5th Edition PMBOK® Guide: Chapter 8: Process 8.1 Plan Quality Management


This post gives an overview of the first of the three processes in the Quality Management Knowledge Area, namely process 8.1 Plan Quality Management, with summaries of the inputs, tools & techniques, and output of the process.

1.  Inputs

The information about the performance baselines and the stakeholder and risk registers form the background of quality management, but the main substance of quality management comes from requirements, which translate the customer expectations into the various technical requirements that the project will fulfill.

 

8.1 PLAN QUALITY MANAGEMENT
INPUTS
1. Project Management Plan The following elements of the PM Plan are used in the development of the Quality Management Plan:

  • Scope baseline (= project scope statement, WBS, and WBS dictionary)
  • Schedule baseline
  • Cost baseline

These three performance baselines covering scope, time and cost are respectively the outputs of processes 5.4 Create WBS, 6.6 Develop Schedule, and 7.3 Determine Budget.

2. Stakeholder register Aids in identifying which stakeholders possess an interest in, or have an impact on, quality.  This is an output of 13.1 Identify Stakeholders.
3. Risk register Contains information on threats and opportunities which may impact quality.  This is an output of 11.2 Identify Risks.
4. Requirements documentation Captures the various requirements (project, product, and quality) that the project shall meet pertaining to shareholder expectations.  This is an output of 5.2 Collect Requirements.
5. EEFs
  • Governmental regulations
  • Rules, standards, guidelines specific to the application area of the project
  • Working or operating conditions of the project which may affect quality
  • Cultural perceptions which may influence expectations about quality
6. OPAs
  • Organizational policies, procedures, guidelines about quality
  • Historical databases
  • Lessons learned
TOOLS & TECHNIQUES
1. Cost-benefit analysis Compares the cost of each quality activity to its expected benefit.
2. Cost of quality (COQ) Compares the overall cost of performing quality activities (cost of conformance) with the expected benefit in terms of the reduction of the cost of nonconformance, i.e., the costs that would be incurred if those activities were not implemented.
3. Seven basic quality tools These seven tools solve quality problems.

  • Cause-and-effect diagrams (aka fishbone or Ishikawa diagrams):  for finding root cause of quality problems
  • Flowcharts:  for analyzing processes as a step towards improving them
  • Checksheets:  for collecting data on a quality problem
  • Pareto diagrams:  identifies those few sources that are responsible for the most quality problems
  • Histograms:  describes the statistical distribution of quality data
  • Control charts:  determines whether process is stable or predictable
  • Scatter diagrams:  used to indicate correlation between variables
4. Benchmarking Compares planned project with comparable projects in order to provide a basis for measuring performance and to identify best practices and generate ideas for improvement.
5. Design of experiments (DOE) Statistical method for identifying and then systematically changing all of the important factors that affect product quality.
6. Statistical sampling Choosing part of a population of interest for inspection.
7. Additional quality planning tools
  • Brainstorming
  • Force field analysis
  • Nominal group technique
  • Quality management and control tools
8. Meetings The project team may hold meetings to develop the quality management plan.
OUTPUTS
1. Quality management plan Describes how the organization’s quality policies will be implemented, and how the project management team plans to meet the quality requirements.
2. Process improvement plan Details the steps for analyzing project management and product development processes to identify activities which add value.
3. Quality metrics Describes an attribute of the project or product and how the quality control process will measure it.  They are used in both the quality assurance and control quality processes.
4. Quality checklists Verifies that a set of required steps has been performed.  They should incorporate the acceptance criteria included in the scope baseline.
5. Project documents updates
  • Stakeholder register
  • Responsibility assignment matrix
  • WBS and WBS dictionary

2.  Tools & Techniques

The cost-benefit analysis and Cost of Quality (COQ) are mainly tools for justifying the expense of the quality activities to management and to the interested stakeholders.

For designing and implementing quality activities, you have the tools of benchmarking, which is like lessons learned, but not from one’s own past projects, but by those done by others.

For actually performing the quality control measurements, you have the tools of statistical sampling.  If one finds there are quality problems, then the seven basic quality tools can help you isolate the causes of problems, and then with design of experiments, you can demonstrate that you have indeed isolated those causes that contribute to the most problems.

Process improvement processes are also included in the tools & techniques, as are some of the “group decision” quality tools such as brainstorming, and force field analysis.

All of these tools and techniques are important, and I will be doing separate posts on Cost of Quality, the Seven Basic Tools, and some other quality tools that I feel need highlighting with a post of their own.

3.  Outputs

The main output of Plan Quality Management is, unsurprisingly, the Quality Management Plan, one of the knowledge plans that make up the omnibus Project Management Plan.  Another output, the Process Improvement Plan, is one of the four subsidiary plans that make up the Project Management Plan.  The quality metrics and quality checklists are also valuable inputs to the other two quality processes.

The next post will cover the Cost of Quality, because this is important in now only educating stakeholders in why quality activities are being undertaken, but in setting the level of quality for a project.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 8: Quality Management Knowledge Area


1.  Introduction

Chapter 7 concludes the discussion of the knowledge area of Cost Management, the last of the three major “triple constraints” (scope, time and cost).  The next chapter, chapter 8, covers management of quality on a project.

