6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 10.1 Plan Communications Management: Outputs

There are a lot of elements in the Communications Management Plan, which is the main output of this process.

10.1.3 Plan Communications Management:  Output Communications Management Plan

Here is a simplified list of the elements of the Communications Management Plan, based on the list on p. 377 of the PMBOK® Guide.

  • Stakeholder communication requirements
  • Information to be communicated, reason for the distribution, person responsible for communicating the information, time-frame and frequency of distribution, methods and technologies used to convey the information, persons or groups who receive the information, flow charts of the information flow in the project, including sequence of authorization
  • Special handling procedures:   escalation process and process for releasing confidential information
  • Resources allocated for communication activities (in terms of budget and schedule)
  • Guidelines and templates for project status meetings, team meetings and virtual meetings (agenda, minutes template, etc.), report formats, templates for e-mail messages
  • Constraints derived from legislation or regulation, organizational policies
  • Method for updating and refining the communications management plan Project Management Plan Updates

As a result of this process, the stakeholder management plan may be updated with the types of information to be communicated to the various stakeholders. Project Document Updates

  • Project schedule–if communication activities have to be added to the schedule, it is updated to reflect them
  • Stakeholder register–the communications planned with the various stakeholders may be added to the register.

During the execution phase of the project, the process to be used will 10.2 Manage Communications, which is the topic of the next post.

6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 10.1 Plan Communications Management: Tools and Techniques

It is sometimes said that 90% of what a project manager does on a project has to do with communications of one form or another.    The process of creating of a communications plan, therefore, is a very important process, and should be taken as seriously as the creation of a schedule or budget of a project.

This post covers the tools and techniques of this process of creating a Communications Management Plan.

10.1.2 Plan Communications Management:  Tools and Techniques Expert Judgment

This, along with meetings (see paragraph below), are generic tools and techniques in that they are used in practically all the planning processes that create management parts for the various knowledge areas on the project.   The areas of expertise that have to do with communication are listed on p. 369 of the PMBOK® Guide. Communications Requirements Analysis

This technique takes the information regarding stakeholders from the stakeholder register and uses it to determine the information needs of the various stakeholders in terms of the type and format of information they need.   Part of the RACI (Responsible-Accountable-Consult-Inform) matrix for the stakeholders is who needs to be consulted in the case of a decision, and then who needs to be informed of the results of a decision.   This can be used to analyze which stakeholders need to be informed before and after any important meeting on the project.   Examples of the communication requirements are given on p. 370 of the PMBOK® Guide. Communication Technology

Common methods used for information exchange and collaboration are established.   The factors that affect the choices of technology are listed on p. 370 of the PMBOK® Guide. Communication Models

The model itself is pretty simple:

  • you have a sender who encodes the message
  • and then transmits the message via a communication model
  • you have a receiver who decodes the message

However, if the sender makes a mistake in encoding the message, if there is noise in the transmission, or if the receiver makes a mistake in decoding the message, then the communication may not be successful.   How does this translate into a practical way of insuring communications are successful?   You need to realize that you’re not just talking about hardware when you are dealing with “noise.”  You may be dealing with internal or subjective causes for the garbling of communication.

For example, there are four types of communication preference (this is not in the PMBOK® Guide, but included in this post as an example):   people who prefer to communicate in terms of

  • action (how does the information relate to what the receiver should do?)
  • facts (how does the information relate to what the receiver should know?)
  • people (how does the information relate to what the receiver should feel?)
  • process (how does the information relate to how the receiver should process it?)

People who use the action preference like to give practical bullet-points about what the person should do with the information.   People who use the facts preference like to give the larger context for the information.   People who use the people preference like to establish the relationship with the receiver so that the receiver will trust the information.   People who use the process preference like putting the message in a logical form so that it is easy for the receiver to connect it together.

In Toastmasters, you learn that you have certain preferences, but that your audience is made of people who may have different preferences.   For example, I prefer “facts” and “process” and I used to jump right in and give information to people without setting up any relationship with whom I was sending the information to.   People who have the “people” preference can interpret this as being brusque or rude.    On the other hand, people with the “facts” and “process” preference can see all of that relationship building as a waste of time.   I learned in Toastmasters that you cannot send information to another person without doing the necessary relationship building because in that case they simply don’t care about the information because they don’t know where you are coming from and you haven’t expressed any interest in why they should care about it.  How is it relevant to them?

