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How are Changeless Principles Responsible For Project success In Software Industry?

IntroductionNo other industry perhaps is characterized by a change as much as the software industry. While every segment of society and more so the industry, goes through change, the pace and magnitude of change in the software industry are leaps and bounds ahead of all other segments.This magnitude of change can be unsettling as just when one thinks that one has cracked the secret of success, the rug is pulled from under the feet by the change and success formulae have to be reinvented all over again. In such turbulent scenarios, how do leaders respond to the changes and succeed? What is their recipe for success?This article is about how leaders don’t get swept away by the changes but respond smartly to the changes in a thoughtful manner. They hold the bull by the horn, so to say, and rule the changes rather than being dictated by the changes. One of their secrets to success is that they anchor themselves in constant principles that don’t change and respond to changes based on these changeless principles.What are these changeless principles of the software industry? This article highlights 5 most impactful principles that don’t change and have lead to proven success in software delivery.What are the changeless principles?The changes in the software industry happen in almost all facets, be it technology, software development methodologies, and life cycle models, business model, contract types, you name the facet and you can see changes.Specifically, 5 types of changes impact software project success significantly and they are requirement changes, the life cycle model changes, estimation methods becoming obsolete, project scheduling methods becoming ineffective and the emergence of new risks.Every change brings along with it new challenges and simply embracing the change can potentially create new problems while solving some old problems. Slogans such as “Don’t resist the change, embrace it instead!” or considering being open to changes as a virtue aren’t enough to succeed amidst the change.For instance, when an estimation methodology becomes obsolete because of a new technology, what does one mean by not resisting the change or embracing the change?Teams simply become technically competent in the new technology but regress back to raw, unstructured estimation method rather than creating a new estimation method. However, leaders respond to changes differently. They step back and look at the change from a meta-level, realize that the meta-principle that hasn’t changed and re-apply that meta-principle to the changed situation and remain effective.Coming back to the estimation example, when an existing estimation method becomes obsolete with the change of technology, they look at the meta-procedure of creating estimation method itself (Which doesn’t change) and create a new deliverable-based estimation methodology for the new technology rather than regressing back to raw, unstructured estimation methods.Thus they maintain estimation accuracy and project success in spite of the change. On these lines, the following are the 5 principles that don’t change in the software industry:1) The Principle of requirement change: Encourage changes occurring due to external factors but discourage or eliminate changes occurring due to the  internal factors. This principle doesn’t change irrespective of the emergence of new ways of managing requirements.2) The Principle of life cycle models: The 5 phases of any life cycle don’t change and you should create your own life cycle model when faced with a new situation. In spite of new life cycle methods emerging, the 5 phases namely, requirements, solution specification, a design of the solution, implementation of solution and testing of solution don’t change. One can always tailor-make these 5 phases to create a new life cycle.3) The Principle of estimation methodologies: The procedure to create deliverable based estimation methodologies does not change; create a new deliverable-based estimation method when technology changes. Established estimation methodologies become obsolete when technology changes but the meta-method of creating a new estimation methodologies doesn’t change. Hence, creating new estimation methodology using this meta-method is essential to maintain estimation accuracy.4) The Principle of schedule management: Project schedules are effective when the work breakdown is aligned with the life cycle model and contains at least 90% of the tasks performed by the team on the ground.  As life cycle models change, old methods of drawing up project schedules become ineffective and teams either give up drawing an effective schedule or draw schedules that are not used. However, aligning the schedules to the new life cycle models ensures that schedules are effective and results in optimum resource utilization.5) The Principle of risk management: It is essential to prioritize identified risks and plan mitigation and contingencies irrespective of size and complexity of the project. The types of risks may vary as project environment changes, but the basic principle of risk prioritization, mitigation ,and contingency planning does not change. As contract types, business models, life cycle models and technologies change, the types of risks may change, but the basic principle of risk management do not change and this has to be implemented completely to increase chances of project success.Why only these 5 principles? Are there not other principles that are important? Well, there could be many principles that don’t change and have to be applied for project success, but these 5 are the most important principles critical to project success and the most challenging too.There are principles related to the stakeholder management, product design, testing, team management and so on, but dealing with all of them would perhaps be apt for a complete user manual on changeless principle and not for an article. Hence 5 most important principles have been chosen for illustration in this article.Illustration of the 5 principles1) The Principle of requirement change:Encourage changes occurring due to external factors but discourage or eliminate changes occurring due to internal factors.Well, requirement changes are the order of the day in software projects and the way requirement changes are managed differs with software development methodologies and life cycle models. While the earlier CMMi based school of thought insisted on defining and signing off on requirements early in the lifecycle and keeping the changes to a minimum subsequently, the Agile school of thought went to another extreme saying that they encourage requirement changes and both are right in their own perspective.While minimum requirement changes are good for the stability of the project in terms of conformance to plan, encouragement for requirement changes could be good for business success as business scenarios can be dynamic and IT should keep pace with business dynamics.So, it is clear that there is an Agile wave now and it is altering the way that we look at the requirement changes. And, let’s see how the mass goes with this change and how leaders respond. Those who simply “Embrace” the change, go with Agile methodologies at face value, accept that requirements can keep changing and suffer the consequences.For instance, some IT vendors enter into fixed-price contracts for Agile projects based on some initial understanding of scope, and because of progressive elaboration of scope, the customer keeps giving requirements at every release which bloats the scope so much that the project easily gets into schedule overruns and cost overruns. This could result in losses for the vendor and if not handled well, it could result in dissatisfaction of the customer and loss of business as well. However, thought leaders take a step back and look at why requirements change and come up with responses that keep both customer interest and their own interest in mind. Leffingwell et. al.