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MGMT0150 Assessment 2 Project management

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A Project Plan Template

Project Title: what is your project called?

Project Description: provide a clear and concise description of your project.

  1. Executive Summary/Background

Explain why the project being undertaken? Describe an opportunity or problem that the project is to address.

  • Project Scope

Provide an overview of the scope of the project, identify the project objectives, critical success factors and risks.

  • Project Objectives
    • Objective 1
    • Objective 2
  • Success Criteria

Explain how the project successes will be identified and measured (state/identify the project’s critical success criteria).

  • Success criteria 1
  • Success criteria 2
  • Key Deliverables

Identify/list all key deliverables that will be formally delivered to the client and the timelines/target dates when they will be due.

  • CommunicationPlan

This section describes how information will be shared on the project. It clearly identifies what, who, when and how communication will be handled during the project implementation.

Who (which stakeholder)What information do they need to knowWhen will it be sharedHow (which medium will be used to deliver the message)
    
  • Work Breakdown Structure

This section describes all the work that needs to be done in order to complete the project. It should identify all tasks, key milestones or major project phases, resources (people and materials e.g., equipment) assigned, duration of each task and the target dates for completion. A planning tool can be used to create this plan. Some examples of project management planning tools are Microsoft Project, Smart Sheet, Trello, Microsoft Excel, etc.

This section describes the main project risks, their potential impact, and the contingency plans in place for handling each risk identified. You can reference a separate project risk register or insert a risk register here.  

Risk Id.Risk DescriptionImpact (high, medium, low)Likelihood of Occurrence (high, medium, low)Mitigation Plan(what can we do to avoid the risk from occurring)Contingency plan (what can we do if the risk occurs)
      
      
      
      

Assumptions and Constraints

List all assumptions and any constraints identified during the planning of your project.

  • Budget

Show a breakdown of the costs of your project, including how expenditures will be reported and how the project funds will be monitored and controlled.

  • Others

This section can be used to identify the list of key stakeholders that will be involved on the project,to identify any open issues, or to share any other key information not included in the previous sections.

Project Title

A. If you choose the title appropriately, you do not need the words “Project Title”. But that is a style tip – keep or delete as you like.
B. Name the project something unique that you can use in your communications. Make sure the name contains enough detail that this title will be different from titles applied to other projects in your organization.
a. Example: “Home Renovation” is not very specific
b. “Kitchen Renovation on Kimble Street” is better
c. “Johnson’s Kitchen Renovation on Kimble Street” is so specific that there will never be another project in your organization that duplicates your choice (Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are the homeowners in this example.)
d. Do not use something that would offend the sponsor; lenders and stakeholders should see a title that reflects positively on the project. The title for the project is part of your Communications Management. Use it to influence everyone. It should make your supporters happy, and it should never antagonize your enemies. For example, if you have the local government coping with a flood, you might choose:
i. Good: “Community Ecosystem Improvement Project”
ii. Okay: “Drainage Management Project”
iii. Really Bad: “Forced Relocation of Indigenous Group from Flooded Land Project”
C. In business, add a number that the accountants can use to track expenditures. Your organization will likely have a person or an office full of people where projects are organized – they call that the “Project Management Office” in generic terms. In small businesses you might be told: “… you need to talk to Bob on the second floor.” The central office for this provides you with what are called “Organizational Process Assets”, which is an expensive description for templates and files of previous projects… and… they will get you a number which is for your own financial accounting. For example:
a. 2021.01… “first project of the year” …
i. The number should be somewhat intuitive but most importantly it needs to follow what your organization recommends.
ii. Later, when you pay for the work done through the WBS, you will have a tracking system built-in – that is why the number exists. Example:

  1. WBS item: 02.04 (second “column” or “stovepipe”, fourth work order)
  2. Accountant record: 2021.01.02.04
    a. Payment issued for work done in the WBS under the first project of the year 2021, corresponding to WBS group “02” and specifically the work order “04” beneath that group.
    iii. Two-thirds of the way through the course, when you are working on Applied Exercise #3: “Handover Solution”, you will be taking lectures on Earned Value Management. That is the ‘accounting’ system applied in Project Management. At that point, you will be taught how each Work Order is financially tracked and ‘rolled up’ into a reporting system where you will tell the sponsor about “Cost Variances” when your actual costs differ from estimates.

