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IPECC in the PMBOK

IPECC in the PMBOK
By Joseph Phillips

IPECC, in the PMBOK, stands for the collection of the five process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, Closing.

  • Initiating. A project is found feasible, a project manager is selected, and the project charter is created.
  • Planning. Well, gee, I wonder what folks do in this process group? Yeah, they plan how the project should go. Planning is an iterative process group that allows project managers and the project team to revisit as needed.
  • Executing. You’ve planned the work, now your project team completes the work. You execute the project plan, not the project team.
  • Controlling. You aren’t going to let your project team run helter-skelter, are you? You’ve got to control the work to ensure that’s it done according to plan.
  • Closing. The project work is complete, so you and the customer have to verify the deliverables and then close out the project finances, team reports, and lessons learned.
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Qualitative Risk Analysis and the Risk Rating Matrix

Qualitative Risk Analysis and the Risk Rating Matrix
By Joseph Phillips

Once you’ve identified your risks, it’s time for qualitative risk analysis. Qualitative risk analysis qualifies the risks for in-depth analysis. Basically, you and the project team discuss the identified risks, the probabilities of those risks occurring, and their impact if the risks actually do occur.

The most common approach to this process is to create a risk rating matrix. Here’s a quick sample of a risk rating matrix using an ordinal scale:

Risk Impact Probability Score
Vendor Very high Medium High
Developer skills High Medium High
Firmware changes Medium Very low Low
Asteroid High Very low Low
Travel delays Low High Medium

Within your project, you have to determine which of these risks deserve additional analysis. Typically you’d say the risks with a medium score or higher should be taken seriously and are promoted to quantitative risk analysis. Read the Complete Article

Difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control (#5 in the series Quality Management in Project Management)
By Joseph Phillips

Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) activities happen throughout the project. Remember QA is a management process that is prevention-driven, while QC is a project manager process that is inspection-driven. Now all of this is really good on paper and theory, but in the real world it comes down to the one person that matters most in any project: the customer.

Throughout the project the customer must participate in scope verification. Scope verification is the same process of QC: inspection. However, the difference is that QC is done before the customer, and scope verification is done with the customer. QC wants to keep mistakes out of the customers’ hands, while scope verification allows the customer to say things like, “Yep, looks good.” Or “I don’t know what I’m looking at, but I believe you.” Or, “You’re standing too close and your breath smells like onions.”

Project deliverables need to be inspected throughout the project – not just at the project’s end. Read the Complete Article

Quality Control in Project Management

Quality Control in Project Management (#4 in the series Quality Management in Project Management)
By Joseph Phillips

Alright, so all this planning is good, and it’s even better when it all works, but how does a project manager know that project is meeting the quality expectations? You could wait until the very end of the project and see what the customer says, but that’s a risky as blow drying your hair in the shower. What you need, what you must have, is quality control (QC).

QC is inspection-driven. QC requires the project manager and the project team to inspect the work that’s been done to determine if the work results are in alignment with the stated and implied objectives of the project scope. And if they’re not? Fix the problem!

QC is all about keeping mistakes out of the customers’ hands. You and the project team must work diligently to ensure that all of the work is accurate, on-scope, and meets the objectives that customer has defined. Read the Complete Article

The Cost of Quality and the Cost of Non-conformance

The Cost of Quality and the Cost of Non-conformance (#3 in the series Quality Management in Project Management)
By Joseph Phillips

The Cost of Quality

Does Quality Assurance (QA) cost cash? Certainly! We call this the “Cost of Quality.” The Cost of Quality is the expense a project, or organization, must incur to ensure that quality will exist within projects. Imagine that you’re a project manager of an Oracle project. You’ve been assigned a team of programmers that know nothing about Oracle. This crew will be your database administrators for this massive billion-dollar project that could make your career or send you back to the mailroom. Your project team, can’t even spell DBA let alone contribute to your project. What should you do?

