Project Management

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Bryan Campbell

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Bryan Campbell is an Enterprise Agile Coach and Project Manager with more than 25 years of experience managing projects, programs and PMOs around the world.  He specializes in Agile and Digital Transformations and has worked with a number of Fortune 500 organizations helping them with their Transformation journeys.

Jeff Allen

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Jeff Allen is a highly regarded project management and agile expert. He has over 15 years of leadership experience in project management and agile at companies like Compaq and HP. As an Agile Coach, he has mentored over 5000 professionals globally.

Timothy T. Gaffney

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Timothy T. Gaffney has over 35 years of experience in the Engineering and Telecommunications industries.  As a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Tim delivered significant increases in revenues on multiple projects.  As an Agile Scrum Master, Tim led efforts that provided rapid, expert team-driven updates via enhanced workflows to improve the customer service process significantly.  […]

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Deborah Ashby is a Microsoft IT Trainer and content creator specializing in the design, delivery and facilitation of Microsoft training courses both online and in the classroom. Deborah has been an IT Trainer for 15 years in the private and public sectors and has been supporting Microsoft products for 25 years. Deborah went freelance two […]

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Ms. Casperson is a very passionate and accomplished trainer/instructor, with a PMP certification training focus. Kimberly facilitates learning and keeps the students engaged, going the extra mile to ensure students understand the intense material, while adding elements of challenge and entertainment to the classroom.

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Main Characteristics and Life Cycle of a Project

A project life cycle is that the sequence of phases that a project goes through from its initiation to its closure. the quantity and sequence of the cycle are determined by the management and numerous different factors like wants of the organization concerned within the project, the character of the project, and its space of application. The phases have a precise begin, end, and management purpose and are forced by time. The project lifecycle will be outlined and changed as per the wants and aspects of the organization. despite the fact that each project includes a definite begin and finish, the actual objectives, deliverables, and activities vary wide. The lifecycle provides the fundamental foundation of the actions that has got to be performed within the project, no matter the particular work concerned.

Project life cycles will vary from prognosticative or plan-driven approaches to adjustive or change-driven approaches. in a very prognosticative life cycle, the specifics are outlined at the beginning of the project, and any alterations to scope are fastidiously self-addressed. In associate degree adjustive life cycle, the merchandise is developed over multiple iterations, and elaborated scope is outlined for iteration solely because the iteration begins.

Characteristics of the Project Life Cycle

Although projects are unique and highly unpredictable, their standard framework consists of same generic lifecycle structure, consisting of following phases:

  1. The Initiation Phase: Starting of the project

  2. The Planning Phase: Organizing and Preparing

  3. The Execution Phase: Carrying out the project

  4. The Termination Phase: Closing the project

Characteristics of the Project Life Cycle

  1. The Initiation Phase: The initiation phase aims to define and authorize the project. The project manager takes the given information and creates a Project Charter. The Project Charter authorizes the project and documents the primary requirements for the project. It includes information such as:

    • Project’s purpose, vision, and mission

    • Measurable objectives and success criteria

    • Elaborated project description, conditions, and risks

    • Name and authority of the project sponsor

    • Concerned stakeholders

  2. The Planning Phase: The purpose of this phase is to lay down a detailed strategy of how the project has to be performed and how to make it a success.

    Project Planning consists of two parts:

    • Strategic Planning

    • Implementation Planning

    In strategic planning, the overall approach to the project is developed. In implementation planning, the ways to apply those decisions are sought.

  3. The Execution Phase: In this phase, the decisions and activities defined during the planning phase are implemented. During this phase, the project manager has to supervise the project and prevent any errors from taking place. This process is also termed as monitoring and controlling. After satisfaction from the customer, sponsor, and stakeholder’s end, he takes the process to the next step.

  4. The Termination Phase: This is the last phase of any project, and it marks the official closure of the project.

This general lifecycle structure is used when dealing with upper management or other people less familiar with the project. Some people might confuse it with the project management process groups, but the latter contains activities specific to the project. The project lifecycle, on the other hand, is independent of the life cycle of the particular outcome of the project. However, it is beneficial to take the current life-cycle phase of the product into account. It can provide a common frame of reference for comparing different projects

The generic life cycle structure commonly exhibits the following characteristics:

  • At the start, cost and staffing levels are low and reach a peak when the work is in progress. It again starts to drop rapidly as the project begins to halt.

  • The typical cost and staffing curve does not apply to all projects. Considerable expenses are required to secure essential resources early in its life cycle.

  • Risk and uncertainty are at their peak at the beginning of the project. These factors drop over the lifecycle of the project as decisions are reached, and deliverables are accepted.

  • The ability to affect the final product of the project without impacting the cost drastically is highest at the start of the project and decreases as the project advances towards completion. It is clear from the figure 2 that the cost of making new changes and rectifying errors increases as the project approaches completion.

Generic Life Cycle Structure of a Project

Generic Life Cycle Structure of a Project-2

These features are present almost in all kinds of project lifecycles but in different ways or to different degrees. Adaptive life cycles are developed particularly with the intent of keeping stakeholder influences higher and the costs of changes lower all through the life cycle than in predictive life cycles.

