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Chapter 6 Project Activity and Risk PlanningCHAPTER OVERVIEWOverview – This chapter introduces the process of project planning, which involves identifying the specific goals of the project and breaking them down into achievable tasks. The concepts of Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and risk management are also introduced.6.1 Initial Project Coordination and the Project Charter – The project launch meeting is an excellent way to begin the planning process. At this meeting the team is gathered for the first time to allow them to develop a general idea about the requirements of the project. The intent is not to present fully developed plans and schedules but rather to present the project in general, so that the team members can develop detailed plans and schedules for themselves, discuss resourcing, estimate tolerances, define high-level risks and present them at subsequent meetings. After the planning process is complete it is useful to have a postplanning review chaired by an experienced project manager not previously involved with this project.Outside Clients – When the project involves an outside client, the planning process must include the complete definition of the deliverables that will be provided. This can be accomplished efficiently by involving the design and marketing teams early in the planning process. The intent is to prevent later surprises. E.g: The previously ignored manufacturing group announces that they can’t build the design that has taken 10 months so far to be developed.Project Charter Elements – The project charter is a high-level document that helps to define the scope of the project. They vary from organization to organization, but they should all have the following elements:Purpose – A short summary of objectives and project scope.Objectives – A more detailed statement of the general goals of the project. This statement should include profit and competitive aims from the Business Case as well as technical goals based on the Statement of Work (SOW).Overview – A description of both the managerial and the technical approaches to the work.Schedules – This section outlines the various schedules and lists all milestone events and/or phase-gates.Resources – This element contains the budgets by task as well as the cost control and monitoring plans.Stakeholders – This section lists the key internal and external stakeholders. It also contains a time phased plan for the people (or at least the skills) required for the project.Risk Management Plans – This covers potential problems as well as potential lucky breaks that could affect the project.Evaluation Methods – This section describes the methods used to monitor, evaluate, collect, store, audit and evaluate the history of the project.A Whole-Brain Approach to Project Planning – Typically, project managers focus on the logical and analytical, left-brain activities related to project management. A more balanced, whole-brain approach should be used which utilizes the creative right side of the brain. One whole-brain approach is mind mapping. It is essentially a visual approach that closely mirrors how the human brain records and stores information. It helps to tap the creative potential of the entire project teamActivities are sequentially broken down into greater detailTeam members are encouraged to use pictures and images to represent activitiesIt is a fast and effective tool to help minimize problems associated with inadequate front-end planningProject Planning in Action – Plans can be constructed by listing the sequence of activities necessary to complete the project. The nine segments of the project are:Concept evaluationRequirements identificationDesignImplementationTestIntegrationValidationCustomer test and evaluationOperations and maintenance6.2 The WBS: A Key Element of the Project PlanThe WBS – The work breakdown structure (WBS) is a tool used to capture the decomposition of activities and the assignment of personnel. The WBS is not one thing. It can take a wide variety of forms that, in turn, serve a wide variety of purposes. The text suggests the following steps for WBS development:Break the tasks down into sufficient detail so that they can be individually planned, budgeted, scheduled, monitored, and controlled. The tasks at the bottom of the structure are typically called work packages.Identify the relevant supporting information needed for each work package and the people who will work them.The work packages must be reviewed with the people involved to ensure their accuracy and adequacy in describing the tasks to be accomplished.The WBS can be used to capture the direct costs estimated or budgeted for each task.The summary of the schedule information associated with each work package can be summarized into a project master schedule.The process is iterative Both the planned schedule and budget for each work package can be used as the baseline to measure performance as the project is executed.6.3 Human Resources: The RACI Matrix and Agile ProjectsIdentifying and securing the right employees for project work is one of the most important PM tasks. One way to identify the HR needs is to create an Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS). It shows the organizational units that are responsible for the various work elements of the project. By creating RACI matrixes and utilizing agile project methods, better management of human resources can be attained.The Responsibility (RACI) Matrix – An approach to identify the human resources needed for the project is to use the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consult, Inform) matrix. The matrix shows critical interfaces between units that may require special managerial coordination. With it, the PM can keep track of who must approve what, who must be notified, and other such relationships. The RACI matrix displays the WBS items in the left-most column of a table. The individuals, groups, or units involved in the project are displayed in the top row. The project manager then uses the matrix to identify who is Responsible, who is Accountable (sometimes Approval), who should be Consulted, and who should be Informed.Agile Project Planning and Management – Traditional methods are insufficient, if an organization finds it difficult to define the project adequately in the shortest possible time. In other situations, change occurs too frequently. In situations like these agile project management (APM) may be effective. APM requires close and continual contact between the project team and the clients. Project requirements are a result of client/developer interaction, and the requirements change as the interaction leads to a better understanding on both sides of the project requirements, priorities, and limitations.6.4 Interface Coordination Through Integration Management – Interface coordination is the task of coordinating work across multiple groups. Multidisciplinary teams (MTs) are often used to facilitate the coordination of technical issues. Techniques are available to assist this process by mapping the interdependencies between team members.Managing Projects by Phases and Phase-Gates – One way to facilitate interdisciplinary cooperation is to break the project into phases and require the team to have specific deliverables at each phase. Then an oversight process can evaluate the deliverables and decide whether the project is ready to pass onto the next phase. This technique is applied in addition to the normal cost and schedule control techniques associated with projects.6.5 Project Risk Management – This is the PMBOK knowledge area number 8. It defines risk management as the systematic process for identifying, analyzing, and responding to project risk. In recent years, considerably more attention has been placed on risk management. Of the elements involved risk management, the human element is the most concerning. Seven processes exist:Risk Management Planningdeciding how to approach and plan the risk management activities for a projectRisk Identificationdetermining which risks might affect the project and documenting their characteristicsQualitative Risk Analysisperforming a qualitative analysis of risks and conditions to prioritize their impacts on project objectivesQuantitative Risk Analysisestimating the probability and consequences of risks and hence the implications for project objectiveso Failure Mode and Effect Analysiso Decision Tree Analysiso Monte Carlo Simulationo Sensitivity Analysiso Dealing with Project DisastersRisk Response Planningdeveloping procedures and techniques to enhanceopportunitiesand reducethreatsto the project’s objectivesRisk Monitoring and Controlmonitoring residual risks, identifying new risks, executing risk reduction plans, and evaluating their effectiveness throughout the project life cycleThe Risk Management Registercreating a permanent register of identified risks, methods used to mitigate or resolve them, and the results of all risk management activities