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End-to-End Phases in Project Management

So, what really is Project Management? That’s a question worth your attention. As we know, Projects are catalysts for change, they result in breaking status-quo, delivering something which has never existed before. Immense technological milestones have been achieved by human beings since centuries starting from Egyptian Pyramids, and Great Wall of China to today’s cutting-edge, state of the art advancements in every walk of life. All this have been possible due to conceptualizing something new & further delivering it. In the backdrop of each of these historical events, has been Project Management in one way or other. In recent years, Project Management has been formally developed as a fully functional field of study & is considered a vital skillset for the professionals especially deployed with organizations regularly working on Projects.    The whole process of Project Management may be divided into four major segments (sometimes referred as Steps, Phases or Process Groups), these include  Planning (Conceptualization etc.),  Development,  Implementation,  Close-out  Another step which envelops all of these is known as Monitoring, which sometimes is considered as an additional Process or otherwise considered part of each Step enlisted earlier. Each of these processes contains many separate activities, each of which are specific to their relevant Step. Let’s have a look at how all these contribute to the project life cycle. 1) Planning This is the very first step marking the beginning of the journey to deliver a concept Product, Service or Result. During the planning step a specific Product, Service, or Result is conceptualized & further steps are taken to elaborate the business need of the same as well as the necessary Scope of the Product, Service or result.  Identify the Core Problem First things first, at the very early stage, we need to identify the actual problem for which we need to develop a solution, this problem will be the foundation of the whole project & all the concepts, Ideas, Plans & rest of the Project Management related activities will be revolving around resolving this problem. Normally, companies involved with Projects come across some ideas from some internal or external clients with a problem statement & are invited to bring their solutions for further consideration. Sometimes we may also be presented with a few solutions to some specific problem & are invited to select the best one to be implemented in order to resolve the problem. However, it may vary based on the situations.  Defining Project Objectives Once the problem is identified, the next step is to sketch out what the results or deliverables will be looking like or what features the outcomes must contain. This is vital to identify the all expected features before moving on to the next steps of planning & execution. Failure to define the detailed objectives of the outcomes will result is diverting from the actual expectations of the outcomes of the project.   Determine scope, resources, and major tasks/activities To determine the Project scope is actually defining the project boundary, it is about building a wall around the project. Everything inside the boundary is necessary & supposed to be completed to deliver the Product, Service or Outcomes of the project. It is the only scope which is supposed to be completed & all of this scope is completed. To plan in a proper manner & keep the Project in control, a number of tools & techniques are utilized at this stage i.e. WBS, WBS Dictionary etc.  These tools & techniques are here to help define Scope in a systematic manner & aid in the further planning process. Managing Constraints Scope, Schedule, Cost, Resources, Risk & Quality are the project constraints, the outcomes of the project actually result from mix-up of these constraints. Variation in any of these constraints will reflect on the project outcomes. or instance if in the middle of the project the schedule is squeezed by the client or Management now we have two options either have a trade off with money & resources (pour more of Cost & Resources to complete the project in new schedule) or deliver something which is not meeting the expected/planned outcomes of the Project which for sure will not be acceptable to any of the stakeholders. 2) Development This is actually the build-up step of the project, here we will perform certain activities which will lead to further project implementation. At this stage, we bring the team together, Time estimates are converted into Schedule, and Cost estimates are converted into budgets. The resources are gathered & we have commitments & we make them. Assemble Team The very first thing to do here is to assemble a team capable to handle the project end to end. Of course, we already have a small team to help plan the project but now we need more experts to perform the real project planning and execution related stuff. A lot of subject matter experts (SME’s) are now required to get the technical aspects of the project done. Responsibility Assignment Planning The team is here now, but what will each of the team members do? It is required to plan in detail with a clear definition of roles & responsibilities, so that during the Project Life Cycle things may move in a systematic fashion. For the purpose of such planning, we need to involve the team members so that they may provide their consent based on their skillset which will, later on, result in a smooth flow of the project. Kick-off Meeting  As project management is all about doing things in a collaborative manner, we need to announce the formal start of the project, which is done during the kick off meeting, all the key stakeholders are invited & major project milestones are explained, a review of the time frame as a big picture is also needed to be performed. Any suggestions are also collected & further considered for analysis & incorporation to the plans if required. Create Schedule The time estimates for each activity & work package are prepared & further converted into the formal schedule, this schedule is now a baseline for project performance measurement during the project life cycle. To create a realistic Project Schedule team involvement is mandatory, which formally results in internal buy-in & pave the way for the successful execution of the project. Budget Development Another vital component of the Project is known as Cost. The cost for each activity is estimated individually & further accumulated as Project Budget; the same budget is further used as a baseline to measure the project performance. The team involvement is important here, to ensure the buy-ins & smooth performance during execution. One thing to remember is that a budget, no matter how carefully is developed is always a guess & may need adjustments later on & variations with actual spending & budget are always expected, so the key is to closely monitor & control.    3) Implementation Now is the time to put the plans to action. Most of the project effort happens at this stage & most of the project resources are required during the implementation stage. This stage is the most exciting as a lot of activity is going on here. It is also the most frustrating stage due to the immense pressure to meet the goals & perform the things as per plans.  Monitor & Control Budget, Scope, & Schedule Keeping the bigger picture of the project in view is important at this stage, no matter which approach of Project Management is being adopted, the key goal here will be to maintain the control over the three Major constraints of the Project Scope, Schedule & Cost. If we can keep these in control there is no problem in managing the whole project.  Adaptation of Project Management approach is another important aspect, there are a few great approaches to manage a project but not all of the these are a perfect fit for a given situation. An approach which is best for huge projects may prove useless & wash away the project due to heavy documentation & paperwork involved. So, while selecting the approach for your project we need to consider the whole scenario of the project. Progress Reporting Project performance may effectively be measured through proper reporting, a lot of different types of reports are available for selection, only those which are necessary and may reflect the true picture of what’s going on under the hood in the project must be adapted. Progress Reports, Status Reports, Performance Reports are few of these. The reports are generated through the work performance data collected from Project site, which is further converted into information, which then is populated into reports to display the whole picture of the projects. Most of this stuff is done in an automated way through different software these days. Issues & Problem Management The important task which is the responsibility of the Project Manager is keeping an eye on the Project, identifying the potential problem areas, uncovering conflicts & addressing & managing these problems to solve & safeguard the project from these. It’s important to pay attention to the small signals & triggers of emerging problems, these indicators may include a team member’s increased frustration, lack of interest & enthusiasm, or inability to decision making. Avoiding problems is not a proper approach, we need to face & resolve the problems, find the potential root causes & eliminate these. 4) Close-out  As soon as project deliverables are accepted and handed over to the client, the project needs to be formal. The Staff may be released, Project procurements need to be formally closed, all unused material, resources & equipment need to be returned. The project performance needs to be evaluated & all project records & documents are required to be archived. Project Performance Evaluation The project is complete, but it is to be evaluated if it met its goals as defined at beginning or not? The project performance, as well as the performance of the product, are needed to be verified if it met its expected target & performed accordingly. The project performance with respect to the agreed scope is also measured. At this stage, Project scope is used as a yardstick to measure the outcomes performance. Project Closure Once Project deliverables are accepted & handed over, all relevant documents are archived & project resources are released. Now the project will be formally closed. If everything went as per plan & project has delivered for what it was planned, it’s time to celebrate.  The project may sometimes have had a lot of rollercoaster ride along the way, may also result in over budgeting, over scheduling or show the inability to deliver the outcomes as expected. But still we are supposed to recognize the team’s efforts & accomplishments.    Post-Evaluation Debriefing Regardless of Project outcomes, a post-evaluation debriefing session with the Project Management team is a key event at the end of the project, which serves the purpose to brief them regarding the performance and major events during the Project Lifecycle. This must also be documented in the lessons learned. It’s an opportunity to discover the whole Project Life cycle positively rather than blaming or criticizing. This event may be used to find the best way to perform certain things in a project which actually went wrong. The critical team members must be involved to make sure their contribution at this stage leads to the success of the future project.   

