Project Management for Mere Mortals: The Tools, Techniques, Teaming, and Politics of Project Management

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Overview

Praise for Project Management for Mere Mortals®

Project Management for Mere Mortals is a must read for all project managers with responsibilities for large or small projects, regardless of industry or product. Baca has cleverly taken the (sometimes) difficult lexicon of project management and distilled it into easy-to-read, understandable concepts. Her case study examples lead Project Managers from Project Initiation through Project Close–and those between–with ease. In today’s growing discipline of Project Management, we must understand the potential hurdles and where to capitalize on prior knowledge. Baca is a Project Management guru. No person involved with the execution of projects should be without this book…ever.”

–Lisa Marie Jacobsen, CAPM, Project Manager, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Project Management for Mere Mortals is an excellent book for the beginning as well as the experienced project manager. At the elementary level, the concepts are clearly explained, and at the advanced level, hints and tips are explained that give new insight to the concepts. I especially liked the case studies that applied each chapter’s lessons.”

–Kaaren A. Walsh, PMP

“This book is an excellent learning tool for beginning Project Managers and a terrific resource for experienced Project Managers.”

–Janene A. Luders, PMP

Project Management for Mere Mortals® strips away the myths and mysteries of effective project management, giving you the skills, tools, and insights to succeed with your next project–and every project after that.

Long-time project manager and trainer, Claudia Baca, walks you through all five process groups of project management: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Baca examines each process group from the perspectives of the working project manager and team member, highlighting the organizational issues most likely to arise and offering proven solutions. For each process group, she presents tools you can start using right now–and demonstrates those tools at work in a realistic running case study.

This guide takes you from the absolute basics through advanced techniques, such as measures of performance and change control. You’ll learn how to

• Accurately scope projects and build workable timetables

• Create trustworthy budgets and use them to manage your project

• Organize work assignments for maximum efficiency

• Build project teams, and keep them motivated

• Intelligently assess quality goals, and decide “how good it has to be”

• Identify and mitigate the real risks your project will encounter

• Control changes and stay on track, no matter what surprises occur

• Close projects successfully, and learn lessons for future projects

• Gain crucial skills you’ll need for PMI certification

This book has been crafted to support professionals who are new (or almost new) to project management, as well as experienced project managers who want to handle complex projects and organizational politics more effectively. Whatever your role or assignment, it’s your fastest route to deep project management mastery.

Contents

Foreword by Kim Heldman, PMP xv

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xxv

About the Author xxvii

Chapter 1 Setting the Project Management Context 1

Chapter 2 You’ve Been Assigned a Project! 19

Chapter 3 How Big Is This Project? 53

Chapter 4 Laying Out the Work 99

Chapter 5 The Art of Estimating 131

Chapter 6 Quality–How Good Does It Have to Be? 169

Chapter 7 Communication–What Do You Think About My Project? 207

Chapter 8 Risk–What Should You Worry About? 257

Chapter 9 Creating the Schedule 291

Chapter 10 Budgeting–How Much? 331

Chapter 11 The Rhythm of Project Execution 369

Chapter 12 Keeping the Project on Track 397

Chapter 13 Controlling Changes 421

Chapter 14 Success!–Closing the Project 441

Answers to the Review Questions 457

Glossary 471

Bibliography 477

Index 479

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321423450
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 7/11/2007
  • Series: For Mere Mortals Series
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 1,287,358
  • Product dimensions: 7.06 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Claudia M. Baca, PMP, PMI OPM3 ®, Certified Assessor and Consultant, has been active in the project management industry since 1984 and has project management experience in the information technology, telecommunications, and e-commerce industries. During her long and varied career, Claudia has managed multiple mission-critical projects for companies as varied as a major telecommunications company to an Internet start-up company. She most recently was the vice president of Consulting Services for a nationally known project management consulting firm. Currently, Claudia is an independent consultant focusing on project management consulting and training. She lectures for the Project Management Institute’s Denver chapter, as well as teaches for Colorado State University and Denver’s Front Range Community College.

