PMP (project Management Professional) Exam Cram Notes : Planning

3. Planning

Product scope: Product scope is a narrative description of product. It is important to understand the difference between project scope and product scope. Product scope is the features and functions of the deliverable, and project scope is the work that must be done to create the deliverable.

Project Scope Statement includes product scope, deliverables, product acceptance criteria, constraints and assumptions, out of project scope and additional risks. Entire risk list is found in risk register.

Formal and informal Communication: Communication can be expressed in different ways, formally or informally, written or verbal. We can use informal written communication in a project while writing hand notes. A hallway talk, rumor, notes, memos are always informal communication.

The major component of a basic communication model is sender, receiver and transmission medium. It is the responsibility of the sender to choose the right medium to transmit the message

Project Life cycle: The project life cycle does incorporate a methodology - for doing the work. It is product life cycle that spawns many projects. Project management activities are described in project management process. A project life cycle maps out the steps needed to complete a project with specific targeted results unlike product life cycle. Product life cycle concept has limitations. Not every product follows a smooth, predictable bell curve from introduction to decline.

Preparing a financial plan requires both project management and industry specific skills. Although the project manager need not have the industry-specific skills, he should talk with a person with industry-specific skills in order to prepare the financial plan.

Information Distribution Tool: Information Distribution Tool ensures distribution of information according to the communication management plan developed during the planning stage. The online database is an example of an Information Distribution Tool

Manage communication: Manage communication is the process of creating, collecting and distributing the project information in accordance to the communication management plan. The communication management plan and work performance report is the input for this process.

Sponsor: A sponsor is the person or group that provides the financial resources, in cash or in kind, for the project. The customer/users are the persons or organizations that will use the project's product or service or result.

Matrix organization: In a matrix organization, the project manager shares responsibility with the functional manager for assigning priorities and for directing the work of persons assigned to the project. While the balanced matrix organization recognizes the need for a project manager, it does not provide him with the full authority over the project, human resources, and funds.

A project manager is in charge of all aspects of the project including, but not limited to: developing the project management plan and all related component plans, keeping the project on track in terms of schedule and budget, identifying, monitoring, and responding to risk, and providing accurate and timely reporting of project metrics. The Program Manager generally has the responsibility to ensure integrity of project team members.

Classic functional organization: A classic functional organization is a hierarchy where each employee has one clear superior. Staff members are grouped by specialty, such as production, marketing, engineering, and accounting at the top level. Resources must be planned and coordinated in order to avoid common problem such as lack of resources and resources being taken out from project.

Governmental or industry: This standards is an enterprise environmental factor that can influence the develop project management plan process.

Integrated changed control process: Integrated changed control process allows documented changes within the project to be considered in an integrated fashion. Perform integrated change control process collect and document lesson learned and implement approved process improvement activities.

Plan Communication: The Plan Communication process involves identifying communication requirements, including the identification of any communication preferences.

Question: The CEO of Vessel telecom is concerned about the increase in "call answering time" in the call center. The customers have to wait longer for their calls to be answered by an operator. He wants to improve call center processes to decrease the "call answering time." What should the CEO do to overcome the situation?

Answer: This is an operation and not a project. In this context, the CEO should not try to handle this issue as a project and do none of the activities mentioned. Since this is an operation, the best course of action for the CEO to address this situation is to continue with a functional organizational structure and try to streamline activities.

Question: A newly appointed project manager is working for a software project in a matrix organization. The sponsors seem to be very gloomy after the status meeting and wandering the future of the project outcome. The project manager lost his control of the project and unofficial changes in product scope will cause the project to get behind schedule and to overrun its budget. What is the main reason for the project to fall behind?

Answer: The most important aspect of the question is to take consideration of the impact of control scope on schedule, cost, quality, resources, risk, etc. on any such potential changes to scope. Also important is to ensure that the underlying causes of scope change requests are fully understood and managed, and while doing so to prevent any unnecessary change requests for proceeding further.

Process groups: The process groups are seldom either discrete or one-time events; they are overlapping activities that occur throughout the project. The output of one process generally becomes the input of another process or is a deliverable.

Plan quality and Perform quality control: It is occurring during the execution of the project, determining what standards to use is part of quality planning. Teams are falling back into planning. In planning, we determine what quality standards are applicable to the project and how to implement and control them.

Flow charts: Flow charts which are also known as process maps indicates the sequence of steps and the branching possibilities that converge multiple input in one output or diverge one input into multiple output.

Stakeholder: A stakeholder is anyone who is affected by the cost, time, or scope of your project. But you don't need to consider the needs of your company's competitors. The best definition of stakeholder is the people who can impact/be impacted positively or negatively does not matter about his or their influence or impact at the project.

Characteristics of stakeholder: High interest, high influence and support of the project are characteristics of stakeholder.

