Project Management Guide

Project Management Guide



Project Management Guide

A Comprehensive Guide to Project Management Schedule and Cost Control

Methods and Models for Managing the Project Lifecycle

Randal Wilson

Instructor’s Manual
March 1, 2014

Pearson Education


Part 1 – Project Development

Chapter 1
Basic Project Structure

Whenever specific concepts of project management are being taught, including scheduling, budgeting, and control of projects, students must first understand some of the basic fundamentals of project management to better understand how these concepts will be applied. In this chapter we will cover basic project structures such as projects, programs, and portfolios as well as how these structures are managed. We will also explore the basic concept of a project lifecycle.

The first section we explore is why organizations would use something like a project, program, or portfolio and how these project management structures benefit the organization. We start off by exploring two fundamental concepts of general business structure within most organizations: areas of the organization that are producing products or services that will yield financial revenue for the organization, and those departments and functions that are supporting the activities that are producing products or services. It’s important students understand the concepts of both producing and supporting activities as this can play an important role in a project for scheduling, budgeting, and controlling project activities.

The second section explores three primary project management structures (projects, programs, and portfolios) used in many organizations, why they are used, and some of the benefits of these structures of project management and how they can benefit an organization. This is an important section as the student will learn each of these structures will serve different functions, and there can be different approaches in how to schedule, cost, and budget, as well as control projects and project-related activities at each level.

The next area in this chapter focuses more on the managerial side of projects, programs, and portfolios. The two main components of this section deal with defining the management style and approach for each structure. This is another area of vital concern for teaching individuals about project management and the details of scheduling, costing, and controlling projects as some components will be similar across these structures and other components will be quite different. The second area of this section will explore the connection to the organizational needs of projects, programs, and portfolios. Students of project management need to understand that not all organizations use these project management structures, and some may not understand what they are and what benefits they would bring to the organization. In some cases this might give the student an opportunity to introduce a project management structure to help their organization, while in other cases this can help the student understand certain constraints to using project management within an organization based on upper management bias.

The last section of this chapter discusses the concept of the project lifecycle and the four primary sections within a project. It will be important for the student to understand each of these four components of the lifecycle as they will learn various responsibilities and activities for the project manager to oversee in developing and controlling the schedule and budget. It will also be important for the student to understand that each section of the project lifecycle may have a different managerial approach and involvement of management based on the project management structure (projects, programs, and portfolios).

As there are other textbooks that go into the basic project structures in much greater detail, I included this chapter simply as a foundation touch point to ensure students understand some of the basic concepts of project management structures and project lifecycle as they are important in understanding project schedule, cost, and control later in the book. Most of this book will focus on projects, but I will touch on programs and portfolios occasionally throughout the book for the sole purpose of clarifying a difference in approach or management style to scheduling, costing, and controlling.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the difference between producing departments and supporting departments within an organization and why organizations need each of them.
  • Understand the definition of a project, program, and portfolio and how they are used in the organization.
  • Define what is meant by project, program, and portfolio management.
  • Understand the differences in management style, approach, and objectives with project, program, and portfolio management.
  • Understand the importance these management structures have within an organization and the connections and impact they can have.
  • Understand what a project lifecycle is, the main sections of one, and what significance it has in the overall project.

Lecture Outline
Projects, Programs, and Portfolios
Producing versus Supporting
Project Management Structures
Projects, programs, portfolios
Project, Program, and Portfolio Management
Connection to Organizational Needs
Project management
Program management
Portfolio management
Project Lifecycle
Conceptual, planning, execution, closure

Topics for Classroom Discussion
Projects, Programs, and Portfolios

  • Producing versus SupportingDefine what is meant by departments and organizational functions that produce income versus having supporting roles. Why are both of these types of functions required in an organization? What general effects can these departments have on projects, programs, and portfolios? Are there parts of a project, program, and portfolio that will be producing or supporting?
  • Project Management StructuresUse this discussion to explore projects, programs, and portfolios and how they are used in an organizational structure. Contrast the primary differences between projects, programs, and portfolios. Why is there a hierarchy to these structures? Are these structures isolated to particular types or sizes of organizations, and if so, why?

Project, Program and Portfolio Management

  • Management DefinitionsDefine project, program, and portfolio management and the differences in management approach for each. Discuss why lower (project) levels of management are isolated to a project and why higher levels (portfolio) management might be more executive or director levels of management.
  • Management ApproachHow does the project manager’s approach as more of a direct oversight change for managing programs and portfolios? How might the responsibilities of human resources and communications change at each level?
  • Connection to Organizational NeedsProject, program, and portfolio management is used throughout the organization at different levels and for various purposes. Discuss how each level of management in project management structuring serves a vital role within the organization.


Project Lifecycle

  • Conceptual, Planning, Execution, ClosureDefine each stage in the project lifecycle and why these areas exist. Which sections play a bigger role in schedule and cost estimating and establishing the budget? Which sections have a greater influence on schedule and cost control? Does the project manager need to change management style or approach at any point along the project lifecycle, and if so, why? What is the difference between project cycle and product lifecycle?

End of Chapter Questions

  • Explain what is meant by producing and supporting functions within an organization.

“An example of a support center would be the accounting department or human resources department within the organization. These types of departments do not necessarily perform work that creates a profit for the company, but perform activities that support several areas within the organization. These duties will typically be seen as day-to-day functions carried out repetitively or on an ongoing basis. Organizations may have several support functions or areas such as warehousing, shipping and receiving, quality control, manufacturing, engineering, and administrative and executive staff.”
Profit centers are those areas of the organization that produce an output such as a product or a service that will have an associated cost and will be sold at a higher value that creates a profit for the organization. Some organizations produce the same product or service over and over and there is little or no unique aspect to that product or service. Other organizations might produce a product or service that is more customized and unique and may only be produced in that form one time for a customer.”

  • Explain the connection projects, programs, and portfolios have with organizational needs.

This answer may vary depending on how the student interprets needs and their past experience with smaller versus larger organizations. The primary answer for this question is the separation of a unique deliverable constituting the use of a project versus the daily production of goods or services conducted by an organization. The secondary answer for this question would be the organization’s need for structuring of projects within programs, and projects and programs within a portfolio, for better clarity and organization. The sole purpose and use for projects, programs, and portfolios is to organize work activities to complete project, program, or a portfolio objective.

  • Explain the differences between projects, programs, and portfolios.

This should be a very basic and clear answer reflecting a hierarchy type structure within an organization that would have projects at the lowest level reporting within programs, and projects and programs reporting up to a portfolio. Although this answer would seem very straightforward and clear, variations of this answer might include whether portfolios have only programs or a combination of projects, programs, and individual work activities, which by definition is still correct for a portfolio. (This answer may reflect a student’s past experience at an organization.) Portfolios can also have a combination of related and non-related programs and projects. This answer should always reflect programs having a combination of related projects whereas portfolios can have either related or non-related projects, programs, and work activities.

  • Discuss the main areas in a project lifecycle.

This basic answer should reflect the four primary components outlined in the text: conceptual, planning, execution, and closure. It would be good to design this question to encourage the students to actually explain or discuss each of these areas in their answer. It might also be good for students to contrast the differences between each of these four components of the life cycle to test their conceptual understanding of each of these lifecycle components.
In general, the conceptual phase is the initial introduction of intent for a unique product or service required by a customer and the organization signing off the approval for the delivery of a product or service.
The planning phase is the actual planning of work activities, which includes identifying all activities and gathering information of schedule and cost requirements, as well as planning for control and risk.
The execution phase is where all the work actually takes place, and the management of the schedule and budget will require monitoring and controls to be implemented.
Closure is when all work activities have been completed and the customer has accepted final delivery of the product or service. This is also when all procurements and contracts have been completed and all financial obligations are closed.