Claudia was a member of the leadership team that produced the standard for Project Management Maturity,OPM3, and is currently working on the second edition of that standard. She has a Master’s Certificate in Program Management from Denver University and earned her PMP in 1995.

Claudia is also an experienced writer and technical editor. She coauthored the paper “Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3)”, presented at the PMI Global Congress Europe in 2003. She coauthored the paper “The Past, the Present and the Future of OPM3 ,” presented at the PMI Global Congress North America, 2004, and also coauthored “OPM3–The Path to Organizational Achievement of Strategic Business Improvement,” presented at the PMI North American Congress in October 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, she is the technical editor of the PMP Project Management Professional Study Guideand the IT Project + Study Guide , and is the coauthor of PMP Project Management Professional Workbook , all published by Sybex. In 2005, Claudia published the Project Management Spotlight on Change Managementin March and the PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide Deluxe Editionin August, both by John Wiley Publishing. Her first work for Addison-Wesley is Project Management for Mere Mortals , in 2007.

Claudia was the first person to be certified by PMI® and Det Norske Veritas (DNV) as a PMI Certified OPM3 ® Assessor and Consultant. She has assessed and improved project management maturity in organizations ranging in size from a nuclear power plant to a 50-employee telecommunication networking company.

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Read an Excerpt

Whether you think you can or think you can’t: either way you are right.
—Henry Ford

I started my career in project management many years ago when a wise woman I worked for told me about a new discipline called “project management” and suggested I check it out. I signed up for a class called “Government Project Management.” On the first day of class, I walked into a room with 19 men in military uniform—I was the only woman and the only person from the private sector in the class. After I completed the class, my organization decided that I was now a project manager, and it gave me a very complex project to run that included changing more than 500 software modules from all parts of the organization. I delivered the project three months late and well over budget. My career continued on, with me learning from the school of hard knocks until 1995.

In 1995, I attained my Project Management Professional designation from the Project Management Institute and also received a Master’s Certificate in Program Management from Denver University. These two accomplishments changed my career and my outlook on project management. Since receiving these two designations, I have never missed a triple constraint on a project for which I was the project manager. Now I can’t say that I haven’t negotiated a new date, new Measures of Performance (MOP), or a new budget since then, but my clients and sponsors have since willingly agreed to the change based on what was best for their business and the project.

What Is This LiveLesson About?

This LiveLesson contains the knowledge I’ve gained over the years, as well as the wisdom shared by my friends who are experienced project managers. It covers the basics of good project management built on the good practices in The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide). It also includes tried-and-true techniques for making projects work and work well.

The LiveLesson is organized into sessions that cover specific topics of project management. For example, Session 7 is about project quality; in it you will learn about processes, tools, and techniques that you can use to ensure quality on your projects.

A unique feature of this LiveLesson is the collaboration between this course and Microsoft Project for Mere Mortals® by Patti Jansen. Patti’s book and this course were developed in conjunction with each other. Based on that collaboration, you’ll find a topic described in this course, for instance, resource leveling. You’ll see this course use that feature in Microsoft Project, and then you can go to Patti’s book and find detailed information about that Microsoft Project function. With this course and her book, you have everything you need to manage your next project using sound tools and techniques and Microsoft Project.

Who Should Use This Course?

Originally I intended this course to be an introductory project management course. As I developed it, though, I realized that many facets of this course are applicable to project managers with different levels of experience. My reviewers confirmed this; they learned about new tools and techniques while reviewing the manuscript, even though they have been project managers for many years. Here is a synopsis of what is available for each of you.

New Project Managers

As a new project manager, you will learn about the basics of your craft in this course. You’ll find, as you get more into your newly chosen profession, that some projects need more rigor than others. I have noted throughout this course where you should apply the different processes described. You’ll find techniques you can use now and some that you will probably decide to use later in your career as you become more skilled.

