Related Case Studies
Management Case Studies,
• Quantum Telecom
• Concrete Masonry
• Margo Company
• Project Overrun
• The Two-Boss Problem
• Denver International
Related Workbook Exercises (from
Workbook and PMP®/CAPM® Exam
Study Guide, 10th Edition)
• The Statement of Work
• Technology Forecasting
• The Noncompliance Project
• Multiple Choice Exam
• Crossword Puzzle on Scope
PMBOK® Guide, 4th
Section for the PMP®
PMBOK® Guide, 4th Edition
Chapter 5 Scope Management
5.2 Define Scope
The most important responsibilities of a project manager are planning,
integrating, and executing plans. Almost all projects, because of their relatively short duration and often prioritized control of resources, require
formal, detailed planning. The integration of the planning activities is
* Case Study also appears in Workbook.
necessary because each functional unit may develop its own planning documentation with little regard for
other functional units.
Planning, in general, can best be described as the function of selecting the enterprise objectives and
establishing the policies, procedures, and programs necessary for achieving them. Planning in a project
environment may be described as establishing a predetermined course of action within a forecasted environment. The project’s requirements set the major milestones. If line managers cannot commit because
the milestones are perceived as unrealistic, the project manager may have to develop alternatives, one of
which may be to move the milestones. Upper-level management must become involved in the selection
The project manager is the key to successful project planning. It is desirable that the project manager
be involved from project conception through execution. Project planning must be systematic, flexible
enough to handle unique activities, disciplined through reviews and controls, and capable of accepting multifunctional inputs. Successful project managers realize that project planning is an iterative process and must
be performed throughout the life of the project.
One of the objectives of project planning is to completely define all
required (possibly through the development of a documented project
PMBOK Guide, 4th Edition
so that it will be readily identifiable to each project participant. This
5.2 Define Scope
is a necessity in a project environment because:
If the task is well understood prior to being performed, much of the work can be preplanned.
If the task is not understood, then during the actual task execution more knowledge is gained that,
in turn, leads to changes in resource allocations, schedules, and priorities.
The more uncertain the task, the greater the amount of information that must be processed in order
to ensure effective performance.
These considerations are important in a project environment because each project can be different from
the others, requiring a variety of different resources, but having to be performed under time, cost, and performance constraints with little margin for error. Figure 11–1 identifies the type of project planning
required to establish an effective monitoring and control system. The boxes at the top represent the planning activities, and the lower boxes identify the “tracking” or monitoring of the planned activities.
There are two proverbs that affect project planning:
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
The primary benefit of not planning is that failure will then come as a complete surprise rather than
being preceded by periods of worry and depression.
Without proper planning, programs and projects can start off “behind the eight ball.” Consequences of
poor planning include:
Project initiation without defined requirements
Search for the guilty
Punishment of the innocent
Promotion of the nonparticipants
• SYSTEM LEVEL
• COMPANY LEVEL
STATES OF NATURE
The project planning and control system.
There are four basic reasons for project planning:
To eliminate or reduce uncertainty
To improve efficiency of the operation
To obtain a better understanding of the objectives
To provide a basis for monitoring and controlling work
Planning is a continuous process of making entrepreneurial decisions with an eye to the future, and
methodically organizing the effort needed to carry out these decisions. Furthermore, systematic planning
allows an organization of set goals. The alternative to systematic planning is decision-making based on history. This generally results in reactive management leading to crisis management, conflict management,
and fire fighting.
11.1 VALIDATING THE ASSUMPTIONS
Planning begins with an understanding of the assumptions. Quite often, the assumptions
are made by marketing and sales personnel and then approved by senior management as
part of the project selection and approval process. The expectations for the final results are
based upon the assumptions made.
Why is it that, more often than not, the final results of a project do not satisfy senior
management’s expectations? At the beginning of a project, it is impossible to ensure that
the benefits expected by senior management will be realized at project completion. While
project length is a critical factor, the real culprit is changing assumptions.
Assumptions must be documented at project initiation using the project charter as a
possible means. Throughout the project, the project manager must revalidate and challenge
the assumptions. Changing assumptions may mandate that the project be terminated or
redirected toward a different set of objectives.
A project management plan is based upon the assumptions described in the project
charter. But there are additional assumptions made by the team that are inputs to the project management plan.1 One of the primary reasons companies use a project charter is that
project managers were most often brought on board well after the project selection process
and approval process were completed. As a result, project managers were needed to know
what assumptions were considered.
These are assumptions about the external environmental conditions
that can affect the success of the project, such as interest rates, market
conditions, changing customer demands and requirements, changes in
technology, and even government policies.