Part 1—Project Development

Chapter 2
Initiating Process

As the very definition of a project indicates, there is always a start and a finish of a project; the early stages of project selection and development are critical. This chapter will focus on the processes required in the opening stages of project development, sometimes referred to as the Initiating Process. Depending on the type of organization, there may be several types of processes that organizations use in the selection and development of projects, but this chapter will focus on four fundamental processes: project origination, stakeholders, project selection, and the project charter.
Oftentimes students of project management study the specific processes within the project itself, but may not always understand how projects actually begin or where they originate from within an organization. It is important to cover how projects originate, as the students should understand the project manager may or may not always be a part of this process. The other part of project origination is the organizational need for projects. As projects are a unique endeavor to accomplish an objective, it will be highly dependent on the type of organization as to the use of projects. Projects can be used for simple internal improvement exercises, development of documentation, or things such as moving a facility or opening a new location. These would be considered internal projects or improvements. The other primary use of projects would be to manage the completion of an objective required by a customer; this is called an external project. The end result is the realization that a project will be required based on an organizational need.
The second part of this initiating process has to do with several areas regarding stakeholders that will be involved in the project. It will also be important that students understand who stakeholders are and what their roles might be with regards to project development, selection, participation, and authority. The text will go into several areas regarding stakeholders, such as identifying stakeholders, managing stakeholders, and managing stakeholder participation, specifically to project work responsibilities. Another important area students should understand with regards to stakeholders is how to manage stakeholder expectations and how this can play in not only the success of the project, but in the success of the project manager within the organization.
The third section will cover project selection and how the organization develops the process for selecting projects. Depending on the type and structure of an organization, project selection can be a very critical and vital process that can mean the success or failure of an organization. The text will go into several areas of project selection such as the constraints within the organization and within project management that can influence project selection. Other areas, such as organizational strategy and the selection of projects within programs and large portfolios, will also be covered. This chapter will also include selection models and methodologies to assist in the selection process. It is important students understand how the selection models work and the importance of using a selection model as a process for project selection so individuals within the organization are not selecting projects emotionally, politically, or based on a personal agenda.
The fourth component of the initiating process is the actual output of this process in the development of the project charter. The text will explain the purpose of the charter and how the charter is structured and used by the organization in the creation of projects. It is also important the students understand that not only is the charter an artifact or literal document that can be filled out with information, but that it should be used as a process. This can best be explained by labeling the initiation process as the charter process. I tell my students that this is a good way to view what a charter is used for, as some organizations do not have an actual document that is filled out, but simply go through the elements included in a charter and therefore complete what’s called a charter process. Other organizations that have a more structured project management culture or a project management office might have a literal document that is filled out and is used as an artifact in the initiating process.
The initiating process can vary greatly depending on the type of organization and how the organization is structured, so it is important the students understand that this initiating process, or as I call it, the charter process, should be carried out at the onset of every project regardless of what type of organization there is. The logistics and literal components of the charter or initiating process might vary depending on the type of organization, but irregardless, this initiating process should be carried out on every project.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the basis for how projects begin and for what purpose they will be used.
  • Understand how to identify stakeholders, what their role on the project is, and how to manage their expectations.
  • Understand the importance organizational and project management constraints have on project selection.
  • Understand the role project selection plays in organizational strategy.
  • Understand the requirements of project selection in programs and portfolios.
  • Understand how the selection models work and the primary difference between qualitative and quantitative selection.
  • Understand the purpose and structure of a project charter.

Lecture Outline
Project Origination
Internal Projects and Improvements
External RFP’s and RFQ’s
Project Stakeholders
Project Stakeholder Management
Manage stakeholder
Manage stakeholder participation
Project Selection
Organizational Constraints
In-house technology
Human resources
Facilities and equipment
Financial resources
Functional, matrix, and projectized
Project Management Constraints
Project management maturity of the organization
Number of projects in cue
Project Selection in Organizational Strategy
Project comparison to other projects
Process or product improvements for the organization
Qualitative selection
Quantitative selection
Portfolios and Programs
Customer based
Product based
Organizational division
Independent Projects
Selection Models and Methodologies
Qualitative Screening and Scoring Models              
Scoring model
Bubble diagram
Quantitative and Financial Models
Time value of money
Payback period
Net present value (NPV)
Return on investment (ROI)
Project Charter
Purpose of the charter
Structure of the charter
Process or artifact

Topics for Classroom Discussion
Project Origination
1. Internal Projects, RFP’s, and RFQ’sProjects can be used for internal use and process improvement as these are typically seen as one-time unique activities. Projects can also be used to manage customer requests for specialized items. Have the class brainstorm other ideas for how projects can originate and can be used.

Project Stakeholders

  • Project Stakeholder ManagementHow are stakeholders chosen and what roles might they have on a project? Managing stakeholder participation is very important to ensure they are performing what is expected, as well as not letting them take over the project. Most stakeholders, having a stake in the project, will have expectations, generally in project performance, and project managers must understand the importance of communicating appropriate and accurate information.

Project Selection

  • Organizational Constraints—There are many things within an organization that present challenges and impose constraints. Discuss how levels of internal technology might affect the success of projects. Other areas such as human resources, management, facilities and equipment, financial resources, and organizational structure such as functional, matrix, or projectized.
  • Project Management Constraints—Have the class discuss how the general maturity of an organization can impact the success of managing a project. The number of projects the organization is running or has in cue affects how projects are not only prioritized but also the management of resources.
  • Project Selection in Organizational StrategyThis will lead into discussing project prioritization and project competition where projects might be compared to each other. It will also be important to discuss internal projects that are targeted to benefit the organization versus projects for customer requirements. This will ultimately lead to qualitative and quantitative selection methods.
  • Portfolios and ProgramsThis discussion will focus mainly on how programs and portfolios are divided and how they are used by an organization. Reference the text on customer, product, and organization based programs and portfolios, what the primary differences are, and how each are used.
  • Selection Models and MethodologiesThis is a very important section of this chapter in how to select projects. Discuss the pros and cons of qualitative and quantitative methodology. Discuss why scoring models and bubble diagrams might be used better to communicate selection results to management. Why is payback period, net present value and return on investment important to consider in project selection?

Project Charter

  • Purpose of a CharterIt will be important that the students understand the general idea of what a charter is and what function it serves. Who might be involved in developing a charter?
  • Structure of a CharterHave the class discuss what items should be included in a charter and why. Who would sign off on the charter?
  • Process or ArtifactThis might be an interesting discussion about how the students perceive what the charter is and how it is used. Contrast a charter being simply a document or artifact, compared to a project management process.

End of Chapter Questions

  • Explain how projects originate and why projects are used in an organization.

Projects originate from two primary business areas: the internal need to add, change, or improve something or an external customer requirement. Projects will also be a one-time unique objective.

  • Discuss why managing stakeholder expectations is important.


This answer may vary slightly in interpretation based on the student’s background and experience, but the general idea here is that stakeholders will have a “stake” in the project to some degree and stakeholders will manage that responsibility differently, so the project manager will need to understand the stakeholders’ needs and requirements of information relative to project details.

  • What is the difference between product and project scope?


If students understand the concept of scope, they will probably answer this question in two or maybe three parts: the first is defining scope in project management as the boundaries or limits of what is required, the second is product scope defined as the specifics of the deliverable itself, and the third is the project scope which defines specifics of how the project will accomplish the objective. It is important students are clear about the difference between product and project scope!


  • Explain why organizational constraints can be a concern to the project manager with regards to project selection.

This could be a rather complex and lengthy answer, but the result should be addressing at least three, if not all six, areas the text refers to in organizational constraints. As there may be other periphery problems in the selection process, the text calls out the primary influences seen in most organizations. The goal here is to see if the student understands the impact these influences can have on the selection process and the stress it can cause on the project manager.

  • What is the drawback in using qualitative project selection techniques?


This answer may vary depending on the experience each student might have in project selection, but the general reasoning is a qualitative methodology will be more subjective in nature and less accurate. It is used in situations where real definitive data might not be available and a higher level general classification might be all that can label an assessment.

  • Discuss the purpose of a project charter and when is it used.


The student should display an understanding of the charter as more of a process of starting a project. The Project Management Institute definition used in the text can be applied here:
The Project Management Institute defines a project charter as “a document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities.”
Part 1—Project Development

Chapter 3
Planning Process

The next phase in the development and management of a project is the planning phase. Once the project has been officially approved, most projects will either already have assigned a project manager or the project manager will be assigned. One of the first primary functions of the project manager is to create the project plan. This chapter goes into two types of plans that the project manager will create: the project management plan and the project plan, sometimes referred to as the project structure or project master schedule.
It’s important for students to understand the difference between a project management plan and the project plan. The text goes into all of the areas the project manager will need to manage such as scope, schedule, cost, and quality, as well as project development. The project plan will be developed after the collection of requirements and scope has been defined.
The second section of this chapter covers the collection of requirements, which is an extremely important area of project development. Students should understand the importance of collecting information for project activities and the impact that accuracy and completeness can have on the success of the project. The text will also cover resources the project manager can use to gather information and hints on how to select those that would be helpful in the information gathering process.
The third section of this chapter will explore defining the scope of the project. It is important here that the students understand the difference between project scope and product scope. This area will also cover who defines the scope and hints on how to develop a project scope statement.
The final section of this chapter deals with the creation of the project plan itself and the organization of information that was gathered for work activities. As most textbooks on project management address the organization of project activity information in work breakdown structures assuming it is already at the smallest levels (work packages), I have spent time in this chapter explaining the details of how to break down the deliverable, as some people are unclear as to how that process actually is carried out. I teach my students a tool called an Activity Decomposition Decision Tree which simply takes an output deliverable and asks if it can be broken down; if yes, how many pieces can it be broken into, and if no, that will be a final work package. This process continues until all pieces cannot be broken down any further. This has proven to be a useful tool where students can easily understand the process of breaking down the deliverable into its smallest components. Many have also taken it into the workplace as a literal tool to help them accomplish this task. It is vital students understand the importance in seeing all the smallest segments of work packages as this gives them the most detail to properly define resources, costs, durations, and deliverable requirements. Once activities have been broken into their smallest component they can then be taught how to organize them in a tool such as a work breakdown structure.