End-to-End Phases in Project Management

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End-to-End Phases in Project Management

So, what really is Project Management? That’s a question worth your attention.

As we know, Projects are catalysts for change, they result in breaking status-quo, delivering something which has never existed before. Immense technological milestones have been achieved by human beings since centuries starting from Egyptian Pyramids, and Great Wall of China to today’s cutting-edge, state of the art advancements in every walk of life. All this have been possible due to conceptualizing something new & further delivering it. In the backdrop of each of these historical events, has been Project Management in one way or other. In recent years, Project Management has been formally developed as a fully functional field of study & is considered a vital skillset for the professionals especially deployed with organizations regularly working on Projects.   

The whole process of Project Management may be divided into four major segments (sometimes referred as Steps, Phases or Process Groups), these include 

  • Planning (Conceptualization etc.), 
  • Development, 
  • Implementation, 
  • Close-out 

Another step which envelops all of these is known as Monitoring, which sometimes is considered as an additional Process or otherwise considered part of each Step enlisted earlier. Each of these processes contains many separate activities, each of which are specific to their relevant Step.

Let’s have a look at how all these contribute to the project life cycle.

1) Planning
This is the very first step marking the beginning of the journey to deliver a concept Product, Service or Result. During the planning step a specific Product, Service, or Result is conceptualized & further steps are taken to elaborate the business need of the same as well as the necessary Scope of the Product, Service or result. 

Identify the Core Problem
First things first, at the very early stage, we need to identify the actual problem for which we need to develop a solution, this problem will be the foundation of the whole project & all the concepts, Ideas, Plans & rest of the Project Management related activities will be revolving around resolving this problem. Normally, companies involved with Projects come across some ideas from some internal or external clients with a problem statement & are invited to bring their solutions for further consideration. Sometimes we may also be presented with a few solutions to some specific problem & are invited to select the best one to be implemented in order to resolve the problem. However, it may vary based on the situations. 

Defining Project Objectives
Once the problem is identified, the next step is to sketch out what the results or deliverables will be looking like or what features the outcomes must contain. This is vital to identify the all expected features before moving on to the next steps of planning & execution. Failure to define the detailed objectives of the outcomes will result is diverting from the actual expectations of the outcomes of the project.  

