Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Understanding Process Sigma Level

Six Sigma is a data-driven approach to quality, aimed at reducing variation and the associated defects, wastes and risks in any process. This article explores the basics of Six Sigma process quality – definition and measurement.

In a set of data, mean (μ) and standard deviation (σ) are defined as:

μ = x1 + x2 + x3 + … + xn) / n

Where x1 , x2 , … , xn are data values and n is the number of data elements, and Six Sigma Tutorials and Materials, Six Sigma Learning, Six Sigma Study Materials Standard deviation shows the extent of variation or spread of data. A larger standard deviation indicates that a data set has a wider spread around its mean. Process data usually has a normal distribution. The distance from the mean μ to a data value in terms of data units can be measured. For example, a data point with a value of x = 31 seconds is 6 seconds away from a mean value of 25 seconds. This distance can also be measured by counting the number of standard deviations in the distance. If the standard deviation is 2 seconds, the same point is 6/2 or 3 standard deviations away from the mean. This count is denoted by sigma level, Z, also known as Z-score, as shown below.
Z = (x – μ) / σ

Z = (31- 25) / 2 = 3

Specification Limits and Defect Rates


In a process, deviations from the target or mean are accepted to a certain value defined by the specification limits (SL) around the mean. Any value beyond the specification limit indicates a defect or unacceptable result. The farther the specification limits are from the mean, the lower the chance of defects.

A Six Sigma process has a specification limit which is 6 times its sigma (standard deviation) away from its mean. Therefore, a process data point can be 6 standard deviations from the mean and still be acceptable. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1: Normal Distribution With Mean, Z-score and Six Sigma Specification Limits

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In a stable process, the mean naturally shifts as much as 1.5 sigma in the long term on either side of its short-term value. The red lines in Figure 2 (below) show the extreme case of 1.5-sigma mean shift to the right. The right specification limit is at 4.5 sigma from the mean with a defect rate of 3.4 parts per million (PPM). The left specification limit is at 7.5 sigma from the mean with a defect rate of 0 PPM. The overall defect rate, therefore, is 3.4 PPM. A similar argument applies to the extreme case of 1.5-sigma shift to the left. A Six Sigma process is actually 4.5 sigma in the long term, and the 3.4 PPM defect rate is the 1-sided probability of having a data value beyond 4.5 sigma measured from the short-term mean.

Figure 2: Process Mean Shift of 1.5 Sigma and Defect Rate Corresponding to 4.5 Sigma

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The 1.5-sigma shift makes defects approach 0 on the opposite side of the shift even at lower sigma levels. The one-sided defect rate is applicable to any capable process with 1-sided or 2-sided SLs, even at a 3-sigma level.

Given the specification limit, SL, the process sigma level, or process Z, is:

Z = (x – μ) / σ = (SL – μ) / σ

In this example, the process sigma level for a specification limit of 31 seconds is:

Z = (SL – μ) / σ

Z  = (31 – 25) / 2 = 3

Therefore, the process is at a 3-sigma quality level. In order to bring the process to the golden Six Sigma quality level, the process sigma would have to be reduced to 1.

Z = (31 – 25) / 1 = 6

In general, the Z formula can be rearranged to calculate the maximum allowable process sigma, or standard deviation, for any sigma level.

Z = (x – μ) / σ

σ = (x – μ ) / Z

For example, given a mean of 25 seconds and SL of 31 seconds, for a Six Sigma quality level, the required process sigma is calculated as:

σ = (31 – 25) / 6 = 1

Similarly, for a 3-sigma quality level, the process sigma must be:

σ = (31 – 25 ) / 3 = 2

Referring back to the short- and long-term behavior of the process mean, there are 2 values for Z, short-term Z, or Zst, and long-term Z, or Zlt.

Zlt = Zst – 1.5

In sigma level calculations, use Zst. A Six Sigma process is 6 sigma in the short term and 4.5 sigma in the long term or:
Zst = 6

Zlt = Zst – 1.5 = 4.5

Clarifying Process Sigma and Sigma Level


Sometimes the term process sigma is used instead of the process sigma level, which may cause confusion. Process sigma indicates the process variation (i.e., standard deviation) and is measured in terms of data units (such as seconds or millimeters), while process sigma count Z, or process sigma level, is a count with no unit of measure.

Process Capability and Six Sigma


Another measure of process quality is process capability, or Cp, which is the specification width (distance between the specification limits) divided by 6 times the standard deviation.

Cp = (Upper SL – Lower SL) / 6σ

The recommended minimum or acceptable value of Cp is 1.33. In terms of Six Sigma, this process capability is equivalent to a sigma level of 4 and long-term defect rate of 6,210 PPM. Process capability for a Six Sigma process is 2.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Should You Calculate Your Process Sigma?

Six Sigma Certifications, Six Sigma Learning, Process Six Sigma

Many people hear about the Six Sigma quality methodology and immediately want to calculate their own process sigma to determine how close (or far) they are from six sigma. My immediate response to them is twofold: 1. are you currently measuring your process capability?, and 2. are you satisfied with your performance? If the answer to both is yes, then calculating your process sigma may be interesting but not necessary.