Let’s take a look at how knowledge on project lifecycle benefits an organization:

  • It helps professional services teams to be more proficient and profitable.

  • It helps the organization.

  • It makes the flow of communication easier.

  • It emphasizes on reporting and examining previous projects.

What is a Project-Based Organization?

According to PMBOK®, Project-based organizations (PBOs) check with varied structure forms that make temporary systems for completing their work. Businesses that require and expect quick innovation are possibly to be and suited to project-based organizations. several businesses like amusement, construction, aerospace, etc. organize their work by dividing it into varied comes. during a useful structure, departments are created to arrange work supported specialties like promoting and finance. However, during a project-based organization, most of the business functions are organized in comes. A small-business manager ought to think about adopting a project-based structure because it improves the potency of the work. Implementation of project-based management additionally offers hyperbolic responsiveness, permitting him to regulate quickly to plug changes.

Basic Project-Based Organization Structure

Basic Project-Based Organization Structure

As the name suggests, In PBOs, projects are the main units of conducting undertakings. There is a CEO or director at the top and managers of various departments under him. Under them are project teams consisting of various members like the analyst, architect, developer, tester, etc.

PBOs can be formed by different types of organizations including functional, matrix, or projectized. Implementation of a project-based system in the organization may diminish the hierarchy and bureaucracy in the organization. PBOs’ focuses on the final result of the projects instead of unnecessary politics and positions.

Functioning of Project-Based Organization

A project focusses on one specific task or target. It could be for internal development or for a client. To utilize these business opportunities, companies set up projects to work according to individual needs. The client suggests feedback and the team works according to it.

The manager is responsible for overall quality of the project. He ensures that projects have access to the team with the right functional expertise. The project managers’ responsibilities include choosing team members, assigning tasks to them, and monitoring performances. The team members execute all the plans and do all the work.

Advantages of Project-Based Organization

Numerous advantages are associated with project-based organization:

  • Opportunity: Due to the close interactions between project tasks and strategies of the organization, its products and services are improved, which in turn increases the business value and thus, opportunities for innovations and improvements are also enhanced.

  • Tact: The dynamic nature of a project allows its members to be exposed to different knowledge and skills. They get expertise in dealing with new and emerging challenges.

  • Knowledge Management: An uninhibited flow of knowledge transfer is encouraged in project-based organizations. They create ‘lessons learned’ repositories in which they share and carry forward their experiences and knowledge to successive projects, thus improving the overall standard and quality of project performance.

  • Effectiveness: The structural flexibility of PBOs facilitates the allocation of physical and human resources to endeavors that are of most benefit to the organization.

  • Equality: The chances of internal politics and favoritism reduce to a great extent.

  • Appraisals: Since the manager pays individual attention to each member of his team appraisals, and dedication of team members increases.

  • Flexibility: The response time and flexibility improves because the manager has direct authority over project operations.

Disadvantages of Project-Based Organization

  • A project team is meant for delivering results, preferably without anyone’s help. Isolation from other teams could prove to be a drawback.

  • With less communication between teams, knowledge transfer might be a problem.

  • When personnel keeps shifting from one project to another, career continuity and professional growth of employees suffer.

The disadvantages in comparison to advantages are fairly insignificant and negligible. Project-based organizations are especially suitable for small or medium business organizations, desiring fast development of the organization and high-quality products. PBOs are based on and work on the philosophy that every little fragment of the work is important, irrespective of the size and structure of the organization. That’s why work is divided into projects so that individual and exclusive attention can be paid to the work.

How Project Management is influenced within an Organization?

A project is a very important enterprise in any organization, and therefore the success of the organization depends on its individual comes. the purpose to be thought of here is that whereas project’s success or failure will create or break a company, however the latter affects the previous.

Organizations are systematic arrangements of entities targeted at accomplishing a purpose, which can involve enterprise comes. associate degree organization’s surroundings, culture, style, structure, and lots of a lot of factors influence the performance of the comes. Its level of project management maturity and project management systems may also have an effect on the project. within the cases wherever external entities are concerned, like those who are a part of a venture or partnering agreement, the project are tormented by over one organization. the subsequent section explains these factors in detail:

Factors Influencing the Project Management:

Cultures and Styles

Cultures and designs are cluster phenomena called cultural norms, that are fashioned over time. It includes organization’s management vogue and nature. a number of these are the implementations of the folks that started the organization or are presently operating as senior officers at intervals the organization. alternative traits are the results of however the organization conducts its business supported shopper relations and market demands.

Organizational culture is meant and developed by the common experiences of members of the organization, and most organizations have fashioned distinctive cultures over time by common usage and apply. The experiences include:

  • Risk tolerance

  • Operating environments

  • Motivation and reward systems

  • Code of conduct, work hours, and work ethic

  • Regulations, policies, methods, and procedures

  • View of leadership, hierarchy, and authority relationships

The culture of an organization is an enterprise environmental factor. Cultures and styles are studied and followed and may have a high impact on a project’s ability to meet its goals. Therefore, a project manager should know the different organizational styles and cultures that can affect a project. He also needs to know which person in the organization is the decision maker or influencer and work with them to increase the possibility of a project’s success.