After working on this preference for over a year, I did another assessment and my score for the “people” preference went way up:  I was able to send information in such a way that people who cared about this preference paid attention to it, and not just those who shared my particular preference.   My goal now is to include the “action” preference in my communications, especially when you are dealing with management, for whom all the theoretical information (what I normally like to send as part of the “facts” preference I have) is useless unless it leads to practical, concrete action.

In any case, this is an example of how you can use a communication model to increase your power to get the message across to everybody on your team. Communication Methods

The three basic types of communication are

  • interactive communication (when you interact with team members at a meeting, for example)
  • push communication (when you send an e-mail out to team members with important information)
  • pull communication (when you put information on a website that team members can access as they see fit)

The various other sub-types of communication and individual communication methods are listed on p. 373 of the PMBOK® Guide. Communication Styles Assessment

This is alluded to in my paragraph on communication models (see paragraph above) but it basically is an analysis of the preferred communication method for stakeholders, which allows you to tailor your communication to their needs more effectively.

Political awareness of the relationships within the organization and cultural awareness of the differences between individuals is very helpful for a project manager.   For cultural awareness, I recommend the book The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer. Data Representation

A stakeholder engagement assessment matrix can help in determining the level of engagement of a stakeholder

  • Unaware
  • Resistant
  • Neutral
  • Supportive
  • Leading

You find out where they are at the beginning of the project and you show what level of engagement you are trying to influence them to be during the course of the project.   This level of engagement depends on whether they are interested in the project and/or whether they themselves have influence in the organization. Meetings

Like “expert judgment”, meetings are a generic tool and technique used in all planning processes for various knowledge areas.   However, in the context of this process, this means setting the “ground rules” for project meetings so that they are effective (so they get the work done) and efficient (so that they don’t waste people’s time).

The next post deals with the outputs of this process.


6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 10.1 Plan Communications Management: Inputs

Like most other knowledge areas, the first process has to do with planning to manage activities on the project with regards to that knowledge area.   The output of this process is the Communications Management Plan.

This post will go over the inputs to this process:

10.1.1 Plan Communications Management Project Charter

The project charter should contain the list of key stakeholders, and their roles and responsibilities within the organization. Project Management Plan

  • Resource management plan–the output of process 9.1 Plan Resource Management, provides guidance on managing resources, including human resources, on the project.  The team members and groups identified in this plan will have their communications requirements identified in the communications management plan.
  • Stakeholder engagement plan–the output of process 13.2 Plan Stakeholder Engagement; key stakeholders identified in the project charter have stakeholder management strategies outlined in this plan, which should help in creating their communications requirements during this process. Project Documents

  • Requirements documentation–the output of process 5.2 Collect Requirements, this may include requirements regarding project stakeholder communications.
  • Stakeholder register–the output of process 13.1 Identify Stakeholders, this will be updated as a result of this process with the plan for communications with those stakeholders. Enterprise Environmental Factors

  • Stakeholder risk thresholds
  • Personnel administration policies (based on governmental laws and/or regulations)
  • Organizational culture and governance framework (projectized, functional, or a matrix framework somewhere between the two Organizational Process Assets

  • Organization policies and procedures for social media
  • Organizational communication requirements
  • Standardized guidelines for exchange, storage and retrieval of information
  • Historical information and lessons learned repository from previous similar projects

The next post will cover the tools and techniques of this process.

6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.6 Control Resources: Outputs

This is the last post for this knowledge area, because it discusses the outputs for the last process in resource management covered by

Remember that a control process is actually a “monitor and control” process, with the monitor part looking at the actual performance on the project and comparing it to what was in the plan.   In this case, it is monitoring the resources actually utilized in getting the activities of the project done and comparing it do the resources that were planned to be used according to the Resource Management Plan.   If a variance between these is discovered as part of the tool of Work Performance Information (see paragraph below) then you switch over to the controlling part of the process, where you find the source of the variance and suggest a change request (see paragraph below) in order to correct it.   If the changes are accepted as part of process 4.6 Perform Integrated Change Control, then updates to either the project documents (see paragraph below) or even to the resource management plan itself (see paragraph below) may be required.