When Process Sigma Is Not Neccessary


Let me illustrate with an example. A power company measures their performance in uptime of available power to their grid. Every minute of potential uptime (power is available) is an opportunity, every minute of downtime (power is not available) is a defect in the eyes of a customer. Data is continuously taken, the process capability is measured, and the yield is calculated to be 99.9%. The power company is satisfied with their current performance (but always looking to improve), and the customer’s needs (as collected via Voice of the Customer) are being met.

If the entire company communicates in yield and everyone within the company understands this language, is determining the process sigma level useful? I submit that if the company is pursuing full implementation of the Six Sigma quality methodology across the organization then calculating sigma is appropriate because processes within the organization and between plants can be compared. When a company is only considering Six Sigma for one functional area (power transmission OR bill collection OR call center) then the company might be better suited to maintain the metrics that everyone currently uses and understands. How can an organization communicate if everyone doesn’t learn the language?

I know what you’re thinking, ‘Ok Zack, get on with it. I want to calculate my process sigma anyway. How can I do it?’ Here is your two minute instruction on calculating your process sigma.

How to Calculate Process Sigma


Consider the power company example from the previous page: A power company measures their performance in uptime of available power to their grid. Here is the 5 step process to calculate your process sigma.

Step 1: Define Your Opportunities

An opportunity is the lowest defect noticeable by a customer. This definition, of course, is debatable within the Six Sigma community. Here’s a useful snippet from the forum discussing this point:

“Typically, most products (and services) have more than one opportunity of going wrong. For example, it is estimated than in electronics assembly a diode could have the following opportunities for error: 1) Wrong diode and 2) wrong polarity (inserted backwards), so for each assembly shipped, at least two defect opportunities could be assigned for each diode. Apparently, some manufacturers of large complex equipment with many components prefer to [count two opportunities in this case]. My point is that this approach dilutes Six Sigma metrics.” -Anonymous

Many Six Sigma professionals support the counter point. I always like to think back to the pioneer of Six Sigma, Motorola. They built pagers that did not require testing prior to shipment to the customer. Their process sigma was around six, meaning that only approximately 3.4 pagers out of a million shipped did not function properly when the customer received it. The customer doesn’t care if the diode is backwards or is missing, just that the pager works.

Returning to our power company example, an opportunity was defined as a minute of uptime. That was the lowest (shortest) time period that was noticeable by a customer.

Step 2: Define Your Defects

Defining what a defect is to your customer is not easy either. You need to first communicate with your customer through focus groups, surveys, or other voice of the customer tools. To Motorola pager customers, a defect was defined as a pager that did not function properly.

Returning to our power company example, a defect is defined by the customer as one minute of no power. An additional defect would be noticed for every minute that elapsed where the customer didn’t have power available.

Step 3: Measure Your Opportunities and Defects

Now that you have clear definitions of what an opportunity and defect are, you can measure them. The power company example is relatively straight forward, but sometimes you may need to set up a formal data collection plan and organize the process of data collection. Be sure to read ‘Building a Sound Data Collection Plan‘ to ensure that you gather reliable and statistically valid data.

Returning to our power company example, here is the data we collected:

Opportunities (last year): 525,600 minutes
Defects (last year): 500 minutes

Step 4: Calculate Your Yield

The process yield is calculated by subtracting the total number of defects from the total number of opportunities, dividing by the total number of opportunities, and finally multiplying the result by 100.

Returning to our power company example, the yield would be calculated as: ((525,600 – 500) / 525,600) * 100 = 99.90%

Alternatively, the yield can be calculated for you by using the iSixSigma Process Sigma Calculator – just input your process opportunities and defects.

Step 5: Look Up Process Sigma

The final step (if not using the iSixSigma Process Sigma Calculator) is to look up your sigma on a sigma conversion table, using your process yield calculated in Step 4.

Assumptions


No analysis would be complete without properly noting the assumptions that you have made. In the above analysis, we have assumed that the standard sigma shift of 1.5 is appropriate (the calculator allows you to specify another value), the data is normally distributed, and the process is stable. In addition, the calculations are made with using one-tail values of the normal distribution.

Friday, 25 May 2018

What is a Project Plan?

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It’s a question that comes up often, and doesn’t seem to have a clear answer. Is a project plan simply an MS Project schedule? Is it a summary document of just a few pages? Or a more in-depth and detailed document containing specifics of every aspect of the project?

As you might imagine, it’s tough to write one if you don’t know exactly what’s expected.

Project Plan Basics


At its most basic level, a project plan – or Project Management Plan, as the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) calls it – is simply a guide for how the project will be managed. Think of it as the project manager’s rulebook. It provides a structure for handling things like changes to the project, communication methods and requirements, and approval processes. It also provides a baseline for the project including cost, scope, and schedule.

When creating a project plan, you have some flexibility regarding the level of detail to include, as long as your plan defines how the project will be planned, executed, monitored and controlled, and closed. It should focus mainly on management processes, while detailing the tools and techniques necessary to meet the needs of that specific project, and may include any subsidiary management plans or other related documents. This formal document typically requires approval from the project sponsor or other stakeholders.

It’s important to remember that a project management plan is a living document. It can and should be frequently updated throughout the life cycle of the project. As you do so, be sure to have all changes approved by the project sponsor and any others as defined in the project plan itself.

