5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 2: Organizational Process Assets


In the last post, I introduced the two “ubiquitous” inputs to processes, in the sense that they are used as inputs to many, many processes:  1) Organizational Process Assets, the processes, policies, and corporate body of knowledge of an organization, and 2) the Environmental Enterprise Factors, the internal company culture and the societal environment in which the organization does business.

This post will focus in detail on the first category of Organizational Process Assets or OPAs. One of the problems about it being such a large category that includes a number of different things is that when an input says “Organizational Process Assets”,  just knowing that category isn’t enough. You have to know which specific OPAs are being referred to as inputs for that particular process. The thing is, though, once you know what OPAs are being referred to, and you know what the tools and techniques are that the process uses, the reason WHY they are inputs to that process can become more intuitively clear. And THAT is the key to memorizing inputs, not memorizing by rote but memorizing by knowing the tools and techniques first, and then figuring out for those tools and techniques, what particular items you would need to carry them out.

It’s kind of like trying to recall a recipe.  First you take the finished dish, let’s say, lasagna, and if you’ve made it before, you can work back mentally and figure out what would ingredients you would need to make it, enough to make a shopping list for example.   Well, enough advice on memorization: let’s go to the OPA lists.

1. Organizational Process Assets—Processes and Procedures

There are two broad categories of OPAs: processes and procedures, and corporate knowledge base. The PMBOK® Guide helpfully breaks the OPAs down into which process group they are being used for: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing.

Process Groups

OPA Processes and Procedures description
Initiating, Planning 1. Project guidelines (tailoring standard processes and procedures to specific projects)
2. Organizational standards: general policies (HR, PM, safety, ethics), project and/or product life cycles, quality policies and procedures
3. Templates (risk register, WBS, contracts, project schedule network diagram)
Executing, Monitoring & Controlling 4. Change control procedures (steps by which project is modified, how changes are approved and validated)
5. Financial control procedures (time reporting, expenditure and disbursement reviews, accounting codes, standard contract provisions)
6. Issue and defect management procedures
7. Communication requirements (available technology, authorized communication media, record retention policies document security requirements))
8. Work authorization procedures (prioritizing, approving, issuing)
9. Risk control procedures (risk statement templates, probability and impact definitions and matrix
10. Standardized guidelines (work instructions, proposal evaluation criteria, performance measurement criteria)
Closing 11. Project closure guidelines (lessons learned, final project audits, project evaluations, product validations and acceptance criteria)

It is easy to be overwhelmed with just a large list, so rather than memorize it, go through it, and see which of these categories of OPAs you recognize and which your organization uses. Then look at the items your organization does not utilize at the present time; can you at least see why it was put in a particular category?

The second overall category of OPAs are the corporate knowledge base. Here are the kinds of OPAs that comprise this category. These are not divided into any specific process group but there are some obvious parallels with the processes and procedures.

OPA Corporate Knowledge Base Description

P&P

1. Configuration management knowledge bases (versions and baselines of all standards, policies, procedures, and project documents) #4
2. Financial databases (project labor hours, incurred costs, budgets, cost overruns) #5
3. Historical information and lessons learned knowledge bases (project records and documents, project closure information, previous project selection decisions, previous project performance information, information from risk management activities) #11
4. Issue and defect management databases (issue and defect status, control information, issue and defect resolution, action item results) #6
5. Process measurement databases (measurement data on processes and projects) #10
6. Project files from previous projects (baselines, calendars, project schedule network diagrams, risk registers, planned response actions, and defined risk impact) #3, #9

In the right-hand column, I have listed any of the OPA categories of policies and procedures which seem particularly closely linked to any particular corporate knowledge base. For example, the issue and defect management database is where a lot of the documents end up that are generated by processes and procedures (P&P) category #6 above, namely, issue and defect management procedures. Similarly, the financial databases contain information that is generated by processes and procedures (P&P) category #5, namely, financial control procedures. By seeing the way that the processes and procedures and the knowledge bases are linked, you can understand a little bit better the way that OPAs are utilized as inputs to various processes.

