5th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 7.1 Plan Cost Management

This post gives an overview of the first of the three planning processes in the Cost Management Knowledge Area, namely process 7.1 Plan Cost Management, with summaries of the inputs, tools & techniques, and output of the process.

1. Inputs

As far as inputs are concerned, the most important ones are the scope baseline, because that represents the work that needs to be done, and the budget will tell you how much money is required to do it. The schedule baseline, which was the output of process 6.1 Plan Schedule Management, is necessary as an input. Other knowledge management plans may provide input as well, some of which are completed after the cost management plan in the list of planning processes. This shows that the planning process is iterative and may require several passes through in order to integrate the various knowledge area management plans.

The project charter will give the high-level summary budget, and those project approval requirements that have to do with the project cost constraints (i.e., the project may absolutely have to be done within a certain amount of money).

The main EEF or Enterprise Environmental Factor is probably going to be the project management software used to create the schedule; the main OPA or Organizational Process Asset is probably going to be the historical information on prior similar projects that can be used to help estimate the schedule.

1. Project Management Plan The following elements of the PM Plan are used in the development of the Cost Management Plan:

  • Scope baseline (= project scope statement, WBS, and WBS dictionary)
  • Schedule baseline
  • Cost, risk, and communications management plans
2. Project Charter Provides the summary budget from which detailed project costs are developed, as well as project approval requirements (particularly those dealing with project cost constraints).
3. EEFs
  • Organizational culture and structure
  • Market conditions (describe what products are available on global market)
  • Currency exchange rates
  • Commercial information such as cost rate information; published seller list prices
  • Project Management Software
4. OPAs
  • Financial control procedures
  • Historical information and lessons learned knowledge bases
  • Financial databases
  • Cost estimating and budgeting-related policies, procedures, and guidelines
1. Expert judgment Uses historical information from prior similar projects and adapts it appropriately to the current project.
2. Analytical techniques Used to choose strategic options related to funding the project.
3. Meetings Planning meetings are used to develop the cost management plan.
1. Cost Management Plan Establishes the criteria and the activities for developing, monitoring and controlling the schedule.

2.  Tools & Techniques

The tools & techniques of the process are exactly parallel to those on process 6.1 Plan Schedule Management:  expert judgment, analytical techniques, and meetings.

3.  Output

The output of the process Plan Cost Management, it will be no surprise, is the Cost Management Plan itself. Essentially what this does is give a framework for of the other processes in the Cost Management knowledge area, and the next post will discuss the detailed contents of the Cost Management Plan.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 7: Cost Management Knowledge Area

After Chapter 6, which discusses Time Management, the next knowledge area in Chapter 7 covers the last of the three major “triple constraints”, that of cost, and the purpose of this knowledge area is so that the project can be completed within the approved budget.

There are four project management processes in the Cost Management Knowledge Area. Three of these are in the Planning Process Group and one is the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

The first planning process, that of Plan Cost Management, creates the Cost Management Plan which is the framework for all of the other processes. (NOTE: In the 4th Edition, this plan was created not as a separate process, but as part of the Develop Project Management Plan process in the Integration Knowledge Area.)

The second planning process creates the estimate of the costs of the individual activities which are then aggregated in the third planning process to determine the project budget, also known as the cost baseline. In the fourth process, in the Control Costs process in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group, the actual costs of the project are measured as throughout the rest of the project as compared to this cost baseline, and changes are requested if there is a significant enough variance detected from that baseline.





Process Description
Planning 7.1 Plan Cost Management Establishes policies, procedures, and documentation for planning, managing, expending, and controlling project costs.
Planning 7.2 Estimate Costs Develops an approximation of the monetary resources needed to complete project activities.
Planning 7.3 Determine Budget Aggregates the estimated costs of individual activities or work packages in order to establish an authorized cost baseline.
Monitoring & Controlling 7.4 Control Costs Monitors the status of the project to update the project costs and manages changes to the cost baseline.

The next post will go over the first of these processes, the planning process 7.1 Plan Cost Management.

History of Christianity—Lecture 5: The Gospel of Mark (part 2)


This is a summary of the fifth 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.