Learning Objectives

  • Understand what the difference is between a project management plan and the project plan and how they are used.
  • Know what various project requirements there are, such as deliverable, customer, stakeholder, and project internal and external to the organization.
  • Understand various forms of resources to get information for requirements.
  • Know the difference between product and project scope.
  • Understand how to define and manage scope.
  • Understand how to break down a deliverable to its smallest components.
  • Know how to create a work breakdown structure (WBS).


Lecture Outline
Develop Project Management Plan
Project Management Plan versus Project Plan
Project management plan
Project plan
Project Management Plan Structure
Scope management
Schedule management
Cost management
Quality management
Human resource management
Communications management
Risk management
Procurement management
Stakeholder management
How to Use a Project Management Plan

Collect Requirements
Definition of Requirements
Requirements internal and external to the organization
Stakeholder requirements
Deliverable requirements
Project requirements
Resources for Requirements
Project charter
Customer specifications
Statement of Work (SOW)
Stakeholder register
Stakeholder management plan
Subject Matter Expert (SME)
Historical data
Requirements Management Plan


Define Scope
Product or Project Scope
Product scope
Project scope
Who Defines Scope
            Project Scope Statement
            Scope Management

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
Activity Decomposition Decision Tree
            Create the work breakdown structure


Topics for Classroom Discussion
Develop Project Management Plan

  • Project Management Plan versus Project Plan—The point in this discussion is to clarify the differences between a project plan and a project management plan. A project plan is simply the “whats” that have to be accomplished, whereas the project management plan is the descriptions of how the project manager will “manage” all of the processes required throughout the project (see text for processes).
  • Project Management Plan StructureIn this discussion there might be more of a tutorial of the plan structure and a corresponding discussion of all the elements within the structure, why they are there, and what role each will play.
  •  How to Use a Project Management PlanThe best discussion here is letting the student brainstorm how the plan is used and if it would be used differently in various organizational structures.

Collect Requirements

  • Definition of Requirements—Care must be taken in this discussion as the bandwidth of information is wide and these types of discussions can be lengthy. The best way to approach this is staying focused on simply “defining” requirements. Try to cover internal and external to the organization with regards to stakeholders, deliverables, organizational environmental issues, and general project requirements.
  • Resources for RequirementsThis will also be another opportunity for the students to be resourceful in evaluating various resources for information on requirements. It may also be good to discuss the pros and cons of each type of resource.

Define Scope

  • Product or Project Scope—This will be another very important discussion as the students contrast the difference between product and project scope. Hopefully there will be a clear understanding of how these are very different.
  • Project Scope Statement—In this discussion students should be talking about not only what the scope statement is, but more importantly, how it is used and how it is probably most valuable to the project manager.


Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

  • Work Breakdown StructureThis discussion should be specific to using the Activity Decomposition Decision Tree in breaking a deliverable down to its smallest components and the importance of seeing the details at the smallest component size. This step only gets a deliverable to its smallest parts, but just as important, allows the project manager to see all the detail of the requirements of each component.
  • Create the Work Breakdown StructureThis part of the discussion should go into great detail on how the WBS is structured, the numbering system, possibly an introduction to sequencing (this will be covered later in the book in more detail), and what the WBS is used for.

End of Chapter Questions

  • Discuss how the project manager would use a project management plan.

As this question is fairly broad, the answer should point to the understanding of what the project management plan is and how it is applied. The answer should show the plan is used to “manage” all of the processes used in the plan and how that management plan might be carried out.

  • Explain the difference between product scope and project scope.

This answer should be well defined as there is a very clear difference between product and project scope. The text goes into great detail on this topic, but the first area of understanding is in knowing what scope actually is. The second part is how it is applied to the product and to a project.

  • Discuss how the project manager would manage scope on a project.

Expect a variety of answers depending on the student’s background and basic understanding of scope. This answer should include the responsibility of the project manager to understand and manage the “boundaries” of what the project activities are to accomplish, no less and no more.

  • What is the primary function of the Activity Decomposition Decision Tree?

This should be a very clear answer as the Activity Decomposition Decision Tree is a tool for breaking down a single deliverable into its smallest components. This is done for two primary reasons: to understand all the details and requirements with each activity and to be able to arrange the activities in sequence using a work breakdown structure.

  • Why is it important to reduce deliverables to a smallest component?

Project managers need to understand all the details and requirements of each specific activity (work package) to estimate costs and schedule work and procurements, as well as assign appropriate resources to carry out the requirements of the activity.




Part 2—Project Schedule Analysis

Chapter 4
Activity Definition

Now that the student understands the project manager will be creating a project plan, and the main deliverable will need to be broken down into its smallest components (work packages), it is time to look at what we do with all of the smallest components in order to understand how to develop our project plan. The first area is defining the activities.
After the deliverable has been successfully broken down into it smallest components, information will need to be gathered on each individual work activity to effectively accomplish the requirements of each activity. It is important the students understand the effect this information can have on not only the activity itself, but the overall project. It will be critical that those selected to gather information are chosen wisely and they are qualified to gather information correctly, completely, and accurately.
Once the project manager has gathered the information required for each activity, they can now begin the process of organizing that information. This can be done at an activity level as well as a project level. Inside of each activity there may be more than one single task that has to be completed. The arrangement of all work within a work activity is called the activity level organization. Project level organization is arranging the work activities and overall flow of project work that will accomplish the overall project objective.
The next area in this chapter will briefly look at the assignment of responsibilities of those involved in project activities. The text will cover both the assessment of responsibilities that will be required, as well as the assignment of responsibilities to individuals identified to participate on the project.
The final section of this chapter goes into an important administrative component of project management regarding the understanding of authority on a project. As with any organization, components of work are divided up and human resources are assigned responsibility to oversee the completion of tasks and processes within an organization. It is much the same on a project where there are several work activities that may have a responsible individual assigned to each activity or other stakeholders who hold responsibility of either direct areas of project participation or external or periphery areas of the project that will have influence on project activities. It is important the students understand how the authority is structured within an organization as well as defining areas of authority that would likely be included on a project.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the importance of the information gathering process.
  • Know what activity organization is at both the activity level and project level.
  • Understand what is meant by resource responsibilities and the importance of defining it.
  • Know how to use responsibility assignment tools such as a RAM or RACI.
  • Define the project manager’s role and others’ roles that might be placed in authority over a project given different organizational structures.
  • Know what different types of authority there can be on a project.

Lecture Outline
Activity Analysis
Activity Information Gathering
Who is gathering information?
Where does the information come from?
How accurate and complete is the information?
Activity Organization
Activity level
Project level
Activity Definitions in the WBS

Responsibility Assignment
Responsibility Definitions
Responsibility Assignment Matrices (RAM)

Work Authorization
Authority by Organizational Structure
Functional organization
Projectized organization
Matrix organization
Authorization Definition
Work activity
Contract negotiation
Change control
Risk contingency


Topics for Classroom Discussion
Activity Analysis

  • Activity Information GatheringThis should be an interesting discussion about who is qualified to do the gathering, where the information comes from (sources), and the accuracy and completeness of the information from these sources. Students should learn the gravity of the information gathering process and the significance of accuracy.
  • Activity OrganizationHere the discussion should go in a direction of analyzing activities at both the smallest level in how they will be arranged in the WBS, as well as the larger scale view of all activities required at the project level. Have the students think out-of-the-box on this as there are many other things happening during the project that are not specific to actual project activities, but periphery to supporting the project. It is important they understand these types of activities can be just as important as the actual project work.


Responsibility Assignment

  • Responsibility Definitions—In this part of the responsibility discussion the focus will be on defining what responsibilities will be required and the skill sets of individuals that might be available. It is important here that the students understand before resources can be assigned on a project, defining “what” is needed has to be done correctly, then evaluating staff can be done correctly.
  • Responsibility Assignment Matrices (RAM)—This is the second part of the responsibility discussion in evaluating both what resources can provide the skills required for each activity both inside and outside the organization. The important part of this discussion is having the students understand a large part of the success of a project is correctly identifying resources for project tasks. The discussion should also cover what happens if the “A” players are not available and how this goes into some risk planning in missed schedules or poor quality. Contingency will play an important role here.

Work Authorization

  • Authority by Organizational Structure—The focus of this discussion will be on “who” has authority of the project within various organizational structures. The text explains who primarily leads projects and what the resulting authority level of the project manager will be. It is important students understand that just because you have the title of a project manager doesn’t always mean you will command the full responsibility of a project.
  • Authorization DefinitionsI would advise following the text in this discussion to explore each type of authority that project managers might have depending on the organizational structure. It will be interesting to hear different comments about what levels of authority are given to project managers and how authority plays out in general given different types of industries, such as private versus government, construction, software, high tech, and so on.