Project Description

Projects have a unique challenge which differentiates them from an Operation. Emphasize what is unique because it makes people understand everything else you write in the plan. The uniqueness of the project explains your motivation for all your subsequent efforts.
Projects have a beginning and an end. When you describe the desired results, you will address the “end” of the project. The beginning is likely something that gets covered when you mention the first “phase” of the project. This part should be obvious without much effort.
This is not a sales pitch. It necessarily requires you to make mention of the obvious constraints imposed upon the project. It is like JFK’s “land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth”. This description has a focus on “desired results” but also covers off any obvious issues with constraints:
✓ If there is a key milestone imposed, make this obvious. This functions like an imposed Constraint. A milestone connects two different constraints:
a. Time (Schedule) Constraint
i. The Wedding Reception WILL occur on 12 June 2022
ii. The sailboat race WILL be scheduled for 09 March 2021
iii. You WILL land a man on the moon no later than 31 December 196915
b. Scope Constraint
i. Wedding Reception becomes a KEY deliverable since the sponsor made mention of it as a milestone – that’s about as obvious as it gets.
ii. The sailboat and sailors will be ready – a key set of deliverables
iii. … astronaut, lunar landing vehicle, space suit, camera… all key deliverables
✓ If there is a maximum budget permitted, mention that constraint. Some projects have a flexible budget because quality is more important, and people will spend, as necessary. Some projects
sacrifice scope and quality to maintain the budget constraint.
✓ If there is a key deliverable (scope) imposed, make this prominent
✓ If there is a notable stakeholder described by the sponsor, summarize that
✓ If there is a significant risk, summarize that. For example, installing the internet in the middle of Australia likely imposes incredible risk on your success.
✓ If there is a specific quality concept, mention that too
✓ If there is an issue of resources, that might
be very worthy of mention

a. If you are extending a subway tunnel underneath Montreal, a Tunnel Boring Machine, which is a very rare resource, and is no doubt a massive16 discussion point!


Recipe to Construct Your “Project Description”

A. Introduction
✓ Desired Results Description (one or two sentences summarizing the desired outcome, goal, aim, accomplishment etc.)
✓ Necessary sentences to address the constraints (above) – use as much room as dictated by your circumstances – do not skip any constraints!
B. Body of the paragraph – partly focused on tasks or accomplishments, and timing or sequencing.
✓ #1 Task Description (general idea of a major task early in the project; subdivision)
✓ Phase/Timing/Sequencing (the name that you chose: “design phase”, “investigation phase” etc.; extrapolation)
✓ #2 Task Description (next big task)
✓ Phase (next phase: “execution”, “construction”, “risk identification” etc.)
✓ ‘Rendezvous in Orbit’ is the key enabler to maintaining an achievable size of booster on launch. The science behind the technique is well understood at this time. The Gemini Project missions will be used to demonstrate the procedures, first by confirming the feasibility of extended mission durations (8 days) in orbit on the Gemini 5 mission scheduled for August 1965, and subsequently highlighted by the first rendezvous during Gemini 6A and 7 in December 1965. The first ‘rendezvous +
docking’ is scheduled for Gemini 8 with the ‘Agena target vehicle’ in
March 1968.

✓ #n Task Description (last big task: “Preparation of Grand Opening”, “Final Paperwork”, “Ribbon Cutting”, “Movie Opens in Theatres”, etc.)
✓ Phase (last phase: “Staff Hiring Phase”, “Close-Out” etc.)

C. Courses of Action:
✓ The project’s plan is the result of a decision made when the sponsor and the project team concluded their analysis on which is the ‘chosen’ Course of Action. The readers of the Plan will be interested in which was chosen, and since they might have their own preferred COA, then it would serve you well to “argue your case before the jury”:
i. Which COA’s were considered?
ii. Which constraints drove the decision?