7. First Half of the Gospel—Jesus Unknown Identity

Jesus casts out demons, and people start wondering, “could this man be the Messiah?” The Jewish leaders, however, in Mark 3:22, say that the reason he is able to cast out demons is because he is empowered by the Prince of Demons, the Devil. Most striking of all, Jesus’ own disciples are explicitly said not to understand who he is. We have two accounts in this early part of the Gospel in which the narrator explicit tells us that Jesus’ disciples, who have witnessed what he has done, fail to understand who he is.

At one time, he is on a boat, a storm has come up, and he says to his disciples to beware of the leaven of the scribes and the Pharisees. They think that this means they should have brought some bread along, because Jesus has been talking about leaven. They feel that they have blown it this time because they haven’t brought any bread and he is upset with us. This is right after Jesus has two times multiplied loaves of bread for the multitudes, feeding 5,000 one time and 4,000 another time with just a few loaves of bread.

The narrative ends when the disciples think they should have brought bread along, and Jesus says “don’t you yet understand about the bread? I can provide bread.” No, apparently they don’t understand.

A couple of chapters later we have another account of the disciples explicitly been described as not understanding who this is. In Mark 8:21, Jesus has just performed another miracle, and the disciples question among themselves what this is all about. Jesus then has to ask them, “don’t you yet understand?” The answer is: no, they don’t understand. Throughout the first half of this gospel, virtually nobody understands who Jesus is.

Well, surely somebody understands, because Jesus has been doing all of these miracles. Who does know that Jesus is the authoritative Son of God? When you read the first half of this Gospel, you might be surprised at who knows about Jesus’ identity. In fact you can count the number of people who know about Jesus’ identity on one hand. The narrative begins with Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. It’s an interesting account; it’s not narrated in any great depth, but we are told that when Jesus is baptized, he comes up out of the waters, he sees that the Heavens split apart, and the spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove. A voice came from Heaven which says, “you are my beloved son; in you I am well pleased. The voice comes directly to Jesus; it doesn’t come to the crowds around Jesus, as it does in the Gospel of Matthew. So who knows that Jesus is the Son of God?

#1, God knows because he says so at the baptism.

#2, Jesus knows because he is the one who hears the voice.

#3 The demons know who Jesus is.

When Jesus casts out demons, in this account, they fly out of the bodies they have been inhabiting and they cry out, “You are the Son of God!” (Mark 3:15). Who else knows?

#4 Mark knows, because he’s writing this account.

#5 You know, because you’re reading this account.

8. Jesus’ Identity Revealed

But no one else seems to know who Jesus is in the first half of this account. All of that does change at the midpoint of the Gospel. Mark shows that progressively people begin to have some inkling of an understanding of Jesus’ identity halfway through this Gospel. At the halfway point of the Gospel comes probably the most interesting miracle story of the entire narrative. It’s an account of a man who is blind who only gradually regains his sight. Prof. Ehrman takes this account to be a symbolic expression of what will happen to Jesus’ disciples, who only gradually come to see who Jesus is.

The way the story goes is there is this man who has been born blind who was led to Jesus, and Jesus is asked to heal the man. He spits and he uses the spittle to put on the man’s eyes as a kind of salve. The man then is asked, “can you see?” He says, “I see people walking around by they look like trees.” Now, it’s not quite clear what that means, how a man who is blind from birth would know what trees walking around would look like. The point probably is that he sees in a fuzzy way, and doesn’t see clearly. And then at a second stage, Jesus looks at him intently, and the man then begins to see.

This is the only Gospel story is unable to heal somebody immediately; it takes place in stages and it takes place right after the disciples are said not to understand who Jesus is. Prof. Ehrman thinks it is a symbolic story of the stages through which people go as they come to see Jesus’ real identity. He thinks this because of what happens in the next story. Jesus is with his disciples and he asks them “who do people say that I am?” They say, “well, some say you are John the Baptist come from the dead, some say you are Elijah, some say you are another prophet.” Jesus says, “who do you say that I am?”, and Peter, the leader of the disciples, replies “you are the Messiah.” (Mark 8:29)

You would think, “well, okay, somebody finally understands.” Somebody now gives us that Jesus is the Messiah. But it’s interesting what happens next. Jesus then warns the disciples not to tell anybody. Not to tell anybody? Why would Jesus want them not to tell anybody? Is it because, for this Gospel, Jesus is not the Messiah that anyone expected him to be, that he was not the great and powerful figure who is going to overthrow his enemies?