Intermediate-Level Project Managers

You’ve managed a few projects and things are getting better on each, but you are looking for a way to make a quantum leap to completely successful project management. This is the course for you. Here you have the opportunity to review what you do against the processes outlined in this course. You can refine your own processes based on what you find here. Besides, with the time it takes to manage a successful project, you probably haven’t had the time to spend on certain areas, like the work politics that surround you (covered in Session 17). Here’s your opportunity to tackle some of those tough subjects in one-session increments.

Experienced Professionals

As an experienced project management professional, you have honed your craft and have gotten to be a really good project manager. You may find, though, that there are still a few areas of your profession that you’d like to learn more about or refine. You’ll find a myriad of sound techniques to warrant your time in this course. Also, the way the course is organized lets you focus on the topic you’re interested in and gives specific ideas on how to handle that situation.

How This Course Is Organized

The course is structured around project management topics. It starts with a session defining some of the concepts of project management, and then continues with sessions on planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. While the structure is sequential and can be viewed from session to session, if you prefer, you can zone in on specific topics and view how to handle project risks from those perspectives. The LiveLesson format makes it perfect for you to learn about one topic at one time and then come back at a later time and view a different subject.

The following are the sessions in this course.

  • Session 1, Setting the Project Management Context, establishes the structure of project management and introduces you to some fundamental definitions.
  • Session 2, You’ve Been Assigned a Project!, discusses how to successfully start a project. You’ll explore initiating a project and the preliminary documentation that must be produced at the start of the project. In addition, you’ll learn about Measures of Performance, which are a terrific way to get clear about the project’s expected results.
  • Session 3, How Big Is This Project?, helps you define the scope of the project. Basically, that means asking this multipart question: How do you progressively elaborate the MOP to create the scope, the work breakdown structure, and the order of magnitude estimates for the project?
  • Session 4, Creating Product Requirements, walks you through the process of creating good product requirements.
  • Session 5, Laying Out the Work, continues the work of progressively elaborating the work breakdown structure (WBS). You will take the work packages and create activities or tasks, apply the completion criteria, and then transform the WBS into a network diagram.
  • Session 6, The Art of Estimating, provides everything you need to successfully create estimates. It explores the different types of estimates as well as the different estimating techniques.
  • Session 7, Quality—How Good Does It Have to Be?, is devoted entirely to the issue of project quality, a topic that most project management courses don’t spend a lot of time on. The session includes planning quality into your project and the concept of the cost of quality.
  • Session 8, Communication—What Do You Think about My Project?, covers one of the most important planning elements you need to complete for your project: the planning of your communication. It introduces a communication template that spells out the “who, what, when, where, and why” of communication.
  • Session 9, Risk—What Should You Worry About?, lays out a methodology that is easy to use and yet effective when you deal with risk. This strategy can be easily modified depending on the size of your project and the rigor you want to apply.
  • Session 10, Creating the Schedule, describes tools and techniques that will help you pull together your schedule and meet the requested project end date.
  • Session 11, Budgeting—How Much?, covers how to build a budget, including how to reconcile the amount you’ve been given with what you actually need.
  • Session 12, The Rhythm of Project Execution, introduces you to the activities you must complete to execute your project. We’ll explore each thoroughly, as well as what it takes to build a rhythm.
  • Session 13, Keeping the Project on Track, discusses the important topics of variance and the earned value technique. Once you understand these concepts, you can then determine the impact of the variances and take corrective actions.
  • Session 14, Controlling Changes, walks you through a change control process so you will know how to construct your own effective process.
  • Session 15, Success!—Closing the Project, covers the activities you perform just before the end of a project: planning the end of the project, conducting a readiness review, verifying your deliverables, and turning the project over to operations. It also discusses the last set of activities that you perform to close the project—archiving the project documentation and gathering lessons learned.
  • Session 16, Building Effective Teams, explores the specific skills you need to set up an effective team, and what you need to do to move your team through the forming, storming, and norming stages to the performing stage.
  • Session 17, Working Project Politics, discusses the concept of you, the project manager, as your own public relations firm, and how to do some analysis to understand and defend yourself in the political environment surrounding you and your project.
About the Opening Quote

