Project Management Method eBook

Introduction

Managing projects can be a very rewarding profession. Project managers shape the world we live in and you get to meet a lot of people working as a project manager. However to be successful you have to be well prepared.

Most project managers  prepare themselves by getting certified or getting a master’s degree in project management. The next step is to use your knowledge to become a successful project manager.

Problem

Over the years I have noticed that many starting project managers are having problems “translating” their class room knowledge into real life project management.

Solution

To solve this problem I am writing an eBook which describes an easy to follow, stepwise project management method. This method is based on the project life cycle as discussed in PMI’s PMBOK® paragraph 2.4. I have noticed that the project life cycle is easy to follow and apply by starting project managers. I have been using and  teaching this method since 2005.

This eBook should be published shortly and will be available in my eStore.

 

Related Posts:

Which Certification is Best???

Scope Control Best Practices Part 6 of 6

Part 6 of 6: Wrap Up

In this last part of this series on scope control best practices, we will review the major points to remember.

Scope Control and Scope Creep

Scope control is defined as:

“The process of monitoring the status of the project scope and managing changes to the scope baseline”

and scope creep as:

“The uncontrolled expansion to project scope without adjustments to time, costs and resources”

So scope changes are OK, as long as they are managed. Scope creep however is a no no for us.

Scope Control and Scope Creep
Scope Control and Scope Creep

 

Control Scope Throughout All Project Phases

For scope control to be effective, it must be applied throughout all phases of a project. Scope control starts in the initiation phase and should be applied all the way to the closing phase of a project.

Have a Change Request Procedure in Place

During a project you will receive many change requests. Since any approved change request will usually effect your schedule and budget, it should be properly documented. A change request form should be used to properly and consistently document all change requests. A change request form should contain the following items:

  • CHANGE REQUEST N0.
  • CHANGE REQUEST DESCRIPTION
  • REQUESTED BY
  • EFFECT ON DOCUMENT(S)
  • EFFECT ON COMPLETION DATE
  • COST CONSEQUENCES
  • REQUESTOR’S SIGNATURE
  • PROJECT MANAGER’S SIGNATURE
  • DATE APPROVED

 Process Change Request ASAP

Change requests should be documented as soon as possible. Do this to avoid time and costs consequence surprises at the end of the project.

Document the Change Request Procedure in Your Contracts

The change request procedure should be an article in your contract stating that change requests should be requested making use of the included change request form and approved before the work is initiated.

Related Posts

Part 1 of 6

Part 2 of 6

Part  3 of 6

Part 4 of 6

Part 5 of 6

Project Management Processes

PMBOK 5th ed is Out

Determining Your Project Budget

Assertiveness in Project Management

Scope Control Best Practices Part 5 of 6

Part 5: Scope Control in the Closing Phase

The closing phase of your project is when you turn over  your project to the customer and close all contracts and generate your final documentation of your project.

Scope Control in the Closing Phase???

you may ask yourself if still have to do scope control in the closing phase of your project. The answer is yes.

Change Requests From Your Customer

your customer may have some change requests at turn over.  Do not get upset. Evaluate the requests just as you have done before and and make a decision on them: if the change request is valid, accept it and process it. If the change request is not valid, explain why and move on. Here is where assertiveness comes in a again. See related posts below.

Change Requests From Your Contractor

At the end of your project, a contractor may show up with a list of items they claim are extra works. The way to go about this is to judge the claims with integrity and honor the claim if indeed you have overlooked something. It is a best practice to document in the contract that change requests should be approved  before  the work is done, not after.  This is why you should always use Change Request Forms to document all change requests before the end of your project. See the related post where change request are discussed (Part 4 of 6) below.

 

In the next part of this series, we will wrap-up this series.

 

 

 

Related Posts

Part 1 of 6

Part 2 of 6

Part  3 of 6

Part 4 of 6

Project Management Quick Start

Project Management Processes

PMBOK 5th ed is Out

Determining Your Project Budget

Assertiveness in Project Management

Developing Assertiveness

 

Scope Control Best Practices Part 4 of 6

 Part 4: Scope Control in the Execution Phase

The execution phase of your project is when you start to produce the tangible deliverables of your project.

Assertiveness in Project Management

Many change requests are made during the execution phase of your project. Remember that Scope Control is the management of changes made to your project scope baseline. See part 1 0f 6 of this series. Managing of your scope baseline starts with judging if the change request is justified or not. Here is where assertiveness comes in. Assertiveness is saying no when you have to. See related posts below.