2.  Quality Management Processes

There are three project management processes in the Quality Management Knowledge Area.  One of them is in the Planning Process Group, the second one is the Executing Process Group, and the third one is the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

The first process, that of Plan Quality Management, creates the Quality Management Plan which is the framework for all of the other processes, including what the quality requirements will be.  The second process, that of Perform Quality Assurance, is where the quality requirements set up in the first process are audited to make sure they are appropriate.  The third process, that of Control Quality, measures the quality of the deliverables and makes sure they conform to the quality requirements.

 

Process

Group

Process

Number

Process
Name
Process Description
Planning 8.1 Plan Quality Management Identifies quality requirements and/or standards for the project and its deliverables; documents how the project will demonstrate compliance with quality requirements.
Executing g 8.2 Perform Quality Assurance Audits the quality requirements and results from quality control measurements to ensure that appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are being used.
Monitoring & Controlling 8.3 Control Quality Monitors and records results of executing the quality activities to assess performance and recommend necessary changes.

 

The next post will go over the first of these processes, the planning process 8.1 Plan Quality Management.

3.  Quality Management Concepts:  Quality and Grade

One of the popular definitions of “quality” is the expense of the item involved.  Most people would say that an Audi is a higher-quality car than an Volkswagen.  But in the world of project management, quality basically means “the technical requirements of the product which the customer requested” whereas grade means the different technical characteristics of the components in the product.

To use the same example, an Audi would have a higher grade than a Volkswagen.  Which would you rather have, an Audi or a Volkswagen?  Well, if you’re like most people, you would prefer an Audi because it is a higher grade or automobile.

But what is a high-quality Volkswagen?  It is a Volkswagen that is free of defects.  A low-quality Audi, on the other hand, would be one that has a lot of defects.  Which you rather have, a low-quality Audi or a high-quality Volkswagen?  Again, if you’re like most people, you would prefer the higher-quality automobile over the lower-quality automobile, even if it is a lower grade than the higher-quality automobile.

4.  Quality Management Concepts:  Accuracy and Precision

Measuring quality is to a large extent a matter of statistical sampling, and so to better understand quality, it is good to have a clear understanding of some simple concepts related to statistics.

One of these concepts is the difference between accuracy and precisionAccuracy is a measure of correctness, i.e., how close the measured value is to what it is supposed to be.  Precision is a measure of exactness, i.e., how close the measured values are to each other.

If I shoot at a target, and all of my shots hit close together, my aiming is precise.  But only if those shots hit close to the bull’s-eye can I say that my aiming is accurate.

5.  Quality Management Concepts:  ISO standards

One of the efforts of the 5th Edition PMBOK® Guide is to make the quality management part of project management conform the International Organization for Standardization quality standards.  The ISO approach to quality management emphasizes the following concepts, which the Project Management Institute endorses.

  • Customer Satisfaction:  quality means delivering the product so that its requirements meet the customer’s expectations.  However, gold plating, or adding requirements that the customer did not request, is frowned upon by the Project Management Institute.
  • Prevention over Inspection:  inspection can reduce the probability of defects, but prevention through planning, designing, and building in quality can reduce that probability of defects for a lot less cost than through the inspection process.
  • Continuous Improvement:  the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle which is the basis of the concept of continuous improvement goes back to Deming.  Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, and the Japanese Toyota Way are modern quality improvement initiatives which improve the quality of project management while improving the quality of the product of the project.
  • Management Responsibility:  rather than thinking that quality is what job operators do on the factory floor, the modern concept of quality improvement initiatives mentioned in the last paragraph require the approval and active participation of management.
  • Cost of Quality:  The cost of implementing quality standards is the cost of conformance.  Do what level of standards should an organization aspire?  This is where the Cost of Quality comes in.  What is the cost of nonconformance, or what used to be called the cost of poor quality?  Well, if the defect is caught before the product gets shipped to the customer, this is an internal cost of nonconformance, and this involves scrapping the part of reworking it so that it is in conformance with the quality standards.  However, if the defect is not caught by the inspection process, and it goes out to the customer, then the costs could be in terms of the claims the customer makes for replacement or repair under warranty, or product liability, if the customer or a third party is injured.  I used to handle product liability claims and lawsuits for a manufacturer and then an insurer so I am very familiar with these costs, and they can be potential ruinous to a company.  These costs are the external costs of nonconformance.  If the cost of conformance, that is, of implementing quality standards, is higher than the potential costs of nonconformance, then your quality standards may be set too high.  Six-sigma quality level may be a requisite for aerospace and aviation-related components, because of the high cost of nonconformance, but may be inappropriately high for other applications.

This post covers the basic quality concepts that underlie quality management.  The next post will cover the first process, process 8.1 Plan Quality Management.

Can Wisdom be found in Literature?


1.  Introduction

Yesterday I posted about Shakespeare:  the Invention of the Human, the book which Prof. Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University, wrote about the plays of Shakespeare.    Previously, I wrote about the Western Canon:  The Books and School of the Ages, a review and analysis of 26 canonical writers of Western Literature other than Shakespeare, who had been covered in his earlier book.

Today I wanted to write about the third book of Prof. Bloom’s I have read, Where Shall Wisdom be Found, which is a survey of wisdom literature.    Of the three major criteria that Prof. Bloom uses to choose those books which he himself reads and teaches about at Yale University, namely a) aesthetic splendor, b) intellectual power, and c) wisdom,  the first two criteria were adequately covered in the first two books I mentioned in the first paragraph.    The book Where Shall Wisdom be Found obviously covers wisdom, the last of these criteria.

