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Flashcards in Project Management Deck (66):

Costs and Benefits can be ...

  • tangible or intangible 
  • immediate or long-term


In scheduling, what is smoothing?

When resources over the period of a project are highly irregular: 

  • process of equalling out the resources
  • smoothing out the peaks
  • using float days
  • does not extend the overall timeline
  • done voluntarily


In scheduling, what is levelling?

When resource constraints force you to reschedule items 

  • e.g. only 10 people available to work per day
  • can increase the project timeline


What is the Systems Design Lifecycle + 8 phases

a phased cycle

  1. Initiation
  2. Feasibility study
  3. Requirements analysis
  4. Systems design
  5. Build
  6. Implement
  7. Maintain
  8. Kill


typical accumulative resource demand (on a graph)

an ‘S curve’


What is resource management?

  • ensures that resources available when required
  • ensures they are used efficiently

resource planning:

  • Specify a cost rate for each category or resource
  • Cost rate is commonly expressed in terms of currency units, per unit of resource, per unit of time


3 categories of resources

  1. exhaustible – finite: e.g. minerals, time
  2. replenishable – renewable: e.g. materials, money
  3. reuseable – e.g. people, plant, accommodation


How to establish a budget?

  1. Define the work
  2. Schedule the work
  3. Allocate resources & budget


Draw the Stakeholder Analysis Matrix

and why move people to the right side?

Yellow Box People

  • People in the yellow box don’t fully understand how they are affect by the project and what is being done — knowledge gap.
  • But they are influencial, so it is important to move them from the left to the right side, make them more interested in the project!
  • set up one-to-one meetings for people on the left

Green Box People

  • Turn into positive communicators of this project.


Float Days

The amount of time (days) an activity can be delayed without affecting the project completion date.

The difference between the latest and earliest starting date:



Crash Actions

Fixing problems by adding more resources, e.g. hiring more people, or working longer…

but this might not be straightforward

  • people work not as hard in a team
  • emegerent properties cause faster work
  • admisterating the crash action can take time
  • training extra labor is costly, better do overtime!
  • .........



Define Schedule diagrams

a visual representation of when things happen

good for managing expectations (for project and tasks scope)

gives people a high-leve idea of the prject


What are schedule dependencies?

shows which activities need to be in sequence and which can be done in parallel

activities that depend on another activity in order to begin


What is the Gantt Chart + advantages

a planning and communcation tool in form of a bar chart

planning: shows people their task and given time, and shows them the work that needs to be done beforehand 

communication: may not give exact details but shows stakeholders what the project entails and what the overall high-level duration will be 

Gantt Chart (visually) helps indentify milestones

acts as baseline for the future changes and deadlines


What is the critical path in scheduling?

The path in a network diagram that has no floats.

if there is a delay in any of the activities within the critical path, the overall project will be delayed


The critical path is the longest sequence of activities in a project plan which must be completed on time for the project to complete on due date. An activity on the critical path cannot be started until its predecessor activity is complete;


Benefits of scheduling

  • Confirms viability
  • Defines task sequence
  • Enables resource profiling (smoothing/levelling resources)
  • Provides monitor points
  • Exposes schedule risks
  • Determines overall duration
  • Shows critical path
  • Gives people an idea when their work is and what comes before
  • Communicates the project scope very well (time-wise)
  • Identifies dependencies and parallels


How can the project duration be calculated?

earliest start + earliest finish 

*earliest finish = earliest start + duration

in detail:

  • draw the schedule network
  • identify dependecies
  • calculate earliest starting time and latest starting time for each activity 
  • measure entire project duration as above formula 


something that is ongoing within a project is a ...

overhead task

can be represented in a as a continues line in a bar chart


resource histograms

visualises the resources demand for a given time

useful for visual communication of levelling and smoothing

can be combined with a bar chart


Define Stakeholder Management 

identifying, analysing, and planing the communication, negation, and influence of stakeholders



typical stakeholder roles in a simple IT project

  • Project Manager
  • Project team members / SMEs (day-to-day people)
  • Developers (internal or external)
  • Upper management (part of a Steering Group)
  • Project customer (internal or external) 
    • validating benefits of products, give requirements
  • Resource Managers / Line Managers (in-between upper mgmt and team members)
    • upper mgmt tells them to organise a representative of a team member to inform them about updates and be ready to answer questions — in-charge of allocations
    • they are team managers, supervisors
  • System user group 
    • users might be a different group of people from the customers
  • Project testers 
    • could be specific role or part of system user group


