Procurement Documents

Below terminology refers to same thing but used in different application areas and location.

  • RFP – Request for Proposal
  • RFQ – Request for Quotation
  • RFI – Request for Information
  • IFB – Invitation fro Bid
  • Invitation for Negotiation
  • Invitation for seller’s initial response
  • Tender Notice

Attitude towards risks

You will do any of the below four strategies:

  1. Avoid – Identify risks in advance and try planning the project in such a way that you avoid the risks. You can extend the schedule, change the objective, eliminate risky items from scope etc. You may have to drop the entire project, but this is also good for a long run.
  2. Transfer – Just transfer the activities which you think are risky to some third parties. I will call it as escapism but some times it is good for the project.
  3. Mitigate – Rather than doing repair at the time of project execution, you may be able to reduce the impact of risk at an initial stage. Example, if you think an activity is complex, you may assign a more senior/expert person to do it.
  4. Accept – Either you can let the team face the risk at the time of execution or you can do some actions to deal the risk. Eg: add more funds or resources to deal the situation.

A basic defect life cycle for small companies

Below is a basic testing/defect/bug life cycle which can be followed in small companies. Don’t use this for medium to big companies as the process is not enough.

You can add policies and processes can be added according to the team size and reporting structure.

image

Is the new hire worse compared to past one?

One of the worst comments I have heard from many peers and their managers are “this new employee is doing nothing, or wrong! our X used to do this in an excellent way”.

Never do this!

May be this new hire is better than the older one. What makes you to talk like this may be one or more of these factors:

  • Some invisible mental attachment – When you work with a person for a long time, you gives some value for his/her doings.
  • The old person knows you and your organization and more importantly your work!. Educate him/her, he will also turn to a good worker. Help him whenever he/she is struck.
  • The new person is from an another organization, which follows another style. Even the finger prints of twins are different. So it will take some time for the new hire to adopt new system and fits to the new style
  • Are you jealous??? – kidding Winking smile

It takes usually 1 to 3 months or up to 6 months to make oneself fit in to an organization or job – unless you do give proper induction.

Project Risk

It is an unexpected or expected occurrence of an event or situation which will affect the project in some way.

Forms of communications

This is not a big deal and you know this already Smile

  1. Internal and External
    1. Internal – communications within the project
    2. External – outside the project. Eg: with another organization, client, projects, public etc.
  2. Formal and Informal
    1. Formal – All official communications. Eg: reports, memos etc.
    2. Informal – emails, etc.
  3. Vertical and Horizontal
    1. Vertical – Communications with senior/top management or the low level managers
    2. Horizontal - Communication between other project managers, etc. i.e, peers
  4. Official and Unofficial
    1. Official – Newsletters, reports etc.
    2. Informal – misc. communicaitons
  5. Written
  6. Verbal or non-verbal

English Language Pronunciation

It is very important that the person/group on the other side understands what you speak. It is easy to understand what you write, as long as there are no major grammar errors. But for speaking engagements, only you can help yourself.

Here is a useful pronunciation learning URL, directly from BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/

Number of communication channels

This is an interesting formula to find the number of communication channels between stakeholders.

image 

Where, n = number of stakeholders

 

 

image

How to solve problems?

Don’t panic!

  • Define the problem
  • Analyze
  • Identify different available solutions
  • Pick the best solution
  • Apply the solution
  • Confirm whether the problem is finished or not by reviewing the implemented solution

360 degree review

It is a method of evaluation of an employee by seeking feedback from everyone who are officially associated with this employee – mainly for the purpose of performance appraisal.

Thanks a lot or Thank you?

One of the first things I learned from Mr. Anand Jayaraman, PMP was about this usage of gratitude. I was replying to a UK based client with “Thanks a lot” and he warned me not to use this. I used to get appreciation from my managers about the style of formal mails I write and few clients directly told me the way I explain details via mail are excellent. His comment made me uncomfortable as I use this often for communications both verbal and written. Since I was curious, I asked him directly why I should not be using this and this is one of the most common line we use in conversations.