2.  Wisdom Perspectives

The first part of his book covers the wisdom perspectives which our Western culture embodies:  those that come from Jerusalem and those that come from Greece.   They are not compatible–with Jerusalem, the relationship between man and God is different than the relationship between man and the gods in Greece.    As Joseph Campbell once memorably put it (I’m paraphrasing here):  “On Sunday, we pledge allegiance to the values of Jerusalem.   From Monday through Friday, we pledge allegiance to the values of Greece.   And then on Saturday, we visit the psychologist wondering why we’re always so ambivalent.”

Then he discusses Plato and his argument against Homer’s “immoral” influence on the education of Greek youth, a charge that was ironically leveled at Socrates.   The temptation of Plato to politicize literature is a perspective that continues to this day in what Prof. Bloom calls the School of Resentment, the various modern literary theories that attempt to have literature serve the ends of social justice.

The wisdom of Shakespeare and Cervantes are compared, with Shakespeare choosing the monologue as his mode of representing a character’s thoughts, and Cervantes opting for the dialogue instead.

3.  Great Ideas

The second part of the book deals not with perspectives, but with great ideas themselves, and the writers who have espoused them:  Montaigne, Francis Bacon, Samuel Johnson, Goethe, Emerson, Nietzsche, Freud and Proust.

4.  Christian Wisdom

The last part of the book deals with the wisdom from the Gospel of Thomas, the gnostic version of Christianity which is comparable in many ways to Buddhism.    It then ends with the pleasures of reading, a perspective gleaned from St. Augustine.

The pleasure of reading this book reminds me of the definition of Buddhism.   The Buddha does not teach Buddhism, but only the way to Buddhism, which is the state of enlightenment that each of us must experience for ourselves.

In a similar way, Prof. Bloom does not teach wisdom, but only the way to wisdom through reading the classics of wisdom literature that he introduces.    I’m grateful that, after reading his book, I went to the local library and found the Great Books series put out by the Encyclopedia Britannica company which contains within it all of the works that Prof. Bloom describes.

So the answer to the question is that wisdom can be found in literature, but you must actively look for it.   It helps, though, to have a great guide, and for that, I am very grateful to Prof. Bloom.

Prof. Harold Bloom’s Bardolatry: Shakespeare’s Omnipresence in the Western Canon


1.  Introduction

In an earlier post, I discussed Prof. Harold Bloom’s book The Western Canon:  The Books and School of the Ages by comparing his unsympathetic viewpoint towards modern literary theory with the sympathetic viewpoint espoused by Prof. Arnold Weinstein of Brown University who did some of the lectures for the Teaching Company Great Course called Great Authors of the Great Western Literary Tradition.

There were some points of agreement between the two with regards to the study of western literature, namely, that it could be used to understand the culture in which it was written, and they were both dubious about the traditional argument that the study of literature would necessarily help one improve one’s moral or ethical values.   They probably would agree that literature can take you inside a time and place and create an inner world that compels the reader.  In fact, it is that literary power of originality, to create an internal world so compelling that it changes the inner world of the reader, that is the source of where an author’s work stands in the Western Canon.

Where they would most disagree is in the politicization of the study of literature.   Many of the new theories of literature that try to downplay the role of the individual author are making it sound as if the “culture” or society itself produced them.  This view is something he is vehemently against, the idea that Paradise Lost, for example, can be reduced to an interplay of economic forces.  You can illustrate the economic relations of the various classes by analyzing poems by William Blake on the chimney sweep, but the originality and literary genius is took to create those poems are not illuminated at all by a knowledge of those relations.

2. Literary Theories and Integral Theory

To sum up, the reason why Prof. Bloom disagrees with the modern theories of literary interpretation can be shown in this diagram from Integral Theory:

Each quadrant holds a way of viewing the world. The top two quadrants are the viewpoints of an individual, the bottom two quadrants are the viewpoints of a group. The left two quadrants are the subjective viewpoints, and the right two quadrants are the objective viewpoints. So putting it all together:

  • The upper-left quadrant contains the “I” viewpoint and is the domain of aesthetics.
  • The upper-right quadrant contains the objective viewpoint of looking at “it” and is the domain of science.
  • The lower-left quadrant contains the values of the group and is the domain of culture or ethics.
  • The lower-right quadrant contains the structures of a group and is the domain of society or politics.

To sum up Prof. Bloom’s objections to the various modern interpretations of literature, he believes that interpretations should be centered in the realm of the aesthetic, the upper-left quadrant in the diagram above. However, modern literary theory interprets literature through the lens of the culture and the society, almost to the exclusion of the individual aesthetic. And in Integral Theory, assuming that you have “cornered the market” on truth because you insist it be seen from your particular perspective, is a fundamental error.

So in my own mind, whereas I grant that there may be insights derived about the culture and politics of the age in which a piece of literature is written, as Prof. Weinstein posits, I much prefer to center the experience of literature within the realm of the individual writer and reader, as Prof. Bloom does, and state that it this dialectic that is the crucial one in deciding whether a book will enter the Western Canon or not.

Prof. Bloom’s work on the Western Canon in fact rekindled my own love of literature which started back in the 1980s after I had finished my undergraduate degree as an engineer.  His work remains for me a touchstone in deepening my appreciation for literature.  I re-read his book recently on the Western Canon which analyzes the works of 26 writers besides Shakespeare.

3.  Shakespeare:  The Invention of the Human

His work made me want to go back to his work on Shakespeare, called Shakespeare:  The Invention of the Human, to discover what it was about Shakespeare that, to Prof. Harold Bloom, made him the very Center of the Western Canon.

