What We Liked
As we mentioned earlier, just the listing of a large number of processes specific to project management is a useful exercise. Thirty-nine of them have been extracted from the 2000 version of the PMBOK Guide, but that means that Tom has found another sixty-one to make up the total of one hundred. Of course, some will say that not all those included are necessarily special to project management and not every one will agree on whether they are correctly allocated to the headings listed earlier.
Still, even the number of processes listed under each heading is instructive. Aside from General Processes which is the largest as might be expected, the two next largest with specific orientation are Teamwork Processes and Control Processes, each with eleven. Either this represents the author's bias or, as we suspect, is reflective of the primary thrust of the project management discipline. Next in line are the Time Processes and Communication Processes, each with nine. At the bottom of the list is Quality with only four processes. Given the importance of quality to the acceptability of the final product, it would seem that quality is short changed.
The description of each process follows a standard format. By way of introduction, each process is introduced with "What", "When" and "Results". "What" describes what the process is about, "When" describes when the process is most likely to be needed and used, and "Results" describes the expected outcome of the process. This introduction is then followed with the prescriptive steps required to achieve the outcome. What could be simpler!
Here and there, there are some unexpected processes that perhaps are only just beginning to appear on the radar screen of mainstream project management. Examples include:
- Global Teams - Cross-cultural Communication described as communicating effectively with distant team members, particularly international teams. Under Communication Styles, one recommendation is "avoid 'yes/no' questions with team members who might respond 'yes' to be polite".
- Global Teams - Cross-cultural Work Styles provides a list of reasons, benefits and challenges relating to global projects.
- Influence Without Authority describes how to gain commitments from project contributors from other organizations. One suggestion is to use the principle of reciprocity: i.e. in return for the project commitment offer something meaningful in exchange. The text offers five suggestions that do not involve money.
- Market Research describes how to use the technique to obtain reliable information for a user needs assessment to establish project scope.
Where necessary, the concept of a process step is illustrated by a simple diagram. Two that took our fancy and appearing under Risk Response Planning are shown below.
Figure 1: Risk Response Timeline
Figure 1 clearly shows project management's switch in focus upon the occurrence of a risk event.
Figure 2: Risk Management Strategies
Figure 2 shows that after identifying the risks of concern, the next step is to segregate them into controllable and uncontrollable so that two different types of response can be implemented.
4. Ibid, p51
5. Ibid, p53
6. Ibid, p55-56
7. Ibid, p67
8. Ibid, p175