Practice Exams:

PMI PMP Project Management Professional – Project Environments Part 2

  1. Processes, Policies, and Procedures

There are three things that can affect your project in your organization that’s your policies, the processes, and the procedures. So these are unique to each organization. So policies, processes, and procedures. Let’s take a look at how these affect the different areas from initiation all the way to closing of our project. First off, internal processes for project management, this is unique to your organization. So how do you manage the project? How is your project structured? What’s the framework of your project? Hopefully it’s the framework of best practices. So it’s the generally accepted practices or best practices of project management. How does your organization manage projects? So are they using a predictive life cycle or an adaptive life cycle? Do they have a PMO that you have to work with? The structure of the company affects the amount of authority that you have as well. So these can be enterprise environmental factors or organizational process assets. So internal processes for project management, it’s unique to your company.

Within initiation and planning, there are some policies and processes, procedures that affect how you do these activities. So what about the criteria for tailing your standard processes and procedures? So are you allowed to tailor the processes? And if you are, to what depth and who makes that determination or makes that approval? Organizational standards are things that are unique to your organization but also to your industry. So think about your HR policies, but also think about like health and safety policies. So if you’re in healthcare or construction or manufacturing, you have some health and safety policies, also security and confidentiality policies, how we use secure data, who has access to that data? What about confidentiality? When you deal with team members, sometimes as project managers were privy to data that not everyone should see, like financial data quality policies, procurement policies, environmental policies, these are all things that we have to consider as we do planning or we start the project, the product and project life cycles. So you think about what you’re creating, how does that affect how you’ll do the work? So in construction, there are some predefined phases generally that follow construction or in it, or in software development, or in healthcare.

The project lifecycle, remember, is the phases of the project. It’s not initiating, planning, executing, controlling, closing. We’re talking about the phases, so the foundation, the framing, the electrical, and so on. So what are the phases that you have? How will you audit your processes to determine if they’re accurate and you’re doing them well, and how can you improve upon them? What will be your improvement target? So you set some goals for your improvement, like fewer number of defects or fewer number of tasks that are late, and then standard process definitions. So these are all things that we do in initiating and planning.

A couple more we need to look at here. In initiating and planning, I’ve already mentioned templates. So templates can be used for project management documents and our plans, different forms. So remember, templates can be from historical information or they can be created for us that are standard to our organization. So initiating and planning, we need to know what templates or forms must we use or is expected of us to use. So you think about those different areas of your project, different registers. We have a risk register, a stakeholder register, an issue log.

So there’s some templates already created for you, contract templates, different reporting templates, like a risk report or your status report, or a variance report. So those are all things that can be created for you or adapted. And then if you are doing procurement, you may have a preapproved vendor list or a supplier list and that’s internal to your organization. It’s a list that says you can purchase from these vendors, they’ve already been approved, you can choose whichever one is most appropriate for you. So those are some things that affect how we do initiating and planning. Let’s talk about some processes and policies and procedures that affect our execution, monitoring and controlling.

The big one is change control. Change control is a huge process in your exam, change control is how we look at changes from scope, schedule, cost and procurement. Now I’ll walk through in chapter four in the PmBOK, the integrated change control, something that we do. The change control procedures are unique though to your organization that we still want to do integrated change control, but how you do it is unique to your organization. So there may be a form that someone has to fill out and hand to you or email to you, or you may have a database set up where people can go through a website that’s internals your company and fill out a form and that enters the change control workflow. So how do people submit changes?

Do you have a change control board that reviews changes? Or can the project manager approve changes? Or you may have a threshold where anything below 10,000, we consider anything that’s going to cost more than 10,000, it’s declined. So what are the procedures there? We need some traceability matrixes. A traceability matrix is a table typically used in requirements, where we have all of our requirements listed and that it tracks it through each phase of the project until it’s done. We’ll talk more about that in chapter five in the PmBOK when we get into scope management. But it’s called a requirements traceability matrix. We can also use it for risk and issues and a few other places. What are your financial control procedures? So do you have a project budget that you have to track the time against? So you’re accounting for your project team members time and there’s a financial aspect of that. What about the resources that you use and you track the finances against that?