[1] have researched into why requirements changes and classify the causes into two sets called internal factors and external factors.Internal factors have to do with who we elicit requirements from, and how we elicit requirements. If requirements are not elicited from the right stakeholders and if the right elicitation techniques are not used, then it results in unclear and incomplete requirements leading to subsequent changes. Such changes are avoidable through the appropriate usage of elicitation techniques and documentation.This is why the BABoK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge)[2] lists more than 30 techniques to elicit, analyze and document requirements. These techniques have to be used effectively to eliminate changes occurring because of internal factors.The external factors, on the other hand, have to do with changes to market conditions, competitive landscape, and legal compliance needs. The changes are needed for the business success of the projects and can’t be easily foreseen.Postponing such changes may have serious, adverse impact on business objectives and hence such changes must be accommodated into the present release as quickly as possible. Leaders who succeed with Agile projects follow this principle, insist on upfront clarity in scope at a high level and then allow progressive elaboration of scope over the releases for more details.That is, they use a multitude of apt techniques to elicit and document requirements from the right stakeholders upfront so that their get clear and complete requirements and hence eliminate changes occurring due to internal factors.However, they would not insist on “Freezing” the requirements but allow progressive elaboration of details of these requirements to accommodate changes happening due to external factors. Thus they achieve both interests – proper estimation and planning for efficient delivery and cost-effectiveness through upfront clarity and completeness of high-level requirements and also ensure quick alignment with changing business scenario through a progressive elaboration of detailed requirements.2) The Principle of life cycle models:The 5 phases of any life cycle don’t change and you should create your own life cycle model when faced with a new situation.Lifecycle models keep emerging and every time there is a new lifecycle model, it impacts the project schedules, communication reports, team ramp up and ramp down plans, and quality plans mainly. However, as some industry experts such as Karl Wiegers [3] suggest, these life cycle models have little difference and the masses may get swept away by the hype involved in the new lifecycle model but leaders respond differently.Leaders understand that every new life cycle model brings with it solution to some existing problem but also a new set of problems. Hence, they accept the new models selectively and often adapt with the new lifecycle model by tailor-making it to their advantage. They can do this tailoring based on the understanding that the 5 phases of a lifecycle model are changeless.Software development models have emerged under many names beginning from waterfall, V, RAD, evolutionary methods, iterative, incremental, spiral, RUP and finally fully Agile methods such as Scrum, XP, and Kanban. The life cycle models mainly define how the 5 phases such as requirements, functional specification, design, implementation and testing are woven. The fact that any development project, not just the software projects involve all the 5 phases is a changeless principle as established below:Problem definition:This phase can be alternately called Scoping, Requirements Specification etc., and defines what the customer needs are that should be translated into deliverables. Any project exists because there are customer needs and hence this phase cannot be done away with.Solution specification:Alternately called functional specification, analysis phase, feature specification etc., this phase defines what the proposed solution is for the customer need. Any project is an implementation of solution to a customer need and solution definition cannot be done away with.Solution design:Alternatively called design, low-level design etc., this phase defines “HOW” the solution will be implemented. Any nontrivial solution needs to be designed and in that sense, this phase is indispensable too.Solution implementation:Alternatively called implementation phase, construction phase, the coding phase, this phase implements the designed solution. It is this phase that produces the actual deliverables and hence indispensable.Testing:This phase involves multiple types of testing and tests the implemented solution against the specified requirements. No product can be released without testing and this phase is indispensable too.Given that these phases are indispensable, let’s see how different life cycle models weave them. The waterfall model involves a tight sequence among the 5 phases. That is, you cannot skip any phase and work on a phase without completing the previous one. The incremental model breaks down the scope into multiple increments but maintains the tight sequence among the phases within each increment.However, Scrum not only breaks the scope into multiple increments called “Sprints”, but also removes the tight sequence among the 5 phases. For instance, one can do coding for a feature without an approved design for the same.Hence, the Agile model provides more freedom and flexibility to developers compared to the incremental model or the full-fledged waterfall model. While this freedom sounds attractive, if the team is not multi-skilled and seasoned enough, the resulting product may contain spaghetti code and become unmaintainable. Also, if the team is not multi-skilled, the Agile model may not result in optimum resource utilization.Given this backdrop, while the masses embrace the Agile model mechanically and suffer the consequences of chaos and underutilization (while also realizing some benefits), the leaders respond differently. They may adopt Agile fully if suitable, but if not, they create tailor-made hybrid models.Most of the recent successful megaprojects showcased at PMI conferences implemented hybrid models that involved elements of agility but imposed certain discipline as well. The latest version of PMBoK lists hybrid life cycle models as a trend in project management [4].To illustrate a hybrid model, factory model that was one of the many hybrid models implemented in Wipro Technologies and published as a case study at Harvard [5] can be taken as an example.Factory model is a software service delivery model and software development life cycle is only a part of it and this article illustrates only the life