Change requests can come from any stakeholder. If the request is not beneficial to the project or sponsor, then you as project manager should explain why it is not. Many change requests come from contractors or other suppliers. If it is not justified, you should explain why.

  “Not Wrong is Good”

Sometimes a change request is a very good idea and may fall within the project budget, but there is not enough time to do it. In such case I apply what I call “not-wrong-is-good”: If what we have will work, then consider it good and do not change it.

The Reality of Changes

Reality has taught us that sometimes changes are needed. If a change request is justified, then you have to accept it and process it. Scope control is NOT denying change requests that are justified. Scope control is about properly managing and documenting the change request. See part 1 of 6 of this series.

A justified change request is easily managed by using a change request form

 Change Request Form

If the change request will improve the product or service you are creating and falls within your budget, then it can be accepted. Since any approved change request will usually effect your schedule and budget, it should be properly documented. A change request form should be used to properly and consistently document all change requests. A change request form should contain the following items:

  • CHANGE REQUEST N0.
  • CHANGE REQUEST DESCRIPTION
  • REQUESTED BY
  • EFFECT ON DOCUMENT(S)
  • EFFECT ON COMPLETION DATE
  • COST CONSEQUENCES
  • REQUESTOR’S SIGNATURE
  • PROJECT MANAGER’S SIGNATURE
  • DATE APPROVED

 

In the next post in this series, we will discuss scope control in the closing phase of a project. Yes, even in the closing phase stakeholders will come up change requests.

Related Posts

Part 1 of 6

Part 2 of 6

Part  3 of 6

Project Management Quick Start

Project Management Processes

PMBOK 5th ed is Out

Determining Your Project Budget

Assertiveness in Project Management

Developing Assertiveness

Scope Control Best Practices Part 3 of 6

 

Part 3: Scope Control in the Planning Phase

During the Planning Phase of your project, you prepare your Project Plan. See  related post on project management processes below.

Simulate Your Project

Once your Project Plan is approved, you are committed to it. So you want to make sure that you have thought of everything when preparing your scope for your Project Plan. Remember that your scope is the basis for your WBS, Schedule and Budget.

From Project Scope to Project Budget
From Project  to Project Budget

 

A good way of making sure you have thought of everything is to do a mental simulation of your project: mentally walk through the execution of your project and write down everything that could have an effect on your schedule and budget. Doing this mental simulation will certainly help you improve your project scope.

Historical Data

Another good way of improving your scope is to use historical data if whenever available: consult with people who have worked on similar projects and read lessons learned documents from related projects. Historical Data is often used for helping you make cost estimates, but it can also be used to help you with your scope.

Create WBS

Once you are comfortable with your scope, create your Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). This will facilitate discussing your scope with your customer in the next step.

Verify Scope

Verifying your scope with your customer serves two purposes: first it helps you improve your scope and it also involves  the customer, which is very important for the success of your project.

Once you have done all of the above (see also part 1 and 2) you should be comfortable to start scheduling and budgeting your project. Then document everything in your Project Plan and have it approved.

In the next post we will discuss Scope Control in the Execution Phase of your projects.

 

 Related Posts

Part 1 of 6

Part 2 of 6

Project Management Processes

PMBOK 5th ed is Out

Determining Your Project Budget

Scope Control Best Practices Part 2 of 6

Part 2: Scope Control in the Initiation Phase

During the initiation phase of a project, you identify your stakeholders and issue your project charter. See  related post on project management processes below.

The idea is to involve ALL stakeholders in this phase of the project when you start defining your scope. This will give you a better control over your scope further down the road.

Stakeholders

There are internal stakeholders (within the performing organization) and external stakeholders.  We are accustomed to working with internal stakeholders, but external stakeholders can show up out of the blue and give you a lot of headaches.

stakeholders to think of are (not limited to):

  • Sponsors
  • Customers (both end-users and others)
  • Related government agencies (external)
  • Environmental groups (external)

Another best practice in this phase of the project is to talk to project managers of related projects and consider their lessons learned.

 The idea is to involve ALL stakeholders in the beginning of your project

There is a Dutch saying that goes: A good beginning is half the work.

In the other parts of this series on scope control we will take care of the “other half of the work”

 

Related Posts:

Part 1 of 6

Project Management Quick Start

Project Management Processes

PMBOK 5th ed is Out

 

 

 

Scope Control Best Practices Part 1 of 6

Part 1: Introduction

Case Study Request

Late last year I received a request to do a case study on scope control.