End of Chapter Questions

  • Explain why it is important the project manager and project staff have detailed information on each work activity.

This answer should be fairly clear as the text points to the importance of information gathering resulting in accurate, correct, and complete data to build a project plan. The answer might also include the importance of who is gathering information, the source of information, and the accuracy and completeness of the information.

  • What is the general purpose in defining responsibilities of those affiliated with the project?

This answer should reflect the students understating of correctly defining what the requirement of each resource will need to be to make sure activities will be performed correctly. The next level of this answer should include two items: to effectively document what types of resources will be used and to correctly communicate to project staff and stakeholders what types of resources will be used.

  • Are there any drawbacks to using a responsibility assignment matrix?

This answer may be vague depending on how the student perceives the situation, but it is intended to get the student to think of the different ways it can be used in order to identify drawbacks. It may be that they cannot think of any drawbacks, but I occasionally use questions like this as an indirect teaching tool for critical thinking.

  • Explain why authority on a project has to be defined and communicated with the project stakeholders and project staff.

This answer should be full of thoughts pointing toward a project having a “clear” chain of command and the importance of establishing and communicating this early in the project. As there may be several management type staff involved at the beginning in the charter phase, once the project officially starts the “lead’ role depending on the organizational structure needs to be established quickly.
Part 2—Project Schedule Analysis

Chapter 5
Activity Sequencing

Once the project manager has successfully and accurately defined each work activity, it is time to address the project level sequencing of activities that will accomplish the overall objective. This is another area where quality time should be spent helping the students understand the importance of correctly sequencing activities and what effect that has on the overall success of a project.
I start out the chapter by looking at the information that would be available to give us clues about how certain activities might be sequenced in relation to other activities. This can go into areas of just the relationship of one activity to another, but can also look at constraints such as time constraints or one activity having to be completed before another can begin, as well as any identified risks. It would be valuable to go over the network diagramming terms that the students will likely be using within an organization to articulate areas within a network diagram and project.
The next area of the chapter spends time on understanding if there are dependencies of one activity with relation to other activities that would suggest certain sequencing constraints or requirements. It is also important the students understand the gravity of these types of dependencies, as this can be detrimental to the flow of project activities if they are not understood and sequenced correctly.
The next section goes into the mechanics of developing the network diagram such as activity relationships, activity-on-node, activity labeling, and defining different types of network diagramming paths. It is also important the students understand, and it would be useful to have an exercise, how to create a simple network diagram where they can perform a forward and backward pass exercise, determine a critical path and calculate any float or slack that might exist on individual activities. I perform this function in the classroom as students having a first-hand exercise experience see very clearly the benefit of how sequencing operates within a network diagram and the development of multiple paths. Students can then analyze a path and, depending on predecessor or successor relationships, may have to rearrange activities slightly to accomplish other goals, such as reduction in path duration or mitigation of risk.
Learning Objectives

  • Understand that there is information about each activity that will be critical in how that activity will be connected in a network of activities (sequenced).
  • Understand the basic network diagramming methodology based on two types listed in this chapter.
  • Understand the concept of activity predecessors and successors and how this can influence the connection of activities within a network.
  • Understand how basic network paths are structured, such as serial, parallel, burst, and merge.
  • Know how to calculate the critical path and why it is significant in the project plan.
  • Know how to calculate activity float/slack and what that means to the overall network of activities.

Lecture Outline
Information for Sequencing
Activity Information Required
Relationship to other activities
Identify risks
Diagramming Methods
Network Diagramming Terms

Defining Dependencies
Predecessors and Successors

Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)
Activity Relationships
Finish-to-Start (FS)
Start-to-Start (SS)
Finish-to-Finish (FF)
Start-to-Finish (SF)
Activity-on-Node (AON)
Activity Labeling
            Activity Path Definition
Serial activities
Parallel activities
Burst activity
Merge activity
Determine Critical Path
Activity Analysis
Forward pass
Backward pass
Float/Slack Calculation


Topics for Classroom Discussion
Information for Sequencing

  • Activity Information Required—This discussion will focus on three primary areas of activity information needed in properly sequencing activities: relationships to other activities, constraints, and specific risks associated with each activity. Discuss the importance of performing this step as the project plan will rely heavily on doing this right.
  • Diagramming Methods—Reference the text in this section for various diagramming methods for general discussion, but I focused attention on PDM and AON for instruction. Another area of discussion will be to go through the network diagramming terms I have listed in the text. This might be the more important part of this discussion moving forward, as you should make sure everyone understands the basic terminology.

Defining Dependencies

  • Predecessors and Successors—This will be an important discussion as sequencing is not just about arranging activities in a WBS; the arrangements will be based largely on the inter-relationships and how they will form dependencies. These dependencies can in turn create constraints that can influence the arrangement of surrounding activities. Dependencies will fall into one of three categories: mandatory, discretionary, or external. The discussion should cover what these are and how they differ.

Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)

  • Activity Relationships—Use the text and illustrations for this discussion to cover the four activity relationship types. Make sure the students understand the connection relationships, how they work, and why they will be used in sequencing activities.
  • Activity-on-Node (AON)—This will be another important discussion where a whiteboard or chalkboard would be useful to discuss network structures. Start the discussion with proper activity labeling (see the text for node labeling), then move into AON connections. The main point here is to convey the connection methodology that will take the WBS to a graphical display of connections and dependencies and how this may create multiple paths.
  • Activity Path Definition—This part of the network diagramming discussion will focus on defining paths. There will be four elements to this: activities in series, parallel, and paths created from burst activities and merge activities. Discuss why these would be chosen in different scenarios based on dependencies.
  • Activity Analysis—This is always an interesting discussion in performing the forward and backward pass analysis. The students will see how this analysis yields a good deal of information, including pathways, identification of the critical path, total project duration, and individual activity float.
  • Float/Slack Calculation—This discussion will extend from the previous as you can again use the whiteboard to illustrate how float/slack calculations are performed.

End of Chapter Questions

  • Explain what activity information is important for sequencing activities.

This answer should reflect references to the three elements listed in the text: relationship to other activities, constraints, and identified activity risks. There should also be some explanations as to why these are required.

  • Briefly explain each diagramming method.

This answer should be focused on the PDM and AON methods as explained in the text.

  • What is meant by activity dependencies and how do they relate to network diagramming?

This is a two part answer. The first part explains what an activity dependency is. For example, one activity has to be completed before the next can begin, so the second activity is dependent on the prior. These can be a result of one of three reasons: they are mandatory, discretionary, or external. The second part is that these dependencies dictate how activities are both connected and sequenced in a network diagram.

  • Explain the relevance in the critical path.

This should be a fairly clear answer as the student needs to convey that the critical path represents the longest path through the network diagram. These are not necessarily the most important tasks, or the hardest activities to complete, it just represents the connection activities (path) that has the sum of durations resulting in the longest time.
Part 2—Project Schedule Analysis

Chapter 6
Resource Estimating

This chapter focuses on resources required for the project. The first element of understanding resources is that resources can be in many forms—not only human resources, but other types of resources such as financial, capital equipment, materials, facilities, and information. It is useful for students to be able to identify various types of resources and define what the purpose of a resource would be on a project. The other important element of resources is the general classification of whether these resources are direct project resources or in direct project resources.
The next area of concern with regards to resources is the type of constraints that will be imposed by a resource for project activities or general use on the project. Some constraints are imposed by the organization while other constraints might be a function of the project itself or a project management control component. It’s important the students understand that with regards to resources, resource constraints might be the most important aspect with regards to the capability of a resource to complete an activity task, and this can be with human resources, as well as equipment or facilities and the availability of resources.
The next area will be contrasting the difference between project resource requirements and organizational resource requirements and how resources are classified and fall within these two categories. Students should also understand that resources internal to an organization are not always available and may not always provide the capability required for project activities.
The next section of the chapter is important to spend time on as it deals with resource estimating and various methods that can be used to assist in resource estimating. I start out this section at the higher level view looking at resources utilized not only on projects, but within programs and portfolios. One of the most difficult things project managers will have, as well as program and portfolio managers, is the management and allocation of resources within the organization for project activities and tasks. I cover some of the primary estimating methods and give an example of how simple resource leveling can assist project managers in ensuring resources are properly assigned to project activities and not overallocated. It is important the students understand that although resources can be available to perform tasks on a project, human resources have to be managed correctly and not overworked or underworked, as this can influence their performance. With nonhuman resources this can also influence conflicts in scheduling where resources are used across several projects, programs, and portfolios within an organization.
Learning Objectives

  • Understand how to define resources that will be required for a project.
  • Be able to identify organizational, project, and resource constraints.
  • Understand how to identify project and organizational resource requirements.
  • Understand basic estimating at the project, program, and portfolio levels.
  • Learn the different project estimating methods and when and how to use them.
  • Develop an understanding of how to use resource leveling and loading.
  • Know what a Resource Requirements Plan is and how to use it.

