Passing the #PMP Exam: Inputs and Outputs—Time Knowledge Area (part 1)



1. Introduction

In this next series of posts on memorizing the processes, we move on to the final step 6, which is memorizing the INPUTS & OUTPUTS associated with each of the 42 processes. In order to breakdown the memorization into more bite-size chunks, I am going to break down this topic into at least 9 posts, one for each knowledge area. (There may be some knowledge areas that require more than one post.)

 This post covers chapter 6 of the PMBOK® Guide, which covers the Time Knowledge Area. This knowledge area contains 6 processes, five of which are in the Planning Process group, and the last of which is in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

 (I am splitting the discussion of the Inputs & Outputs into two different posts; this post will cover Processes 6.1 through 6.3.)

2. Review of processes in Time Knowledge Area

As a review, here is a chart which gives a summary of the processes themselves, plus the tools & techniques used as part of that process.

Process
Number & Name
Process Description Tools & Techniques
6.1 Define Activities Identifying actions to be performed to produce product deliverables. 1. Decomposition

2. Rolling wave planning

3. Templates

4. Expert judgment

 

6.2 Sequence Activities Identifying and documenting relationships among the project activities. 1. Precedence diagramming method (PDM)

2. Dependencey determination

3. Applying leads and lags

4. Schedule network templates

 

6.3 Estimate Activity Resources Estimating type and quantities of resources (human and material) required to perform each activity. 1. Expert judgment

2. Alternatives analysis

3. Published estimating data

4. Bottom-up estimating

5. Project management software

 

6.4 Estimate Activity Durations Approximating the number of work periods needed to complete individual activities with estimated resources. 1. Expert judgment

2. Analogous estimating

3. Parametric estimating

4. Three-point estimates

5. Reserve analysis

 

6.5 Develop Schedule Analyzing activity sequences, durations, resources requirements, and schedule constraints to create product schedule. 1. Schedule network analysis

2. Critical path method

3. Critical chain method

4. Resource leveling

5. What-if scenario analysis

6. Applying leads and lags

7. Schedule compression

8. Scheduling tool

 

6.6 Control Schedule Monitoring the status of the project to update project progress and manage changes to schedule baseline. 1. Performance reviews

2. Variance analysis

3. Project management software

4. Resource leveling

5. What-if scenario analysis

6. Adjusting leads and lags

7. Schedule compression

8. Scheduling tool

3. Definition of inputs, outputs

The inputs for a given process are the documents or results of other processes that are used in order to do the process. The results of going through the process are the outputs. These outputs are then used as inputs for some other process.

4. Generic inputs

Before we start, there are two “generic” inputs that are used in many, many processes. The term “generic” inputs is not to be found in the PMBOK® guide; that’s just my term I made up in our study group to clue people in to the fact that they are included as an input in more processes than you could probably name off the top of your head.

A. ENVIRONMENTAL ENTERPRISE FACTORS (EEF)

This is the “company culture”, or factors that are external to the project but which influence the project’s success. These can include the company databases and, in particular, the project management software used by the company.

B. OPERATIONAL PROCESS ASSETS (OPA)

Written procedures, policies, and guidelines that are used by the company to guide all operations, including projects. Lessons learned would be an important part of OPA.

Think of the operational process assets as the “hard copy” (written procedures), and the environmental enterprise factors as the “soft copy” (software and the company culture or “unwritten rules” that govern how work is done).

NOTE: Tools & Techniques will be listed for the purpose of completeness and for reference, but their detailed description will be omitted, because it is contained in the blog posts specifically covering Tools & Techniques for that knowledge area.

6.1 DEFINE ACTIVITIES

INPUTS

6.1.1 Scope Baseline

The scope baseline contains the scope statement, WBS, and WBS dictionary. The project deliverables, constraints, and assumptions from the scope statement are considered while defining activities. The contains of the work packages in the WBS are broken down into activities.

6.1.2 Enterprise environmental factors

The project management information system.

6.1.3 Organizational process assets

Policies and procedures related to planning, templates for activities lists from previous projects.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

6.1.1 Decomposition

6.1.2 Rolling wave planning

6.1.3 Templates

6.1.4 Expert judgment

OUTPUTS

6.1.1 Activity list

It is obvious that the output of the Define Activities process would be an activity list.

6.1.2 Activity attributes

In parallel to the WBS dictionary, the activity attributes gives information about the activities in the activity list, such as the resources they would require, who is responsible for doing them, etc.

6.1.3 Milestone list

This identifies all milestones, whether they are required by contract, or optional based on the organization’s desire to take opportunities to gauge the progress of the project.

6.2 SEQUENCE ACTIVITIES

INPUTS

6.2.1 Activity List

This is the output from the 5.1 Define Activities process. It is used as the input for this process Sequencing Activities.

6.2.2 Activity attributes

This is an output of the 5.1 Define Activities process. Some of the activity attributes may include which activities are its predecessors and successors; this information is valuable for constructing the sequence of activities.

6.2.3 Milestone list

This is an output of the 5.1 Define Activities process. This contains dates for scheduled milestones, which will be included in the activity sequence.

6.2.4 Project scope statement

This contains product characteristics which may affect the sequencing of activities.

