- are detailed descriptions that define the requirements of a service or a product.
- can be in the form of words, pictures or diagrams.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
- Seller may under-price the work and try to make up profits on change orders
- Seller may not complete some of the contract statement of work if they begin losing money
- More work for buyer to write the contract statement of work
- Can be more expensive than Cost Reimbursable Contract if the contract statement of work is incomplete
- Seller will need to add to the price for their increase of risk
- Less work for buyer to manage
- Seller has a strong incentive to control costs
- Companies have experience with tis type of contract
- Buyer knows the total price at project starts
Sunday, December 13, 2009
- Profit is in every billed
- Seller has no incentive to control costs
- Appropriate only for small projects
- Requires the most day to day oversight from the buyer
Thursday, December 10, 2009
- Require auditing seller's invoices
- Require more work for the buyer to manage
- Seller has only a moderate incentive to control costs
- Total price is unknown
- Simpler contract statement of work
- usually requires less work to work the scope that fixed price
- Generally lower cost than fixed price because the seller does not have add as much for risk.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
- Contract such that all allowable cost is paid and final price is based on total final cost relative to total target cost.
- Final price subject to a ceiling price which is negotiated at the outset.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
- motivate contractor efforts that might not otherwise be emphasized
- discourage contractor inefficiency and waste
Saturday, December 5, 2009
- It covers a variety of incentive contracts, presented here only to provide perspective.
- Notes: US Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 16.4
- It is also called Lump Sum, Firm Fixed Price
- Is one price that is agreed upon for all the work.
- Has least cost risk for buyer if he has a completely defined scope.
- Is most appropriate when the buyer can completely describe the contract statement of work
Saturday, October 31, 2009
- The buyer pays all cost but the fee is at a specific dollar amount.
- Help to keep the seller's costs in line because a cost overrun will not generate any additional fee or profit.
- Requires the buyer to pay for all cost plus a percentage of cost as a fee.
- Sellers are not motivated to control costs because the seller will get paid profit on every cost without limit.
- Provides sellers a refund of expenses incurred while providing a service, plus a fee presenting seller profits.
- Includes incentives for meeting certain objectives.
- Is most suitable if project parameters are uncertain.
Friday, October 30, 2009
As these groups operated autonomously, it was not unusual to find functions replicated in each silo.
In an Information Technology company for example, you might find software programmers in the development area, some more in the customer support area, and yet more in the quality assurance area, because each of these functional units had a programming need.
If your organisation still operates in this manner, give your boss a copy of this article.
And so it was in the 1970s that attempts to improve traditional organization structures, led to the creation of the “Matrix" organizational structure.
In the matrix organisation, considering our IT example above, all programmers are now in a separate programming department and report to a functional manager in charge of programming, and that manager would control almost all of their work. In a matrix we usually refer to the line manager as a functional manager because all of their workers perform similar functions.
So workers in a matrix organisation are compartmentalized by their required skills into silos, like columns in a matrix, each with its dedicated manager. The workers report to and are responsible to their functional manager, who in turn usually has sole responsibility for the advancement of their workers, as well as the administration of their area, including budgeting.
So far the matrix organization sounds much like the traditional organization, except that all workers within a silo (a column in the matrix) are partitioned by a particular skill-set.
The other difference between traditional organisations and matrix organisations is that matrices have rows (lines running across the columns, not fights).
Traditional organizations operated quite well, but they were inefficient, with lots of duplication of skills around the company. But their major weakness was when they tried to manage projects.
The problem was that in the traditional organisation, the concept of a project team, which is my nature cross-functional, did not exist, because the project manager's "team" team comprised of people from different functional areas, managed and controlled by different functional managers -- not by the project manager. And this is not a recipe for successful projects.
So we have our columns of functionally similar workers in each column of our matrix, with a functional manager at the head of each column.
Now picture rows running across the page, with a project manager at the "head" (i.e. the left hand side) of each row. The rows intersect the columns and so intersect the columns of workers. So each row is a silo of workers of differing functionality, headed by a project manager.
In such a matrix structure there is an obvious tension between the project managers at the head of each row (each project) and the managers at the head of each column (each functional area) as they are sharing the same workers, and as each manager (project and functional) has a job to do, we have a conflict of interest.
There are different types of matrix organization, designed to balance the power struggle-struggle between the managers conflicting needs. The main types are listed below.