9.6.2 Control Resources:  Outputs Work Performance Information

Work performance data on how the resources were actually utilized is compared to the resource requirements as sort forth in the Resource Management Plan.    This comparison is Work Performance Information, and it is used to see if there is a variance between the actual resources used vs. the resources that were planned to be used. Change Request

If as a result of the work performance information (see paragraph above), a variance is discovered between the resources actually used and the resources that were planned to be used, then the project manager needs to decide whether a corrective action needs to be taken.   Such action is a change request that is then an input to process 4.6 Perform Integrated Change Control.   If the changes are accepted, then these changes are made, either whether they are updates to the project documents (if the work is going to be changed to fit the plan) or to the project management documents (if the plan turned out to be realistic and the plan is going to be changed to fit the work).    For both of these changes, see the next two paragraphs. Project Management Plan Updates

The components of the project management plan that may be updated as a result of this process are as follows:

  • Resource management plan–if the result of this process is that the original plan for utilizing resources is seen to be unrealistic to meet the demands of the actual work involved on the project, then the resource management plan may be updated to reflect the additional or alternate resources used.
  • Schedule baseline/cost baseline–if additional resources are identified as being needed as a result of this process, then the cost of those resources may be added to the cost baseline, and the schedule baseline may be updated to reflect when these resources are added to the project. Project Management Updates

  • Assumption logs–if new assumptions regarding physical resources need to be added, or the old assumptions already in the log need to be changed as a result of the actual experience in managing project resources as a result of this process, then these changes are made to the assumption log.
  • Issue log–if performing the process uncovers issues that need to be resolved, these are added to the issue log.
  • Lessons learned register–as with a lot of other processes, if in doing this process techniques were found that were effective in managing resource logistics, managing variances in resource utilization, and/or corrective actions recommended to respond to those variances, these are added to the lessons learned register to improve the process throughout the rest of the project.
  • Physical resource assignments–an output of process 9.3 Acquire Resources, this document may need to be updated if the quantity or type of physical resources used on the project are changed as a result of this process.
  • Resource breakdown structure–an output of process 9.2 Estimate Activity Resource, this document doesn’t give the quantity of resources, but merely breaks down the types of resources used on the project.   It may need to be updated if additional resources are added as a result of this process that were not in the original resource breakdown structure.
  • Risk register–if as a result of this process new risks are uncovered that are associated with resource availability or utilization, then these risks are added to the risk register.

That’s it!   This finishes my review of the entries for Chapter 9 of the PMBOK® Guide relating to the project resource management knowledge area.

The next post will start the next chapter, Chapter 10, which covers Project Communications Management.

6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.6 Control Resources: Tools and Techniques

This process is where the resources that were assigned to the project in the Resource Management Plan are periodically monitored and, if necessary, controlled or changed to respond to the realities on the project.   This may require changing the Resource Management Plan itself if it proves to be unrealistic.

As with the process 9.3 Acquire Resources, this process deals with both material and human resources.   That is why “Interpersonal and Team Skills” is one of the tools and techniques, because it deals with people.   The other tools and techniques (Data Analysis, Problem Solving, and the Project Management Information System or PMIS) are used with both types of resources.

9.6.2 Control Resources:  Tools and Techniques Data Analysis

Here are the techniques used in this process that deal with data analysis:

  • Alternatives analysis–if an activity needs to be done, alternates can be analyzed to decide which resources to use in order get that activity done as a part of process 9.3 Acquire Resources.   In this process, if there is a variance in resource utilization (i.e., if resources get used in different amounts than called for in the plan), then alternatives can be analyzed to figure out to correct that variance.   This may include such measures as paying additional for overtime for additional human resources or late delivery charges for additional physical resources.
  • Cost-benefit analysis–if a corrective action is called for in order to correct a variance with regards to resources, then this analysis can determine the best action to take with respect to cost.
  • Performance reviews–this is not a review of the performance of team members; this is a review of the performance of the project, in this case how resources are being utilized.
  • Trend analysis–as opposed to corrective action, which takes care of problems that currently exist on the project, trend analysis can determine whether preventive action needs to be taken that prevent problems from occurring if current trends prevail. Problem Solving

When it comes to problems with resource utilization, it is important to analyze the cause of the problem, and then data analysis techniques like alternatives analysis can come up with potential solutions.   It is important to use a methodological approach (like Six Sigma, for example) so that you can demonstrate the effectiveness of any solution that is implemented.   If the follow up shows that the problem is not resolved, then you may have to go back to the proverbial drawing board and come up with another solution.  Take a look at p. 356 of the PMBOK Guide to see a complete list of the methodological steps recommended by PMI. Interpersonal and Team Skills

