5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 4: Change Management Plan


One of the subsidiary management plans under the Project Management Plan is the Change Management Plan. I have already discussed change requests in an earlier post.

In this post, I want to accomplish the following

  • Review how change requests fit into the project management process
  • Discuss the elements of the Change Management Plan
  • Discuss the philosophy behind managing change on a project, utilizing an acronym called PECHO which summarizes this philosophy

1. Change Requests—where do they fit in the project management process?

Change requests are identified, reviewed and approved, and then implemented at different parts of the project management process.

They can be identified either while project work is performed during the Executing Process Group (Process 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work) OR as a result of comparing planned results to actual results during the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group (Process 4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work).

These outputs of the two processes mentioned above then become inputs to Process 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control, where they are reviewed, analyzed, and then either approved or rejected. IF they are approved, they are then outputs to this process, and become fed into Process 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work as inputs to be implemented.

Here’s a diagram summarizing this process.


2. Change Requests—review of types of requests

Do you remember the Charles Dickens story The Christmas Carol? In it, Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by three ghosts, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future.

On a project, a project manager is also haunted by three types of problems, Defects Past, Defects Present, and Defects Future. In other words,

  • Defect repair—defects or nonconforming products which have already been created as a result of project work must be modified or repaired;

  • Corrective action—an activity which realigns the project work, which is not conforming to the project management plan

  • Preventive action—an activity which ensures that the future project work will be aligned with the project management plan

Of course, rather than aligning the project work to the project management plan, another types of change may be:

  • Updates—changes to the project management plan itself

3. Change Management Plan

The time to manage changes starts before they even happen, of course, during the Planning Process Group. That’s the time when you should create a Change Management Plan so you know how to handle the changes when they do occur.

Here are the elements of the Change Management Plan

Plan Element Explanation
1. Change Control Procedures General policies and procedures by which changes are approved, validated, and implemented
2. Change Control Plan Plan outlining how changes will be managed and controlled depending on whether they occur during Executing process or during Monitoring & Controlling Process.
3. Change Control Meetings The Change Control Board is responsible for approving or rejecting changes; Change Control Meetings are for evaluating changes, creating options, and preparing change requests for submittal to whoever has authority to approve those changes (PM, Change Control Board, or sponsor).
4. Change Control Board Rules regarding creation of a CCB to approve changes (who sits on board, who has approval authority, etc.)
5. Change Authorization Procedures Levels of authority for authorizing changes (i.e., changes may be authorized by PM, Change Control Board, or sponsor depending on degree of change
6. Change Control System This is part of the Project Management Information System, and includes standardized templates for tracking and controlling changes

And here are the various elements of the Change Management Plan with regards to when they come into play. The Change Control Procedures and the Change Control Plan are set up beforehand, so that when changes occur, Change Control Meetings can be used to evaluate them. Once they are evaluated, they are then approved or rejected in the Change Control Board according to the Change Authorization Procedures, and then they are tracked in the Change Control System whether they are approved or not.

4. PMI philosophy of managing change

I learned an acronym for simplifying the PMI philosophy with regards to how to manage changes on a project. I first thought of the elements of

  • Prevent changes if possible (eliminate need for changes, or see if changes are not allowed as per charter)
  • Evaluate the impact of the change on the other constraints of the project
  • Create options to reduce the impact (compressing schedule, etc.)
  • Get the change request approved by authority (PM, CCB, or sponsor)
  • Get approval from customer (if required)

Playing around with this awhile, I saw the following letters PECHO (meaning CHEST) in Spanish.

  • Prevent changes
  • Evaluate impact
  • Create options
  • Higher-ups, aka authority, approval
  • OK from customer

In this way, you can see that the best way to handle changes is to NOT have to handle them by preventing them. But if you do you need to first see what implementing this change will do to the project. Then create options as to minimize that impact, and then create a change request which outlines the change (does it change the product scope or any part of the performance measurement baseline itself) AND your recommendations.