Lecture Outline
Type of Resources
Define Project Resources
Human resources
Financial resources
Capital equipment resources
Materials resources
Facilities resources
Information resources
Direct and Indirect Resources
Direct projects resources
Indirect projects resources
Contracted Resources

Resource Constraints
Organizational constraints
Projects constraints
Resource constraints


Resources Requirements
Project Resource Requirements
Organizational Resource Requirements

Resource-Estimating Methods
Portfolio resource-estimating
Program resource-estimating
Project resource-estimating
Delphi Method
Determinate Estimating
Alternatives Analysis
Published Data Estimating
Resource Leveling
Time-constrained projects
Resource-constrained projects
Resource Loading
Resource Requirements Plan



Topics for Classroom Discussion
Type of Resources

  • Define Project Resources—This can be another lengthy discussion as there are many types of resources used on projects, so stay focused on the project resources listed in the text, what role they will play, if some will be used on certain projects while others will not be, difficulties in defining resources, and so on.. Have the students think out-of-the-box on different types of resources that could be used and why. This discussion should go into direct and indirect resources as well as contracted resources and their pros and cons.

Resource Constraints

  • Resource Constraints—This discussion is usually difficult to start as students of project management might not have that much experience, so understanding constraints will be difficult as well. The instructor might have to lead this discussion going through the three primary constraints listed in the text (organizational, project, and resource) and use this as an instructional discussion evaluating the definitions and applications of these constraints.

Resources Requirements

  • Resources Requirements—Keep the focus of this discussion on the “requirements” part of project and organizational resources as this usually has a tendency to drift into types of resources. Again, it might be good to use the text to guide the discussion.


Resource-Estimating Methods

  • Resource-Estimating Methods—This is the big part of this chapter and will be the biggest discussion, so I would break this into two parts: the higher level estimating (portfolio, program, and project), and the lower specific level methods (Delphi, determinate, alternatives, and published data).
  • Resource Leveling—Use this discussion to evaluate how resource leveling works with both time-constrained and resource-constrained projects. The text will give some examples of each to work with.
  • Resource Loading—Use the text again during this discussion to help illustrate how resource loading works. This might be a good time to evaluate resource loading for different types of projects. Some students might have some interesting insight here given various backgrounds.
  • Resource Requirements Plan—This is the primary output of the resources estimating process and should result in a comprehensive outlay of all requirements with regards to project resources.

End of Chapter Questions

  • In your opinion, do certain project resources hold a higher importance than other resources? If so, why?

This question is designed to have the student rationalize what resources will be required for a project, and given their role, which might hold a higher importance based on the task assignment. Look for skill assessment and the use of internal versus external contracted resources. Some of this might be slightly subjective in assessment. The general idea is they have a process for evaluating resources.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using external contracted resources?

As most organizations will try to use internal resources as much as possible, it will usually be a last resort to contract external resources. In most cases those providing contracted resources know there is a level of “need” and the price will reflect that. This answer can go into several areas such as issues with contracted human resource skill set assessment, lack of team interaction, “the expert” syndrome, and so on. In some cases there might be a lack of experts in the organization and an expert is welcome! Sometimes an outside view can bring a different perspective on things.

  • Discuss some of the primary or more common constraints with project resources.

This is a fairly straightforward answer as the text covers this in detail. Make sure the student is covering the constraints list in the text as it might be easy to diverge and wander with this answer.

  • Explain the challenges in project staffing due to human resource skill set availability. How would you overcome these challenges?

This answer can vary depending on the student and a combination of their understanding of the text and their experiences. The basic premise in this answer should reflect the student understanding there will be staffing challenges and there will be an evaluation of skill sets required. This can be done by the project manager or functional managers in support of offering resources to a project. The text goes into variations of how this can play out and different options given the results of skill set evaluations.

  • Discuss some of the differences in estimating methods and why you would choose one over the others.

This is another question that is designed to have the student use critical thinking in not only what each method is, but the pros and cons of each, and given different types of projects, which they would choose to be most successful. Look for in-depth evaluations of methods and differentiation between them.


Part 2—Project Schedule Analysis

Chapter 7
Activity Duration Estimating

It is important that information gathering has been completed in order to understand individual activity requirements that will help decide which resources will be used and allocated to the project activities. Having all the information for each activity forms the foundation required for properly estimating activity durations.
Although one would think estimating durations should be rather straightforward and simple, this can be a rather complex ordeal depending on what type of activities will be performed on a project. Duration estimating will also have processes and methods that can be used to assist the project manager in correctly and accurately estimating durations. This is an important task as this will formulate the overall project duration that will be of interest to not only the organization, but the customer, in the expected delivery of the completed project objective.

This section covers some of the classic estimating techniques such as analogous, parametric, and three-point estimating, as well as contingency estimating. I cover the use of each of these estimating methods and when and how they can be used, but I will focus on the three-point estimating, as this is usually referred to as the most accurate if the correct information is available. It would be useful in the classroom, or for homework, to have the students perform the three-point estimating method to see how the averaging works in comparison to one of the other estimating methods.
The next area that I like to cover is constraints that can affect development of a project plan. The first and foremost constraint for activity estimating will be the triple constraint, which will exist on any project. This is seen as more of a project management type constraint as the duration (schedule) will be somewhat connected or constrained by cost and quality. Organizational constraints can be top-down and customer requirements can impose requirements (constraints) for certain project activity durations. The successor or predecessor relationships can also pose requirements simply within a network diagram as a function of sequencing, and a scenario analysis can be run to look at variations in activity sequencing to mitigate or eliminate constraints on activity durations.
In the final section I have some basic conclusions that point to areas such as information gathering, the type of duration estimating method chosen, and basic network diagram analysis as being fundamental components of accurately estimating activity durations. Other areas that might be considered include the use of project milestones and how activity durations could affect projects within other programs or portfolios.


Learning Objectives

  • Learn the five primary types of duration estimating: analogous, parametric, three-point estimating, contingency estimating and subject matter expert analysis.
  • Understand the effects estimating with constraints can have.
  • Understand the importance of accurate information gathering.
  • Know how to use milestones.
  • Understand how duration estimating might be different at the program level.

Lecture Outline
Duration Estimating Methods
Analogous Estimating
Parametric Estimating
Three-Point Estimating
Most likely
Expected duration
Contingency Estimating (Reserve Analysis)
Activity contingency estimating
Project contingency estimating
Subject Matter Expert Analysis

Duration Estimating with Constraints
Triple Constraint
Top-Down/ Bottom-Up
Customer Requirements
Scenario Analysis

Scheduling Conclusions
Information gathering
Duration estimating methods
Network diagram analysis
Activity Level
Project Milestones
Project and Program

Topics for Classroom Discussion
Duration Estimating Methods

  • Duration Estimating—This discussion will cover a lot of ground and may need to be broken up into smaller parts, but the idea here is evaluating and contrasting differences in methods of estimating. The five primary methods covered in this chapter are analogous, parametric, three-point, contingency, and subject matter expert analysis. Use the text to cover explanation of each, but engage the students in critical thinking of the pros and cons of each given different project types.

Duration Estimating with Constraints

  • Duration Estimating with Constraints—This discussion can almost be an extension of the previous as it is dealing with estimating, but introducing the added challenge of constraints. The text goes into some areas of estimating that can present constraints, such as the general idea of the Triple Constraint, Top-Down/Bottom-Up, customer requirements, Successor/Predecessor. The use of the Scenario Analysis can assist in determining what effects constraints can have on a particular estimating methodology.

Scheduling Conclusions

  • Scheduling Conclusions—Use this discussion to re-cap the chapter emphasizing areas of estimating such as information gathering, durations estimating methods, and some advantages in using network diagramming in estimating. Cover the importance of accurately estimating at the activity level (highest level of detail), the use of project milestones, and how estimating might change at the program level.

End of Chapter Questions

  • Discuss the differences between the various duration estimating methods and identify advantages or disadvantages between them.

The text goes into enough of a definition for each estimating type that the students should understand differences between each. Some of this answer can reflect simple methodology type, but it would be nice to get real differential comparisons.

  • Discuss the primary benefit in three-point duration estimating.

The primary answer is the use of optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely values give an averaging effect with the weighting on most likely. This is generally a good estimating tool for the closest and moderately accurate estimates. The only drawback is all three (opt, pess, and most likely) might not always be available.

  • Explain the use of contingency estimating.

This answer should include the explanation of what contingency estimating is and why it is used. The text goes into both activity level and project level contingency estimating so there should be plenty of information to draw a good conclusion for this answer.

  • Explain any constraints in using the top-down versus bottom-up approach in duration estimating.

The first part of this answer should show the contrast between top-down and bottom-up and the accuracy of information as a function of the source. The next part of this answer should reflect the influence of management in developing duration estimating (top-down) and the constraints that can impose.