So how will you track the financial procedures? Also would depend if you’re doing an internal project versus an external project where there’s a profit margin to consider. So the financial control procedures, these are a process in a policy that’s going to be unique to the organization. It’s not just a standard for the PmBOK. This is something that touches your project, that’s created by your organization. What about issue and defect management? So your issue log and your defect and then how do you do defect repair or corrective actions? So how do you manage that internally? And then resource availability. So you’ll have resource calendars.

And then how do you schedule those? Or reserve equipment or facilities? And then assignment management. How do you determine which resource does what activity? And then you want to distribute that work across the resources. So one person is not the only one who’s doing the fun activities or the not so fun activities, but how do you distribute it? It’s not about fun or not fun. I’m just saying you want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute, but also that you’re using all of your resources effectively.

Also in executing, monitoring, and controlling, you have communication requirements. We have procedures for prioritizing and approving our work authorization. Just what I was talking about, the distribution of work. But also, how then do people go about doing the work? How do they know they have an assignment? What does that look like in your organization? Any templates that need to be updated or that you have to follow so the risk register as risks are identified, you update that risk register. Same with the issue log and the change log.

What are some standardized guidelines, work instructions, proposals, performance measurement? How do you know you’re doing well? How do you know a vendor is doing well? So how do you audit and track their performance? And then we need some way of doing some validation of our product that a service or a resource result. So how do you validate that? How do you prove that what you did was what you planned? All right, so these are processes, policies and procedures that affect how we manage our projects. Keep moving forward.

  1. Organizational Knowledge Repositories

As you manage a project, you’re going to be creating a lot of data, information and reports. When you close out a project, all of that data, all that information, even those reports should go into project archives. But this doesn’t mean that we just stick it in the closet and forget about it. That’s information that we can use on future projects. So that becomes part of organizational process assets. Well, a new process that we’ll see in the PmBOK I Six edition is knowledge management. So this sets us up for this idea of knowledge repositories. That how do we take that data and that information from our past projects, and how can we quickly access that and be able to apply it and use it in our current project? So we’re talking about cataloging.

So how do you catalog it electronically? How do you archive it? Is it retrievable? So do you have to go dig through a closet somewhere? Hopefully not, but it’s electronic that you can search it and retrieve it. Organizational process Assets these are part of your knowledge repositories. So historical information so that allows me then to pull from that and apply it to my current project. We always archive at closure. So it’s never an option to not archive. We always archive at closure because that’s part of the business value. That’s part of the things that we’re creating as part of the project.

Project deliverables are not always things that the customer gets. It could also be things that we get and that we retain as the organization. So knowledge gain tools, equipment. In this case, it’s knowledge. So how do we retrieve that knowledge? Some examples of organizational knowledge repositories, obviously project files from past projects. Lessons learned. So lessons learned documentation. We’ll see that throughout the PmBOK that we’re updating lessons learned issue and defect databases. So as issues are identified and resolved, how did you resolve it?

What defects exist and how did you resolve it? Or when will you resolve it? So that can help us in our current project and also in future projects when we have the same type of issue. Configuration management databases. Remember configuration management, it’s all about the features and functions of the product, and we’ll see that again in chapter five in the PIMB and financial databases. What was the estimated cost and what was the actual cost? So that could help us better estimate in future projects and in the current project, it can help us do some forecasting or trending based on cost. So this is all part of organizational knowledge repositories, and we’ll see that again later in the course when we talk about knowledge management. All right, good job.

  1. Organizational Systems

My wife and I have an agreement on when it comes to washing dishes, that I load the dishwasher and she unloads the dishwasher. Now, I have a very particular way of how I load the dishes. I mean, I have a system down of when I rinse them and get them into the dishwasher her, and I’m sure she has a way of what she unloads first and when she puts away the silverware and so on. The point being that I’ve developed a system, a way of doing the work, or to do that little chore. An organizational system is that same concept, but on a much larger scale.