There are several elements that come to mind when one thinks of Shakespeare, his cognitive originality, his ability to represent a wide array of characters, and his mastery of language, but the one element that Prof. Harold Bloom singles out as his singular contribution to Western Literature is his ability to represent internal change within a character by means of having that character speak his thoughts and overhear himself or herself, at which the person reflects and in some cases changes the course of what they were originally planning to do.

The best example I can think of is in Hamlet, where he is trying to ascertain whether his uncle Claudius is actually guilty of killing his father.   The arrival of a troupe of actors provides him with a means of testing this:   he has them stage a play which Hamlet changes to re-enact the circumstances of his father’s murder onstage.   Hamlet plans to watch Claudius’ reactions to the play.

When the murder scene is presented, Claudius abruptly rises and leaves the room, which Hamlet sees as proof of his uncle’s guilty conscience.    He is then determined to go kill Claudius as the ghost of his father has commanded him to do. He sees his uncle Claudius who is kneeling in penitent prayer.   Hamlet says that sending his uncle to his death while he is in a state of grace because of his penitent prayer would cause his uncle to be sent to heaven.   This would be tantamount to “hire and salary not revenge” (i.e., a promotion rather than a punishment).   So Hamlet sheaths his dagger and plans to kill Claudius at a later time.

Hamlet, by overhearing him own thoughts and stepping back from them, reacting to what he has heard, and then changing his mind, gives the prototypical example of this ability to portray internal change in a character.

Other playwrights could show the dramatic tension between characters; Shakespeare invented a way to show the dramatic tension within a character.

4.  Shakespeare and Presence

I am reading the first chapter of Prof. Harold Bloom’s book after having listened to the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle on a recent cross-country trip.    It’s interesting that the Power of Now basically means the power that people feel when they stop identifying with the stream of thoughts in their head, and pull back into the more elemental sense of presence, the feeling of being here and now that is more fundamental than that stream of thoughts.

When I think of Shakespeare and the universal, cross-cultural acclaim that he has gathered upon himself through the ages, I think it is because people are seeing his characters stepping out of the stream of their own thoughts and overhearing themselves thinking, and thereby representing the power of presence or The Power of Now up there on stage.    Something deep within them connects with that power of presence represented on stage, and I think it is the part of themselves that experiences reality from the same deep ground.

5.  Shakespeare and Omnipresence

And this is probably the reason why he has influenced all of Western literature, because his power of representation has influenced all of subsequent Western literature.   Other writers may show cognitive originality (Emily Dickinson), inventiveness of language (James Joyce), or the ability to create a panoply of memorable but distinct characters (Charles Dickens), but Shakespeare was the one who invented a way to show us on stage how we can all be more human, by overhearing ourselves, stepping out of own stream of thoughts, and occasionally, through that powerful sense of presence, changing the direction of our lives.

5th Edition PMBOK Guide–Chapter 7: Outputs of Control Costs process


1.  Introduction

When all of the tools & techniques of process 7.4 Control Costs are applied, then the outputs are then used for several purposes:

a) to communicate information about the performance of the project to the project team and relevant stakeholders,

b)  to recommend changes to the project if the performance of the project is not going according to plan, and

c) to make changes to the project management plan and project documents if necessary.

 

2.  Outputs of Control Costs

The following chart contains the lists of outputs from the process 7.4 Control Costs.

 

7.4  CONTROL COSTS
OUTPUTS
1. Work Performance Information The calculated values of CV, SV, CPI, SPI, TCPI, and VAC
2. Cost Forecasts The calculation of estimate at completion either based on a bottom-up recalculation or through one of the formulas.
3. Change Request Based on the work performance information and cost forecasts, changes may be indicated in one of the following categories

Corrective action

Preventive action

Changes to the cost baseline itself

4. Project Management Plan Updates The same elements of the cost management plan that were inputs may be modified as a result of this process.

Cost base

Cost management plan

 

5. Project Documents Updates            Cost estimates

Basis of estimates

 

6. OPAs Updates            Causes of variances

Corrective actions to  be taken

Financial Databases

Lessons learned

According to the three purposes mentioned in the introductory paragraph, the outputs of Work Performance Information and Cost Forecasts serve the first purpose of communication to the project team and relevant stakeholders of just how the project is currently doing.

What if the project is not going according to plan?  Then the output of Change Requests serves the second purpose of recommending changes to

a)  the project, to bring it in line with the project management plan, or

b)  possibly even to the project management plan itself.

Note that the recommendation for changes are not acted upon in this process.  They are merely the output of the process, which then becomes the input of the process 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control in the Integration Knowledge Area.

If changes are recommended, either to the project or to the plan itself, then the outputs of Project Management Plan Updates, Project Document Updates, or updates to the Organization Process Assets or OPAs fulfill the third purpose, which is to make changes to the project plan and associated project documents.

The first purpose, that of communication, fits the monitoring part, and the second purpose, that of recommending changes and documenting those changes, fits the controlling part of this monitoring & controlling process.

This concludes my posts on chapter 7, Cost Management.  Next week I will start on chapter 8, Quality Management, with a review of all the processes for that knowledge area.

5th Edition PMBOK Guide–Chapter 7: Reserve Analysis


1.  Introduction

The last tool & technique listed for process 7.4 Control Costs is Reserve Analysis.   Why is this used as a technique for monitoring and controlling costs?   This post will discuss this issue.