Part 2—Project Schedule Analysis

Chapter 8
Schedule Development

Now that the project manager has all the information needed for work activities, has completed an assessment of resources required, and has effectively established durations for all work activities, the project manager can then look to completing the overall project schedule (project plan).
Although the project manager might have a network diagram already in play and a work breakdown structure that shows the basic outline of activities broken down into their smallest components, these have simply been used as working documents to understand all of the details and information required for each work activity. As we have seen, the understanding of how work activities can be connected with relation to each other can have an effect on resource availability and duration estimating. The project manager should not attempt to complete an entire project plan in the course of this information gathering as things are likely to change during this dynamic phase of project development. Once all the information has been gathered and all activities are now understood, the project manager can look to finalizing and verifying an overall schedule of activities and the project plan. As with any phase of project development, the project manager should always look to the information gathering component, as this is where the critical information comes from. Resources for information can include the project charter and customer statement of work or specifications, the project scope statement, the initial work breakdown structure, and the collection of specific work activity information, as well as any organizational requirements or constraints.
When looking at schedule structuring techniques we typically see an activity hierarchy, as this was somewhat defined in the initial stages of the project deliverable decomposition exercise. This usually results in smaller activities having to be completed first that will form the completion of larger activities, and ultimately the completion of the overall project objective and deliverable. This chapter covers the critical path method, precedence diagramming, and constraints which bring up more detail using network diagrams and show how the critical chain method can be utilized. Several components within the critical chain method can also influence how the overall structure of the project plan of activities will play out. It’s important students understand network diagramming methods, the theory of constraints, and the critical chain method, as these are fundamental structuring techniques that can be used on small projects, as well as very large and complex projects.
The next important component of developing a master schedule is the actual schedule analysis to evaluate areas such as resource loading and any leveling that might be required to address overallocation issues. At this point, the project manager should be going back to the original charter or statement of work and looking to see if there are customer requirements of any deliverables within the project, as well as if there is the output deliverable and an agreed-upon time frame for delivery of that deliverable. It’s also at this point the project manager might have to make schedule adjustments to ensure a project deliverable will be completed on time.
I conclude this chapter with an important area that is sometimes misunderstood or not discussed at all, and that is the proper documentation of scheduling and the storage of a schedule for a project. Once the project manager has completed the master plan schedule of a project, it is important the schedule is located within the organization so that it can be managed easily and communicated to other stakeholders and project staff. Students should know that project managers do not live in a vacuum and do all this behind the scenes, but all this hard work in developing the master plan schedule results in the correct management of project activities, the communication of activity requirements, the schedule of activities, and the assignment of resources. The success of a project in most cases is heavily dependent on the project manager’s organizational skills and communication skills.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what resources can be used in gathering project activity information.
  • Understand the importance project scope, customer, and resource requirements have in developing a schedule.
  • Understand the fundamental schedule structuring techniques.
  • Understand what is meant by the critical path and what can influence which path will be the critical path.
  • Understand what is meant by schedule analysis, why it is done, and what tools can be used to perform the analysis.
  • Understand what tools are used in schedule variance analysis.
  • Know what schedule documentation tools are available and the importance of effectively communicating the project schedule.

Lecture Outline
Schedule Requirements
Information Gathering
Project charter
Project scope statement
Customer specifications
Work breakdown structure
Specific work activity information
Organizational requirements
External influences
Project Scope
Resource Requirements
Customer Requirements

Schedule Structuring Techniques
Schedule Structures
Activity disposition
Activity hierarchy
Network Diagramming (CPM, PDM)
Critical path method
Precedence diagramming method
Theory of Constraints (TOC)
Identify the system constraint
Exploit the system constraint
Subordinate everything else to the system constraint
Reevaluate for a new system constraint
Critical Chain Method
Parkinson’s Law
Dropped baton
Excessive multitasking
Resource bottlenecks
Student syndrome
Schedule Analysis
Resource Loading
Resource Leveling
Schedule Reduction
Schedule crashing
Fast tracking
Scenario Analysis
Schedule Variance Analysis

Schedule Documentation
Storage and Software Tools
Schedule Management
Schedule Communication
Topics for Classroom Discussion
Schedule Requirements

  • Information Gathering and Requirements—This discussion starts with evaluating information gathering and what information is needed to develop a schedule. Next, the discussion needs to go into project scope, resource requirements, and customer requirements to understand the overall requirements of schedule. The importance of this discussion is in the “information” that will be used to define the project.

Schedule Structuring Techniques

  • Structuring Techniques, Network Diagramming—This section of the chapter moves into actual techniques that can be used to organize information in a format that can be used to structure the project activities. Most are classic structuring methods, but they each have pros and cons and it would be good to bring those out in discussion.

Schedule Analysis

  • Resource Loading, Leveling, and Analysis—This is usually an interesting discussion to see how many of the students pick up on the “analysis” idea of scheduling. This discussion should go into how to make adjustments in the schedule before the project begins. Schedule management and control will be covered later, but this is getting off to the best start possible for analyzing the schedule for optimization.

Schedule Documentation

  • Schedule Documentation—This discussion focuses on the tools used to store and manage schedule information. The students might have some interesting input depending on their backgrounds and experience at various organizations.

End of Chapter Questions

  • Discuss why it is important the project manager understand the project scope and how that applies to developing the project schedule.

It’s important this answer show the student understands what information is in the charter and that it represents the initial intent of the customer with regards to the deliverable and proposed delivery schedule.

  • What is the significance of customer schedule requirements in developing a project schedule, and what influence can that have in scheduling work activities?

This will be similar to the above concept in that developing the schedule is all about the customer needs and requirements. This answer might reflect special considerations to make sure customers get everything that has been agreed upon in the charter and possibly by contract.

  • Explain the difference between resource loading and resource leveling.

This answer might be difficult for students to explain, but the general idea is loading has more to do with the availability of key resources and the blend and mix of resources at specific times. Leveling is balancing workload to reduce overallocation or overlapping with other projects needing the same resources.

  • Discuss how variations in activity durations may influence paths through a network and could possibly change which one is the critical path.

This answer should be fairly straightforward. Durations can directly influence path overall length and may require some activities to be rearranged in the network based on constraints durations may present. As the critical path is a direct function of activity duration, it will also be directly affected based on the combination of activities. Therefore if activities are moved to other paths that result in changing the path duration, the critical path may also change.




Part 3—Project Cost Analysis

Chapter 9
Cost Estimating

Once activity requirements have been identified, resources have been identified, and activity durations have been calculated, the final step in project development is estimating the cost of each work activity. When we consider the three areas—cost, schedule, and quality or the deliverable itself—there will also be requirements and constraints that will influence how estimating cost for activities will play out.
This chapter focuses on areas specific to estimating costs for project activities. Similar to previous process steps, the first step is collecting cost data and this begins with the identification of cost requirements for each activity. Earlier in the text a tool called the activity information checklist was introduced to help collect as much information as possible so that during each phase or process of developing the project plan that document can be reviewed for information. Students should understand that this will be similar to selecting information gathering staff for scheduling, as the project manager will be evaluating who will be collecting information and those individuals need to provide accurate and complete data.
We once again look at the next component that will influence cost estimating and that is the area of constraints. As with previous processes it is likely the project manager will run into organizational, project, and customer levels of constraint with regards to cost estimating. It is also important students understand the sequence that is presented here where direct activity information is gathered and analyzed first, then the very next step is to understand what constraining items will influence those numbers.
The next section of this chapter goes directly into estimating tools and techniques. Depending on the size and type of project and the organization, there may be several different areas that cost estimates can be derived from, or it may be very limited to only one or two areas where accurate cost information can be used with a high level of confidence. Estimating tools can be as simple as information from subject matter experts, to rough order of magnitude estimating and more quantitative estimating such as three-point cost estimating. Students should also understand that there may be an element of constraint where cost estimates might be a top-down estimating function within an organization and certain costing will have to be used. It’s important students understand they should exhaust all resources of cost estimate information gathering to be as accurate and complete as possible as these numbers will ultimately build the project budget.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand cost data collection, such as who will be gathering information, what information is gathered, and from what sources can have a big impact on the accuracy of a budget.
  • Know the difference between direct and indirect project costs.
  • Understand what is meant by cost estimating constraints at the organizational, project, and customer levels.
  • Learn the cost estimating tools and techniques, when and why they are used, and the pros and cons of each.
  • Understand what contingency cost estimating is and how it can be used.