The authority or higher-ups must then either approval or reject the change. Internal approval is first granted and then okayed with the customer, although some Change Control Boards include both representatives from the company doing the project and the customer’s company.

Then you log the change request in the change control tracking system and indicate whether it has been approved. If approved it is then implemented! Of course, if the project plans are changed, then this version is labeled “1.1” to distinguish it from the original project plan “1.0” (or however your change configuration numbering system is set up).

And that sums up the philosophy behind how to minimize the impact of changes on your project, but following a well-designed change management procedure set forth in the change management plan.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 4: What plans go into the Project Management Plan?


1. Project Management Plan components

There are three categories of plans that make up the overall Project Management Plan.

Category

Description

1.. Performance Measurement Baseline This consists of the following three baselines:

  • Scope baseline (= project scope statement + WBS + WBS dictionary)
  • Schedule baseline
  • Cost baseline
2.. Knowledge area management plans These consist of plans from the 8 knowledge areas other than Integration

  • Scope Management Plan
  • Schedule Management Plan
  • Cost Management Plan
  • Quality Management Plan
  • Human Resource Plan
  • Communications Management Plan
  • Risk Management Plan
  • Procurements Management Plan
  • Stakeholder Management Plan
3. Additional management plans These are additional management plans such as

  • Requirements management plan (scope)
  • Change management plan (integration)
  • Configuration management plan (integration)
  • Process improvement plan (quality)

2. Additional management plans—additional explanation

It is fairly obvious that the nine management plans listed under item 2 above come from the various knowledge areas listed. However, I feel a little more detail should be in order for those 4 additional management plans listed under item 3.

Management Plan

Explanation

1. Change management plan This outlines the change control process:

  • who can approve, including the creation of a change control board if necessary
  • how approved changes will be managed and controlled
2. Configuration management plan As opposed to changes in the project, the configuration controls changes to the functional and physical characteristics of the product, and documents those changes.
3. Requirements management plan This links the various requirements to

  • the overall project objectives (sometimes through a requirements traceability index)
  • the source of each requirement (which stakeholder)
  • who is assigned to manage the requirement
4. Process improvement plan Improving processes used on the project during the course of the project by analyzing them in order to identify those activities that enhance value.

Although they are not explicitly linked to knowledge areas in the PMBOK® Guide, it should be fairly obvious that these four subsidiary management plans are linked to the knowledge areas in the following way

Management Plan

Related Knowledge Area

1. Change management plan The change management plan is linked to the process of change control, which falls under the Integration knowledge area. Change management tells you how the change is to evaluated, decided upon, and implemented (if approved).
2. Configuration management plan The configuration plan is linked to the process of change control, which falls under the Integration knowledge area. Configuration management tells you what version of the product or project plans you are dealing with.
3. Requirements management plan This is linked to scope management plan, in that the scope of the project, or the general characteristics of the product of the project as agreed upon by the customer, are then analyzed into technical requirements which then are then the focus of the deliverables of the project. Therefore requirements management is related to the Scope knowledge area.
4. Process improvement plan Improving a process is related to quality assurance, which therefore means that process improvement is related to the Quality knowledge area.

ALL of these elements combined to form the Project Management Plan, which really is a collection of all the other plans combined in one overall plan to be referred to during the Executing and Monitoring & Controlling process groups.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 4: Process 4.6 Close Product or Phase


This Process 4.6 Close Product or Phase, besides being the final process out of the Integration Management Knowledge Area, also happens to be the last process you will encounter on the project itself.

4.6 CLOSED PROJECT OR PHASE
INPUTS
1. Project Management Plan The Project Management Plan should include the agreement between the project manager and the project sponsor, defining what criteria constitute successful project completion.
2. Accepted Deliverables These are the output of the process 5.5 Validate Scope. The formal documentation regarding from the customer or sponsor acknowledging formal stakeholder acceptance of the deliverables is an input to this process.
3. OPAs
  • Project or phase closure guidelines or requirements.
  • Project document and lessons learned database
TOOLS & TECHNIQUES
1. Expert judgment Expertise is used to ensure project or phase closure, often from the Project Management Organization (PMO) or other project managers within the organization if there is no PMO.
2. Analytical Techniques
  • Regression analysis
  • Trend analysis
3. Meetings Meetings will focus on closeout procedures and lessons learned for future projects.
OUTPUTS
1. Final output, service, or result transition This is the output of the entire project.
2. OPAs updates
  • Project files
  • Project closure documents
  • Historical information (lessons learned, etc.)

