Chapter 1 Modern Project Management

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Mid Semester Project Management Notes

Chapter 1

Modern Project Management

Characteristics of Project


An established objective


A defined life span with a beginning and an end.


Usually, the involvement of several departments and professionals.


Typically, doing something that has never been done before.


Specific time, cost, and performance requirements.

What a Project Is Not
Projects should not be confu
sed with everyday work. A proj
is not routine, repetitive work

Program versus Project
In practice the terms project and program cause confusion. They are often used
is a group of related projects designed to accomplish a common goal over an extended
period of time.
Each project within a program has a project manager.

The major differences lie in scale and time span.

Program management

is the process of
a group of ongoing, inter

dependent, related
in a
coordinated way to achieve strategic objectives.

Project Life Cycle:
The starting point begins the
moment the project is given the go
ahead. Project effort starts
slowly, builds to a peak, and then declines to delivery of the project to the customer.

Defining stage:
Specifications of the project are defined; project objectives are established; teams
are formed;
major responsibilities are assigned.

Planning stage:
The level of effort increases, and plans are developed to deter

mine what the project will entail,
when it will b
e scheduled, whom it will bene
fit, what quality level should be maintained
, and what the budget will be.

Executing stage:
A major portion of the project work takes place

both physical and mental. The physical product
is produced (a bridge, a report, a software program).
Time, cost, and specifica
tion measures are used for con
the project on schedule, on budget, and meeting specifications? What are the forecasts of each of these measures?
What revisions/

are necessary?

Closing stage:
Closing includes three activities: delivering the project product to the custo
mer, redeploying

resources, and post
project review. Delivery of the project might include customer training an
d transferring
documents. Rede
ployment usually involves releasing project equipment/materials to other projects and finding new
nts for team members. Post
project reviews include not only assessing performance but also capturing
lessons learned.

The Project Manager

they plan, schedule, motivate, and control. However, what makes them unique is that they
manage temporary, non
repetitive activities, to complete a fixed life project. Unlike functional managers, who take
over existing operations, project managers create a project team and organization where none existed before. They
must meet the challenges of each phase of the pr
oject life cycle, and even oversee the dissolution of their operation
when the project is completed.

They are typically the direct link to the customer and must manage the tension
between customer expectations and what is feasible and reasonable. Project m
anagers are ultimately responsible for
performance (frequently with too little authority). They must ensure that appropriate trade
offs are made be

tween the
time, cost, and performance requirements of the project


Is a
Very rewarding experience.

Compression of the Product Life Cycle


Time to market
for new products with short life cycles has become
increasingly important.
month project delay can result in a 33 percent loss in product revenue share. Speed has
become a competitive advantage.

nowledge Explosion

increased the complexity

of projects because proj
ects encompass the latest advances.

Triple Bottom Line (planet, people, profit)

Threat of global warming

no longer simply focus on maximizing profit
to the detriment of the environment and society.

Corporate Downsizing

sticking to core competencies have become necessary for survival for many firms

and leaner organizations, where change is a const
ant, project management is replacing middl
e management as a way
of ensur
ing that things get done

Far more outsourcing

Increased Customer Focus


want customized products and services that cater to their specific needs.


Account execut
ives and sales representatives are assuming more of a project manager’s role as they work with their
Mid Semester Project Management Notes

organization to satisfy the unique needs and requests of clients.

Small Projects Represent Big Problems

Sharing and prioritizing resources across a
portfolio of projects is a major
challenge for senior management. Many firms have no idea of the problems involved with inefficient management of
small projects. Small projects can represent hidden costs not measured in the accounting system

How to suppo
project management?

Project management appears to be ideally suited for a business environment requiring accountability, flexibility,
innovation, speed, and continuous improvement.

enables management to have greater flexibility and bet
ter control of all project management activities

Combines all of the major dimensions under one umbrella

Integration of Projects with Organizational Strategy

Strategic plans are written by one group of managers,
projects selected by another group, and
projects implemented by another

create a set of conditions leading to
conflict, confusion, and frequently an unsatisfied customer. Selection criteria need to ensure each project is prioritized
and contributes to strategic goals.

Strategic plans are writt
by one group of managers, proj
ects selected by another group, and projects impleme
by another. These indepen
dent decisions by different groups of managers create a set of conditions leading to
conflict, confusion, and frequently an unsatisfied custo
mer. Under these conditions, resources of the organization are
wasted in non
added activities/projects.

Since projects are the modus operandi, strategic alignment of projects is of major importance to conserving and
effective use of organization reso
urces. Selection criteria need to ensure each project is prioritized and contributes to
strategic goals. Anything less is a waste of scarce organizational resources

people, capital, and equipment.
Ensuring alignment requires a selection process that is sys
tematic, open, consistent, and balanced. All of the projects
selected become part of a proj
ect portfolio that balances the total risk for the organization. Management of the project
portfolio ensures that only the most valuable projects are approved and ma
naged across the entire organization.

Integration of Projects through Portfolio Management

Project portfolios are freq
uently managed by a project of
fice that serves as a bridge between senior management and
project managers and teams. The major functions o
f portfolio management are to


Oversee project selection.