Henry Ford’s quote at the beginning of this preface emphasizes that success is all about attitude. Project management is a discipline that you can learn and execute well, but the basis of your success is really going to depend on your attitude. If you “think you can,” you will. You will find solutions. You will find mentors. You will find video mentors. You will find reference tools that guide you through the ins and outs of project management. I hope that this course becomes part of your success.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword by Kim Heldman, PMP xv

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xxv

About the Author xxvii

Chapter 1 Setting the Project Management Context 1

Chapter 2 You’ve Been Assigned a Project! 19

Chapter 3 How Big Is This Project? 53

Chapter 4 Laying Out the Work 99

Chapter 5 The Art of Estimating 131

Chapter 6 Quality–How Good Does It Have to Be? 169

Chapter 7 Communication–What Do You Think About My Project? 207

Chapter 8 Risk–What Should You Worry About? 257

Chapter 9 Creating the Schedule 291

Chapter 10 Budgeting–How Much? 331

Chapter 11 The Rhythm of Project Execution 369

Chapter 12 Keeping the Project on Track 397

Chapter 13 Controlling Changes 421

Chapter 14 Success!–Closing the Project 441

Answers to the Review Questions 457

Glossary 471

Bibliography 477

Index 479

Read More Show Less

Preface

Preface

Whether you think you can or think you can't: either way you are right.
—Henry Ford

I started my career in project management many years ago, when a wise woman I worked for said she had heard about a new discipline called project management and thought I should go to a class and check it out. I signed up for the class, called "Government Project Management." On the first day, I walked into a room of 19 men in military uniform. I was the only woman and the only person from the private sector. When I was finished with the class, my organization decided that I was now a project manager and gave me a very complex project to run that included changing more than 500 software modules from all parts of the organization. I delivered the project three months late and well over budget. My career continued on, with me learning from the school of hard knocks until 1995.

In 1995, I attained my Project Management Professional designation from the Project Management Institute, and also received a Master's Certificate in Program Management from Denver University. These two accomplishments changed my career and my outlook on project management. Since I've received those two designations, I have never missed a triple constraint on a project for which I was the project manager. Now, I can't say that I didn't negotiate a new date, a new MOP, or a new budget since then. But my client or sponsor willingly agreed to the change based on what was best for the business and the project.

What Is This Book About?

This book contains my knowledge gained over the years, as well as the knowledge of my friends who are great project managers. It covers the basics of good project management built on the good practices in The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). It also covers tried-and-true techniques for making projects work—and work well.

The book is organized by chapters that cover specific topics of project management. For example, Chapter 6 is all about project quality. But each chapter also has five sections for you to use. The first several parts of every chapter explore the mechanics of project management specific to the topic at hand. You will encounter processes, tools, and techniques that you can use to successfully deal with that topic on your projects.

The next section in each chapter deals with the human resources on your project. How do you get your project team to work with you to create the objectives of the project? How do you build an atmosphere of success in which people want to work?

Following the human resources section is a section that covers project politics. Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to deliver good projects. But I always had the feeling of being a salmon trying to swim upstream. It was never easy because of the politics in my organizations. In the politics section, you'll investigate techniques for establishing a good offense for project politics, as well as learn what to do when a good offense is not enough.

Each chapter has a case study section. This case study introduces our project manager hero, Chris Williams. You'll watch as Chris uses the tools and techniques introduced in the chapter, as well as those you learned about in previous chapters.

Finally, each chapter includes a set of review questions that cover the most important tools and techniques covered in that chapter. You'll find the answers to the review questions in the Appendix.