There are three separate closures going on in the project. There is the closure of the product, the closure of the project, and a closure of the resources behind the project. This is not PMBOK terminology, but my way of organizing these various parts of the closure process.

The closure of the product means getting the customer to accept the final deliverable if the project is external, meaning that the end result is going to be delivered to a customer outside of the organization. If the project is internal, meaning that the end result is going to be delivered to the sponsor, then the sponsor is the one that has to sign off on the final deliverable. Besides handing off the completed product, and gaining acceptance, this is often a good time to solicit feedback from the customer or sponsor about the project for use in the “lessons learned” for future projects. What went wrong? What went well?

The closure of the project means the formal closing of the administrative procedures, the updating of project documents, and the lessons learned knowledge base, and then the indexing and archiving of those records and databases. This is also a time for review of the project performance in terms of various criteria agreed upon beforehand to judge the degree of success of the project (was it within budget, on schedule, etc.).

The closure of the resources behind the project means the financial closure of the project. This is important because financial closure must be completed before the unused resources assigned to that project can be returned to the organization for use on other projects.

These three processes need to be completed if the project is not only going to be successful, but is going to be the seed of future successful projects because all of the lessons gained through experience can now be used to prevent the project manager from having to “reinvent the wheel” the next time.

Having completed a review of the six processes of the Integration Management knowledge base, I would like to return to a few topics from this knowledge area.

The first one is to review the various subsidiary plans that go into the Project Management Plan. All of the knowledge areas have their own subsidiary plans that go into this “master” plan, if you will, but there are four additional subsidiary plans that are a vital part of this Project Management Plan which need to be recognized as well. Those subsidiary plans will be the subject of the next post.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 4: Process 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control


1. Introduction

Process 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control is one of the most important of the project management processes. Remember that the cost of implementing changes in the project goes up as the project gets further along. Therefore, it is best to prevent changes if possible, and if not possible, to make those changes as soon as possible in the project.    If you cannot avoid making a change, then you need to go through the process of analyzing what the impact on the project will be.

2. Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs

Here is a chart summarizing the inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs.

4.5 PERFORM INTEGRATED CHANGE CONTROL
INPUTS
1. Project Management Plan These are an output of 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan. The subsidiary plans that are particularly relevant are:

  • Scope management plan (procedures for scope changes)
  • Scope baseline (particularly product definition)
  • Change management plan (managing the change control process and documents the formal Change Control Board)
2. Work Performance Reports These are an output of 4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work; those particularly relevant are:

  • Resource availability
  • Schedule and cost data
  • Earned value management
  • Burnup or Burndown charts (showing how much work is left to be done)
3. Change requests These are outputs of EITHER 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work OR 4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work.
Can include one of four categories

  • Defect repair
  • Corrective action
  • Preventive action
  • Updates to project management plan

The first three adjust the work to the plan, the last one adjusts the plan itself.

4. EEFs In particular, the

  • Project management information system (PMIS)
5. OPAs There are two categories of OPAs, the first being policies and procedures …

  • Change control procedures (how plans, procedures will be approved, validated, and implemented)
  • Process measurement database

… and the second being documents and corporate knowledge databases.