9. Jesus as the Sufferer

Interestingly, Jesus begins to teach that he has to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Peter rebukes him for saying this? How can the Messiah suffer? Jesus then rebukes Peter, telling him that he doesn’t understand yet the truth about himself. For Mark, Jesus is the Messiah, but he is the Messiah who has to suffer and die even if no one else recognizes it. From this point in the narrative, Jesus regularly predicts that he needs to suffer and die. He makes three predictions of his coming passion—in this context “passion” comes from the Greek word πάσχω (pascho) meaning “to suffer” (Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:33-34).

What is striking is that after each of these predictions the disciples demonstrate their complete inability to understand what Jesus is saying. They spend their time talking about who among them is the greatest and who will be the most powerful in the coming kingdom. After each prediction, they engage in this kind of dialogue. They don’t realize that Jesus is not going to overthrow the Romans; he’s going to be crushed by them. And following him means experiencing his fate.

Mark’s Gospel has sometimes been called a “passion narrative” with a long introduction. Fully six of the 16 chapters of this book deal with the final week of Jesus ‘ life leading up to his death. After 10 chapters of teaching the multitudes, healing the sick, casting out demons, and even raising the dead, Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the Passover. He spends then a week there preaching in the Temple. He has a last meal with his disciples, after which he is betrayed by Judas, arrested by the authorities, denied by Peter, put on trial by the Jewish leaders, and then brought before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate who condemns him to die on a cross, and the climax of the narrative, the point at which everything has been driving up to this stage, Jesus’ death itself.

10. The Death of Jesus

Up to this point, no one seems to have recognized who Jesus is. And even those who, like the disciples, have some kind of partial understanding of Jesus, have not fully realized that, even though he is the Messiah, he needs to suffer and die. At the end, it seems that not even Jesus himself is so sure. Three times he prays to God to remove this fate from him, as if the Messiah could escape suffering. At the end, he is complete silent as if he is in shock. As he hangs on the cross, he has been silent for the entire proceeding. Everybody had mocked him, and at the end, hanging on the cross, he cries out, “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?“, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, and then dies.

Even if Jesus has doubts at the end in this Gospel, though, the reader does not. Mark gives two clear indications in the very next two verses of what this death was all about (Mark 15:38-39). The first thing that happens when Jesus died, was that the curtain in the Temple is torn in half. This was the curtain that separated the area of the Temple called the Holy of Holies from everything else. The Holy of Holies was a room in the Temple which was the most holy of rooms because it was thought that was where God’s presence dwelt on Earth. No one could go into that room, except once a year when the High Priest could go into the room to perform a sacrifice for the people before God. Mark said that that curtain in the Temple was ripped in half, meaning that now God is no longer separated from his people because of Jesus’ death. The death of Jesus brings salvation; this was a death that had to happen.

Moreover, the second thing that happens is that somebody recognizes it. No one throughout this entire Gospel has realized that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, who has to suffer and die, until the end. Interestingly, it is not one of Jesus’ family members or townsfolk, not one of the Jewish leaders, and not even one of his disciples, but rather the pagan centurion who has just crucified him, who sees him die, and then calls out, “truly, this man was the Son of God.”

11. The Ending of Mark

Jesus is the Son of God in this Gospel, not despite the fact he died, but because he died on the cross. His identity is then confirmed at the end of the story. Three days later, Jesus’ women followers go to the tomb and they find it empty. There’s a man there who tells them that he has been raised from the dead. Interestingly, in keeping with the theme that Jesus was completely misunderstood all along, we’re told that that the women then flee the tomb and don’t tell anyone about it because they were afraid.