An organizational system gives structure and governance. It’s how you get work done. So in your organization, in your company, you likely have a system that you follow in order to procure, in order to request time off, in order to get a resource on your project. So an organizational system is, from a very large point of view, how does your organization work? What’s evolved over time or been designed over time? So it provides structure. It also gives some governance, some rules. Permissions are tied here. So how do I do something?

Am I allowed to do something? How much authority do I have as the PM? So what permissions do I need? Work authorization? What’s the structure that when Raj completes his assignment, it allows David to start his. So what’s the hand off there between those two team members? Do we have to have a status meeting? And then Raj communicates to me the PM, and then I communicate to David. So what’s the process there? Are these two allowed to talk to each other, or is it an electronic so what’s the permissions and the work authorization?

How do those fit together in your structure? What about employee discipline? If we have a team member that’s consistently late or consistently making errors, or they’re not doing their assignments, so what’s the process there? Are you allowed to discipline that team member, or do you have to go to their functional manager? Do you have to go to HR or the sponsor? So what’s that like in your organization? So all of this is defined by the organization management, and obviously that affects what you do in the project, how that affects you as the PM. Then we have system dynamics. System Dynamics is just a way of talking about the relationship between the different components, between the different departments in your organization.

So sometimes System Dynamics can be not friendly, or it’s a lot of bureaucracy where it feels very stilted and kind of formal and stuffy. Other times it can be great that we’re flowing. We’re all on the same team here. So you give me this and I’ll do this, and we’ll work together and get it done. So System Dynamics is talking about the relationship. Typically, we think about between departments, between projects, but also between management and employees, how employees look at you as a manager or part of management. So bureaucracy the red tape, the forms, the processes. You’re only allowed to do certain things, or we don’t allow that to happen.

Bureaucracy is always kind of a pain in the neck, but there’s there for a reason sometimes, because it’s part of the system, framework, politics, we’re going to come into play over and over. Politics or those power struggles and so on. And then tied to that, we have policies. That policies have been established for a reason, and you and the project team have to follow and adhere to those policies. All right, good job. I’ll see you in the next lecture.

  1. Frameworks

Let’s talk about organizational governance frameworks. There are three big things that we need to know when it comes to governance and frameworks. Well, first off, what is governance and frameworks? Well, governance are the rules and the enforcement of those rules that we govern the project or we govern the project program or the organization as a whole. It’s the rules. It’s what you are and are not allowed to do in your organization or your project. A framework is just the structure, how it’s been created, and it gives some structure to the project.

So an example that would be you have a project manager, you have several different team leads for the different disciplines or technologies. So you have a team lead for hardware. You have a team lead for data, a team lead for software. And so then you have your team members, and they report to the appropriate team lead, and then those team leads, and you communicate and talk to one another as well. So that’s just an example of a framework. Does it have to be that way? Well, let’s look at these three things that we need to know in regard to the organization and governance frameworks. Governance, as I mentioned, defines what you can and cannot do in the organization that you as a PM, cannot sign a contract with a vendor.

That’s pretty fair. You have some governance there. It’s also how you operate within a system. So how do you get a contract signed? Well, you have to go and fill out a form for procurement and talk about procuring these resources. And then the third point here is framework is that organizational structure, like I talked about in your project, that’s also the hierarchy and the framework that happens in the organization as a whole. So it’s what you can and can’t do. It’s how you get things done. And then it’s the structure, what are the boundaries and the different segments of the organization.

Some more things about governance frameworks rules and policies are always part of governance framework, the procedures for activities. So how you install that fixture, how you get resources, how you do procurement. So just the procedures. Then we have the cultural norms. I worked in a place, say, as a consultant a few years ago, where it was pretty normal at Friday at about 1230. Just kind of people would drift off. But just the cultural norm, it’s just how they were.