The next post will discuss Enterprise Environmental Factors, the other ubiquitous category of inputs to processes according to the PMBOK® Guide.

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5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 2: Organizational Process Assets (OPAs) and Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEFs)


Later, when you study the processes, you will see that they are composed of inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs, which are collectively sometimes referred to as ITTOs.  Two of the inputs to processes you will see most often are Organizational Process Assets and Enterprise Environmental Factors.

The purpose of this post is to compare and contrast them; the next posts will list them in detail although this details can certainly be found in the PMBOK® Guide.

Organizational Process Assets and Enterprise Environmental Factors are kind of like the software and hardware of a computer. Software is something that can be easily adapted by the usage, and Organizational Process Assets or OPAs are likewise under the control of the project team. Enterprise Environmental Factors or EEFs are part of the organization’s internal culture or external environment, but these are generally not under the control of the project team.

Despite what I said about software, however, be aware that a project management software system is considered by the PMBOK® Guide to be part of the EEFs or company culture. The actual project management plans that come out of that software for any given project, on the other hand, will be part of the OPAs.

The OPAs can be broken down into two broad categories, processes and procedures and the organization’s knowledge base. The project charter, plans, and detailed schedule will, when the project is done, enter the knowledge base so a new project that is similar to the old one won’t have to start from scratch. In addition, the lessons learned or list of things that went wrong or could be improved upon also become part of this knowledge base and are meant to be consulted on future projects. That is why they are used so often as inputs to project management processes.

The EEFs can also be broken down into two broad categories, internal and external EEFs. Internal EEFs are the “company culture” which can affect the way a project is run. The external EEFs are the “societal forces” which can affect the way a project is run. Because they can both affect a project, they are both often used as inputs to project management processes.

The next post will go into more detail about Organizational Process Assets or OPAs.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 2: Organizational Structures


The purpose of this post is to discuss the different types of organizational structure found in companies and what effect that structure has on project management.

 1. Project manager authority levels in different types of organizational structures

Fig. 1 Project Authority in different types of Organizational Structures

Functional Projectized Matrix Composite
Project Authority Functional Manager Project

Manager

Depends on type of matrix Depends on project

In a functional organization, project authority rests with a functional manager, and in a projectized organization, it rests with a project manager. A matrix organization tries to be somewhere in between these two.

 In a strong matrix, the authority is with a project manager, just like in a projectized organization. In a weak matrix, the authority is with a functional manager, just like in a functional organization. And a balanced matrix, the authority over the project is shared by both the functional manager and a project manager.

NOTE: In exam questions, you should assume that “matrix” means “balanced matrix” unless otherwise specified.

 Here’s the spectrum of authority for the different types of organization:

 Fig. 2. Project Manager’s authority over a project (increasing authority to the right)

The last type of organization, a composite organization, is one that changes the authority level of the project manager from project to project. In one project, it might be more like that of projectized organization, and in another project, more like a functional organization.

2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Organizational Structures

 There are exam questions that discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various organizational structures from the point of view of project management. Here’s a capsule summary:

 a. Functional: In a functional organization, there may be no formal project manager assigned. The functional manager manages the project, sometimes with the assistance of a project expediter or a project coordinator.

Authority level Organizational level
Project expediter None Staff assistant
Project coordinator Some (> expediter) Staff member

The thing to remember about these two is that for some reason, the definitions are confusing to people. The project expediter has no authority to do anything himself, but he helps coordinate communications. The project coordinator does have the authority to get things done. So many people confuse expediter and coordinator, because a coordinator sounds like he gets things done or expedites them, and an expediter sounds like he coordinates communications. BE AWARE OF THIS and make sure you know which is which!   Just remember that an Expediter’s authority is Empty, and a Coordinator’s authority is Conditional (i.e., he has SOME).   This memory trick of associating these words since they start with the same first initial may be helpful in memorizing the difference.