Structure of the Organization

Organizational structure is also an enterprise environmental factor, which can influence the availability of resources and affect how projects are conducted.

Organizational structures span from functional to projectized, with a variety (weak, balanced, and strong) of matrix structures in between them.

    1. Functional organization

      Functional organization

      The structure of a functional organization is rather simple. It consists of a hierarchy where each employee has one manager. The staff teams are grouped by specialty or department like engineering, production, marketing, and accounting at the top level. Specialties may then be subdivided into focused functional units, such as information technology or electrical for engineering. In a functional organization, each department will work independently of other departments.

    2. Projectized organization

      They use an entirely different type of business structure than that of functional organizations. It only has project groups, and very few functional departments and team members are often colocated. Most of the organization’s assets are involved in project work, and project managers have a great deal of independence and power. To accomplish the benefits of colocated teams, virtual collaboration techniques are often used. Projectized organizations have organizational units or departments, but reporting has to be done directly to the project manager or provide support services to the various projects.

      Projectized organization

    3. Matrix organization

      Matrix organizations are a mixture of functional and projectized characteristics. In a matrix organization, the team members report to two people: the project manager and the functional manager. It utilizes the benefits of each in completing the organization’s objectives by combining routinely produced deliverables and unique and specialized projects. Team members perform departmental work as well as project work.

      Matrix organizations can be categorized as weak, balanced, or strong depending on the relative level of influence and power between functional and project managers.

      Balanced matrix organization acknowledges the need for a project manager and does not give project manager full authority over the project and its funding.

      Balanced matrix

      Weak matrix organizations retain many characteristics of a functional organization. The role of the project manager is like that of a coordinator. He cannot himself make or implement any decision. He, however, has the authority to make some minor decisions, possess some power, and report to a higher-level manager.

      Weak matrix

      Strong matrix organizations resemble the characteristics of the projectized organization and have full-time project managers with significant authority and full-time project administrative staff.

      Strong matrix


Organizational communication impacts project management success to a great extent. In this age of globalization of the project management profession, effective organizational communication enables project managers to communicate with all relevant stakeholders within the organizational structure to assist decision making. Electronic communications (including e-mail, social media, instant messaging, video and web conferencing, and so on) could be used by stakeholders and project team members to communicate with the project manager formally or informally.

Process Assets

The plans, processes, procedures, policies, and knowledge bases particular to and used by the performing organization are termed as its organizational process assets.

Organizational process assets may be classified into two groups:

Processes and procedures

An organization’s procedures and processes for conducting project work include:

      • Initiating and Planning

      • Executing, Monitoring and Controlling

      • Closing

Corporate Knowledge Base

The organizational knowledge base for retrieving and storing information includes:

      • Configuration management knowledge bases

      • Financial databases

      • Historical information and lessons learned knowledge bases

      • Issue and defect management databases

      • Process measurement databases

      • Project files from previous projects

Environmental Factors

Enterprise environmental factors refer to conditions that affect, restrain, or direct the project and are not under the control of the project team. They are inputs to most planning processes, may make an impact on project management options, and may have a positive or negative influence on the result.

Enterprise environmental factors include:

    • Organizational structure, culture, and governance

    • Geographic distribution of resources and facilities

    • Government or industry

    • Infrastructure

    • Existing human resources

    • Personnel administration

    • Company work authorization systems

    • Marketplace conditions

    • Stakeholder risk tolerances

    • Political climate

    • An organization’s established communications channels

    • Commercial databases

    • Project management information system

Who are Project Stakeholders and Why are they Important for a Project?

A stakeholder is an individual, group, or organization who may affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project. Stakeholders are either directly involved in the project or have interests that may be affected by the project’s outcome. It includes normally the members of a project team: project managers, project sponsors, executives, customers, or users.

It’s beneficial and advisable to know about good stakeholder management skill and communicate constantly with stakeholders in order to collaborate on the project because after all, they are also affected by the product.

If a project is small in size, the number of stakeholders can be small. However, if it is large and expanded to a large area, one may have a huge number of stakeholders, including communities or the general public. Also, all stakeholders are not alike. They have different expectations and needs. One must treat every stakeholder uniquely according to their needs or else the stakeholders might feel left out which can put the project in danger.

Different stakeholders often have opposing expectations that might create clashes within the project. Stakeholders may also interfere in the project, its deliverables, and the project team to fulfill their strategic business objectives or other requirements.

Project governance

Project governance is the alignment of the project with stakeholders’ needs or objectives. It is critical for achieving organizational goals. It enables organizations to manage projects consistently and exploit the benefits of a project. It provides a framework which helps the project manager and sponsors to make decisions that suit both stakeholder needs and organizational objectives or deal with situations where they may not be aligned.