Important points on stakeholder:

  • Manage stakeholder engagement is the process to working and communicating with stakeholder to meet their expectation. This also ensures sufficient support and minimizes resistance from stakeholder.
  • Plan stakeholder management identifies how the project will affect stakeholders and help the project manager to effectively manage their expectations. All other choices are performed in manage stakeholder process.
  • Project stakeholders, their interests, needs, expectations and engagement levels may change as projects progress. This is the project manager's responsibility to regularly review the stakeholder management plan. The frequency of the review should be decided by the project manager if that has not been imposed by the management or sponsor.
  • Neutral, Resistant, Leading, Supportive, Unaware are the classification of Stakeholder engagement level.
  • Control Stakeholder Engagement can increase the efficiency of stakeholder engagement.
  • The union is a project stakeholder and their interests may be affected by execution or completion of project. Stakeholder register from previous project is considered as an organizational process assets.
  • Stakeholder influences, risk, and uncertainty are greatest at the start of the project. These factors decrease over the life of the project. The cost of changes and correcting errors typically increase substantially as the project approaches completion.
  • Proper project manager require identifying all stakeholder; determining their requirements, expectation and influence; and incorporate them into project scope. If stakeholders are not identified earlier they will most likely to be founded later. They can make changes and cause delay if founded later.
  • Project stakeholders are comprised of persons and organization that can influence the project and its outcome. It is critical for project success to identify the stakeholder early. Identify stakeholder process is part of initiating a project along with the develop project charter process.
  • Managing stakeholder engagement benefits to raise the chance of project success by ensuring that stakeholder clearly understand the project goals, objectives, benefits and risks. To achieve these, the project manager needs to use his interpersonal and management skills along with communication method efficiently. Inspire people to support the project is a great management skill helps project manager to gather knowledge of project goals, objectives, benefits and risks.
  • Organizational behavior can be modified to accept the project outcome but frequently change of organizational behavior may have negative impact
  • It would be an ideal situation for any project if all of the stakeholders are supportive of the project, even though practical situation is much more different than that.
  • Stakeholder management plan can desired and current engagement level of stakeholders. But only issue is that it doesn't include the entire stakeholder. It provides information about key stakeholders. The only correct answer is plan stakeholder management process can be formal or informal, highly details or broadly framed based on the need of the project.
  • Project managers must actively communicate and work with stakeholders to meet their needs and address their issues as they occur. He must not escalate these issues to the sponsor without talking to the stakeholders first. Asking the stakeholders to withdraw their issues is not recommended. Ignoring the stakeholder request can be a potential cause of project failure.
  • Mange stakeholder engagement is the process of communicating and working with stakeholder to meet their expectation, addresses issues as they occur and foster appropriate stakeholder engagement in the project activity.
  • Change request in relation with manage stakeholder engagement includes corrective or preventive actions to the project or to the interaction with the impacted stakeholders.
  • Salience model describes the classes of stakeholders based on their power, urgency and legitimacy.
  • The manage communication process goes beyond the distribution of relevant information and seeks to ensure that the information is being communicated to project stakeholders has been appropriately generated as well as received and understood.
  • All the work the project manager mentioned is related to initiation phase. The very last work at initiation phase is to develop stakeholder management strategy under identify stakeholder management process. The first work of planning is to determine how to do planning and finalize requirements as a part of collect requirements management process.
  • Cross functional ideas are resolved quickly in facilitate workshop. Here stakeholders come together in a facilitated workshop to discuss and define requirements that affect more than one department.

Stakeholder register: The stakeholder register is an output of the Identify Stakeholders process. It documents all of the identified project stakeholders and related information. The register will provide the necessary information required to plan stakeholder management process. After project charter is approved, project manager should focus on identifying stakeholder.

Stakeholder register often contains sensitive information and therefore may only be used by the project manager. The process uses stakeholder analysis for systemically gathering and analyzing quantitative and qualitative information to determine whose interest should be taken into account throughout the project.

Project Management Information system: The project management information system is an environmental factor. It is an automated system, is used by the project management team and provides access to tools such as scheduling tool, work authorization system, information collection and distribution system.Developing team reward in a culture that encourages individualism is fruitless.

WBS: A work breakdown structure (WBS), is a deliverable oriented decomposition of a project into smaller components. It defines and groups a project's discrete work elements in a way that helps organize and define the total work scope of the project. WBS doesn't shows dependencies betweenactivities.

The WBS list is generally created by one person in the team taking help of stakeholders. The project manager can do that but he is not the appropriate person for this purpose.

When we plan for quality, it will improve quality of work also ensures reduced expenses. The statement actually defines the explanation of why quality is planned in rather than inspected in.

If team introduces a defect into a product while it's being assembled, then they have to go back and fix it. But if there's a flaw in the design, then they have to halt production and go back and figure out all the things that flaw affected.

Estimates can be decreased by reducing or eliminating negative risks of the project as we decrease estimates by reducing or eliminating negative risks where necessary. Again, estimate cost process can indicate the range of possible cost though many project managers don't realize that. Estimates should be based on WBS to improve accuracy level.

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