Everybody loved Friday. Nobody scheduled a meeting for Friday afternoon. And you guys out there, over there, you know what I’m talking about. All right, systems and processes. So how do you get things done? So what’s the procurement system? What’s the quality management system? What’s the process you go through to host a kickoff meeting? So it’s within the organization, how you do work. But then obviously, that affects how you manage the project. And then framework influences how the objectives are set and achieved. So you have the framework. So what are the objectives? Sometimes we call them the KPIs, your key performance indicators.

So what are your time, your cost, your scope, your quality, and your risk objectives? So what are the thresholds that tell you you’re performing well or you need improvement risk? How’s risk monitored and assessed? So how will you do risk identification? How will you do qualitative and quantitative? And then how will you monitor those risks and even risk responses as you move through the project? Generally, the higher the project priority, the higher the framework affects that risk management approach.

So a very low level project don’t really care a whole lot about risk. I mean, there may be some issues there, but generally, a high priority project, then we are more adverse. Our risk threshold is lower, our acceptance or tolerance level for risk diminishes, and then some risks we always care about. So you think about in construction or health care or manufacturing or any of those disciplines where there’s a pure risk, a danger where someone could get injured. Even on a low priority project, we don’t want that to happen.

So we have a very high aversion to risk that our tolerance level is very low when it comes to pure risk. Then how is your project performance optimized? How will you get better in what you’re doing? So do you have some coaching? Do you have some trend analysis and your project sponsor give you some ideas or some goals for each phase or quarter of your project? Okay, so this was the big picture on governance and frameworks. All right, keep moving forward. I’ll see you in the next lecture.

  1. Management Elements

A lot of times when we talk about management, what we’re really talking about is what management allows us to do as a project manager. So we’re in some regards still talking about governance. So let’s take a look here at these management elements in governance and how that affects us as project manager, manager. So how do we get to manage the project? What are we allowed to do? So, in our last few lectures as well, I want to point out that this has been unique to your organization. This is not a universal, it’s unique to the PM’s organization. Okay? So governance, let’s talk about portfolios programs and projects. Recall from earlier in the course that a portfolio could have programs and projects. So portfolios programs and projects here have governance. The governance generally, when you have a portfolio, it’s shared among all of those that it’s the same approach, the same rules, the same bureaucracy for portfolios programs and projects.

So you have a common approach to the alignment. So the project managers, to program managers, to portfolio managers, there’s a common approach to risk that all of the projects in the program and the portfolio use the same risk management techniques. What about performance? Are we using earn value management? Are we using number of defects or escape defects? So what about performance? What are the expectations for communications in the project, the program and the portfolio? So this is unique to each organization that you tailor it for what’s appropriate for where you are. Some management elements of governance.

So you think about division of work, talked a little bit about that earlier. How do you determine who does what activity and having some distribution of work, some load balancing, so that all of your resources are used appropriately in the project? Who has the authority to perform the work? So sometimes you have to have certain certifications or credentials to do that type of work. Responsibilities. So we’ll be doing some roles and responsibilities in chapter nine when we talk about resource management, chapter nine of the PmBOK, what about discipline of action, unity of command? Who’s really in charge, the project manager, the program manager, the functional manager? So we need some clarity here on who’s making the decisions in the project, who’s really in charge? And we’ll talk a little bit more about that coming up.

A lot of that unity of command. And the next one here, unity of direction, is going to be dependent on the organizational structure. So how your company is structured or your organization is structured. A general theme is that the organizational goals are going to take precedence over individual goals. So the organization is more important than the individual when it comes to a business. So don’t let that upset you. It’s just the way it is. That which the organizational goals are supporting our business strategy or business tactics, individual goals may be, well, I want an opportunity to do that task. So I learn it more clearly. But we have a deadline that we’re up against. So the PM can’t put someone who doesn’t really know how to do that activity on an assignment when it’s going to push us for a deadline or could affect quality or so it’s just not an appropriate time.

