Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year End Post - Practical PMP with MS Project 2016

Good news for professionals who are aspiring to be a PMP in the coming year - 2016. You will learn theory with new changes coming for the PMP exam as well as the practical aspects of project management with new software available from Microsoft - Project 2016.

PMP exam is going through certain changes in 2016 - most important being the emphasis on business strategy, business benefits, benefits realization. Hence, the role of a project manager will also be changing. Microsoft has released its new version of its project-portfolio management software - Project 2016. It includes a host of new features. To know more on these changes on PMI-PMP exam and MS Project 2016:

Based on these new changes to PMP exam and MS Project software, the new course - "Practical PMP with MS Project 2016" - is being released. It will have all the changes mentioned for the new PMP exam. Also, PMP aspirants can use the new MS Project 2016 as a hands-on tool to understand the theory. 

To know how theoretical aspects of PMBOK Guide can be used with a hands-on tool like MS Project 2016, a new whitepaper has been made available to you for free.

Some of the changes for the PMP exam, which are part of the new course:
  • Goals, Strategy and Objective
  • Business Strategy, Business Benefits, Benefits Realization
  • Strategic Alignment of Projects and Role of Project Manager
  • Managing stakeholder engagement and relationship
  • Project charter and role of project manager in charter development
  • And more...
Some of the changes for MS Project 2016, which are also part of the new course:
  • Multiple Timeline View
  • Resource Engagement and Resource Plan View
  • Tell me what you want to do feature 
  • And more...
For more details refer the "Complete Courseware" document - link available at the end of this post.

This is on top of host of new updates that had happened to "Practical PMP with MS Project 2013", in the beginning of this year. It has been outlined in the below link.

The project management profession is evolving with new changes coming for the PMP exam in 2016. Simultaneously, I firmly believe project managers need to be thorough in applying the practical aspects of various theoretical concepts mentioned in the PMBOK Guide. Best part is PMP aspirants find this course very useful in the classes that I conduct on Practical PMP, where the 'Aha!' moment frequently comes up. They use the tool - MS Project and also see various techniques that can be performed with the tool - critical path, resource leveling, resource smoothing, schedule compression, stakeholder register creation and updates, resource management, cost management, earned value management - to name a few. 

Below, the updated content for Practical PMP with MS Project 2016, if you want to know what will be available for you in this course.

Updated Course Content: Practical PMP (includes PMP Exam 2016 Updates) with MS Project 2016:
  • Practical PMP with MSP 2016 - Course Overview (Link)
  • Practical PMP with MSP 2016 - Complete Course Detail (Link)
  • Practical PMP with MSP 2016 - Certification Process for PMP, MS Project (Link)
  • Practical PMP with MSP 2016 - Course Benefits (Link)
  • Practical PMP with MSP 2016 - Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ) (Link)

I am certain this course will provide immense benefits to aspiring PMPs, who want to have proficiency with MS Project 2016 - side by side.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

PMBOK 5th Edition with MS Project 2016 - A Practical, Hands-On Guide

The whitepaper "PMBOK 5th Edition with MS Project 2013 - A Practical Guide" and its earlier edition since 2009 have been used as a reference in many management articles and periodicals. Shorter versions of it, with certain summary items, have been published by international publications. I have seen many downloads of the paper from the drive it has been shared from. Considering its popularity, I have this new paper "PMBOK 5th Edition with MS Project 2016 - A Practical Guide for Time Management". 

Also as MS Project has up with its new version - MS Project 2016, which has new functionalities such as multiple timeline bars, custom date ranges for a single view, style theme change, 'tell me what you want to do', I believe it is time to update the white paper. 

This paper is an enhanced version of "PMBOK 5th Edition with MS Project 2013". I have added on the other Resource Optimization Technique, i.e., Resource Smoothing. Resource calendars which can come from HR Management and also Procurement Management have been added along with a flow diagram depicting them all.  And of course, complete white paper is tested with the new MS Project 2016. 

Few excerpts from the paper:
During planning, Scope Baseline is created in “Create WBS” process of Scope Management KA. Schedule Management Plan from “Plan Schedule Management” along with the Scope Baseline from “Create WBS” are fed into “Define Activities” of Time Management KA to create activities from the work packages. These activities are then sequenced in “Sequence Activities” process to create a Schedule Network Diagram.  
Simultaneously, Resource Calendars from “Acquire Project Team” process of HR Management KA and “Conduct Procurements” process of Procurement Management KA act as inputs to find out the resource estimates, duration estimates. Schedule network diagram, resource estimates (or requirements), duration estimates and resource calendars finally create the Project Schedule in “Develop Schedule” process. Develop Schedule also creates Schedule Baseline for the project, which is then monitored and controlled in “Control Schedule” process. 
The overall interaction of the processes of Time Management HR Management and Procurement is shown below along with certain inputs and outputs. 

