Is anyone out there?

I have been leading a PMP exam prep workshop all week and every time we do this workshop we get questions like what we are listing today. We have touched on these points in the past but as the fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide will be coming to an end and the sixth edition arrives in the next few weeks, it is an opportunity to ask.

We have touched on these points in the past but as the fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide will be coming to an end and the sixth edition arrives in the next few weeks, it is an opportunity to ask these questions again.

The challenge is there anyone out there, in the PMI world? Is there anyone in PMI that can answer these questions for us?

  1. Why there is no process for completing work packages? There is one process to define the work packages and one to confirm they are done. However, in between these two processes, there is no process for completing the work packages.
  2. Why there is no control team process? Is there no need for any monitoring or controlling action related to the team?
  3. Where is the Acquire Project Manager process?
  4. How about Acquire the Project Management Team, or Planning Team?
  5. Why knowledge areas like Scope, Cost, Time, and Risk has many planning processes but the other knowledge areas only have one?
  6. Why audit is in executing for quality, in closing for procurement, and in monitoring and controlling for risk?
  7. Why quality assurance is an executing process? Is not QA about audit, review, checking to see if the team is complying with the company processes and standards? Is not the concept of review – a controlling action?
  8. Why change management plan, configuration management plan, process improvement plan, staffing plan, and other plans, do not have dedicated processes and are buried into other processes?
  9. Why there is no close team process?
  10. Earned value integrates cost, schedule, and scope, so why is it in the cost chapter?
  11. Resources also touch on time management, cost management, and HR management, so why the Estimate Resources is a time management process?
  12. Exam Related Question: Are the planning processes sequential and while planning the PM and PMT must follow a certain sequence or not?
  13. Why there is no validate product process?
  14. Why there are no processes related to success, such as defining success criteria and assessing success?
  15. If the processes are for project or phase then why we have the word project in the name of many processes? For example Develop Project Charter. Are these processes (with the word project in the name) specific to the project or are they for the project or phase?
  16. Lessons learned is typically considered a communication management topic and is a closing (or is it controlling) action so why there is no closing in communication and lessons learned is a sub-topic to close the project?
  17. Some exam books refer to a concept that the PM must spend about 90% of his/her time on communication, should we treat this as fact or fiction?
  18. Do organizations have a position responsible for projects, like a project expeditor or is this a PMP exam invention?
  19. Why is the “Share” risk response strategy only applicable for opportunities and not threats? Cannot we share threats?

Do you have more questions yourself? Please share them in the comments area. Thank you.

This entry was posted in Project Management and tagged , on by .

About Mounir Ajam

Mounir Ajam is eager to awaken the giant of project management within individuals, organizations, and nations! Mounir is a project management author, executive, consultant, and social entrepreneur. Mounir is open to further learning and knowledge sharing.He has global experience working on projects in the United States, Europe, South East Asia, West Asia, and Africa. He has been privileged to work on multiple small projects and mega projects.

15 thoughts on “Is anyone out there?

  1. Ricki Henry

    Ans 3. While ‘Acquire Project Manager’ is a process for the portfolio board, not for the project manager although it is mentioned in 3.3 Initiating Process Group. Also see 4.1 Develop Project Charter
    Ans 4. “Acquire the Project Management Team or Planning Team” would be documented in the Management Plan document and is too granular to be a process all it’s own.
    Ans 5. Please provide a detail question on anything you think is missing
    Ans 6. An Audit is methodical examination and review (Merriam-Webster). What needs to be reviewed drives an audit, not a process group. Why can’t an audit be in different process groups?
    Ans 7. Quality Assurance ensures that appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are planned to be used. QA seeks to ensure that a future output will be completed in a manner that meets specs. This is the plan we need in order to know how to execute. It is also the plan that is input to Control that is compared to how the work was actually executed
    Ans 8. Why the “other plans” don’t have knowledge areas of their own -While there certainly are many areas that could indeed have their own knowledge area PMI considers the number of processes under a knowledge area and the impact on PMs learning all of the processes. At this time the consensus of those on the update committee is these items are not big enough to warrant their own areas. As we saw when ‘Stakeholders’ was separated from ‘Communication’ going from V4 to V5, this could change in the future
    Ans 9. Any process you would need to close the project team would be in the HR management plan
    Ans 10. Why not? Clearly there would be no benefit to repeating it in the three chapters so basically it’s just – pick one.
    Ans 11. Good observation. In fact ‘Estimate Resources’ has been moved to ‘Resource Management’ in PMBOK 6th edition
    Ans 12. Are processes sequential. There are many references to where processes are done concurrently as well as many references to the iterative and progressive elaboration of processes illustrating how we may need to circle back to readdress processes as we proceed through the project
    Ans 13. Validate product – Please elaborate as to what you envision here is not included in either ‘Validate Scope’ or ‘Control Quality’
    Ans 14. Success Criteria – see the bullet list of what is in the project charter. “Measurable Project Objectives and related Success Criteria”
    Ans 15. Good catch. While ‘Develop Project Charter’ would truly be for the whole project the other uses of the word ‘project’ might well be for a phase. Maybe they’ll change that in V7
    Ans 16. Lessons Learning is in two processes. First ‘Direct and Manage Project Work’ that indicates lessons learned needs to be an ongoing process so it can drive process improvement. Second it’s in ‘Close Project or Phase’ as you noted. I don’t know who or what organization considers it “a communication management topic” but since PMBOK doesn’t why shouldn’t it be in the two processes it’s in now?
    Ans 17. The PMBOK as you point out does not give the number 90% that we all hear about. But it does under ‘Project Communications Management’ say that “Project Managers spend most of their time comunicating ….
    Ans 18. Project Expediter – I’m with you. I don’t see that term. However the duties described are out there just not under that label.
    Ans 19. “Sharing” as a strategy for negative risks is incorporated in the ‘Mitigation’ strategy