Determine scope, resources, and major tasks/activities
To determine the Project scope is actually defining the project boundary, it is about building a wall around the project. Everything inside the boundary is necessary & supposed to be completed to deliver the Product, Service or Outcomes of the project. It is the only scope which is supposed to be completed & all of this scope is completed. To plan in a proper manner & keep the Project in control, a number of tools & techniques are utilized at this stage i.e. WBS, WBS Dictionary etc.  These tools & techniques are here to help define Scope in a systematic manner & aid in the further planning process.

Managing Constraints
Scope, Schedule, Cost, Resources, Risk & Quality are the project constraints, the outcomes of the project actually result from mix-up of these constraints. Variation in any of these constraints will reflect on the project outcomes. or instance if in the middle of the project the schedule is squeezed by the client or Management now we have two options either have a trade off with money & resources (pour more of Cost & Resources to complete the project in new schedule) or deliver something which is not meeting the expected/planned outcomes of the Project which for sure will not be acceptable to any of the stakeholders.

2) Development
This is actually the build-up step of the project, here we will perform certain activities which will lead to further project implementation. At this stage, we bring the team together, Time estimates are converted into Schedule, and Cost estimates are converted into budgets. The resources are gathered & we have commitments & we make them.

Assemble Team
The very first thing to do here is to assemble a team capable to handle the project end to end. Of course, we already have a small team to help plan the project but now we need more experts to perform the real project planning and execution related stuff. A lot of subject matter experts (SME’s) are now required to get the technical aspects of the project done.

Responsibility Assignment Planning
The team is here now, but what will each of the team members do? It is required to plan in detail with a clear definition of roles & responsibilities, so that during the Project Life Cycle things may move in a systematic fashion. For the purpose of such planning, we need to involve the team members so that they may provide their consent based on their skillset which will, later on, result in a smooth flow of the project.

Kick-off Meeting 
As project management is all about doing things in a collaborative manner, we need to announce the formal start of the project, which is done during the kick off meeting, all the key stakeholders are invited & major project milestones are explained, a review of the time frame as a big picture is also needed to be performed. Any suggestions are also collected & further considered for analysis & incorporation to the plans if required.

Create Schedule
The time estimates for each activity & work package are prepared & further converted into the formal schedule, this schedule is now a baseline for project performance measurement during the project life cycle. To create a realistic Project Schedule team involvement is mandatory, which formally results in internal buy-in & pave the way for the successful execution of the project.

Budget Development
Another vital component of the Project is known as Cost. The cost for each activity is estimated individually & further accumulated as Project Budget; the same budget is further used as a baseline to measure the project performance. The team involvement is important here, to ensure the buy-ins & smooth performance during execution. One thing to remember is that a budget, no matter how carefully is developed is always a guess & may need adjustments later on & variations with actual spending & budget are always expected, so the key is to closely monitor & control.   

3) Implementation
Now is the time to put the plans to action. Most of the project effort happens at this stage & most of the project resources are required during the implementation stage. This stage is the most exciting as a lot of activity is going on here. It is also the most frustrating stage due to the immense pressure to meet the goals & perform the things as per plans. 

Monitor & Control Budget, Scope, & Schedule
Keeping the bigger picture of the project in view is important at this stage, no matter which approach of Project Management is being adopted, the key goal here will be to maintain the control over the three Major constraints of the Project Scope, Schedule & Cost. If we can keep these in control there is no problem in managing the whole project.  Adaptation of Project Management approach is another important aspect, there are a few great approaches to manage a project but not all of the these are a perfect fit for a given situation. An approach which is best for huge projects may prove useless & wash away the project due to heavy documentation & paperwork involved. So, while selecting the approach for your project we need to consider the whole scenario of the project.

Progress Reporting
Project performance may effectively be measured through proper reporting, a lot of different types of reports are available for selection, only those which are necessary and may reflect the true picture of what’s going on under the hood in the project must be adapted. Progress Reports, Status Reports, Performance Reports are few of these. The reports are generated through the work performance data collected from Project site, which is further converted into information, which then is populated into reports to display the whole picture of the projects. Most of this stuff is done in an automated way through different software these days.

Issues & Problem Management
The important task which is the responsibility of the Project Manager is keeping an eye on the Project, identifying the potential problem areas, uncovering conflicts & addressing & managing these problems to solve & safeguard the project from these. It’s important to pay attention to the small signals & triggers of emerging problems, these indicators may include a team member’s increased frustration, lack of interest & enthusiasm, or inability to decision making. Avoiding problems is not a proper approach, we need to face & resolve the problems, find the potential root causes & eliminate these.

4) Close-out 
As soon as project deliverables are accepted and handed over to the client, the project needs to be formal. The Staff may be released, Project procurements need to be formally closed, all unused material, resources & equipment need to be returned. The project performance needs to be evaluated & all project records & documents are required to be archived.

Project Performance Evaluation
The project is complete, but it is to be evaluated if it met its goals as defined at beginning or not? The project performance, as well as the performance of the product, are needed to be verified if it met its expected target & performed accordingly. The project performance with respect to the agreed scope is also measured. At this stage, Project scope is used as a yardstick to measure the outcomes performance.