Getting Started with a Project Plan


Ideally, a project plan is created after the Project Charter has been signed. It is developed during the planning phase and is an output of the PMBOK Planning Process Group. At a minimum, it should include details about:

◉ The project management processes for the entire life cycle of the project.
◉ The level of implementation of each process.
◉ The tools and techniques to be used to support the project management process.
◉ How the work will be executed in order to accomplish your project's objectives.
◉ How changes will be managed, monitored and controlled.
◉ How configuration management will be performed throughout the project's life cycle.
◉ How performance measurement baselines will be maintained.
◉ How communications will be performed, including needs for communications and techniques for communication.
◉ The process for management review.

In addition, project baselines are an important component of any good project plan. Yours should include schedule, cost performance, and scope baselines at a minimum, and others as deemed necessary by the project manager.

Subsidiary Management Plans


Project plans often include support documents called subsidiary management plans. Like a project plan, these can be developed at either a summary or detailed level, depending on the requirements of the project. It’s the job of the project management plan to integrate and consolidate all of the subsidiary plans, either as sections of the overall project plan or as appendices to the project plan. Typically, if the subsidiary management plan is a summary, it’s included as a section of the project management plan. More detailed and in-depth plans should be added as an appendix.

Typically, a project plan should at a minimum contain the following subsidiary management plans:

◉ Communications Management Plan
◉ Cost Management Plan
◉ Human Resource Plan
◉ Process Improvement Plan
◉ Procurement Management Plan
◉ Quality Management Plan
◉ Requirements Management Plan
◉ Risk Management Plan
◉ Schedule Management Plan
◉ Scope Management Plan

Project Documents


Other documentation is often included as a part of a project plan to support the development of the project plan and the management of the project. The PMBOK has broken these documents out from the project management plan in order to differentiate them from the project plan and its subsidiary management plans. Some examples of typical project documents are:

◉ Activity Cost Estimates
◉ Assumption Log
◉ Change Log
◉ Contracts
◉ Performance Reports
◉ Proposals
◉ Quality Checklists
◉ Resource Calendars
◉ Teaming Agreements

A project management plan is a living document and is often updated throughout the lifecycle of the project. Be sure to keep the project management plan updated throughout the life of the project and have all changes approved by the Project Sponsor and any other approvals as defined in the project plan.

It’s clear that a project management plan can take many forms, from a simple summary to a complex document detailing every aspect of your project. Because of the wide variety of formats available, it’s often best to start your project plan with a template. You can include the sections that fit your needs, remove what’s unnecessary, and edit the details to match your unique project.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Project Scope Management

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A Scope Management processes determines what work is required to be done and ensure that the project includes only that work to complete the project.

Why managers need Project Scope Management


◉ Without determining the project scope, the time or cost that the project will take up cannot be estimated
◉ Scope management builds control processes to address elements that may alter project during the project life-cycle
◉ It helps to avoid the challenges that a project might encounter with every growing scope and unruly requirement list.

This stage includes both-

◉ Managing Project scope
◉ Managing Product scope

Project Scope Management Process include following activities.

ProcessProject Group Key deliverables 
Plan Scope ManagementPlanning
Collect Requirements Planning Required document
Define Scope Planning Project scope statement 
Create WBS Planning WBS directory, WBS 
Validate Scope Monitoring and Controlling Acceptance deliverables 
Control ScopeMonitoring and Controlling Change request 

We will see this all process step by step below:-

Plan Scope Management


The Scope Management plan will determine how the scope will be defined, validated and controlled.

Primary InputsTools and TechniquesPrimary Outputs
Preliminary Project Scope Statement
Project charterMeetingsRequirements management plans
Project Management PlanExpert JugmentScope Management Plans
Enterprise environmental factors
Organizational Process Assets

Collect Requirements


During this process managers use various techniques and tools for the collection of the project requirements from the stakeholders. This stage is very important and if done accurately the chances of error during the project will be minimal.

Primary InputsTools and TechniquesPrimary Outputs
Project CharterInterviewsRequirement documentation
Stakeholder registerFocus groups Requirement management plan 
Group creativity techniques Requirements traceability matrix 
Facilitated workshops 
surveys and Questionaires 
Prototypes 
Observations 
Group decision-making techniques 

Defining Scope Process


This process clearly indicates how the project is supposed to progress and what it cannot do. During this process it is ensured that the project remains on the track by reviewing the supporting documents. The resulting scope will then mention the stakeholder's requirements and expectations.

Primary InputsTools and Techniques
Project charterExpert Judgment 
Requirements documentation Product analysis
Organizational Process AssetsAlternative identification
Facilitated workshops 

Creating WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)


The WBS enables the project manager and his team to break down a high level project deliverables into a smaller, manageable units of work called work packages.

Primary InputsTools and TechniquesPrimary Outputs
Project Scope statementDecompositionWBS
Requirements documentationWBS dictionary 
Organizational Process AssetsScope baseline 
Project document updates 

Validate Scope


The validate scope process involves clients acceptance. It is when the client formally accepts all the project deliverables. At the end of each phase this process occurs. During this process, the client gives their feedback on the work that was performed.