The Weak Matrix
This type of organizational structure is a bit of a nightmare for Project Managers because they are effectively reduced to being project facilitators. They make plans and monitor the execution, but they have no real authority over staff, and are almost totally reliant upon the functional managers to provide resources.
The workers have little loyalty to the project managers (or the project), because it is the functional managers who decide the advancement of the workers within the organization. And the workers' performance is usually measured only on the work that they do for their functional manager -- not on their project work -- so in fact working on a project may be seen by the worker as undesirable as they will have less time to do their regular work, so the project manager may find them unmotivated.
And as the PM has no real authority over the team members, then they often have to report the problem of workers not performing, to the functional managers in the hope that they will encourage the workers to work more on the project.
But remember that the functional managers are primarily responsible for the performance of their own functional areas, so their workers performing project tasks can actually reduce the productivity of their area (often projects are ignored in the benchmarks). So this leads to a clear conflict of interest between the PM, the functional managers and the various workers.
In this situation the PM usually loses -- and that’s the easy to remember it -- the PM is weak in a weak matrix.
The Strong Matrix
All these problems led to the creation of the “strong matrix” organization
In the strong matrix the tables are turned, it is the project managers that have responsibility for the workers, not the line managers. But the PMs are not responsible for the human resource administration.
This empowers the project managers to manage the workers directly, and thus properly manage the whole project, but without tying the PMs up in HR administration.
I have worked in organizations like this, where I managed my teams and was responsible for everything except the HR functions, and I found it a very satisfying environment from a project point of view. So my teams would have me as project manager and I had sole authority and responsibility to direct their work, but they also had staff managers who looked after anything that was not project-related, i.e. performance reviews (but I provided the key input to these) training, vacation administration, employment contracts etc. And this meant that I could focus on the projects.
So when a project manager starts a new project, they discuss their staffing requirement with the functional managers and the functional managers try to make the resources available (and provide training fro them, where necessary). Usually the functional managers will draw up plans and charts (e.g. Gantt charts) of how “their people” will fit inside projects, and they might move staff between projects and project managers as required (after consulting with the project managers).
Effectively the PM and the functional managers work together, but overall control of everything project-related is the function of the project manager -- so in a strong matrix, the project manager is the stronger party.
The Balanced Matrix
There is an old saying, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. In each type of matrix organization there is a struggle for power, and so there needs to be some way to bring this into balance, otherwise one group will dominate the other, to the detriment of the project, and ultimately to the detriment of the organization as a whole (although individual projects or functional areas may blossom for a while). A very dominant project manager for example may bully the functional managers into always giving them the best team members for their projects.
One way of reducing the problem is to make rules within the organization that varies who can manage a worker, depending upon certain circumstances. For example there could be a rule that says if an worker is to work on a project for less than one week then the functional manager (or project manager) has sole control over the worker, but if the requirement is for more than one week, control changes hands.
Or there may be rules that the same worker can’t work for the same PM, on two consecutive projects.
There are many possible rules that could be made of course, but the goal is to balance the power between the PM and the functional managers so that we don’t have a win/lose situation, and I’m sure you can guess that this type of organizational structure is called a “balanced matrix”.
So weak, strong, or balanced, the "strength" is always from the viewpoint of the project manager.
Until the 1970's, typical, large organizations tended to function in "silos", logical divisions where essentially isolated groups of workers would report to a line manager or functional manager. Matrix organisations are an attempt to restructure to make project management possible.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Dear Group Member,
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Three: It should be to-the-point, with no fluff to distract the test taker from the truly important information.
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Sunday, September 20, 2009
- is a technique used to determine whether it would be more cost effective to produce a prudct or service in-house or from an outside vendor.
- can significantly impact project time, cost, quality, scope, etc.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
- Understand contract terms and conditions
- Identify risks and incorporate mitigation and allocation of risks into the contract
- Fit the schedule for completion of the procurement process into the schedule for the project
- Be involved during contract negotiation to project relationship with the seller
- Work with contract manager to manage changes to the contract
Sunday, May 31, 2009
- Plan Purchase and Acquisitions
Determining what to purchase or acquire and determining when and how.
- Plan Contracting
Documenting products, services and results requirements and identifying potential sellers.
- Request Seller Response
obtaining among potential sellers and negotiating a written contract with each sellers.