Project Closure
Once Project deliverables are accepted & handed over, all relevant documents are archived & project resources are released. Now the project will be formally closed. If everything went as per plan & project has delivered for what it was planned, it’s time to celebrate. 
The project may sometimes have had a lot of rollercoaster ride along the way, may also result in over budgeting, over scheduling or show the inability to deliver the outcomes as expected. But still we are supposed to recognize the team’s efforts & accomplishments.   

Post-Evaluation Debriefing
Regardless of Project outcomes, a post-evaluation debriefing session with the Project Management team is a key event at the end of the project, which serves the purpose to brief them regarding the performance and major events during the Project Lifecycle. This must also be documented in the lessons learned. It’s an opportunity to discover the whole Project Life cycle positively rather than blaming or criticizing. This event may be used to find the best way to perform certain things in a project which actually went wrong. The critical team members must be involved to make sure their contribution at this stage leads to the success of the future project. 
 

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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All the work that is necessary to complete the deliverables is all accounted for in the project schedule. A project schedule indicates what activities are needed to be performed on each activity, in what sequence, which resources would be performing these activities, estimated duration to complete these activities, the estimated cost of each activity, etc. It also defines the human resources and physical resources needed to complete the activities. The schedule also includes all associated costs as outlined in the project budget.  The project schedule is often used along with a work breakdown structure (WBS) as it defines the scope of the project. The WBS must be created first as it helps to create the project schedule. Hence if there is any change to be carried out in the project schedule, first make changes in the WBS and then make corresponding changes in the project schedule. The project schedule should be updated regularly to gain a better understanding of the project's status. Clearly, the project schedule is an essential tool to deliver a project on time and within budget. Project schedules are created and tracked with project scheduling software, which has key features that allow project managers to monitor the progress of tasks, resources and costs in real time. They can also assign work, link dependent tasks, view dashboards, allocate resources and more. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) This is how a work breakdown structure can be represented.In project management, WBS is a technique used for completing a complex or a larger project by making it more manageable. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a hierarchical decomposition of the required scope of work needed to achieve project objectives and create the required deliverables. It defines the total scope of work required to complete the project. The deliverables and their component sub-deliverables are represented on the WBS in levels of descending order. Work defined at the lowest level of the WBS for which cost and duration are estimated and managed is called a Work Package. It must describe a deliverable that can be adequately scheduled, budgeted and assigned to an individual person or group. An important distinction to be made here is that the ‘work’ referred to in a WBS is actually the product or deliverable resulting from an individual work package and not necessarily always the work itself. The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines WBS as  A deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables Each WBS level represents a new and increasingly detailed definition of work needed to complete the project.  A WBS structure must be constructed in a way that each new level in the hierarchy includes all the work needed, to complete its parent task. This means that every parent task element must have more than one child task within it to consider the parent task element complete. How to create a work breakdown structure?Before you create a work breakdown structure, it's essential to first assess the project scope by talking to all stakeholders and key team members involved. The final product to be delivered is defined at the top level (level 0). Level 0 is then decomposed to identify all the major deliverables that are required to produce the final product. Each level of the WBS decomposes the work further into more and more layers until the work package is at a level that can be assigned, estimated for cost and duration and tracked individually. The goal is to eventually roll up each work package into the level above within the WBS hierarchy to gain overall time and budget requirements. The work package is the smallest segment and includes the to-do activities, so you can apply duration and estimated cost. Level of decomposition is based on specific project needs and the level of granularity that is needed to manage the project effectively.  Here's an example of work breakdown structure. Each work package is further decomposed into the activities or tasks that are required to complete a work package. Activity names are usually stated as a verb and noun, such as “Make Lunch.”  The difference between an activity and a work package is that a work package has a specific product or outcome - or in project management terms - a deliverable - that contributes to the project, whereas an activity on its own does not produce a finished item or outcome that helps to fulfil the objective of the project.What’s Included in a Project Schedule? The entire WBS has to be transferred to the Project Schedule. During Planning: Project calendar, Project start date, Project end date, Activity list, Activity start date, Activity finish date, Activity dependencies, Work Packages, Activity duration, Estimated cost of each activity, Resources assigned to each activity. During Execution: Actual duration that is actual completion percentages will be updated by the project manager. Reports such as Earned Value Management, Resource Availability, and many other reports can be used for project tracking and control. How to Make a Project Schedule? Many professionals, while creating a project schedule, use a project schedule template from organizational repositories. A project schedule is not just a standard timetable that works for every project. There are different project scheduling techniques and project management tools involved in the scheduling process. Also, every project has different resources, timetables, scope considerations and other unique variables that must be considered in the schedule management plan. Project management software can be integrated into other project management tools, such as Gantt charts, dashboards and reports to monitor the progress of your project. Project scheduling occurs during the planning phase of the project life cycle.  