DoIT Project Management Advisor
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Baseline

A approved starting point or condition against which future changes are measured.  The project baseline is the detailed project plan established during the plan stage of a project. During the execute and control stage, changes may require one or more revised project baselines to be issued.

Baseline Budget

The budget as approved by the project sponsor. (Each time the sponsor approves a new budget, the new approved budget becomes the baseline budget for tracking project costs.)

Budget

The project budget is a detailed estimate of all the costs required to complete project tasks. The typical budget specifies costs for staff labor, materials procurement, ongoing operating costs and other direct costs such as travel or training.

Change Management Plan

A change management plan defines activities and roles to manage and control change during the execute and control stage of the project. Change is measured against the project baseline, which is a detailed description of the project’s scope, budget, schedule, and plans to manage quality, risk, issues, and change. During the execute and control stage, changes may require one or more revised project baselines to be issued.

Collaborative Partnership for IT Projects

Often IT service providers and primary functional or business-line service providers are collaborative partners in an IT project.  When the partnership is strong, the parties may choose to share the project manager and project sponsor responsibilities.

Throughout the PMA, the term “customer” may be interpreted to mean the functional service provider for such a collaborative partnership.  Additionally, if collaborative partners choose to share project roles, the PMA terms “project manager” and “project sponsor” may be interpreted to include multiple individuals with a shared responsibility.

Communication Plan

A communication plan facilitates effective and efficient communications with the various audiences having a major stake in the project. It describes how project communications will occur. A good communication plan generally includes the following elements:

  • Communication objectives
  • Target audiences
  • Key content for the communications
  • Communication method and frequency

Contractor

Any project team participant who has been engaged from a private contracting firm.

Cost Expected at End

The cost expected at end is the current budget projection for completing the project and is the sum of the actual costs to date plus the cost of any approved changes and re-estimates to complete remaining tasks.

Critical Path

The critical path is a project management technique that analyzes what activities have the least amount of scheduling flexibility and then predicts project duration based on the activities that fall along the “critical path.”

Customer

In a project management role, customers are members of the business units who identify the need for the product or service the project will deliver and are the ultimate consumers of the project’s product or service.

Specific customers may be designated to make project decisions on behalf of the major business units that will use or be affected by the product or service the project will deliver.

Specific customers may be designated as representatives of their business unit to serve the role of business subject matter experts and represent their business unit’s needs to the project team.

The customer, who may be internal or external, verifies that requirements have been met at project completion.

Often IT service providers and primary functional or business-line service providers are collaborative partners in an IT project.  Throughout the PMA, the term “customer” may be interpreted to mean the functional service provider for such a collaborative partnership.

Deliverable

A deliverable is a measurable, tangible, verifiable output that is required to complet the project.

FTE

See Full Time Equivalent.

Full Time Equivalent

Full Time Equivalent or FTE is a measurement for the number of staff assigned to a project.

A staff member working full time for a full year is typically considered to have a 65-70% productivity rate, allowing for the remaining time to account for various forms of annual leave (e.g., vacations, etc.) and for organizational responsibilities (e.g., departmental meetings, training, etc.)

A person assigned to the project full-time for a year would be equivalent to 1.0 FTE and half-time would be 0.5 FTE, etc.  A project with 3 staff assigned full time for a year has 3.0 FTE.

Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart graphically represents a project by showing each task as a horizontal bar whose length is the time needed to complete the task.  Various project management tools can generate Gantt charts.

Independent Reviewer

An independent agent responsible for facilitating and assuring the value of the post project review process in the close stage.

Issue

An issue is a situation or concern that arises during the execute and control stage of the project, was not addressed in the project plan, requires resolution, and may impede the progress of the project. When an issue cannot be resolved by the project manager and project team it is escalated to outside help. Some issues, if not addressed, could adversely impact the success of a project.

Milestone

Milestones are deliverables or major events to be achieved on a specified date. Milestones can be viewed as  ”how are we doing” thresholds indicating whether a project is on track to finish as expected.