  • Project documents
  • Configuration management database (keeps track of baselines and variations of policies, procedures, and documents)
TOOLS & TECHNIQUES
1. Expert judgment Stakeholders with expertise may be asked to sit on Change Control Board (CCB)
2. Meetings Meetings of Change Control Board are referred as to as change control meetings.
3. Change control tools Manual or automated tools may be used for change or configuration management.
OUTPUTS
1. Approved change requests Only those change requests which are approved by the appropriate authority (such as the Change Control Board) are then input back into process 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work.
2. Change Log All change requests, whether approved or rejected, get recorded in the change log.
3. Project Management Plan updates The same project management plans that are listed as input #1 for this process are updated:

  • Scope management plan (procedures for scope changes)
  • Scope baseline (particularly product definition)

Change management plan (managing the change control process and documents the formal Change Control Board)

4. Project Document updates All documents that are considered part of the formal change control process are updated.

Here are a few things to note:

Change requests are inputs from two different processes. If the need for the change is obvious and is noticed while the project work is being executed, then the change request may be an output of 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work. On the other hand, if the need for the change is only noticed as a result of the monitoring the project (by measuring earned value at various points along the way, for example), then the change request may be an output of 4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work.

In either case, the change requests are analyzed as part of a process that was set out in the Change Management Plan. The tools & techniques for change management are expert judgment, meetings, and the tools used to facilitate these two techniques.

The APPROVED changes are then input back into the 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work, although all change requests are entered into the Change Log, whether they are approved or not.

The next process is that of 4.6 Close Project or Phase, which I will summarize in the next post.

Support your Toastmasters Spring Speech Contest


It’s approaching Spring, and that means the arrival of bees, flowers, and … the Toastmaster Spring Speech Contests! This Spring the contests will be the Table Topics Speech Contest and the International Speech Contest.

For those who have performed six speeches already in Toastmasters, you are eligible to enter the International Speech Contest if you are a member in good standing (i.e., you have paid your dues). If you want to be in the Table Topics Speech Contest, you have no other requirement other than being a member in good standing.

Now this blog post is entitled “Support your Toastmasters Spring Speech Contest”, for the reason that, even if you decide not to enter the contest yourself, you can still support your club’s contest in two different ways.

1. Assist at the Club/Area Contest

If you are not a contestant, you can still support your club contest and then your area contest after that by taking a support role. This can be as simple as sitting as the registration desk, or it can be as demanding as being the Toastmaster (or Master of Ceremonies) of the contest itself. A contest at the club will involve a Toastmaster, a Timer, a Contest Master (to introduce each of the two contests), with the regular members acting as the Judges of the speech by voting for which speech they thought was best, just like they do at regular meetings.

At the Area Contest level, besides the Toastmaster, Contest Master, and Timer, you have Judges that are usually from a different Area and a Chief Judge who is the one who announces the winners at the end. Your Area Governor would certainly appreciate the help, and in showing up to the area contest, you can also support your club’s contest in the following way.

2. Support your Club’s Contestants

If you assist at the Area contest, you can also cheer on your own club’s contestants. But even I you don’t assist at the Area contest, you can of course do this as well. When our club sent a contestant last Fall to the Evaluation Contest, I made sure to go to the Area Contest to cheer our club member on. I sat with him, and in the various breaks in the action of the contest, we would go over the various points of what makes a good evaluation. He ended up winning 2nd place in the contest, which was exciting for him, because it was the first time he had ever been in such a speech contest in his life.

But it was a great moment for me, because I know that my club members supported me when I did my speech, and I felt good about “paying it forward” and helping those in my club who were themselves entering this time around.

Just remember, the whole point of the contest is to take your game to a new level. To do this takes experience, preparation, and enthusiasm. The club member supplies the experience and preparation of course. But by supporting your club member and attending the contest, you can help supply the enthusiasm!

Whether that club member wins or loses the contest, the club member will win by the experience he or she gains, and you will win by the camaraderie that develops when you support someone in the contest.

The Political and Economic Outlook for #Myanmar—An Economist Intelligence Unit Webinar


The Political and Economic Outlook for #Myanmar—An Economist Intelligence Unit Webinar

On February 21st, 2013, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) presented a webinar on the Political and Economic Outlook for Myanmar. It was presented from Hong Kong by Jake Hamstra, the Editor on the Asia Forecasting Team for EIU, and my summary of the webinar is contained in the blog post below.   This post also includes the question and answer session at the end of the presentation, based on questions submitted to Mr. Hamstra by the attendees.