He explained me, “Thanks a lot” is typical Indian English usage and most people who follow British English (UK) may not follow this and they might think “Thanks, but expecting some more” Smile. He recommended to use "Thank you” or “Thank you very much” depending on the density of gratitude required.

Culture and Project Management
This is how cultural difference plays differently in project management deals. It is important to respect and comply cultural differences when managing overseas projects/clients/suppliers/team members etc. You will have to follow the rules of land.

Eg: when you get a project from another country, it is good to learn cultural differences and customs before you really start communicating to those customers.

Roles and Responsibilities of Team Members

Once I was talking to a CEO in his cabin and one of his accountant rushed there asking some basic questions “whether I have to do this or that or those…blah”. When he left the bozz said to me – “every one needs spoon feeding”.

Recently I saw an email sent by a project manager to do a hardware troubleshooting job to a “Systems Analyst” and his replay was “I am not here to do this job”

Another occasion, I asked a project lead to help a tester “if” she gets struck with fetching data from the website. His ego talked me like – what can I do? even I don’t know how to fetch data, I have too many projects,….

This kind of situation exists in almost all companies and we can avoid this problem if we define clearly the roles and responsibilities of each team member and make this team member aware of this.

Fortunately, I am a person who was able to make use of even my manager to test my projects. I am not using this act in a negative sense, but really in a respectful sense. This manager knows who is he for the organization well.

Point to note when estimating for Maintenance projects

Label: Lesson learned

When you estimate for maintenance projects, i.e, adding features to an existing project (software, website etc.) make sure you consider a pre-testing time also.

Once you finish your task, any issue on the product, even if you have not touched that specific module, will come to you – if you don’t have a previously installed product exists for which you can show the customer by reproducing the issue.

For standalone products this case won’t come as you can prove it by trying to replicate the scenario on another computer. But for website projects, you may not be able to prove your innocence.

So best approach is to test the product/project and prepare a list of issues and get the formal approval from customer. So in future if you get a bug report, you can verify this list so that your side is safe.

Virtual Teams

A team where team members does not always need to meet each other. They might be sitting in different places, working in different shifts, etc.

Responsibility Assignment Matrix

RAM – is used to illustrate the relations between activities and team members in a project.

Who moved my cheese?

The necessity of change in your company, business or life!

What happens if the product does not meet quality attributes?

  1. Angry Customer
  2. Rework
  3. Wrong Schedule
  4. Unexpected Risks (resource allocation, cost, etc.)
  5. Abnormal Cost

If the product meets quality standards, above points will get reversed.

Quality–Who is responsible?

  • Company Management has the responsibility to set quality standards.
  • Primarily it is the responsibility of the Project Manager to ensure a product meets quality standards. But it doesn’t mean he needs to sit and check.
  • It is the responsibility of the each team member to check/inspect the work they did
  • In Software, developer must do the testing before the testing team starts their job

Project Failure, a Project Manager’s Failure.

An unofficial note.

  • Do you and/or your team works on weekends or late evenings/nights?
  • When the deadline approaches, do you get nervous?
  • Do you and/or your team members work more when the deadline is approaching?
  • Did any team member asked you clarifications about some tasks after she/he cross their deadlines?
  • Do you get nervous when you get a mail from customer or management?
  • Is your hand shivering when creating status reports?
  • When you wake up, do you feel like taking a day off?
  • Is testing team sitting keep asking you annoying questions?
  • Don’t you have a WBS?
  • Do you feel there is much ego clashes between team members which you feel difficulty to control?
  • Do you see team members trying jump out from your project/company?