  1. What would be the impact of choosing an alternate COA?
    a. Cost/Benefit issues, or Risks/Rewards are useful descriptors
    iii. Why was the preferred COA the obvious decision?
    ✓ Project Apollo had three competing COAs for several years”
    i. Direct Ascent, the favourite COA for scientists from the beginning and favoured by JFK’s science advisor through to the end when JFK made the decision.
    ii. Earth-Orbit Rendezvous (EOR), the one with smaller scope, and a more achievable solution
    iii. Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous (LOR), the least preferred candidate, but the one that eventually gained acceptance as being the quickest, easiest and cheapest solution, though with several items of risk which needed to be accomplished.
    D. Conclusion/Summary
    ✓ To be understood, the plan needs to ‘tell a story’. The reader needs to understand the context and needs answers to their questions about why you have chosen the course of action being described. This mandates that you depict your COAs against the various constraints that, when taken together, make your COA the obvious choice.
    ✓ Desired Quality Description
    i. Something is only finished when everything is done to an agreed
    upon quality. JFK wanted the astronauts returned safely to earth. Why? Probably because he was hoping to cash in on a world tour of astronaut ambassadors, showing the world how impressive the USA was.
    ii. Quality is important for two reasons:
  2. Quality helps determine scope, which in turn determines everything else.
  3. Quality needs to be clear for completed tasks to be accepted as finished. How will project members know when a task is finished? Would they continue seeking ways to change ‘puppy’ to ‘small dog’ without ever finding the ‘goal posts?
    ✓ Re-emphasize the message of what is important to the sponsor; it was described within the paragraphs above, but now is the opportunity to highlight what is most important of all the important things.

Executive Summary/Background

Think about your audience. People who oversee the Sponsor will be reading this and they need to know that the Sponsor is going in the right direction. Is the sponsor giving sound and reasonable guidance to the project team, or is the sponsor trying to treat the symptoms rather than the problem? This summary is written for the Executives who are checking on the “big picture” and therefore it does not get into the small details; it explains the logic of the challenge ahead and the strategy chosen to meet the goals.
• Explain why the project is being undertaken. This helps people understand the motivation and therefore they will better understand the preferred Course of Action that you depict. Describe an opportunity or problem that the project is to address. This description should make people understand why specific constraints are receiving emphasis.
o If a product line is becoming obsolete, then the time constraint is understandable.
o If users are dying because your product is dangerous, then your quality constraint is understandable.
o If the entire organization is becoming uncompetitive, then a large modernization plan might make your project’s extensive risk management plan seem clear; a huge and risky plan to make massive technology leaps into a new product line could be very understandable under the right circumstances.
▪ The quartz crisis was the upheaval in the watch-making industry triggered by the advent of quartz technology in the 1970s that left mechanical watch manufacturers obsolete.
▪ Quartz crystals and their micro processing circuits were accurate to 12 seconds per year due to the available 2,400,000 oscillations per second!
• This paragraph continues from the “Project Description” which served as an introductory lead-in to the Executive Summary. Therefore, “desired results” have already been discussed; no need to repeat them here. Now is the time to tell the story to make sense of achieving the “desired results”. Therefore, you would look to borrow the same text from the business case. This summary provides the justification for borrowing money and accomplishing the project. Why does the sponsor want to achieve the goals – it speaks to the sponsor’s motivation – why is worth borrowing the money you are talking about? That answer will give readers a much better understanding when they try to digest the subsequent content. This paragraph summarizes how the sponsor and Project Manager have come to understand the upcoming project in terms of the baseline.


Project Scope

A. Provide an overview of the scope of the project, identify the project objectives, critical success factors and risks. You project scope paragraphs document everything that is needed for a project to get it done to the sponsor’s satisfaction. Here is a great checklist to make sure you have captured all the details and you are not at a loss to figure out what to talk about:
✓ Deliverables – these are tangible, such as an ad campaign to change people’s minds about a specific person or thing