6.2.5 Operational Process Assets

Scheduling methodology from previous project files.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

6.2.1 Precedence diagramming method (PDM)

6.2.2 Dependency determination

6.2.3 Applying leads and lags

6.2.4 Schedule network templates

OUTPUTS

6.2.1 Project schedule network diagrams

This shows the activities as nodes in a diagram which connects them according to the logical relationships or dependencies between them.

6.2.2 Project document updates

The activity lists, attributes, and the risk register may need to be updated.

6.3 ESTIMATE ACTIVITY RESOURCES

INPUTS

6.3.1 Activity List

This is an output from 6.1 Define Activities. It contains the activities to which resources need to be applied.

6.3.2 Activity attributes

This is an output from 6.1 Define Activities. It gives information about the activities that can be used in estimating the resources required for them.

6.3.3 Resource calendars

This shows what resources are available for each time period of the planned activities for the project.

6.3.4 Enterprise Environmental Factors

Information on resource availability.

6.3.5 Organizational Process Assets

Historic information on resources used on similar projects.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

6.3.1 Expert judgment

6.3.2 Alternatives analysis

6.3.3 Published estimating data

6.3.4 Bottom-up estimating

6.3.5 Project management software

OUTPUTS

6.3.1 Activity resource requirements

This gives the types and quantities of resources required for each work package.

6.3.2 Resource breakdown structure

Hierarchical structure of identified resources by category (labor, material, equipment, and supplies) and type (skill level, grade level).

6.3.3 Project document updates

The activity list, attributes, and the resource calendars may be updated.

The next post will cover the inputs and outputs of processes 6.4 through 6.6.

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Passing the #PMP Exam: Inputs and Outputs—Scope Knowledge Area



 1. Introduction

In this next series of posts on memorizing the processes, we move on to the final step 6, which is memorizing the INPUTS & OUTPUTS associated with each of the 42 processes. In order to breakdown the memorization into more bite-size chunks, I am going to break down this topic into at least 9 posts, one for each knowledge area. (There may be some knowledge areas that require more than one post.)

This post covers chapter 5 of the PMBOK® Guide, which covers the Scope Knowledge Area. This knowledge area contains 5 processes, three of which are in the Planning Process group, and two of which are in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

2. Review of processes in Integration Knowledge Area

As a review, here is a chart which gives a summary of the processes themselves, plus the tools & techniques used as part of that process.

Process
Number & Name
Process Description Tools & Techniques
5.1 Collect Requirements Defining and documenting stakeholders’ needs to meet the project objectives. 1. Interviews

2. Focus groups

3. Facilitated workshops

4. Group creativity techniques

5. Group decision making techniques

6. Questionnaires and surveys

7. Observations

8. Surveys

 

5.2 Define Scope Developing a detailed description of the project and product. 1. Expert judgment

2. Product analysis

3. Alternatives identification

4. Facilitated workshops

 

5.3 Create WBS Subdivides project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components.

 

1. Decomposition
5.4 Verify Scope Formalizing acceptance of the project deliverables with the customer.

 

1. Inspection
5.5 Control Scope Monitoring status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline. 1. Variance analysis

3. Definition of inputs, outputs

The inputs for a given process are the documents or results of other processes that are used in order to do the process. The results of going through the process are the outputs. These outputs are then used as inputs for some other process.

4. Generic inputs

Before we start, there are two “generic” inputs that are used in many, many processes. The term “generic” inputs is not to be found in the PMBOK® guide; that’s just my term I made up in our study group to clue people in to the fact that they are included as an input in more processes than you could probably name off the top of your head.

A. ENVIRONMENTAL ENTERPRISE FACTORS (EEF)

This is the “company culture”, or factors that are external to the project but which influence the project’s success. These can include the company databases and, in particular, the project management software used by the company.

B. OPERATIONAL PROCESS ASSETS (OPA)

Written procedures, policies, and guidelines that are used by the company to guide all operations, including projects. Lessons learned would be an important part of OPA.

Think of the operational process assets as the “hard copy” (written procedures), and the environmental enterprise factors as the “soft copy” (software and the company culture or “unwritten rules” that govern how work is done).

NOTE: Tools & Techniques will be listed for the purpose of completeness and for reference, but their detailed description will be omitted, because it is contained in the blog posts specifically covering Tools & Techniques for that knowledge area.

5.1 COLLECT REQUIREMENTS

.

In the process Collect Requirements, you define and document stakeholders’ needs to meet the project objectives, and you define and manage customer expectations.

INPUTS

5.1.1 Project charter

The process is done by analyzing the information contained in the project charter, which contains high-level project requirements and a product description. From these detailed product requirements will be developed.

5.1.2 Stakeholder register

The process is done by analyzing the information contained in the stakeholder register. From the stakeholder register, those stakeholders can be identified who might have pertinent information on detailed project and product requirements.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

5.1.1 Interviews

5.1.2 Focus groups

5.1.3 Facilitated Workshops

5.1.4 Group creativity techniques

5.1.5 Group decision making techniques

5.1.6 Questionnaires and surveys

5.1.7 Observations

5.1.8 Surveys

OUTPUTS

5.1.1 Requirements documentation

The whole purpose of this process is to take high-level requirements and make them more detailed.

The requirements document describes how individual requirements meet the business need for the project. The document lists all the requirements categorized by stakeholder and priority.

5.1.2 Requirements management plan

This plan documents how the requirements will be analyzed, documented, and managed throughout the project.