- Contract Administration
Managing the contract and relationship between the buyer and seller. Reviewing and documenting how a seller is performing. Managing contract related changes.
- Contract Closure
Completing and setting each contract, including the resolution of any open items and closing each contract applicable to the project or project phases.
Monday, May 25, 2009
<<<<>PMP Exam Resource >>>>>>
In this document I will explain the following:
- My plan for preparing for the PMP exam.
- The materials I used while studying.
- The difference between my expectations and what I found on the exam.
- What I would do different if I did this again.
- My thoughts on the PMI-OC class.
Proposed Study Methods
I began studying for the PMP examination by reading Kim Heldman’s PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide. As I read, I began to grasp the breadth of the material. From prior experience I know that my studying is most efficient when I begin with a framework, and then fill in the spaces within that framework. Based upon those experiences, I established the following plan:
- Read Heldman to get an outline of the scope required.
- Find a diagram that shows the framework for how all the processes fit together.
- Read the PMBOK searching for details.
- Memorize the framework.
- Use the PMP class to add content to the framework.
- Read peripheral material to verify the breadth of my studies.
What I Accomplished
I came close to accomplishing what I had planned.
- I read Heldman, twice (electronic version once and hardcopy once).
- I read the PMBOK (electronic version) twice.
- I created wall charts to illustrate the Core and Facilitating processes.
- I memorized the framework, meaning that I could visualize the interconnections between the processes in my mind and re-create it on paper.
- I learned a great deal from the PMP class.
- I read the following peripheral materials:
- PMI Compendium of Project Management Practices,
- PMP Role Delineation Study
- OuterCore study guide (twice)
- Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures
- And I read the first several chapters of Kerzner’s Project Management, A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling.
- I also purchased the Rita Mulcahy Hot Topics: Audio Flashcards for Passing the PMP and CAPM Exams. I listened to these CDs at least a dozen times because I wanted to have a precise understanding of the core vocabulary.
- I took notes and then organized those notes into a study guide. I would glance through those notes when time permitted. I even went all the way through them one last time at a Starbucks just before taking the test.
- I used the on-line practice exams in the Heldman book to help me understand the format of the test material and the structure of the test questions. I found that once I took one of the Heldman exams, I did not benefit from re-taking it because I remembered the questions. Even the random tests were useless to me on my third try. Nonetheless, these tests helped because they taught me about the format and style of the exam.
- My final preparation was to run through a 200-question random test concocted by using questions from Heldman and Exam Cram 2. From this I learned that I could finish in about 2 hours. I also learned that I was likely to have the wrong answer on about 50% of the questions that I marked for review.
What I Found on the Test
There were a few things about the test that surprised me:
- All of the questions seemed to be in order from Initiation to Planning to Execution to Controlling to Closure and finally Professional Responsibilities. I had expected more randomness.
- I had at least six CPM questions on my exam. I had only expected one or two.
- There were several questions where I wanted to write-in “none of the above” as the best answer. Specifically, a couple of the professional responsibility questions seemed likely to elicit a lawsuit no matter which of the four answers I picked.
There were also some aspects of the test that did not surprise me.
- The look and feel of the exam was very similar to the Heldman practice exams.
- The questions were generally of better quality than the practice questions I had seen in Exam Cram, OuterCore and Heldman. Heldman was the closest to the actual questions, but few of the Heldman questions were as complex as some of the real questions. OuterCore had a better selection of complex questions; the type of questions that took 5 or more minutes each. Exam Cram had little resemblance to the real test.
- I took 2:20 to go through the exam. So my practice run of 200-questions was good preparation. Confidence that I would finish and still have time to review allowed me to pace myself and not stress when I hit time-consuming CPM questions.
- I then spent about 45 minutes going back through the 39 questions that I had marked for review. It worried me that I had marked 39 questions and it bothered me that even reading a second time shed little light on some of them. Generally, I just did not like any of the possible answers on about 10 of the ones I marked. Another 10 seemed to be designed to challenge me to find the least objectionable answer. Others I realized were probably straight out of an auxiliary PMI book that I had not read.
- My estimate that I would miss about 50% of the ones I marked for review suggested that I was likely to get about a 180 on the test. So, after this one review I submitted my exam for grading, and waited for the answer. I passed with a score of 180. My time and accuracy estimates were good.