Type of Project Stakeholders

Project stakeholders can be classified into two types:

  1. Internal Stakeholders: As the name suggests, these are the people involved in a project from within. They include:

    • A sponsor

    • An internal customer or client (if the project started due to an internal need of the organization)

    • A project team

    • A program or portfolio manager

    • Management

    • Another team’s manager of the company

  2. External Stakeholders: These stakeholders are not directly involved but are engaged from outside and are affected by the project outcome.

    • An external customer or client (if project started due to a contract from external party)

    • An end user

    • Subcontractors

    • A supplier

    • The government

    • Local communities

    • Media

Why are stakeholders important for a project?

  • Stakeholders have different levels of duties and authority when contributing on a project. This level may differ as the project proceeds. It can range from occasional contributions to full project sponsorship.

  • Some stakeholders may also detract from the success of the project, either actively or passively. These stakeholders need the project manager’s attention during the whole time of project’s life cycle.

  • Stakeholder identification is a continuous process during the entire project life cycle. Identifying them, understanding their level of effect on a project, and satisfying their demands, needs, and expectations is essential for the success of the project.

  • Just as stakeholders can affect a project’s objectives positively or negatively, a project can be perceived by the stakeholders as having positive or negative results.

  • One of the most important responsibilities of a project manager is to manage stakeholder expectations, which can be problematic as stakeholders often have very diverse or conflicting objectives.

Project Stakeholders

Project Stakeholders

  • Sponsor:A sponsor is the person or group who provides supplies and support for the project and is liable for assisting success. He may be external or internal to the organization.

  • Customers and users: Customers are the people or organizations who will approve and manage the project’s product, service, or result. Users, as clear from the name, use the product.

  • Sellers: Sellers, also known as vendors, are external companies that enter into a contractual agreement to provide services or resources necessary for the project.

  • Business partners: They are external organizations that have a special relationship or partnership with the enterprise.

  • Organizational groups: Organizational groups are internal stakeholders who are influenced by the actions of the project team. For example, human resources, marketing, sales, legal, finance, operations, manufacturing, etc.

  • Functional managers: They are key individuals who play the role of management within an administrative or functional area of the business. For example, human resources, finance, accounting, etc.

  • Other stakeholders: They are additional stakeholders which include financial institutions, government regulators, subject matter experts, consultants, and others, which have a financial interest in the project, contributing inputs to the project, or have in the outcome of the project.

Stakeholders are people who get affected by your project or have any kind of interest in it. They can be internal, external, positive, negative, high power, low power, etc. However, to complete your project successfully you have to manage all these stakeholders and fulfill their prospects. If you fail to do so, your project may get jeopardized.

Different Types of Project Phases Explained!

A project phase is a collection of logically related project activities that concludes when one or all objectives of the project are achieved. A project could be divided into any number of phases. Project phases are required when the work to be performed is unique to a piece of the project and are typically linked to the development of a particular major deliverable.

A phase may stress processes from a specific Project Management Process Group, but each phase will execute most or all processes in one or the other form. The flow of project phases is usually sequential, but they can overlap too in some conditions. Different phases typically have a different effort or duration. They are considered elements of the project life cycle due to their high-level nature. Their numbers, needs, and the degree of control applied to depend on the complexity, size, and potential impact of the project.

Characteristics of phases:

  • All phases have similar characteristics, irrespective of their number comprising a project:

  • To achieve the primary objective or deliverable of the phase, one requires unique processes to the phase or its activities. The repetition of processes across all five Process Groups offers an additional degree of control and defines the boundaries of the phase.

  • In the end, some form of transfer or hand-off of the work product is expected to be produced as the phase deliverable. This phase end gives time to re-evaluate the activities underway and to modify or dismiss the project, whatever is the situation. This stage is also called as a stage gate, milestone, phase gate, phase review, or kill point. The closure of a phase has to be approved in any form before it can officially be considered closed.

There is no single standard structure for all projects. Even the projects in the same industry or same organization may have significant variation in the number and nature of their phases. Some will have only one phase; others may have two or more phases.

A diagram depicting a single phase project

Four Phases of the Project Management Lifecycle

As discussed in the previous articles, the four phases of the project management lifecycle are:

  1. Project Initiation

  2. Project Planning

  3. Project Execution

  4. Project Closure

Phase-to-Phase Relationships

In cases where projects have two or more phases, the phases are considered part of a sequential process. However, in some situations, the project might benefit from overlapping or concurrent phases.

The phase-to-phase relationships can be of two types:

  • Sequential relationship: In a sequential relationship, a new phase starts only when the preceding phase is complete. In the figure given below, you can see an example of a project with three entirely sequential phases. The step by- step nature of this approach decreases uncertainty, but may also remove options for reducing the overall schedule.

    Diagram depicting one approach to cleaning up a hazardous waste site

  • Overlapping relationship: In an overlapping relationship, as the name suggests, next phase starts before the completion of the previous one. Overlapping phases sometimes need additional resources because work has to be done in parallel. It may increase risk or could lead to rework if a succeeding phase progresses before correct information is gathered from the previous phase.

