5th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Step 6: Memorizing Inputs & Outputs (Time Management Part 3)


1. Introduction

In this next series of posts on memorizing the processes, we move on to the final step 6, which is memorizing the INPUTS & OUTPUTS associated with each of the 47 processes.   In order to breakdown the memorization into more bite-size chunks, I am breaking down the processes in the 10 knowledge areas into 2 or 3 posts each.

This post covers chapter 6 of the PMBOK® Guide, which covers the Time Knowledge Area. This knowledge area contains 7 processes, six of which are in the Planning Process group, and the last of which is in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

(I am splitting the discussion of the Inputs & Outputs into three different posts; this post will cover Processes 6.6 Develop Schedule through 6.7 Control Schedule.)

2.  Review of processes 6.6 through 6.7 ITTOs (Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs)

There are a total of seven processes in the Time Management Knowledge Area.   Because of the large number of inputs and outputs, I am splitting my discussion of the inputs and outputs into three different posts, each one of which will cover two of the processes.    In that way, I can describe the inputs and outputs for these processes in a little bit of detail without the post becoming too long.

Here is a chart which shows the sixth and seventh processes, 6.6 Develop Schedule and 6.7 Control Schedule together with their tools & techniques (which are discussed in a previous post) and their inputs & outputs.

NOTE:  the generic inputs known as Environmental Enterprise Factors and Operational Process Assets are given by their acronyms EEFs and OPAs, respectively.

Process Name Tools & Techniques Inputs Outputs
6.6 Develop Schedule 1. Schedule network analysis

2. Critical path method

3. Critical chain method

4. Resource optimization techniques

5. Modeling techniques

6. Leads and lags

7. Schedule compression

8. Scheduling tool

1. Schedule management plan

2. Activity list

3. Activity attributes

4. Project schedule network diagrams

5. Activity resource requirements

6. Resource calendars

7. Activity duration estimates

8. Project scope statement

9. Risk register

10. Project staff assignements

11. Resource breakdown structure

12. EEFs

13. OPAs

1. Schedule baseline

2. Project schedule

3. Schedule data

4. Project calendars

5. Project management plan updates

6. Project documents updates

6.7 Control Schedule 1. Performance reviews

2. Project management software

3. Resource optimization techniques

4. Modeling techniques

5. Leads and lags

6. Schedule compression

7. Scheduling tool

1. Project management plan

2. Project schedule

3. Work performance data

4. Project calendars

5. Schedule data

6. OPAs

1. Work performance information

2. Schedule forecasts

3. Change requests

4. Project management plan updates

5. Project documents updates

6. OPAs updates

3.  Outputs for processes 6.6 through 6.7

The outputs are more obvious to understand than the inputs, so I start with those.

a. Schedule baseline (6.6 Develop Schedule)

The main output of the Develop Schedule process is the schedule baseline, which is defined as “the approved version of a schedule model that can be changed only through formal change control procedures.”   It is used as the basis of comparison with the actual results.   It is one of the performance baselines, and is one of the components of the overall project management plan.

The reason why PMI insists on calling it the “schedule model” rather just “the schedule” is because the schedule model is affected by the assumptions that go into its creation.    The term “project schedule” is considered the output of the schedule model.   If the assumptions that go into the “schedule model” are changed, the output (the project schedule) will also be changed.

b. Project schedule (6.6 Develop Schedule)

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the project schedule is the output of the schedule model.     It can be represented in different forms, such as bar charts or as project network schedule diagrams.

c. Schedule data (6.6 Develop Schedule)

The information used for describing and controlling the schedule, which includes the following:

  • Schedule milestones
  • Schedule activities
  • Activity attributes
  • Identified assumptions and constraints
  • Resource requirements by time period (often in the form of a resource histogram)
  • Alternate schedules (worst case, best case, etc.)
  • Scheduling of contingency reserves

d. Project calendars (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Identifies working days and shifts available for scheduled activities.

e. Project management plan updates (6.6 Develop Schedule and (6.7 Control Schedule)

The schedule management plan and the schedule baseline may be updated as a result of these processes.

f. Project documents updates (6.6 Develop Schedule)