Monitor aggregate resource levels and skills.


Encourage use of best practices.


Balance projects in the portfolio in order to represent a risk level appropriate to

the organization.


Improve communication among all stakeholders.


Create a total organization perspective that goes beyond silo thinking.


Improve the overall management of projects over time.

Integration of the Processes of Implementing Actual Projects

Senior management
is often involved in selecting
projects but seldom involved in implementing them. Implementing the project is the challenge.

The Technical Dimension

consists of the formal, disciplined, purely logical parts of the process. includes planning,
and controlling projects. Clear project scope statements are written to link the pro
ject and customer and to
itate planning and control

work breakdown structure serves as a database that
links all levels in the organi
major deliverables, and
all work

Sociocultural Dimension: much messier, often contradictory and paradoxical world of implementation. centers on
creating a temporary social system within a larger organizational env
ronment that combines the talents of a divergent
set of profes
sionals working to

Some suggest that the technical dimension represents the “science” of project management while the sociocultural
dimension represents the “art” of managing a project.

Chapter 2

Organization Strategy and Project Selection

Mid Semester Project Management Notes

Project Managers Need to Understand Strategy

Reason 1:
make appropriate decisions and adjustments. i.e. how a project manager would respond to a suggestion to
modify the design of a product to enhance performance will vary depending upon whether his compan
y strives to be a
product leader through innovation or to achieve operational excellence through low cost solutions.

Common Mistakes:


Focusing on problems or solutions that have low priority strategically


Focusing on the immediate customer rather than the whole market place and

value chain


Overemphasizing technology as an end in and of itself, resulting in projects

that wander off pursuing exotic
technology that does

not fit the strategy or cust
omer need


Trying to solve every customer issue with a product or service rather than

focusing on the 20 percent with
80 percent of the value (Pareto’s Law)


Engaging in a never
ending search for perfection that no one except the project

team really cares about

eason 2: can be effective project advocates

have to be able to demonstrate to senior management how their
project contributes to their firm’s mission. Project managers also need to be able to explain to team members and
other stakeholders why certain pro
ject objectives and priorities are critical.

Strategic management

is the process of assessing “what
we are” and deciding and imple
menting “what we intend to
be and how we are going to get there.”

Provides the theme and focus of he future direction of org
consistency, encourages integration.
It is a continuous, iterative process aimed at devel
oping an integrated and
nated long
term plan of action.

Dimension 1: responding to changes in the external environment and allocating scarce
resources of the firm to
improve its competitive position.

Dimension 2: internal responses to n
ew action programs aimed at en
hancing the competitive position of the firm.

Most organizations are succ
essful in
strategies for what course(s) they s
hould pursue.
However, the
problem in many organizations is

Four Activities of the Strategic Management Process


Review and define the organizational mission


Set long
range goals and objectives.


Analyze and formulate strategies to
reach objectives


Implement strategies through projects.

Review and Define the Organizational Mission

What we want to become

rovides focus for decision making
when shared by organizational managers and employees. Everyone in organisation should be awa
re of mission.

Mission statements decrease the chance of false directions by stakeholders.

Case study: Apple

Apple’s competitive advantages provide strong support for its product strategies. Some of the more obvious are listed

• Control over both ha
rdware and software

avoids com
patibility problems

• High quality and innovation image

• Common architecture fits most products and eases development time

• free software

• Ease of use

• Loyal customer base

Set Long
Range Goals and Objectives


concrete, measurable terms. Sets targets for all levels of the

Pinpoint the direction managers believe the organization should move to


Objectives for the organization cover

markets, products, innova
tion, productivity, quality, finan
ce, profitability,
employees, and consumers.
In ev
ery case, objectives should be as operational as possible.
Suit case example. In
summary, organizational objectives drive your projects.

Analyze and Formulate Strategies to Reach Objectives

determining a
nd evaluating alternatives that support the
organization’s objectives and selecting the best alternative. This step typically includes an analysis of “who are the
customers” and “what are their needs as they (the
see them.” The next step is an a
ssessment of the
Mid Semester Project Management Notes

internal and external environments (SWOT analysis).

Competitive benchmarking tools are sometimes used here to assess current and future directions.

Critical analysis of the strategies includes asking questions: Does the strategy
advantage of our core
Does the strategy exploit our competitive advantage?
Does the strat
egy maximize meeting customers’
Does the strategy fit within our acceptable risk range?

Implement Strategies through Projects

requires action a
nd completing tasks; the latter frequently means mission
critical projects. Therefore, implementation must include attention to several key areas.


requires allocation of resources


a formal and informal organization that complements and supports strategy
and projects.


planning and control systems must be in place to be certain project activities necessary to ensure strategies
are effectively performed.


motivating project contributors will be a major factor for achieving project success.


prioritizing projec

Scenario planning
is a structured process of thinking about future possible environments that would hav
e potential
high impact to dis
rupt the way you do business, and then developing potential strategies to compete in these altered

ing Your Core Business and Industry

clarification and agreement on the core business of your
organization and the environment in which it exists. I.e. What product or service does your organization provide
How fast is your indus
try changing?
What are the driving environmental

forces that can cause your in
to change?