    Diagram depicting one approach to cleaning up a hazardous waste site

Predictive Life Cycles

In predictive life cycles, also known as fully plan-driven the three major constraints of the project, the scope, time and cost, are determined early in the project lifecycle. As it can be seen in the figure given below, these projects progress through a series of sequential or overlapping phases. Now the planning can be done for the entire project at a detailed level from the beginning of the project. Different work is usually performed in each phase. Therefore, the composition and skills required of the project team may vary from phase to phase.

Diagram showcasing an example of Predictive Life Cycles

Adaptive Life Cycles

Adaptive life cycles, also known as change-driven or agile methods, are used in cases of high levels of change or applications areas such as IT. Adaptive methods are also iterative and incremental, but the difference is that iterations are very rapid (typically with a duration of 2 to 4 weeks) and are fixed in time and cost. Sometimes the processes within the iterations can be going on in parallel.

A Brief Introduction into 10 Knowledge as per PMBOK6

Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas are the core technical subject matters of the project management profession, and these processes along with their individual inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs bring the project to life. There are ten project management knowledge areas covered by the PMBOK® 6th edition Guide.

The PMBOK® 6th Edition embraces 49 processes which are expanded from the earlier 47 processes. There are two knowledge areas which are renamed – Project Schedule Management which was earlier termed as Project Time Management and Project Resource Management which was previously called Project Human Resource Management. The earlier process called ‘Close Procurements’ has been deleted, and 3 new processes have been added into the PMBOK® 6th edition namely ‘Manage Project Knowledge’, ‘Implement Risk Responses’, and ‘Control Resources.’

10 Knowledge Areas in PMP as per the PMBOK® Guide

  1. Project Integration Management

    It is the knowledge area which contains the tasks that withhold the overall project together and integrates the project into a unified whole. This particular knowledge area touches the five phases of the project – Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. Starting from scheduling tasks, purchasing tasks, replacing team members, addressing risks, and re-scheduling tasks everything is covered under this particular phase.

    The Project Integration Management has seven processes included in it which are:

    1. Develop Project Charter
    2. Develop Project Management Plan
    3. Direct and Manage Project Work
    4. Manage Project Knowledge
    5. Monitor and Control Project Work
    6. Perform Integrated Change Control
    7. Close Project or Phase
  2. Project Scope Management

    Project Scope Management involves the project scope, that is, the work that is included in the project. The process is all about making sure that everyone concerned with the project is clear about what the project is aimed at and what it includes. Scope changes and alters mostly the project itself, so it is essential that the project boundaries are well defined from the beginning and are carefully monitored. Changes can occur at any point of time, but even the simplest of change can have a lasting result in the outcome of the project.

    The Project Scope Management includes six processes:

    1. Plan Scope Management
    2. Collect Requirements
    3. Define Scope
    4. Create WBS
    5. Validate Scope
    6. Control Scope
  3. Project Schedule Management

    Project Schedule Management is a process which refers to how the project manager manages his schedule for a particular project. It includes the time that is catered to complete each individual tasks pertaining to the project’s objectives with the desired skills, tools, and techniques. In order to become a successful project manager one has to clearly understand the activities of the project and should possess the necessary skills to plan, schedule, and control a project within its timeline. Apart from these skills, one must also be able to utilize schedule management tools to help them analyze, measure, and assess their time management techniques.

    There are six important processes in project schedule management, and they are:

    1. Plan Schedule Management
    2. Define Activities
    3. Sequence Activities
    4. Estimate Activity Duration
    5. Develop Schedule
    6. Control Schedule
  4. Project Cost Management

    Project Cost Management is the process that is concerned with planning and controlling the budget of the project. This process includes activities such as planning, budgeting, estimating, financing, funding, managing, and monitoring costs to make sure that the project is finished within the scheduled budget. It’s all about handling the project’s financial requirement. This phase covers and tracks the project’s total expenditure against the actual budget to make sure that the project is moving on track and within the fixed budget.

    The Project Cost Management Process are:

    1. Plan Cost Management
    2. Estimate Costs
    3. Determine Budget
    4. Control Costs
  5. Project Quality Management

    Project Quality Management is the main criteria when it comes to determining the value of a project. The project at all times is required to meet the standards which were originally defined for it. The bottom-line is that the quality of the project has to meet the needs of the stakeholders.

    This Project Quality Management knowledge Area covers three processes:

    1. Plan quality management
    2. Manage Quality
    3. Control Quality
  6. Project Resource Management

    In this method, it’s all about how the project manager runs the project team. Firstly, he has to understand as to what resources (people, equipment, facilities, funding) are required to complete the project at hand and then organize a team to execute the work involved. This method mainly concentrates on how the project is carried out utilizing the desired resources to complete a project activity.

    The processes included in this knowledge area are:

    1. Plan Resource Management
    2. Estimate Activity Resources
    3. Acquire Resources
    4. Develop Team
    5. Manage Team
    6. Control Resources
  7. Project Communications Management

    As the name suggests it is mostly about communication. 80% of the project manager’s job is to do with communication. Project communication is what keeps all the team members on the same page, if there exists a gap in the communication level, the project can have a negative impact on the final product of the project. Communication has to take place between the project manager, his team members, and the stakeholders involved in the project.