Primary InputsTools and TechniquesPrimary Outputs
Project Scope StatementInspectionAcceptance Deliverables
Project Management PlanChange request
Requirement Traceability MatrixProject document updates
Validated deliverables


Scope Control


This process or phase involves the monitoring of the project status and managing of the scope changes. Apart from this, it also involves assessing of the additional requirements by the customer or proactively overlooking the project scope.

Primary InputsTools and TechniquesPrimary Outputs
Project Management PlanVariance analysisWork performance measurements
Requirements documentationChange requests 
Requirement traceability matrix
Organizational process assets
Work performance informationProject document updates

Key points to remember for Scope Management

◉ To avoid cost overrun and schedule slips, the scope needs to be complete and accurate.
◉ Scope needs to be clearly defined to avoid unnecessary work and confusion
◉ Scope document should be shared with all stakeholders to avoid error in design and requirement
◉ The good practice for Scope Management is that the scope document must remain unaltered for the duration of project.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Introduction to PMP and Certification

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A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. A project is defined as temporary because it has a defined beginning and end time, and it is unique because it has a particular set of operations designed to accomplish a goal.

The primary characteristics of a project are

◉ It has a definite start and end point
◉ Once the end point is reached, the project is over
◉ It is attempting to achieve something new
◉ Project must meet the customer or stakeholder requirements

While, the project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, motivating and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. The main challenge of project management is to achieve project goals and objectives while keeping in mind the project scope, time, quality and cost.

Project management actually began in the early 1950s. The need for project management arised observing the benefit of organizing work within the project and critical need to co-ordinate across different departments and professionals.

Project management mainly deals with these ten areas

◉ Integration
◉ Cost
◉ Human resources
◉ Stakeholder management
◉ Scope
◉ Quality
◉ Communications
◉ Time
◉ Procurement
◉ Risk Management

While preparing project, look project into these three perspectives, it helps to give much better understanding of the whole process

◉ How does project fit into the organization?
◉ How the project will evolve over time?
◉ What skills are required to manage the project successfully?

There are various methodologies that are available for project management like Prince2, Agile, Six Sigma, etc. which we will look into in a later part of the tutorial. Various tools are available to track project tasks and measure accomplishments during the project. These includes Gantt charts, PERT charts and Work down structures.

Certification for Project Management


The popular project management certifications are PMP and PRINCE2, which is acknowledged all over the world.

What is PMP Certification?


Project Management Professional (PMP) is a certification administered by Project Management Institute, U.S.A. It is a project management course recognized all over the world. PMBOK-fifth edition is the latest version for this exam. The certification is valid for 3 years.

Pre-requisite

Pre-requisite for PMI-PMP examination includes

1. Four-year bachelor degree
2. A minimum of 4500 hours of project management experience

OR

3. A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate degree, etc.)
4. A minimum of 7500 hours of project management in last five years

AND

5. 35 hours of project management education from a registered education provider (REP)

Fee Structures


◉ Fee Structure to earn 35 PDUs vary from country to country, it may vary from $300 to $5000
◉ Fee structure for computer-based Testing (CBT)
     ◉ For PMI members $405.00
     ◉ For non-PMI members $555.00
◉ Re-examination Fees
     ◉ For PMI members $275.00
     ◉ For non-PMI members $375.00

Exam Structure


◉ To clear the exam, you need to pass a multiple choice examination
◉ You need to answer 200 questions in 4 hours time for domain mentioned below
◉ The exam is available in 13 different languages globally.

It will assess the candidate management knowledge in the following five domains. The weightage of questions for each domain include

Project Management AreaPercentage of Questions
Initiating the project13
Planning the project24 
Executing the project30 
Monitoring and Controlling the project25 
Closing the project

There are other various courses available related to project management on PMI like PgMP, PfMP, CAPM, etc.

The code of conducts and ethic defines:

◉ Responsibility to the profession
◉ Responsibility to customers and the public

Code of Ethics and professional conduct includes

PMP Professional Responsibility


◉ Maintain high standards of professional conduct and integrity
◉ Encourage others in the profession to act in a professional manner
◉ Continuously seek guidance to enhance the professional capabilities
◉ Upholding the code
◉ Compliance with all mandatory rules and regulations
◉ Be responsible for your actions
◉ Practice code of ethics with fairness and honesty
◉ Stick to ethical standards and legal requirements
◉ Protect stakeholder and balance stakeholders interest on the project
◉ Make sure that a conflict of interest doesn't compromise the customer's legitimate interest
◉ Maintain confidential information
◉ Act in an accurate, truthful manner
◉ Reporting illegal or unethical behavior
◉ While dealing with other cultures maintain professional sensitivity
◉ Be aware of cultural differences

Other professional responsibility

◉ Project manager needs to ensure that company policies are followed
◉ Copyright laws are not violated
◉ Budget tampering- do not present anything besides your original estimate
◉ Rights- do not do business with a country where there is a clear violation of the fundamental rights

Code of conducts and ethic sample questions for PMP professionals;

1. After a person is hired, he presents ideas which were developed by a competitor company already. 2. Are you going to use the same ideas?
As a manager what would you do resolve the conflict between team members?
3. You are a project manager, and a large and unexpected problem occurs that will cause a delay in the schedule. What should you do?