The original version of the Gospel of Mark ended there, with the women not telling anybody anything. At a later time, in the Early Middle Ages, some Christian scribes who copied the Gospel of Mark added an ending to this account, twelve verses in which Jesus actually does appear to his disciples, convincing them that he is alive. Scholars, though, are convinced that this additional ending to Mark’s Gospel was not original: the disciples never did understand, even though the reader does.

12. Conclusion

Mark was the first Gospel to be written, by a Greek-speaking Christian who had inherited a number of traditions about Jesus. This author doesn’t simply repeat these traditions to provide us with historically accurate detail about what Jesus said and did; his account is in fact much richer and more nuanced than that. Mark molded his traditions to make his point, that Jesus was an unexpected Messiah, one whose suffering and death were neither accidental nor incidental to his Messiahship. For Mark, Jesus suffered and died precisely because he was the Messiah. Moreover, Mark wants his readers to know that if they expect to follow Jesus, they too must take up their cross and follow him.

The next lecture, lecture 6 in this series, will consider the Gospel of Matthew, to see how his portrayal of Jesus is similar to and different from that of Mark’s, the shortest and earliest of our New Testament Gospels.

History of Christianity—Lecture 5: The Gospel of Mark (part 1)

This is a summary of the fifth 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.

1. Introduction

The Gospels represent not only genuine historical recollections of what Jesus said and did, but also stories that were modified either slightly or significantly as people told and retold the stories about Jesus. Since the Gospels have both kinds of tradition in them, both historically accurate accounts and accounts that have been changed, there are two fundamental tasks before us as we engage in our study of these texts.

First, we have the task of examining each account as a piece of literature to see what its own interpretation of Jesus was, or what its own perspective on Jesus was. Second, we have the task of getting behind the portrayal of Jesus in each of these accounts to see what Jesus was really like. Prof. Ehrman sees these as the literary and historical tasks of the historian.

2. Literary Analysis of the Gospels

We’ll begin with the literary task, devoting one lecture to each of the four canonical Gospels and a lecture to some of the gospels that did not make it into the New Testament. After looking at the various gospels individually for their individual portrayals of Jesus, then we will moved behind the accounts to see what Jesus himself actually said and did.

To engage in the literary task of studying the Gospels, it will be important for us to consider the distinctive emphases of each account. There is not just one Gospel of the New Testament but four and, as we will see, each of the four has something special to say about Jesus. Because these four differ, sometimes in minor ways and sometimes in major ways, it’s important that we take them on their own terms. If we conflate the four into one gospel, then we destroy the distinctive meaning of each one. This can be seen by looking at any interpretation of the gospels that takes two accounts that have discrepancies and mashes the two accounts together so that you have one account. Sometimes people speak of the “seven last words of the dying Jesus”, which come from taking the four different Gospel accounts in which Jesus says things while being crucified and puts them together so that he altogether says seven things. The problem with this is that each of the Gospels records a specific idea about Jesus in the things they have him say, so that when you put all four of the Gospels together the distinctiveness of each account is lost. So Prof. Ehrman wants to stress that we need to take each of the Gospels on its own terms, without appealing to other Gospels to help us explain the Gospel we are studying at any given point.

3. Gospel of Mark

We’re going to begin our story with the first Gospel to be written, the Gospel according to Mark. The Gospel of Mark is attributed in Christian tradition to a man named John Mark, the personal secretary of the apostle Peter. We don’t actually know who this author was; the attribution to Mark does not occur until 70 or 80 years after the book itself was actually written. All we know about this author is that he was a relatively high-educated, Greek-speaking Christian who was writing some 35 to 40 years after the events that he narrates. Most scholars place the writing of this book in the late 60s AD, 65 to possibly as late as 70 AD, or even a few years that. This author appears to have heard stories about Jesus that had been in circulation for some time. He then wrote down a number of these stories, not simply as he heard them but putting his own spin on who Jesus really was.

Prof. Ehrman will continue referring to this author as “Mark” simply as a matter of convenience rather than choosing some other arbitrary name. Mark begins his account of Jesus by calling his book a Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. The term “Gospel” comes to us in English through the Old English godspel meaning “good news”, which itself is a translation of the Greek term εὐαγγέλιον (euageelion) meaning “good news”. This is where we get the word “evangelism” from.