1. See A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge ®, 4th ed., 2008, Figure 4-4.
These are assumptions about present or future company assets that can
impact the success of the project such as the capability of your enterprise project management methodology, the project management
information system, forms, templates, guidelines, checklists, and the ability to capture and
use lessons learned data and best practices.
11.2 GENERAL PLANNING
PMBOK® Guide, 4th Edition
Chapter 5 Scope Management
1.6 General Management
Knowledge and Skills
Planning is determining what needs to be done, by whom, and by when,
in order to fulfill one’s assigned responsibility. There are nine major components of the planning phase:
● Objective: a goal, target, or quota to be achieved by a certain time
Program: the strategy to be followed and major actions to be taken in order to
achieve or exceed objectives
Schedule: a plan showing when individual or group activities or accomplishments
will be started and/or completed
Budget: planned expenditures required to achieve or exceed objectives
Forecast: a projection of what will happen by a certain time
Organization: design of the number and kinds of positions, along with corresponding duties and responsibilities, required to achieve or exceed objectives
Policy: a general guide for decision-making and individual actions
Procedure: a detailed method for carrying out a policy
Standard: a level of individual or group performance defined as adequate or
An item that has become important in recent years is documenting assumptions that
go into the objectives or the project/subsidiary plans. As projects progress, even for shortterm projects, assumptions can change because of the economy, technological advances,
or market conditions. These changes can invalidate original assumptions or require that
new assumptions be made. These changes could also mandate that projects be canceled.
Companies are now validating assumptions during gate review meetings. Project charters
now contain sections for documenting assumptions.
Several of these factors require additional comment. Forecasting what will happen may
not be easy, especially if predictions of environmental reactions are required. For example,
planning is customarily defined as either strategic, tactical, or operational. Strategic planning is generally for five years or more, tactical can be for one to five years, and operational
is the here and now of six months to one year. Although most projects are operational, they
can be considered as strategic, especially if spin-offs or follow-up work is promising.
Forecasting also requires an understanding of strengths and weaknesses as found in:
The competitive situation
Research and development
The management structure
If project planning is strictly operational, then these factors may be clearly definable.
However, if strategic or long-range planning is necessary, then the future economic outlook
can vary, say, from year to year, and replanning must be done at regular intervals because
the goals and objectives can change. (The procedure for this can be seen in Figure 11–1.)
The last three factors, policies, procedures, and standards, can vary from project to
project because of their uniqueness. Each project manager can establish project policies,
provided that they fall within the broad limits set forth by top management.
Project policies must often conform closely to company policies, and are usually similar in nature from project to project. Procedures, on the other hand, can be drastically different from project to project, even if the same activity is performed. For example, the
signing off of manufacturing plans may require different signatures on two selected projects
even though the same end-item is being produced.
Planning varies at each level of the organization. At the individual level, planning is
required so that cognitive simulation can be established before irrevocable actions are
taken. At the working group or functional level, planning must include:
Agreement on purpose
Assignment and acceptance of individual responsibilities
Coordination of work activities
Increased commitment to group goals
At the organizational or project level, planning must include:
Recognition and resolution of group conflict on goals
Assignment and acceptance of group responsibilities
Increased motivation and commitment to organizational goals
Vertical and lateral communications
Coordination of activities between groups
The logic of planning requires answers to several questions in order for the alternatives and constraints to be fully understood. A list of questions would include:
Prepare environmental analysis
Where are we?
● How and why did we get here?
Is this where we want to be?
● Where would we like to be? In a year? In five years?
List alternative strategies
● Where will we go if we continue as before?
● Is that where we want to go?
● How could we get to where we want to go?
List threats and opportunities
● What might prevent us from getting there?
● What might help us to get there?
● Where are we capable of going?
● What do we need to take us where we want to go?
Select strategy portfolio
● What is the best course for us to take?
● What are the potential benefits?
● What are the risks?
Prepare action programs
● What do we need to do?
● When do we need to do it?
● How will we do it?
● Who will do it?
Monitor and control
● Are we on course? If not, why?
● What do we need to do to be on course?
● Can we do it?
One of the most difficult activities in the project environment is to keep the planning
on target. These procedures can assist project managers during planning activities:
Let functional managers do their own planning. Too often operators are operators,
planners are planners, and never the twain shall meet.
Establish goals before you plan. Otherwise short-term thinking takes over.
Set goals for the planners. This will guard against the nonessentials and places
your effort where there is payoff.
Stay flexible. Use people-to-people contact, and stress fast response.
