The PMBOK Explanation
What is a “Process” of project management?
At its most basic level, a process is simply a way of transforming an input into an output using proven tools and techniques. Good processes-based on sound principles and proven practices-are extremely important for a project’s success.
Processes, like a roadmap, keep the project going in the right direction; they can also help minimize confusion and uncertainty among the project manager and the project stakeholders and can help drive progress from start to finish.
The PMBOK identifies 47 processes of project management that are instrumental to project success.
What is “Knowledge Areas”?
The Knowledge Area of PMBOK is made up of a set of processes, each with inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. These processes, together, accomplish proven project management functions and drive project success. Thus, the Knowledge Areas are formed by grouping the 47 processes of project management into specialized and focused areas. Knowledge Areas also assume specific skills and experience in order to accomplish project goals.
The PMBOK® Guide currently recognizes 10 Knowledge Areas: Project Integration Management, Project Scope Management, Project Time Management, Project Cost Management, Project Quality Management, Project Human Resource Management, Project Communications Management, Project Risk Management, Project Procurement Management, and Project Stakeholders Management
What are “Process Groups”?
The 47 processes of project management are also grouped into five categories:
1) Initiating, 2) Planning, 3) Executing, 4) Monitoring and Controlling, and 5) Closing.
These groupings reflect the logical integration and interactions between the individual processes, as well as the common purposes they serve. That is, the Process Groups band together the project management activities that are relevant to each project phase and provide a means for looking at best practices within one Knowledge Area at a time.
It’s important to remember that Process Groups are not the same as project phases-most projects are comprised of multiple subprojects or phases, and you’ll likely repeat each of the Process Group activities within each project phase or subproject.
The Process Groups describe the actions the Project Manager (and team) needs to do. They provide a logical sequence of steps within the Knowledge Area.
Important Terms and Concepts
Project: It is a temporary endeavor to create a unique product, service or result (or enhancement of existing services/products). It has a beginning and an end.
Process – a package of inputs, tools and outputs, there are 47 processes defined by PMI
Phases – a group of logically related activities, produces one or more deliverables at the end of the phase (maybe with exit gate/kill point [probably in a sequential relationship])
Phase-to-Phase relationship: sequential -> finish-to-start; overlapping -> for schedule compression (fast tracking); parallel
Operation manages process in transforming resources into output
projects have more risks and uncertainties than operations and require more planning
Program – a group of coordinated projects, taking operations into account, maybe with common goals, achieving benefits not realized by running projects individually, if only the client/technologies/resource are the same, then the projects should be managed individually instead of a program
Portfolio – group of programs/projects to achieve organizational strategic goals within the organization/operation management, all investments of the organization, maximize the value by examining the components of the portfolio and exclude non-optimal components
Projects are initiated in response to:
market demand, organizational need, customer request, technological advance, legal requirements, to support organization strategic plan.
Projects as a plan show increase in value. When implemented they result in value increase. The capital value increase of an organization is realised as cash flow through operations which are done over a number of years through periodic budgets.
Business Value is the total values (tangible and intangible) of the organization
Organization Strategy may be expressed through mission and vision
Use of portfolio/program/project management to bridge the gap between organization strategy and business value realization
Progressive Elaboration (rolling wave planning is one of the methods used in activity planning) – analysis and estimation can be more accurate and elaborated as the project goes (usually in phased projects) such that detailed planning can be made at that point
Project Management – the application of (appropriate) knowledge, skills, tools & techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements and achieve customer satisfactions
The most important task is to align stakeholder expectations with the project requirements, around 90% of the PM’s work is related to communication with stakeholders
Competing constraints: time, cost, scope, quality, risk, resources
Project Management Office (PMO) – standardizes governance, provides training, shares tools, templates, resources, etc. across all projects/programs/portfolios
3 forms: supportive, controlling and directing (lead the project as PM)
functions: training, resource coordination, methodology, document repository, project management oversight, standards, career management of PMs
may function as a stakeholder / key decision maker (e.g. to terminate the projects)
align portfolios/programs/projects with business objectives and measurement systems
control shared resources / interdependence across projects at the enterprise level
play a decisive role in project governance
Organizational Project Management (OPM)
strategy execution framework utilizing portfolios, programs and projects and organizational enabling practices (technology, culture, etc.) for achieving organizational objectives
linking management principles with strategy, advance capabilities
Management by Objectives (MBO) : is a process of defining objectives within an organization so that management and employees agree to the objectives and understand what they need to do in the organization in order to achieve them.
Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) : provides a method for organizations to understand their Organizational Project Management processes and measure their capabilities in preparation for improvement.
Project Manager (PM)
Project Manager: knowledge, performance, personal – general (organization, planning, meeting, control) management, interpersonal (communication, leadership, motivation, influence, negotiation, trust building, political and cultural awareness) skills
leader of the project irrespective of the authority
should consider every processes to determine if they are needed for individual projects
PM may report to the functional manager, program manager, PMO manager, operation manager, senior management, etc., maybe part-time or devoted
PM identifies and documents conflicts of project objectives with organization strategy as early as possible
Skills: leadership, team building, motivation, influencing, coaching, trust building, communication, political awareness, cultural awareness, decision making, conflict management, negotiation
PM must balance the constraints and tradeoffs, effectively communicate the info (including bad news) to the sponsor for informed decisions
PM need to involve project team members in the planning process
Project Team includes PM, project management staff, project staff, PMO, SME (subject matter experts can be outsourced), customer representative (with authority), sellers, business partners, etc., maybe virtual or collocated
Senior management must be consulted for changes to high-level constraints
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