It is interest that Mark calls this book a Gospel rather than, say, a biography. Mark does not claim to be writing an historically accurate biography in the modern sense of the term. Instead, he claims to be writing an account of Jesus that reveals how Jesus’ life and death brings good news to those who are willing to receive it. In particular, this book was not written simply to recount the events from Jesus’ life, but to explain to the readers who Jesus really was and why his death mattered. Mark sets a tall order for himself at the very outset of the Gospel by his initial description of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1).

4. Jesus as the Christ or Messiah

These descriptions may not seem particularly problematic or surprising to us today because Christians today naturally this of Jesus as the Christ. But for people in Mark’s world, this description would have seemed rather shocking. The term “Christ” is a Greek term (Χριστός) which literally means “anointed one.” In fact, it is the exact Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (Mashiaẖ), from which we get the word Messiah, so that the Greek “Christ” means the Hebrew “Messiah”. This is a designation or a title, not a name. Why would this have been a surprising or problematic designation for Jesus? Precisely because what people thought that the Christ or the Messiah was supposed to be. This would have been a shocking description of Jesus in the ancient world precisely because everyone–Mark, his readers, and even those who weren’t his readers—knew that Jesus had been crucified as criminal.

But Jews were not expecting a crucified criminal as the Messiah; quite the contrary. Most Jews weren’t expecting a Messiah, but most those Jews who were expecting a Messiah were expecting a figure of grandeur and power, a military leader like King David of old or a cosmic figure who was going to come in judgment against the forces of evil that are now in power on the Earth. Jews who expected the Messiah thought it would be a powerful figure who would overthrow God’s enemy and set up God’s kingdom on Earth. So far as we know, there were no Jews prior to Christianity who thought that the Messiah was going to be somebody who was crucified. In fact, the Messiah was not supposed to suffer and die; the Messiah was supposed to overthrow God’s enemies and so bring forth God’s kingdom. Jesus, on the other hand, was obviously crucified. How then could he be the Messiah? Mark’s book is designed to show Jesus could be the Messiah despite the fact, or rather, because of the fact that he was crucified. For Mark, Jesus was the Messiah because he suffered and died.

5. The Mark Narrative—Authoritative son of God

Mark begins his narrative through a series of stories that are meant to demonstrate Jesus’ credentials as the uniquely authoritative son of God. When you begin reading this Gospel, you are immediately struck with the authoritative character of Jesus, who is first announced by a Jewish prophet named John the Baptist as the fulfillment of the Jewish scripture. In Mark 1:2-3, John baptizes Jesus. Jesus immediately after being baptized goes off into the wilderness where he does battle with the Devil and the wild animals, and returns from the wilderness unscathed. He immediately begins his public ministry by acting in ways that reveal his great powers. The early accounts of Jesus in chapter 1 of Mark are meant precisely to show that he is a man who has God’s authority behind him. The first thing he does is to call some disciples. He walks along the sea of Galilee and he sees there two brothers, Simon and Andrew, who are fishing. He calls to them and says, “come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately, these men, who have never laid eyes on Jesus before, drop their nets and follow him. Right afterwards, Jesus sees two other brothers fishing, James and John, and again he calls to them. They leave behind their father, Zeb’edee, and they drop everything to go and follow Jesus.

Jesus calls people and they follow him without asking questions; this shows his authority. He not only is an authoritative leader, but also an authoritative teacher. In the next two verses, we are told that Jesus teaches the crowd and they amazed because he teaches as one who has authority. He not only has authority over the people that he leads, and over the people that he teaches, but he also has authority over demons and even illness. We’re told in the next stories that Jesus casts out demons, evil spirits that inhabit bodies. He has authority over them and casts them out and people are amazed because of his authority.

He then heals people who are sick, so much so that people come from all around so that there’s no room even before the door. He heals all those who are sick. These stories in chapter 1 of Mark are designed to portray Jesus as the authoritative Son of God. His commands are heeded by all, he teaches with unparalleled authority, he has power over even the demons and even over human illness.

