The Five PM Stages

William Stewart PhD, PMP
A free video tutorial from William Stewart PhD, PMP
4.4 instructor rating • 2 courses • 29,642 students

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Deeply Practical Project Management (Earn 16 PDUs)

How to implement the PMI® project management best practices in the simplest, most deeply practical way.

08:26:16 of on-demand video • Updated August 2020

  • How to get stakeholder buy-in and senior management support at the beginning of your project, and maintain it throughout.
  • The three fundamental messages of the PM triple constraint, how they inter-relate, and how they affect risk.
  • How to plan your project VERY efficiently, so you know the scope, schedule, budget, and risks before you start.
  • How to manage the top three drivers of project success to solve most of the problems on most projects.
  • The critical importance of the project requirements, with best practices for documentation, review, and approval.
  • How to build the work breakdown structure (WBS), your scope baseline, and when to break it down further.
  • Why the precedence diagram is your most important tool for planning and managing your project.
  • How to estimate the project resources, material, services, time, and cost, and handle estimating error.
  • Why the critical path means schedule is more important than cost, with a step by step animated example.
  • The key criteria for deciding whether to build or buy, and the best type of contract and award procedures.
  • How to prepare and brief the project plan, provide options to meet the triple constraint, and stay truthful.
  • How to build the project team, key hiring criteria, delegation, motivation, and resolution of personnel conflicts.
  • How to manage scope so you find the things inevitably missed, but don't make it so good that it just blows up.
  • How to manage the critical path to focus on the most important items without getting bogged down in the weeds.
  • How to manage the budget and its key drivers to obtain the best cost performance possible.
  • How to identify the risks, mitigate them as early as possible, and stay within the risk budget.
  • The two most effective things you can do to manage quality and ensure the customer is happy with the project result.
  • How to use earned value management (EVM) to project cost and schedule performance objectively.
  • How to communicate constructively with the stakeholders about the project status, and obtain their assistance when needed.
  • How to use scenario based verification to ensure customer satisfaction with the project result.
  • How to conduct lessons learned events to find out what did not go well and did go well, and easily gather them as you go.
  • How to close your project team to ensure everyone is treated fairly and free to proceed to their next challenge.
  • How to use the key software tools to support the project management life-cycle - WBS, precedence diagram, and Gantt chart.
  • Six practice quizzes, get copies of nine key project management document templates and six summary checklists, and earn 16 PDU's.
  • Get recommendations for free open source software to support the project management process.
  • Gain a deeply practical understanding of the PMI project management best practices for those that wish to obtain a PMP certification.
English Instructor: Here is the entire PMI process shown chronologically on one diagram. The process is broken down into five stages to make it simpler and more manageable. Initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and closing. For a long duration multi-phase project, these five project management stages can be repeated for each of the overall project phases. The first stage, initiation, produces a project charter that baselines the information needed to make sure that planning can be productive. The charter doesn't have to be very long, and for a small project could all fit on one page. By far the most important item is the objective, a single sentence, agreed by the stakeholders, that captures the ultimate outcome and benefit of the project, and orients all future work. The initiation business case, a preliminary analysis, is often at no more than plus or minus 100% accuracy. But it shows the benefits at least look like they will exceed the costs, thereby justifying carrying out planning to get a better estimate, and provides a number so that around 5% can be put aside as the budget for planning. The planning stage is where the full scope, schedule, cost, and risks are determined to about plus or minus 10% accuracy, so any final adjustments can be made and everyone has accurate expectations before you start. The execution stage is where the team gets the project done. The project manager builds the team, and mostly keeps out of the way. The monitoring and control stage is where the project manager statuses the project progress against the plan, makes any adjustments required, reports regularly to the stakeholders, and asks for assistance and direction on the priorities if the risk budget is being consumed too fast. The closing stage is where we close any contracts, verify the work is acceptable, deliver and transition the project result, organize lessons learned, close the team, and write a final report. The secret to this process is two gates before execution, and that isn't too many. Initiation is really light, mainly to get agreement on the objective so planning can be productive, and get an estimate that confirms you should proceed to planning, and let you know how much effort to put into planning. The schedule and budget estimates in initiation are usually around plus or minus 100% accuracy. The key is, at least you have a first estimate, and if it's too large even at this point, you can stop right now. On the other hand, if the estimate is reasonable and the business case looks okay at this point, you have a way to size how much effort to put into planning, by putting 5% of the initiation estimate aside. And 5% is usually enough, since the planning processes are so efficient. And then at the end of planning, simply because you've carried out the best practices, you can be confident your schedule and budget estimates are now within about plus or minus 10% accuracy. That's the right point for the sponsor to perform final decision-making. Approving the project any earlier is too risky, since you don't know the schedule and budget accurately enough. And you don't need to know it any more accurately than plus or minus 10%. Because of diminishing returns you'd have to spend much more than 5% to get it any better. Spending just 5% of the project effort to get the estimates within plus or minus 10% accuracy is the sweet spot of least effort for best result. This is the main value of the project management process, use up only 5% of the project effort to prepare a plan that has plus or minus 10% accuracy, so the sponsor can adjust scope, schedule, and budget if needed, and everyone has accurate expectations before you start. Then the planning documentation provides just the right amount of information to enable easy monitoring and control once underway, and provide warning well in advance if the project is off-track and the risk budget is being consumed too fast, so you can conduct timely and constructive communications with the stakeholders as required.