PRINCE 2


If you are in the Western Europe, Prince 2 is a good alternative to PMP. It is the de-facto standard for project management in the UK and is practiced worldwide. Prince2 have certification for various level prince2 foundation, prince2 foundation & practitioner, and prince2 practitioner. Courses and Exams for prince2 certification are available online.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Project Management Life Cycle

The Project Life Cycle is a series of activities which are essential for accomplishing project objectives or targets. Projects may have different dimensions and difficulty level, but, whatever the size: large or small, may be all projects could be mapped to the given lifecycle structure. This life cycle for the project includes four phases-

◉ Initiation Phase
◉ Planning Phase
◉ Execution Phase
◉ Monitoring, Controlling & Closing Phase

Project Management, Project Management Life Cycle, Project Management Guides

We will first look into Initiation Phase

Project Initiation Phase

Initiation phase defines those processes that are required to start a new project. The purpose of the project initiation phase is to determine what the project should accomplish.

This phase mainly composed of two main activities

◉ Develop a Project Charter and
◉ Identify Stakeholders

All the information related to the project are entered in the Project Charter and Stakeholder Register. When the project charter is approved, the project becomes officially authorized.

Project Charter

The Project Charter defines the project's main elements

◉ Project goals
◉ Project constraints and Problem statements
◉ Assign project manager
◉ Stakeholder list
◉ High-level schedule and budget
◉ Milestones
◉ Approvals

This document allows a project manager to utilize organizational resources for the sake of the project. To create a project charter, the inputs required will be enterprise environment factor, business case, agreements, a project statement of work and organizational process assets.

Identifying Stakeholders

A stakeholder can influence the success and failure of the project. To note down the information about the stakeholder, a Stakeholder Register is used.

The stakeholder register will have information like

◉ Type of stakeholder
◉ Expectation of stakeholder
◉ Role in Project ( Business Analyst, Tech architect, Client PM)
◉ Designation (Director, Business Lead, etc.)
◉ Type Communication ( Weekly/Monthly)
◉ Influence on the project ( Partial/Supportive/Influensive)

The other activities involved in initiating process group are:

◉ Assigning the project manager
◉ Determining the stakeholder needs, expectations and high-level requirements
◉ Define the project success criteria
◉ Identify particular budget for particular stage
◉ Make sure that the project is aligned with the organizations strategic goal

The stakeholder register and project charter are used as inputs to the other process groups such as planning process group.

Project Planning Phase

Project Planning phase covers about 50% of the whole process. Planning phase determines the scope of the project as well as the objective of the project. It begins with the outputs of initiation phase (charter, preliminary scope statement, and project manager). The output of the planning phase serves as the input for the execution phase.

The important aspects of planning process are

◉ Planning phase should not be executed before your initial planning is finished
◉ Until the execution process does not start, you should not stop revising plans

Create WBS

For any successful project WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) is important. Following steps are to create WBS.

◉ Conduct a brainstorm to list all the tasks
◉ Involve your whole team for brainstorming
◉ Write down the structure tree of the task also known as WBS (work breakdown structure)
◉ Further breakdown your top WBS into a hierarchical set of activities, for instance, categories, sub-categories, etc. For example hardware, software, trainee, management teams, etc.
◉ Define how to record the items into your WBS
◉ Ask other people - it can be an expert, experienced personnel, etc.
◉ Granularity- how detailed your task should you have? Estimating cost and time for higher granularity is hard while for lower granularity it will be bogged down with too detailed information
◉ Granularity should be of right level not too high or not too low

Planning Schedule Management

Plan Scheduling is the process of establishing the procedure, policies and documentation for planning, managing, executing and controlling the project schedule. The inputs in these activities include

◉ Project management plan
◉ Project Charter
◉ Enterprise environmental factors
◉ Organizational process assets

The output of the Planning Schedule Management includes

◉ Schedule management plan

Defining Activities

Defining Activities is the procedure for documenting and identifying specific actions to be performed to produce the project deliverables.

Project Management, Project Management Life Cycle, Project Management Guides

In define activities, each work packages is broken down into individual work schedule activities. The inputs of the defining activities include

◉ Schedule management plan
◉ Scope baseline
◉ Enterprise environmental factors
◉ Organizational process assets

While the outputs of these activities are

◉ Activity list
◉ Activity attributes
◉ Milestone list

Sequence Activities

Sequence activities is nothing but logically organizing the output of "define activities". It determines the order in which the activities needs to be performed.

Project Management, Project Management Life Cycle, Project Management Guides

The main output from the sequence activity process is "Network Diagram".

Network diagram is nothing but posting the task on a board in a logical order.

For example, you want to start a business in foreign country what will be your list of activities and what will be the order it should be done?

You will perform activities in these order

1. Choose a country
2. Get business permit
3. Hiring a manager
4. Buying a property
5. Buying the furniture etc.
6. Opening the business

Estimating Activity Resources

This stage describes the process of estimating the work effort and resources required to complete the task. The other factor that has to be considered at this stage is the availability of the resources.

While estimating resources, the focus should be on the longest path of the plan (Critical Path), which going to consume more time and money.

You have to estimate resources for two tasks

◉ Critical tasks
◉ Floating tasks

Make sure that your critical tasks are accurately estimated (completion time).