After creating the project schedule plan for your project, set the project start and project end dates of your project. Follow these steps to create a project schedule of your own. Define activities from the WBS after decomposition of work packages: Scope statement should be made available during the initial planning. It contains project description, deliverables, acceptance criteria of each deliverable, in-scope and out-of-scope, and any assumptions and constraints of your project. WBS is created from this scope statement. Be thorough when putting an activity list together, you should not, and you don’t want to leave anything out. By using a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) you can organize these activities and lay them out in order of completion.  Figure out task dependencies and then sequence activities: Activities are the small jobs that lead to the final deliverable and it’s crucial to map out the sequence of those tasks before diving into them. Most of the times an activity will be dependent on another activity to start or finish. You don’t want to get halfway through an activity before you realize you can’t complete it due to unclear objectives.  Estimate the realistic resources for each activity using each resource availability. Estimate the realistic duration of each activity. Build project schedule: The critical path is a method for scheduling activities in a project to find those which are critical to completion of the project on time. This will allow you to make choices about activities that can be ignored if time and costs become constraints.  Monitor and control project schedules throughout the project life cycle.Which Are the Project Estimating Techniques?Estimating the duration of project activities as realistically as possible is a key to creating a realistic schedule. There are various project estimating techniques known which are very widely used by project managers. Analogous Estimating: In this technique, project managers interview their team and other stakeholders to get their perspective on how long certain tasks can take. This technique relies on actual duration of previous, similar projects as the basis for estimating the duration of the current project, done in early phases of the project when cost of estimation is low. E.g. duration, budget, size, weight and complexity as the basis for estimating the same parameter or measure for a future project. Parametric Estimating: This technique uses an algorithm or a mathematical model, to calculate cost or duration based on historical data and project parameters, done in later phases of the project when cost of estimation is high. E.g. duration on a design project is estimated by the number of drawings multiplied by the number of labor hours per drawing. Three-Point Estimating (Triangular Distribution): In this technique most likely (tM) –based on the duration of the activity, given the resources likely to be assigned their productivity, realistic expectations of availability for the activity, dependencies on other participants and interruptions, optimistic (tO) – based on analysis of the best-case scenario for the activity and pessimistic (tP) – based on analysis of the worst-case scenario for the activity are determined. Depending on the assumed distribution of values within the range of the three estimates, the expected duration, tE, can be calculated as : tE = (tO + tM + tP) / 3 Another technique which is very widely used uses the same three-point estimates of each activity, and is called Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). It uses Beta Distribution. Which Are the Project Scheduling Techniques?Project managers can make use of project scheduling techniques to increase the accuracy of their time estimates to minimize scheduling risks. Some of the commonly used project scheduling techniques are: Critical Path Method (CPM): The critical path method (CPM) is a technique that calculates the Critical Path which is the sequence of activities that represents the longest path through a project, and determines the shortest possible project duration (how quickly?). The longest path has the least total float, usually zero.  Other commonly used project scheduling techniques, schedule compression such as schedule crashing and fast tracking, can reduce the schedule duration without impacting the project scope. But also note there would be risks and costs involved in schedule compression techniques which need to be carefully managed. Simulation, resource-leveling and resource-smoothing are other tools that can help with project scheduling. How to Manage and Maintain Your Project Schedule During Execution Once you’ve got every piece of your schedule together, the last thing you want to do is manually create a document to keep a track of activities and update the status of the project completion.What Are Project Scheduling Tools?Project scheduling tools are used to help managers organize and execute their project’s tasks and resources within a given budget. Software offerings range from rudimentary to sophisticated and provide users with a wide spectrum of features that facilitate the scheduling of their project.There are many project scheduling tools available in the market such as MS Project, Primavera, Open Project, Project Server, etc.  which can be useful for simple as well as complex or large projects. Best Practices for the Project Scheduling ProcessEvery project manager must use a project scheduling tool to track projects, estimate realistically, consider 6:30 hours per day for creating a schedule, involve project team members in estimation after they come on board etc. Project Schedule vs Project PlanA Project schedule is a Timeline. It tells you when each activity should start and when it should end, which resources are working on the activities, duration of each activity, dependencies of each activity, estimated cost of each activity, etc. It is not a plan. A Project Plan is an approach which tells how you are going to manage your project, how you are going to re-plan, how you are going to execute, how you are going to monitor and control and how you are going to close the project.  Conclusion: Project scheduling is fundamental for planning and control in project management.  The main purpose of project schedule is to deliver the project scope over a period of fixed time (fixed start and fixed end). It is an essential tool to deliver a project on time and within budget. The project schedule is often used along with a work breakdown structure (WBS) as it defines the scope of the project. WBS must be created first as it helps to create project schedule. Follow these steps to create a project schedule of your own: Define activities from the WBS after decomposition of work packages  Figure out task dependencies and then sequence activities  Estimate realistic resources for each activity using each resource availability Estimate realistic duration of each activity Build project schedule and note the critical path(s) Monitor and control project schedule throughout the project life cycle. Various project scheduling tools can be used to create and track project schedules such as MS Project, Primavera, Open Project, Project Server, etc. These tools are full of features and functionality that a project manager can use to make effective schedules and lead projects to success. 
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Best Project Management Certifications in 2021