Potential Scenarios and Impact


brainstorming potential global forces that could have a substantial impact and alter
the way your organization does business. Typical global
forces influencing scenarios are social, technological,
environmental, economic, political (STEEP)

Potential Strategies
Assuming the scenario occurs, what strategy(s) would you use to move the organization to
respond to the change? How does the industry m
ake major changes today

in 1

2 years, 3

5 years, 6

10 years?
Given your core competencies, is your organization capable of changing to operate in this future environment?


concludes with identifying early indicators for different scenarios and es
tablishing “triggers” that tell you the
event is quickly approaching and detailed strategic planning is needed.

Problem 1: The Implementation Gap

in perhaps 80 percent of the remaining product and service organizations,
top management pretty much formula
tes strategy and leaves strategy implementation to functional managers. Refers
to the lack of understanding and consensus of organization strategy among top and middle
level managers.

The fact that these objectives and strategies are made

different levels by functio
nal groups within the
tion hierarchy causes manifold problems.

Some symptoms of organizations struggling with strategy disconnect and un

clear priorities are presented here.


Conflicts frequently occur among functional m
anagers and cause lack of trust.


Frequent meetings are called to establish or renegotiate priorities.


People frequently shift from one project to a
nother, depending on current priority
Employees are confused about
Mid Semester Project Management Notes

which projects are important.


People ar
e working on multiple projects and feel inefficient.


Resources are not adequate.

Because clear linkages do not exist, the organizational environment becomes dysfunctional, confused, and ripe for
ineffective imple
mentation of organization strat
egy and,
thus, of projects.

Problem 2: Organization Politics

Can have a significant influence on which projects receive funding and high
priority. The term
“sacred cow”
is often used to denote a project that a powerful, high

ranking official is advocating.

Having a project sponsor can play a significant role in the selection and successful implementation of product
innovation projects. Project sponsors are typically high
ranking managers who endorse and lend political support for
the completion of a specific


Many would argue that politics and project management should not mix.
A more proactive response is that projects
and politics

invariably mix and that effec
tive project managers recognize that any significant
project has political

ften bury conflicting information if it’s a CEO’s irrational obsession.

Problem 3: Resource Conflicts and Multitasking

problems of project interdependency and the need to share
resources. Which projects will have priority?


environments the stakes are higher and the benefits or penalties for good or bad resource scheduling
become even more significant than in most single projects.

Multitasking involves starting and stopping work on one task to go and work on another project,

and then returning to
the work on the original task. People working on several tasks concurrently are far less efficient, especially where
conceptual or physical shutdown and startup are significant.

The number of small and large projects in a portfolio a
lmost always exceeds the available resources. The presence of
an implementation gap, of power politics, and of multitasking adds to the problem of which projects are allocated
resources first.

The first and most important change that will go a long way in
addressing these and other problems is the
development and use of a meaningful project priority process for project selection.

What is needed is a set of integrative criteria and a process for evaluating and selecting projects that support higher
level str
ategies and objectives. A single
project priority system that ranks projects by their contribution to the strategic
plan would make life easier.

Classification of the Project

Three kinds of projects:

and emergency (must do)


those needed to meet regulatory conditions required to operate in a region.
Emergency projects, such as rebuilding a soybean factory destroyed by fire, meet the must do criterion. Compliance
and emergency projects usually have penalties if they are not



needed to support current operations

Are designed to improve efficiency of delivery systems, reduce
product costs, and improve performance.



directly support the organization’s long
run mission. They frequen
tly are directed toward
increasing revenue or market share.

Selection Criteria

typically identified as

Financial Criteria

Financial Models

These models are appropriate when there is a high level of confidence associated wit
h estimates
of future cash flows.
Two models and exam
ples are demonstrated here

payback and
net present value

Nonfinancial Criteria

Many reasons to support a project that don’t have high profit margins:


To capture larger market share


To make it difficult

for competitors to enter the market


To develop an enabler product, which by its introduction will increase sales in more profitable products


To develop core technology that will be used in next
generation products


To reduce dependency on unreliable supp


To prevent government intervention and regulation

Mid Semester Project Management Notes

Two Multi
Criteria Selection Models

portfolio management requires multi
criteria screening models. Two models,
the checklist and multi

weighted scoring models, are described next.

Checklist Models

uses a list of questions to review
tential projects and to determine their acceptance or rejection

ow great flexibility in select
ing among many different types of projects and are easily used across different
divisions and locatio

Major short

comings of this approach are that it fails to answer the relative importance or value of a potential project
to the organization and fails to allow for comparison with other potential projects. Each potential project will have a
set of positive and negative answers. How do you compare?

Weighted Scoring Models

uses several weighted selection criteria to evaluate project proposals

qualitative and/or quantitative criteria. The weights and scores are multiplied to ge
t a total weighted score for the

While selection models like the one above may yield numerical solutions to project selection decisions, models should
not make the final

people using the models should.