 

If you have two or more of the above things, then Congrats!, you are a poor project manager and your project is in trouble Smile

Types of Estimates

  • Rough Order of Magnitude estimates – This is a kind of rough or ballpark estimate. Accuracy is between –50% to +50% as the requirements details availability will be very less.
  • Budget Estimate – When more details are available and the project is in the planning stage, we will be able to provide this estimate. Accuracy is –10 to +25%
  • Definite Estimate – Accuracy level is almost close to 0 (Eg: -5% to +5%) as the requirements will be almost clear

Value Analysis

It refers to the act of making a project less costly without compromising the scope or quality.

Life Cycle Costing

It refers to the costing of entire product. It includes the cost of life cycle of project, maintenance cost etc.

Ishikawa’s 7 basic tools of Quality

These are basic graphic based tools used for the troubleshooting issues related to quality. This is named after Kaoru Ishikawa, a Japanese University Professor.

Cause and Effect Diagrams
OR
Ishikawa Diagrams
OR
Fishbone Diagrams
OR
Herringbone Diagrams
OR
Fishikawa Diagrams
Used to show how factors linked to issues
Control Charts This is basically used to check whether a process is in control.
Flowcharts Flow diagrams
Histogram It is a vertical bar chart which is used to identify how often a variable state is occurred.
Pareto Chart This is a type of histogram but it is ordered by frequency of occurrence. The name case from the relation of Pareto’s Law – which says a relatively small number of causes will produce a majority of problems/defects. (80/20 rule. i.e., 80% problems are cased by 20% of causes)
Run Chart A run chart displays the history and pattern of variation. It is a line graph.
Scatter Diagram Used to show relationships between two variables.

DoE: Design of Experiments

This is a statistical method for the investigation of a process. It is basically used for the identification of factors which may influence variables of a product/process.

Control Charts

Also called:

  • Process Behavior Charts
  • Stewart Charts

This chart is used to determine whether the project management processes is in control or not.

Control charts usually will have 1) upper/lower limits, 2) Maximum/Minimum accepted upper/lower limits and 3) planned value

Difference between Quality Assurance & Quality Control

  • Quality Assurance, QA happens before the deliverable is manufactured. QA makes sure you have the right processes in place for manufacturing and testing.
  • Quality Control, QC happens after the deliverable is finished. QC is the actual testing of product.

COQ: Cost Of Quality

It is the total cost of all efforts related to quality throughout the product life cycle.

Quality: prevention is better than cure

The time and cost for eliminating mistakes is usually less then correcting it after they are found in inspection

My first response to MBA case study

Just submitted my responses to the first case in my MBA – Project Management. Myself feeling I am above the world Winking smile

Let me continue with the module – Managing Change in Organizations

Quality and Grade

Quality – is the degree to which a set of defined qualities fulfill requirements

Grade – is a category assigned to products/services having the same functional use but different technical characteristics

EVM - Earned Value Management

It is a major technique used to measure the progress and performance of a project.

Below are different terms related to this.

Planned Value PV It is the authorized budget of an activity
Performance Measurement Baseline
Budget At Completion
PMB
BAC
Total of Planned Value
Earned Value EV It is the value of work performed in terms of Planned Value.
Actual Cost AV It is the realistic cost which actually incurred in finishing the activity.
Schedule Variance SV SV = EV - PV

It is a measure of schedule performance
Cost Variance CV CV = EV - AC

It is a measure of cost performance
Schedule Performance Index SPI SPI = EV / PV

It is a measure of progress achieved compared to progress planned

SPI > 1 = More work completed than planned

SPI < 1 = Less work completed than planned
Cost Performance Index CPI CPI = EV / AC

It is a measure of the value of work completed compared to the actual cost or progress

CPI > 1 = Cost crossed the estimated budget

CPI < 1 = Cost is under control

PMP certification Braindumps

If you have reached here by searching for PMP Certification Brain dumps, then I have to disappoint you because there is something called “PMP professional code of conduct". You cannot expect any site or PMPs to share you questions. If you are a PMP and you share these questions to any website or even to any individuals (if PMI comes to know about this), then PMI can strip your PMP certification off from your hands.