Goals – these are less tangible, but equally important, such as the ability of a person to work in Hollywood after being caught driving drunk… which made the ad campaign necessary
✓ Processes – think about the project manager’s “management” work; phases of the project would be a great example. Risk management is a typical topic to discuss since many tasks might exist purely to mitigate risks, and do not actually deliver anything “useful”. A security guard could be essential, but merely enables, after all.
✓ Resources – people, tools, equipment, space, weather, locations, environments, internet connectivity, office space, experts with PhD’s etc.
✓ Costs
✓ Stakeholders, and
✓ Deadlines.
B. Project Objectives
• Objective 1
• Objective 2
• …
• Objectives could be desired results, goals, key deliverables, problematic deadlines (race day!)
C. Success Criteria
Explain how the project successes will be identified and measured (state/identify the project’s critical success criteria).
• Success criteria 1
• Success criteria 2
• These can be figured out by asking yourself: “I will have ‘objective 1’ successfully accomplished when I can prove to the sponsor that ____.”
D. M – Must have S – Should have C – Could have W – Won’t have: Use with Caution!!
✓ This technique is normally applied in Agile Project Management (though not exclusively). Therefore, it would rarely appear in a formal Project Management Plan such as this. Agile Project Management is not introduced at the Introductory stage of this course.
✓ Must Have: Must be satisfied – Key Deliverable – This is “In Scope” since otherwise there is no project. This becomes the ‘driving’ scope constraint which might trump budget and time constraints.
✓ Should Have: High Priority deliverable
o If the negotiated Budget/Time constraints permit this requirement, then it is also in Scope.
▪ Otherwise, it would be a high priority to include on a list of opportunities if the project comes in under budget and the sponsor decides to inject the remainder of the budget to achieve the “should haves”. Otherwise, the sponsor keeps their money and the ‘should have’ gets ignored
✓ Could Have: Desirable deliverable – but since it is not necessary, it can only be included if the Budget/Time constraints permit. It is out of scope, but not forgotten.
o Like the ‘Should Haves’, it could be funded as an Opportunity, but is out of scope as well. it would be a medium priority to include on a list of opportunities if the project comes in under budget and the sponsor decides to inject the remainder of the budget to achieve the “should haves” and still has enough budget to spend against the ‘could haves’.

Otherwise, the sponsor keeps their money and the ‘should haves’ and the ‘could haves’ get ignored.
✓ Won’t Have: Not considered in scope from the very beginning of the project but included in the list of topics to be included in any potential Change Management discussion.

Example: In or Out of Scope

A. The discussion of in/out of scope is very important since this is a legally binding contract. The project will not be legally responsible for delivering on what is written as “out of scope”. If the sponsor takes you to court, the description of what is out of scope must be clear! Likewise, if the items are ‘in scope’, then you must deliver, or the court will find in favour of the sponsor.
✓ Example: You are delivering software to facilitate the enrollment of people into a health care system, and you are required to include a user’s manual. That seems clear. The manual is “in scope”. But the software might be used by Canadians who speak French or English. Does the Sponsor believe that the manual will be in French and English? Is there a governmental requirement that specifies a bilingual deliverable when contracting? It might be in scope without realizing it.
▪ By specifically describing it in the Scope section, the project can make a contractually binding statement that the manual will be produced in both French and English by a specific date. That means it is “In Scope”.
▪ By specifically describing it in the Scope section, the project can make an equally binding statement that the manual will not be produced in French, and will only be written in English, but that work would be done by a specific date. That means that any translation work is “Out of Scope”.
▪ When the project is over, if anyone asks about the French translation, you simply show the Project Management Plan’s “Scope” section and refer to the part about what is “Out of Scope”.
✓ Many projects have extensive sections dedicated to this sort of detail to save on the budget. It could be that the Sponsor has their own translators on staff and they are not busy right now, therefore preferring to take that task off the project and assign it to otherwise under-employed staff members at no additional cost.
Key Deliverables
A. Identify/list all key deliverables that will be formally delivered to the client and the timelines/target dates when they will be due. Think in broad terms but include only those of obvious importance to the Sponsor or necessary for the ultimate success of the project. A Key Deliverable might be the one that serves as the predecessor to what the sponsor thinks is the ultimate Key Deliverable. The predecessor becomes your “enabler” to ultimate success. Think about something important that you are trying to generate:
✓ a product
✓ service, or
✓ result
B. This does not mean EVERY deliverable. Begin by considering the ones that become obstacles to success by setting the Scope Constraints or your Time Constraints. If the Sponsor places an important constraint upon you, such as a fixed wedding date (time constraint), then this becomes an obvious issue to include in your list of key deliverables and milestones.
C. But not everything can be important! If you try to make everything seem important, the sponsor will believe that you have no idea what they think is truly important. Ask the sponsor!
D. Your Project Management Plan (this document!) is a deliverable. It is not a “key” deliverable, just one of numerous deliverables that go unnoticed but MUST be done.
E. An example might be an improved smart phone. The Key Deliverable might be the phone’s camera, but you might need advanced, currently undeveloped, technically difficult software to let the camera work. The sponsor thinks the camera is key, but the project’s experts have identified the software as being the key enabler for the camera’s ultimate success in the marketplace. You might list both the camera and the software since the plan needs to highlight success on both issues. The Sponsor will need to understand how important those enablers truly are.
F. Deliverables can be divided into “internal” and “external”.
✓ Internal
▪ Things that facilitate the project – important to you, but not considered by the sponsor
• Hiring technically competent computer programmers
o Absolutely vital to get your smart phone camera up and running!
o But not something visible outside of the project
• It is not easy to convince your Sponsor to view internal deliverables as “Key Deliverables” however
✓ External
▪ Things that the project pushes out to external stakeholders
• Deliverables that the project delivers to the users or the client, or the Sponsor.
▪ External deliverables generally populate the top row of the WBS!
• The glove on the astronaut’s suit is vital for success, but:
o The glove is a component of the space suit
o The space suit is a better candidate for Key deliverable.
Hint: Some of the external deliverables that went on the top row of the WBS are great ideas as likely candidates to label “Key”