I have made this paper free since PMBOK 4th edition and MS Project 2007. Following the tradition, this paper is also free for my readers. Click on the pop-out icon on far right of the below embedded view to see it directly over the drive or you can scroll to view the content.

The complete paper can be downloaded for free. (PDF Link)

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Sunday, December 06, 2015

PMP Prep: Qualitative Risk Analysis vs. Quantitative Risk Analysis

As you're preparing for your PMI® PMP® exam, you'll want to understand the basics of qualitative risk analysis (QLRA) and quantitative risk analysis (QTRA), both processes that are part of the "Project Risk Management" knowledge area. While these two concepts sound similar and both use numbers in risk rating, they're not the same at all. Test-takers often get confused about how they work, how they vary and what unique roles they play. Adding to the confusion, QTRA can be optional! Both QLRA and QTRA are powerful risk analytics, and both have a place in project risk management. In this article, I explain their distinctive roles, show where they differ and illustrate what happens when both are used.

The PM Book of Knowledge risk management knowledge area has six processes that interact with each other:

All possible risks are identified in the "identify risks" process and put into a project document called the "risk register." Then qualitative risk analysis is performed. From there, it may lead to quantitative risk analysis or directly to risk response planning. In other words, quantitative risk analysis is optional, as indicated by the dotted line. If both QLRA and QTRA are performed, they'll be in close sequence and the risk register will be updated for both types of processes.

In its simplest form QLRA is the process of evaluating individual risks from the "Identify Risks" stage for their probability or likelihood of occurring (the "P" value), multiplying that with the impact the risk could have on the project objective (the "I" value) and then prioritizing the risks based on their ultimate "risk score."

QTRA is the process of providing numerical estimates of the overall effect of risks on the project objectives when all risks are considered simultaneously. The numerical estimates are usually in terms of schedule and cost. The prioritized list of risks created in the QLRA process is further updated in the QTRA process, based on the numerical estimates.

Why is QTRA optional? As a project manager, you operate in a highly constrained environment. Sometimes, you have to leave something out because you lack time or budget, particularly in smaller projects. So why perform QTRA at all? We'll look at that shortly.

When only qualitative risk analysis is conducted on a project, it's known as "partial risk analysis."

How QLRA and QTRA Differ

The fundamental difference between QLRA and QTRA is that the first addresses individual risks of a project, whereas the second considers the overall project risk. The overall risk to the project is due to the combined effect of all risks and their possible interdependencies and correlations. Overall risk applies to the project as whole, rather than individual activities or cost items in the project.

Note that both QLRA and QTRA use numbers for risk rating and prioritization of risks. But QLRA is a subjective evaluation, whereas QTRA is more objective in terms of value or cost terms. In QLRA, for example, the risk rating could be "5" or "10" after multiplying the P and I values of the individual risks. For QTRA you establish the overall cost or time impact on the project, such as: "$25,000."

Let's look at a sample risk register that has been compiled through the "Identify Risks" process. In this example positive risks are known as opportunities and negative risks are known as threats.

In QLRA, the probability and impact values are assigned and the risk score is set. Probability values may be textual (low, medium, high); graphical (red, orange, green); or numerical (1 for low risks, 5 for high risks or somewhere in between). Each risk is assigned a probability value and an impact value and the risk score is calculated. It's not uncommon to combine the numerical and graphical values to have a color-coded indicator.

The updated risk register in the figure above, which summarizes the output of the QLRA process, is sometimes known as the "qualitative risk register." The register may contain other information, such as identification date, identifying person, cause, effect and risk exposure. Based on the risk scores, you perform the prioritization of risks; if the score crosses risk tolerance limits for your organization, then you know you have to take a risk response.

As I noted earlier, QTRA is performed after QLRA. In the QTRA, you quantify some of the items from the qualitative risk registers and assign a cost value. The updated risk register, as shown below, is sometimes referred to as the "quantitative risk register."

Notice that the register may contain other information such as impacted activities of the project, correlation and probabilistic distribution details, among others. In my example, I've used expected monetary value technique (EMV) for further prioritization and subsequent risk response planning on the quantified risks.

Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Risk Analysis

In addition to the differences between QLRA and QTRA that I've already mentioned, others also exist, which I've summarized in the table below.

Both qualitative and quantitative risks analysis are important for project risk management. As aspirants for PMP certification, you need to know that both QLRA and QTRA play distinct roles in project risk management. Also, you need to understand the key differences between them to tackle your exam.

This article was first published by MPUG on 25th August, 2015. 

Note: For the Risk Management Professional (RMP®) examination by PMI, this exhaustive list of differences between QLRA and QTRA, will also help you prepare.