5.1.3 Requirements traceability matrix

This matrix lists the requirements to their origin (i.e., from which stakeholder) and traces them throughout the project life cycle to see if they have been met. It also can link the requirements to the business and project objevtives. Fnally, it can provide a structure for managing changes to the product scope.

5.2 DEFINE SCOPE

The Define Scope develops a detailed description of the project and product and prepares a project scope statement.

INPUTS

5.2.1 Project charter

This contains the high-level project description and product characteristics, as well as the project approval requirements. This is an output of the 4.1 Develop Project Charter process.

5.2.2 Requirements Documentation

This is the output of the 5.1 Collect Requirements process.

5.2.3 Organizational Process Assets

Templates for a project scope statement can be used and altered for this particular project.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

5.2.1 Expert judgment

5.2.2 Product analysi

5.2.3 Alternatives identification

5.2.4 Facilitated workshops

OUTPUTS

5.2.1 Project scope statement

The project scope statement contains the following:

Document

Explanation

1.

Project scope description

Characteristics of the product, service or result to be produced by the project.

2.

Product acceptance criteria

The criteria for acceptance of the completed product, service, or result.

3.

Project deliverables

The product, service, or result of the project plus reports of the management of the project.

4.

Project exclusions

What is agreed to be out of scope for the project.

5.

Project constraints

Constraints on the project scope, predetermined budget, imposed completion and/or schedule milestone dates,

6.

Project assumptions

Assumptions associated with the project scope.

5.2.2 Project document updates

5.3 CREATE WBS

INPUTS

5.3.1 Project scope statement

This is the output for the previous process 5.2 Define Scope.

5.3.2 Requirements documentation

This is the output for the process 5.1 Collect Requirements

5.3.3 OPA

Templates or other project files from previous projects that may help in creating the WBS.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

5.3.1. Decomposition

OUTPUTS

5.3.1 WBS

It is obvious that WBS would be an output of the Create WBS process.

5.3.2 WBS dictionary

The WBS dictionary gives more detailed information on the components of the WBS, including who is responsible for doing the work, the cost estimates for doing that work, etc.

5.3.3 Scope baseline

The scope contains the following documents

  • Project scope statement—the output of 5.2 Define Scope
  • WBS—output of this process 5.3 Create WBS
  • WBS dictionary—output of this process 5.3 Create WBS

5.3.4 Project document update

Requirements documentation may need to be updated after the detailed WBS is created.

5.4. VERIFY SCOPE

INPUTS

5.4.1 Project management plan

This is the output from the 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan process.

5.4.2 Requirements documentation

This is the output from the 5.1 Collect Requirements process.

5.4.3 Requirements traceability matrix

This is the output from the 5.1 Collect Requirements process.

5.4.4 Validated deliverables

These are deliverables which have been internally checked for correctness; they are the output of 4.5 Perform Quality Control Process.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

5.4.1 Inspection

OUTPUTS

5.5.1 Accepted deliverables

The Verify Scope process takes the deliverables which are internally validated and shows them to the customer for their acceptance. Once these are formally signed off and approved by the customer or sponsor, they are considered accepted deliverables.

5.5.2 Change requests

If the deliverables are not accepted, then change requests may be necessary to bring them into compliance with the customer’s requests.

5.5.3 Project document updates

Documents that contain the product status will need to be updated to reflect the acceptance or rejected by the customer.

5.5 CONTROL SCOPE

INPUTS

5.5.1 Project management plan

This is the output of the process 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan

5.5.2 Work performance information

This is information about the progress towards completing the deliverables.

5.5.3 Requirements documentation

This is the output from the 5.1 Collect Requirements process.

5.5.4 Requirements traceability matrix

This is the output from the 5.1 Collect Requirements process.

5.5.5 Organizational Process Assets

Monitoring and reporting methods, policies towards controlling scope.

TOOL & TECHNIQUES

5.5.1 Variance analysis

OUTPUTS

5.5.1 Work performance measurements

The comparison is given between the amount of progress towards completing the deliverables and the planned amount of progress (the variance). This is to be communicated to stakeholders.

5.5.2 Organizational Process Assets updates

The cause of any variance, and any corrective action to be taken.

5.5.3 Change requests

There can be a request for preventive, corrective actions, or defect repairs. Or there can be a change request to the scope baseline.

5.5.4 Project management plan updates

These can include updates to the scope baseline (scope statement, WBS, or WBS dictionary).

5.5.5 Project document updates

Requirements documentation and requirements traceability matrix.

The next post will cover the inputs and outputs of the time knowledge area.

#Toastmasters—Retaining Membership through Mentoring


One of the key advantages of being a member of Toastmasters is to improve your own speaking and leadership skills. For those of us who have been in the program a while, another advantage slowly starts coming into focus:  the ability to improve other people’s speaking and leadership skills. This is done by passing on what you know to other newer members through the process of mentoring.

This post will explore what mentoring entails, and what benefits it brings to you, the person you are mentoring, and the club in general.

1. Why is mentoring important?

A new member is learning a lot by just observing what is going on at a meeting, but there is so much going on that the new member doesn’t even know the significance of it. I was in our club for over a month before I figured out that why it was important to bring the Competent Leadership manual with me to the Toastmasters meeting. I had heard someone mention that I should bring it for many meetings, but they never explained why. Eventually I just asked someone and they told me.