1. Introduction

It is now the 2nd anniversary of the civilian government in Myanmar after 50 years of a military dictatorship, and it that time it has gone from being a pariah state like North Korea to being a “donor’s darling”, being a prime destination both for investments and grants. It went from being an embargoed economy that was cut off from the global system to a market that is now an exciting frontier. The webinar covers the economic and political outlook in Myanmar discussing first the positive developments and then the challenging issues that the country faces on its road from transformation from dictatorship to democracy.

2. Politics—Positive Developments

There were elections in April 2012 that were judged to be fair by international standards and in them, the opposition gained seats in parliament. It is now a fairly well-functioning parliamentary system, with the opposition playing a prominent role in legislation and policymaking, although the military still has a majority stake in the government.

There is broad-based support for the reform process. There has been a steady expansion of civil and political rights, with steady releases of political prisoners, the lifting of bans on public gatherings and curbing of restrictions on the media.

The iconic figure of the opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, has a positive relationship with the president of Myanmar, Thein Sein. Reform is being supported within the parliament not just by pro-democracy forces, but even some pro-government and even military MPs.

3. Politics—Challenges

The military is entrenched, and remains the overwhelmingly dominant force. Jake Hamstra thinks that the reform process may be irreversible, but it has the possibility of being slowed down or even stopped by the military if it chooses to do so.

Ethnic divisions and conflicts remain one of the key obstacles to reform. There have been many cease-fires signed in 2011, but there remain two serious areas of conflict, the Kachin in northernmost Myanmar and the Rohingya in the Rakhine state on the West coast of Myanmar.

The conflict with the Kachin seems to get the most attention both because is symbolic of the ethnic struggles in general in Myanmar and because of the involvement of the Chinese government in negotiations between the Kachin and the Myanmar government. The basic position of the Kachin is that they will only agree to a cease-fire if the government first grants them more self-rule. The government’s position is that they will only agree to granting them more self-rule if the Kachin first agree to a cease-fire. The negotiations between the two parties by the Chinese are aimed at bridging the gap between these two diametrically opposed positions.

The other serious area of conflict is in the Western Rakhine state of Myanmar with the Rohingya people, a Muslim people in a country which is mainly Buddhist. The government’s refusal to give citizenship rights to the Rohingya, and the violence perpetrated against them directly by the military and indirectly by the fomenting of sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims, is complicating Myanmar’s relations with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). The problem with the government’s relations with the Rohingya is that ASEAN is not as strong a counterweight in the conflict as China is in the conflict with the Kachin state to the north.

The low-hanging fruit in terms of reform has already been done. As reforms get harder, fault lines may begin to occur in parliament.

4. Economics—Positive Developments

The GDP growth will accelerate to a level of 6.7% a year in the period from 2014-2017. Inflation will remain manageable, but will remain vulnerable to typhoons and other weather-related events because 70% of the economy is still tied to agriculture.

Foreign direct investment is ramping up, and regional trade will start to ramp up as well.

Reforms are trying to liberalize state-run enterprises, and thereby increase private competition. Two examples of reforms that are being carried out are a) monetary independence of the central bank and b) fiscal transparency. Regarding monetary independence, this is the first time the central bank will gain independence from the Finance Ministry. Regarding fiscal transparency, last year was the first time the budget was openly debated in parliament as opposed to being decided upon behind closed doors.

5. Economics—Challenges

Corruption is still a very serious problem that hampers foreign direct investment. The infrastructure, especially the electrical grid, remains poor, and therefore growth in foreign direct investment and trade will remain gradual.

The agricultural sector now accounts for 70% of GDP, and all of the investment seems to be going in resource-extraction projects, which does nothing to boost domestic demand. Myanmar will not be an export-oriented global “tiger” for many years to come.