2.  Contingency reserve and management reserves

Risks that are identified and put in the risk register should have risk responses prepared.   The funding for those risk responses comes from funds set aside in the contingency reserves.   The contingency reserves are added to the cost estimates to create the cost baseline, against which the performance of the project is measured.    

However, risks may occur that were not identified.   The responses to these unplanned risks are called workarounds and the funds for these come from the management reserves.  The management reserves are added to the cost baseline to create the project budget.

3.  What happens when risks do not occur?

After a probable  risk that may have been identified has not occurred at a point where it was expected it might, the money in the contingency reserves for those risks is no longer needed.   What do you do with those funds?

There are two possibilities, either a) keep the funds in the contingency reserves, or b) remove them from the project budget entirely.   If you keep the funds in the contingency reserves, the cost performance on the project will improve, because those funds will not be used.

But whereas this may improve the CPI for the project you are working on, remember that the funds in the contingency reserves are unused resources, which could be used on another project.   So as a project manager, you might be happy that your CPI goes up on your project, but a program manager or a sponsor has to look at all of the projects of a company as a whole, and would prefer not to waste resources where they are not needed.

So contingency reserves that are not used can be used to adjust the project budget going forward.

4.  What happens when new risk are uncovered?

As a project goes forward, new risks may be identified which were not identified at the beginning of the project in the risk register.   If new risks are identified, then risk responses must be developed, and the funds for these responses must be added to the contingency reserves.

So whether the number of risks decreases or increases, they will affect the budget through the contingency reserves, and that is why the technique of reserve analysis becomes a tool of cost management in this monitoring & controlling process.

The last post regarding this chapter deals with the outputs of the process 7.4 Control Costs, and that is the subject of the next post.

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Chapter 7: Performance Reviews


1.  Introduction

In previous posts, we have talked about earned value management, forecasting, and the to-complete performance index or TCPI.   These can show the variances in the present, and the variances that will exist by the time the project is finished if the cost and/or schedule performance continue on in the same way that they are now.

The purpose of this post is to talk about performance reviews, which analyzes not only the present and or the future performance of the project, but the PAST performance as well and how it differs from the performance now on the project.

2.  Three types of performance reviews

When someone says “performance reviews”, one naturally thinks of human resource performance reviews, where the individual’s performance on the job is reviewed.   This kind of performance review is different in that it focuses on the performance of the project.

  • Variance analysis–cost variance (CV), schedule variance (SV), or variance at completion (VAC)
  • Trend analysis–compares past performance and present performance
  • Earned value performance–uses other measures from earned value management to analyze performance.

The most important thing to remember is that the analysis asks the following questions:

WHAT is the performance and how does it deviates from what it should be?

IS the trend getting better or worse?

WHAT is the cause of the variance?

It’s like diagnosing the disease of a patient if you’re a doctor.   Okay, you detect symptoms of some sort of illness.   What is the cause of the disease?   Knowing this will lead you to a cure.   Similarly, knowing the cause of the variance will lead you to propose a change, which then becomes the basis for a change request.

The next post will cover the final tool & technique used in process 7.4 Control Costs, Reserve Analysis.   How is monitoring and controlling costs related to looking at risks?   That’s the question the next post will answer.

5th Edition PMBOK Guide–Chapter 7: Earned Value Management (part 4)


1.  Introduction

The last formula to be discussed is that relating to the 3rd technique listed for process 7.4 Control Costs, namely, the To-Complete Performance Index or TCPI.

What does index do for you?   Well, let’s say you are driving downtown and your GPS system tells you it will take 30 minutes to get there.   You notice that traffic is heavier than normal on the way, and 15 minutes into the journey you realize that you have only gotten a quarter of the way.   This means that for some reason you have been going twice as slow as the GPS estimated you would, perhaps because there was an accident on the freeway that caused the traffic to be heavier than predicted.

In any case, you can tell intuitively that, NOW in order to get downtown you would have to speed up, perhaps even greater than the speed limit, in order to make up for the slow performance in the first half of your trip.   This is analogous to what the TCPI does.  

If your CPI is less than 1.0, the TCPI can tell you what your CPI needs to be from here on out in order for you to either a) meet the cost baseline or b) to meet the estimate at completion.

Here is the first formula:

a.  TCPI = (BAC – EV)/(BAC – AC)

What does it mean?   The BAC – EV is the remaining work that needs to be done on the project.   BAC – EV is the remaining budget or funds with which that work must be done.   The resulting TCPI is the efficiency that must be maintained throughout the rest of the project in order for you to complete the project according to the plan.

b.  TCPI = (BAC – EV)/(EAC – AC)

In this formula, BAC – EV is the remaining work that needs to be done on the project, just as in the other formula.  In this case, however, BAC – AC is replaced with EAC – AC, and this is the remaining budget estimate or estimated funds with which that work must be done.   The resulting TCPI is the efficiency that must be maintained throughout the rest of the project in order for you to complete the project according to the EAC or estimate at completion.

Although I have not seen this formula on any PMP test questions, it is a good idea to at least understand conceptually what the formula is for and what its component terms are.

Tomorrow I will discuss some of the remaining tools & techniques for process 7.4 Control Costs.

 

 

5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Earned Value Management (part 3)


 

1.  Introduction

In the previous posts, I covered the basic formulas having to do with the three quantities of Planned Value (PV), Earned Value (EV), and Actual Cost (AC), and Budget at Completion (BAC).  Then I covered the variances Cost Variance (CV), Schedule Variance (SV), and Variance at Completion (VAC), as well as the performance indexes, Cost Performance Index (CPI) and Schedule Performance Index (SPI).