While nothing can replace industry work experience, there is no doubt that a credible certification can open up new opportunities and elevate your current profile. This is true for any area of work and more so in the project management field.With projects getting more complex, pan global and resource intensive, organizations look to hire project managers who come with solid expertise and a recognised certification to back their knowledge and skill.With so many project management credentials to choose from, which one would suit you best in terms of the knowledge and opportunities you will gain? Here is a ready compilation of the best Project Management Certifications for 2021, to help you to make an informed decision.PMP® Certification TrainingCAPM® Certification TrainingPMI-RMP® Certification TrainingPRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner Certification TrainingProgram Management Professional (PgMP)® Certification TrainingPMI-ACP® Certification Training1. Project Management Professional (PMP)®Arguably the most well-known credential in the Project Management space, the PMP is globally recognized as the gold standard in project management. Offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, the PMP gives you the bandwidth to work in any industry, using any methodology and working on a variety of situations.This certification is a litmus test of your project management knowledge and skills in managing the project "triple constraints", that is time, cost, and scope. And with its new rollout, the PMP helps holders grow and develop diverse project management skills to suit the fast-changing markets of today and beyond.PMP DemandThe reason why PMP is so well received is because the skills one learns during the PMP certification journey can be applied across sectors, geographies and industries including IT, government sectors, telecommunications, manufacturing, banking and more.It allows certified professionals to maximise value, enhance bottom line margins and prove that they can drive business results.PMP continues to remain one among the best Project Management Certifications for 2021.Benefits of getting PMP certifiedValidate your commitment to continued excellence and qualityDemonstrate your proficiency in project managementGrow your career in project management with confidenceManage projects across sectors and industriesGet yourself hired by the bestEarn salaries that are up to 58% higher than those who do not hold the certificationEarn salaries up to $145,000Top companies that hire PMP professionalsExxon MobileAppleSAICEXELONWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must undertake the training from an Authorized Training Provider of PMI®.Who should take the training for certification:Mid-Level, Senior Project ManagersProject CoordinatorsProject AnalystsProject LeadersProduct ManagersProgram ManagersProject SponsorsTeam LeadersAnyone interesting in building project management skillsEligibility for PMP examTo be eligible for the PMP® exam, you must fulfill the following criteriaEDUCATIONAL BACKGROUNDSecondary Degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent), ORFour-year Degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent), ORBachelor's or Post-Graduate degree from a GAC accredited program (bachelor’s degree or master's or global equivalent).PROJECT MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCEMinimum five years/60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience, ORMinimum three years/36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience, ORMinimum two years/24 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience.PROJECT MANAGEMENT EDUCATION35 contact hours of formal education, unless you are an active CAPM holder.Exam FormatThe latest (2021) PMP® certification exam pattern is as follows:No of questions: 180 multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hotspot and limited fill-in-the-blank.Time: 230 minutesDifficulty level: The questions are populated as per the difficulty level. The questions are randomized so that no two candidates will get similar questions. The easier the question, the higher the passing score determinant and the higher or tougher the question, the easier the passing score. Duration to get certified: After completing your 35 hours of PMP workshop training, you need to rigorously prepare for the exam. Experts suggest dedicating several weeks to studying for the exam to ensure thorough preparation. Your web-based exam results will be visible to you immediately upon completion of the exam.Course fee for certification: In India: INR 14999, America: USD 999, Canada: CAD 1399Application fee: For PMI membership: USD $ 129 plus USD $10 for application fee.Exam fee for certification:In IndiaMember: ₹23,459.00 Non-member: ₹42,863.00In US Member: $405Non-member: $555Retake fee for certificationMember: $275Non-member:$3752. CAPM®: Certified Associate in Project Management Yet another offering from the PMI, the CAPM is a foundational credential that reflects the holder’s expertise in defining and managing new age project management tools and techniques. Based on the PMBOK® Guide-Sixth Edition, the CAPM will help you stand out among non-certified project managers and showcase your proficiency in implementing global project management best practices.  CAPM Demand: The CAPM certifies the holder as being adept in project management practices. An organization having a pool of CAPM qualified professionals has a good reputation and standing in the market. Owing to the benefits that they bring in, CAPM practitioners are much in demand.Benefits of getting CAPM certifiedLearn the right skills in project managementGain insights into project executing, monitoring, controlling and managementBe thorough in estimating project activity costsAchieve quality management and quality assurance at every stageMaster global project management best practicesOpen yourself to new opportunities and lucrative job offersEnhance your market credibility  Gain 23 contact hours/PDUsBe part of the PMI network and gain several benefitsEarn average salaries from $93,500 to $111,500Top companies that hire CAPM professionalsKaiser PermanateAecom CorporationSAP AmericaBooz, Allen, HamiltonInternational Business Machines (IBM) CorpWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must train from an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMI.Who should take the training for certificationAssociate Project ManagersProject ManagersIT Project ManagersProject CoordinatorsProject