However, it was then I realized that I had already done two supporting roles at the club for which I could have gotten credit for in that Competent Leadership manual, but it was now too late and that effort had been “wasted” in my mind. If I had been assigned a mentor, that person would no doubt have explained the whole Competent Leadership manual system to me.  I was determined that I would make sure this did not happen to anybody else when they entered the club.

2. What does mentoring entail?

A new member is assigned a mentor, and sometimes we refer to the person being mentored as a mentee. The mentor has a half-hour face-to-face session with the mentee in which the Competent Leadership manual is explained. Also, the mentor encourages the mentee to start working on his or her first speech, the Icebreaker speech from the Competent Communicator manual. Then the mentor is “on call” so that the mentee can feel free to ask further questions whenever they occur. This mentorship continues until the new member has completed 3 speeches in the Competent Communicator Manual.

3. What are the advantages for the new member?

The new member understands the significance of what is going on at the meeting, and therefore feels more like a member of the club rather than an observer. Some members need help in preparing speeches, and some don’t. However, it is a real confidence-building measure to have the assurance of knowing that there is always someone there whom you can e-mail or call if you have any questions.

4. What are the advantages for the mentors?

  • You have the satisfaction of helping a new member grow right in front of your eyes for the first three speeches of their Toastmasters career.
  • You get credit in the Competent Leadership manual for Project 9 (out of 10).
  • You get credit towards your Advanced Communicator Gold award.

5. What are the advantages for the club?

This is where the title of this blog post comes in.

  • You will foster ties between the new members and the established members, making the club more cohesive.
  • You will increase your club membership by retaining the members you already have and thus reducing attrition of new members.

I can attest to this last point in our club, as we had someone who essentially joined two different clubs because she had a hard time deciding which she liked better. They both were attractive to her, but after being in the clubs for a few months, she made the decision to continue the membership in our club and drop the membership in the other. Why? Because of our mentorship program. She felt she was getting a lot more “personalized attention” because of our program, and so that’s what gave our club the edge.

In our club, it has become an important tool for the retention of new members, but it also it useful for members who are not new, but still feel lacking in confidence. One member after completing three months of being mentored, asked for another mentor so he could feel comfortable asking the new mentor any questions. He had come a long way in three months, but felt he still had a lot more learning to do, and felt having a mentor again would give him that additional confidence to more forward.

So in summary, for both new and existing members, the mentorship program is an overlooked but often powerful tool in making sure you retain members and boosting the camaraderie of the club. Learn about this tool and use it in your club!

Passing the #PMP Exam: Inputs and Outputs—Integration Knowledge Area (part 2)



 1. Introduction

In this next series of posts on memorizing the processes, we move on to the final step 6, which is memorizing the INPUTS & OUTPUTS associated with each of the 42 processes. In order to breakdown the memorization into more bite-size chunks, I am going to break down this topic into at least 9 posts, one for each knowledge area. (There may be some knowledge areas that require more than one post.)

 This post covers chapter 4 of the PMBOK® Guide, which covers the Integration Knowledge Area. This knowledge area contains 6 processes, with at least one process in each of the 5 process groups, with Monitoring & Controlling Process having two processes from this area.

 I am splitting the discussion of the Inputs & Outputs into two different posts; this post will cover Processes 4.4 through 4.6.

2. Review of processes in Integration Knowledge Area

As a review, here is a chart which gives a summary of the processes themselves, plus the tools & techniques used as part of that process.

Process
Number & Name
Process Description Tools & Techniques
4.1 Develop Project Charter Develops document that formally authorizes project and documents stakeholder needs & expectations

 

1. Expert judgment
4.2 Develop Project Management Plan Documents integration of all subsidiary plans (from all knowledge areas); project management plan is primary source on how to manage project across all PM process groups

 

1. Expert judgment
4.3 Direct and Manage Project Execution Performing work defined in project management plan 1. Expert judgment

2. Project management information system

 

4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work Tracking progress to meet performance objectives defined in project management plan

 

1. Expert judgment
4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control Reviewing change requests and managing changes to deliverables, or project management plan itself

 

1. Expert judgment

2. Change control meetings

4.6 Close Project or Phase Finalizes project across all PM process groups; formally closes project 1. Expert judgment

3. Definition of inputs, outputs

The inputs for a given process are the documents or results of other processes that are used in order to do the process. The results of going through the process are the outputs. These outputs are then used as inputs for some other process.

4. Generic inputs

Before we start, there are two “generic” inputs that are used in many, many processes. The term “generic” inputs is not to be found in the PMBOK® guide; that’s just my term I made up in our study group to clue people in to the fact that they are included as an input in more processes than you could probably name off the top of your head.

A. ENVIRONMENTAL ENTERPRISE FACTORS (EEF)

This is the “company culture”, or factors that are external to the project but which influence the project’s success. These can include the company databases and, in particular, the project management software used by the company.

B. OPERATIONAL PROCESS ASSETS (OPA)

Written procedures, policies, and guidelines that are used by the company to guide all operations, including projects. Lessons learned would be an important part of OPA.

Think of the operational process assets as the “hard copy” (written procedures), and the environmental enterprise factors as the “soft copy” (software and the company culture or “unwritten rules” that govern how work is done).

NOTE: Tools & Techniques will be listed for the purpose of completeness and for reference, but their detailed description will be omitted, because it is contained in the blog posts specifically covering Tools & Techniques for that knowledge area.