As far as I know you can find and practice “sample questions” from internet, books or simulators.

Schedule Compression

You will do this automatically or anonymously when the schedule and deadline is not in sync.

Fast Tracking – Simply execute activities in parallel than planned.

Crashing – Add more resources with least cost impacts. Eg: add more developers or buy software libraries

Float

Total Float – The amount of time an activity in a project can be delayed

Free Float – The amount of time an activity in a project can be delayed without delaying the next activity

Project Float – The amount of time an activity in a project can be delayed without affecting the predefined project end date

The float can be called as Slack also.

Heuristics / Rule of Thumb

80% of the quality issues are cased by 20% of potential source problems. This is a rule is applied for quality.

brainBOK

A very useful website for learning ITTOs (Input, Tools & Techniques and Output) in managing projects.

http://www.brainbok.com/

SWOT Analysis

  • S = Strength
  • W = Weakness
  • O = Opportunities
  • T = Threats

It is a strategic planning method to analyze the above mentioned points in a project. This is one of the method used in risk identification of a project.

How will you collect requirements?

Here are the major ones:

  1. Interviews – emails, direct, phone etc.
  2. Focus Groups – discussion with specific area experts
  3. Facilitated Workshops – discussions with architects and customers/users
  4. Brainstorming – Collecting ideas from individuals or groups
  5. Nominal Group Technique – Discussion of participants of most useful ideas from a brainstorming method
  6. Delphi Technique – An anonymous survey king of thing requesting ideas
  7. Mind Maps – A drawing which shows ideas. It will have a central point with many branches and sub branches.
  8. Affinity Diagrams – Ideas from different groups will be listed based on similarities
  9. Surveys/Questionnaires – based on these questions and responses we can construct requirements
  10. Observation – Just watch the end user of this product/project

Reserve Analysis

Usually in projects we add buffers or extra time when less information is available or the activity information are not accurate. Once more detailed information is known, this “reserve” time gets reduced.

PERT

PERT = Program Evaluation and Review Technique

This is a technique used to analyze and represent the tasks in a project.

More reading here

Three-Point Estimate

This estimate is based on PERT analysis. This technique also used when less information about the project is known.

This method calculated the expected duration of activity.

image

Where,

tE = Expected

t0 = Activity duration based on best-case scenario

tM = Activity duration

tP = Activity duration based on worst-case scenario

 

Read more details here - wiki

Parametric Estimation

If a resource is capable of making 10 match boxes per hour, then the duration required for making 100 match boxes will be 10 hours (100/10).

This type of estimation uses a statistical relationship between historical data and other variables to calculate an estimate.

Analogous Estimation

This estimation uses historical information and expert’s review. This is a less time consuming and usually will not be accurate. But becomes more accurate when the number of similar projects increases.

We consider this approach when we have a similar project already executed. We will be able to re-use many activities and make use of same parameters (eg: size, budget, duration, complexity etc.).

What is ITTO?

For beginners of PMP you will come across this.

ITTO = Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs

You might need to check page 43 of PMBOK for an all in one page table.

Project Management Software

You can find a good list and comparison of various commercial, open source and free Project Management Software here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_project_management_software

Bottom-Up estimate

If you think one activity can’t be estimated without much accuracy, you will split up the tasks in detail, estimate individual tasks and sum it.

Risk Register or Risk Log

It is a repository of risks identified in a project or organization.

This usually contains attributes such as risk category, probability, impact, owner, description etc.

Note: Risk can be defined as a potential which might lead to an unfavorable outcome.

Dependencies when defining activities

  1. Mandatory Dependencies/hard logic – As the name suggests, these dependencies must be included in the list.
  2. Discretionary Dependencies/Soft Logic/Preferred/Preferential – There will be some recommended or preferred or best practices based tasks we will have to include in list. 
  3. External Dependencies – Some activities you cannot full fill without the help of external dependencies. Eg: you cannot start coding if ordered computers are not yet available.