    1. Mounir Ajam Post author

      Ans 3: I know the selection of the project manager is mentioned in the PMBOK Guide. Most of the items I listed are in the PMBOK Guide but the question is why there is no dedicated process for this important action? Is the selection of the project manager a minor action that could be done without a formal process with the proper input and tools & techniques?

    2. Mounir Ajam Post author

      Ans 4: PMT
      I do not understand your statement “too granular to be a process all it’s own”. In my experience from workshops – most attendees do not even know what the PMT is or the positions that could exist on this team.

    3. Mounir Ajam Post author

      Ans 6: Audit
      As you said, an audit “methodical examination and review (Merriam-Webster). What needs to be reviewed drives an audit”. So, is not the concept of review – checks – and coming up with potential deviations or gaps a monitoring and controlling function? If it is not, then you are right – audit could be in any process group.

    4. Mounir Ajam Post author

      Ans 7: Quality Assurance
      You said ” Quality Assurance ensures that appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are planned to be used” The key word in what you said is planned. Is not this a Plan Quality step?

    5. Mounir Ajam Post author

      Ans 8:
      I did not say dedicated knowledge areas — I said dedicated processes. Why Develop Change Management Plan is not a dedicated process … etc.

    6. Mounir Ajam Post author

      For most of the other comments, we either agree or we did not align on this point: You are telling me these various points are in the PMBOK Guide and I agree. However, my question is why some of these items do not have dedicated processes (selecting PM, selecting PMT, control team, close team, develop change management plan, develop staffing plan, etc.

      Further, the main point of this article and similar ones, is about PMI ownership of the PMBOK Guide and being responsible for it. When we have questions like this; about PMBOK Guide content, why you, Asad, Paul, and I (and others) have to debate to try to find out the right answer. Why there is no one (or a team) in PMI that can answer these questions?

  2. Asad Naveed

    Ans 1: Completing work packages is included in “Direct & Manage Project Work” which lies in Integration KA.
    Ans 2: When we say “Monitoring & Controlling” we are referring to “Project M&C”. However, any performance appraisal required for the team is done during Executing process group in “Manage Project Team”.

    More later!

    1. Mounir Ajam Post author

      Thank you for responding

      On Ans 1: This is what many understand but not correct – only managing and directing the work is in integration.

      But let us assume you are correct, then why planning and controlling the work packages is in scope but completing them is in integration?

    2. Mounir Ajam

      On Ans 2
      In the earlier editions of the PMBOK Guide, the Manage Project Team process was in M&C. In the 4th edition it was moved to Executing – why? Were the first three editions wrong? Or this process should have been split to include one part for managing the team and another for controlling the team?

      By the way, in the 6th edition, we now have Resource Management instead of HR and there is a Control Resources process now in M&C.

      1. Asad Naveed

        Management science, like all other sciences is evolving over time. Also, people’s opinions are influenced by circumstances, and they keep on changing. Hence it is not a stagnant, fixed, never-changing concept. When the SMEs modify an item, it is as per their Expert Judgment at that particular time.

        1. SUKAD Group

          So control team for 12 years was a M&C concept then for 8 years it became executing and now for the next X years will be back to controlling?

          You mention SME — OK, I will accept your point, then let them explain to us their reasoning for the change.

  3. drpauldgiammalvo

    Fair questions, Mounir but based on my work for AACE and the Guild of Project Controls, which provides me with an outside perspective, as well as having been an early advocate of PMI, I think the simplest answer is where do those “tools and techniques and processes” specific to PROJECT management end and where are they common ONLY to project management?

    As both AACE and the Guild of Project Controls COMBINE asset, portfolio, program (operations) and project management into a single “Theory of Everything” it is easy to see how PMI had to make a decision to leave “things” out, as their model is an incomplete construct to start with.

    I thought that PMI was going to fix this with the new PMBOK Guide 2017 (or 2018 now?) but from what I’ve seen, it looks like they are more focused on Agile, which to me, isn’t a sub-set of project management but a complete stand alone PRODUCT delivery system that is equal to but different from project management?

    Anyway, IF you go back and label each of your perfectly valid questions as belonging to or being the responsibility of the “Asset” or “Portfolio” or “Program (Operations)” managers and NOT the project manager, I think it will go a long way towards answering your valid and reasonable questions.

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia

    1. Mounir Ajam Post author

      Dr. Paul; in my mind, I have answers for all of these questions – the key message I am posting is to reflect the frustrations of those who are studying the PMBOK Guide (Good or Bad) and they cannot get clear formal answers from PMI; the organization that “own” the guide


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