In this post, I discuss the estimate to completion or EAC used in the technique of Forecasting. The formulas tell “will be finish the project on time and within the budget?”   To calculate these quantities, we need to introduce some new terms.

2.  Terms dealing with the project cost at completion

Quantity Formula Definition
Budget at Completion (BAC)  (Related to PV) Authorized budget amount of the total project, i.e. what the project was supposed to cost
Estimate at Completion (EAC) (several formulas) Estimated cost of the project at completion, i.e., what the project is now expected to cost
Variance at
Completion

(VAC)

BAC – EAC The difference between what the project was supposed to cost (BAC) and what is now expected to cost (EAC).
Estimate to Complete EAC – AC How much more it is estimated it will cost to complete the project, i.e., the difference between what the total project is now expected to cost (EAC) and how much it has cost until now (AC).

3.  Relationship between PV, AC and the terms of completion (BAC, EAC, ETC, VAC)

So two of the formulas that relate to the terms of completion, namely,

 

Variance at Completion (VAC) VAC = BAC – EAC
Estimate to Complete (EAC) ETC = EAC – AC

can be memorized simply by realizing what the terms actually mean.

4.  Calculating the EAC

So how to you calculate the EAC?   As listed in the chart in paragraph 2, there are several formulas, which is always a point of confusion for test takers.  How do you know which one to use?  Here are the formulas, their characteristics, and an explanation of when they are to be used.

The purpose of each formula for EAC is to estimate how much it will take to complete the project based on the performance to date.   If the project is over budget or behind schedule, the key in figuring out the EAC is to analyze WHY it is over budget or behind schedule.  This will give you the clue as to which formula to use.   I’ll give some examples after explaining the terms in the table.

Formula No. Formula Formula Name Formula Explanation
1 EAC = AC + ETC New estimate ETC is new bottom-up estimate
2 EAC = AC + (BAC – EV) Atypical variance Reason for variance is one-time occurrence
3 EAC = AC + (BAC – EV)/CPI

Or

EAC = BAC/CPI

Typical variance (Cost)

 

Reason for cost variance will continue at same rate (CPI)
4 EAC = AC + (BAC – EV)/CPI*SPI Typical variance (Cost and schedule) Reason for variance will continue and effect both cost and schedule performance (CPI, SPI)

Formula 1.  If the original budget is considered totally flawed, then one way to estimate the amount it will now take to do the project is to take the amount spent on the project so far (AC) and then do a more accurate bottom-up estimate of the amount it will take to complete the project (ETC).  That’s one way to do it.  But if you are answering a question from the PMP exam, don’t use this formula unless it specifically states the ETC is a brand-new estimate.   In this case, they will have to give you the figure for ETC because it is not derivable from any other formula but from the project’s own WBS (work-breakdown structure).

Formulas 2-4.  The rest of the formulas are similar in that they all start with AC, the actual cost up to now, and then they add an amount called the remaining work or BAC – EV, modified by some other factor.

The assumption is made that the EV is somehow different than the PV, i.e., the project is off schedule somehow.   Now the PV is essentially useless for planning purposes because it shows you the value of the work that was supposed to be done, and the assumption is that the EV is somehow different than that.   So the logical think to do is to start figuring out how much work actually needs to be completed from now (EV) to the end of the project (EAC), and that difference BAC – EV is the remaining work.

 In formula 2, that difference is simply added to the actual costs already incurred, because the remaining work will be done on time and on schedule, the one-time variance having already occurred.  In formula 3, the remaining work is divided by the cost performance index, because this formula assumes that the remaining work will be done at the same cost performance index (i.e., cause of variance is ongoing).  In formula 4, the remaining work is divided by both the cost performance index and the schedule performance index, if BOTH of these performance indexes will persist throughout the rest of the project.

The next post will deal with the next technique, the to-complete performance index, which tells you if you are behind schedule now, how much “pedal to the metal” you have to apply to get to the end of the project on schedule.

History of Christianity—Lecture 7: The Gospel according to Luke (part 2)


This is a summary of the seventh 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.  Jesus the prophesied Messiah

The stress that Luke places in his genealogy on Jesus being the Savior of the entire human race can be found throughout Luke’s Gospel at a number of critical junctures.  That can be seen above all by comparing several episodes of Luke with those that are found in Mark, which was one of Luke’s sources.  One of the most interesting stories to compare with Luke and Mark has to do with an event that takes place halfway through Mark’s Gospel in which Jesus goes to his hometown of Nazareth and preaches in the synagogue only to be rejected by his townsfolk who can’t understand how a simple carpenter like Jesus can speak such words of wisdom (Mark 6:1-6).  Luke also has this account (Luke 4:16-30), but he has changed it in significant ways.  The first thing to notice is that in Luke’s Gospel, this rejection of Jesus is the very first thing that happens in Jesus’ ministry.  It doesn’t happen as halfway through the account in Luke, but it’s the first that happens.

Why does Luke transpose the account to the very beginning?  Because in Luke’s Gospel, this is going to set the stage for everything else that is to come.  Moreover, in Luke’s account, the rejection of Jesus of Nazareth is much longer than in Mark.  Luke lengthens the account by having Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue.  Jesus goes to the synagogue and gets up to read the scriptures.  The attendant hands him a scroll of Isaiah, Jesus reads the scroll and it’s a passage which says “the spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach to the poor; he has sent me to proclaim forgiveness to the captives, sight to the blind,” etc.  And then Jesus sits down—this is found only in Luke, not in Mark—as everybody is looking at him and says “truly today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  Jesus explicitly claims to fulfill the prophet Isaiah.  He is the prophet that Isaiah has anticipated.  The people wonder what Jesus can possibly be talking about, and Jesus likens himself to two prophets of the Hebrew Bible:  Elijah and Elisha, whose stories in the Hebrew Bible include accounts of them going out to help people who were non-Jews even when Jews were suffering.