Train them. Training is one cost of quality; if you don’t train the project team then they won’t be able to complete the work in the project. Read the Complete Article

Project Quality Management Should Be Planned For

Project Quality Management Should Be Planned For (#2 in the series Quality Management in Project Management)
By Joseph Phillips

In project management, as with most things in life, quality is planned in, not inspected in. Quality, and the expectations for acceptance, must be defined up front. I know, I know, this sounds great on paper. Let’s have a real word moment, shall we? Here’s a discussion I’ve had with stakeholders:


Me: Hello, stakeholders, what do you want?
Stakeholders: We want our software to do this, this, this, and this. And we need it to be really, really fast. And we need it yesterday around noon. And we’ve got $23.45 to pay for it, okay?
Me (after completing eighteen rounds of negotiations, and getting the stakeholders to define exactly what “this, this, and this” means): Now about this $23.45…
Stakeholders: It’s all the cash we have unless the lottery hits tonight.
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Procurement Management in Project Management – Taking Out a Contract

Procurement Management in Project Management – Taking Out a Contract (#4 in the series Procurement Management in Project Management)
By Joseph Phillips

Contracts override everything: promises, email, secret handshakes. As long as they don’t include illegal activities, contracts are backed by the U.S. legal system. A contract is what makes the deal a deal.

To get to the contracting activities, you need to create the procurement documents. The initial document is usually the statement of work (SOW), which describes the thing or service you want to buy. The SOW is provided to the vendor with an invitation to bid (IFB), which you probably also know as a request for quote (RFQ). The IFB and the RFQ are basically the same thing and are focused just on price, not ideas.

A request for proposal wants a price, but also suggestions and ideas on how the project work should be done. Proposals are more than just costs—they’re a bit of consulting from the vendor. Read the Complete Article

Procurement Management in Project Management – Source Selection

Procurement Management in Project Management – Source Selection (#2 in the series Procurement Management in Project Management)
By Joseph Phillips

I know lots of people who like to go shopping. One person (who shall remain nameless, but her initials are LISA) plans her vacations based on the shopping malls in the vicinity of her hotel. She buys an extra seat for the flight home, just to carry all of her new shoes and fancy outfits.

As a project manager, you can’t go project shopping just because shoes are on sale. While sales are good, they don’t always help the project to acquire the things it needs to reach project closure.

There’s nothing better than finding a sale on the hardware or software that your project needs, but you and I know that’s just not the way technology and procurement usually works. We have to shop, compare, evaluate, and eventually cough up the cash to get what our projects need. Read the Complete Article

Human Resources in Project Management – Conclusion

Human Resources in Project Management – Conclusion (#9 in the series Human Resources in Project Management)
By Joseph Phillips

This won’t be a shock to most of you: human resource management is the most difficult part of project management. Do you ever wonder why won’t the project team just do what’s been asked of them? Do you ever wonder why management won’t give you more power to help the project team get the project done? Or why you can’t have all the resources you need to get this project done?

I bet you have. I bet you’ve asked countless other questions related to human resources. It’s a tough business and whether we like it or not our project team, our workers, and our colleagues look to us for two things: leadership and management.

Management is concerned with getting the job done. Leadership is concerned with motivating, aligning, and directing people. Read the Complete Article

Project Resource Requirements

Project Resource Requirements (#7 in the series Human Resources in Project Management)
By Joseph Phillips

Every organization, like every project, is different. Some companies’ management style is to shove a bunch of people in a room and then tell the project manager, “There’s your team. Good luck.”

Other organizations are more realistic and rely on the project manager, pros in the discipline the project is focusing on, and subject matter experts to identify what type of resources will be needed on the project.

With either approach, the project manager, experts, and stakeholders need to examine the nature of the work, the resource pool in the organization, and then identify any gaps between the two. Sounds easy, right? Of course it’s not.

Your resource requirements basically describe what types of competencies you’ll need and when you’ll need them. Lots of stuff can happen from here:

  • the project manager has the needed resources
  • the project manager doesn’t have the resources
  • the project manager has the resources in the resource pool, but the resources aren’t available when needed
  • the project manager has some of the resources, but not enough of them
  • the project manager has the boss’s son, an intern, and two guys from the mailroom

In all of the situations, save the first one, the project manager has to hire, train, or change the project to fit the resources he has. Read the Complete Article

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