 A functional organization’s main strength is that a functional manager has the resources of its department under his or her control. But getting resources from different departments together and coordinated for the purpose of a single project is more difficult.

b. Projectized: This would seem to be a project manager’s dream organization because the focus is on project work and not on ongoing processes that functional managers normally take care of. However, there are some disadvantages namely that when team members complete a project, they have no “home” and will have to find other employment if there is no new project to do. Highly specialized subject matter experts or SMEs are expensive if they go idle, so it can be wasteful on resources if there is no work for them currently on the projects that are in process.

c. Matrix: This tries to get the project manager the control over the organization’s resources like in a functional organization and the communication between departments unlike in a functional organization. However, the advantages it gains by trying to combine these two forms also creates its own disadvantage: an unclear demarcation of authority between the functional manager and the project manager.

 A matrix organization can remind one of the definition of a hermaphrodite once coined by Archie Bunker on All in the Family: “It’s a freak! With too much of both and not enough of neither!”

Now the various PMP guides as well the PMBOK® guide itself list up the various advantages and disadvantages of the various forms of organization: functional, projectized, and matrix. In order to organize these, I have put them into categories as listed by the left. Then if the item is an advantage I have it marked in RED, and if it is a disadvantage I have it marked in GREEN.

 Fig. 3. Advantages and disadvantages of various organizational types (by topic)

Functional

Projectized

Matrix

Career Path

Career path well defined in specialty

Career path in project management

Client

Slow response to client

Quick response to client

Chain of Command

Team members report to one supervisor

Team members report to one PM

More than 1 boss for project teams

Communication

Cross-functional communication difficulties

More effective communications

Better horizontal & vertical info

Human Resources

Flexibility in staff use

More effort needed to acquire team

Loyalty

More loyal to specialty than project

Loyalty to the project

FMs have different priorities than PMs

Organization

Inefficient project organization

Efficient project organization

Better coordination

Project

Fragmented approach to project

Project is point of emphasis

Careful monitoring of projects required

SMEs

Easier management of specialists

Lack of specialization in disciplines

PM authority

PM has little or no authority

PM has great deal of authority

Project objectives visible to organization

Resources

Similar resources are centralized

Less efficient use of resources

Better firm-wide balanced of resources

Stability

Team members maintain a “home”

No “home” when project done

Technology

Technological continuity (resources)

Access to reservoir of technical talent

 You can see that the advantage of one type of organization is balanced by the disadvantage of another type of organization: for example, a functional organization has a slow response to the client whereas a matrix organization has a fast response to the client. Why? Because a matrix organization is more client-focused based on specific projects than a functional organization which does not have the client as a focus of activity.

 If you look at the advantages and disadvantages in this comparative way ACROSS the organizational types, and then ask yourself WHY this is so, you can figure out a lot of these by logic rather than by trying to use the sheer brute force of memorization.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 2: Organizational Culture and Organizational Communications


The second chapter of the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide deals with the “ecology” of a project and how it fits into the context of an organization.  The first two topics in the chapter, Organizational Culture and Organizational Communications, are relatively short, and in my experience, do not have as many questions as the subject of Organizational Management (the following topic), but the topics are nonetheless important.

This post will cover them both.

1. Organizational Culture

The organizational structure is to the organizational culture what hardware is to software. The organizational culture is shaped by the common experiences of the members of the organization. As these members become more diversified in terms of what culture they come from, they will end up necessarily affecting the organizational culture. The theme that the 5th Edition stresses is that of globalization or organizational culture.

The organizational culture becomes one of the most common inputs to any project management process in the form of an Enterprise Environmental Factor, or EEF. This topic of an EEF is discussed later in the chapter, but you can see that an organization’s culture or “software” will have an influence on the way a project is done.

In particular, the organization’s culture can include the following

  • Shared visions, mission, values, beliefs, and expectations;
  • Regulations, policies, methods, and procedures;
  • Motivation and reward systems;
  • Risk tolerance;
  • View of leadership, hierarchy, and authority relationships;
  • Code of conduct, work ethic, and work hours; and
  • Operating environments.