4.4 MONITOR AND CONTROL PROJECT WORK

INPUTS

4.4.1 Project Management Plan

The project management plan is what the performance of the project is going to be measured against.

4.4.2 Performance Reports

The performance reports show how the project is measuring up against the project management plan (4.4.1).

4.4.3 EEF

The usual suspect, the project management information system, is required. Just as in the executing phase, the shareholder risk tolerances need to be made aware of. Finally, the company work authorization system needs to be referenced as this process may end up producing change requests.

4.4.4 OPA

Lessons learned, risk control procedures, defect management procedures, etc.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

4.4.1 Expert Judgment

OUTPUTS

4.4.1 Change Requests

As a result of comparing the planned results (from the project management plan Input 4.4.1) to the actual results (from the performance reports Input 4.4.2), change requests may be issued. These could be actions to bring the results in line with the plan (changes to product deliverables), or it could be a change in the plan itself (changes to the project management plan).

Here are some change requests that affect the performance against the baselines.

Category Explanation
1. Corrective action Changes future performance so that the results are in line with the project management plan and the performance baseline.
2. Preventive action Reducing either the probability or impact of negative project risks so that the project remains along the performance baseline.
3. Defect repair Repairs products already produced as part of a project that are defective or replaces them.

However, as mentioned above, there could be changes which affect the project baselines themselves.

4.4.2 Project Management Plan Updates

Of course, if it is decided that the plan itself needs to be changed, then the Project Management Plan is updated. This could include any one of the component plans, or simply to one of the performance baselines (scope, schedule, or cost performance).

4.4.3 Project Document Updates

If issues are uncovered as a result of this monitoring and controlling process, then the issue logs will need to be updated. Also, forecasts of the overall budget (estimate at completion or EAC) and their comparison with the budget as originally planned (budget at completion) will need to be updated as well.

4.5 PERFORM INTEGRATED CHANGE CONTROL

First a word about the process of Perform Integrated Change Control. Just remember that there is configuration control, and change control. Change control refers to changes in the project work. Configuration control refers to changes in the deliverables or products that are the result of the project work.

INPUTS

4.5.1 Project Management Plan

The project management plan tells what the performance of the project is supposed to be.

4.5.2 Work Performance Information

The project management plan tells what the performance of the project actually is.

4.5.3 Change Requests

As a result of comparing the planned results (from the project management plan Input 4.4.1) to the actual results (from the performance reports Input 4.4.2), change requests may be issued. These could be actions to bring the results in line with the plan (changes to product deliverables), or it could be a change in the plan itself (changes to the project management plan).

Here are some change requests that affect the performance against the baselines.

Category Explanation
1. Corrective action Changes future performance so that the results are in line with the project management plan and the performance baseline.
2. Preventive action Reducing either the probability or impact of negative project risks so that the project remains along the performance baseline.
3. Defect repair Repairs products already produced as part of a project that are defective or replaces them.

However, as mentioned above, there could be changes which affect the project baselines themselves.

NOTE: These inputs to the Perform Integrated Change Control are the same as the Outputs to the previous process Monitor & Control Project Work.

4.5.4 EEF

Project management information system.

4.5.5 OPA

Change control procedures, procedures for approving and issuing change authorizations (it may require a different level of authority to approve the change depending on its extent), process measurements database.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

4.5.1 Expert Judgment

4.5.2 Change Control Meetings

OUTPUTS

4.5.1 Change Request Status Updates

The change requests are processed according to the change control system by a Change Control Board or whatever system the company has in place. If the result of the change control system is that the change is approved, then and only then is it implemented by the Direct and Manage Execution process (see diagram below). the change request log gives the status of the change requests and tells whether the change is accepted or rejected.

4.5.2 Project Management Plan Updates

If the project management plan is changed or the performance baseline is changed, then updates to these are made.

4.5.3 Project Document Updates

The change request log (mentioned in output 4.5.1 Change Request Status Updates) is updated.

4.5 CLOSE PROJECT OR PHASE

INPUTS

4.6.1 Project Management Plan

The final version of the project management plan is used.

4.6.2 Accepted Deliverables

These are deliverables that are accepted by the customer, and are thus outputs of the 5.4 Verify Scope Process.

4.6.3 OPA

Project closure guidelines, and lessons learned knowledge base (to be updated as part of the process).

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

4.6.1 Expert Judgment

INPUTS

4.6.1 Final product, service, or result transition

This is the hand-off of the final deliverable of the project, be it a product, service or result to the customer or sponsor.

4.6.2 OPA Updates

  • All of the documents from the project, such as the project management plan and the performance reports.
  • Project closure documents, such as the formal acceptance of the deliverable from the customer or the completed contract from the supplier.
  • Updated lessons learned database.

These are the inputs and outputs of processes 4.4 through 4.6.

The next posts will cover the inputs and outputs of the next Knowledge Area, that of Scope.

Passing the #PMP Exam: Inputs and Outputs—Integration Knowledge Area (part 1)



 1. Introduction

In this next series of posts on memorizing the processes, we move on to the final step 6, which is memorizing the INPUTS & OUTPUTS associated with each of the 42 processes. In order to breakdown the memorization into more bite-size chunks, I am going to break down this topic into at least 9 posts, one for each knowledge area. (There may be some knowledge areas that require more than one post.)