    This knowledge area also includes three processes:

    1. Plan Communications Management
    2. Manage Communications
    3. Monitor Communications

    There should be planning to determine what information needs to be communicated to all stakeholders involved in the project. This particular information must be readily available to the stakeholders and generated in a timely fashion. The performance of the project must be accounted for by reporting the status of the project, measuring and forecasting the project. Effective communication must be carried out through the stakeholders so that all the requirements are met, and the existing issues are promptly resolved.

  8. Project Risk Management

    Initially in the Project Risk Management process the project manager should conduct risk management work, and then identify and analyze risks, later he/she should develop risk response plan, which will control risks on an ongoing basis. These methods are introduced one-by-one to understand and assess the risks related to the project. It all depends on how one performs quantitative and qualitative risk assessments.

    There are seven project management processes involved in the Risk Management Knowledge Area:

    1. Plan Risk Management
    2. Identify Risks
    3. Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis
    4. Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
    5. Plan Risk Responses
    6. Implement Risk Responses
    7. Monitor Risks
  9. Project Procurement Management

    Procurement management process isn’t something that the project manager has to do on all projects, but it is quite common. This knowledge area relates to the process of purchasing or acquiring products, services, or results from outside the project team. This project knowledge area keeps track of all the project procurement and supplier work starting from planning on what needs to be bought, to get involved in the surrendering and acquiring process to executing the task of the supplier and closing the contract when the project is finished.

    Project Procurement Management processes include the following:

    1. Plan Procurement Management
    2. Conduct Procurements
    3. Control Procurements
  10. Project Stakeholder Management

    This is the last knowledge area in the PMBOK 6th edition. Stakeholders play an important role in determining the success and failure of a project. Getting stakeholders involved in the project right from the beginning is crucial because they are the ones who decide on what changes are to be made to meet their requirements. If the project manager fails to involve them at the initial stage, the changes set forth by the stakeholders at a later stage will hamper the quality and value of the project.

    The four process involved in Project Stakeholder Management:

    1. Identifying Stakeholders
    2. Plan Stakeholder Engagement
    3. Manage Stakeholder Engagement
    4. Monitor Stakeholder Engagement

These project management knowledge areas cover a lot of ground. These have one or more processes belonging to the five project management process groups. When the project manager is well aware of all the project management knowledge areas, they can execute a project more efficiently and productively. The skills acquired by understanding these knowledge areas will assist the project manager to avoid crisis, and scope deviation and enable the project manager to make proactive decisions. So, once the project manager thoroughly understands the concepts of knowledge areas, they become proficient at managing any given projects and the people involved in them.

Why is Project Governance Critical to Project Success?

Project governance is an oversight function aligned with the organization’s governance model, and that encompasses the project life cycle. It provides the project manager and team with structure, processes, decision-making models and tools for managing and controlling the project while ensuring successful delivery of the project also. Project governance is a crucial element, especially for complicated and risky projects.
It defines, documents, and communicates consistent project practices to provide a comprehensive method of controlling the project and ensuring its success. It contains a framework for making decisions about the project, defines roles, responsibilities, and liabilities for the accomplishment of the project, and governs the effectiveness of the project manager.

Project Governance Components

According to PMI®, eight project governance components add value to the real world:

  1. Governance Models:

    Based on the project’s scope, timeline, complexity, risk, stakeholders, and importance to the organization, the organization should formulate a baseline of critical elements needed for project governance. There should be a primary tool that based on some of the above indicators decides what changes your governance framework needs to have and which components are compulsory.

  2. Accountability and Responsibilities:

    Defining accountability and responsibilities is the core of the project manager’s tasks. Improper distribution of accountabilities and responsibilities will have a negative impact on the effectiveness of operations of organization. While defining both the factors, the project manager not only needs to define who is accountable, but also who is responsible, consulted, and notified for each of the project’s deliverables.

  3. Stakeholder Engagement:

    While lying down the foundation of your governance plan, it is compulsory to understand the project ecosystem completely. Identifying all the stakeholders is the first step. If even one stakeholder is left out, it can disrupt the entire project and can have an adverse effect. You need to identify the stakeholders from a wide spectrum of sponsors, suppliers, the project team, government boards, business owners, and so on. The project manager has to define who the stakeholders are, what their interests and prospects are and most important, how to communicate with them.

  4. Stakeholder Communication:

    Once all the stakeholders have been recognized and their interests and expectations have been described, the project manager needs to develop a communication plan. A well-devised communication plan delivers concise, efficient, and well-timed information to all stakeholders.

  5. Meeting and Reporting:

    Once the communication plan is appropriately defined, the project manager ensures that the balance of meetings and reporting is right. It is essential to define the communication plan to ensure that each stakeholder understands the mode and content of the communication, owner, receiver, communication milestones, and decision gates. In addition, communication needs to be brief, precise and to the point.

  6. Risk and Issue Management:

    Due to uncertainties and unpredictability associated with projects or programs, they are loaded with risks and issues. It is tough to predict what is going to happen, but it is necessary as lack of preparation will put the project team much further behind. At the initiation of any project or program, there needs to be an agreement on how to identify, categorize, and prioritize the risks and issues. The tact of handling the risk or issue is more important than the issue itself.