Communication Plan:

A. This section describes how information will be shared on the project. It clearly identifies what, who, when and how communication will be handled during the project implementation.
Who (which stakeholder)
What information do they need to know
When will it be shared
How (which medium will be used to deliver the message)


B. It is good to have milestones to boost morale, signal success, congratulate a job well done, and communicate with the team. Many projects aim for a monthly event… wedding dress is purchased, reserve the venue for the wedding reception… each of these events trigger spending and are a cause to celebrate. The milestones are, once again, important items on the road map to the desired results.

C. Connect communications with stakeholders. Know your audience and know the needs. Each stakeholder deserves to get a unique analysis. Will you meet your stakeholders at a town hall? Or use an email system and mailing list? Or advertise on social media?
✓ Communications help with setting and managing expectations prior to execution and during execution. Communications therefore have a direct connection to the constraints.
▪ If the sponsor is budget limited (key constraint), then quality will always be a focal point of discussions.
▪ Otherwise, if quality is the key constraint, then budget will not be a focal point, it will simply be communicated in routine status reports.
✓ Your communications plan should already be proving useful since it will have been assisting you with the project planning process!

Checklist for Success

✓ High Level Outline
o Key Stakeholders and Team members: Full spectrum – ignore your own people and their morale will drop and you will go behind schedule with poor quality
o Communication Tools, Methods and Type – when it comes to the sponsor and key stakeholders, ask them for what they would like and then try to overdeliver
o Communication Style – broken down by stakeholder, and reflects the methods and type
✓ Battle Rhythm – a daily cycle of deliberate communications used to synchronize
✓ Key Messages (Media Response Lines)
✓ Communication Goals and Objectives – examples: inform, educate, update, influence, inspire, motivate, build relationships, learn…

Work Breakdown Structure

A. This section describes all the work that needs to be done to complete the project. It should identify all tasks, key milestones or major project phases, resources (people and materials e.g., equipment) assigned, duration of each task and the target dates for completion.
B. This section should not show the original WBS that consisted of yellow sticky notes across the room where the project team brainstormed solutions to the project! In fact, it should never be depicted ‘graphically’. It is re-drafted into a written document.
C. The WBS is frequently called the “Statement of Work” (SOW).
D. You can provide a bulleted list, however! Or use Excel (but that would get copied into a “table” in a document).