When it comes to utilizing resources, the following interpersonal and team skills are useful in this process:

  • Negotiation–if additional physical resources are needed, the project manager may need negotiation skills in order to obtain these resources from the organization.
  • Influencing–influencing functional managers and/or stakeholders may be required in order to obtain additional team resources for the project. Project Management Information System (PMIS)

A Project Management Information System or PMIS, such as Microsoft Project, can be used to manage resources in terms of the type and amount of resources and to manage the schedule of when they will be utilized on the project and when, in the case of team resources, when they will be released on the project.

The next post will discuss the outputs of this process.

6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.6 Control Resources: Inputs

The resource management knowledge area covers both physical resources and human resources.   Human resources are covered in the last three processes, 9.3 Acquire Resources, 9.4 Develop Team and 9.5 Manage Team.

In Control Resources, the process makes sure that the resources assigned in the Resource Management Plan are made available to the project at the right time and in the right place and that are released when no longer needed.   The resources can be either physical resources (materials, equipment, locations) or human resources.  The process is performed throughout the project, and any changes needed to either the resources themselves, or to the schedule or cost baselines, are done as a result of this process.

The inputs to this process are as follows.

9.6.1  Control Resources;  Inputs Project Management Plan

The resources management plan gives guidelines regarding all of the resource management processes.  Those that affect this process include

  • Methods for ensuring adequate physical resources are available as needed.  Includes management of inventory, equipment, and supplies throughout the project life cycle. Project Documents

  • Issue log–issues relating to the lack of resources, or delays in procuring them for the project identified as a result of this process are recorded in this document.
  • Lessons learned register–lessons learned as a result of this process will be added to this register.
  • Physical resource requirements–the output of process 9.3 Acquire Resources.   This gives details on the physical resources that will be controlled during this process.
  • Project schedule–this gives information on when the resources are to be used on the project.
  • Resource breakdown structure–this gives the type of resources needed on the project.   This provides a reference in any case any resource needed to be replaced or re-acquired during the course of the project as a result of this process.
  • Resource requirements–This identifies the quantity of resources needed to carry out the activities of the project.
  • Risk register–if any risks related to the availability of resources are identified as a result of this process, they are added to the register. Work Performance Data

Data on the amount and type of resources used to carry out the activities of the project are inputs to this process. Agreements

Agreements with other organizations to supply resources for the project are inputs to this process. Organizational Process Assets

  • Organizational policies regarding assignment and control of resources.
  • Escalation procedures for dealing with conflicts within an organization regarding resources
  • Lessons learned repository from previous similar projects

The next post covers the tools and techniques of this process.



6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 9.5 Manage Team: Outputs

As a result of doing process 9.5 Manage Team, it may be necessary to make changes in either the way the team is handled in order to conform to the Resource Management Plan, or it may require changes to the Resource Management Plan if the initial plan turns out to be unrealistic based on new information and/or experiences gained during the process.

9.5.4 Manage Team:  Outputs Change Requests

If in managing the team there are recommendations for corrective or preventive actions, these requests for changes are made and then processed for review in process 4.6 Perform Integrated Change Control.   If these changes include staffing changes, these can create changes in the project management plan (see next paragraph). Project Management Plan Updates

The components of the project management plan that may be updated as a result of this process include the following:

  • Resource management plan–the experience of this process may require updating the resource management plan
  • Schedule baseline–if staffing changes require changes to the schedule, this is updated as a result of this process.
  • Cost baseline–if staffing changes require changes to the budget, this is updated as a result of this process. Project Documents Updates

  • Issue log–if new issues are raised as a result of this process, they are entered in the issue log
  • Lessons learned register–if information or challenges relating to the management of the team are encountered as a result of this process, the lessons learned register is updated so that the approaches that worked well can continue to be utilized during the project, and so that approaches that did not work well can be avoided.
  • Project team assignments–if changes to the team are required as a result of this process, then these changes are recorded in the project team assignment documentation. Enterprise Environmental Factors Updates

  • Input to organizational performance appraisals
  • Updates to personnel skills

The next process is controlling resources, both physical resources and human resources.