Each phase of the project lifecycle places different demands on a project manager’s knowledge and skills. In project Initiation, the project manager has to gather information about objectives from the project sponsor, as well as the clients and stakeholders who will be affected by the project. The project manager must analyze all these requirements in terms of their linkage with the organization’s strategy. The sponsor gets the ball rolling with the statement of work (SOW). And the project manager must analyze how that fits into the organization’s strategy. Next, the project manager will meet with the stakeholders and gather information about their project requirements. The project manager must be sure these are also linked to the organization’s strategy. From that analysis, the project manager will produce an initial scope statement as well as the major deliverables the project must produce.
The next step for the project manager is to assess the project’s feasibility in terms of technology, operations, financial requirements and resource availability. The PM’s analysis of the project also includes identifying high-level risks, assumptions and constraints. Then the project manager produces a business case that documents why the project’s benefits are worth doing – financially and in terms of achieving the organization’s strategy and goals.
The Initiation phase ends with the preparation, presentation and communication of the project charter. Once approved by the sponsor, the charter gives the project manager authority to use organizational resources to deliver the project’s results. The charter also contains estimates of costs, duration and resources required to produce the results. Finally, the charter specifies who is accountable for what in the project. This information is communicated with the stakeholders so they understand their accountabilities and the benefits their results will produce.
When we think about the knowledge and skills in the Executing process group, we need to remember that executing happens in parallel with monitoring and controlling. It usually is best to think of these processes as if they had a separate project manager in charge of each. So the executing project manager is implementing the project management plan as written. They are also initiating approved changes and corrective actions following the change management plan. Finally, the executing project manager implements the approved actions as written in the risk management plan.
The executing project manager must have the knowledge and skills for managing vendor and consulting contracts. They must understand how to control the cost and duration impact of vendors, consultants and material suppliers.
The executing project manager must also have the skills and techniques of continuous process improvement. They need to ensure the processes for producing deliverables and for managing the project are monitored with quality control techniques. And they must analyze the data using continuous process improvement techniques.
Last, the executing project manager needs to understand the interdependencies between tasks. They must manage the ripple effect that a negative variance on one task has on other “downstream” tasks.
Once planning is complete, we begin project Execution and actually do the work of the project, following what we laid out in our project plan.
This is a lecture video on Direct and Manage Project Work, from the Executing Process Group and the third process in the Integration Knowledge Area.
Plan Human Resource Management produces the human resource management and staffing management plans. They describe the resources that we need for the project and how we will manage and reward them.
This is a lecture video on Plan Human Resource Management, from the Planning Process Group and the first process in the Human Resource Management Knowledge Area.
Project Manager in Action Video
Prior to spending time or money on a project, it is typical to assess the feasibility of that project. What we’re doing is deciding whether we have the capability, resources and ability to complete the project successfully. In the process, we identify those factors that will improve our probability of success. We also identify the factors that may reduce our probability of delivering the scope on time and within budget. In general, the feasibility study addresses the technical, economic, legal, operational, customer/stakeholder support and time factors. Additional factors may be added to the feasibility depending on its unique needs and requirements.
Lecture on Feasibility
The investigation of those issues will vary widely depending on the scale of the project. For a small project, affecting one department, with a small team, the project manager, sponsor and one stakeholder may complete the entire project feasibility study in the course of a lunch. As the scale of the project increases, more people and more management science are applied to the feasibility study. We may have separate teams studying the technological feasibility while other teams investigate the financial and legal feasibility. It’s also common to bring in outside consultants and experts to contribute their knowledge and experience to the feasibility study.
Lecture on Constraints
The output of a project feasibility study also ranges widely depending on the scale of the effort. For a small project, people involved may discuss each feasibility factor and reach agreement that, “We can do this.” On larger projects, expensive reports may be issued for each factor. When all the feasibility factors have been checked off, we are ready to launch our project initiation and planning effort.
Some organizations address the project feasibility assessment in the project business case. The business case includes all the factors considered in the project feasibility study. But it also includes analysis and documentation of the project’s anticipated financial results. The organization uses the business case to decide whether a project is worth doing. It also uses the data from the business case to decide which projects the organization should fund and staff and which do not provide benefits that justify the cost. A very important issue is how closely each of the proposed projects aligns with the organization’s strategy and goals. The overall benefit to the organization is seriously considered. The business case meets these needs by including forecasts of costs and benefits and the calculation of financial measures such as:
– cost/benefit ratio
– internal rate of return (IRR)
– return on investment (ROI)
– return on assets (ROA)
– payback period.
Decision-makers in the organization evaluate the business case for all potential projects. They authorize those that meet existing organizational criteria for one or more of the above ratios and alignment with the organization’s strategy and goals.
The charter approval meeting is the last step in project Initiation and formally authorizes project Planning to begin.
This is a lecture video on the project charter approval meeting which comes at the end of Initiation.
All PMI credential holders are held accountable to the PMI Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct. PMI has identified four values most important to the project management community. We cover them all in the lectures and Project Manager in Action videos down below.
Lecture Video-Professionalism & Ethics Introduction
Project Manager in Action Video-Who is Bound By the Code?
Project Manager in Action Video-Responsibility
Project Manager in Action Video-Respect
Project Manager in Action Video-Fairness
Project Manager in Action Video-Honesty
This is the last process, where we produce all the final documentation and lessons learned upon the completion of the project.
This is a lecture video on Close Project, from the Closing Process Group and the sixth process in the Integration Knowledge Area.
Project Manager in Action Video
The high-level scope statement is our preliminary pass at the final scope statement of what the project should deliver. The high-level scope statement is created using information from the business case and the statement of work.
This is a lecture video on the high-level scope statement, created in the Initiating process group.
Watch this video of Project Managers in Action defining the high-level scope statement.
In this process we analyze change requests, either approving or rejecting changes to the project documents, deliverables or baselines.
This is a lecture video on Perform Integrated Change Control, from the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group and the fifth process in the Integration Knowledge Area.
Project Manager in Action Video