cycle part of the factory model. As illustrated in diagram 1, factory model involves frequent releases that are pre-scheduled and requirements are accepted even after the requirements document is signed off and subsequent phases are in progress.However, there is a cutoff date for requirements inflow after which the incoming requirements would be allocated to the next release. As the releases are shorter and the customers have a look ahead, usually they would be willing to wait for the next release rather than pressing for inclusion of requirements into the current release.This is a hybrid model, which has Agile features namely shorter releases and openness to accept requirements even after signing off RS. But, it also has traditional features such as tight binding of life cycle phases within a single release and freezing the requirements beyond the requirement window. There are many such hybrid models used effectively by industry leaders.3) Principle of estimation methodologies:The procedure to create deliverable based estimation methodologies does not change; create a new deliverable-based estimation method when technology changes.As new technologies emerge, one of the consequences is that established estimation methodologies become obsolete. For instance, when the Function Points estimation method was created for COBOL applications, it became quite widely used. The units into which the functionality of an application is broken down into, such as “Internal logical files”, “Record types” etc., was natural to COBOL applications.However, with the emergence of GUI based client-server applications, this model became a force-fit and estimators regressed back to carrying out unstructured raw estimates. This phenomenon happens every time there is a technology change. The masses follow raw, unstructured estimation method but the leaders develop new methodologies themselves.We have carried out research into the accuracy of estimates by asking the groups of people to estimate for the same specification using both raw method and structured methods and the results show stark differences in accuracy. Diagram 2 below contrasts estimates performed using unstructured, semi-structured and formal (completely structured) methodologies:As the above diagram compares estimation results performed by same people on the same specification with estimation method being the only variant, it can be concluded that estimation method plays a major role in determining the accuracy of estimates. Use of semi-structured and fully structured estimation methods improves the estimation accuracy significantly.Hence, the leaders use the changeless procedure to design new estimation methods and come up with a new estimation method themselves when technology changes. This procedure is as follows:Define the measure of application size.Define the units into which the specification is broken into.Define the factors to classify the complexity of the broken down unitsDefine the formula to arrive at size based on the number and complexity of broken down unitsDefine the method to determine effort from the size using productivity norms.This author explains in one of the previous papers [6] how different methodologies can be compared along the lines of the common procedure defined above and compares Function Points, Use case Points, MVC Points and structured WBS methods in a common format as shown in diagram 3 below:The author and colleagues have created two such deliverable-based open estimation methodologies namely MVC Points [6] and Interface points [7] intended to estimate web applications and enterprise application integration projects. We have also seen many unpublished methodologies to estimate data warehousing applications, ERP applications used in-house in leading IT organizations and usage of these methods greatly improve estimation accuracy.4) The Principle of schedule management:Project schedules are effective when the work breakdown is aligned with the life cycle model and contains at least 90% of the tasks performed by the team on the ground.  When life cycle models change, the way work is broken down also changes. It has been illustrated in earlier articles of this author [8][9] that alignment of work breakdown structure to the life cycle model is a critical factor that determines whether the schedule will be used in the project or not. When life cycle models change and the older ways of WBS doesn’t work, the masses give up scheduling practices but the leaders change the WBS and continue scheduling practices to ensure optimum resource utilization.Specifically, the arrival of Agile methodologies has rendered old ways of WBS obsolete. As shown in diagram 4, Agile methods view project progress in terms of completely usable features whereas traditional methods view project progress in terms of work done.Accordingly, the WBS also changes. A WBS of a traditional project would like table 1 belowTask IDMile stoneSummary tasksSub tasksDuration Resource.......1RS302Feature 1Elicit requirementsDocument requirement.......Feature 2....................FSFeature 1GUIBusiness logic.......Feature 2............Design........As can be seen in table 1, the WBS is organized along life cycle phases. As this does not work with Agile models, the common tendency is to give up schedules and execute work in ad hoc manner. However, leaders transpose the WBS to align with an Agile view of project progress as shown in table 2 and continue to use project schedules to optimize resource utilization.Task IDMile stoneSummary tasksSub tasksDurationResource1Release 1......2Feature 1RS related tasksOther task from sprint backlogOther task from sprint backlogFeature 2..................Release 2Feature 3GUIBusiness logicOther task from sprint backlogFeature 4............Release 3......5) Principle of risk management:It is essential to prioritize identified risks and plan mitigation and contingencies irrespective of size and complexity of the project.As changes occur in all facets of project execution, very new risks emerge and a common tendency is not to identify the risks but stick with the old risks and suffer the consequences. However, leaders stick to the constant principle of risk management and use that to identify and manage new risks. The risk management process that doesn’t change is indicated in the following diagram 5:To illustrate, when the outsourcing model changes from tactical outsourcing to strategic outsourcing, new, critical stakeholder risks emerge. When life cycle model changes to Agile, new cost-related risks emerge. However, the leaders stick on to the process of risk identification, risk prioritization, risk response planning and risk monitoring and control to stay on top of risks and maximize project success probability.ConclusionAs changes occur ever more frequently in all facets of software delivery, it is not adequate to respond with rhetoric such as “Embrace the change” or “Be open to change” although they are well-meaning phrases. It is important to respond to the change thoughtfully and taking a step back from the change and identifying the changeless principle behind the change helps in responding thoughtfully.This article has identified constant principles that don’t change in 5 facets of project delivery and anchoring in these changeless principles helps to respond to changes smartly and increase project success chances by leaps and bounds.