Lecture Outline
Collecting Cost Data
Identify Cost Requirements
Cost Data Sources
Who will be collecting information?
What information should be collected?
What sources of information are reliable?
How much information should be collected?
Data Accuracy
Cost Classifications
Direct costs
Indirect costs

Cost Constraints
Organizational Level
Project Level
Customer Level

Estimating Tools and Techniques
Subject Matter Expert
Rough Order of Magnitude Estimating
Analogous Cost Estimating
Parametric Cost Estimating
Three-Point Cost Estimating
Most likely
Expected cost
Top-Down and Bottom-Up Estimating
Contingency Cost Estimating

Topics for Classroom Discussion

  • Collecting Cost Data—This discussion will focus on the collection process and how data is gathered. It is important for the student to understand the importance of who will be gathering information and from what sources. The integrity of information will play an important role in building both the master project plan and budget. This discussion can also cover cost classifications such as direct and indirect costs.
  • Cost Constraints—In this discussion the students should realize the impact constraints can have on cost estimating. These constraints can result from influences at the organizational, project, and customer levels. It might be interesting to see how many ideas the students can come up with for types of constraints and how they would affect cost estimating.
  • Estimating Tools and Techniques—This is the meat of the chapter so in reviewing the various estimating tools and techniques, discuss how the tools work if some would be better for larger projects versus smaller projects, what the pros and cons might, be as well as accuracy and difficultly to use. The three-point estimating tool might be good to have drawn on a whiteboard for illustration. Possibly have the students do problem exercises to practice the techniques.

End of Chapter Questions

  • Explain the significance that data accuracy can have in cost estimating.

This answer should be obvious to the student if they understand the concept of how important cost estimating is in the overall project budget process. Inaccurate data will establish the BAC incorrectly and will be used as an inaccurate baseline to track actual costs. The unfortunate reality is that the project might actually be doing fine cost wise, but will appear off as the baseline is not accurate, and the project manager will try to make corrections that are not needed.

  • Discuss the differences in constraints at the organizational, project, and customer levels.

Remember the scope of this question is in cost estimating only and not all project-related items. These differences are listed in the text so the students should be able to derive the answer. Organizational constraints stem more from management’s influence. There can be some accounting or procurements processes that might have an effect as well. The project constraints can be from a lack of qualified individuals to gather information or participate in project activities. In some cases a lack of time was a constraint in information gathering or estimating. Customer constraints can be many, but the typical ones are the changes early on that present challenges in cost estimating. Customers might also require certain processes that can influence estimating.


  • Explain the benefits of information gathered from subject matter experts.

This answer should reflect two main points: SME’s can be helpful in the early conceptual planning phase with rough order estimates to do basic budgetary evaluations, and the PM might find SME’s have great insight on specific items that can help the PM better understand activity details and estimate more accurately.

  • What conditions make using three-point estimating justifiable?

The main point here is three-point estimating is justifiable when data gathering reveals more than one cost value for something or a range of values. The three-point is great for deriving a single conclusion from multiple inputs. If a range of values is available, this estimating tool gives more of an averaging effect and is good to use.

  • Explain contingency cost estimating.

The text explains this well so the students should understand the basic concept as simply designing a reserve planned to manage overages or risk. This allows the project to have mild fluctuations in cost relative to the baseline, but not require added funding as it is built in.


Part 3—Project Cost Analysis

Chapter 10
Budget Development

This chapter focuses primarily on the development of a budget. Once the project manager has completed gathering all of the cost estimates for project activities, it’s time to compile this information into an actual budget representing the cost of the entire project. This is done primarily to organize all of the cost and to effectively communicate activity costs and overall budget status, as well as to be a tool for the project manager to monitor costs associated with each activity on the project.
The first section of this chapter starts off with a simple understanding of what budgets can be used for and why they are created. Students should understand the purpose the budget serves within the organization, making all the work that goes into creating one justifiable. First and foremost this gives not only the project manager, but senior staff, an idea of what the overall cost of the project will be, commonly referred to as the budget at completion (BAC). Budgets can be used as a baseline to compare actual costs to original budgeted cost. Budgets can also be used to manage the triple constraint as well as regular reporting of project status.
The next section goes into the methods that can be used to develop a budget. It’s important for students to understand in this section that project managers do not always have the luxury of creating their own budget for a project, and some budgets are passed down from executive management or higher levels of management. This is called top-down budgeting. Students should also know that there are other forms of budgeting that can be used. These are covered in this section of the chapter depending on the size and type of projects, the type of organization, and what requirements the organization has in managing a project budget.
Students should also understand that there might be budgeting constraints imposed by the organization in how budgets are planned and how they are managed. In some cases the organization might have limitations on the type of funding and payment processes. Students should also know what budget contingency planning is and why it may be required within some organizations.
The final area of this chapter goes into the cost of quality and will look at other departments periphery to the project and the importance of their job to a project, as they can affect or influence the success of a project. Areas such as procurements, outsource contracting, and make or buy decisions can greatly influence how the budget is developed, and they can present challenges in developing and managing a budget.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what a budget is and why it is used in project management.
  • Learn the basic budget development methods and the pros and cons of each.
  • Know what budget constraints are and what affect they can have on the project budgeting process.
  • Understand the concept of the cost of quality and how it is important in developing a project budget.

Lecture Outline
Functions of a Budget
Budget at Completion (BAC)
Project Budget Baseline
Manage the Triple Constraint
Reporting Project Status

Budget Development Methods
Top-Down Budgeting
Cost Aggregation Method
Time-Phased Method
Analogous Budgeting
Historical derivative budget
Historical information for budget
Budget Constraints
Funding Limit Reconciliation
Budget Contingency Planning

Cost of Quality
Outsource Contracting
Make-or-Buy Analysis
Topics for Classroom Discussion

  • Functions of a Budget—This discussion will cover the general idea of what budgets are and how they used in project management. Discussion will include budgets being the budget at completion representing the overall cost of the project. It is also used as a baseline comparison to actual costs and to help manage the triple constraint. Project managers will use a budget to report the status of project activities.
  • Budget Development Methods—Use this discussion to evaluate various types of budgeting approaches, such as top-down, cost aggregation, time-phased, and analogous budgeting. Use the text to understand what they are and how they might be used depending on the type of project and organizational structure. Are there pros and cons to each?
  • Budget Constraints—This is usually an interesting discussion depending on the background and experiences of the students, as their impressions of constraints help them in budgeting a project. Get the students to brainstorm things that can present challenges to developing a project budget at the organizational (management) level, within the project itself, and even with customer issues and requirements.
  • Cost of Quality—This discussion is actually important as the students need to understand that although we have been talking about costs that are usually associated with purchased items, the other side of the triple constraint is quality and there will be things that have costs associated with that. This is usually another great brainstorming opportunity for the students to use critical thinking in their understanding of how the cost of quality works and what impact it can have in developing a project budget.


End of Chapter Questions

  • Discuss what a budget baseline is used for.

This answer should be clear. A budget baseline is developed from the original cost estimates and is used to compare actual costs to ensure the project activities are staying on budget.

  • What is meant by managing the triple constraint?

This should also be fairly straightforward. The three elements of the triple constraint—cost, schedule, and quality—are interlinked and any change in one will probably affect one or both of the others. The budget being used as a baseline is one way costs can be managed to help manage the triple constraint.

  • Explain how the cost aggregation method works.

This answer should reflect the basic concept that costs are based on the smallest components of work activity and will be aggregate up to the highest level to form a master project budget. This is also referred to as bottom-up budgeting.

  • Discuss what is meant by budget contingency planning.

This type of budget planning incorporates extra “planned” funds at strategic points in the budget to allow for minor fluctuations in actual costs.

  • Explain the pros and cons of outsource contracting.

The text goes into detail on some of these such as acquiring expert human resources if they are not available internally, but this can also be a negative if the due diligence was not performed and incorrect resources were contracted. There are also legal issues that present problems to not only the project but the organization as well.


Part 4—Project Monitoring and Control

Chapter 11
Schedule and Cost Monitoring

The fourth section of this book and this chapter will focus on schedule and cost monitoring. It’s assumed that the project plan, at this point, has been completed and a budget has been developed and approved, an active schedule has been developed and communicated, and the project is about to begin. Students should understand that although a tremendous amount of work has been accomplished and they are now ready to begin project activities, the work does not stop there as the bigger part of the project manager’s responsibility will be to ensure project activities are completed correctly, on schedule, and for the estimated cost that was budgeted. This can only be done if project activities are monitored and controlled.
This chapter focuses on the monitoring component of project activities, as the areas of control cannot be implemented or effectively accomplished without monitoring systems in place. This chapter discusses integrated monitoring and how monitoring is actually an information system within the project. Students should understand why monitoring is important, what to monitor, tools and techniques that can be used for monitoring, and what to do with the information that is gathered.
The next section moves into the monitoring and analysis tools. Students should understand what monitoring tools are available and that in most cases these tools are very simple to put in place. Information gathering techniques such as status meetings, subject matter expert information, and simple check charts can be invaluable sources of information for project activity status of performance.
In the next section, I look at information analysis tools and what to do with the information that is gathered. Relative to information gathering, tools such as S-curve analysis, milestone analysis, control charts, project baseline, and earned value analysis are used to simply conclude from information that a problem either does or does not exist. These tools are used because if a work activity is showing that it’s falling behind schedule, it is going over cost, or the quality of the work has fallen below a certain standard, they are designed to alert the project manager that action might be required.
Monitoring also includes troubleshooting tools such as root cause analysis and fault tree analysis to drive down into a problem to decipher the root cause. The results of these findings can also be used to initiate controls that will improve a process and return the performance to the expected standard.
The final section of this chapter discusses monitoring results of what the reality of this information can mean to a project and organization. Information can be used in a work performance report or can be used to generate a new risk assessment evaluation. In most cases, corrective action requirements will need to be implemented. If permanent change has been made, change validation analysis will need to be performed to ensure changes have accomplished the expected result. If change has accomplished its goal, there may be forecast adjustments required in either schedule or budgeting. It’s important students understand that monitoring a project is one of the primary responsibilities of the project manager, and these tools will help the project manager understand what has to be monitored, why, and what to do with the information that’s gathered.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what is meant by a project monitoring information system.
  • Know what tools can be used in monitoring activities to gather information.
  • Understand why analysis is important and what tools can be used in the analysis process.
  • Understand why troubleshooting is important and why a project manager needs to know the root cause of a problem.
  • Know how activity information can be used on a project.