  • Activity resource requirements (resource leveling may have an effect on preliminary estimates for the types and quantities of resources required)
  • Activity attributes (may be updated to include any revised resource requirements)
  • Calendars
  • Risk register (may be updated to reflect opportunities or threats perceived through scheduling assumptions)

g. Work performance information (6.7 Control Schedule)

The calculated SV (schedule variance = EV – PV) and SPI (schedule performance index = EV/PV) time performance indicators for WBS work packages and control accounts.

h. Schedule forecasts (6.7 Control Schedule)

Predictions of conditions and events in the project’s future based on information and knowledge available at the time.

i. Change requests (6.7 Control Schedule)

Schedule variance analysis may result in change requests to the schedule baseline and other components of the project management plan.   These outputs of this process are then input into the 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control process for analysis of the change requests and either acceptance or rejection.

j. OPAs updates (6.7 Control Schedule)

  • Schedule data
  • Project Schedule
  • Risk register (may be updated based on risks that arise from schedule compression techniques)

4.  Inputs for processes 6.6 through 6.7

a. Schedule management plan (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Identifies the scheduling method and tool used to create the schedule, and how the schedule is to be calculated.

b. Activity list (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Identifies the activities to be included in the schedule model.

c. Activity attributes (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Provides the details used to build the schedule model.

d. Project schedule network diagrams (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Contain the logical relationships of predecessors and successors that will be used to calculate the schedule.

e. Activity resource requirements (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Identifies the types and quantities of resources required for each activity used to create the schedule model.

f. Resource calendars (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Contains information on the availability of resources during the project.

g. Activity duration estimates (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Contains quantitative assessments of the likely number of work periods that will be required to complete an activity that will be used to calculate the project schedule.

h. Project scope statement (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Contains assumptions and constraints that can impact the development of the project schedule.

i. Risk register (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Provides the details of all identified risks and their characteristics that affect the schedule model.

j. Project staff assignments (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Specifies which resources are assigned to each activity.

k. Resource breakdown structure (6.6 Develop Schedule)

Provides the details by which resource analysis and organizational reporting to be done.

l. EEFs (6.6 Develop Schedule)

The EEFs used as inputs for 6.6 Develop Schedule may include

  • Scheduling standards
  • Communication channels
  • Scheduling tool to be used in developing the schedule model

m. OPAs (6.6 Develop Schedule and 6.7 Control Schedule)

The OPAs used as inputs for 6.6 Develop Schedule may include

  • Scheduling methodology
  • Project calendars

n. Project management plan (6.7 Control Schedule)

In particular, the two elements that are used as inputs for 6.7 Control Schedule are:

  • Scheduling management plan–describes how the schedule will be managed and controlled
  • Schedule baseline–used as reference to compare to actual results to determine if a variance exists, and if a change is necessary

o. Project schedule (6.7 Control Schedule)

The most recent version with notations to indicate updates, completed activities, and activities started as of the indicated date.

p. Work performance data (6.7 Control Schedule)

Information about project progress such as

  • which activities have started
  • progress (percent complete, actual duration of activity,remaining duration of activity)

q. Project calendars (6.7 Control Schedule)

A schedule model may require more than one project calendar to allow for different work periods for some activities in order to calculate the schedule forecasts.

e. Schedule data (6.7 Control Schedule)

Will be reviewed and updated in the Control Schedule process.

5.  CONCLUSION

The way to review inputs and outputs is take one sheet of paper for each process, label each with the name of the process and put it in front of you on a table.    Take index cards and write down the inputs and outputs.    Then shuffle the cards, and draw one at a time, and try to identify which process they go with.    If you understand the processes and the tools & techniques that are used in them, then you will probably get a majority of them correct.

Alternately, take flip charts that consist of tear-off sheets like post-it notes and stick them on a wall, one for each process.    Then take smaller post-its and use them for the inputs and outputs which will be stuck on the giant post-it sheets that contain the processes.   

In any case, don’t try to actively remember the list of inputs and outputs, but rather be able to passively recognize from a list of possible inputs or outputs which one is more likely to go with a given process.   That is what you will have to do for the PMP or CAPM exam.

Next will I will start on the inputs and outputs associated with the cost management knowledge area, which is covered by Chapter 7 of the PMBOK® Guide.

 

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