Define a project

  • a unique process, consisting of a set of coordinated and controlled activities...
  • with start and finish dates, ....
  • undertaken to achieve an objective...
  • conforming to specific requirements, including constraints of time, cost and resources



General PM Info

  • 95% of IT projects fail to some extent (use of professional IT management in the first place?)
  • PM is increasingly in demand — a talent gap
  • Association for Project Management (and similar organisations) certifies project managers
  • Everything older than 6-7 years can be considered legacy IT systems
  • The sponsor is usually saw the project’s purpose to begin with


projects vs. business-as-usual


The APM defines Project Management as:

an efficient way of introducing change — achieved by:

  • Defining goal, generally in terms of time, cost, and various technical and quality parameters;
  • Developing and executing a plan to achieve these, ensuring progress aligns with objectives;
  • Using appropriate project management techniques to plan, monitor and maintain progress;
  • Employing persons skilled in project management who are given [single] responsibility for introducing the change and are accountable for its successful accomplishment.


pet projects

projects just to be new and prove visible change


what asks a feasibility study

is it viable, realistic compared to measures of success (STEEPLE)


define a steering group

people approving major changes;

high-level team (aka. project board)


Outline the Project Lifecycle

  1. Concept / Initiation
  2. Design / Development
  3. Implementation
  4. Handover

The Concept / Initiation Phase 

  • Identifying the need for a project
  • Sufficient justification for this project?
  • High-level:
    • Benefits/Cost analysis
    • Risks and uncertainties
    • Timeline
  • Plan who will be involved
  • Concept Phase produces the Business Case / Project Charter / Project Initiation Document (PID) (depends on methodology used)

Design Phase 

  • the definition phase; adding detail
  • the sponsor gets the SMEs from their company that the project manager wants in his team
  • Design Specification Document


What is the basic purpose of the Business Case?

evaluating if it's worth it to invest the resources for the expected benefits


What occurs before initiation?


  • Current activities and information needs
  • Current data storage and data flow
  • Current Processes
  • Opportunities for improvements?
  • Align and support the business strategy


Define Project Reviews

A critical evaluation of a deliverable, business case or project management process. 

Done by another project manager or actual project manager.

  • An outside view shows big picture
  • Third party can critique higher staff


Types of Reviews

where they occur and who chairs them

Gate review

  • occurs at after a phase is complete
  • opens the gate for the next phase
  • chaired by the sponsor, steering group and PM at minimum (“sign off”)

Peer review

  • evaluation by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work 
  • done to maintain or enhance quality or performance of the project
  • usually done by stakeholders, since they have a high interest


  • a formal, structured review
  • assesses the progress (inter alia)
  • checks if objectives are still aligned

Post-project review

  • team feedback on future improvements
  • lessons learned

Benefits realisation review

  • chaired by sponsor!
  • have the benefits been realised
  • Any issues?
  • etc...


Benefits and their timeline in projects 

Benefits are often realised only later after the implementation.

Hence, the sponsor is responsible for benefits realisation, since he sticks around after the completion of the project.



governance in project management

  • setting the right people for the best chances of succeeding
  • having a well-throughout methodology
  • having a thoughtful sponsor
  • identifying and managing key players
  • managing the interaction between corporate management and project management



Give an example of

  • external change (macro/micro)
  • internal change (external to project/internal)


  •  Macro: political (Brexit), technological
  •  Micro: new entrant, regulatory, competitor


  •  External to project but internal to organisation:
    •  strategic objectives, resource availability, customer
  •   Internal to project:
    •  poor estimating


Describe the Business Case

+ content

  • the justification of the project
  • owned by the sponsor
  • a project manager is usually not yet appointed at this point
  • balancing cost / risk / benefits
  • comparing alternatives using a common measure



  • reason for project
  • project scope
  • high-level time-line (+milestones)
  • assumptions and constraints
  • stakeholders and sponsorship
  • steering group


  • success criteria
    • success criteria — the measures of success (e.g. set time, budget)
    • success factors — things that can increase your chance of success
  • deliverables
  • expected benefits
  • expected costs
  • feasibility study
  • required documents


  • options 
  • financial appraisal
  • risk and opportunities


Roles in the Creation of the Business Case


  • Champions the benefits of the project, signs off Business Case

Project Team / Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

  • High level estimates, risks, items for consideration, how certain things can be done

Project Finance

  • Validating the anticipated financial benefits (ROI) (evaluate inflation, etc.)