Project Classification

organizations use similar criteria across all types of projects, with perhaps one or two
criteria specific to the type of project

e.g., strategic breakthrough versus operational.


most important criterion for selection is the project’s fit to the organi
zation strategy. Anyone generating a project
proposal should classify their proposal by type, so the appropriate criteria can be used to evaluate their proposal.

Selecting a Model

profitability alone is simply not an adequate measure of contribution

day, senior management
is interested in identifying

the potential mix of proj
ects that will yield the best use of human and capital resources to
maximize return on investment in the long run factors include researching new technology, public image, ethical

position, protection of the environment, core competencies, and strategic fit might be important criteria for selecting

If the scoring model is published and available to everyone in the organization, some discipline and credibility are

to the selection of projects. The number of wasteful projects using resources is reduced. Politics and “sacred
cow” projects are exposed.

Sources and Solicitation of Project Proposals

many organizations restrict proposals from specific levels or
within the organization. This could be an opportunity lost.
Good ideas are not limited to cert
ain types or
classes of organi
zation stakeholders.

Ranking Proposals and Selection of Projects

Data and information are collected to assess the value of the
oposed project to the organization and for future backup. If the sponsor decides to pursue the project on the basis of
the collected data, it is forwarded to the project priority teams. If the project is accepted, the priority team sets
implementation in m

Responsibility for Prioritizing

major responsibility for senior management

Prioritizing means discipline,
accountability, responsibility, constraints, reduced flexibility, and loss of power

means more than giving a blessing to
the priority
system; it means management will have to rank and weigh, in concrete terms,

Managing the Portfolio System

The mer
its of a particular project are assessed within the context of existing

involves monitoring and adjusting selection criteria to re
flect the strategic focus of the organization.

Senior Management Input

two major inputs 1.
must provide
guidance in establishing selec
tion criteria that strongly
align with the current organization strategies.
2. annually decide how they wish to balance

the available organizational
resources (people and capital) among the different types of projects. Given these inputs the priority team or project
office can carry out its many responsibilities,

The Priority Team Responsibilities

responsible for publishi
ng the priority of every project and ensuring the process
is open and free of power politics. Over time the priority team evaluates the progress of the projects in the portfolio. If
this whole process is managed well, it can have a profound impact on the s
uccess of an organization.

Balancing the Portfolio for Risks and Types of Projects

balance projects by type, risk, and resource demand.
This requires a total organization perspective.
proposed project that ranks high on most criteria may not be

because the organiza
tion portfolio already includes too many projects with the same characteristics

need to evaluate each new project in terms of what it adds to the project mix.

Mid Semester Project Management Notes

Chapter 5

Estimating Project Time and Costs

Planning Horizon

estimates of current events are close to 100 percent accurate but are reduced for more distant
events. Accuracy should improve as you move from the conceptual phase to the point where individual work
packages are defined.

Project Duratio

duration projects increase the uncertainty in estimates.


accuracy of estimates depends on the skills of the people making the estimates

whether members of the
project team have worked together before on similar projects will influence t
he time it takes to coalesce into an
effective team.

Project Structure and Organization

major advantages of a dedicated project team discussed earlier is the speed
gained from concentrated focus and localized project decisions


comes at an additional co
st of tying up personnel full

Padding Estimates

In work situations where you are asked for time and cost estimates, most of us are inclined to
add a little padding to increase the probability and reduce the risk of being late. If everyone at all l
evels of the project
adds a little padding to reduce risk, the project duration and cost are seriously overstated.

Organization Culture

Organizations vary in the importance they attach to estimates. The prevailing belief in some
organizations is that det
ailed estimating takes too much time and is not worth the effort or that it’s impossible to
predict the future. Organization culture shapes every dimension of project management; estimating is not immune to
this influence.

Other Factors


can impact time and cost estimates. i.e. Holidays. The quality of time and cost
estimates can be improved when these variables are considered in making the estimates. Before discussing macro
and micro estimating methods for times and costs, a revi
ew of estimating guidelines will remind us of some of the
important “rules of the game” that can improve estimating.

Seven guidelines to develop useful work package estimates:


Use Several People to Estimate

Normal Conditions

Time Units



Adding Risk assessment to the estimate helps avoid surprises to stakeholders

down estimates

derived from someone who uses experience and/or information to determine the project
duration and total cost. estimates are some
times made by top managers who have very little knowledge of the
processes used to complete the project.
If possible and practical, you want to push the estimating process down to the
work package level for bottom
up estimates that esta
blish low
efficient meth

At the strategic level top
down estimating methods

are used to evaluate the proj
ect proposal.
Sometimes much of the
information needed to derive accurate time and cost estimates is not available in the initial phase of the project

approach at the work package level can serve as a check on cost elements in the WBS

the work
packages and associated cost accounts to major deliverables. Resource requirements can be checked. Later, the
time, resource, and cost estimates from the wor
k packages can be consolidated into time
phased networks, resource
schedules, and budgets that are used for control.

also provides the customer with an opportunity to compare the low
cost, efficient method approach with any imposed



uses the pooled experience of senior and/or middle managers to estimate the total project
duration and cost. This typically involves a meeting where experts discuss, argue, and ultimately reach a decision as
to their best guess estimate.

