Practicing the PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition with PMPeople
As you should probably know, the new edition of the PMBOK® Guide is not based on knowledge areas anymore, but on 8 performance domains describing the most important activities to achieve effective results in the project. PMI has also changed the ANSI Standard for Project Management from 49 processes to 12 principles guiding the behavior of the professional project manager.
I think these changes were really needed:
- Professional project managers needed a reference closer to real practice. They still need to be fluent on standardized project management processes to get a structured knowledge in mind, to speak the same language, etc., but they don’t usually apply the processes as they are in the guide. For instance, we know that, in order to get the schedule, first we should define activities, sequence them, estimate activity resource requirements, estimate activity durations, and finally optimize the model to fit the schedule constraints. We normally don’t follow these processes step by step, since we usually mix all scheduling planning processes going back and forth using a scheduling tool. Nevertheless, knowing about processes, inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques is worth it, especially for not “reinventing the wheel”: All a project manager may need is already invented is already invented.
- PMBOK® Guide 6th edition was quite too big. It seemed like a student book, more than a body of knowledge. Readers got the wrong idea that all the necessary knowledge to manage all kind of projects was included in the guide, being this requirement impossible to meet, especially for adaptive projects. Process-wise content made people think they were reading a kind of methodology, but the guide should be a framework, not a methodology.
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Professional project management is no longer effective if projects are managed in isolation—project team makes all—or by managed by meetings or by reporting. Stakeholders’ continuous collaboration is needed to achieve the project management goals, that is: delivering value on time, under budget, with the right quality, etc. In this hyper connected world, continuous collaboration in projects means online collaboration to take informed decisions and propose actions proactively. Projects need this kind of distributed collaboration, especially. Organizations don’t need bureaucracy related to documentation or status meetings. Organizations need online real time reporting and agile transparency mechanisms on project statuses. Professionals of the project economy should master their power skills. Projects succeed when people collaborate. The guide and the standard had to change the approach to results and principles, respectively.
In the project economy, many stakeholders need to be engaged beyond the review meetings. Team members, many of them working remotely, are expected to comment proactively on problems, alternatives, workarounds, conflicts, needs, etc. Project managers are not good professionals if they just follow orders. They need to be proactive to manage risks, model requirements, to finish on time, under budget, maximizing value, etc. Project managers are not alone in management. We need project management teams, instead.
I have recently been assigned as interim project manager in a software project with the team divided among UK, Colombia and India. Still fresh in my mind my first reading of the PMBOK Guide, the webinar in PMI Madrid and the clarifying videos by Ricardo Vargas, I have tried to initiate this project trying to apply the concepts. Quoting Stephen R. Covey: “To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”
To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know. –Stephen R. Covey
After our first project review meeting, I’ve convinced myself that I can follow the principles easily because I have the habit of updating the project data in PMPeople and, on the other hand, I can show performance results to stakeholders because they can get the evidence they need directly on PMPeople. I can see our tool PMPeople as the “conveyor belt” to move gears of professional project management in the project economy.
Follow the 12 Principles with PMPeople
PMPeople can be seen as the “conveyor belt” to move gears of professional project management in the Project Economy: As a project manager, I can follow most of the 12 principles just updating the project data in PMPeople. As a stakeholder, I can check many results on the 8 performance domains just getting the evidence of good/bad performance directly on PMPeople.
Let’s see how PMPeople can help project managers follow the 12 principles in the Standard for Project Management:
- Be a diligent, respectful, and caring Steward: “Stewards act responsibly to carry out activities with integrity, care, and trustworthiness while maintaining compliance with internal and external guidelines. They demonstrate a broad commitment to financial, social, and environmental impacts of the projects they support”. With PMPeople, I can model every aspect of the project, publish information and documents with the right security privileges, tracking value delivery and alignment with the business case, etc.