Analysts, Project LeadersSenior Project ManagersTeam LeadersProduct ManagersProgram ManagersProject SponsorsProject Team MembersEligibilitySecondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)23 hours of project management education completed by the time you sit for the examExam FormatNo of questions: 150 questions Time: 3 hoursDifficulty level: Moderate but requires thorough knowledge of project management principlesDuration to get certified: After completing your 23 hours of CAPM workshop training, you need to dedicate around 45-60 hours to ensure complete preparation for the exam. Your web-based exam results will be visible to you immediately upon completion of the exam. Course fee for certification: INR 8999, USD 799Application fee for certification: For PMI membership: USD $ 129 plus USD $10 for application fee.Exam fee for certification:In IndiaMember: ₹17,377.00Non-member: ₹23,169.00In U.S.Member: $435Non-member: $4953. PMI-RMP®: Project Management Institute-Risk Management ProfessionalThe pandemic exposed many vulnerabilities that organizations had not been prepared for. When faced with unprecedented risks, organizations need specialists who can identify and assess project risks, mitigate threats and take advantage of opportunities. The PMI-RMP course and certification prepares professionals to perform this role and successfully steer projects in complex environments.PMI-RMP Demand: According to the 2015 Pulse of the Profession® by PMI, “Eighty-three percent of organizations that are high performers in project management practice risk management frequently while just 49 percent of low performers do so”. This shows the importance of risk management and the emphasis organizations place on qualified risk managers.Benefits of getting PMI-RMP certifiedApply risk management practices for greater competitive advantageIdentify and measure risks in project development and implementationQuantify and create risk response strategies to deliver products that meet stakeholder expectationsUse a proactive and focused approach to preventing problems, rather than dealing with them once they occurIncrease your visibility within the companyAim for greater career growthEarn salaries upto $115,931Top companies that hire PMI-RMP professionalsWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must train from an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMI.Who should take the training for certificationRisk ManagersRisk Management ProfessionalsProject ManagersProject SponsorsProgram ManagersProject EngineersProject CoordinatorsPlanning ManagersPlanning EngineersProject Cost Control EngineersQuantity SurveyorsCivil EngineersIT Project ManagersProduct ManagersProject AnalystsBusiness AnalystsProject LeadersProject Co-ordinatorsTeam LeadersTeam MembersEligibilityTo apply for the PMI-RMP® Credential, you need to possess a:Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or the global equivalent)4,500 hours of project risk management experience40 hours of project risk management educationORFour-year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent)3,000 hours of project risk management experience30 hours of project risk management educationExam FormatNo of questions: 170 questions Type: Multiple ChoiceTime: 3.5 hoursDuration to get certifiedApplication fee: For PMI membership: USD $ 129 plus USD $10 for application fee.Course fee for certification: INR12999, USD 999Exam fee for certificationIn U.S.Member: $520Non-member: $670Retake fee for certificationMember: $335Non-member: $4354. PRINCE2® Foundation/PRINCE2 PractitionerThe PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) Foundation and Practitioner credentials are sought-after offerings from AXELOS. There are a number of credentials offered under PRINCE2 that make it suitable for a wider audience. Axelos keeps the PRINCE2 curriculum regularly updated with the latest industry advances, which makes it suitable for new age project management and intensive, demanding projects.  PRINCE2 Demand: PRINCE2 extends its applicability across industries and sectors. This makes it very popular in the market as it is a one size fits all model. Although PRINCE2 was founded in the UK, it has now firmly established its presence in industries across the world. According to a report in LinkedIn, PRINCE2 is the most popular project management methodology. A professional adept at PRINCE2 and holding the credential is highly valuable and sought after by organizations implementing PRINCE2 for their projects.  Benefits of getting PRINCE2 certifiedGuide projects in their entiretyTailor PRINCE2 to suit the needs of projects and organizationsValidate your commitment to continued excellence and quality Master and demonstrate your proficiency of the PRINCE2® framework Gain project management best practices and grow your career with confidence Work across projects in diverse sectors and industriesShow your ability to work in challenging work environments Command higher salaries (upto $99,012 average) than your non-certified peers Top companies that hire PRINCE2 professionalsShellBPTranspower New ZealandIBMHPAquasoftGetronicsSiemensWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must undertake training from a Certified Partner of AXELOS and an accredited training organization (ATO) with PeopleCert®.Who should take the training for certification?Project ManagersProject CoordinatorsProject AnalystsProject LeadersProduct ManagersProgram ManagersProject SponsorsTeam LeadersSenior Responsible OwnersProduct Delivery ManagersBusiness Change AnalystsProject and Programme Office PersonnelOperational Line ManagerAnyone who wishes to build up knowledge in project management EligibilityThere are no eligibility requirements for the PRINCE2® Foundation certification exam. To qualify for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, you must have at least one of the following certifications: PRINCE2® Foundation or higher (applicable only to certificates obtained after 1 January 2009) Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® IPMA Level A® (Certified Projects Director) IPMA Level B® (Certified Senior Project Manager) IPMA Level C® (Certified Project Manager) IPMA Level D® (Certified Project Management Associate) Project Management Qualification (PMQ) Project Professional Qualification (PPQ) Exam FormatFoundation ExamDuration: 60 minutes (1 hour) Questions: 60 Multiple choice questions Pass mark: 33 out of 60 available, or 55% Use of textbook: No, it’s a closed book examPractitioner Exam Duration: 150 minutes (2.5 hrs) Questions: 68 Objective type questions Pass mark: 38 out of 68 available, or 55% Use of textbook: Yes, but only the official PRINCE2® manual is permitted. Duration to get certifiedYou will need to attend 32-hours of PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner training from an ATO of AXELOS and PeopleCert®, following which you will be required to take the exams to demonstrate your knowledge of PRINCE2 and get certified. The results of your tests are issued within 2 business days from the date of your exam.  