  • Validates the customer benefits

(Project Manager)

  • If in place, manages project team for the development of the Business Case


 (Continuous) Stakeholder Management

    stakeholders must be continuously (early and often),
    • identified
    • analysed
    • informed/consulted
    • negotiated
  • understand their
    • level of interest
    • power/influence over the project
    • expectations!
    • necessary level of involvement
    • how they will be engaged 
    • appreciate their perspectives
    • manage potential conflicts of interests 


Scope Management

definition, output, impact

the process whereby outputs (and sometimes benefits) are identified, defined and controlled

The output of scope management is a specification that may be presented as a PBS and WBS.

  • the scope of work decides whether it will be managed as a project, programme or portfolio
  • the way in which scope is managed depends upon two things; 
    • the nature of the objectives (outputs, benefits or strategic) 
    • the definability of the objectives
  • the scope of a project will typically include outputs, but may be extended to cover benefits


Organisational Breakdown Structure (OBS)

  • assigning stakeholders to revelvant places within the organisation:
  • assignes responsbilities 
  • relates work packages to the organization’s structure

example of stakeholderes being assigned:

  • steering group
  • day-to-day
  • approvers
  • chain of command
  • work package managers


OBS is a hierarchical model describing the established organizational framework for project planning, resource management, time and expense tracking, cost allocation, revenue/profit reporting, and work management.


Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

  • Hierarchical breakdown of work to be done (tasks)
    • use verbs to describe the actions
  • A decomposition of the project scope
    • decomposition allows for easier problem identification
  • basis for resource estimates
    • because the individual segments can be estimated more accurately than estimating the entire project
  • basis for the schedule
  • Reduces the risk of activities being overlooked
  • Is used to identify process risks, and schedule risk
  • Is used to monitor progress towards completion of products
  • Aids budgetary control


  • Top level is based upon project objectives
  • Lowest level items are work packages


Each work package in WBS ideally has estimates in terms of:

  • Cost
  • Duration
  • Resources needed/assigned
  • Completion criteria
  • Dependencies 


what is a work package

unit of work at lowest WBS level

  • allocated to a WP manager or team member
  • consists of:
    • Specification
    • Quality criteria
    • Constraints
    • Dependencies
    • Interfaces
    • Reporting
  • what specifications are associated with that particular work


Product Breakdown Structure (PBS)

  • identifies outputs (products/deliverables — nouns) necessary to meet objectives
    • deliverables to customer may be tangible or intangible
    • but not the same as resources used to deliver

  • Good for measuring progress, as we can tick off things done
    • essential for the application of EVM techniques
  • Hierarchical structure; main output at the top level
  • Each product has defined acceptance criteria and quality control methods. 
  • the PBS facilitates analysis of those products 
    • includes ‘persistent’ and ‘non-persistent’ products
  • analysis of lower levels of the PBS highlights build processes involved (aka. activities required) 
  • forces clarity around specifications of the products
  • facilitates identification of product-based risks
  • Identifies parallel and dependent tasks


Project Management Plan (PMP)

  • Owned by the project manager
  • Project need
  • Project Planning (how, what, where, when, why, how much)
  • Includes:
    • Budget
    • Schedule
    • Resources
    • Deliverables
    • Objectives


Extended Content of the PMP:

  • Objective
  • Success criteria and KPIs
  • Requirements
  • Deliverables
  • Estimates - time/cost/resources
  • Budget
  • Quality management plan
  • Health, safety and environment plan
  • Risk management plan
  • Assumptions and constraints
  • Project organisation
  • Resource plan
  • Stakeholder management plan
  • Information and communication plans
  • Benefit realisation plan
  • Project controls
  • Schedule


How are the WBS and PBS related to the schedule?

PBS items can be used for milestones— may fix schedule with penalties for late delivery.

WBS gives schedule the activities and their sequence and duration that are plotted on the schedule

  • WBS requires resources — availability of which may influence sequencing or overall duration of work packages or project.