There are five inputs used to estimate activity resources

◉ Schedule Management Plan
◉ Activity list
◉ Resource Calendar
◉ Enterprise environmental factors
◉ Organizational process assets

The output of this stage is

◉ Activity resource requirements
◉ Resource breakdown structure
◉ Project documents updates

NOTE: All the activity that is done so far (define activities + sequence activities + Estimate activity resources) is going to help in "Develop Schedule."

Estimating Activity Durations

Estimating Activity Duration is the process of estimating the number of work periods (weeks/months) required to complete the individual task with estimated resources. This step defines how much time an individual task will take to complete.

You cannot calculate activity duration without calculating the work effort and resources required to complete the task. Estimating process should be done in this order

◉ Estimate work effort first
◉ Followed by estimating the resources
◉ Followed by Estimating the duration of task

To estimate activity durations, you need inputs

◉ Activity list
◉ Activity attributes
◉ Resource calendars
◉ Project scope statement
◉ Organizational process assets
◉ Enterprise environmental factors

While there are two main outputs

◉ Estimate activity durations
◉ Estimate activity durations-project document updates

This technique is also referred as PERT (Project Evaluation and Review Techniques) estimates.

Develop Schedule

Develop Schedule is the process of analyzing activity sequences, resource requirements, durations and schedule constraints to create the project schedule model. For scheduling each task, three main factors are taken into consideration

◉ Duration
◉ Task dependencies
◉ Constraints

Using these factors project calculates the start date and finish date for each task.

A scheduling tool can be used to create a schedule. It generates a schedule model with planned dates for completing project activities.

The input of this tool includes

◉ Schedule management plan
◉ Activity list
◉ Activity attributes
◉ Project schedule –network diagrams
◉ Activity resource requirements
◉ Resource calendars
◉ Activity duration estimates
◉ Project scope statement
◉ Risk register
◉ Project staff assignments
◉ Resource breakdown structure
◉ Enterprise environmental factors
◉ Organizational process assets

The output from this would be

◉ Project Schedule
◉ Project network diagram
◉ Gantt charts or Bar charts
◉ Milestone chart
◉ Schedule baseline
◉ Scheduled data
◉ Project document updates

Control Schedule

The last stage of the planning phase is Control Schedule. It is the process of monitoring the status of project activities to update project process and manage changes to the schedule baseline.

If changes are required to the schedule, they must go through the change control process. The schedule should be managed or controlled by manager proactively.

There are four main outputs of control schedule process

◉ Project management plan
◉ Schedule baseline
◉ Schedule management plan
◉ Project schedule
◉ Work performance information
◉ Organizational process assets

There are five outputs of control schedule

◉ Work performance management
◉ Organizational process assets updates
◉ Change request
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project document updates

Project Execution Phase

The executing phase consists of those activities that are defined in project management plan. This process involves managing stakeholder expectations, coordinating with people and resources, as well as performing other activities related to project deliverables.

Project Management, Project Management Life Cycle, Project Management Guides

During the execution phase, the result may require re-baselining and updates to existing project requirements. Action taken in execution phase may affect the project management plan or documents.

Direct and Manage Project Execution

This stage consumes most of the project cost, time, and resources as this is the process that produce project deliverables.

There are four inputs to Direct and Manage Project Execution

◉ Project Management Plan
◉ Approved change request
◉ EEFs (Enterprise Environmental Factors)
◉ OPAs (Organizational Process Assets)

While there are five outputs

◉ Deliverables
◉ Work performance data
◉ Change request
◉ Project Management plan updates
◉ Project documents updates

During this stage, expert's judgments, meetings, and reporting KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are of prime importance.

Performing Quality Assurance

Performing Quality Assurance is the process of auditing the quality requirements and the results from quality control measurements. It is the process of recording and monitoring results of the quality activities to assess performance. Various tools like control charts, cost-benefit analysis, flowcharting, run charts, scatter diagrams, inspection & reviews, etc., can be used for this process.

The main input to this is

◉ Project management plan
◉ Quality metrics
◉ Quality control measurements
◉ Work performance information

While, the output of this is

◉ Change request
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project document updates
◉ Organizational process assets updates

Acquiring Project Team

During the execution phase, project team acquiring takes place, this is because it is more likely that individuals with different skill set will be required during the process.

There are three main inputs to acquire project team

◉ Roles and responsibilities
◉ Project organization chart
◉ Staffing management plan

While there are three outputs

◉ Project staff assignments
◉ Resource calendars
◉ Project management plan updates

Develop Project Team

The majority of human resource processes involves in executing process, developing project team is also a part of it. The main purpose of developing project team is to improve the overall performance of team members. This stage must start early on in the project.

The inputs in project development team include

◉ Human resource management plan
◉ Project staff assignments
◉ Resource calendars

Output of this process include

◉ Team performance assessments
◉ EEFs Updates

Manage project team

Managing project team is one of the important parts of project management. It is the most complex area of project management because many times managers would not be in direct contact with team members, in such situation to analyze their performance and deciding their remuneration becomes difficult.