  7. Assurance:

    Project assurance sees that risks and issues are managed efficiently and outlines the metrics that brings the delivery confidence of the project. One of the most essential components of assurance is creating the metrics that would give a view of the project performance.

  8. Project Management Control Process:

    It sounds like the simplest component but actually is most difficult to execute. The monitoring and controlling process controls tasks and metrics related to the project and measures. Also, this is not a single-time assessment; the manager needs to measure the performance regularly and take action on any deviations on-time.

Important Roles

All projects and programs have different features and mandates. They consist of many roles, but four major roles establish, maintain, and enforce project governance. Each of these roles has a different perspective of the project.

The four crucial roles are:

  • Sponsor

  • Steering committee

  • Project Management Office

  • Project manager

Conclusion: Why project governance is critical to project success

Establishing project governance is not as easy as it sounds. Considerable investment needs to be made while getting on a new project. What’s even more challenging is to quantify what benefits are associated with it. Given below are four key benefits of project governance:

  • Single point of accountability
  • Issue management and resolution
  • Information distribution and clear communication
  • Outlines roles, relationships, and responsibility among project stakeholders

Lack of proper foundation of project governance can derail even a well-devised project. While it is imperative to incorporate excellent technical insights and innovative ideas into the project, one cannot undermine the significance of good project management and governance. It helps you to put up questions and issues that were not even visible before its implementation. It is a multiple-in-one tool for project management which gives a new dimension and a touch of distinct quality to an otherwise ordinary project.

Why is PMO more critical than ever for Enterprises?

A project management office (PMO) is a management structure that standardizes the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools, and techniques. Their responsibility is to make sure company’s procedures, practices, and operations are going right. Brian Weiss, vice president, practitioner career development of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) says “PMOs are in place to help organizations deliver value to their stakeholders to projects and programs.” “PMOs are there to ensure project and program success, and that’s critical because organizations deliver value through projects and programs” he would add. It is a known fact that high-performing PMOs does not only impact project management performance positively but boost overall organizational performance too.

The concept of PMO could be understood by taking the example of an air traffic controller. He is responsible for coordinating the movement of air traffic and making sure that aircraft stay a safe distance apart. In the same way, a PMO office controls the projects coming in and going out of an organization. That means he is responsible for opening and finishing projects within reasonable time frames from one start or completion date to the next. A PMO becomes essential, especially for project-based organizations.

Basic Statistics

According to PM Solutions’ research, 85% of companies had a PMO in 2016, an increase of 5% from 2014. They also discovered that 30% of companies without a PMO are planning to put one into action soon.

According to PMI’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession, the projects of companies that align their PMO to enterprise-wide strategy met their original objectives with an advancement of 38% than those that did not. The percentage of failed projects was also less by 33%.

Benefits of PMO

  • It aligns the portfolio of projects keeping future strategy in mind too.

  • It delivers programs on-time, within budget, and according to the pre-defined scope.

  • It understands the connections and needs between different projects in the portfolio.

  • It improves the communication within the program team among all stakeholders.

  • It increases the value of the PMO and PPM processes.

Roles and responsibilities of a PMO

As discussed earlier in brief, a PMO ensures that the company processes, practices, and operations go well, on time, in the budget, and with as little deviation as possible. A good PMO:

  • Is agile enough to adapt as strategy shifts

  • Aligns smoothly with company’s strategy and culture

  • Delivers tangible, repeatable, and long-term benefits to the business

  • Is a key enabler for the high-performing organization

  • Integrates data and information from corporate strategic projects

  • Enables sharing of methodologies, resources, tools and techniques for project success across the organization

  • Recognizes and develops project management methodology, best practices, and standards

  • Coaches, mentors, trains, and provides oversight for project managers and staff

Types of PMO

Based on how supportive they are, PMOs are classified into three parts, supportive, controlling, and directive.

Supportive: These PMOs just lend their support when it’s needed and does not command any authority over the project.

Controlling: A controlling PMO is neither involved too much with the project nor too less. It’s involved in enforcing

standards, providing support, but not being in charge of everything. It’s the commonest type.

Directive: A directive PMO is in total control and in-charge of the project. He directs project management of the work, support and controls the project, and leaves no stone unturned to make it a success. These are said to be highly regulated and high risk environments.

Cases where you need a PMO

There are many cases where having a PMO is absolutely necessary but how to decide if you or your company need one? Following points may help you decide:

  1. If there is any kind of disagreement or lack of communication between the team members

  2. You’re not able to achieve desired objective or success with the active strategy and you’re willing to implement a new one

  3. If you’re dealing with the big-budgeted or more significant project because the bigger the budget, the more there are projects, then the more you can benefit from a PMO.