How are Changeless Principles Responsible For Project success In Software Industry?

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How are Changeless Principles Responsible For Project success In Software Industry?

Introduction

No other industry perhaps is characterized by a change as much as the software industry. While every segment of society and more so the industry, goes through change, the pace and magnitude of change in the software industry are leaps and bounds ahead of all other segments.

This magnitude of change can be unsettling as just when one thinks that one has cracked the secret of success, the rug is pulled from under the feet by the change and success formulae have to be reinvented all over again. In such turbulent scenarios, how do leaders respond to the changes and succeed? What is their recipe for success?

This article is about how leaders don’t get swept away by the changes but respond smartly to the changes in a thoughtful manner. They hold the bull by the horn, so to say, and rule the changes rather than being dictated by the changes. One of their secrets to success is that they anchor themselves in constant principles that don’t change and respond to changes based on these changeless principles.

What are these changeless principles of the software industry? This article highlights 5 most impactful principles that don’t change and have lead to proven success in software delivery.

What are the changeless principles?

The changes in the software industry happen in almost all facets, be it technology, software development methodologies, and life cycle models, business model, contract types, you name the facet and you can see changes.

Specifically, 5 types of changes impact software project success significantly and they are requirement changes, the life cycle model changes, estimation methods becoming obsolete, project scheduling methods becoming ineffective and the emergence of new risks.

Every change brings along with it new challenges and simply embracing the change can potentially create new problems while solving some old problems. Slogans such as “Don’t resist the change, embrace it instead!” or considering being open to changes as a virtue aren’t enough to succeed amidst the change.

For instance, when an estimation methodology becomes obsolete because of a new technology, what does one mean by not resisting the change or embracing the change?

Teams simply become technically competent in the new technology but regress back to raw, unstructured estimation method rather than creating a new estimation method. However, leaders respond to changes differently. They step back and look at the change from a meta-level, realize that the meta-principle that hasn’t changed and re-apply that meta-principle to the changed situation and remain effective.

Coming back to the estimation example, when an existing estimation method becomes obsolete with the change of technology, they look at the meta-procedure of creating estimation method itself (Which doesn’t change) and create a new deliverable-based estimation methodology for the new technology rather than regressing back to raw, unstructured estimation methods.

Thus they maintain estimation accuracy and project success in spite of the change. On these lines, the following are the 5 principles that don’t change in the software industry:
5 Changeless principles of Software industry


1) The Principle of requirement change: Encourage changes occurring due to external factors but discourage or eliminate changes occurring due to the  internal factors. This principle doesn’t change irrespective of the emergence of new ways of managing requirements.

2) The Principle of life cycle models: The 5 phases of any life cycle don’t change and you should create your own life cycle model when faced with a new situation. In spite of new life cycle methods emerging, the 5 phases namely, requirements, solution specification, a design of the solution, implementation of solution and testing of solution don’t change. One can always tailor-make these 5 phases to create a new life cycle.

3) The Principle of estimation methodologies: The procedure to create deliverable based estimation methodologies does not change; create a new deliverable-based estimation method when technology changes. Established estimation methodologies become obsolete when technology changes but the meta-method of creating a new estimation methodologies doesn’t change. Hence, creating new estimation methodology using this meta-method is essential to maintain estimation accuracy.

4) The Principle of schedule management: Project schedules are effective when the work breakdown is aligned with the life cycle model and contains at least 90% of the tasks performed by the team on the ground.  As life cycle models change, old methods of drawing up project schedules become ineffective and teams either give up drawing an effective schedule or draw schedules that are not used. However, aligning the schedules to the new life cycle models ensures that schedules are effective and results in optimum resource utilization.

5) The Principle of risk management: It is essential to prioritize identified risks and plan mitigation and contingencies irrespective of size and complexity of the project. The types of risks may vary as project environment changes, but the basic principle of risk prioritization, mitigation ,and contingency planning does not change. As contract types, business models, life cycle models and technologies change, the types of risks may change, but the basic principle of risk management do not change and this has to be implemented completely to increase chances of project success.

Why only these 5 principles? Are there not other principles that are important? Well, there could be many principles that don’t change and have to be applied for project success, but these 5 are the most important principles critical to project success and the most challenging too.

There are principles related to the stakeholder management, product design, testing, team management and so on, but dealing with all of them would perhaps be apt for a complete user manual on changeless principle and not for an article. Hence 5 most important principles have been chosen for illustration in this article.

Illustration of the 5 principles

1) The Principle of requirement change:

Encourage changes occurring due to external factors but discourage or eliminate changes occurring due to internal factors.

Well, requirement changes are the order of the day in software projects and the way requirement changes are managed differs with software development methodologies and life cycle models. While the earlier CMMi based school of thought insisted on defining and signing off on requirements early in the lifecycle and keeping the changes to a minimum subsequently, the Agile school of thought went to another extreme saying that they encourage requirement changes and both are right in their own perspective.

While minimum requirement changes are good for the stability of the project in terms of conformance to plan, encouragement for requirement changes could be good for business success as business scenarios can be dynamic and IT should keep pace with business dynamics.

So, it is clear that there is an Agile wave now and it is altering the way that we look at the requirement changes. And, let’s see how the mass goes with this change and how leaders respond. Those who simply “Embrace” the change, go with Agile methodologies at face value, accept that requirements can keep changing and suffer the consequences.

For instance, some IT vendors enter into fixed-price contracts for Agile projects based on some initial understanding of scope, and because of progressive elaboration of scope, the customer keeps giving requirements at every release which bloats the scope so much that the project easily gets into schedule overruns and cost overruns. This could result in losses for the vendor and if not handled well, it could result in dissatisfaction of the customer and loss of business as well.
 
However, thought leaders take a step back and look at why requirements change and come up with responses that keep both customer interest and their own interest in mind. Leffingwell et. al.[1] have researched into why requirements changes and classify the causes into two sets called internal factors and external factors.

Internal factors have to do with who we elicit requirements from, and how we elicit requirements. If requirements are not elicited from the right stakeholders and if the right elicitation techniques are not used, then it results in unclear and incomplete requirements leading to subsequent changes. Such changes are avoidable through the appropriate usage of elicitation techniques and documentation.

This is why the BABoK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge)[2] lists more than 30 techniques to elicit, analyze and document requirements. These techniques have to be used effectively to eliminate changes occurring because of internal factors.