 This post covers chapter 4 of the PMBOK® Guide, which covers the Integration Knowledge Area. This knowledge area contains 6 processes, with at least one process in each of the 5 process groups, with Monitoring & Controlling Process having two processes from this area.

2. Review of processes in Integration Knowledge Area

As a review, here is a chart which gives a summary of the processes themselves, plus the tools & techniques used as part of that process. I am splitting the discussion of the Inputs & Outputs into two different posts; this post will cover Processes 4.1 through 4.3

Process
Number & Name
Process Description Tools & Techniques
4.1 Develop Project Charter Develops document that formally authorizes project and documents stakeholder needs & expectations

 

1. Expert judgment
4.2 Develop Project Management Plan Documents integration of all subsidiary plans (from all knowledge areas); project management plan is primary source on how to manage project across all PM process groups

 

1. Expert judgment
4.3 Direct and Manage Project Execution Performing work defined in projectmanagement plan 1. Expert judgment

2. Project management information system

4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work Tracking progress to meet performance objectives defined in project management plan

 

1. Expert judgment
4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control Reviewing change requests and managing changes to deliverables, or project management plan itself

 

1. Expert judgment

2. Change control meetings

4.6 Close Project or Phase Finalizes project across all PM process groups; formally closes project 1. Expert judgment

3. Definition of inputs, outputs

The inputs for a given process are the documents or results of other processes that are used in order to do the process. The results of going through the process are the outputs. These outputs are then used as inputs for some other process.

4. Generic inputs

Before we start, there are two “generic” inputs that are used in many, many processes. The term “generic” inputs is not to be found in the PMBOK® guide; that’s just my term I made up in our study group to clue people in to the fact that they are included as an input in more processes than you could probably name off the top of your head.

A. ENVIRONMENTAL ENTERPRISE FACTORS (EEF)

This is the “company culture”, or factors that are external to the project but which influence the project’s success. These can include the company databases and, in particular, the project management software used by the company.

B. OPERATIONAL PROCESS ASSETS (OPA)

Written procedures, policies, and guidelines that are used by the company to guide all operations, including projects. Lessons learned would be an important part of OPA.

Think of the operational process assets as the “hard copy” (written procedures), and the environmental enterprise factors as the “soft copy” (software and the company culture or “unwritten rules” that govern how work is done).

NOTE: Tools & Techniques will be listed for the purpose of completeness and for reference, but their detailed description will be omitted, because it is contained in the blog posts specifically covering Tools & Techniques for that knowledge area.

4.1 DEVELOP PROJECT CHARTER

INPUTS

4.1.1. Project Statement of Work

The Project Statement of Work, sometimes referred to as an SOW, is a description of the products or services to be delivered by the project. It relates this product or service to both the business need for the product, and aligns the project with the strategic plan of the organization.

4.1.2 Business Case

There should be some sort of demand for the product or service, a demand that might be created by one or more of the following factors:

  • Market demand
  • Organizational need
  • Customer request
  • Technological advance
  • Legal or regulatory requirement
  • Social need

4.1.3 Contract

If the organization is to produce a product for an external customer, than a sample contract is an input to this process.

4.1.4 EEF

  • Government or industry standards
  • Organizational infrastructure
  • Marketplace conditions (see input 4.1.2 Business Case)

4.1.5 OPA

  • Organizational standard processes, policies, and definitions
  • Templates (for project charter)
  • Lessons learned database from previous projects

TOOL & TECHNIQUES

4.1.1. Expert Judgment

OUTPUTS

4.1.1 Project Charter

It makes sense that the output of the Create Project Charter process would be the Project Charter, right?

Important elements of the Project Charter include:

  • Project purpose or justification
  • Project requirements, assumptions and risks (high-level)
  • Measurable objectives
  • High-level schedule and budget summary
  • Project manager assigned to project
  • Sponsor approval

4.2 DEVELOP PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN

INPUTS

4.2.1 Project Charter

This input is actually the output from the previous process Develop Project Charter.

4.2.2 Output from other Planning Processes

It is important to note that this process takes all the management plans from the other Knowledge Areas and integrates it into the overall Project Management Plan. So the output from the Planning Processes becomes the input for this process.

4.2.3 EEF

Project information management tools, organization culture and infrastructure, and personnel administration (for figuring out what people are needed for project).

4.2.4 OPA

Templates from previous projects, lessons learned and other documents from previous projects, etc.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

4.2.1 Expert Judgment

OUTPUTS

4.2.1 Project Management Plan

Again, it makes sense that the output of the Develop Project Management Plan is, of course, the Project Management Plan. Important elements of the Project Management Plan include:

  • Project life cycle: will the project be broken up into phases for better control?
  • Determine team: who will be needed to work on the project?
  • The how to execute and control the project in order to accomplish the objectives
  • Change management (how will changes to the project be managed?), and configuration management plans (how will changes to the product be managed)?
  • Performance baseline (scope baseline, cost baseline, schedule baseline)

4.3 DIRECT AND MANAGE PROJECT EXECUTION


INPUTS

4.3.1 Project Management Plan

Again, note how the output to the previous process is now the input to this process.

4.3.2 Approved Change Requests

Perform Integrated Change Control (process 4.5) is where requests for changes are approved or rejected. If the output of that process is that the status of the change request is “APPROVED”, then those changes are inputs to work on the project as represented by this particular process, Direct and Manage Project Work.

The diagram below should illustrate this relationship.