PDM: Precedence Diagramming Method

This is a method used in CPM (Critical Path Methodology, a scheduling method) for constructing a network diagram of schedule. This uses boxes and rectangles for representing activities and use arrows to connect between them.

This is also also Activity-On-Node (AON)

Eg:

image

Leads and Lags

Leads: It is the speeding up an activity. There will be situations you will have to schedule a task in such a way that this need to be started before the ending of a previous task.

Lags: It is the lagging/slowing of an activity. If a task need to be delayed, you can say lag. Eg: In construction, you many need to lag painting of sealing, as the ordered ladder will arrive after 10 days only.

Theory of Constraints

This theory basically says - It is difficult to achieve the goal if any of the constraints are not identified or rectified. So it is important to identify any constraints and plan and execute the projects by keeping this information in mind.

Critical Chain Method

This method is used for planning and managing projects which have importance for resources. In other words, we can say this method is used for the preparation of schedule when the resources are limited or restricted.

Critical path method

This is a method for scheduling a set of activities. This method gives and idea about the duration of the project, identify critical activities and give the benefit of giving an graphical overview of the project.

Functional and non-functional requirements

Functional Requirements – Business processes, functions of the product, technical details etc.

Non-functional Requirements – Security, Safety, Scalability, Reliability, compliance, SLAs etc.

Variance Analysis

Variance is a measurable change from a baseline or standard value. So the variance analysis in project management is the process of analyzing the variance of activity in a certain process.

Selection of Projects

Suppose if you have many projects in hand and you want to select one or few of them. You can prioritize the projects by filtering using some of the below factors. Combination of multiple factors will be required when the number of projects increases.

Net Present Value
(NPV)
Consider the project with high NPV
Internal Rate of Return
(IRR)
Consider the project with high IRR
Benefit Cost Ratio
(BRR)
Consider the project with high BRR
Payback Period Number of intervals/periods which you get the money
Project Duration Consider the project with low duration
Project cost per interval/period Consider project with higher cost per interval/period
Risk Values Consider project with less risks
Economic Value Added
(EVA)
Amount of added values, other than cost

Factors are unlimited…

What is a Defect?

If you find a flaw in a system, which fails to obey standards or the requirement documented (PM Winking smile) initially, then let us call it as a defect.

Peer Review

It is a review process of something by your peers. These peers will be a team with specific roles or qualities or are experts. This process is conducted for finding and fixing defects.

Murder Board

Interesting na? Smile

This is a committee of questioners. Remember the interview board.

In Project Management, the Murder board is a process where a committee asks questions from project representatives as part of the project selection process.

Actions to perfrom in each Project Management Group

Pleae let me know through comments section if you have inputs.

Group Activities
Initiating
  • Assign Project Manager
  • Assign Stack Holders
  • High level requirements
  • Create Project Charter
  • Business cases
  • Assign Project Manager
  • High Level requirements
Planning
  • Requirements gathering and analysis
  • Project Management Plans
  • Work with the customer to determine acceptance criteria
  • Define Scope
  • Create WBS
  • Activity List
  • Network Diagram
  • Develop Schedule
  • Determine schedule constrains
  • Quality Planning
  • Do HR Planning
  • Make Communication Plans
  • Plan Risk Management
  • Identify risks in the project
  • Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
  • Plan procurements
Executing
  • Do actual work
  • Manage and direct work and stakeholder expectations
  • Manage team
  • Manage Communication Channels
  • Distribute information
  • Perform Quality Assurance
  • Acquire Project Team
  • Distribute Information
  • Scope Completion (work)
  • Implement approved process improvements
  • Issue logs
  • Determine if project activities comply with processes
  • Performance Appraisals
  • Determine individual team member performance
  • Do procurements (purchase etc.)
Monitoring & Control
  • Monitor and Control Project Work
  • Manage Configuration
  • Manage Integrated Change Control (handle change requests)
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of implemented corrective actions
  • Administer procurements
  • Control schedule
  • Control cost
  • Control quality
  • Control risks
  • Obtain formal acceptance of scope from customer
  • Measure and analyze the work being done
  • Create Budget Forecast
Closing
  • Close Project/Phase
  • Make sure product of the project has been completed according tot he Project Management Plan
  • Verify Scope
  • Perform procurement audits
  • Document lessons learned (for history)
  • Close procurements