2. Organizational Communications

The theme of globalization is also stressed as a factor in organizational communications, along with the increasing importance of electronic communications, including the phenomenon of virtual teams. If you combine international communications and virtual teams, you can have many challenges to an organization’s communications, some of which are addressed in the following post summarizing a webinar put on by the Economist.

https://4squareviews.com/2012/10/03/working-together-how-to-manage-virtual-teams-across-borders-an-economist-webinar/

Because of the increasing complexity of communications on a project, having a communication plan is more vital than ever, and that is the subject of the Communications Management knowledge area.

Tomorrow’s post will deal with the “hardware” side of organizations, that of organizational structures, and their affect on project management.

History of Christianity: Lecture Two—The Greco-Roman Context of Early Christianity


This is a summary of the second part of twenty-four in the course on the New Testament presented by The Teaching Company. The lectures in this course are by Prof. Bart D. Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His expertise is in the Greco-Roman cultural environment of early Christianity and the textual criticism of the New Testament. For those who are interested in purchasing this course and listening to the complete lectures, please go to http://www.thegreatcourses.com.

Bart Ehrman has taught courses at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1988. He says the New Testament is the most revered, and yet most unknown book of Western Civilization. This course is designed for those who want to know more about the New Testament using an academic approach.

This second lecture will cover the Greco-Roman cultural and religious context in which early Christianity developed. The Jewish cultural context will be discussed in the third lecture.

1. The Relationship between Context and Meaning

The importance for understanding the historical context of early Christianity is in order to understand what the text of the New Testament meant to the early Christians themselves. If you misunderstand the context, you may end up inadvertently misunderstanding or changing the meaning of the text.

One way to illustrate this issue of the relationship between context and meaning is to examine the phrase “I love this course.” What is the context of that phrase? Depending on whether it is said in a classroom, a golf course, or a restaurant, the phrase will mean different things. And if it said in a sarcastic tone, it actually means the opposite of what the literal meaning says.

Even a gesture can have different meanings depending on the context: if you see someone with their arm stretched out over their head with their index finger pointed upwards, what could that mean? Is it a spectator at an air show (“wow, look at that!”), an athlete at a basketball court (“we’re number one!”), a Pentecostal at a revival meeting (“there’s one way to Heaven”), or a second grader (“I have to go to the bathroom”)?

So the context also determines the meaning of a gesture.

2. Historical Context of Early Christianity

In a similar way, you need to ask what the context of a historical document is in order to understand it. What was the context within which Jesus lived and the books of the New Testament were written?

Prof. Ehrman says that a true understanding of the historical context of the New Testament would take 24 lectures in and of itself, but he will in this lecture at least sketch out some remarks about the religious environment of the Greco-Roman world.

There are three key terms which Prof. Ehrman needs to define: “Greco-Roman world”, “paganism”, and “cult.”

3. Greco-Roman World

They are referring to the lands around the Mediterranean from roughly the time of Alexander the Great who lived around 300 BC to the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine who lived around 300 AD. Alexander the Great was born in 356 BC, the son of Phillip of Macedon, who was the ruler of Macedonia. After Phillip’s assassination, Alexander took over and engaged in a military campaign in which he conquered most of the Mediterranean area from his native land Macedonia down into Greece, and then further east to Egypt, Palestine, and Persia. As a youth, Alexander had studied under the Greek philosopher Aristotle, from whom he acquired an appreciation for Greek culture. As we conquered the lands around the Mediterranean, Alexander promoted the adoption of Greek culture in these various lands. He encouraged the creation of Greek institutions, the adoption of the Greek language, and tried to propagate Greek culturally. He did this in order to unify the various areas he had conquered under one common Greek culture.