4.3.3 EEF

In addition to the usual suspects under EEF (company culture, project management information system), an interesting item for this process in particular is

  • Stakeholder risk tolerances

This helps in planning how to direct and manage the project work within the risk tolerances specified by the stakeholders.

4.3.4 OPA

Process measurement database from previous projects is particularly helpful here so that measurable data on the processes can be developed.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

4.3.1 Expert Judgment

4.3.2 Project Management Information System

OUTPUTS
4.3.1 Deliverables

Of course, the whole purpose of project execution is to execute the work as specified in the plan in order to produce the product, service or result, also known as the deliverable.

4.3.2 Work Performance Information

This is information on the status of the deliverable, plus information on the costs incurred (AC or actual costs) as well as the schedule progress (which is obtained by comparing the PV or planned value to the EV or earned value).

4.3.3 Change Requests

If during the course of executing the project, issues develop that require a change to the scope, budget, or schedule, or quality, then change requests are developed. Note that the change requests are made in the Executing Progress Group, but are evaluated and either accepted or rejected as part of the Monitoring & Controlling Progress Group. If they are accepted, these changes get fed into the Executing Progress Group once again.

4.3.4 Project Management Plan Updates

During the course of the execution of the project, the project management plan may needs to be updated.

4.3.5 Project Document Updates

Issue logs, risk registers, and stakeholder registers may need to be updated during the course of execution of the project.

The next post will cover the Inputs & Outputs to processes 4.4 through 4.6 in the Integration Knowledge Area.

The Reunion Reloaded


Homewood is a suburb of Chicago, Illinois where I grew up and went to high school with around 1,000 people in our class of 1975 at Homewood-Flossmoor (HF) High School.  I was invited back in mid-April to go to a regional “mini-reunion” for those HF graduates from our class who happen to live in the Southern California area. The reunion was suggested by one of my classmates, Scott Tomlinson, who was taking advantage of a business trip to San Diego to do an all-points call for a get together. He made it along with Marty Leonard and Richard Carroll.  At that reunion, I  got to meet Scott’s son Erik who is stationed there as a Marine.

We had such a good time that Scott suggested that we do it again in August. Well, this time Marty couldn’t make it, but Mike Bentivenga said he would be able to join us this time. We met at a restaurant called Wind & Sea that is literally right at the edge of the harbor at Dana Point.  Traffic was the usual weekend crawl down on the I-5.  I was impatient to get there, not just because I was excited to see everybody again, but because of my half-German, half-Irish background, I’m one of those guys who likes to make it to a pub or to a party on time.

I pulled in half an hour late, and Mike about half an hour after that. But after enduring an hour and a half of highway hell, we spent the next three hours in reminiscing heaven. Mike was the same outgoing guy I remembered from way back when, and I remarked to myself that our outside appearance had changed, but the spark of personality behind each of those slightly older faces seemed ageless, like we were talking about events from last week rather than from 35 years ago or more. That was the same thing I experienced last time when I saw Scott, Marty and Rich 4 months ago. (You can read the account of that reunion in my previous post https://4squareviews.com/2012/04/22/translucent/.)

I thought it was interesting that the experiences we’ve had since high school have been diverse, but our individual waves of successes and setbacks have been hit by the same tidal waves of major events: the dot-com bust, 9/11, the 2008 financial meltdown, and now the changing climate. But I think we must be a pretty resilient bunch, because I’m still basically optimistic despite the overall economic situation our country is in right now.

At this reunion, it was not Scott, but Rich who introduced his son Austin to the rest of us. He’s an avid scouter, and I was afraid that our tales of wild exploits from our high school days would give him some wild ideas. “We’re just telling you these stories to let you know what not to do when you get to be our age,” I tried to tell him, albeit unconvincingly. Scott, Mike and I all recounted the first time we got ill from too much alcohol, and found that we all had the experience of not being able to drink that particular type of alcohol with enjoyment when we grew up because “our bodies still remembered,” as Scott put it.

Another interesting parallel I found was that Mike related that since he is quite an extroverted, A-type personality, he has had to develop a “laid back” persona in order to be able to communicate with people better (especially out here in California) for those who find his regular “switched-on” self a little too intimidating. I realized that I had been doing the reverse. I felt in high school that I was introverted and not leadership material because I was a little too laid back and not forward enough with people. So through my leadership training at Toastmasters, I’ve gone from being a regular member to the Assistant Area governor in a year and a half. I’ve had to develop an “extroverted” persona for the same reason that Mike developed his persona—to be able to communicate with people better. It was interesting to see the parallel between Mike’s case and mine.

Overall, I have to say that having been to the reunion back in April had quite a salutary effect on me. There is something that Carl Jung referred to as the “shadow”, or the embodiment of energies that one has denied in life for one reason or the other. These can be positive or negative energies depending on the reason for the denial. When I looked back at my life after our reunion in April, I realized there were a lot of things I enjoyed doing back in high school that I don’t do any more, like being part of a chorus. I realized that was a whole dimension of my talents and experience that I had left buried after I left college. I bought some CDs of various Broadway hits and started singing along to them. In May, I was approached by someone at a networking event who asked me if I sang, and I said, “well, I used to.” He invited me to a men’s chorus called the Masters of Harmony, and I decided to visit one of their rehearsals. Man, I was hooked! They sounded great, and it reminded me so much of the rehearsals that Walter Rodby, our choral director at HF High School, used to put us through. I went for about a month, and did the preliminary audition in June—and passed with flying colors.