Request Honored

Scope Control or rather the lack of scope control is a problem we often run into, so I gathered my scope control best practices and documented them in this series of Scope Control Best Practices.

Why Best Practices Instead of a Case Study

Case studies pertain to a certain project. So with a case study on scope control we will only discuss the scope control issues that presented themselves in that particular project.

A best practices approach allows me to present all of the best practices that can be used on any project.

Interested?

If you are interested in this series of best practices, please SIGN UP on this blog (to the right, if you have not already done so)  to receive all the blog posts of this series delivered to your inbox.

 

Ok, let’s get started.

Scope Control Throughout All Phases of a Project

For scope control to be effective, it must be applied throughout all phases of a project. Scope control starts in the initiation phase and should be applied all the way to the closing phase of a project. Yes, even in the closing phase of a project. In this series we will discuss scope  control in each one of the project phases.

Scope Control and Scope Creep

PMI’s PMBOK defines scope control as:

“The process of monitoring the status of the project scope and managing changes to the scope baseline”

and scope creep as:

 “The uncontrolled expansion to project scope without adjustments to time, costs and resources”

So scope changes are OK, as long as they are managed. Scope creep however is a no no for us.

In the next part of this series, we will discuss scope control in the initiation phase of a project.

Related Posts:

The Project Life Cycle

Project Management Quick Start

 

 

PMBOK 5th ed is Out

PMI PMBOK  5th has been released earlier this month.

Introduction

PMI’s stands for Project Management Institute  and PMBOK stands for “a guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge”.

The PMBOK describes project management processes that are generally accepted as good practice.

The objective of this blog post is not to present an in-depth discussion of all the changes and enhancement of the 5th edition but to look at the overall changes and emphasize the importance of planning in project management.

Overall Changes

The major changes in the 5th edition are :

  1. The number of project management  processes have been increased from forty two to forty seven
  2. A new project management knowledge area has been added (Project Stakeholder Management)
  3. Some process names have been changed

The five added processes are:

  1. Plan Scope Management
  2. Plan Schedule Management
  3. Plan Cost Management
  4. Plan Stakeholder Management
  5. Control Stakeholder Engagement

The Importance of Planning

The forty seven processes are divided over the following process groups

Project Management Process Groups
Project Management Process Groups

The amount of processes per process group is as shown in the following graph

Processes per Process Group
Processes per Process Group PMBOK 5th Edition

As you can see, the planning process group has the most processes. This reflects the importance of planning in project management.

Four of the five processes that have been added in the 5th edition are in the planning group. This also re-emphasizes that planning remains important in project management.

The PMBOK 4th edition had twenty processes in the planning group as shown in the graph below:

Processes per Group PMBok 4th Edition
Processes per Group PMBOK 4th Edition

Carpenter’s Rule

I have translated the importance of project planning into what i call the “carpenter’s rule” for project management:

PLAN TWICE, EXECUTE ONCE

My father was a carpenter, he taught me to “measure twice and cut once”

Application of the PMBOK 5th ed.

From now on I will be using the new processes and process names on my blog and eBooks.

 Related Posts

project management processes case study  (PDF Download)

Project Management Process Groups

2013: What to Expect

Happy New Year

I sincerely wish all of you and your loved ones love, peace, joy and health for 2013. May you find direction in this changing world that we live in. . “Change is the only constant in the world we live in“.

 Lasting Relationships

During the past year I had the opportunity to work with many aspiring project managers/consultants. Many of these contacts resulted in lasting relationships, something I really cherish in my work. I am looking forward to building more lasting relationships in 2013.

Focus for 2013

Based on the feedback I received from many of you I formulated my Vision and Mission as follows:

My vision is to use my 33+ years of  experience in project management to help aspiring project managers and consultants to achieve their goals for 2013.

My mission is to achieve this by providing:

  • On site training
  • Online consulting to project managers in all areas of project management
  • eBooks on project management
  • Free support as a follow up on all training, consulting and eBooks.

  Training

I have received several requests for training for 2013. I am busy finalizing an eBook that will be used in all trainings.This eBook is based the project management seminars I have given and on feedback I have received from many of you. Some more information on training

Consulting

The training I provide is general/fundamental. Consulting is a follow up on the training with the objective of tailor making a Project Management Manual for your specific business.  More information

eBooks

The eBooks I write are based on questions I receive from aspiring project managers/consultants. The idea is that the eBooks are for you and by you. All my eBooks are reviewed/commented by my readers.