- Altogether, I spent 3:05 on the test.
What Would I Do Different If I Did This Again?
I am not sure that I would do much of anything differently. There are other areas that I would like to have studied, but I ran out of time. I was given a new project a couple days before the PMI-OC class ended. That project required a lot of overtime. Then the afternoon after I took the test another project went badly awry so it was transferred to me. I suddenly found myself working 18 hour days. If I had waited to do more studying, I would have missed this chance. I was lucky that I took the test on the day that I took it, even if it meant that I did not have the time to finish Kerzner or read anything by Verma.
Based upon my experience, here are a few things that I recommend to others:
- Take the test as quickly as you can after you finish your class because you never know what might happen.
- I am not sure that reviewing the questions that I marked helped at all. I only changed the answers on about 4 out of the 39 I had marked, and I am not sure whether my changes helped or hurt.
- Ignore some of the peripheral materials that I read. I do not believe that either the PMP Role Delineation Study or the Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structureshelped my preparation.
- Focus your time wisely. I pulled the CD from the Exam Cram book to get the test questions, but I did not spend time reading that book. I also borrowed a copy of Mulcahy’s book, looked at it for about five-minutes, and returned it. It may be the best book on the market, but it’s style was not to my taste.
- Get more breadth in your studies. Although this point seems to contradict the prior two points, all three are actually recommendations to use your time wisely. I missed three out of the seven questions on “corrective actions”. I believe that I would have gotten most of those correct if I had been able to read one or two of the books by Verma. They are short, and can probably be skimmed through in one or two evenings. I wish I had done that instead of reading the role delineation or WBS books.
- Memorize even more. I know all of the process names and I can draw them on paper from memory. I memorized about 50% of the inputs and about 75% of the outputs. Even so I had to guess at the answer on two or three of the questions on tools and techniques. There were a couple questions where two answers both sounded reasonable. If I had memorized the tools and techniques I would have known those answers.
- I have an engineering background so CPM was easy for me. I was lucky because there were a lot of CPM questions on my test. Each of those questions takes a lot of time.
My Thoughts on the PMI-OC Class
The Orange County, California chapter of PMI (PMI-OC) hosts PMP preparation workshops. When I read the PMP application I discovered that I need 35-hours of classroom instruction on project management. As I went through my college transcripts I was surprised to see that I have never taken a class on project management. I taught several classes in graduate software engineering, but I have never taken a class in the subject. So, I searched for a way to get that 35-hours. Fortunately, I found the PMI-OC class.
That class was a wonderful experience for me. The key things it provided were:
- That essential 35-hours of classroom time.
- A group of people all trying to do the same thing, with the same misconceptions and struggles.
- A rigid schedule that meant I could not put off until next week what had to be finished before Saturday.
- We used the OuterCore study material. I frequently argued with the quiz questions in OuterCore and questioned the value of those practice exams. I was surprised on the real exam to find that the CPM questions were much more like those in OuterCore than in any of the other materials that I used. I was also surprised to find a large number of questions on the exam where I did not feel like any of the answers were the “right” answer. OuterCore helped me through that because I had come to accept that the right answer is not always among the choices, so all you can do is to pick the least objectionable answer. Interestingly, the exam tutorial even gave a question with a similar theme. That question asked about the color of some object, and none of the answers were right. The tutorial then explained that sometimes you just have to pick the best one out of a sorry lot. So now I am grateful for the OuterCore quizzes.
- Most importantly, I heard the stories of quite a few people that have gone through the same experience, and passed. Those stories helped me refine my study plan and gave me good advice on how to make the best use of my study time.
So, what would I like to see changed about the class?
- I would like to have all 9-hours filled every Saturday. Alright, so I was one of the first people out the door when we finished early, but I really wish that we had filled in a few more of those sessions with one more example. My suggestion, for what it is worth, is to have one or two filler topics on standby in case the main topic ends early. For example, since the topic of Human Resources is fairly short, drop in another CPM example on that day. Or, plan in advance for the lunch session to be two-hours instead of one-hour.
- I would also like the instructors to branch out a bit. All of the instructors have read a wide variety of material on their lecture topics. So, get through the packaged material, and then spend a few minutes talking about some of the recommended readings.
In conclusion, I recommend the following:
- Know your own study method and follow it.
- Discipline yourself to a schedule and stick with it.