So those types of instances, what we’re talking about, that the organization goals are more important than the individual goals. We want individuals, though, to be paid fairly. They want to compensate folks for their time and talent and that it’s fair in the marketplace. And as I mentioned a couple of times, we want an optimal use of resources, some other management elements of governance to consider, clear communication channels, who reports to whom and why. So who reports to whom? You want to have the right materials. You’re doing a construction project and you need the tile by the 15th.

 It better be there by the 15th because then your tile crew is waiting and that’s time wasted and money wasted and it creates a delay in your project. So you need the right materials to the right person at the right job at the right time. So a lot of logistics here, we talk about getting resources to job sites and making sure that people have the tools and equipment, facilities they need. Nothing more frustrating than you’re there to work, but you don’t have the tools or the materials. And then that’s wasted time and wasted money because you’re paying for that labor to sit around.

So you’ve got to do a lot of logistics and some coordination here. Obviously, fair and equal treatment of people in the workplace, clear security of work positions. So you’re responsible for this. This is your swim lane. And so that is the boundaries not only for that individual, but for others to stay out of the way. This is what this individual is responsible for. They own that responsibility. And so we don’t want managers as project managers, especially those of us who have come up through the ranks, and you’re very familiar with the technology, that’s a boundary for you as well, that you don’t get in that individual’s way, that’s their responsibility. Safety of people in the workplace, obviously if you’re in one of those fields where there are pure risk. So safety issues are always a concern. We want our team to be safe, our employees to be safe and not be hurt or injured, that nobody wants that open contribution to planning. So sometimes in planning it seems like PMS will exclude people in a way the project team should be there and stakeholders should be there.

We want some inclusiveness, not only for just a shared ownership, but these are people who are closest to the work, that they have the ideas and they understand the best way to get it done. So as a PM, I want those people involved. I want them to help create the plan that it’s not a solo activity and optimal morale. I want people to be happy as a project manager. I want people to enjoy what they’re doing and to take pride and esteem in what they’re doing. People will work harder and work better and with more joy if they feel appreciated. And so it doesn’t take a lot to be honest and tell people you’re doing a great job and I love what you’re contributing to the project and I really appreciate it and I’m so happy you’re on this project. It doesn’t take much to do that, and it’s really good. We’d love to hear that if you were a team member. So I encourage you to do that.

And that’s what we want. That’s part of our governance here. We want some optimal morale. Then we have the organization of project management. So some rules that happened here and some governance that happens here is the PM. When I complete projects for others, there’s a client vendor relationship. So as a PM, if I’m part of the vendor completing a project for you, we’re building a house for you, and I’m the PM of that house project. There’s obviously a relationship between us. But I have responsibilities to my business, my organization, and I have responsibilities to you. I have responsibilities to the government because there are city inspectors or code and whatnot. So there are different responsibilities in that client vendor relationship.

Then there is some expectations and some legalities because we have a contract that both of us adhere to when we think about completing projects internally. So internally, through a system, this idea of management by projects where everything that we do is a project, the project team comes on to this project for the duration. And it’s kind of like a SWAT team, for lack of a better word, that we all come on and we focus and this is the only thing we work on. We’re putting all of our effort and energy into this one thing. But there are some rules and some nuances that happen with that approach as well, and some risks that can happen with that approach.

Then we have this idea of completing projects as needed, where we all have operations to do, but here’s a little project over here, or it could be a big project over here. So I need these four or five people, and you guys get together and do this project. So in that instance, I probably don’t have a support system, probably don’t have a PMO, may not have a lot of historical information or knowledge repositories to call on for my project and templates and forms.

So sometimes I’m kind of fumbling around in that scenario because we don’t do this very often. It’s on an as needed basis. Customers to a project can be internal or external. So you think about the idea of customers. They’re always a stakeholder. Are we talking about internal customers where I can just walk down the hall and talk to that stakeholder? Or is it an external customer where there’s a little different relationship on how I might communicate with that customer? Okay. Good job. A lot of information information here. I know. Keep pressing on. I’ll see you in the next lecture.