- Create a Collaborative project team environment: “Project teams are made up of individuals who wield diverse skills, knowledge, and experience. Project teams that work collaboratively can accomplish a shared objective more effectively and efficiently than individuals working on their own”. With PMPeople, I can help team be aware of their particular contribution on the global scope, who are their teammates, who is a member of the extended project team, they can submit comments anonymously and their happiness index data for retrospectives, etc.
- Effectively Engage with stakeholders: “Engage stakeholders proactively and to the degree needed to contribute to project success and customer satisfaction”. With PMPeople, I can update the stakeholder register which helps me a lot to manage expectations. At no cost, I can invite stakeholders as users so that they can see initiation and control information. I can “give them voice” helping them request changes, submit comments and provide feedback on the project and team members.
- Focus on Value: “Continually evaluate and adjust project alignment to business objectives and intended benefits and value”. With PMPeople, I can edit and share some data of the project charter and the business case. Each project has a numeric number to express its value, meaning its relative comparison against the other components of the program, portfolio, or business unit. During the project review meetings –and specially at phase gates reviews– I can show if the project is still aligned to value delivery.
- Recognize, evaluate, and respond to System interactions: “Recognize, evaluate, and respond to the dynamic circumstances within and surrounding the project in a holistic way to positively affect project performance”. Projects are not isolated anymore. With PMPeople, I can include the project inside a program and/or one or many portfolios. I can also connect the project to others having schedule or procurement dependency.
- Demonstrate Leadership behaviors: “Demonstrate and adapt leadership behaviors to support individual and team needs”. With PMPeople, I can explain each team member his or her role in the project. I can “give them voice” if they submit me any comment –anonymously if they prefer so– and register how they feel every day on team building (happiness index).
- Tailor based on context: “Design the project development approach based on the context of the project, its objectives, stakeholders, governance, and the environment using ‘just enough’ process to achieve the desired outcome while maximizing value, managing cost, and enhancing speed”. With PMPeople, I don’t need to use all features or follow strict workflows. The tool is a tailoring framework in which I can use what I really need for the particular project and organization. I can integrate other tools for file sharing, task management, instant messaging, reporting, etc. For some organizations with critical security constraints, the tool can be installed on premises.
- Build Quality into processes and deliverables: “Maintain a focus on quality that produces deliverables that meet project objectives and align to the needs, uses, and acceptance requirements set forth by relevant stakeholders”. With PMPeople, I can record lessons learned, register data to automate ISO 9001 reports, etc.
- Navigate Complexity: “Continually evaluate and navigate project complexity so that approaches and plans enable the project team to successfully navigate the project life cycle”. With PMPeople, I can divide strategic plans into portfolios, programs, and projects. Project can be broken down into deliverables, requirements, tasks, teams, etc. The project manager is not the project owner: projects belong to performing organizations. With PMPeople, project managers can “involve people in the problems and seek the solutions with them”.
- Optimize Risk responses: “Continually evaluate exposure to risk, both opportunities and threats, to maximize positive impacts and minimize negative impacts to the project and its outcomes”. With PMPeople, I can keep updated and share a risk register, and share a risk summary on each status project report.
- Embrace adaptability and Resiliency: “Build adaptability and resiliency into the organization’s and project team’s approaches to help the project accommodate change, recover from setbacks, and advance the work of the project”. With PMPeople, I can register the project status on each review date to involve managers. They can help me measure current and future performance, anticipate problems, taking preventive or corrective actions, etc.
- Enable Change to achieve the envisioned future state: “Prepare those impacted for the adoption and sustainment of new and different behaviors and processes required for the transition from the current state to the intended future state created by the project outcomes”. With PMPeople, I can engage any number of stakeholders at no license cost, so that they can monitor the project via web or mobile application. If they know a private code, then they can join the project themselves.