Operational Framework

DoIT’s Operational Framework describes processes to manage operational changes and incidents to ensure best possible operational efficiency, service, and uptime.  The project management activities to manage transition to the support organization refer to these processes and the staff who support these processes.

Post Project Review

To conduct the post project review, you:

  • Measure how closely the project meets customer needs
  • Identify what worked well and what needs improvement
  • Document patterns and trends
  • Articulate methods for improvement
  • Formulate/share Lessons Learned and Best Practices from feedback
  • Ensure material is archived for easy access by managers of future projects

Process Improvement Team Member

An independent agent responsible for assuring that improvements identified in the post project review process, conducted in the close stage, are incorporated into future project management practices.

Program Management

Program Management is the process of managing multiple ongoing inter-dependent projects. Program management also reflects the emphasis on coordination and prioritizing resources across projects, departments, and entities to ensure that resource contention is managed from a global focus.

Project

  • Is a temporary effort to complete a specific deliverable.
  • Has a specific begin date and end date.
  • Has specific objectives.
  • Has resources assigned to perform the work.
  • Has an assigned project manager who has overall responsibility and authority over the project.

Project Charter

The final deliverable from the Initiate Stage of the project management framework.

Project Management

Is a discipline that conceptualizes, initiates, plans, executes and controls, and closes a project.

Project Management Framework

  • Defines how to manage a project.
  • Classifies and organizes project management concepts and methods.
  • Guides the project manager through project management activities.
  • Contains five project management stages.
  • Each stage includes activity definitions, templates, and examples.

Project Manager

The project manager is responsible and accountable for following standard project management processes to manage projects, including estimating, budgeting, staffing, planning, tracking and reporting. The project manager is responsible for successfully completing projects or escalating to project sponsors information about a project that is in jeopardy.

In general, the project manager makes sure the project is delivered within budget, on schedule, and within scope.
Often IT service providers and primary functional or business-line service providers are collaborative partners in an IT project.  When the partnership is strong, the parties may choose to share the project manager responsibility.

Project Plan

The final deliverable from the Plan Stage of the project management framework.

Project Sponsor

The project sponsor is responsible for championing the project and is accountable for supporting and guiding project managers and teams. 

The project sponsor assures project manager and supporting management accountability for following project management principles and processes. The project sponsor assists with conflict resolution concerning resource contention and/or scope management. 

The project sponsor demonstrates interest in the outcome of the project and is responsible for securing funding and resources for the project and is the ultimate decision maker for the project.

Often IT service providers and primary functional or business-line service providers are collaborative partners in an IT project.  When the partnership is strong, the parties may choose to share the project sponsor responsibility.

Project Team

The project team is responsible for performing the tasks and producing the deliverables as outlined in the project plan and as directed by the project manager.

Qualitative Analysis (of risk)

A qualitative analysis of a risk determines the factors that would cause the deviation, the likelihood of its occurrence, and the impact were it to occur.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance refers to the internal work processes used to manage and deliver the solution. Quality assurance activities make sure project processes used to manage and deliver the project’s product or service are effective and being applied. Quality assurance can be performed by a manager, customer or third-party reviewer or separate quality assurance group.

Quality Assurance Representative

An independent agent responsible for assuring the quality of the project management process and the effectiveness of its practice.

Quality Control

Quality control activities are associated with the creation of project deliverables. Quality control prevents and resolves errors in project deliverables. Quality Control verifies that deliverables are of acceptable quality and they meet the deliverable quality standards and the completeness and correctness criteria established.

Quantitative Analysis (of risk)

A quantitative analysis of a risk expresses the risk’s likelihood as a probability and the impact of the deviation as a monetary value.

Realized Risk

A risk is a possible deviation from the planned outcome of a project. The risk register identifies factors which may cause a risk to be realized. A realized risk is an actual deviation, which has occurred during the project, generally resulting from the occurrence of one or more of these pre-identified risk factors.