I hope to add a few more Ebooks to my eStore in 2013.

Support

I will continue to offer support as follow-up on all my training, consulting and eBooks. Support is great enhancement to the value of the eBooks and services I offer. Have a question?

There is a price for the eBooks and services, but the support is free.

Case Studies

Case studies are a great way to close the gap between theory and practice. Last year we ran a case study on project management processes. You can download the complete case study here project management processes case study

My target is to run at least two case studies during 2013.

Finding a Job

Finding a job as a project manager remains to be challenge for many. Getting the often required experience creates a chicken or the egg situation: you need experience to get the job, while you need the job to get experience. The approach I usually take in helping people find a job as a project manager, is to scrape up the little experience they have managing little projects and package it as good as possible and include that in your resume. Eventually all do find a job. I offer a resume rewrite service for a nominal fee of USD 42.50. Read the testimonials on this page. Contact me at victor@victorhuntconsulting.com to rewrite your resume or profile.  .

Students

Many students contact me to review their thesis. This is a spin-off I never anticipated. However, I enjoy helping students and I have to say that some of them have some very interesting case studies in their thesis.

 

Related Information

About Victor Hunt Consulting

Project Management Training

Project Management Consulting

eBooks

Support

Project Management Processes Case Study (PDF download)

Finding a Job as a Project Manager

 

Thank You for 2012

I want to say thank you to all who supported this blog during 2012. Your comments have been very valuable to me. They give me insight in the questions and the areas of interests you have.

Your requests have resulted in me posting case studies on this blog. Case studies have proven themselves to be very good in closing the gap between theory and practice.

It was a pleasure working with all of you.

Thank you once again!

I wish you and your loved ones safe and joyful holidays.

 

Upcoming Case Study: Scope Control

Case Study Request

A few weeks ago I received a request to do a case study on scope control.

Upcoming Case Study

Scope Control or rather the lack of scope control is a problem we often run into, so I think it is a good idea to present this case study.

I will gather general scope control best practices and present them here as a case study.

I will prepare the case study during the month of December and start posting it during the month of January 2013.

Budgeting Practices Part 2

Here is another example of bad budgeting practices we should avoid.

Bad Budgeting Practices

Sometimes funds are made available to an organization to do a certain project. Let's say the organization receives 10 million dollars to build 300 family homes. The organization then sets out to do the project, however without having determined the project budget. When asked what the project budget is, the answer is: 10 million dollars. Hmmm.

There were funds available, but the amount of money needed to build the 300 homes (the project budget) was not separately determined. Imagine building 300 homes without a budget.

We often confuse project funding/financing with the project budget. They are NOT the same.

Good Budgeting Practices

In project management  when we use the term budget, we mean the project budget, the amount of money needed to realize the project based on the scope.

 

The project budget is based on the project scope and should be determined independent of the funds available.

In our example the budget should be determined based on building the 300 homes. If the budget is less than 10 million dollars, then we are ok. If not, then we either have to adjust the scope or look for additional funding. Sometimes we will have to do both

AVAILABLE FUNDS ARE NOT THE SAME AS THE PROJECT BUDGET

 

 

 References:

Determining Your Project Budget

Budgeting Practices Part  1

Budgeting Practices Part 1

While discussing project budgets, I often run into bad budgeting practices. Here is one I would like to bring to your attention.

Bad Budgeting Practices

In order to determine the project budget, a quotation was asked from the supplier that was to deliver the required services. This quotation was then used as the project budget.

This is a bad budgeting practice, because one of the purposes of a budget is to verify that the quotation(s) received are reasonable or not. This means that you cannot use a quotation as a budget.

Good Budgeting Practices

It should be obvious that a budget should be as independent as possible. When determining your budget, you should use several independent sources for your cost information. This will give you a feeling for the current market situation.

Also keep in mind that your budget is based on a certain scope. If the scope is not clear to the suppliers, you will not be able to compare the quotation(s) with your budget.

Budgeting should always be done independent from suppliers.

 

References:

Determining Your Project Budget

Selling Project Management: updated eBook

Based on several discussions in the social media, I know that some of you are struggling with convincing people about the value of project management.

For that reason I wrote an ebook on how to quantify the economic incentives of project management.
The title of the book is Selling Project Management.

This step by step ebook will show you how to quantify the value of both IT and construction type projects. It will also show you how to set up your presentation to convince people of the value of project management.

The updated, second edition is now available at Selling Project Management

 

References:

The Value of Project Management

Quantifying the Value of Project Management