A unique feature of this book is the collaboration between this book and Microsoft Project for Mere Mortals, by Patti Jansen. These books were developed in conjunction with each other. Based on that collaboration, when you read about a topic described in this book, you can go to Patti's book and see how you would handle the same topic in MS Project. With the two books, you'll have everything you need to manage your next project using sound tools and techniques and MS Project.

Who Should Read This Book?

The original intent of this book was to be a beginning project management book. Through the development, though, I've come to realize that facets of it apply to many different levels of experienced project managers. My reviewers have confirmed that they learned about new tools and techniques, even though they have been project managers for many years. Here's a synopsis of what is available for each of you.

New Project Managers

As a new project manager, you will find the basics of your craft covered in the pages of this book. As you get deeper into your newly chosen profession, you'll that some projects need more rigor than others. I have noted throughout this book where you should apply the different processes described. You'll find techniques that you can use now and some that you will probably decide to use later in your career, as you get better at your craft.

Intermediate Experienced Project Managers

You've managed a few projects, and things are getting better with each one. You are looking for a way to make a quantum leap to completely successful project management. This is the book for you. Here you have the opportunity to review what you do against the processes of this book. You can refine your own processes based on what you find here. Besides, with the time it takes to manage a successful project, you probably haven't had the time to spend on the politics that are surrounding you. Here's your opportunity to tackle some of those tough subjects in one book.

Experienced Professionals

As an experienced project management professional, you have honed your craft and grown to be a really good project manager. However, you might find a few areas of your profession that need a little work. You'll find a myriad of sound techniques in this book to warrant your time. Also, the book has been organized to enable you to find exactly the topic you are looking for, with specific ideas on how to handle that situation.

How This Book Is Organized

The book is structured around project management topics. I start with a chapter defining some of the concepts of project management. But from the next chapter on, the book covers the topics in the order of planning activities: executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing. It looks as if the structure is sequential and that you must read the book start to finish. However, you can zone in on a specific topic and read about, for example, how to handle project risks from a planning perspective. Here's what each chapter covers:

Chapter 1, "Setting the Project Management Context." This chapter establishes the structure of project management. I cover some of the fundamental definitions you should know. In the "Teaming" section, I cover the fundamental skills you should possess to effectively manage your team. And in "Politics," you explore the overarching political environment in which a project manager works.

Chapter 2, "You've Been Assigned a Project!" This chapter is all about starting a project successfully. You'll explore project initiation and the preliminary documentation that must be produced at the start of the project. A new concept, Measures of Performance, is introduced here. MOPs are a terrific way to get clear about the results of the project. In "Teaming," you investigate how to get the best people assigned to your project. "Politics" covers planning for the politics that lie ahead.

Chapter 3, "How Big Is This Project?" You start this chapter by defining the scope of the project. Basically, that means asking this multipart question: How do you progressively elaborate the MOP to create the scope, the work breakdown structure, and the order of magnitude estimates for the project? A major element of the scope statement is product requirements, which I also cover here. The "Teaming" section is concerned with successfully getting the key players engaged in the work of the project. It also covers how to get people to work for you effectively when they don't report to you on paper. In the "Politics" section, you'll read about building alliances, who to target for alliances, and how to successfully create confidence in your project.

Chapter 4, "Laying Out the Work." This chapter continues the work of progressively elaborating the work breakdown structure. In it, you use the work packages to create activities or tasks. Then completion criteria are applied before the WBS is transformed into a network diagram.

One of the tools and techniques used in the "Teaming section" is called team norms. I expand on this topic in the "Politics" section and talk about the rules of engagement when working with executives.

Chapter 5, "The Art of Estimating." This chapter provides everything you need to successfully create estimates. It explores the different types of estimates as well as the different estimating techniques.

In the "Teaming" section, I spend some time looking at a technique you can use to build the team while you get estimates created. The "Politics" section covers how to deal with a boss who creates estimates for you.