The external factors, on the other hand, have to do with changes to market conditions, competitive landscape, and legal compliance needs. The changes are needed for the business success of the projects and can’t be easily foreseen.

Postponing such changes may have serious, adverse impact on business objectives and hence such changes must be accommodated into the present release as quickly as possible. Leaders who succeed with Agile projects follow this principle, insist on upfront clarity in scope at a high level and then allow progressive elaboration of scope over the releases for more details.

That is, they use a multitude of apt techniques to elicit and document requirements from the right stakeholders upfront so that their get clear and complete requirements and hence eliminate changes occurring due to internal factors.

However, they would not insist on “Freezing” the requirements but allow progressive elaboration of details of these requirements to accommodate changes happening due to external factors. Thus they achieve both interests – proper estimation and planning for efficient delivery and cost-effectiveness through upfront clarity and completeness of high-level requirements and also ensure quick alignment with changing business scenario through a progressive elaboration of detailed requirements.

2) The Principle of life cycle models:

The 5 phases of any life cycle don’t change and you should create your own life cycle model when faced with a new situation.

Lifecycle models keep emerging and every time there is a new lifecycle model, it impacts the project schedules, communication reports, team ramp up and ramp down plans, and quality plans mainly. However, as some industry experts such as Karl Wiegers [3] suggest, these life cycle models have little difference and the masses may get swept away by the hype involved in the new lifecycle model but leaders respond differently.

Leaders understand that every new life cycle model brings with it solution to some existing problem but also a new set of problems. Hence, they accept the new models selectively and often adapt with the new lifecycle model by tailor-making it to their advantage. They can do this tailoring based on the understanding that the 5 phases of a lifecycle model are changeless.

Software development models have emerged under many names beginning from waterfall, V, RAD, evolutionary methods, iterative, incremental, spiral, RUP and finally fully Agile methods such as Scrum, XP, and Kanban. The life cycle models mainly define how the 5 phases such as requirements, functional specification, design, implementation and testing are woven. The fact that any development project, not just the software projects involve all the 5 phases is a changeless principle as established below:

  • Problem definition:
    This phase can be alternately called Scoping, Requirements Specification etc., and defines what the customer needs are that should be translated into deliverables. Any project exists because there are customer needs and hence this phase cannot be done away with.

  • Solution specification:
    Alternately called functional specification, analysis phase, feature specification etc., this phase defines what the proposed solution is for the customer need. Any project is an implementation of solution to a customer need and solution definition cannot be done away with.

  • Solution design:
    Alternatively called design, low-level design etc., this phase defines “HOW” the solution will be implemented. Any nontrivial solution needs to be designed and in that sense, this phase is indispensable too.

  • Solution implementation:
    Alternatively called implementation phase, construction phase, the coding phase, this phase implements the designed solution. It is this phase that produces the actual deliverables and hence indispensable.

  • Testing:
    This phase involves multiple types of testing and tests the implemented solution against the specified requirements. No product can be released without testing and this phase is indispensable too.

Given that these phases are indispensable, let’s see how different life cycle models weave them. The waterfall model involves a tight sequence among the 5 phases. That is, you cannot skip any phase and work on a phase without completing the previous one. The incremental model breaks down the scope into multiple increments but maintains the tight sequence among the phases within each increment.

However, Scrum not only breaks the scope into multiple increments called “Sprints”, but also removes the tight sequence among the 5 phases. For instance, one can do coding for a feature without an approved design for the same.

Hence, the Agile model provides more freedom and flexibility to developers compared to the incremental model or the full-fledged waterfall model. While this freedom sounds attractive, if the team is not multi-skilled and seasoned enough, the resulting product may contain spaghetti code and become unmaintainable. Also, if the team is not multi-skilled, the Agile model may not result in optimum resource utilization.

Given this backdrop, while the masses embrace the Agile model mechanically and suffer the consequences of chaos and underutilization (while also realizing some benefits), the leaders respond differently. They may adopt Agile fully if suitable, but if not, they create tailor-made hybrid models.

Most of the recent successful megaprojects showcased at PMI conferences implemented hybrid models that involved elements of agility but imposed certain discipline as well. The latest version of PMBoK lists hybrid life cycle models as a trend in project management [4].

To illustrate a hybrid model, factory model that was one of the many hybrid models implemented in Wipro Technologies and published as a case study at Harvard [5] can be taken as an example.
Factory Model Work flowFactory model is a software service delivery model and software development life cycle is only a part of it and this article illustrates only the life cycle part of the factory model. As illustrated in diagram 1, factory model involves frequent releases that are pre-scheduled and requirements are accepted even after the requirements document is signed off and subsequent phases are in progress.

However, there is a cutoff date for requirements inflow after which the incoming requirements would be allocated to the next release. As the releases are shorter and the customers have a look ahead, usually they would be willing to wait for the next release rather than pressing for inclusion of requirements into the current release.

This is a hybrid model, which has Agile features namely shorter releases and openness to accept requirements even after signing off RS. But, it also has traditional features such as tight binding of life cycle phases within a single release and freezing the requirements beyond the requirement window. There are many such hybrid models used effectively by industry leaders.

3) Principle of estimation methodologies:

The procedure to create deliverable based estimation methodologies does not change; create a new deliverable-based estimation method when technology changes.

As new technologies emerge, one of the consequences is that established estimation methodologies become obsolete. For instance, when the Function Points estimation method was created for COBOL applications, it became quite widely used. The units into which the functionality of an application is broken down into, such as “Internal logical files”, “Record types” etc., was natural to COBOL applications.

