
To get anything accomplished in a project, you need people. Every person is different. People act differently in different settings and times. Being able to read, interact, and sense what people are thinking, feeling, and projecting are powerful aspects of working with people. These people also must work with you. So understanding how others read you is equally important to how you read them. In this topic, you will appreciate the vast aspects that play into promoting team performance via emotional intelligence and related interpersonal skills.
Active Listening – Important – Exam questions around here
Active listening is a communication technique that involves acknowledging what you hear and clarifying the message to confirm that what you heard matches the message that the sender intended. There are different aspects to active listening that will help you communicate more effectively with your stakeholders.
- Reflecting: Most people are aware of the reflecting aspects of active listening, which includes repeating the gist of a message to clarify you understood it
- Attending: To show that you are paying attention to the speaker, you can lean slightly toward them, stay at the same eye-level, and maintain eye contact without
- Following: To demonstrate your understanding of the conversation, you can respond with a non-verbal gesture such as nodding your head, or a verbal word or phrase, such as “yes,” or “um- hmm.” You can also ask occasional open questions or provide silent pauses so the speaker can collect their thoughts.
Lesson 5: Keeping the Business in Mind
Projects are organisational response to a risk which could be a thereat or an opportunity. For any business in stay relevant, organizational strategies are developed to ensure threats are minimized and opportunities are realized. Undertaking of a project can be considered organizational risk response.
So when projects start, the focus is on the activities that will be undertaken to address the business need. Continuous alignment is with organizational strategy is a must. If the project existed in vacuum, we could start them and let them run their course. However that is not the case. From Starting of the Project to Doing the Work and finally closing the project, the environmental factors, external as well as internal factors continue to change and the role of a project manager to ensure that project remains on course to address the business need becomes even more critical.
Keeping the business in mind one of the underlying principles in project management. Great teams never take sights of the vision. The goal remains to deliver the promised benefits, keeping alignment with compliance requirements and looking for opportunities to continue to seek process improvement.
For any task in project management to deliver value, proactive planning must take place, this should be followed by executing the plan and then verifying that the execution is leading to the desired results, and finally acting on if any corrective measures are required.
Keeping the Business in Mind has five topics:
Topic A: Manage Compliance Requirements
Some of the key areas discussed in this section are legal and regulatory risks documented in the risk register. From exam standpoint, risks are documents through out the life cycle of the project and each time a risk is documented as high level response along with an owner is also documented with the risk.
Topic B: Evaluate and deliver project benefits and value
Of all the topics as part of lesson 5, topic B is the most critical.
One of the PMP exam questions revolves around the role of a PM in working with stakeholders and understanding their expectations from the benefits standpoint or the benefits they expect to realize as part of the project delivery.
Business value is an informal term that goes beyond economic value. Components of business value include:
- Shareholder value—in a publicly traded company, the part of capitalization that is equity as opposed to debt; for example, the number of outstanding shares multiplied by the current share price.
- Customer value—the value received by the customer of a product or
- Employee knowledge—an asset of the business, a frequently overlooked component of business
- Channel partner value—the value of a business’s
In the pre-project phase 2 business documents are developed or if they already exists they may require updates. These 2 business documents are Business case as well as the benefits management plan.
A benefits management plan is a document that describes how and when the benefits of a project will be derived and measured. It typically includes the following components:
- Target benefits—the expected tangible and intangible business value to be realized from the project.
- Strategic alignment—how the benefits align with the business strategies of the
- Timeframe—when the benefits (short-term and long-term) will be realized, usually by project phase.
- Benefits owner—the person or group that monitors, records, and reports the
- Metrics—the direct and indirect measurements of the realized
- Risks—the risks associated with achieving the targeted
This plan is prepared before the project is initiated, and it is referenced after the project has been completed.
PMP Exam – very important concepts
Return on Investment (ROI)
Return on Investment (ROI) is a financial metric of profitability that measures the gain or loss from an investment relative to the amount of money invested. It is sometimes called the rate of return, and is usually expressed as a percentage. A positive ROI is interpreted as a good investment, and a negative ROI is a bad investment.
Present Value (PV)
The present value (PV) is the current value of a future sum of money or stream of cash flows given a specific rate of return. Another way to think of it is the value of something today that you need to create a certain amount of money in the future at a specific interest rate.
Present Value Formula
Although you might not need to memorize how present value is calculated for the exam, seeing the formula will help you put the concept into perspective. PV is present value, FV is future value, r is interest rate, and n is number of periods.
Topic C – Evaluate and Address Internal and External Business Environment Changes
Internal Business Environment
Organizational changes can dramatically impact the scope of a project. They may change organizational structures, roles and responsibilities, workflows, and how certain aspects of the project’s deliverables still make sense in the business context. As a project progresses, the project manager and other key project stakeholders such as the project sponsor need to have visibility into business plans, reorganizations, process changes, and other internal business activities that may impact the project’s business case. These internal business changes may create the need for new deliverables, reprioritization of existing ones, or the elimination of ones that are no longer required.
External Business Environment
In the same way that potential internal business environment changes can affect the project’s value, external factors can also affect the value and desired outcomes of the project. Many best practice frameworks refer to these as PESTLE factors. It is critical that project managers are aware of PESTLE factors that can impact their project’s business case and need to be prepared to adapt accordingly.
The PESTLE factors are described in the following table.
Topic D and Topic E are Supporting Organizational Change and Continuous Improvement
These 2 topics have been discussed as part of our first day presentation.