This becomes important for the study of the New Testament because it was written in Greek. The Greek word for Greece is Hellas (Ἑλλάς), and so the “Hellenistic world” refers to the area which had adopted Greek culture. The Romans eventually conquered these lands a few centuries after the conquest of Alexander. Rome was originally a kingdom, but by the time of Jesus, it had been ruled as a Republic for over 500 years, and had just become an Empire ruled by the Emperor rather than the Senate. In the 1st century AD had been a time of great upheaval in the Roman world, including the assassination of Julius Caesar, whose adopted son Octavian (originally his nephew) after avenging Caesar’s death brought about an era of peace and prosperity throughout the Empire, and became the first Emperor called Caesar Augustus. Under Augustus, the Roman empire stretched from England to the West to Syria in the East, from North Africa in the South to the states of modern-day Western Europe in the North. These areas were forced to pay tribute to Rome in exchange for protection by the Roman army from invasion from outside these areas.

The Romans did not have their army situated throughout the Empire, however. Rather they were situated on the frontiers to guard against invasion. Whereas most of the Empire enjoyed a long period (250 years) of peace and prosperity called the Pax Romana, there were often wars on the periphery of the Empire, including one in Palestine itself which led to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Seen Greek had already been established throughout much of the Empire, the Romans encouraged the use of Greek as the lingua franca among the provinces rather than insisting on the promotion of Latin.

There was also a common coinage throughout the Empire which encouraged trade and commerce, and roads which made travel relatively easy. These benefits were then transferred later to Christianity, because Christians could take advantage of the situation to propagate their faith. Despite having been formed within the Roman empire, however, Christianity did not have an effect on the empire at large until several centuries later.

4. Pagans

The first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity was Emperor Constantine, who ruled in the 4th century AD. Prior to that, everyone in the Roman world except for Jews and Christians adhered to local state religions or cults. These non-Jews and non-Christians are referred to as “pagans” by modern scholars, without any derogatory connotation. It refers to an adherent of a polytheistic religions found throughout the empire, many of which were cults.

5. Cults

Cults is another word which is used by historians that does not necessarily have a derogatory connotation that the word has today to mean that a group is dangerous. The word “cult” comes from the Latin words “cultus deorum”, meaning “the care of the gods.” They are concerned with caring for the needs of the gods, primarily through sacrifices and prayers. The cults of the Roman world can be contrasted with what we call religion today. For most people today, it makes sense to say there is “one God”, but that notion was considered nonsense for many ancient Romans who were polytheists.

6. Contrasts Between Ancient and Modern Religions

i. Polytheism vs. Monotheism

The gods included the Greek-Roman pantheon of the great gods such as Jupiter, Mars, or Venus. But there were local deities that protected cities and towns, or even specific roads or rivers. The family had their own gods that protected the hearth and the health of its various members.

2. Tolerance vs. Exclusivity

The modern concept of religion conceives that if one religion is true, another must be false, but the ancients didn’t see things this way. There was no reason to think any one god was superior to others, and therefore Roman religion was more tolerant of other religions than modern ones. The only exception to this principle of tolerance was when it came to the state gods, which Romans insisted that the local populace venerate as well as their own, often at major state festivals. Refusal to worship them was seen as a political offense. Christians refused to participate in the state cults, and were the exceptions among subjects of the Roman empire.

3. Periodic vs. Constant Observance

Ancient religions were also periodic in their worship of the gods. It was not a matter of continual or daily devotion, but rather of periodic performance of sacrifices at set times. Most gods in the ancient world were completely uninterested in how people lived their daily lives. Ancient people were of course considered about ethics, but they considered it as a matter of philosophy rather than of religion. Religion consisted of ritual sacrifice and prayer.

4. Ritual practices vs. Beliefs

Modern religion is a matter of beliefs, whereas for the ancients it was more important to engage in ritual practices. In the ancient world, it was not what you believed about the gods, but how you worshipped them in cultic or ritualistic acts that was most important.