However, with the emergence of GUI based client-server applications, this model became a force-fit and estimators regressed back to carrying out unstructured raw estimates. This phenomenon happens every time there is a technology change. The masses follow raw, unstructured estimation method but the leaders develop new methodologies themselves.

We have carried out research into the accuracy of estimates by asking the groups of people to estimate for the same specification using both raw method and structured methods and the results show stark differences in accuracy. Diagram 2 below contrasts estimates performed using unstructured, semi-structured and formal (completely structured) methodologies:

Comparision of result
As the above diagram compares estimation results performed by same people on the same specification with estimation method being the only variant, it can be concluded that estimation method plays a major role in determining the accuracy of estimates. Use of semi-structured and fully structured estimation methods improves the estimation accuracy significantly.

Hence, the leaders use the changeless procedure to design new estimation methods and come up with a new estimation method themselves when technology changes. This procedure is as follows:

  1. Define the measure of application size.
  2. Define the units into which the specification is broken into.
  3. Define the factors to classify the complexity of the broken down units
  4. Define the formula to arrive at size based on the number and complexity of broken down units
  5. Define the method to determine effort from the size using productivity norms.

This author explains in one of the previous papers [6] how different methodologies can be compared along the lines of the common procedure defined above and compares Function Points, Use case Points, MVC Points and structured WBS methods in a common format as shown in diagram 3 below:
Comparison of estimation methodologies
The author and colleagues have created two such deliverable-based open estimation methodologies namely MVC Points [6] and Interface points [7] intended to estimate web applications and enterprise application integration projects. We have also seen many unpublished methodologies to estimate data warehousing applications, ERP applications used in-house in leading IT organizations and usage of these methods greatly improve estimation accuracy.

4) The Principle of schedule management:

Project schedules are effective when the work breakdown is aligned with the life cycle model and contains at least 90% of the tasks performed by the team on the ground.  

When life cycle models change, the way work is broken down also changes. It has been illustrated in earlier articles of this author [8][9] that alignment of work breakdown structure to the life cycle model is a critical factor that determines whether the schedule will be used in the project or not. When life cycle models change and the older ways of WBS doesn’t work, the masses give up scheduling practices but the leaders change the WBS and continue scheduling practices to ensure optimum resource utilization.

Specifically, the arrival of Agile methodologies has rendered old ways of WBS obsolete. As shown in diagram 4, Agile methods view project progress in terms of completely usable features whereas traditional methods view project progress in terms of work done.

Accordingly, the WBS also changes. A WBS of a traditional project would like table 1 below

Task IDMile stoneSummary tasksSub tasksDuration Resource.......
1RS

30

2
Feature 1






Elicit requirements





Document requirement





.......




Feature 2......




..............



FS






Feature 1






GUI





Business logic





.......




Feature 2......




......




Design





........





As can be seen in table 1, the WBS is organized along life cycle phases. As this does not work with Agile models, the common tendency is to give up schedules and execute work in ad hoc manner. However, leaders transpose the WBS to align with an Agile view of project progress as shown in table 2 and continue to use project schedules to optimize resource utilization.

Task IDMile stoneSummary tasksSub tasksDurationResource
1Release 1

......

2
Feature 1






RS related tasks





Other task from sprint backlog





Other task from sprint backlog




Feature 2......




............



Release 2






Feature 3






GUI





Business logic





Other task from sprint backlog




Feature 4......




......




Release 3





......





5) Principle of risk management:

It is essential to prioritize identified risks and plan mitigation and contingencies irrespective of size and complexity of the project.
As changes occur in all facets of project execution, very new risks emerge and a common tendency is not to identify the risks but stick with the old risks and suffer the consequences. However, leaders stick to the constant principle of risk management and use that to identify and manage new risks. The risk management process that doesn’t change is indicated in the following diagram 5:
Risk management
To illustrate, when the outsourcing model changes from tactical outsourcing to strategic outsourcing, new, critical stakeholder risks emerge. When life cycle model changes to Agile, new cost-related risks emerge. However, the leaders stick on to the process of risk identification, risk prioritization, risk response planning and risk monitoring and control to stay on top of risks and maximize project success probability.


Conclusion

As changes occur ever more frequently in all facets of software delivery, it is not adequate to respond with rhetoric such as “Embrace the change” or “Be open to change” although they are well-meaning phrases. It is important to respond to the change thoughtfully and taking a step back from the change and identifying the changeless principle behind the change helps in responding thoughtfully.

This article has identified constant principles that don’t change in 5 facets of project delivery and anchoring in these changeless principles helps to respond to changes smartly and increase project success chances by leaps and bounds.

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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 Training PRINCE2® 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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Project Contracts – A Vital Legal Binding