There are five inputs to manage project team process

◉ Project staff assignments
◉ Team performance assessments
◉ Performance reports
◉ Project management plan
◉ Organizational process assets

There are four main outputs

◉ Organizational process assets updates
◉ Enterprise environmental factors updates
◉ Change request
◉ Project management plan updates

Manage Communications

Out of three communication attributes, one falls in the execution process. In communication management program, there are three main communication aspects that need to monitor.

1. Project team members to the project manager
2. Project managers to the program manager
3. Program manager to stakeholders or other sponsors

The input of managing communications include

◉ Communications management plan
◉ Work performance reports
◉ EEFs
◉ OPAs

The output of this stage would be

◉ Project communications
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project documents updates
◉ OPAs updates

Conduct Procurements

In this stage, there are two main roles involved the buyer and the seller. During the procurement process the activities involved are

1. Issue the bid package to potential sellers
2. Hold bidder conferences
3. Evaluate potential seller proposals
4. Select the winning seller proposals

The output of the procurement process include

◉ Project management plan
◉ Conduct procurement documents
◉ Source selection criteria
◉ Qualified seller list
◉ Seller proposals
◉ Project documents
◉ Make or buy decisions
◉ Partnership agreement (teaming agreement)
◉ Organizational process assets

While, you will have six outputs

◉ Selected sellers
◉ Procurement contract award
◉ Resource calendars
◉ Change requests
◉ Project management plan updates

Manage Stakeholder Engagement


This stage includes actively managing stakeholders throughout the project. To avoid unexpected project delay or abandoning the project in between, stakeholder expectation is identified and quickly resolved.

There are five inputs to manage stakeholder process

◉ Stakeholder register
◉ Stakeholder management strategy
◉ Project management plan
◉ Issue log
◉ Change log
◉ Organizational process assets

The output of this process include

◉ Organizational process assets updates
◉ Change request
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project documentation updates

Project Phase Review

At the end of execution phase, project phase review is done. It helps you to document in following activities

◉ Document the result of your project management review
◉ Inform the sponsor about the progress of the project
◉ Identifying any risk or issues that impacted the project
◉ Shows deliverable to stakeholder produced during the project
◉ Seek approval to proceed to the next phase

Monitoring and Controlling & Closing Phase in Project


After execution phase, to check the project is on right track, monitoring and controlling phase becomes active. During this phase various changes and reviews to enhance the project performance is done.

Monitor and Control Project Work

This stage involves tracking, reviewing and regulating the progress in order to meet the objective of the project. It also ensures that the deliverables are according to the project management plan. The main focus of this step is to identify any changes made from the point of project management plan to determine appropriate preventive action.

The inputs for this stage include

◉ Project management plan
◉ Performance reports
◉ Cost forecasts
◉ Schedule forecasts
◉ Validate changes
◉ Enterprise environmental factors
◉ Organizational process assets

While the output includes

◉ Change requests
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project document updates

Perform Integrated Change Control

It is one of the most important process of project management. It is in this stage where the impact of any change is assessed against the project. If a change in this stage occurs at any one part of a project, the whole project will be assessed. It is better to implement changes at an early stage of the project, because as the project progresses, the cost of implementing changes also increases.

The input of this stage includes

◉ Project management plan
◉ Work performance reports
◉ Change requests
◉ EEFs
◉ OPAs

While the outputs are

◉ Approved change requests
◉ Change log
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project document updates

Validate Scope

Validating scope involves verifying whether the deliverables meet the customer acceptance criteria. The external checking with the customer or stakeholders are part of Validating Scope Management.

The inputs for validating scope includes

◉ Project management plan
◉ Requirements
◉ Documentation
◉ Requirements traceability matrix
◉ Verified deliverables
◉ Work performance data

While the output of the scope validation includes

◉ Accepted deliverables
◉ Change requests
◉ Work performance information
◉ Project document updates

Control Scope

Control scope ensures that it is the only work identified as being in scope that is delivered. The actual result is compared against the scope baseline and ensures that all of the approved scope is in fact being delivered.

The inputs to control scope process includes

◉ Project management plan
◉ Work performance information
◉ Requirement documentation
◉ Requirements traceability matrix
◉ Organizational process assets

While the output includes

◉ Work performance measurements
◉ Organizational process assets updates
◉ Change requests
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project document updates

Control Schedule

Control Schedule process helps you in many ways. It helps you to capture current schedule status, determine the variance from the schedule baseline, understand the nature of the variance and respond by taking appropriate action.

If changes are needed to the schedule then they must go through the change control process, the change should be re-evaluated and only then it should be used to update the schedule baseline.

There are four main inputs to the control schedule

◉ Project management plan
◉ Schedule baseline
◉ Schedule management plan
◉ Project schedule
◉ Work performance information
◉ Organizational process assets

The output includes

◉ Work performance measurements
◉ Organizational process assets updates
◉ Change requests
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project document updates

Control Cost


Control cost is comparing baseline cost for each deliverable against the actual cost. The cost baseline should change only in response to a change request that has gone through the Perform Integrated Change Control process. Control cost ensures that your project stay within funding limitations.