Example (Project Apollo) WBS

1) Lunar Lander17
a) Key Time Constraints18:
i) Contract Award:
(1) 07 Nov 1962
ii) Design Freeze:
(1) Apr 1963
iii) First Flight
(1) 22 January 1968
b) Prime Contractor19:
i) Grumman Aerospace Corp.
c) Cost Estimate:
i) $350 million20
d) Number of Vehicles21: 25
i) 10 test items
ii) 15 manned lunar mission
e) Crew Capacity22: 2
f) Ascent Stage23
i) Rendezvous Radar Antenna24
ii) Environmental Control system module
iii) Crew Compartment
iv) Reaction control thruster assembly
v) Ascent propulsion fuel tank
vi) Etc.

Risks

A. This section describes the main project risks, their potential impact, and the contingency plans in place for handling each risk identified. You can reference a separate project risk register or insert a risk register here.

B. For a risk to be a project risk, it must impact the “project”. You must define what we mean by “project”. Subdivide the “project” concept into baseline constraints:
▪ Budget
• Budget features:
o Only available in chunks, as needed, based upon performance
▪ Typical of banks and lending institutions
• Implies the project manager needs to schedule spending with milestones to satisfy lenders
• Cost overruns lead to insufficient progress to trigger another dump of money from lenders!
o Available from investors
▪ Over-budget necessitates finding more investors
o Available with interest payments – long projects equal more interest
▪ Schedule – not all schedules are subject to big risks.
▪ Scope (but scope is too vague, so you need to further subdivide this into:
• Key Deliverables (best place to start for new Project Managers)
o Backyard swimming pool is a key deliverable for a new home.
• Requirements (added challenge)
o Roof mounted solar panels to heat a backyard swimming pool is a requirement specified by a Sponsor who mandates an energy efficient solution to the key deliverable. This answers “how” you plan to achieve the key deliverable.
▪ (There could be a risk where roof mounted solar panels are not permitted according to local bylaws.)

Use Your Assumption Flowchart to Your Advantage

The flowchart shows how you can point to one ‘issue’ within your emerging Project Plan – in this example, you’ll remember from the Charter how you imagined a road trip with your friends during the university’s term break when you considered the worn-out tires on the car… they only go flat occasionally – in that case, the trip could end happily! Your friends might decide that it is worth mitigating the risk – a wise option! But to what extent?? Do you buy new tires? Do you carry a spare tire? Do you take a tire pump from your bicycle and stow it in the car? The Sponsor is responsible for making this decision – their money, their decision. With great responsibility, comes great power. It is up to the Project Manager to give your best advice and negotiate with the Sponsor over which options resolve the triple constraint to maximize the Sponsor’s satisfaction. If you do not present a valid analysis to the Sponsor, then you will be accused of engaging in “wishful thinking”.

Three Steps to State Your Risk Convincingly:

(1) Start a sentence with: “As a result of___”
o Fill in the blank with the constraints from the previous (budget, schedule, key deliverable/scope). For example:
▪ budget constraint: “As a result of needing to borrow project money for a high interest loan from a local gangster with mob connections …”
(2) Continue the sentence with a description for an uncertain event that might happen – you’ll have to brainstorm, use your imagination or experience, interview people, hire a consultant, etc. For example:
▪ “… a failure to remember the mobster’s birthday with a generous gift …”
o You don’t know when it might happen.
o You don’t know for sure that it will happen.
o It might not happen at all.
o If it does happen, it would have an impact!
(3) Finish the sentence with the impact statement.
o The impact is typically chosen from the other two competing constraints. For example:
▪ “… would certainly reduce the budget available, leading to the removal of the swimming pool as a key deliverable.”
▪ The impact could be a delay in schedule (the other constraint).
▪ The impact could revert to the first constraint – budget:
• “… would certainly reduce the budget available, leading to the use of the Sponsor’s mother-in-law for an even higher interest loan.”

Constraints and Assumptions

A. List all assumptions and constraints identified during the planning of your project.
• The Project Manager’s first project task is getting to know the sponsor’s needs; the military calls this need the “Commander’s Intent”.
• Secondly, the Commander/Sponsor will offer “guidance”, partly by stating what you must do, and what you must not do… constraints.
i. Definition of Constraint: “the options to which one is limited”

  1. The Sponsor effectively tells you how to do your project, or alternatively, how NOT to do your project.
  2. JFK would have said “rockets” when you asked about constraints!

a. JFK was using NASA to advance rocket technology to get the by-product of better tech in the military for ICBMs.
b. Your sponsor might state “one-story home” if they are old and want to “age gracefully” in their “forever home” while avoiding stairs.

