Archive for the ‘PMP Hints’ Category

Provide Meaningful Performance Feedback

The role of the project manager normally does not include providing formal performance reviews to team members. This is usually a responsibility of each employee’s functional manager. However, there is no question that a project manager does need to provide performance feedback to team members to let them know how they are doing and whether they are meeting performance expectations. This includes recognizing when team members meet their commitments and providing feedback to them when they are not meeting your expectations. (Read more..)

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Manage Quality – Techniques

Understand the Characteristics of Quality for Your Project

It is hard to define product or service quality at a high-level because the term “quality” is vague and means different things to different people. You must take the time to define the lower-level characteristics of quality for each specific service or deliverable. If you want to ensure that a service or product meets the client’s expectations of quality, you have to understand the underlying characteristics of quality. (Read more..)

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Techniques to Manage your Schedule

Don’t Manage by Percent Complete

Most project management scheduling tools have a field for entering the percentage complete for each activity. Before an activity starts, it is 0% complete. When it is finished, it is 100% complete. However, in between can be tricky. On the surface, if a team member were 20 hours into a 40 hour activity, you would say he is 50% complete. But is he? He may be close to done, or he may be only 10% done.

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Manage the Schedule / Techniques

Investigate Further When ‘Completed’ Deliverables Are Not Really Completed

Sometimes a team member says that a deliverable is complete when in reality it is not quite done. This can happen if a deliverable is ’completed’ by the team member but not approved. The team member may say the work is complete, but when the deliverable is checked it is discovered that it is incomplete or needs additional follow-up work. (Read more..)

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Estimate the Project Work Before Gathering Detailed Requirements

There is concern from many project managers that they are expected to present a detailed estimate of the project work when the charter and schedule are created. However, the detailed requirements have not been gathered yet. So how are you supposed to estimate the work without having captured the detailed requirements? It seems like a valid question. Yet, when you talk about gathering detailed requirements, you are usually talking about the Analysts Phase of a project lifecycle, not the up-front project management work of defining and planning the project.  (Read more..)

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Goals, Strategies and Objectives Explained

The definition of goals, strategies and objectives can be difficult to define. However, through practice and the use of some common definitions, you can start to identify and tell the difference.  (Read more..)

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Estimating a Project for Planning Purposes

When a project or collection of projects is in the idea or concept stage, you want to put together a high-level estimate to see whether or not the project is worth pursuing. You typically do not want to spend too much time working on a detailed estimate at this point, since you do not know if the idea is a worthwhile. Basically, you just want to know the relative magnitude of the effort. While you may be asked to provide a high-level estimate of the cost, the business people are also struggling to try to understand and quantify what the benefits of the project will be. (Read more..)

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Tips for Creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Detail and Summary Activities

If you look at a WBS activity and determine that it needs to be broken down to another level, the original activity becomes known as a “summary” level. A summary activity does not have any work or hours specifically associated with it. It represents a logical roll-up of the activities that are under it. (Read more..)

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Work on the Project Charter, Schedule and Budget Simultaneously

There is not necessarily sequential order between defining (planning) the project and building the schedule and budget. That is, you do not have to completely define the work first and then build the schedule and budget second. Some of the sections of the Project Charter, such as the estimates for cost and duration, cannot be completed without starting to lay out the overall project schedule. (Read more..)

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Estimating Threshold

When you create a schedule you generally don’t know enough to enter all of the detailed activities the first time though. Instead, you identify large chunks of work first, and then break the larger chunks into smaller pieces. These smaller pieces are, in turn, broken down into still smaller and more discrete activities. This technique is referred to as creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). (Read more..)

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