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Questions


Q1:   What are the objectives of project identification?

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Q2:   We were asked seveal questions regarding project selection and methods and tools for project selection. After some careful consideration, we decided to create a sub-section, A Project Selection Case, where we discuss the methods and tools which we introduce in section Project Selection.



Q3:   What are the objectives of project planning?

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Q4:   Why is teamwork important in all phases of a project?

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Q5:   What process would you follow to update a schedule plan?


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Q6:   Why do we need to include effort, duration and resource cost into our cost estimation?


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Answers


to Q1:   In an organization doing business with projects there is a strategy in place about what kind of projects they want to undertake. Based on that strategy, they will be able to identify possible projects which support that strategy. Additionally, they have a set of criteria that helps them to select those projects that fit best to their strategy: in terms of expertise, potential growth of their business, profit, etc.

Example: Company A's strategy is to do their business with constructing office buildings. So, they will mainly scan the market for potential customers who need to create or expand office space, but will not look for customers who want to build new private homes. In case they have the opportunity to undertake two similar projects, but do not have enough resources to do both, they might select that project which turns in the higher profit.

Please refer to Project Selection and Project Definition for further details.



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to Q3:   The project management team needs to be in control of all project activities. Therefore, they need a plan of all those activities. So, the objectives of project planning are to create this plan:

  • PBS - what are the project results and its components,
  • WBS - what are the activities to be done in order to achieve those results,
  • Network diagram - logical sequence of all activities,
  • Gantt chart - time schedule for the activities,
  • Resource plan - who has to carry out those activities,
  • Cost plan - how much does the project cost.

Please refer to Project Planning for further details.



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to Q4:   For most - if not all - projects we need the contributions of people with different background and different expertise. They have to work together in order to create the project results. Thererfore, it is worthwhile to observe how project teams develop and what their team dynamics are.



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to Q5:   Strictly speaking, I would follow the same process as used when setting up the project schedule the first time:

  • First step - start with the milestone plan and update it if necessary.
  • Second step - check if you need to change and update the network diagram i.e. the logical sequence of work packages / project activities.
  • Third step - update the Gantt chart i.e. the time schedule of all work packages / project activities accordingly.

Please refer to Project Schedule for further details.



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to Q6:   in Planning phase, we would like to obtain a complete plan of the project scope (provided by the WBS), the project schedule (provided by the network diagram or the Gantt chart) and the project cost (provided by the cost plan).

For the project schedule, we need to estimate the duration of each work package. Often, we assign several colleagues who have different skills and different hourly or daily rates to a work package. Therefore, it is necessary to estimate the work package effort separately.

For example:

There is a work package WPx, with two colleagues, Adam and Ben, working on it. Their resource costs are

  • Adam is electrical engineer with a daily rate of USD 800,
  • Ben is electrical technician with a daily rate of USD 560.

We estimate the duration of WPx to be 5 days, Ben working on WPx for the five days straight. Adam is helping him for only 2 days. This will lead to an estimated duration of 5 days and a total effort of USD 4,400.

Adam and Ben might also need cables, switches and sockets which amount to USD 200. So, the total cost of WPx will be USD 4,600.

For the cost plan, we need to know when the different types of cost will be accrued or booked to the project. Thus, we add information about the time of accrual of each cost type. In our example above this might be

  • cost of material: at the start of WPx
  • cost of manpower: at the end of WPx


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In case you would like to use practical and useful packages of tools, templates and checklists, here you can get them. They save you a lot of time, are easy to use and easy to change:

All four PM Phases in one Set

Templates & Checklists for Implementation and Closure Phase
Click here for more info, or
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