6. Authoritative yet Unknown

You would think that with all of these miracles, people would recognized Jesus for who he is. One of the striking points of Mark’s Gospel which makes it stand in contrast with other gospels is that in this Gospel, virtually nobody recognizes Jesus despite the miracles that he performs.

Consider how people react to Jesus in this Gospel. Of course there are people who are being healed by him or who see him do miracles; surely they must know who Jesus is. But what does Mark tell us about how people understand Jesus? In fact, it’s quite striking. Virtually no one understands Jesus’ identity, especially in the first half of this Gospel.

In Mark 3:21, we’re told that his own family comes to seize him from the public eye because they think that he has gone out of his mind. In this Gospel, there is no account of Jesus being born to a virgin in Bethlehem. This Gospel starts by him being baptized by John the Baptist, so there is no account here about Mary knowing anything about Jesus before his birth. You may be thinking, “yes, she did know about it” because you are recalling the accounts of Matthew and Luke. But remember, we have to read each Gospel on its own terms. Mark’s Gospel is written to people who don’t know Matthew and Luke, because those Gospels hadn’t been written yet. If you stick to this Gospel, in this book his family thinks that he is crazy.

And it’s not just the family; we’re told in chapter 6 that people from his hometown don’t understand what he’s doing. To them, he is simply the carpenter from down the street. He’s been delivering these fantastic teachings and people come and they are amazed: who is this? This is the carpenter: how does he teach such great words? Even though he grew up with them, they don’t even know who he is. Not just his family and his townsfolk, but even the leaders of his own people don’t understand who he is.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 6: Change Requests as Outputs of Process 6.7 Control Schedule

The outputs of the Schedule Management process 6.7 Control Schedule are as follows:

1. Work Performance Information The schedule variance (SV) or schedule performance index (SPI) calculated for the work packages and control accounts of the WBS.
2. Schedule Forecasts Estimates of the future conditions of the project based on the work performance information provided.
3. Change Requests Performance reviews, including schedule variance analysis, may result in change requests to the schedule baseline. These are then input to the Perform Integrated Change Control process 4.5 in Integration Management.
4. Project Management Plan Updates
  • Schedule baseline
  • Schedule management plan
  • Cost baseline: schedule compression technique of crashing may require additional resources
5. Project Documents Updates
  • Schedule data: if a new schedule is generated, more realistic schedule data may result
  • Project schedule: updated schedule data will result in a schedule model which generates an updated project schedule
  • Risk register: schedule compression technique of fast-tracking may generate new risks
6. OPAs
  • Causes of variances
  • Corrective action (if chosen)
  • Lessons learned from schedule control

1. Work Performance Information

The most important outputs are the work performance information and schedule forecasts, which are used to a) inform the project team and stakeholders of the progress of the project, and b) indicate whether changes may be required.

The work performance information needs to be compared to those thresholds that were set up in the schedule management plan to see if they exceed those thresholds, and if so, what countermeasures or corrective actions are indicated in the plan to bring the actual performance back in line with the schedule model.

2. Schedule Forecasts

Now, even if the current work performance is acceptable, trend analysis may be used to create schedule forecasts that show that the future conditions of the project may be unacceptable. In that case, preventive actions may be indicated to bring the future performance back in line with the schedule model.

3. Change Requests

It is also possible that the actual performance is so out of line with the schedule that it is decided to re-estimate the durations of the activities of the project and thus re-do the schedule model.

In any of the these cases described in the last three paragraphs, corrective actions, preventive actions, or changes to the schedule itself, the change is formalized with a change request and is then an input to the Integration Management process 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control.

4. Project Management Plan Updates

If the change requests changes or updates the schedule model, the schedule baseline, as part of the overall project management plan will have to be updated and the project team and stakeholders informed so that they understand that the old schedule baseline is no longer operative, and that everybody should be working off of the latest version of the schedule model.

If schedule compression techniques are used, the additional resources used in crashing activities will also have to be accounted for in the cost management plan, which is part of the overall project management plan as well.