Chapter 6, "Quality—How Good Does It Have to Be?" Most project management references don't spend a lot of time on project quality. This book devotes an entire chapter to the subject. The chapter covers quality from the moment you plan quality into your project, all the way through the concept of the cost of quality.

In the "Teaming" section, you'll concentrate on the Storming phase of project team development. In the "Politics" section, you'll learn how to use the same quality concepts to enhance your interactions with your executive team.

Chapter 7, "Communications—What Do You Think about My Project?" It is time in this chapter to move into one of the most important planning elements that must be completed for your project: planning your communication. I introduce a communication template that spells out the "who, what, when, where, and why" of communication.

After you have stepped through the entire template, you will see how you can effectively apply communication to your project team. I also cover some special tactics that you can use when your executive sponsor has lost interest in the project.

Chapter 8, "Risk—What Should You Worry About?" In this chapter, I spend some time laying out a methodology that is easy to use yet effective when dealing with risk. You can easily modify this strategy, depending on the size of your project and the rigor you want to apply.

In the "Teaming" section, I talk about the project pessimist and how this person can really help you effectively plan the risks of your project. In the "Politics" section, the discussion revolves around how to let your executives know about project risks before they happen.

Chapter 9, "Creating the Schedule." This chapter introduces tools and techniques that help you pull together your schedule and meet the project end date that the project sponsor requested.

The "Teaming" section explores how to get commitment on project work and move through the stages of team development by doing project scheduling work together. In the "Politics" section, I talk about setting the stage for success or running into possible problems.

Chapter 10, "Budgeting—How Much?" I explore the last planning activity in this chapter, budgeting. I cover building the budget, including all the components that make up the budget, through reconciling the amount you've been given with what you actually need.

In the "Teaming" section, I cover rewards and recognition. I explore a technique that doesn't cost much but that works incredibly well to motivate the team. In "Politics," I discuss the importance of executive education, as well as how to sell budgeting best practices to your executives.

Chapter 11, "The Rhythm of Project Execution." You will be amazed in this chapter by the activities that are required for you to complete the execution of your project. I explore each thoroughly, along with what it takes to build a rhythm.

The "Teaming" section covers the importance of training the project team; the "Politics" section investigates how to deal with some executive personality types that you might have seen in your career.

Chapter 12, "Keeping the Project on Track." I explore some important topics in this chapter: variance and the earned value technique. When you understand these concepts, you can explore how to determine the impact of the variances and take corrective action.

The "Teaming" section covers the behaviors that you want to find, reward, and encourage in your team members. The "Politics" section addresses rumor control and your strategy for handling rumors.

Chapter 13, "Controlling Changes." This chapter covers the concept of change control. I explore a change-control process step by step so you will know how to construct your own effective process. You'll find that change requests are disruptive to the project team. This chapter explores tools and techniques in the "Teaming" section to combat those disruptions. In the "Politics" section, I discuss how to work with a Change Control Board (CCB) to get the right decisions needed for your project.

Chapter 14, "Success!—Closing the Project." This chapter covers the activities that you perform just before the end of your project. You'll spend time planning the end of the project, conducting a readiness review, verifying your deliverables, and, finally, turning over the project to operations. I also cover the last set of activities that you perform to close the project, archiving the project documentation and gathering lessons learned.

In the "Teaming" section, I cover a situation that I call the 95 percent phenomenon. I give you some practical ways of getting the team motivated to complete the project. In the "Politics" section, I discuss how to blow your own horn—tactfully and gracefully.

The book finishes with an appendix, "Answers to the Review Questions," and a glossary. The appendix contains the answers to the review questions at the end of each chapter.

About the Opening Quote

I started this preface with a quote from Henry Ford. In it, he says that success is all about attitude. Project management is a discipline that you can learn and execute well. But the basis of your success is really all about your attitude. If you hold to the vision "think you can," you will. You will find solutions. You will find mentors. You will find reference books that guide you though the ins and outs of project management. My hope is that this book becomes part of your success.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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