6. Key Issues to Watch

Political: constitutional change ahead of the 2015 election, peace process with ethnic groups Kachin and Rohingya

Economic: International telecoms will bid for 2 out of the 4 licenses available (Myanmar has low mobile phone penetration rate of 9%)

Here’s a chart summarizing the positive developments and challenges:

Positive Developments Challenges
Politics
  • April 2012 elections fair
  • Parliament functions well
  • Support for reform is broad-based
  • Expansion of civil and political rights
  • + relationship between opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President
  • Military still dominant political force, retains “veto power” over reforms
  • Ethnic conflict in Kachin and Rakhine states
  • Sectarian violence
  • Reforms will get more difficult
Economics
  • GDP growth high (6.7%)
  • Inflation manageable
  • FDI, trade increasing gradually
  • Economic reforms (transparency, liberalization)
  • Corruption
  • Investment concentrated in resource-extraction
  • Infrastructure poor
  • Domestic demand lags

7. Economic and Political Forecast—Three Scenarios

In May 2012, the EIU gave a webinar in which they gave the following three scenarios and their likelihood.  This probably remains the basic forecast for Myanmar according to EIU.

Scenario

Economic

Political

GDP Growth

Likelihood

1) Most likely

Investment occurs, reform slows

Military in control, NDL reform party still marginal

7%

60%

2) Optimistic

Breakup of state monopolies, reforms implemented

Multi-party democracy, NDL not majority but very influential

8.5%

25%

3) Pessimistic

Only growth in extractive industries, reform halts

Military cracks down on reforms, ethnic conflicts unresolved, sanctions reinstated

5% (current baseline)

15%

8. Question and Answer session

Here are the discussion questions that came at the end of the presentation

Question 1: Will there be progress towards the settlement of ethnic conflicts?
There will be partial progress, especially at the meeting between the nationalities of the federal council representing 11 ethnics groups and the government. They have agreed to facilitate economic development in these areas, in order that the economic reforms benefit the regional areas as well as the area around the capital. The government in return wants the ethnic militias to be subsumed in a border guard controlled by the government.

Remember, the government is trying to move towards feudalism, and has the problem of working against 50 years of movement the other way, as the military tried to centralize control of the country.

Question 2: To what extent will Myanmar be able to create a Special Economic Zone (SEZ)?

There was initial interest in setting up an SEZ by Japanese and other foreign investors, but this is now waning because issues of insufficient infrastructure (electricity in particular) and land rights need to be resolved first. The problem is that most of the investment is flowing into resource extraction, and not infrastructure at this point.

Question 3: How does the mobile phone penetration rate of Myanmar compare to that of other countries in the area?

Mobile phone penetration in Myanmar is estimated at between 3 and 9%. For comparison, in Cambodia the rate is 70%, and in Thailand it is 110%. That is why the issue of the international telecoms gaining licensing rights in Myanmar is an important one.

Question 4: What is the banking situation in Myanmar?
This is one of the most challenging areas, because state-owned banks are dominated by people with close ties to the former military regime. The function of these banks was to funnel money to government-related projects that were not necessarily in the interest of the country as a whole. The state-owned banks will not be broken up, but their portfolio expanded as foreign direct investment increases. The main problem from a development perspective is that banks are not granting loans to agricultural and rural areas, which are in greatest need of such development.

Question 5: What is China’s role in the negotiations with the Kachin ethnic group?

China is playing a positive role in the Kachin negotiations. It has influence over Kachin because it is hosting refugees—there are currently ethnic Kachin on the Chinese side of border. Chinese have been the main provider of support for the military in Myanmar in the form of weapons, training, and intelligence. China is seen by the government of Myanmar as fairly neutral. The influence is beneficial, but may not be strong enough break the deadlock in negotiations that currently exist: Kachin wants political settlement before a cease fire, and the government wants a cease fire before political settlement.

Question 6: What are the roadblocks ahead for reform in Myanmar?

Although there is strong popular support of reform in Myanmar, and popular support for the democratic opposition, the main problem is that the pro-government forces are supporting investment to foreigners who want to exploit the natural and land resources of Myanmar, and these investments do not help the entire country as a whole.