There’s a drought in the land in and Elijah, rather than going to stay and help out a Jewish family, goes to a pagan family, a widow in Zarephath (1 Kings 17:7-16).  Elisha is sent to heal a leper; not a Jewish leper, but a pagan leper.  Jesus likens himself to Elijah and Elisha and his audience knows full well what he is talking about.   He is saying that he has come to minister not to Jews but to Gentiles.  Their reaction is immediate.  They take him out of the synagogue, they take him up to a high hill, and they going to try to cast him off, but Jesus then walks through their midst.

It’s an interesting account because it’s going to set the stage for what’s going to happen in Luke’s Gospel and then in the Book of Acts.  Jesus comes to his people, he proclaims his message of salvation that he is the one that fulfills the prophets.  They reject him, and because they reject him, his message goes to the Gentiles.  Jesus throughout this account is portrayed as a rejected Jewish prophet.  There are several ways in which Luke portrays Jesus as a prophet in narratives that are unique to Luke.

8.  Jesus as Prophet

First, Jesus is born like a prophet.  Like Matthew, Luke has a birth narrative.  We saw that Matthew’s narrative emphasized that Jesus is like Moses and that Jesus fulfilled scripture.  Luke also has an account of Jesus being born to a virgin, Mary, in Bethlehem, but here the emphasis is quite different.  What one sees when one reads this account is not that Jesus is fulfilling scripture in the sense that you have in Matthew.  Instead you have a sense that Jesus is born how prophets are born, specifically, when Mary conceives Jesus, she breaks out into a song in which she praises God for bringing down the high and raising up those who are low.  It’s a song that sounds almost exactly like the song of Hannah in the Hebrew Bible 1 Samuel chapter 2, Hannah who gave birth to the first major Jewish prophet Samuel.  Mary’s song in other words is to call to mind the song of Hannah.  Why?  Because Luke is trying to emphasize that Jesus is born how prophets are born.

Second, he’s not only born like a prophet, he preaches like a prophet, as we saw in the sermon he gave at Nazareth.  He claims that the prophecies have been fulfilled in him and he likens himself to Elijah and Elisha, these two great prophets of the Hebrew Bible.  All of these stories are found in Luke; you don’t find them in Matthew and in Mark.

Thirdly, Jesus heals like a prophet heals.  There’s a very interesting account in Luke 7:11-17 of Jesus raising from the dead the dead son of a widow from a city called Nain.  The account, if you know the Hebrew Bible well enough, sounds very similar to the account of Elijah raising the dead son of widow from a city called Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-9).  In fact, the similarity of the miracle is not lost among the people who witness it in Luke’s Gospel.  In chapters 7 through 16, the crowd acknowledges the significance of what Jesus has done on the occasion by saying “a great prophet has risen among us.”

So Jesus is born like a prophet, he preaches like a prophet, he heals like a prophet, and most significantly, he dies like a prophet in Luke’s Gospel.

9.  The Passion Narrative in Luke

Jesus explicitly says only in Luke that he must go to Jerusalem to be killed because that’s where the prophets die (Luke 13:33).  Because Jesus is being portrayed like a prophet in his death, Luke modifies some of the traditions about the Passion narrative itself in some very interesting ways.  Jesus knows what’s going to happen to him in Luke’s Gospel.  Because he knows, it doesn’t appear that Jesus experiences real agony in this Gospel the way he does in the others.  This is one place in particular where it’s important not to conflate the accounts and pretend they are all saying the same thing.  If you read Luke’s account just on its own terms, you don’t have the sense of Jesus going through real agony up to his death.

You can see this in two different narratives.  When Jesus goes out to pray prior to his arrest, in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus goes to the garden of Gethsemane.  He’s extremely distraught; he tells his disciples that his soul is troubled unto death.  He tells them to wait for him.  He goes off, he falls on his face, he prays three times, “God, take away this cup from me.”  Luke has the same narrative, but Luke doesn’t say that Jesus is distraught.  Jesus in this narrative doesn’t say to his disciples, “my soul is troubled unto death.”  He goes to pray, but he doesn’t fall on his face; instead he kneels down.  Instead of praying three times “God, take away this cup from me,” he says “if it be your Will, take this cup from me,” and he says it only once.  There’s not the same sense of agony here at all.

The idea of Jesus not being in real distress and agony going up to his death is seen even more clearly in the account of Jesus’ own crucifixion in Luke’s Gospel.  Again, it’s worthwhile comparing what Luke says with what his predecessor Mark had said.  Remember Mark’s account:  Jesus appears before Pontius Pilate, he is accused of being King of the Jews; he is basically silent during the whole proceeding.  He only says a few words in Mark’s Gospel.  Pontius Pilate asks him, “are you the King of the Jews?”, and Jesus says “you say so.”  He goes to his place of crucifixion and he is silent the entire way in Mark’s Gospel.  He is nailed to the cross in Mark’s Gospel and is silent the whole time.  People are passing by, people are mocking him, and he says nothing even on the cross until the very end.  When people have betrayed him, denied him, mocked him, in Mark’s Gospel at the very end he is hanging on the cross and he cries out, “”Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?”, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, and he dies.  In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus appears to be in doubt and wonders why God himself has forsaken him in the end.