Lecture Outline
Integrated Monitoring
Project Monitoring Information System
Why monitoring of work activities is important
What to monitor
What tools and techniques are used to create monitoring systems
How to use information gathered from monitoring work activities

Monitoring and Analysis Tools
Information Gathering Tools
Status meetings
Subject matter experts
Check charts
Information Analysis Tools
Project S-Curve analysis
Milestone analysis
Control charts
Create baseline
Tracking Gantt
Earned value analysis

Troubleshooting Tools
Root Cause Analysis
Fault Tree Analysis

Monitoring Results
Work Performance Reports
New Risk Assessment
Corrective Action Requirements
Forecasting Adjustment Requirements
Change Validation Analysis


Topics for Classroom Discussion

  • Integrated Monitoring—This discussion is important as the students need to understand another part of the responsibility of the project manager, and although they have done a great job on developing the project plan, budget, and schedule, it will not mean much if no one is paying attention to what is actually happening on the project. Monitoring has to be an integrated system built within the project activities. This discussion should address why monitoring is important, what to monitor, what tools to use, and what to do with the information that will be gathered.
  • Monitoring and Analysis Tools—This discussion will be reviewing the various tools and techniques used to set up a monitoring system, such as information gathering, and ways to analyze information that will yield a performance status of activities. The analysis will be used to understand the specific nature of how a parameter is acting and if the data points to a problem. It’s important students understand this is simply looking at the information to determine if a problem exists and if corrective action and controls need to be implemented.
  • Troubleshooting Tools—This discussion goes to the next step. If a problem has been detected, what tools can be used to determine a root cause? This is still not part of controlling, but simply gathering and analyzing activity performance data.
  • Monitoring Results—In this discussion the students will learn what happens with the data, such as creating work performance reports and new risk assessment. In some cases there may be corrective action requirements that may lead to forecast adjustments. If permanent changes are made, there may be a change validation process that is required. Have the students brainstorm how this data can be used either on the project or within the organization.

End of Chapter Questions

  • Discuss what is meant by integrated monitoring.

This is where the student can show if they really understand the concept of monitoring on a project. Integrated monitoring is developing a monitoring information system to gather data on project activity performance. This is why monitoring needs to happen, what will be monitored, what tools will be used, and how will the information be used.

  • Explain the primary reason that project managers monitor project work activities.

There are two primary components to projects: the development of the project plan which includes the schedule, budget, and expected deliverable, and the actual performance of activities in comparison to the original project plan estimates. The project manager must ensure the actual project activities are conducted as planned, and this can only be done if a monitoring system is in place.

  • Discuss how information gathering tools would be implemented on a project. Use your own sample project.

This answer will obviously vary, but the general idea will be the same as the student needs to “show” how they understand the tools.

  • Why is information analyzed, and what specific pieces of data would be of interest to the project manager?

The data is compared to a planned project baseline and is evaluated for variations. If variations are detected, then an evaluation of the magnitude of the variation would determine if corrective action is needed. This is how the project manager “manages” project activities, instead of just reporting on them.

  • If analyzing activity information reveals a problem, explain why a root cause analysis is needed.

If the project manager is to correct the problem, he needs to understand what to fix. This is why root cause analysis is part of monitoring as it is the final determination of if a problem really exists and what the real problem actually is.

Part 4—Project Monitoring and Control

Chapter 12
Schedule and Cost Control

The previous chapter introduced the idea of monitoring as an integrated process within a project to gather information on real-time progress of work activities. This information is analyzed to determine if activities are on schedule, within budget, and accomplishing the expected requirement of each activity. If information during the monitoring process reveals that one aspect is not performing as expected, controls will need to be implemented to ensure activities stay within schedule, budget, and within the quality standard expected.
This chapter focuses primarily on tools and techniques to control schedule and costs of project activities. I open the first part of this chapter addressing change control as most projects will have changes that will be required either by the customer or by some process improvement. This is usually the first place where project activities will fail due to a lack of control. Changes can be made on a project if the change is well-documented, approved, designed and tested, implemented, monitored, and controlled. This is why change control should be seen as a process that can happen if needed on a project. Students should understand that change is inevitable on most projects, and they will need to have a sound change control process in place to manage changes as they occur.
I have split up the next section into three areas of control as the types of tools required for each component are focused on the three areas of the triple constraint schedule: control, cost control, and quality control. Students should also understand that all three of these areas should be monitored and controlled as one can have an effect on the other two if it is not controlled.
The final section discusses the results of control activities which can range from simply reporting the success of controls to how managing control has resulted in successful activity management. Control results can also require forecasting updates and both project plan and project management plan updates, as well as organizational process updates. Students should understand that in many cases project activities will utilize organizational processes. If the process is found to be out of control and a change will be required, this might result in a permanent change to that process that may be used on other projects as well. The final goal of chapters 11 and 12 is to have students understand the importance of not only developing a project plan, but the importance of monitoring and controlling projects to be successful in keeping projects on budget, on schedule, and producing the quality of output the customer will expect.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what change control is and that is should be a project process.
  • Understand what control does for a project and how the project manager uses control.
  • Learn what control tools and techniques are available for schedule control, cost control, and quality control.
  • Know what can be done with the results of control.

Lecture Outline
Change Control
Change Control as a Process
Integrated Change Control
Control Tools and Techniques
Contingency Control
Schedule Control
Data for schedule control
Critical chain method
Resource leveling
Schedule crashing
Fast tracking
Cost Control
Data for cost control
Quality Control
Quality inspections
Regulatory inspections
Design reviews
Control Results
Reporting Control
Manage Change Control
Forecasting Updates
Project Management Plan Updates
Organizational Process Updates

Topics for Classroom Discussion

  • Change Control—This opening discussion needs to set the tone for controlling with regards to managing change. Students should understand the importance of having a change control process in place to manage and control change. The inevitable outcome of the monitoring process is some kind of change, but if change is not controlled, the change itself can create more problems. Discuss the change control process and how it is the basic element of control on a project.
  • Control Tools and Techniques—It will be important to start out this lengthy discussion explaining the triple constraint, and that control usually points back to that basic component. This section is divided up into those three parts: schedule control, cost control, and quality control. Use the text to explore and discuss the tools listed in each section and how they would be used.
  • Control Results—This discussion is used to show how the outcome of control is used and communicated from simply reporting a control to actually managing a change. Control may result in adjustments in forecast. Some controls may require project plan updates, project management plan updates, or even organizational process changes.

End of Chapter Questions

  • Explain why change control is considered a process.

This is an important answer as the student needs to show they understand that just changing things doesn’t result in the outcome anticipated, but controlling a change helps ensure a change was conducted correctly, validated, and communicated. A process has any change go through certain steps to control how it is carried out.

  • Discuss how the critical chain method is used to control a project.

This should be a straightforward answer, as the critical chain method incorporates buffers to control network path durations and can also be used in cost contingency planning.

  • Explain how schedule crashing works.

This answer may vary depending on examples used, but the general idea is crashing uses variations in activity sequencing to shorten path durations.

  • Discuss how cost control can be accomplished using contracts.

This answer might also vary depending on the background and experience of the student, but contracts can have a control function depending on the type of contract. Fixed price contracts are great for control as it puts all the risk on the contractor.

  • Are regulatory inspections considered part of quality control? If so, why?

Yes, this is a stop point where someone inspects progress for quality control. A building inspector halts construction at certain points to inspect to make sure things are being done correctly and by the local codes.

  • Discuss why updating project forecasts would be necessary.

If changes are made that impact schedule, cost, or scope of the deliverable, then the project plan (forecast) has to reflect the change so the new expectation can be monitored for compliance.



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