The project environment

Enterprise environmental factors – EEF

  • Organizational culture
  • Organizational structure (functional, matrix, projectized, composite)
  • Distribution of facilities and resources
  • Resource availability (manpower, machine, material)
  • Labor laws
  • Political climate
  • Environmental laws
  • Salary structures
  • Transportation facilities
  • Information systems
  • National holidays
  • Work culture
  • Climatic conditions (Weather conditions)
  • Waste disposal norms
  • Trade unions etc..

Can be internal or external to the organization.

Organizational process assets – OPA

  • Quality management systems
  • Reusable components
  • Proprietary data
  • Processes, procedures, guidelines, templates
  • Lessons learned
  • Databases
  • Project management information systems (PMIS)
  • Management information systems (MIS)
  • Organizational governance frameworks (structures, systems)
  • Organizational structures (Reference PMBOK V6 Page 47)
    • Organic or simple – PM has very less authority
    • Functional – PM has very less authority
    • Multi divisional – PM has very less authority
    • Matrix (cross functional teams)
      • Strong matrix – PM has moderate to high power
      • Weak matrix – PM has low power
      • Balanced matrix – PM has low to moderate power
    • Project oriented – PM has high to almost total power
    • Virtual (distributed teams) – PM has low to moderate power
    • Hybrid – Mix of other types – PM has mixed power
    • PMO (Project management office) – PM has high to almost total power
      • Supportive
      • Controlling
      • Directive

PMBOK structure and Project Success Measures


Projects are temporary endeavors (have specific start and end dates), delivering unique products or services.

Project and development life cycles

The series of phases a project passes through from it’s start to it’s completion is termed as ‘Project life cycle’ . The phases can be sequential or iterative. Within the project life cycle, there are some phases which are highly technical and contribute directly to the building up of the product of the project. These are known as the ‘Development life cycle’. Development life cycles can be predictive, iterative, incremental, adaptive (agile, iterative or incremental) or hybrid. The development cycles are decided during the project strategy development phase.

Project phases

A project phase is a collection of logically related activities that produces one or more deliverables of the project. Requirements phase delivers requirements document. Design phase delivers design and the design document.

Phase gate

Phase gate, stage gate or kill points are the senior management review of the project conducted at the end of every major phase. They are also known as the go-nogo meetings, as the decision to fund or do not fund the subsequent phase is decided during these meetings.

Project management process groups

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Monitoring and controlling
  • Closing

Project management knowledge areas

  • Project integration management
  • Project scope management
  • Project schedule management
  • Project cost management
  • Project quality management
  • Project resource management
  • Project communications management
  • Project risk management
  • Project procurement management
  • Project stakeholder management

There are 49 processes in PMBOK. Each of these processes have a set of inputs, tools&techniques and outputs. Every process in the PMBOK is associated to a ‘Knowledge area’ and a ‘Process group’. For example the process ‘Develop project charter’ is part of ‘Project integration management’ knowledge area and ‘Initiating’ process group. In page number 25 of PMBOK Version 6, this is depicted in detail as a two dimensional array.

During project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, controlling and closing, enormous amount of data is generated, which gets processed into information and then to reports.

Should we follow every process of PMBOK in every project?. The answer is ‘No’. Based on the nature of the project (magnitude, complexity, engineering discipline etc), project managers must tailor the project management processes for better value.

Project management business documents

  • Project business case – Documented economic feasibility study of the project , generally owned by the project sponsor
  • Project benefits management plan – Processes for creating, maximizing and sustaining the benefits provided by a project. Project manager provides inputs for maintaining these.

Contents of project business case

  • Why are we doing this project?
  • Key stakeholders affected
  • High level scope of the project
  • Analysis of the situation
  • Recommended solutions / alternatives analysis
  • Milestone list

Project benefit management plan

  • Benefit milestones and dates , Benefit owner
  • Alignment of the benefits to the organizational business strategy
  • Benefit measuring logic, systems
  • Assumptions and risks

Project success measures

Establishing the project success criteria with the involvement of all the key stakeholders upfront in a project increases the probability of success. Must be documented and can include;

  • Definition of success for the project
  • Success measuring parameters
  • Critical success factors
  • Adherence to the project business management plan
  • Meeting the agreed upon financial ratios used while justifying the project selection;
  • Net Present Value (NPV) = (Sum of the present value of all future cash flows – initial investment)
  • Return On Investment (ROI)
  • Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  • Pay Back Period (PBP) – The year in which we can take recover the initial investment from the project
  • Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) = (Sum of the present value of all future cash flows) / Initial investment

References : PMBOK Version 6 Pages , TCM Framework

Watch “Want to learn better? Start mind mapping | Hazel Wagner | TEDxNaperville” on YouTube

Applying Earned Value Management successfully

Applying-Earned-Value-Management-successfully – WorkAsOne ­

When is Earned Value Management (EVM) applicable?

We say: in every single construction project.

We are not the only ones who think so.

Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE), being more function and detail-oriented, addresses this at length in their Recommended Practices. AACE defines two key concepts in EVM: 1) measurable work progress; and 2) a focus on planning to establish the performance measurement baseline (PMB) against which performance will be tracked and evaluated. AACE’s five guidelines form the foundation for the quality planning process and are identified as one of the two key concepts of EVM, namely:

1. Define Work Breakdown Structure

2. Identify Organizations

3. Integrate Subsystems

4. Identify Overhead Control

5. Integrate WBS and Organization Breakdown Structure

AACE then addresses how to generate and analyse EVM information on a routine basis. The guidelines specify at least monthly reporting although some programs receive reports and perform analysis more frequently.

But to start with, what is EVM? Why is it so useful as a measuring and monitoring tool? Let’s understand the basics.

Click here to read the complete article

Agile nirvana – An iterative and incremental list

Everybody wants true peace (nirvana) and very few achieves it. In I.T, majority wants to go for agile, and they take a plunge, but very few reaps the real benefits of agile. They are quite satisfied with the benefits the ceremonies like daily stand ups, planning meeting etc, without really dwelling into the benefits of culturally challenging stuff like work volunteering, true retrospectives, velocity calculations, agile principles etc..If one can get up early, walk up to the place of worship, being part of the prayer group also provides a sense of well being, and many get satisfied with the tip of this iceberg of benefits. Following agile very often resembles being part of an elite group physically, without any mind share. Very often the ‘association’ tag alone helps to elevate the social status of the individual, even when they are not part of it in the true sense. Here are some of the reasons why people follow or want to follow agile …

1) Some plunge into it, because they are so fed up with the current state. They want to improve the way they do work, and the resulting product.

2) Some follow it, because the customer is insisting for it (contractual obligation).

3) Some follow it because anything is fine with them.

4) Some follow it because they want to learn it, and get ready for the next job.

5) Some others follow it, because they want to add the word Ágile’ to their resume.

6) Some follow it, to learn it.

7) Some follow it to use their learning.

8) Some follow it to prove that agile is a failure, and will not work for their team / organization.

9) Some follow it to discipline their bosses (chickens).

10) Some follow it to make the product owner  more accountable for the requirements.

11) Some use it to focus their guns on the opposition (organizational politics)

12) Some follow it because they want to get trained on agile, at the company’s expense.

13) Some follow it, because they do not know any sort of project management, and they want to start with agile.

14) Some follow it because it is someone’s KRA (Key responsibility area)

15) Some follow it, because of peer pressure.

16) Some follow it to become a scrum master

17) Some follow it to prove their capability, beyond their job title

18) Some follow it to become a PMI-ACP

19) Some follow it to understand it, so that they can audit a project better (violation)

20) Some follow it, hoping that it will resolve all their organizational problems

21) Some follow it, because they want to build great products

22) Some follow it because they want to improve their work culture

23) Some follow it to build an organizational culture

24) Some follow it, to reduce cost

25) Some use it to improve productivity

26) Some use it to escape from unpaid overtime (agile talks about 8 hour working days)

27) Some use it to please the management

28) Some use it to improve themselves as a professional

29) Some use it, because they see it very close to the natural way of doing things

30) Some use it, to master it, to become consultants and trainers

31) Some use it, because they already bought an overpriced certification, and want to use it somewhere

32) Some use it, to tell their customers that they are agile

33) Some follow to get everyone in office at sharp 9, they even have evening standups to ensure people leave not before 9

34) Some follow because they have been told to follow, just one more status report (not a replacement), since the people who told them to follow like things the way it is, they have just been told to follow themselves.

35) Some follow, but are still too immature to manage people. Its more a process/job to them then the “culture” agile demands.

36) Some follow a lot, and fall on their face, because they cant say no to their bosses.

Incomplete….feel free to add….

Anyway everyone is using it…..

Portfolio, Program, Projects harmony

What is a project?

  1. Projects are temporary endeavors 
  2. Produces unique products or services as output

Projects are temporary in nature. That means, every project has a definite start date and end date. After the completion of the project, the team is dispersed.

Projects deliver Unique products or services as an output. Developing a new online course is a project. Designing a new car is a project. Manufacturing cars in large numbers does not fall in the category of projects as the output is not unique. Manufacturing cars falls under operations.


Projects drive change. Projects helps organizations to achieve their business goal, which is a movement from one state to another. Projects enable business value creation.  Projects are initiated due to these four factors;

  • To meet statutory, legal or social requirements. (New labor law can trigger a new payroll system. A new tax pattern also can trigger changes in the accounting procedures.
  • To satisfy stakeholder requests or needs (need for faster internet, need for online training programs, need for cheaper transportation)
  • Implement or change business or technological strategies (digital marketing strategy, online business strategy)
  • Create, Improve or fix products, processes or services (Faster mobile connectivity, Reduction in traffic jams, Improving safety)

Project management

Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements (PMBOK)


A program is a collection of inter-related projects, which when done together gives more value / benefits,  than doing them one after the other. A program is a collection of related sub-programs, projects, sub-projects that are managed as a program in a coordinated way through program management, performed by program managers. 

Example :-

Program – Reduce traffic jams  managed by Program manager. Comprises of multiple related projects. Each of these component projects are managed by Project managers. These project managers report to the program manager.