5. Project Document Updates

Not just the project management plan, but many of the project documents such as the project schedule (the output of the schedule model) and possibly even the risk register (to add the risks involved if fast-tracking is used as a schedule compression technique) may have to be updated.

6. OPAs

If the work performance information, in the form of earned value measurements such as the schedule variance (SV) or schedule performance index (SPI), shows that the actual performance is out of the line with the schedule model, then obviously changes should be made to bring it in line, or redo the schedule, as I mentioned in the above paragraph 3 regarding Change Requests. This will involve finding out the reason or cause for the variance and addressing it. These causes for the variance should be added to the lessons learned so that the cause can be avoided, if possible, for the rest of the project. This is an example of where lessons learned can be useful not just on future projects, but on the current project as well.

This concludes my survey of the Schedule Management Knowledge Area covered in chapter 6 of the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide. The next chapter will cover another one of the “triple constraints”, that of cost in the Cost Management Knowledge Area. After posting on other topics this weekend, I will continue next week with posts on Chapter 7.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 6: Techniques for Controlling the Schedule

1. Introduction

There are various tools and techniques listed for monitoring and controlling the schedule, which is what the process 6.7 Control Schedule is all about. Here is the summary of these tools & techniques

The automated tools for controlling the schedule are listed under #2 and #8 below. The last post covered performance reviews, which encompassed the four techniques listed below, the most important of which is earned value measurement.

This post will cover the techniques listed under #3, #4, #5, and #6 below, resource optimization techniques, modeling techniques, leads and lags, and schedule compression. You may note that these techniques are all techniques that are used in setting up the schedule, and are therefore listed under the Tools & Techniques for process 6.6 Develop Schedule.

The purpose of this post will be to see how those same techniques that were used in creating the schedule can also be used to control it as well. It will also explore some of the interrelationships between these techniques, and how some of them can be used in conjunction with each other.

1. Performance reviews Measures, analyzes and compares schedule performance based on data such as actual start and finish dates, percent complete, and remaining duration of work. Techniques used may include:

  • Trend analysis
  • Critical path method
  • Critical chain method
  • Earned value measurement
2. Project Management Software This is a tool (Microsoft Project, Primavera, etc.) which can:

  • Track planned vs. actual dates
  • Report variances from the schedule baseline
  • Forecast the effect of changes on the schedule model
3. Resource optimization techniques Used to adjust schedule due to demand (project time) and supply of resources (resource availability).

  • Resource leveling
  • Resource smoothing
4. Modeling techniques Used to review various scenarios used in risk monitoring to bring schedule model in alignment with project management plan and schedule baseline.

  • What-if scenario analysis: used to assess feasibility of the project schedule under adverse conditions
  • Simulation: calculates multiple project durations based on different sets of assumptions (Monte Carlo analysis)
5. Leads and lags Used to bring project activities that are behind into alignment with the plan.
6. Schedule compression Used to bring project activities that are behind into alignment with the plan.

  • Crashing: adds resources
  • Fast-tracking: activities normally done in sequence are now performed in parallel for part of their duration
8. Scheduling tool Automated scheduling tools contain the schedule model by allowing one to input the scheduling data and to monitor the schedule via the output (the project schedule).

2. Resource Optimization Techniques

It is important to realize that resource optimization techniques as definitely increasing the duration of the project if they are used on activities that are on the critical path (resource leveling), and possibly increasing it if they are used on activities that are not on the critical path (resource smoothing). By rationing or limiting the amount of resources that can be used in any given work period, they may cause the duration of those activities to require additional work periods. If a critical resource, person A, has to work on two different projects every day, then that person will only be available for 4 hours per day rather than 8 hours for each of those two individual projects.

So in a way, it is almost the reverse of schedule compression (see paragraph 6 below), which adds resources that can be used in any given work period in order to reduce the number of work periods required to complete the activity.