Requirements

Requirements specify the capabilities, features or attributes of the project’s deliverables based on stakeholder needs, wants and wishes.

Response Strategy (for a risk)

For each risk in a project a response strategy is set.  Response strategies fall into four categories:

  1. Avoidance.  The avoidance strategy eliminates the possible deviation by changing the project deliverables against which the deviation is defined.  For a negative risk this could mean deciding not to undertake the deliverable.  For a positive risk or opportunity this could mean exploiting the opportunity by incorporating it into the project as a planned deliverable.
  2. Transference. The transference strategy transfer the impact of the deviation to a third party.  Purchasing insurance is a classic risk transference strategy.  On the positive side, a plan to share possible cost savings with a vendor as an incentive is example of transference.
  3. Mitigation.  The mitigation strategy sets out to alter the likelihood or the impact of the risk.  For negative risks steps may be taken to reduce the probability that risk factors will cause a deviation from the project plan or reduce the amount of deviation.  Taking steps to increase the likelihood or amount of a cost saving may be a sensible response to a cost savings opportunity.
  4. Acceptance.  The acceptance strategy merely acknowledges the risk, but does not specify a action to take in response to the risk.

Risk

Risks are possible deviations from the planned outcomes of a project owing to factors present in the project or its environment.  Deviations can be positive (opportunities) or negative. 

Risk Register

A risk register records risks, described either qualitatively or quantitatively, and the risk response strategy assigned to them.

Role

Roles are the staff resources needed to complete the project and may include a preliminary or high-level description of responsibilities, skills, time commitments and sources of key project staff. This can be in the form of a list of titles and positions (i.e., customer contact, lead programmer, systems analyst, operations and support specialist etc.).

Schedule

A project schedule designates work to be done and specifies deadlines for completing tasks and deliverables.  The project schedule depicts:

  • Time (duration) estimates for all project tasks
  • Start and finish dates for the tasks
  • Names of staff resources assigned to complete the tasks
  • Sequence of tasks

Scope

Defining the scope of a project develops a common understanding of what is included in and excluded from the project.  It is usually defined by:

  • Project Business Need
  • Project Goals
  • Product Description
  • Project Customer, Project Sponsor, Project Manager
  • Project in Scope, Out of Scope
  • Project Critical Success Factors
  • Project Assumptions
  • Project Constraints
  • Project Deliverables

Scribe

An independent agent responsible for documenting discussion and outcomes of the post project review process in the close stage.

Staffing Plan

A project staffing plan involves selecting and assembling a project team.  The staffing plan specifies when and how to meet the requirements for staffing the project.  The staffing plan builds on the high-level staffing needs identified in the Initiate Stage.

Items to consider in the project staffing plan:

  • How the staff will be acquired
  • How long the staff will be needed
  • The skills required
  • What training is needed

Stakeholders

In a project management role, stakeholder is a general term to describe individuals or groups who are impacted by or who can impact outcomes of the project.  Their support is critical to success.

This can include the project team, the customers, regulatory authorities, infrastructure teams, on-going product support providers – who will be affected by the introduction of a new product or service.

Support Organization

DoIT’s support organizations include:

  • Change Manager within Systems, Engineering, and Operations
  • Systems and Network Control Center
  • Help Desk

Refer to the following Project Management Framework components as well as the Operational Framework and Help Desk Documentation for procedures for working with these organizations:

  • Support Transition Plan (Plan Stage)
  • Prepare for Support Transition (Execute & Control Stage)
  • Transition to Support Organizations (Close Stage)

Variance

The variance is the current baseline minus the cost expected at end.  A positive variance means the actual cost of the project is less that the budgeted cost. A negative variance means the actual cost of the project is greater than the budgeted cost.

Vendor

Vendors are contracted to provide additional products or services the project will require and may be members of the Project Team.

Work Breakdown Structure

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical outline of the tasks needed to deliver the project’s product or service.   It “breaks-down” the project into low-level subtask units of work that will be scheduled, executed and controlled.

 

 

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Updated March 1, 2007 - v2.0