Program to reduce traffic jams


Projects are temporary endeavours delivering unique products or services within the agreed upon time, cost and scope. Contrary to this, operations are ongoing in nature and delivers standard output. Designing a car is a project where as manufacturing cars falls under operations.

Programs are groups of inter-related projects, which when done together provides more value than doing them sequentially. Programs are managed by program managers. Project managers of the component projects reports to the program manager.


Organizations have business goals to accomplish. Organizational strategies supports the accomplishment of these business goals. Organizational strategies are implemented through programs, projects and other work. A project portfolio is a collection of projects, programs, sub-programs and other work which constitute the portfolio. Project portfolios are always linked to the accomplishment of organizational goals, and they are managed by Portfolio managers.

Portfolio management

Portfolio management is the centralized management of one or more portfolios to achieve strategic objectives, performed by portfolio managers. . While the programs have inter-related projects, the programs , sub-programs and projects within a portfolio need not be inter-related. For example, in my project portfolio, I have PMP online and PMI-ACP online and they are inter-related and at the same time they are part of my organizational strategy to accomplish my business goals.

Portfolio management comprises of;

  1. Choosing the best projects in terms of return on investment (ROI), Payback period which are in true alignment to the organizational strategy for growth.
  2. Maintaining the alignment of the organizational strategy and the projects by overseeing the execution of these projects / programs at a higher level and at the same time monitoring their alignment to the organizational strategy (which can change during project execution time, hence re-alignment may be required)
  3. Post implementation monitoring the actual benefits Vs benefits forecast at the time of project selection.

Operations Management

Operations management relates to the ongoing production of goods or services.

Portfolios aligns the programs, sub-programs and stand alone projects with the business strategy, thus achieving better effectiveness.

Program management optimizes the planning and execution of the program components thus bringing better efficiency.

Project management ensures successful completion of the projects within the agreed upon time, cost and scope.

Why are the processes in PMBOK numbered from 4 onwards?

The processes in PMBOK are numbered from 4 onwards because chapters 1,2,3 contains the topics given below.

  • The standard for project management
  • The standard for portfolio management
  • The standard for program management
  • Code of ethics and professional conduct
  • Projects
  • Project initiation context
  • Projects, programs, portfolio and operations management
  • Organizational project management and strategies
  • Structure of PMBOK
  • Project and development lifecycles
  • Project phase
  • Phase gate
  • Project management processes
  • Project management process groups
  • Project management knowledge areas
  • Project management data and information
  • Tailoring
  • Project management business documents
  • Project business case
  • Project benefits management plan
  • Project charter and project management plan
  • Project success measures
  • Enterprise environmental factors
  • Organizational process assets
  • Organizational systems
  • Organizational structure types
  • Project management office
  • The role of the project manager
  • Project manager competencies
  • Comparison of Leadership and management
  • Performing integration

Project integration management comes under chapter 4. The first process under this knowledge area ‘Develop project charter’ is numbered at 4.1.

Project stakeholder management

If we can maintain the project stakeholders satisfied throughout the project, then the project is successful. The first step towards this is aggressive stakeholder identification and stakeholder’s expectation management. The positive expectations must be maximized where as the negative expectations must be minimized. While the stakeholder register will vary across projects, the following list contains the most common project stakeholders;

  • The sponsor (the entities funding the project)
  • Project managers (Owner’s PM, Contractor’s PM, Consultant’s PM, Discipline wise PMs)
  • Program managers (If the project under consideration is part of a program)
  • Portfolio managers (If the project under consideration is part of a portfolio)
  • Project management office (PMOs)
  • Consultants
  • Team members
  • Supervisors
  • Equipment manufacturers / Suppliers
  • Procurement management teams
  • Risk management teams
  • Quality management teams
  • Safety department
  • Planning department
  • Competitors
  • Statutory bodies

I am sure that a detailed analysis will extend this list further. If we have to perform a detailed stakeholder analysis, we need to;

  1. Identify the stakeholders
  2. Perform stakeholder analysis
  3. Manage stakeholder engagement in the project

The following two blog post of mine published at  Wrench elaborates these concepts further;

The art of managing project stakeholders – Part 1 

The art of managing project stakeholders – Part 2


The output of the stakeholder analysis is the stakeholder classification into the quadrants


The high power / low interest category of stakeholders must be kept informed about the project progress using a milestone chart (summary level information). The high power / high interest category of stakeholders must get more detailed view of the project at frequent intervals in the form of   Milestone charts, High level schedules, Risk rating matrix, Project ‘S’ Curves etc. The Low power / Low interest category can be ignored. The Low power, High interest category must receive the project progress details at a frequency which will ensure their interest in the project. Very often, the low power – high interest category is very powerful as a segment. For example :- The product review bloggers. They are the opinion leaders, and they must be proactively managed.


Stakeholder engagement is one of the critical success factors for every project. Project managers must proactively plan for effective stakeholder identification and management throughout the project. Since stakeholders power is directly linked to their organizational structure (functional, strong matrix, weak matrix, balanced matrix, projectized, composite), a proper study of the stakeholder’s positions, and their organizational structures will help in better project risk management and communications management.