  4. There are a number of projects to control.

  5. You need to manage or coordinate resources from different departments

  6. You rely only on properly well-founded and current data

  7. Projects are being handled by more than one department; they are interdependent and are might transcending national boundaries

  8. You work in a dynamic environment and require fast decisions

  9. The requirements for your reports are increasing, as more and more people ask for more precise information

  10. You need to determine or consider priorities and strategic contributions

A PMO acts as a central hub for the enterprise. It makes sure that all the entities involved with the project have their needs, demands, and requirements satisfied. The PMO contributes to increase the maturity level of your company’s project management, run processes smoothly, and increases the likelihood of successful project completion.

Overview of Project, Program, and Portfolio Management

With the growing competition and struggle to be the best in the market, no one can afford to make an error when it comes to clients and their needs. But unfortunately, most of the professionals don’t even know what they’re doing wrong, and so the clients start looking for a more trustworthy partner. Without a management to overlook the operations of project, program, and portfolios, it’s challenging to keep up with the expectations of customers, clients, sponsors, or anyone interested in your project. Let’s take a look at why initiatives fail mostly:

What client expect and the end result

Now, as it can be seen, there is a vast difference between what the client demanded and what he got. Some other factors like the client not explaining it correctly, team lead not understanding it correctly, etc. could also lead to this divergence. It could occur because of improper management and miscommunication between client and the team. An in-depth insight on project, program, and portfolio management can not only help you overcome this issue but will allow you to achieve excellence in your particular endeavor.

Project Management

As we’ve already discussed, a project is defined as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. Unlike program and portfolio, project management is a single undertaking; a set of tasks aiming to deliver a specific product, service, or advantage in a particular timeline. It is led by project managers who are responsible for controlling and monitor the quality of the product and seeing if it is worked upon and delivered within the constraints allocated and if it is in-line with the set standards. Individual projects form the foundation of the whole initiative, so it is very critical to pay attention to them.

Here are some of the tips to manage a project successfully:

  • Understand and explain the project scope clearly. It is imperative to know exactly what you’re working on and what is expected of you.

  • Communicate a lot. It will help your team members to comprehend the project clearly and you coming across as an interactive and approachable manager will always be a plus point.

  • Set the objectives keeping in mind the time, cost, and resources available. Deciding an unrealistic target will not only put pressure on the members, but it will also hamper the quality of the product too.

  • Distribute the roles and responsibilities carefully. Get to know your team members and assign tasks that bring the best out of them.

Program Management

According to PMBOK®, program management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a program in order to meet the program requirements and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing projects individually. It harmonizes its projects and program components and controls interdependencies to realize specified benefits. Program management aims to optimize the use of resources and diminish or minimize the constraints. You may raise the question “after project management, what is the use of program management?” And the answer would be that project and program management has different functions and objectives.

Program management emphasizes on the project interdependencies and helps to decide the optimal approach for managing them. Some of them are listed below:

  • It helps to control the cost.

  • It makes you understand risk in a broader context.

  • It sets strategic and organizational directions that help in objectives of the initiative.

  • When a project is planned, the execution does not go exactly as planned. So, the gaps between strategies and projects are filled in program management.

  • Better utilization of resources by integrating projects.

  • It minimizes resource constraints and conflicts affecting multiple projects in the program.

  • It resolves issues and changes management within a shared governance structure.

Difference between Project and Program Management

Refer the following table for understanding the differences between project and program management:

Area Project Management Program Management
Focus Single objective Business strategy
Scope Narrow Wide-ranging, cross functional
Benefits Determined in advance Used to make decisions
Deliverables Few, clearly defined Many, mostly initially undefined
Timescale Clearly defined Loosely defined
Change To be avoided Regarded as inevitable
Success Factors Time, budget, specification Mission, cash-flow, ROI
Plan Specific, detained, bounded High-level and evolving

Portfolio Management

A portfolio refers to projects, programs, sub-portfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives. Portfolio management aligns with organizational strategies by selecting the right programs or projects, prioritizing the work, and providing the needed resources.

Difference between Project Management and Portfolio Management

Project manager Bob Buttrick explains it as “while project management is about executing projects right, portfolio management is about executing the right projects.” “Directing the individual project correctly will ensure it is done right. Directing all the projects successfully will ensure we are doing the right projects.” he adds.

Portfolio management is the wider and broader concept and project management is a small unit of that. The projects or programs of the portfolio may or may not be interdependent or directly related to each other.

Difference between Program Management and Portfolio Management

In program management, you deal with similar projects, while in portfolio management you deal with different projects or different programs.


The program management scope is broader than the project scope but smaller than portfolio management. The portfolio has an organization-wide scope which alters with the strategic objectives of the organization.


Have a look at the following diagram to understand the difference between the scopes and objectives of the three managements:

Objectives of Three Managements

Project management is the initial level of an initiative where small decisions are made, and the strategy is also not very clear. In the next level, program management, the queries and questions that arose in the projects are answered and the strategy is defined more clearly. Portfolio management is the last level where all the critical decisions are made. From project management to portfolio management, scope and objectives become wider and more extensive. Also, the criteria for success of every level are different. For projects, it is completed on time, within budget and the quality of the product; for programs, it is the extent to which it satisfies the expected objective; and for portfolios, it is the collective performance of its different elements and the output of the whole initiative.

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