This coming Wednesday I have the second audition (out of a total of four) for which I’ve been practicing about two months, and I hope I pass it as well. I realized on Saturday night that I never would have had the guts to go after this kind of experience if I hadn’t been shocked into “reclaiming territory” of the past inside of my head because of the first reunion.

Well, it was a wonderful three hours, but Scott had to get back because he wanted to have a chance to see his son in San Diego one more time before he was to fly out the next day back to Houston. I asked him about what motivated Erik to join the Marines and he mentioned there was a straight line from 9/11 which happened when he was in 5th grade to his decision later on in life to be a Marine.

On driving home along the Pacific Coast Highway back home after our reunion, I thought of that decision and I suddenly realized that I would do a speech on 9/11 about my experience on that date, and how it has shaped my later life. It was sparked by my hearing the tune “Try to Remember”, connecting it with 9/11 because of the lyrics “Try to remember the kind of September, When life was slow and oh, so mellow”, and then connecting that with Scott’s story about his son.   I’m always so full of energy and ideas after I meet with my classmates!

I’m very glad I went to the second reunion.  I not only reunited with three great guys from the past, but I also reunited with my bolder self from long ago that is now renewing my present life with more and more energy.   I hope to meet more and more of my fellow classmates in the months and years ahead.

Thanks again, Scott—you don’t know what you’ve started!

Passing the #PMP Exam: Tools & Techniques—Integration Knowledge Area


1. Introduction

In this next series of posts, we move onto step 5, which is memorizing the TOOLS & TECHNIQUES associated with each process. In order to breakdown the memorizing into more bite-size chunks, I am going to break down this topic into at least 9 posts, one for each knowledge area. (There may be some knowledge areas that require more than one post.)

 This post covers chapter 4 of the PMBOK® Guide, which covers the Integration Knowledge Area. This knowledge area contains 6 processes, with at least one process in each of the 5 process groups, with Monitoring & Controlling Process having two processes from this area.

 

Process
Number & Name
Process Description Tools & Techniques
4.1 Develop Project Charter Develops document that formally authorizes project and documents stakeholder needs & expectations

 

1. Expert judgment
4.2 Develop Project Management Plan Documents integration of all subsidiary plans (from all knowledge areas); project management plan is primary source on how to manage project across all PM process groups

 

1. Expert judgment
4.3 Direct and Manage Project Execution Performing work defined in project management plan 1. Expert judgment

2. Project management information system

 

4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work Tracking progress to meet performance objectives defined in project management plan

 

1. Expert judgment
4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control Reviewing change requests and managing changes to deliverables or to project management plan itself.

 

1. Expert judgment

2. Change control meetings

4.6 Close Project or Phase Finalizes project across all PM process groups; formally closes project 1. Expert judgment

Let’s take a look at the tools & techniques for the processes in the Integration Knowledge Area. You’ll notice that each of them have the same tool & technique in common: Expert Judgment, with process 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Execution having the additional tool & technique of 4.3.2 Project management information system, and 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control having an additional tool & technique of Change control meetings.    You need experts or those with expertise in each area because the integration of all other processes from the various other knowledge areas is such a crucial part of project management

4.1 DEVELOP PROJECT CHARTER

4.1.1 Expert judgment

Just remember that who an “expert” is depends on what you need that person for. Obviously to develop a project charter, the person who is expert developing a high-level list of requirements, objectives, and risks of the project would include:

  • Stakeholders (including customers or sponsors)
  • Project management office
  • Consultants and subject matter experts.

Some of this expertise is directed towards technical details (product description, project objectives), and some towards management of the project (project risks and milestone schedule).

4.2 DEVELOP PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN

4.2.1 Expert judgment

Here the expertise sought needs to be directed towards planning of the project work, including the resources required to get the project done, the project management plan itself, and the overall change control process.

4.3 DIRECT AND MANAGE PROJECT EXECUTION

4.3.1 Expert judgment

Here the expertise sought needs to be directed towards directing and managing the execution of the project. This will include stakeholders (including customers and sponsors), consultants used on the project, and project team members, especially those who have worked on a similar project before.

4.3.2 Project Management Information System

The software used such as Microsoft Project or Primavera, is a tool used to help with scheduling, configuration management (part of 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control) and other activities that are part of the 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Execution process.

4.4 MONITOR AND CONTROL PROJECT WORK

4.4.1 Expert judgment

The information obtained by the process Monitor and Control Project Work is interpreted by those with expertise in measuring actual project performance against the performance baseline.

4.5 PERFORM INTEGRATED CHANGE CONTROL

4.5.1 Expert judgment

For a change control board, not only the project management team, but stakeholders including the customers may be asked to participate.

4.5.2 Change control meetings

The change control board has meetings to review any change requests that are pending in order to formally approve or reject them. The decisions are documented and communicated to all stakeholders.

4.5 CLOSE PROJECT OR PHASE

4.1.1 Expert judgment

Those with expertise in closing a project need to oversee this process so that all closure processes are completed to the standards set by the organization.

This concludes the Tools & Techniques section of memorizing the processes.

The next series of posts will conclude with a discussion of the inputs and outputs for the 42 processes. This will be most easily done if we follow the same format and divide the processes by knowledge area.