The inputs for the Control Cost include

◉ Project management plan
◉ Project funding requirements
◉ Work performance information
◉ Control Cost Organizational process assets

The output for this include

◉ Earned value work performance measurements
◉ Earned value budget forecasts in control costs
◉ Change requests
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project document updates
◉ Organizational process assets updates

Control Quality

The control quality ensures that the project and product are delivered with the quality management plan. It ensures that whether the work is performed correctly. The major output of the control quality is Quality management plan. While the other information that will be helpful are

◉ Existing flowchart
◉ Upper and lower control and specification limits contained within the control charts
◉ Information is referenced such as sample criteria, sampling numbers, measurements and variable sampling
◉ Quality metrics- it is a standard measurement to meet the quality requirements
◉ It ensures that the proper steps are being followed in order to comply with aspects such as process, policies or regulations

There are four main outputs from the perform quality control process:

◉ Integrated change control
◉ Approved change requests
◉ Approved change requests review
◉ Validated changes

Control Communications

Control communication ensures that the right information reaches to the stakeholder. Control communication information includes inputs, tools and techniques and output that belong to this process.

Control communication can be in any format, it can be

◉ Trending data
◉ Tabulated information
◉ S-curve
◉ Dashboard formats
◉ Use histogram

In control communication process, work information is taken from various other processes, and the performance report is used as an input for various monitoring and managing processes. The main deliverables from the control communication process is the performance record.

Control Risks

Throughout the project cycle, risk analysis is a continuous process. It is important that you continuously analyze, identify and respond to risks. The activities include in control risk are

◉ Tracking existing risks
◉ Monitoring residual risks
◉ Identifying new risks
◉ Implementing risk response plans
◉ Continuously evaluating risk process

The input for control risk are

◉ Risk register
◉ Work performance information
◉ Performance reports
◉ Reserve analysis
◉ Risk Audits

The output for the control risk are

◉ Updating risk register
◉ Risk management plan

Control Procurements

Out of four procurement plan, the third process of procurement falls in Monitoring & Executing process group. This stage involves monitoring the vendor's performance and ensuring that all contract requirements are being met.

The control procurement process involves verifying

◉ Whether goods or service being delivered
◉ Whether it is delivered on time
◉ Whether invoice charged is for correct quantity
◉ Whether all conditions of the contract being met
◉ Whether the relationship between buyer or seller are managed properly

The major input for procurement process are

◉ Project management plan
◉ Procurement documents
◉ Agreements
◉ Approved change requests
◉ Work performance reports
◉ Work performance data

The output for procurements are

◉ Work performance information
◉ Change requests
◉ Project management plan updates
◉ Project document updates
◉ OPAs updates

Control Stakeholder Management

Many project stumble due to inadequate management of stakeholders. If the stakeholders are managed properly, there are more chances for project success. In this process, we monitor the current engagement level of stakeholders and take actions accordingly.

The input and output for all these activities include

Input
Output 
Plan Stakeholder Management 
Work performance information
Issue log 
Change requests
Work performance data 
Project management plan updates 
Project documents
Project documents updates
OPAs updates

Closing- Phase

Closing phase is the process that performs a controlled shut down of the project at the end. In a project, there are three closure activities that are going on

◉ Closure of the product- Getting the customer to accept the final deliverables, if the project is external
◉ Closure of the project- This include formally closing of administrative procedures, updating project documents and archiving those databases & documents
◉ Closure of the resource behind the project- The financial closure of the project, resources assigned to the project should be returned

The inputs for this process include

◉ Project Management Plan
◉ Accepted Deliverables
◉ OPAs

The output of this process include

◉ Final output, service or result transition
◉ OPAs updates

Close Procurements


For each project life cycle- planning, executing, monitoring and controlling & closing there is one procurement process. The final closing procurement is done as per the contract between the seller and buyer.

The closing activities and deliverables include:

◉ Project performance reviews including management of risks and issues
◉ Updated project management plan to reflect actual results
◉ Final reports distributed to appropriate stakeholders

The input for closing procurement include

◉ Project management plan
◉ Procurement documents

While the output include

◉ Closed procurement
◉ OPAs updates

Project Management Ethic of code and conduct

In the end, you will come across project management ethic of code and conduct which deals various human behavioral aspects such as

◉ Responsibility
◉ Respect
◉ Fairness
◉ Honesty
◉ Cultural Competence

This code is practiced to induce the confidence and bring a common frame of behavior in the project manager.

Summary:

Initiation phase defines those processes that are required to start a new project. It defines what project should accomplish in due course of time.

The initiation phase mainly composed of two main activities

◉ Develop a Project Charter
◉ Identify Stakeholders

The stakeholder register and project charter are also useful in other process groups of project management like planning process.

Planning phase determines the scope as well as the objective of the project. It involves creating a set of plans that guides you through the execution and closure phases of the project.

The executing phase consists of those activities that are defined in project management plan. It is the longest phase of the project life cycle and consumes maximum energy and resources. Action taken in execution phase may affect the project management plan or documents.

Key task in execution phase are

◉ Execute Project Management Plans
◉ Direct and Manage Project Execution
◉ Execute Task Assignments
◉ Conduct Progress Status Meetings, etc.

During the execution phase, the result may require re-baselining and updates to existing project requirements.

Monitoring and controlling stage ensures that the deliverables are according to the project management plan before closing phase.

The main focus of this phase is to identify any changes made from the point of project management plan to determine preventive action against any unexpected result.

Closing phase is the process that performs a controlled shut down of the project at the end.