Delphi M


panel of experts familiar with the kind of project in question. The notion is that well

individuals, calling on their insights and experience, are better equipped to estimate project costs/times than
theoretical approaches or statistical
methods. Their responses to estimate questionnaires are anonymous, and they
are provided with a summary of opinions. Then review answers after responses….

Ratio Methods

contractors frequently use number of square feet to estimate the cost and time to bui
ld a house; that
is, a house of 2,700 square feet might cost $160 per square foot (2,700 feet 3 $160 per foot equals $432,000).
knowing the square feet and dollars per square foot, experience suggests it should take approximately 100 days to

rtion Methods

used when projects closely follow past projects in features and costs. Example
: H
ouse loan and
paying off for individual sections

Function Point Methods for Software and System Projects

projects are frequently estimated using weighted
macro va
riables called “function points


weighted variables are adjusted for a complexity factor and added

adjusted count provides the basis for estimating the labor effort and cost for a project.

Learning Curves

time to perform a task improve
s with repetition

especially true of tasks that are labor intensive. In
these circumstances the pattern of improvement phenomenon can be used to predict the reduction in time to perform
the task.

improvement ratio may vary from 60 percent, representing v
ery large improvement, to 100 percent, representing no
improvement at all. Generally, as the difficulty of the work decreases the expected improvement also decreases and
Mid Semester Project Management Notes

the improvement ratio that is used becomes greater.

Significant factor

proportion of

labor in the task in relation to
paced work.

Up Approaches for Estimating Project Times and Costs

Template Methods

costs from past projects can be used as a starting point for the new project

Differences in the
new project can be noted
and past times and costs adjusted to reflect these differences.

Parametric Procedures Applied to Specific Tasks

Just as parametric techniques such as cost per square foot can
be the source of top
down estimates, the same technique can be applied to specif
ic tasks. Computer workstation
conversion example.

Range Estimating

works best when work pack

ages have significant uncertainty associated with the time or cost to

require three time estimates

low, average, and high (borrowed off of PERT met
hodology that uses
probability distributions). Determined by complexity, technology, newness, familiarity.

Group estimating tends to refine extremes by bringing more evaluative judgments to the estimate and potential risks.

A Hybrid: Phase Estimating

ins with a top
down estimate for t
he project and then refines es
timates for phases
of the project as it is implemented

is used when an unusual amount of uncertainty surrounds a project and it is
impractical to estimate times and costs for the entire proj

A detailed estimate is developed for the immediate
phase and a macro estimate is made for the remaining phases of the project.

Getting the level of detail in the WBS to match management needs for
effective implementation is crucial, but the delicate

balance is difficult to

level of detail in the WBS varies w
ith the com
plexity of the project;
the need for control; the project size, cost, duration; and other factors.

Typical Costs in Projects:

Direct Costs

Labour, Materials, Equipment, Other

irect Project Overhead Costs

General and administrative overhead costs

Direct Costs


chargeable to a specific work package

represent real
cash outflows and must be paid as the project progresses

Direct Project Overhead Costs

more closely pinpoint which
resources of the organization are being used in the project

tied to
project deliverables or work packages

Although overhead is not an
immediate out
pocket expense, it is
and must be covered in the
long run if the fir
m is to remain viable.

General and Administrative (G&A) Overhead Costs

costs that are
not directly linked to a specific project. These costs are carried for the
duration of the project.

Note: The project manager can commit costs months before the resourc
e is used.
This information is useful to the
ancial officer of the organiza
tion in forecasting future cash outflows.

Reasons for been far
off estimates:

Interaction costs are hidden in estimates

Work on one task is dependent upon prior tasks, and the

between tasks require time and attention

the time necessary to coordinate

activities is typi
cally not reflected in
independent estimates.

Normal conditions do not apply

rarely holds true in real life that normal conditions apply

whether in the form of people, equipment, or materials, can extend origin
al estimates

the de
cision to outsource
certain tasks can increase costs as well as extend task
tions since time is added

Things go wrong on projects

Design flaws ar
e revealed after the fact, extreme weather conditions occur, accidents
happen, and so forth.

Changes in project scope and plans

After getting better understanding of project,
may lead to major changes in
project plans and costs

changes often have to b
e made midstream to respond to new demands
by the customer
and/or competi

Unstable project scopes are a major source of cost overruns.

Note: Not all

needed to make accurate decisions is available

without solid estimates, the credibility of the
project plan is eroded.

Improving Estimates:
collect and archive data on past project estimates and actuals. Saving historical data

estimates and actuals

ides a knowledge base for improving project time and cost estimating

approach allows the project estimator to select a specific work package item from the database for inclusion

and actual for different projects can suggest the degree

of risk inherent in estimates.

Chapter 6

Developing a Project Plan

Developing the project network

The project network is the tool used for planning, scheduling, and monitoring
project progress

developed from the information collected for the WBS a
nd is a graphic flo
w chart of the project job

easily understood by others because the network presents a graphic display of the flow and sequence of work
through the project.

