Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category

PMBOK 5th Edition Project management processes vs Product-oriented processes

  • Project management processes. These processes ensure the effective flow of the project throughout its life cycle. These processes encompass the tools and techniques involved in applying the skills and capabilities described in the Knowledge Areas.

  • Product-oriented processes. These processes specify and create the project’s product. Product oriented processes are typically defined by the project life cycle and vary by application area as well as the phase of the product life cycle. The scope of the project cannot be defined without some basic understanding of how to create the specified product. For example, various construction techniques and tools need to be considered when determining the overall complexity of the house to be built.

The PMBOK® Guide describes only the project management processes. Although product-oriented processes
are outside the scope of this document, they should not be ignored by the project manager and project team. Project
management processes and product-oriented processes overlap and interact throughout the life of a project.

For instance, in software development projects, the product-oriented processes may include requirements gathering, analysis, design, coding, integration, testing, implementation and training. These are unique to the software development projects type and the methodology used (RUP, SCRUM, Agile, XP, Waterfall).


PMI’s PMBOK 5th Edition Project Management VS Operations Management

Project Management is not the same as Operations Management. They’re quite different.

Project Management is temporary having a beginning and end, while Operations Management is permanent, continuous.

The goal of PM is to create unique products, services or results. The goal of OM is to produce a repetitive product or service.

A product in PM (a new electric car) is not the same as a product in OM (mass production of that new electric car).

PMI’s PMBOK 5th Edition Project, Program and Portfolio

Project is a temporary endeavor to produce a product, service or result. Example: an operations systems for the freight forwarding division of a company.

Program is a group of projects that together may work towards the same objectives. Example: the previous project, plus a system to manage the rail transportation business unit, a system to digitalize any image into the company repository, and a mobile app for truck drivers. All of them are related between them, are for the same customer.

Portfolio is a group of programs and single projects, not related to each other. All the projects executed by a software factory company for all its customers.

In short: a portfolio can have several programs and projects, a program can have several projects, and a project is just a project.

Project Definition according to the PMI’s PMBOK 5th Edition

The PMI’s PMBOK defines a project as:

a temporary endeavor, with a beginning and an end, undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.

The project ends when the goals are achieved (the product, service or result is completed), when the goals cannot be achieved or they are not needed anymore.

To create the project’s product, service or result, we need to perform a series of activities, grouped into 47 processes. Each process has its own inputs, techniques, tools and outputs. These 47 processes are grouped into 5 process groups:

  1. Initiation
  2. Planning
  3. Execution
  4. Monitoring and Controlling
  5. Closing

These 5 process groups are listed in a logical order as per the project’s phases.

Also, the 47 processes are grouped into 10 knowledge areas:

  1. Integration
  2. Scope
  3. Time
  4. Cost
  5. Quality
  6. Human Resources
  7. Communications
  8. Risks
  9. Procurement
  10. Stakeholder

So this means that each one of the 47 processes belongs to only one process group and only one knowledge area simultaneously.

Given that I’ve worked in the software industry for 8 years and I’m familiar with software development lifecyles, I would compare the PMI’s PMBOK process groups and knowledge areas with the Unified Process’ phases and disciplines. For more about this comparison, I’d recommned the following article: Standards, compliance, and Rational Unified Process, Part I: Integrating RUP and the PMBOK

In the software industry, a typical project goal is to create a new information system for a customer. Depending on the requirements complexity the information system must cover, it may take up to 6, 12, 36 or more months to be completed. Usually, the requirements may have changed by them or the customer may not need it anymore. Also, a “test period” is very commong in the software industry. We usually build information systems for our customers as the end result of a project. Given the complexity of software systems, testing is very important and a testing the system in the real world for, let’s say 3 months after “project closing”.

N(N-1)/2 – Formula for Number of Communication Channels

Project Management Essentials

N(N-1)/2 is the formula to calculate the number of communication channels on a project where N=the number of team members/stakeholders on a project. (my apologies to tonight’s class, this is the correct formula) This is frequently a test question for certification. I have attached a great article about this topic below. What it means to project managers is that the larger the project team, the greater the complexity and the more time spent communicating. As Jeff says in his article, “lack of communication” or “mis-communication” is frequently cited as an issue in lessons learned, so spend the time to determine what information everyone on the project needs, how often they need it and the best way to get the information to them. Check with the team and stakeholders regularly for feedback on how communication is going and how communication can be improved. Communication is the key to optimal project performance.

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