One of the key knowledge areas discussed in the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification is Procurements Management. As part of project procurements management a project manager is mainly expected to be able to initiate, execute and manage projects based on the project contracts. This article is an attempt to discuss about project contracts, to discuss the importance of such contracts and to give an introduction to types of contracts as a precursor to subsequent articles. The PMBOK® defines a contract as follows. “Contract represents a mutually binding agreement that obligates the seller to provide the specified products, services or results, and obligates the buyer to provide the monetary or other valuable consideration in return. A contract can also be called an agreement, understanding, undertaking or a purchase order.” (PMBOK® 5.0) Any project involves two or more parties. One main party that is the buyer and the other the seller. In addition to these there can be other 3rd party elements that are not directly involved in the contract but are interested in or are impacted by the same. The contract between the buyer and the seller happens to protect the interests of the two parties entering into the agreement. The seller provides goods or services to the buyer for which the buyer compensates the seller monetarily or through other financial or non-financial means.   A contract is a formal agreement between the two parties and it is a legal binding amongst the two entities. A formal contract must be in written format and can be used even in court of law in the case of either party failing to honour their commitment or in the case of an appeal against any misdeeds. Dishonouring contracts may actually lead to settlements even in court but should ideally be settled mutually among the disagreeing parties, most probably through a mediator called an ‘arbitrator’. Normally in large organizations contracts are managed by a separate contract manager or a procurements manager. The management of contracts are done in 2 separate ways namely; centralized contracting and decentralized contracting. In centralized contracting, one contract manager manages all the contract related matters for multiple projects. This requires expertise in contracting, standardization of contracting practices across the organization and more focused management of contracts. In decentralized contracting, separate contract managers are allocated to manage the procurements for individual projects. This results in full time management of contracts and the contract manager must report progress to the project manager. This results in more focused management of project contracts and with time creates specialized expertise in contracting. However, this may result in duplication of contracting expertise and less standardization of contracting practices across multiple projects in the company. There are three main types of contracts. They are Cost Reimbursable OR Cost Plus, Time and Material or Unit Price and Fixed Price or Lump Sum contracts.  The applicability and use of these contract types based on the type of project, complexity and the parties involved may decide on variations based on the charges involved in order to ensure that the contract terms are mutually beneficial for the two parties. Hence, these contracts vary based on the cost, time and price.  A cost plus or cost reimbursement contract is a contract in which the contractor is reimbursed or paid all the actual expenses they incur when carrying out the work. In addition to this they are also allowed to charge an extra fee allowing them to obtain a profit. For example a contractor taking up building a contract may claim resource costs as well as any miscellaneous expenses incurred for travel, food, purchases as well as charge an additional amount from the customer in order to make a profit from the tasks carried out. A fixed price contract on the other hand does not depend on the resources utilized or time expended. A fixed amount is agreed upon between the contractor and the customer where the amount is paid to the contractor even if the resources expended is lower or higher than the agreed upon amount. Time & material contract is where the contracting party is paid only for the amount of time or resources spent. For example if there is a software development firm which assigns 4 resources for a project on a T&M basis the company will be paid an hourly rate for each resource based on the amount of time they spend on tasks in the project.  Each contract type has its own pros and cons for both the contracting and implementation party. For example a fixed price contract is suitable for an organization as they would know the amount due before hand and know that they won’t end up paying extra if the triple project constraints are not met. Similarly, a time and material project may be suitable for both parties, as amount will be charged only based on the amount of work done in the project and for the time spent. Advantages and disadvantages of each contract type depend on the context. Thus, it is important for stakeholders involved in projects to negotiate on contracts wisely.
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Project Contracts – A Vital Legal Binding

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How much does a PMP® Certification cost?

