Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The PM Golden Triangle

To all Project Manager, the Triple Constraint, or as I say - the Golden Triangle, is a key component to almost every meeting they attend.  People will push the boundaries at every opportunity they can take.  As the Project Manager it is vital to accept this and push back to the offender and explain the impact of the change to the project. 

The golden triangle covers the Time, Cost and Scope of the project , which all lead to the quality delivery of a project.  If you change one, you will affect the other two in one way or another. For example, if my technical analyst on the project changes the server architecture from Physical to Virtual, this could effect both the Price and the Time for installation.  If this component is on my critical path, then it could effect the time to completion, in either a positive or negative way.  The Price may increase or decrease and will impact the project budget in a positive or negative way.

Friday, 23 November 2012

3 years continual learning

Now that I am a PMP, I will continue to develop as a Project Manager and gain more knowledge, understanding and most importantly, experience. To maintain my PMP status, I must complete 60 PDUs (Professional Development Units) over the course of three years. There are two main categories of PDU, which are for Continued Education and Giving Back to the Profession.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

What does PMP mean to me

Passing the PMP exam was a huge relief.  It was a difficult exam in terms of the amount of information you have to process within each question.  The PMBoK is fairly straight forward and even with the limited Project Management experience I have, I was able to apply each Input, Tool, Technique and Output to something that I had seen, or produced in the recent past.

Many people in the UK seem to take the Prince2 Certification, however, not many people have taken both the Prince2 and PMP.  When mentioning that I had passed the PMP exam to other Project Managers in the office, they seem to be quite impressed.  A Senior Project Manager colleague of mine in the US said "Wow! You passed THE BIG ONE!", when she heard that I had passed the exam.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The PMP Exam

Let me start by saying this exam is tough, but it is not impossible and once you ensure you understand the concepts, it is fairly intense, but it is straight forward to gain a pass mark.

I would recommend that you have at least two or three years Project Management experience before attempting to take this exam.  You need to have completed a few projects before you attempt to even read the PMBoK guide, otherwise you may find it very confusing.  Some people advise that you start with other books before attempting to read and fully understand the PMBoK Guide, but I did it the hard way.  I had a few years of experience as a Project Manager and had obtained my Prince2 Practitioner Certification, so I already knew a considerable amount of Project Management Theory.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Project Management Aggregated News Feeds

Just to let you know.....

I have created a link to a site with many Project Management blogs, listed as a simple news feed.

It is nothing fancy, but it is very useful in between tasks at work or at home, when I get a minute to scan various blogs.  Instead of going to each blog one by one, I am able to scan through the blog post titles and see which one catches my eye.

Enjoy !

PMBoK in a nutshell

This article will describe the basic concepts of the PMBoK and explain the purpose.  Processes overlap and can be repeated.  The initiating process, for example, will be repeated at the start of each project phase.  The processes are repeated in the various phases of a project, with the exception of Project Closure. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Who is the PMI and What is a PMP?

PMP stands for Project Management Professional.  It is a certification maintained by many Project Managers around the world, who have taken the Project Management Institute's (PMI) PMP exam.  PMI is a not for profit organisation.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Next week is PMP Week

Next week, I am going to write a series of articles which will explain, in very simple terms, what the PMI PMP is all about.

I will give a high level explanations in five separate articles, published from Monday through Friday, which will explain the following topics.

  • Who is the PMI and what is PMP?
  • PMP in a nutshell
  • The PMP Exam
  • What does PMP mean to me
  • 3 years of continual learning

When Project Managers talk about professional qualifications they often mention two exams, these are the Prince2 and the PMP qualifications. 

Prince2 is overseen by the Office of Government Commerce and is used in many companies including the government in the UK to manage projects in a controlled environment.  The PMI (Project Management Institute) has several categories and levels of examination, however, I will only focus on the PMP (Project Management Professional) exam.  I currently have both of these accreditations.

I hope to give a simple overview and some useful tips for the exam (Quick hint: study, study and more study). 

Monday, 12 November 2012

MS Project - My Rules

I get annoyed, quite easily, as you will notice when you read my blog. Something that annoys me is the incorrect use of MS Project. I say incorrect, but I have no official training or expertise in the product, I just know how "I" use it.

I have three simple rules when using MS Project.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mindmaps for Web and Android

I am looking for a service to be able to create mindmaps on my Android tablet, as well as enable me to view and edit these on the web.

The maps should sync with the tablet when I load it, or allow me to edit them offline.  Does anyone know of such an app?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Working backwards

Working backwards from a fixed deadline is something that happens in many projects, but it is something that has never happened to me.  My programme manager came to me yesterday and asked for my project to be finished on a certain date.  He needed to know how this would affect my project and wanted to report to his management team that "it could be done" !

I set about the task, knowing that I need to shave off approximately three months from the plan that I put in front of him, just the day before.  I knew a considerable amount would be swallowed up by adding additional resource, as my plan was only draft and only included man days, without any resource leveling.  I also knew that a few of the tasks could be performed in parallel, as long as there was additional resource, which results in increased cost.

My first task was to understand the deadline.  When he said that the project had to be completed within a particular month, I needed to understand if this was a specific date, or could I make it the last working day.
The second item running around my head was to gain an understanding of the project scope.  Could we cut some scope, would other project dependencies be ready earlier and could we introduce a phased implementation, completing the basic scope for the tight deadline and then having a second development and implementation phase for the remaining scope.

The next piece of the jigsaw to deal with was the resources.  At the moment, as in most companies - I am sure - there are many projects fighting for the same resources to build, develop and implement new projects.  To overcome this, I was told I had carte-blanche over resources and could basically specify the task and then speak with the individual team leaders to understand their resource requirements.  This requirement would then be reported to senior management and we would either recruit, or the schedule would have to change.

Remember the golden triangle... Time, Scope, Cost.  You cannot change one, without affecting the other two.  If I was to cut time, it would potentially increase cost or reduce the scope - or both.
Reducing the time is a usual request for a PM and this can come with some considerable increased risk.  It is up to the PM to understand and report these risks up the management chain and to mitigate as much as possible, without increasing the costs too significantly.

This was an interesting project approach, one that I was very comfortable with, but one that I would prefer not to repeat too often.  I agree all consideration should go into producing an accurate project plan and to ensure the scope covers the business requirements.  The PM must then deliver the scope and keep a tight reign on the budget and time.  By all means, throw resource at project tasks, but be careful of your budget.