It’s a stark contrast with Luke, because Luke has changed the story.  In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is not silent on his way to crucifixion.  He is walking to the cross, and he sees some women weeping on the side of the road and he turns to them and he says weep not for me but weep for yourselves and for your children for what is to befall you.  He has more concern about this women than for himself.  In Luke’s Gospel, while he is being nailed to the cross, he’s not silent:  instead he prays, “Father forgive them; they don’t know what they are doing.”  While he is hanging on the cross in Luke’s Gospel, he’s not silent:  he has an intelligent conversation with one of the other people being crucified with him.  Now in Mark’s Gospel, both robbers mock Jesus; in Luke’s Gospel only one of them mocks him.  The other one tells him to be quiet because Jesus hasn’t done anything to deserve this, and then this robber turns to Jesus and says, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”  And Jesus replies, “Truly, I tell you that today you will be with me in paradise.”

Most striking of all, at the end in Luke’s Gospel, instead of crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, Jesus instead says “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit”, and then he dies.

There is a tendency for readers to assume that he said all of these things on the cross.  So you have the seven dying words of Jesus, where he says the words in Mark, those in Matthew, those in Luke, and those in John, and altogether you have seven sayings of Jesus.  In fact, these are distinctive portrayals.  Luke is not portraying Jesus the same way Mark is, as someone who is in agony and uncertainty at the end.  In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is going to his death knowing full well what is happening to him and why it is happening, and what is going to happen to him after his death:  he’s going to wake up that day in Paradise and this robber is going to be with him.

10.  God’s Plan

Jesus is a prophet who is fully certain about God’s Will for him and the future of the Earth.  For that reason, Jesus doesn’t go to his death in agony.  So, Jesus is portrayed as a prophet in Luke, one who is born as a prophet, one who preaches as a prophet, one who heals as a prophet, and one who dies as a prophet.  This emphasis on Jesus as a prophet, one who knows full well what God’s will is, and who is sent to proclaim it, coincides with other emphases found throughout Luke’s Gospel.  In particular, it coincides with an emphasis found distinctively in Luke that everything is going to God’s plan.  The Will of God, the Plan of God, are terms that one finds throughout Luke’s Gospel.

Moreover, in this Gospel there is no emphasis the way there is Mark that the end of the world is supposed to happen right away.  Mark’s Gospel on a couple of occasions that we will refer to later on in the course refers to the stance that the end is immediate.  Jesus tells his disciples in Mark, “some of you standing here won’t taste death before the Kingdom of God has come in power.”  Luke changes that verse to “some of you standing here won’t taste death before you see the Kingdom of God,” but he says nothing about it coming in power.  Luke does think that the disciples have seen the Kingdom of God, because according to Luke Jesus’ own ministry is the Kingdom of God.  Luke says in chapter 17 that “the Kingdom of God is in your midst” or “among you”.  For Luke, there is not going to be an end of the age as we would normally think of; the Kingdom has already arrived in some sense.

So too in the trial before the High Priest, in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus says “you will see the son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven.”  Luke has the same verse, but he changes it to “from now on, the son of Man will be seated at the right hand of power.”  It’s not that the high priest is going to see the cosmic judge come from heaven; it’s that from now on Jesus will be exalted.

Jesus as a prophet in Luke knows that the end is not going to come right away.  The reason why it’s not going to come right away is because God wanted to allow time for the message of Jesus to go out in the world so that salvation can come to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews.  That’s what the second volume of Luke’s, the Book of Acts, is going to be about, the salvation of God that goes to Gentiles.  Well, it takes time for salvation to go around the world, so of course in this Gospel you can’t expect the end to come right away:  first there has to be time for the establishment of the Church.

Since Luke thinks that there is going to be a long period of time before the coming of the end, Luke more than the other Gospels has a strong social agenda.  Unlike the other Gospels, Jesus stresses the importance of taking care of the needs of those who are poor and oppressed and outcast.  You can some of this in the other Gospels, but in Luke, it is much more strongly stated.

11.  The Beatitudes and Rights of Women

Compare the Beatitudes in Matthew and in Luke.  In Matthew, Jesus says “blessed are the poor in spirit.”  In Luke he says “blessed are you who are poor”; in other words, poverty itself is the problem.  In Matthew, it says “blessed are those of you who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”  In Luke, it’s “blessed are you who hunger and thirst.”  In other words, in Luke’s Gospel, rather than being concerned just about spiritual matters, Jesus is concerned about material matters as well, including the needs and rights of women.

In Luke’s there is an emphasis on the need for Christian communities, the followers of Jesus, to take care of the needs of women who were of course an oppressed group in ancient societies.

12.  Conclusion

In conclusion, Luke is both like and unlike Matthew and Mark, the two other Synoptic Gospels.  Like both of the others, Luke describes Jesus’ public ministry as one this is filled with stupendous,  miraculous fears and marvelous teachings.  Here too, we see the importance of Jesus’ death for God’s plan of salvation.  But instead of stressing Jesus as the misunderstood son of God, as in Mark, or as the Jewish Messiah who insists that his followers keep the Jewish Law, as in Matthew, Luke portrays Jesus as a Jewish prophet whose salvation goes to the whole world to bring salvation not just to Jews, but also to Gentiles, in fulfillment of the plan of God.