 Are you planning to take the PMP® certification exam soon? If yes, you should take the next step by starting with the application process. But before that, you need to have a clear idea about the costs which are included in the process of getting PMP® certified.  PMP® is considered as one of the most valuable and high demand certifications in the project management category. Having a PMP® certification under your belt will introduce you to the world of greater opportunity and lucrative salaries. But PMP® is a tougher exam compared to other certifications and requires more preparation to pass the exam.There are multiple items to consider when you try to find out the cost involved in the PMP® certification process. The PMP® certification costs include the application and exam fees plus any other additional costs associated with preparing for the exam.It is not just about the PMP® Exam feeYou need to pay an amount of $555 as the exam fee to sit for your PMP® certification exam. But you can bring it down to $405 by becoming a PMI member. But this is not the only cost involved in the PMP® certification cost. The costs can further be explained in the following points:1. Become a PMI member:It is not necessary for you to become a PMI member to sit for your PMP® certification exam. But the benefits of getting a membership with PMI is more than the membership fee. The annual membership fee along with the first time registration fee is $139. You can save $150 on the exam fee itself by becoming a PMI member.Apart from the exam fee, you get a free copy of the latest edition of PMBOK® Guide and other standards or guides published by PMI which you need to be thorough with in order to pass the PMP® examination. Further, you can gain the required PMP® PDUs for free by watching the webinars and joining the annual online conferences which are exclusively available for the members.2. PMP® certification exam fee:Once you become a PMI member, you need to pay $405 as the PMP® certification exam fee to take the computer-based exam at your nearest Prometric exam center. But it is $555 for non-members.You can take up the PMP® certification exam three times in the one-year eligibility period. Again, if you are a PMI member, you just need to pay a PMP® re-examination fee of $275 whereas, the non-members need to pay $375.3. PMBOK® Guide:As a PMP® aspirant, you shouldn’t consider only the PMBOK® Guide to be the syllabus of PMP® exam. It is an official reference book for the PMP® exam. It is recommended for every aspirant to read the PMBOK® Guide more than once while you prepare for your PMP® exam. The content of the PMBOK® Guide can be found in the real PMP® exam. The current cost of PMBOK® Guide is $47.98.Got a PMI membership? Then you can download the free copy of the PMBOK® Guide from the PMI website.4. Earning 35 contact hours by attending the Project Management Training Course:You need to complete 35 hours of project management course work to sit for the PMP® exam. Taking up a Project Management Training Course can help you to earn these 35 contact hours. The cost of these courses ranges based on the training provider. You need to spend around $1,000 to meet this requirement.5. PMP® exam reference books:As you know that PMP® certification exam consists of a complex exam pattern and you need to be well prepared to clear it at one go. You can get access to reference books both in hard copy and online. These resources contain tons of project management knowledge which proves helpful while you prepare for your PMP® exam.6. Practice Exams and Mock Tests:Taking PMP® sample exams plays a pivotal role in your PMP® exam preparation. These mock tests and practice exams prove as a good resource to test your readiness for the exam. Further, these mock tests will help you understand the techniques of time management which is an important factor while writing your PMP® certification exam.7.Renewing your credentials:You can’t stop your quest once you get your PMP® certification. Your PMP® certification is only valid for three years and you need to renew your credentials before it gets invalid. So, you need to pay $150 to renew your credential every three years. However, you can bring down this cost to $60 by becoming a PMI member.Confused? The following chart will help you to get a clear understanding of the costs involved in your PMP® certification:Sl. No.PMP® Certification Cost (Different Cost Aspects)Costs1PMI Membership fee along with joining fee$1392PMI Membership renewal fee$129 per year3PMP® Certification Exam fee for PMI members$4054PMP® Certification Exam fee for non-members$5555Rescheduling fee for PMI members$2756Rescheduling fee for non-members$3757PMBOK® handbook cost for membersFree8PMBOK® handbook cost for non-members$50 on Amazon9Cost of study guides and resources$40 to $10010Cost of practice tests$60 to $10011Renewal cost of PMP® certification for PMI members$6012Renewal cost of PMP® certification for non-members$150Online PMP® trainingWon’t it be great if you get access to PMP® certification training from your preferred location? You can make it possible by opting for online PMP® certification training. The e-learning course provided by the R.E.P.s give you access to innumerable mock tests and exam revisions. Few of the features of such courses are as follows:35 PDUs on completion of 35 hours of e-learning15 audio-visual modules covering all course topics from PMBOK® Guide13 hours of online contentPMP® eBook in downloadable format and PMP® exam blueprintA question bank on all knowledge areasTips and tricks to pass PMP® in the first attempt.PMI Talent Triangle™ BundleYou need to continue your learning and development in order to maintain your PMP® certification. The PMI® has set a 60 PDU requirement which you are expected to meet in order to continue your PMP® journey. As a PMP® certification aspirant, won’t you be happy to get all the course which you need to fulfill your PDU requirements in a bundle? You need to earn 35 PDUs in the Education category and meet the following minimum requirements, as per the PMI Talent Triangle™  skill areas:Education PDUs - Minimum Talent Triangle RequirementsCertificationTechnical PDUs RequiredLeadership PDUs RequiredStrategic PDUs RequiredRemaining PDUs - across any area of PMI Talent TriangleTotal Minimum RequiredPMP8881135The activities and courses included in the three components of the PMI Talent Triangle™ are as follows:TechnicalLeadershipBusiness & Strategic ManagementLife Cycle ManagementCoaching & MentoringCustomer relationship & satisfactionTime, Scope, Risk ManagementProblem SolvingBenefits RealisationEstimationTeam BuildingLegal & Regulatory complianceAgile PracticesEmotional IntelligenceStrategic planning & analysisGovernanceConflict ManagementOperational FunctionsData gathering and modelingBrainstormingBusiness acumenEarned value managementInfluencingCompetitive analysisPerformance ManagementListeningMarket awarenessInterpersonal skillsBusiness models and structuresThe best way to earn 35 contact hours of PMP® trainingYou can get access to PMP® certification training in three different methods. They are classroom training, instructor-led training, and self-learning method. All the mentioned modes have their own pros and cons, but self-learning is considered as the cheapest of all the three courses.You can choose between self-learning mode or instructor-led mode to take your online training. There are numerous R.E.P.s in the market who provide such training and help you attain 35 contact hours to fulfill the PMI requirements.You should consider the following important factors while searching for the best online platform for your PMP® certification training:Is the training provider a registered training body?Will you be provided with 35 hours certificate?Is the training provided in English?What is the duration of the eLearning access?Salary of a PMP® certified professionalAfter knowing about all the costs which you need to bear in order to get PMP® certified, won’t you love to know about what lies ahead of it? Here are five jobs for project management professionals in the US with the highest paid salaries.1. Pharmaceutical project management professionalA Pharmaceutical Project Manager works with researchers, doctors, and engineers to ensure that the research and development stay on schedule and on budget. He or she is responsible for overseeing the development of new medication for the treatment of diseases and other health problems. The average annual salary of a Pharmaceutical Project Manager based in the US is $131,833.2. Resources project management professionalA Resources Project Manager works toward making the process of extracting and growing natural resources by working with farmers, mining, and oil companies and eliminating waste as well as improving communication. He or she looks into the procurement of natural resources for efficient delivery to end consumers. The average annual salary of the Resources Project Manager based in the US is around $129,368.3. Consulting project management professionalFrom environmental engineers to sales managers, a Consulting Project Manager works at all the levels of the industry and they work on a case-to-case basis. He or she works with the goal to furnish industry expertise and advanced knowledge to the client in order to lead their project to success. A Consulting Project Manager earns an annual average salary of $129,208 in the US.4. Aerospace project management professionalThe job description of an Aerospace Project Manager includes working with designers and engineers to ensure the delivery of the new aircraft on time and on budget. His or her focus areas include quality control and risk management. The average annual salary of the Aerospace Project Manager based in the US is $121,923.5. Engineering project management professionalAn Engineering Project Manager communicates with clients to ensure the quality of the end product as demanded by the client. The annual salary of the Engineering Project Manager based in the US is $121,769 per annum.To concludeAs you can see, the PMP® certification involves a lot of other costs other than the exam cost itself. There is a cost involved in all the processes which you need to go through in order to get PMP® certified. But these costs can vary from person to person and the country you are residing in. Further, adding a PMP® certification to your collar exposes you to better career opportunities and higher salaries.
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