5. This World vs. The Afterlife

Most people think of modern religion as a way to guarantee that one will not spend a unpleasant afterlife, or as “fire insurance,” as Prof. Ehrman humorously refers to it. The ancients didn’t belief in the afterlife for the most part, based on studies of inscriptions on tombstones, etc. They believed that when you died, that was the end of the story. Why would you bother to be religious in the ancient world? It was not a matter of securing the afterlife, but rather the favor of the gods in the here and now. They lived life close to the edge, without modern irrigation or transportation, technology or medicine. The average Roman woman would have to bear 5 children in order to keep the population constant. By worshiping the gods, you could win favor in battle and in love, and you could keep healthy and grow healthy crops.

6. Human-Divine Continuum vs. Human-Divine Separation

In the ancient world, there was kind of a hierarchy between humans on the one hand and divine beings on the other that formed a pyramid, within Zeus or Jupiter at the top, but several orders of divine beings in between. Under the Olympian gods, there were the state gods, and then the local gods, and the family gods. However, underneath all of the gods was a layer of divine men, like Hercules, who were born of the union of a god and a mortal, and who were more powerful than normal men.

Fig. 1 The Human-Divine Continuum

Here’s a summary of the various contrasts between Ancient and Modern Religions to serve as a reminder of how conceptually different they are.

7. Jesus and Apollonius of Tyana

An individual we know about who lived about 2,000 years ago was a remarkable person. Before his birth, his mother had a visitant from Heaven telling her that her son would not be a normal human being, but rather the son of God. His birth was accompanied by miraculous signs. As a child, he was quite a prodigy, impressing the religious leaders of his own day. As an adult, he went on an itinerant teaching ministry where he went from village to town trying to convince people that they give up the material things of life and focus on the spiritual. He acquired a number of followers, many of whom were convinced he was not mortal, but divine. He did miracles to help them believe, such as healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. At the end of his life, his enemies decided to bring him up on charges before the Roman authorities. Even after he left this world, his followers continued to belief in him. Some even thought they saw him after he ascended to Heaven where he appeared to them to tell them there was a life after death. Some of them later wrote books about him.

However, you’ve probably never read these books, and you probably don’t know who Prof. Ehrman is referring to. He’s not referring to Jesus, but to Apollonius of Tyana, a pagan philosopher, a worshiper of the Greek gods. He lived at about the same time as Jesus, first century CE. They knew about Jesus, but thought that he was a magician, that he practiced magic and was really a hoax. The followers of Jesus thought the same about the followers of Apollonius of Tyana. We have other stories, like those of Jesus and Apollonius of Tyana, who were born supernaturally, who performed miracles, who delivered supernatural teachings, and who ascended into heaven. Why? Because these people didn’t believe that there was unbridgeable chasm between the gods and humans, but rather there was commerce between the divine and the human realm. These stories about divine men like Apollonius may sound unusual to us; we are only familiar with the story of Jesus. But in the ancient world, there were lots of stories told of this sort. People in the ancient world were able to make sense of the story of Jesus because they were already familiar with the stories of divine men who had commerce with the divine realm.

8. Conclusion

We have seen the importance of establishing the historical context for Jesus and his followers, including those followers who went on to write the books of the New Testament. It is important to understand the emergence of the Christian religion in this context of other religions of the Greco-Roman world which were for the most part polytheistic and tolerant of one another. These other religions focus on cultic acts of sacrifices and prayers to the gods rather than on doctrines. They were religions that focused on the effect of gods on the life in the here and now rather than on the afterlife. And they thought there were divine humans who lived among us.

Fig. 2. Contrasts between Ancient and Modern Religion

Ancient Modern
1. Polytheistic Monotheistic
2. Tolerant (syncretic) Exclusive
3. Periodic observance Constant observance
4. Ritual practices Beliefs
5. This World The Afterlife
6. Human-Divine continuum Human-Divine separation

The most important religion for understanding the context of early Christianity, however, is not one of the Greco-Roman religions, but Judaism, which is the subject of the next lecture in this series.

Project Management Institute of Orange County—The First Combined PMP/CAPM Workshop


All day I’ve been working on the combined PMP/CAPM Workshop that the Orange County, California chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI-OC) is putting on starting this Saturday and continuing for 7 consecutive weeks in total.

