Efficiency Order vs. Value Order

I’ve been meaning to write a comparison of Waterfall and Agile software development, as well as the truths in the PMBOK. Until then, I just want to point out one key difference: efficiency order vs. value order.

This is my own terminology, but “efficiency order” and “value order” seem to be the two most reasonable responses to the question, “In what order will work be performed?” Work can be ordered according to the value generated, such that the highest priority work is accomplished first. Or work can be ordered according to the sequence with the least waste. Value order puts building a submarine hull before installing sonar, since submariners can live without sonar, but not without a hull. Efficiency order might install sonar before the hull is complete if doing so requires less labor and improves the schedule. Continue reading “Efficiency Order vs. Value Order”

Efficiency Order vs. Value Order

PMBOK (5th Edition) Inputs, Outputs, Tools, & Techniques

Going through the various processes in the PMBOK (5th Edition), I’m realizing that what I really need to pay attention to isn’t the list of processes, but what is involved in all of them. The repetition of the inputs, tools, and techniques is not how I like to think about these things. So I’m putting together the index below. This is mostly for my reference, but I’m putting it out into the Internet in case anybody else stumbles across this in their search for information on the PMBOK (5th Edition).

pmbok-guide-5th-edition

Continue reading “PMBOK (5th Edition) Inputs, Outputs, Tools, & Techniques”

PMBOK (5th Edition) Inputs, Outputs, Tools, & Techniques

2, 24, 8, 11, 2 and 6, 6, 7, 4, 3, 4, 3, 6, 4, 4

I’m taking a course right now to prepare for the PMP exam. One of the things we’re working to memorize is the categorization of 47 processes into knowledge areas and process groups. Those categorizations form a grid. Memorizing the number of processes in each column and row really helped my table recreate the grid from memory and impress the instructor.

In addition to those arbitrary sequences of numbers, I have a few additional observations about the distribution of processes according to PMI:

The Initiating process group includes only two processes: developing the project charter (authorizing the project) and identifying stakeholders. These make sense, since before the project manager even gets involved, somebody figured out that they wanted the project to occur, and they had some idea about who is involved in some way. Once the project manager has these in hand, the project planning can start.

The Closing process group includes only two processes: closing project work and closing procurements. The distinction here is between the value generated by the team itself and the value acquired from an outside source.

There are four knowledge areas that have nothing in the Executing process group, and they are the ones that are essentially the project constraints and risks to them: Scope, Time, Cost, and Risk. These each have a large number of Planning processes and one Control process. Scope has the extra validate process under Monitor & Control to ensure that the project resulted in what was promised.

The one knowledge area with no Monitor & Control process is the Human Resource one. This is presumably because monitoring and controlling is about ensuring that your personnel are accomplishing the project as expected within the specified constraints, and thus one in this intersection would be redundant.

Each of the knowledge areas that have at least one Executing process have only a single Planning process: Integration, Quality, Human Resource, Communications, Procurement, and Stakeholder.  Half of these are about the actual accomplishment of work (HR, Procurement, and Stakeholder). The other three are the core of what a project manager does: coordination (Communications), management (Integration), and oversight (QA).

More memorization tomorrow. Good night.

2, 24, 8, 11, 2 and 6, 6, 7, 4, 3, 4, 3, 6, 4, 4

PM PrepCast

I’m working on getting the PMP certification, mostly for upward (salary) mobility.

I was pretty intimidated with the project hours requirement, but after talking with Nathan Scott, it ended up being far simpler than I feared. Looks like the key is to ensure you have someone who can vouch for the work you claim.

I’m now working my way through the PM PrepCast. I was skeptical before purchasing, since I picked it up as the cheapest option out there, and I’m still crossing my fingers that their 35-hour certificate will count, but I’m impressed with the video podcasts. While certainly not groundbreaking, they cover the material in a sensible fashion and discuss where the PMI ideal may not line up with the truth on the ground, but also put into perspective that the activity areas take a wide variety of forms. Just because a lot of documentation is implied, the documentation doesn’t have to be that onerous.

PM PrepCast