Demonstrate the 8 Performance Domains with PMPeople
As a stakeholder, I can check many results on the 8 performance domains just getting the evidence of good/bad performance directly on PMPeople:
- Stakeholders: “The project needs a productive working relationship with stakeholders throughout the life cycle. Stakeholders who are project beneficiaries should be supportive and satisfied; stakeholders who may oppose the project or its deliverables should not negatively impact project results”. With PMPeople, I can update the stakeholder register with the engagement assessment information –unaware, resistant, neutral, supportive, leading–, process their changes, comments, feedback, etc. A review of the project stakeholder register, issue log, change log, comments log and change log, can identify challenges associated with individual stakeholders.
- Team: “The project team should be high performance, empowered, resilient and aligned with objectives. They should trust each other and keep ownership of deliverables and outcomes in a collaborative environment”. With PMPeople, I can explain the expected results to each team member, read their comments –which can be anonymous–, approve their time sheets and expenses, etc. Team members can check their assignments, complete tasks, know who are their teammates, write a team charter, submit comments and retrospective information to the project manager, read feedback on them from managers and stakeholders, etc.
- Development Approach and Life Cycle: “The project should follow a lifecycle –predictive, adaptative, or hybrid – which is consistent with the development approach for the project deliverables. The series of phases of the project lifecycle should help governance and project termination if strategic criteria are no longer realizable”. With PMPeople, I can set the project in one of the 4 management phases –initiation, planning, execution and closing– but also set the phase used inside the business unit. I can manage predictive, adaptive and hybrid projects, publishing periodic progress reports.
- Planning: “Project managers should visualize next week, next month, how to get the project done, etc. The planning model should be holistic, including the component needed to manage stakeholder expectations, and progressively elaborated as new information is discovered”. With PMPeople, I can practice progressive elaboration of scope, schedule, cost, funding, resources, deliverables, requirements, tasks, etc.
- Project Work: “Status reports should demonstrate that project work is efficient and effective. Quality assurance should show that the processes are relevant and effective. The project communications should be effective to engage stakeholders. Procurement and material resources should be managed properly. Projects using a predictive approach should have an integrated change management procedure. Projects using an adaptive approach should have an update product backlog. The project team should minimize rework and optimize velocity”. With PMPeople, I can register periodic follow ups, manage procurement, communication, comments, changes, lessons learned, retrospectives, etc. I can connect projects with a “procurement relationship” to control outsourced work. I can also control work in agile projects.
- Delivery: “Project should demonstrate alignment to the organizational strategy and business. Project benefits should be realized in the time frame in which they were planned. Deliverables should be validated, and requirements should be met”. With PMPeople, I can edit the project charter and the business case, manage deliverables, requirements, etc. I can also measure stakeholders satisfaction based on their comments, changes requested and feedback provided.
- Measurement: “At each project review meetings measurements should indicate whether the project is performing as expected or if there are variances, in order to take timely and informed decisions and actions”. With PMPeople, managers can check performance against baselines at each review date. Some status report data can be shown to stakeholders. Project status report data can be exported as files. Reliable organizations can publish project status reports in blockchain.
- Uncertainty: “The project management team should be alert to anticipate any opportunity or threat which may have a positive or negative effect on a project’s objective or value delivery”. With PMPeople, I can update the risk register, the contingency and management reserves. I can also review risk registers of similar projects in the past: “Yesterday’s problems are today’s risks”. Team members can tell me anonymously on potential problems.
PMPeople is the tool for the project economy. It is aimed to unify professional project management by these differential points:
- Designed by and for professional project managers, following professional project management standards.
- Online productivity –less meetings, less documents, less workflows– through distributed collaboration among 12 specialized roles: Organization Owner, 6 roles on demand management and 5 roles on supply management.
- Freemium product –unlimited time, unlimited users– usable via web and mobile application.
Start using PMPeople for free, for unlimited time and for any number of users. In premium organizations, only managers have a cost. Several roles –stakeholders, team members, sponsors and resource managers– are always free. You can increase or decrease your premium seats according to the organization actual needs. Premium organizations have access to our interactive support through Slack. Our servers are located in EU. This software can also be hosted on customer premises.
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