Question 7: What is the role of Japan in Myanmar’s economic development?

Japan has played a critical role not only because of investment, but because they were at the forefront in terms of debt forgiveness. It not took the lead in terms of debt forgiveness, but also in terms of creating bridge loans to restructure the remaining debt. They played a role in looking into developing an SEZ near Yangon, although this development has stalled due to reasons of poor infrastructure and land rights issues.

Question 8: What is the exchange rate regime?

The exchange rate was vastly overvalued. In April 2012, the official exchange rate was revalued, and the kyat, the currency of Myanmar, will appreciate gradually over the next few years, causing higher flows of investment into the country.

Question 9: What is the current state of development of the SEZ in the port of Dawei with the Thai government?

There was an MOU signed back in 2008 under the former military government. However, the government canceled plans for a power plant to provide electricity to the SEZ, and a Burmese conglomerate subsequently phased out investment in the zone. There has been waning confidence on the Thai side as well. The electricity supply needs to be ensured before the project gets off the ground.

This concludes this blog post.    

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 4: Meetings


The fourth chapter covers the Integration Knowledge Area, and there are six processes that comprise this area. Out of these six processes, the following four of them have “Meetings” as a Tool & Techniques

  • 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work
  • 4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work
  • 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control
  • 4.6 Close Project or Phase

I wanted to write this post on what PMBOK® has to say about the different types and formats of meetings, as well as the requirements for a well-run meeting.

1. Meeting Purposes

The following is a summary of the different types of meetings. What the PMBOK® Guide means by “types” is what the purpose
of the meeting is.

Type Explanation
1. Information exchange Information is presented from project manager to team members and vice versa
2. Brainstorming, evaluation of options, design Interactive exploration of ideas, options, or design objectives and/or requirements
3. Decision making Options are evaluated with the goal of making a decision which one to take and then implementing it

The PMBOK® Guide basically recommends having one purpose for the meeting and purpose only, and not mixing the three types mentioned above.

2. Meeting Formats

Format Explanation
1. Face-to-Face When participants are all in the same location: most effective format for meetings
2. Virtual Meeting via audio or video conferencing tools: requires additional preparation and organization to be as effective as face-to-face meetings

In addition, each type of meeting may be formal or informal. Formal meetings are for major milestones of the project such as the kickoff meeting, or the closing of the project. Informal meetings are more of the regular work meetings of the project. Formal meetings will require more stakeholders in attendance, those that are both involved in the project work and those that are concerned or affected by the work of the project; informal meetings will involve those that are just involved in the project work.

Virtual teams that are international pose additional linguistic, technological, and cultural challenges. For a review of these challenges, see the following blog post which contains a review of an Economist webinar on this topic:

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

3. Meeting Requirements

Meetings where everyone “goes around the room” reporting their status are boring for the participants, as are “death by Powerpoint” meetings where people use slide shows for their presentations and read each slide as if it were the script for their presentation.

Here’s what the PMBOK® Guide recommends for an effective meeting

Requirement Explanation
1. Attendants The project manager, the team members, and the appropriate stakeholders (those involved in the meeting purpose) must attend the meeting.
2. Roles Those attending the meeting must have defined roles (leader, facilitator, note-taker, etc.) WHILE the meeting takes place.
3. Agenda A well-defined agenda must be circulated BEFORE the meeting which gives the

  • Purpose
  • List of attendees
  • Objective(s)
  • Time-frame
4. Minutes The general points made at the time of the meeting and actions items that need to be followed up on must be compiled in meeting minutes which are circulated AFTER the meeting to the involved and concerned stakeholders.

These meeting categories are designed to make sure that the meeting that is effective in that achieves its purpose, but also efficient in that it does it at a minimum of time taken from everyone’s busy schedule. This will make people more willing and less reluctant to take part in them.

After this weekend’s posts on a webinar regarding Myanmar, I will return next week to a discussion of the fifth process of the Integration Knowledge Area, that of process 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control.