One cannot readily think of an scenario where you would want to deliberately add duration to a project, so it is hard for me to think of using resource leveling to control the schedule. However, it may be used in conjunction with certain what-if scenarios (see Modeling Techniques in paragraph 4 below), for example, to figure out how adding an additional project may affect the given project. In that case, it is easy to see that assigning company resources onto project B that are already being used by project A might have the effect, through resource leveling, of causing project A to take longer.

3. Modeling techniques

If there are risks that are uncovered during the monitoring & controlling process that weren’t initially uncovered during the planning process, then the what-if scenarios may be used to see how those risks, if realized, might affect the project schedule.

If the risks are not just one-time occurrences, but systemic risks that occur throughout the project, then Monte Carlo analysis might be able to uncover the probable impact on the project duration by calculating multiple project durations based on the new pessimistic or optimistic (i.e. worst-case and best-case) scenarios created by these systemic risks.

4. Leads and lags

One of the schedule compression techniques (see paragraph 5 below), fast-tracking, takes two activities that were one in sequence and now has them done partly in parallel. In affect, you are taking two activities with 0 lead (or lag) for that matter, and creating a lead for the second activity, based on the number of days before the finish of the predecessor activity that the successor activity is started. So this is one example of how leads can be used to control the schedule.

One would normally not willingly create a lag between two critical path activities, because this would necessarily result in a delay in the project. However, you might want take two activities that are not on the critical path and create a lag called a buffer as part of the critical chain method (one of the techniques listed under #1 in the chart above under Performance Reviews). That buffer could be set equal to the amount of total float that these activities have. Total float, you may recall, is the amount of time activities can be delayed without affecting the critical path, and therefore the length of the project itself. Monitoring the amount of buffer you have versus the amount you planned for, i.e., monitoring the lag between two non-critical path activities, might therefore be a way of monitoring the risk that that non-critical path has of affecting the project schedule as a whole.

5. Schedule compression

If you are in need of compressing the schedule for a project that is taking longer than expected (based on the results of earned value measurements such as schedule variance or SV, or the schedule performance index or SPI), then you may need to resort to crashing activities by adding resources to them, or fast-tracking, by starting a successor activity before the predecessor activity has finished. These compress the schedule by adding cost (in the case of crashing) or risk (in the case of fast-tracking).

Any of the changes suggested by these techniques would then have to be processed as change requests, one of the outputs of the process 6.7 Control Schedule and then these change requests would be reviewed as part of the Perform Integrated Change Control process in Integration Management. This process of change requests will be discussed in the next and final post in this series on Chapter 6, Schedule Management.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 6: Controlling Schedule through Performance Reviews

One of the tools & techniques used in process 6.7 Control Schedule is that of reviewing the actual performance on the project to the performance baseline. There are four methods used to do this, which are summarized in the chart below.

Method Explanation
1. Trend Analysis Compares project performance over time: is performance improving or deteriorating?
2. Critical Path Method Monitoring progress on activities that are on the critical path can help determine schedule status; monitoring progress that are on near-critical paths can help identify possible risks to the schedule.
3. Critical Chain Method Monitoring the amount of buffer remaining versus the amount of buffer set up in the planning process.
4. Earned Value Measurement The work performance data is used to calculate the schedule variance (SV) and the schedule performance index (SPI). If a variance with the schedule baseline is detected, the cause should be determined and corrective action taken to reduce that variance.

Of course, the description in the PMBOK® Guide of trend analysis begs the question, how do you measure that project performance? One of the most common ways is through earned value measurement, which is method 4 on the list.

Method 2, the critical path method, was covered in the posts on process 6.6 Develop Schedule. The critical path is identified in that planning process, and monitored during this monitoring and controlling process.

Likewise, with method 3, the critical chain method, the schedule buffers are set up in the planning process, and monitored during this monitoring and controlling process.

The main method of monitoring and controlling the schedule is method 4, earned value measurement. This is treated by the PMBOK® Guide in more detail in chapter 7, on Cost Management.

The important thing to remember is that these tools are used to measure (monitor) performance, and then action (corrective or preventive) may be taken based on the results.   Just like the critical path method and the critical chain method, many of the other tools & techniques used in setting up the schedule, can be used to also monitor and control it as well. That is the subject of the next post.