Integrating the work packages and the network represents a point where the management process often fails in
The prim
ary explanations for this fail
ure are that (1) different groups (people) are used to define work
Mid Semester Project Management Notes

packages and activities and (2)
the WBS is poorly constructed and not deliverable/output oriented.


an element of the project that requires time. It may or may not require resources. Examples are time waiting
for contracts to be signed, materials to arrive…

Merge activity

tivity that has more than one activity immediately preceding it

Parallel activities

ke place at the same time

may choose for activities not to occur simultaneously


sequence of connected, dependent activities.

Critical path

the path(s) with
the longest duration through the network; if an activity on the path is delayed, the
project is delayed the same amount of time.


point in time when an activity is started or completed. It does not consume time.

Burst activity


activity has more
than one activity immediately following it (more than one dependency arrow flowing
from it).

Basic Rules to Follow in Developing Project Networks


Networks flow typically from left to right.


An activity cannot begin until all preceding connected activities

have been



Arrows on networks indicate precedence and flow. Arrows can cross over each



Each activity should have a unique identification number.


An activity identification number must be larger than that of any activities that

de it.


Looping is not allowed (in other words, recycling through a set of activities

cannot take place).


Conditional statements are not allowed (that is, this type of statement should

not appear: If successful, do
something; if not, do nothing).


Experience suggests that when there are multiple starts, a common start node can be used to indicate a clear
project beginning on the network. Similarly, a

single project end node can be used to indicate a clear ending.


node (AON)

es most projects.

is represented by a

The dependencies among activities are depicted by
between the rectangles (boxes) on the AON network.

Three Relationships that need to be established:


Which activities must be completed i
this activity? These activities are called


Which activities must immediately
this activity? These activities are called


Which activities can occur
this activity is taking place? This is known as a

Forward Pass

Earliest Times

1. How soon can the activity start? (early start


2. How soon can the activity finish? (early finish


3. How soon can the project be
finished? (expected time



1. You
activity times along each path in the network (ES 1 DUR 5 EF).

2. You carry the early finish (EF) to the next activity where it becomes its early

start (ES),

The next succeeding activity is a
activity. In this case you select the

early finish number (EF) of
its immediate predecessor activities.

Backward Pass

Latest Times

You trace backward on each path
activity times to find the late start
(LS) and finish times

(LF) for each activity.


How late can the activity start? (late start



How late can the activity finish? (late finish



Which activities represent the critical path (CP)? This is the longest path in the

network which, when delayed, will
delay the project.


How long can the activity be delayed? (slack or float



1. You
activity times along each path starting with the project end activity (LF 2 DUR 5 LS).

2. You carry the LS to the next preceding activity to establish its LF,

3. The next preceding activity is a
activity; in this case you select the

LS of all its immediate successor
activities to establish its LF.

Mid Semester Project Management Notes

Total slack or float

for an activity is simply the difference between the LS and ES (LS 2 ES 5 SL) or between LF and
EF (LF 2 EF 5 SL).

The critical path is the network path(s) that has (
have) the least slack in common.

Critical activities typically represent
about 10 percent of the activities of the project


When the critical path is known, it is possible to tightly manage the
resources of the activities on the critical path so no mistak
es are made that will result in delays.

to reflect the likelihood the original critical path(s) will change once the project is initiated.

Free Slack (Float)

It is the amount of time an activity can be delayed without delaying any immediately

(successor) activity.
It can never be negative.
Free slack occurs at the last activity in a chain of activities.
In many
tions the “chain” can have only one link.

Network Logic Errors


Rule: Conditional statements not permitted


network is not a decision tree; it is a project plan that we assume will materialize.


Looping is an attempt by the planner to return to an earlier activity

An activity should only occur once

if it is to
occur again should have a new name and identifi
cation number

Activity Numbering

Each activity needs a unique identification code


It is customary to leave gaps between
numbers (1, 5, 10, 15 . . .)

frequently not done until after the network is complete.

Use of Computers to Develop Networks

tt Chart, Bar Charts

Calendar Dates

Ultimately you will want to assign calendar dates to your project activities.

Multiple Starts and Multiple Projects

Dangler paths give the impression that the project does not have a clear
beginning or ending. If a
project has more than one activity that can begin when the project is to start, each path is a
dangler path. Danglers can be avoided by tying dangler activities to a common project start or finish node

using a
common start and end node helps to identify
the total planning period of all projects.


assumption that all immediate preceding activities must be 100 percent complete is too restrictive for
some situations found in practice.
Under the standard finish
start relationship, when an
activity has a long duration
and will delay the start of an activity immed
iately following it, the activ
ity can be broken into segments and the network
drawn using a
proach so the following activity can begin sooner and not delay the work.

e of Lags

A lag is the minimum amount of time a dependent activity must be delayed to begin or end.


When activities of long duration delay the start or finish of successor activities, the network designer normally
breaks the activity into smaller activities to avoid the long delay of the successor activity. Use of lags can
avoid such delays and reduce ne
twork detail.


Lags can be used to constrain the start and finish of an activity.