The goal is to avoid stating that “Budget is a Constraint” … “Risk is a Constraint”. That gets you a very poor mark!
i. You need to explain how it constrains your plan. Think “impact statement”. How does a constraint impose itself on the project?
• Constraints limit you.
• Dependencies force you to arrange things in a specific fashion. Dependencies are not limiting, they are guiding.

B. List all assumptions and constraints identified during the planning of your project.
✓ Assumptions are not secrets, they are negotiated and stated in the Charter. They are closely related to constraints. They are CRITICAL to understanding SCOPE! If the Sponsor wants the new house to be built on a limited budget, the project may be completed before anyone does the landscaping or builds a fence or a driveway. The sponsor might do this work while living in the house and get free labour from family and friends. Note how this connects directly to scope.
• Assumption: “The project is not responsible for fencing, landscaping or driveway construction.”

✓ The Sponsor will not be surprised to read this, since it was negotiated earlier, and this is just getting it down on paper.
✓ Assumptions might declare that “users of the software will speak English”. This would minimize cost by letting the software manage only one language.
✓ In general, assumptions are negotiated as part of the overall discussion on Scope/Quality Management and lead to budget/time saving circumstances.
✓ Assumptions will anger the people in the subsequent operations! That alone makes this a very good reason to get it properly documented. Project Managers need to protect themselves!
✓ The Marine Corps describes assumptions as: “Assumptions are suppositions about the current situation or about future events assumed to be true in the absence of facts in order to continue planning and allow the commander to make a decision concerning a course of action25.”
▪ The key is that without making assumptions, and stating them outright on paper, it is impossible to move forward! Do you write software documentation in one language? Twelve different languages? Or maybe 147 different languages including videos of sign language?
▪ Until you state your assumptions and negotiate them with the sponsor, you will never be able to generate a plan, since scope will remain impossibly vague.
▪ Assumptions borrow from the SMART mnemonic too.

Dependencies

A. There is very readable description at Girl’s Guide to PM. They give you a very succinct definition for dependencies: “The relationship that defines the order in which tasks are carried out.”
✓ A dependency comes from many different places in your project:
i. Requirements: The regulators might impose their ‘building code’ which specifies the sequence of building and their inspections. For example, you could not finish building something that would prevent an inspector from seeing the item that needs inspecting. So, schedule the inspection first, then finish the construction.
ii. Resource Constraints: You have one expert but two tasks. You cannot schedule both tasks at the same time – one must come first, then the other, so that the expert does not need to be in two places at the same time.
✓ Dependencies come from everywhere, but always end up shaping your schedule. Most work orders should have a dependency, and you should track them so that people can make changes without leading to catastrophic conflicts.

Budget

✓ Show a breakdown of the costs of your project, including how expenditures will be reported and how the project funds will be monitored and controlled.
▪ List the data you have extracted from your WBS according to the various “Work Orders” that you generated.
✓ The budget might be fixed by the sponsor if there is a limit to what they can pay. If that is the case, then the Plan should state that explicitly, while describing the work inside the execution phase as being subject to the budget – the constraints are balanced by applying focus on budget. Will the budget be met by sacrificing quality, house size or a delay in the schedule? If the budget is fixed, then the plan must reflect mitigation strategies which avoid cost overages.

✓ The budget might be somewhat flexible, but the sponsor has a definitive aspiration for their idea of what the desired results would look like. If the scope is dominant over the budget, then the plan must reflect mitigation strategies which avoid lapses in scope and quality. Budget for poor-quality work to be redone and for higher
quality crews during the execution phase.
✓ Your Plan includes not only a total budget, but also a schedule of activities. Therefore, your spending can be charted. This is as useful for communicating budgets as Gantt Charts are for communicating tasks and resources.

Others

✓ This section can be used to identify the list of key stakeholders that will be involved on the project, to identify any open issues, or to share any other key information not included in the previous sections.
✓ Project are all unique, and it is likely that something important will not be covered in the previous sections – now is the time!

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