Today was the launch of the workshop, and as a member of the PMP/CAPM Workshop Committee at PMI-OC I was happy that the first workshop that took place this morning went forward without too many glitches.   This afternoon I dealt with a lot of the paperwork in getting student rosters updated, preparing instructor materials to be sent out, etc.

But the reason why I’m writing this post is to explain why this workshop is different than all the ones that PMI-OC has done in the past: it’s because this workshop is the first combined PMP/CAPM workshop. In the past the workshop was put on solely for those preparing for the Project Management Professional or PMP certification exam. But in the past six months, PMI has been aware of the increasing demand for the Certified Associate in Project Management or CAPM certification.  The CAPM certification is for those who either do not have any project management experience and want to become project managers, or for those who have some experience but not quite enough to qualify for the PMP exam.

There was some internal debate within PMI-OC about the two options: to create a separate CAPM workshop in parallel to the PMP workshop, or to do a combined PMP/CAPM workshop. For reasons of shared resources, among others, a combined PMP/CAPM workshop was the route chosen by PMI-OC for this next workshop. However, how would the PMP and CAPM students work together, especially in study groups?   That was one of my main concerns going forward.

Since one of my roles in the workshop besides being instructor liaison is to help the students in the class form study groups, my concern was whether there should be separate PMP and CAPM study groups. Would the CAPM students be overwhelmed by dealing with PMP-level questions, or would the PMP students feel bored or held back by questions from the CAPM-level students? I was thinking about this issue, but then a fellow member of the committee asked me, “well, why don’t you just ask the CAPM students?”

I did, and two of them said they wanted to be in the PMP study groups because they would learn things from those who were actually practicing project managers. That was an answer that was good to hear, but not totally unexpected. What I didn’t expect was that two of the PMP students said they were looking forward to having a CAPM student in their study groups because they would ask good questions, and they wouldn’t have the problem PMP students often have of comparing what they do at work in a certain knowledge area with what the PMBOK® recommends. The CAPM students are “clean slates” in that regard and won’t be facing any mental confusion about “well, we don’t do it at that way where I work!” That was an answer I hadn’t expected it, and I thought it was interesting enough to do a post about it.

The CAPM and PMP students therefore chose to be in the same study session, and we only divided the students up by geographical area, not by “scope” in terms of what exam they were studying for.

I’m looking forward to monitoring the student groups to see how it turns out. Plus I intend to ask the instructors how the Q&A sessions change with having the CAPM students around. Should be an interesting workshop…

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 2 (Organizational Influences and Project Life Cycle) overview


The first chapter of the PMBOK® Guide dealt with some basic definitions of a project; chapter 2 starts to expand the understanding of a project into its “ecology” or environment within an organization. In section 2.1, the relationship between a functional manager and a project manager is shown to differ depending on the type of structure an organization has. It is important to know these various structures and the kind of power a project manager has relative to a functional manager in each type of structure.

Section 2.2 goes on to discuss the subject of stakeholders and how they are important in the managing of the project. This topic of stakeholders is of paramount importance for the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide; this is evidenced by the fact that there is now a whole new knowledge area (Chapter 13) devoted to the topic.

Section 2.3 goes into detail about the different roles within a project team, and how a team is supposed to work together to achieve the goal of completing the project.

Finally, the last section 2.4 discusses the various types of project life cycles, that is, the various ways the phases of a project can be organized depending on the type of project, and in some cases, the type of application area the project is in. For example, many IT projects nowadays utilize an adaptive or agile methodology, and this is described as a constrast to the traditional or waterfall methodology.

Fig. 1 PMBOK® Guide Chapter 2

Section

Title

2.1 Organizational Influences on Project Management
2.2 Project Stakeholders and Governance
2.3 Project Team
2.4 Project Life Cycle

Together, these sections describe a how project work fits within an organization, how stakeholders within and without the organization can affect the project, how a project team is supposed to work together, and how a project life cycle is related to the phases of a development of a product. Next week I will start on posts related to section 2.1.