Start Relationship

removing concrete forms cannot begin until the poured cement has cured for two time
units. frequently used when ordering materials. For ex

ample, it may take 1 day to place orders but take 19 days to
receive the goods. allows the activity duration to be only 1 day and the lag 19 days.

Start Relationship

It is important to note that the relationship may be used with or without a lag
. It is
possible to find compression opportunities by changing finish
start relations to start
start relationships. A review
Mid Semester Project Management Notes

of finish
start critical activities may point out opportunities that can be revised to be parallel by using start


Concurrent engineering:
breaks activities into smaller segments so that work can be done in parallel and the project

Finish Relationship

The finish of one activity depends on the finish of another activity. For examp
testing cannot be completed any earlier than four days after the prototype is complete

this is not a finish

relationship because the testing of subcomponents can begin before the prototype is completed, but four days of
“system” testing is
required after the prototype is finished.

Finish Relationship

system documentation cannot end until three days after testing has started

Combinations of Lag Relationships

Can have a combination of relationships

usually start
start and f
finish combinations tied to two activities.

Chapter 7

Managing Risk

Risk management is a proactive approach rather than reactive. It is
preventive process designed to ensure that surprises are reduced
and that negative
consequences associated with undesirable
events are minimized

Successful management of project risk gives the project manager better control over the future
and can significantly improve chances of reaching project objectives on time, within budget, and
meeting required
technical (functional) performance.

Risk Management Steps

1. Risk Identification

2. Risk Assessment

3. Risk Response Development

4. Risk Response Control

Risk Identification
: project manager pulls together, during the planning phase, a
risk management te
am consisting of
core team mem
bers and other relevant stakeholders.

Common mistake: focus on objectives and not on
the events that could produce consequences. i.e.
team members may identify failing to meet
schedule as a major risk. What
they need to focus
on are the events that could cause this to happen

The Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS)

focus at
the beginning should be on risks that can affect
the whole project as opposed to a specific section
of the project or network. After the
macro risks
have been identified, specific areas can be
checked. An effective tool for identifying specific
risks is the work breakdown structure.

Mid Semester Project Management Notes

Risk profile
is a list of questions that ad

dress traditional areas of uncertainty on a project. These
questions have
been developed and refined from previous, similar projects

recognize the unique strengths and weaknesses of the

Historical records can complement or be used when formal risk profiles are not available. i.e. can check
previous shipp
ing history and outsourcing performance to calculate accurate risk measures

Input from customers,
sponsors, subcontractors, vendors, and other stakeholders should be solicited.

Risk Assessment

Scenario analysis
is the easiest and most comm
only used tech
nique for analyz
ing risks.
Team members assess the
significance of each risk event in terms of:

1. Probability of the event

2. Impact of the Event

Example: Manager struck by lighting & Personnel changing jobs

Impact scales can be a bit more problematic si
nce adverse risks affect project objectives differently. For example, a
component failure may cause only a slight delay in project schedule but a major increase in project cost.

risk severity matrix
provides a basis for prioritizing which risks to address

Red zone risks receive first priority

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis
(FMEA) extends the risk severity matrix by including ease of detection in the

Impact x Probability x Detection =
Risk Value

Probability Analysis


PERT (program evaluation and review technique) and PERT simulation can be used to review
activity and project risk. PERT and related techniques take a more macro perspective by looking at overall cost and
schedule risks.
Here the focus is not on individual events but on the likelihood the project will be completed on time
and within budget

assumes a statistical distribution (range between optimistic and pessimistic) for each activity
duration; it then simulates the net

work (perhaps over 1,000 simulations) using a random number generator.

outcome is the relative probability, called a criticality index, of an activity becoming critical under the many different,
possible activity durations for each activity.



Reducing risk is usually the first alternative considered.

(1) reduce the likelihood that the event will occur

(2) reduce the impact that the adverse event would have on the project

Most focus on (1) because if successful you will eliminate chance

of having to plan for event (2) to occur

Testing and prototyping are frequently used t
o prevent problems from surfac
ing later in a project.

When the concerns are that duration and costs have been underestimated, man

agers will augment estimates to
compensate for the uncertainties.

Avoiding Risk

changing the project plan to eliminate the risk or condition.
Some specific risks may be avoided

before you launch the project i.e. adopting proven technology instead of experimental technology can eliminate
technical failure.

Transferring Risk

Passing risk to another party is common; this transfer does not change risk

results in paying a

for this exemption. i.e. The contractor understands his or her firm will pay for any risk event that materializes;
therefore, a monetary risk factor is added to the contract bid price.

Need to establish which party can best control activities. Is contrac
tor capable of absorbing the risk?

The risk of equipment malfunctioning is transferred by choosing a reliable supplier with a strong warranty program.


is an obvious way to transfer risk

impractical because defining the project risk

event and conditions to an
surance broker who is unfamiliar with the project is difficult and usually expensive.
However low
probability and
consequence risk events such as acts of God are more easily defined and insured.

Retaining Risk

In some
cases a conscious decision is made to accept the risk of an event occurring. The risk is
retained by developing a contingency plan to implement if the risk materializes. The more effort given to risk response
before the project begins, the better the chanc
es are for minimizing project surprises.