Course fee for certification: USD 1999Exam fee for certification: Included in course fee5. PgMP®: Program Management Professional (PgMP)® Certification TrainingAnother project management from the PMI, this credential is more advanced than the PMP and certifies the holder’s ability to manage complex projects that cover functions, organizations, cultures and geographies. The credential mandates holders to be proficient in the six prime focus areas: Governance, Prioritization, Escalation, Resource Management, Benefits Realization, and Stakeholder Management.PgMP Demand: Credentials from the PMI are known for their rigorous standards and testing, which is why they are well accepted in industries across sectors. PgMP holders are better able to promote integration and coordination of multiple projects for the overall benefit of the program. According to PMI’s 2015 Pulse of the Profession® report, an organization’s projects are far more successful with program management than without it — 76 percent compared to 54 percent. This further compounds the demand for PgMP professionals. Benefits of getting PgMP certifiedGet in-depth knowledge of tools and techniques to handle complex multiple related projectsUnderstand Program Lifecycle and its processes, competencies, tools and techniques with practical sample templatesLearn to implement large-scale programs to align with business strategyOpen yourself to lucrative job opportunities and leadership rolesWork in projects across geographiesEarn high salaries, upto $139,000 on averageTop companies that hire PgMP professionalsAmazonGoogleMicrosoftCognizantCapgeminiDeloitteJP Morgan ChaseErnst & YoungWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must train from an Authorized Training Provider of PMI®Who should take the training for certificationTeam LeadsSponsorsProject DirectorsProgram ManagersPortfolio Managers  Project Management Office (PMO) HeadsEligibilityA Four-year Degree (Bachelor's or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and four years of Program Management experience.ORA Secondary Diploma (High school or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and seven years of Program Management experience. Exam FormatNo of questions: 170 multiple-choice, of which 20 are considered pretest questions which are not scored.Question type: Most questions are scenario based and test a professional's understanding and clarity of thoughts on different Program Management concepts.Time: 4 hoursDifficulty level: DifficultDuration to get certified: You have to complete your 24 hours of training from an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMI. Make a study plan and stick to it religiously. The PgMP is considered to be more difficult than the PMP and requires a fair bit of preparation. Once you pass the 4-hour exam you will be PgMP certified.  Course fee for certification: INR 13,999; USD 1199Application fee for certification: For PMI membership: USD $ 129 plus USD $10 for application fee.Exam fee for certificationIn IndiaMember: ₹46,338.00Non-member: ₹77,230.00In U.S.Member: $800Non-member: $1000Retake fee for certificationMember: $600Non-member: $8006. PMI-ACPPMI-ACP Demand: Agile is a fairly new concept in the context of product development. Though organizations reap immense benefits by adopting Agile, the road to transformation can often turn out to be expensive if not well executed. PMI-ACP professionals are therefore in huge demand as they can bring in project management best practices in Agile environments and ensure project success.  Benefits of getting PMI-ACP certifiedThe shortage of Project Managers has increased job opportunities in the Agile environmentYou will qualify for Agile jobs with expertise in Agile methods like Scrum, FDD, Kanban, etc. which are in demand in the industryEarn salaries in the range of $108,000 on an averageEquips you with knowledge of various Agile methodsMakes you more marketableTop companies that hire PMI-ACP professionalsStandard CharteredOracleIBMVMWareSource: IndeedWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must train from an Authorized Training Provider of PMI® Who should take the training for certification?Project ManagersProject PlannersQuality Assurance StaffDevelopers/ProgrammersDesigners, TestersProject ControllersProduct OwnersScrum MastersScrum Team MembersEligibilityTo apply for the PMI-ACP®, candidates must meet the following requirements:1. General Project Experience2000 hours of working on project teams within the last 5 years or having an active PMP®/PgMP® credential2. Agile Project Experience1500 hours of working on Agile Project Teams or with Agile Methodologies, in addition to “General Project Experience” above;3. Training in Agile Practices21 contact hours earned in Agile PracticesExam FormatNo of questions: 120 MCQ, of which 20 are pre-testDuration: 3 hoursDuration to get certified: Once you complete the course, you need to schedule the exam date. Exam applications have to be submitted and approved by PMI. Online applications m ay take upto five business days to get processed. Once your application is processed, you can schedule your exam date, and on passing receive the PMI-ACP credential.Course fee for certification: INR 10,999, USD 1099Application fee for certification: For PMI membership: USD $ 129 plus USD $10 for application fee.Exam fee for certificationFor members: $435Non-members: $495Retake fee for certificationMembers: $150Non-members: $200SummaryProject Management is among the most sought after job roles, not only in the tech industry but any industry that executes and manages projects. By 2027, 88 million individuals will need to be skilled in project management-oriented roles. This makes it among the hottest job trends in the coming years, and a credential will go a long way in helping you capitalise on this trend.
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Best Project Management Certifications in 2021

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