Disclarimer: This data I consolidated form various sources on internet. This is never a complete table and I plan to add more data when ever I come across.

Network Diagram

In Project Management context, a Network Diagram is a logical representation of activities and its relationships in a project. It also shows the sequence of activities, path of project, dependencies, parallel tasks, start and end points etc.

Ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe that one's ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one's own.

Source: Wiki

Progressive Elaboration

The estimate, scope etc. may be changing through out the project.This process we can call as Progressive Elaboration

CCB: Change Control Board

All the change requests in an organization must be approved by some authority in the project management team. Change Control Board (CCB) is such an authority in a project, which were agreed by the stockholders. Roles and responsibilities of CCB were clearly defined in configuration control and change control procedures.

Certain types of change requests will be approved by Project Manager, where his roles and responsibilities also were defined in Project Management Plan.

Configuration management

It is a field of management that focuses on establishing and maintaining consistency of a system or product's performance and its functional and physical attributes with its requirements, design, and operational information throughout its life.

Source: Wiki

This link and this link contains excellent explanations if you like more reading.

Reasons for a Project

It can be:
  • A market demand (Eg: Authorizing a project to manufacture Ambralla as the rainy season is approaching)
  • Organizational need (Eg: A project for employees to apply leave online)
  • Requested by Customer (Eg: A car manufacturing company wants a specially designed head lamps)
  • Legal Requirement (Eg: It is mandatory in construction sites to wear caps, so you manufacture them)
  • Social needs (Eg: A website for public safety awareness) etc.

These reasons we can call as Business Cases.

SOW - Statement of Work

This is the description of products/services to be delivered by the project. Eg: RFP (Request for Proposal), Request for Information, Request for Bid etc.

Projct Charter

This happends in the initiating process group of Project Management.

It is a document which authorises a project/phase. This also contain initial requirements and expectations. Stackholders starts getting assigned from this process.

Link: PM Terminology

Below is a very useful quick reference for project management terms:

http://project-management-knowledge.com/

RBS - Resource Breakdown Structure

In project management, the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) is a hierarchical list of resources related by function and resource type that is used to facilitate planning and controlling of project work. The Resource Breakdown Structure includes, at a minimum, the personnel resources needed for successful completion of a project, and preferably contains all resources on which project funds will be spent, including personnel, tools, machinery, materials, equipment and fees and licenses. Money is not considered a resource in the RBS; only those resources that will cost money are included.

Source: wiki

WBS Dictionary

In WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) dictionary, there will be detailed functional description about each element in WBS, relationshipes, requirements, dependancies etc.

"100% rule"

The 100% Rule...states that the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) includes 100% of the work defined by the project scope and captures all deliverables – internal, external, interim – in terms of the work to be completed, including project management.

Source: wiki

Requirements Traceability Matrix

Traceability matrix is basically a document which correlates two documents. In the case of a Requirements Traceability Matrix, it corrlates various documents made by companies against the RFP (Request for Proposal) to check if all the proposed requirements has been considered.

Rolling wave planning

We may need to revise some of the planning processes throughout the project life cycle. This iterative and ongoing processes is called rolling wave planning.

Project Charter

This is a document which authorizes a project/phase and documenting initial requirements. In bigger projects, the project charter document is used to verify or refine decisions made during the previous iteration.