Contingency Plan


alternative plan that will be used if a possible forese
en risk event becomes a reality. Conditions
for activating the implementation of the contingency plan should be decided and clearly documente

All parties should agree to contingency and communicated to team members so surprise is minimized


team also
needs to discuss and agree what would “trigger” implementation of the contingency plan.

Mid Semester Project Management Notes

distinction between a risk response and a contingency

is that a response is part of the actual implementation
plan and action is taken before the risk can materialize, while a contingency plan is not part of the initial
implementation plan and only goes into effect after the risk is recognized.

l Risks

kind that cause the project to be shut down. What if the system or process does not work?

project managers need to develop methods to quickly assess whether technical uncertainties can be resolved.

Schedule Risks


defer the threat of a project c
oming in late until it surfaces

contingency funds are set aside to
expedite or “crash” the project to get it back on track

involves shortening one or more activities on critical path

Cost Risks


contingency for price changes

avoid the trap of using
one lump sum to cover price risks

does not
address exactly where price protection is needed and fails to provide for tracking and control.
On cost sensitive
projects, price risks should be evaluated item by item.

Funding Risks

What if there are funding cuts?
Seasoned project managers recognize that a complete risk
assessment must include an evaluation of funding supply.

is an event that can have a positive impact on project objectives.


eliminate the uncert
ainty associated with an opportunity to ensure that it definitely happens i.e. assigning
best personnel


This strategy involves allocating some or all of the ownership of an opportunity to another party who is best
able to capture the opportunity f
or the benefit of the project.


opposite of mitigation in that action is taken to increase the probability and/or the positive impact of an


being willing to take advantage of it if it occurs, but not taking action to pursue i

Contingency Funding and Time Buffers


When, where, and how much money will be spent is not known until the
risk event occurs. Project “owners” are often reluctant to set up project contingency funds that seem to imply the
project plan might be a poor one

reluctance to establish contingenc
y reserves can be overcome with documented
risk identification, assessment, contingency plans, and plans for when and how funds will be disbursed

fund is
typically divided into budget and management reserve funds for control purposes.

Budget Reserves

over Identified risks
and allocated to risks associated with specific area

amount is determined by costing out the accepted contingency or recovery plan

should be communicated to the project team. If the risk does not materialize, the funds are

removed from the budget reserve.

Management reserves

Cover unidentified risks

and allocated to risks associated wit total
project. Because this change was not anticipated or identified, it is covered from the
management reserve.

Time Buffers

cushion a
gainst potential delays in the project. The amount of time is
dependent upon the inherent uncertainty of the project.

Buffers are Added to:

activities with severe risks.

merge activities that are prone to delays due to one or more preceding activities

ritical activities to reduce the likelihood that they will create another critical path

activities that require scarce resources to ensure that the resources are available when

Buffers are sometimes added to the end of the project.

Risk register
tails all identified risks, including descriptions, category, and probability of

ring, impact, responses, contingency plans, owners, and current status

Backbone of
the last step

Risk Control

Executing the risk response strategy, monitoring triggering events, initiating
contingency plans, and watching for new risks.

Management needs to be sensitive that others may not be forthright in acknowledging new
risks and problems. If the prevailing o
rganizational culture is one where mistakes are
punished severely, then it is only human nature to protect oneself. The tendency to suppress
Mid Semester Project Management Notes

bad news is compounded when individual responsibility is vague and the project team is under extreme pressure from
top management to get the project done quickly.

Need an environment in which participants feel comfortable raising concerns and admitting mistakes.
should be encouraged to identify problems and new risks.

Documenting Responsibility


problematic in projects involving multiple organizations and contractors

identified risk should be assigned (or shared) by mutual agreement of the owner, project man

ager, and the
contractor or person having line responsibility for the work pack

age or segment of the project. If risk management is
not formalized, responsibility and responses to risk will be ignored

is not my area.

Change Control Management

Coping with and controlling project changes present a formidable challenge for most
roject managers.

Most changes easily fall into three categories:

1. Scope changes in the form of design or additions represent big changes; for example, customer requests for a new
feature or a redesign that will improve the product.

2. Implementation of contingency plans, when risk events occur, represent changes in baseline costs and schedules.

3. Improvement changes suggested by project team members represent another category.

Change management systems
involve reporting, controlli
ng, and recording changes to the project baseline.


Identify proposed changes.


List expected effects of proposed change(s) on schedule and budget.


Review, evaluate, and approve or disapprove changes formally.


Negotiate and resolve conflicts of change, co
nditions, and cost.


Communicate changes to parties affected.


Assign responsibility for implementing change.


Adjust master schedule and budget.


Track all changes that are to be implemented.

Benefits of Change Control Systems


Inconsequential changes ar
e discouraged by the formal process.


Costs of changes are maintained in a log.


Integrity of the WBS and performance measures is maintained.


Allocation and use of budget and management reserve funds are tracked.


Responsibility for implementation is clar


Effect of changes is visible to all parties involved.


Implementation of change is monitored.


Scope changes will be quickly reflected in baseline and performance measures.