Benefits of Planning

  • Shows commitment
  • Identifies possible areas of concern
  • Determines resource needs
  • Allows options to be evaluated
  • Framework for monitoring and control
  • Models the achievement of the objective
  • Supports setting of objective that can be shared
  • Provides common understanding to stakeholders


Define Requirements and their ideal form

Needs that a project has to satisfy to deliver the benefits the customer wants.

should be

  • comprehensive
  • clear
  • well-structured
  • testable



What is Requirements Management

The process of capturing, analysing and testing the documented statement of user wants and needs:

  1. Capturingask end-users: questionnaires, prototypes, consensus reaching, interviews
  2. Analysis — feasibility, impact, costs, assumptions; Systems Requirement Report
  3. Prioritisation — must-haves, could-haves, won’t-haves
  4. Testing/Validation — document requirements and show it customer (which is difficult in software projects; technical illiteracy)


Why estimate

  • work out possible risks
  • try everyone agree how long tasks will need
  • show confidence to the sponsor
  • communicate delivery times to contractors
  • knowing people’s availability
  • assessing project viability
  • preparing tenders
  • obtaining funding
  • determining duration
  • assessing resource demand
  • providing basis for control


list some human factors that influence estimating

  • Assumptions!
  • Subjective
  • Denial
  • Inexperience
  • Optimistic/Pessimistic 
  • WBS is incomplete
  • Risks


Consistent methods and estimating

Consistent methodologies for projects makes comparing / estimating projects simple.


Layout the estimating process


Explain the 4 estimating approaches

Comparative (Top Down)

  • based on opinions of experienced person using recollections of a similar project
  • done early in project
  • usually requires scaling and adjusting
    • also to organisational culture, computer literacy, mgnmt support
  • Limitations 
    • relies on accurate historical data
    • projects may not be as similar as they appear
    • need to adjust to scale
    • less reliable (uncertainty and lack of detail)


  • quantitative (that is scalable, linear tasks — 1 meter of rail costs 2€)
  • multi-variable formula
  • cost, effort or material data
  • software tools
  • known as Boehm’s Constructive Cost Model (‘COCOMO’)

Bottom Up

  • uses the WBS
  • planning phase onwards
    • can be complex relationships between factors
    • identify full costs of each task
    • ask the people who will do the work
    • aggregate to give the total cost
  • Limitations
    • time-consuming 
    • ‘contingency’ may be added in by task owners
    • errors may compound

Three-Point Estimating

  • Estimate that reflects current uncertainty.
  • Asking SMEs for 3 data points:
    • optimistic (O) 
    • pessimistic (P) 
    • the most likely (ML) estimate
  • Gives the impression of scientificness, which it is NOT because they are still based on guesses. Human error and bias.


The Estimating Funnel

Estimates improve as the project progresses


Limitations of all estimates

  • Clarity of the specifications for the product/activity
  • Unstable specifications = changes
  • Optimism/pessimism of the estimator
  • Estimators inexperience 
  • Novel processes
  • Insufficiently detailed plans being used as the basis for the estimating process
  • Errors in the estimating process itself
  • User involvement and availability
  • Use of contract staff


Limitations with Information Systems estimates

  • Unique projects with much innovation
  • Estimates often produced early – before specification agreed
  • No professional estimators
  • Few published metrics available


Preparing for estimation issues

Because of the numerous and significicant estimating limitations, contingency & management reserves are put in place, having a financial and timely buffer for anticipated estimate uncertainties.


Lessons for better estimating 

  • Focus on known areas, where reliable metrics available
  • Only offer firm estimates once scope of work well-defined
  • Collect and analyse metrics, to improve later estimates
  • Try to achieve some specialisation in the skill of estimating
  • Use a standard project structure if possible
  • Get more than one opinion
  • Revisit estimates in the light of the project risk analysis


The process of scheduling


Preparing a high-level schedule and benefits

  • High-level Gantt Chart for initiation and concept 
  • to assess feasibility based on timeline
  • by discussing it with team members, refinements can be made
    • the PM will only make a rough first-draft timeline based on their estimates
  • used as a planning and communication tool
    • planning: shows people their task and given time, and shows them the work that needs to be done beforehand 
      • Gantt Chart (visually) helps indentify milestones
      • acts as baseline for the future changes and deadlines
    • communication: may not give exact details but shows stakeholders what the project entails and what the overall high-level duration will be 


2 types of schedule diagrams

  • Network Diagram
  • Gantt Chart


Typical product phases compared to cash flow:


Why do projects fail?

  • insufficient momentum
  • lack “critical mass of understanding”
  • insufficient business requirements
  • unclear business need


Why are projects failing to get good requirements

  • too many opinions about reaching good requirements
  • everyone wants to be steering, which creates chaos
  • an executive pushes the wrong approach
  • because so many projects fail (75-95%!), most people only saw incorrect methods
  • the vast major of business analysts, executives and other people are not regularly exposed to project planning (maybe once every 1 or 2 years)
  • People distort benefits because only projects that clearly have more benefits than risks get developed.