- Take the test as soon as you can after your class ends.
- Look at the PMI study kit. The people at PMI put a lot of thought into the books they selected. Perhaps you prefer Heldman over Mulcahy, or Verma over Kerzner, but stay close to those recommendations.
- Find a good class. I personally recommend the PMI-OC PMP workshops. Maybe your local chapter has a program of similar quality.
Friday, May 8, 2009
- is an examination of the effectiveness of risk response plans and of the performance of the risk owner.
- may be conducted by a third party, by the project's risk officer or by other qualified personnels.
- reviews the risk response plan and data concerning project work results.
- evaluates the performance of the risk owner in implementing the response plan.
- documents the results of the audit and makes recommendations for improvement in the project's risk response efforts.
- is the process of responding to idenified and unforeseen risks.
- involves tracking identified risks, identifying new risks, implementing risk response plans and monitoring their effectiveness.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
- established to deal with unknown risks and accepted known risks.
- may be in the form of additional time, money or resources.
- covers risk events that are not accounted for int he project baseline duration and cost estimations.
- determined by the potential impact of the risk but should include enough to implement any contingency plans as well as a buffer for dealing with unidentified risks.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Fourth Edition continues to reflect the evolving knowledge within the profession of project management. Like previous editions, it represents generally recognized good practice in the profession.However, the Fourth Edition also reflects a focus on improved consistency and clarity. Great consideration was given by the project teams to remove redundant information and add clarifying statements where needed.
Terminology was updated only to present process names consistently in a verb-noun format. The PMBOK Guide—Fourth Edition continues the tradition of excellence in project management with a standard that is easy to understand and implement.
The major differences between the Third Edition and the Fourth Edition are summarized below:
- All process names are in a verb-noun format
- Enterprise Environmental Factors were more clearly defined to avoid confusion with Organizational Process Assets.
- A standard approach for discussing requested changes, preventive actions, corrective actions and defect repairs was employed.
- The processes decreased from 44 to 42. Two processes were deleted, two processes were added and 6 processes were reconfigured into 4 processes in the procurement Knowledge Area.
- To provide clarity a distinction was made between the project management plan and project documents used to manage the project.
- The distinction between the information in the Project Charter and the Project Scope Statement was clarified.
- The process flow diagrams at the beginning of chapters 4-12 have been deleted and replaced with data flow diagrams.
- A data flow diagram for each process has been created.
- A new appendix was added that addresses key interpersonal skills that a project manager utilizes when managing a project.
A complete list of changes can be found in Appendix A of the Fourth Edition.
To access the digital edition of the PMBOK® Guide:
Logon to Your Members Area
Select the Resources tab
Go to Global Standards Library
Click on "Library of PMI Global Standards"
Click on "Projects (View Details)
Right Click on Language and select "Save Target As.."
You may also want to check the link "PMBOK Guide 4th edition" on the right hand column.
Friday, January 16, 2009
- a strategy developed in advance for dealing with the occurrence of identified risks.
- performed to construct a strategy before things go wrong.
- to include a fallback plan for risks with a high impact. A fallback plan is to be implemented if the initial contingency plan is ineffective in responding to the risk event.
- any decision not to change the project plan to deal with a risk.
- performed either passively by doing nothing or actively by creating a contingency plan to deal with the risk.
- to include contingency plan and contingency reserve.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
- Risk Exploitation
- Used when a project team wants to make sure that a positive risk is fully realized
- Done by hiring the best experts in a field or ensuring the most technologically advanced resources are available to the project team.
- Risk Sharing
- Entails partnering up with another party in an effort to give your team the best chance of seizing the opportunity.
- Joint ventures are a common example of risk sharing.
- Risk Enhancement
- increase the probability that an opportunity will occur.
- Done by focusing on the trigger conditions of the opportunity and trying to optimise their chances of occurrence.
Friday, January 9, 2009
- Risk avoidance
Attempts to eliminate the risk altogether.
- Risk Transference
Passes the liability of a risk to another party.
- Risk Mitigation
Reduces the probability and/or impact of the occurences of a risk event.
Suggested Study Materials
- PMP-Preparation Recommended Books
- PMP Exam Prep, Fifth Edition: Rita's Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam
- A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Third Edition (PMBOK Guides)
- The PMP Exam: How to Pass On Your First Try (Test Prep series)