Keep a balanced outlook. Don’t overreact, and position yourself for an upturn.
Welcome top-management participation. Top management has the capability to
make or break a plan, and may well be the single most important variable.
Beware of future spending plans. This may eliminate the tendency to underestimate.
Test the assumptions behind the forecasts. This is necessary because professionals
are generally too optimistic. Do not depend solely on one set of data.
Don’t focus on today’s problems. Try to get away from crisis management and fire
Reward those who dispel illusions. Avoid the Persian messenger syndrome (i.e.,
beheading the bearer of bad tidings). Reward the first to come forth with bad news.
11.3 LIFE-CYCLE PHASES
Project planning takes place at two levels. The first level is the corporate cultural approach; the second method is the individual’s approach. The corpoChapter 2 Project Life Cycle and
rate cultural approach breaks the project down into life-cycle phases, such as
those shown in Table 2–6. The life-cycle phase approach is not an attempt to
2.1 Characteristics of Project
put handcuffs on the project manager but to provide a methodology for uniPhases
formity in project planning. Many companies, including government agencies, prepare checklists of activities that should be considered in each phase. These checklists
are for consistency in planning. The project manager can still exercise his own planning initiatives within each phase.
A second benefit of life-cycle phases is control. At the end of each phase there is a
meeting of the project manager, sponsor, senior management, and even the customer, to
assess the accomplishments of this life-cycle phase and to get approval for the next phase.
These meetings are often called critical design reviews, “on-off ramps,” and “gates.” In
some companies, these meetings are used to firm up budgets and schedules for the followon phases. In addition to monetary considerations, life-cycle phases can be used for manpower deployment and equipment/facility utilization. Some companies go so far as to
prepare project management policy and procedure manuals where all information is subdivided according to life-cycle phasing. Life-cycle phase decision points eliminate the
problem where project managers do not ask for phase funding, but rather ask for funds for
the whole project before the true scope of the project is known. Several companies have
even gone so far as to identify the types of decisions that can be made at each end-of-phase
review meeting. They include:
PMBOK® Guide, 4th Edition
Proceed with the next phase based on an approved funding level
Proceed to the next phase but with a new or modified set of objectives
Postpone approval to proceed based on a need for additional information
Consider a company that utilizes the following life-cycle phases:
Testing and commissioning
The conceptualization phase includes brainstorming and common sense and involves
two critical factors: (1) identify and define the problem, and (2) identify and define potential solutions.
In a brainstorming session, all ideas are recorded and none are discarded. The brainstorming session works best if there is no formal authority present and if it lasts thirty to sixty
minutes. Sessions over sixty minutes will produce ideas that may resemble science fiction.
The feasibility study phase considers the technical aspects of the conceptual alternatives and provides a firmer basis on which to decide whether to undertake the project.
The purpose of the feasibility phase is to:
Plan the project development and implementation activities.
Estimate the probable elapsed time, staffing, and equipment requirements.
Identify the probable costs and consequences of investing in the new project.
If practical, the feasibility study results should evaluate the alternative conceptual
solutions along with associated benefits and costs.
The objective of this step is to provide management with the predictable results of
implementing a specific project and to provide generalized project requirements. This, in
the form of a feasibility study report, is used as the basis on which to decide whether to
proceed with the costly requirements, development, and implementation phases.
User involvement during the feasibility study is critical. The user must supply much
of the required effort and information, and, in addition, must be able to judge the impact of
alternative approaches. Solutions must be operationally, technically, and economically feasible. Much of the economic evaluation must be substantiated by the user. Therefore, the
primary user must be highly qualified and intimately familiar with the workings of
the organization and should come from the line operation.
The feasibility study also deals with the technical aspects of the proposed project and
requires the development of conceptual solutions. Considerable experience and technical expertise are required to gather the proper information, analyze it, and reach practical
Improper technical or operating decisions made during this step may go undetected or
unchallenged throughout the remainder of the process. In the worst case, such an error
could result in the termination of a valid project—or the continuation of a project that is
not economically or technically feasible.
In the feasibility study phase, it is necessary to define the project’s basic approaches
and its boundaries or scope. A typical feasibility study checklist might include:
Evaluate market potential
Evaluate cost effectiveness
Evaluate technical base
● A more specific determination of the problem
● Analysis of the state-of-the-art technology
Assessment of in-house technical capabilities
Test validity of alternatives
Quantify weaknesses and unknowns
Conduct trade-off analysis on time, cost, and performance
Prepare initial project goals and objectives
Prepare preliminary cost estimates and development plan
The end result of the feasibility study is a managemen ...
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