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Topics: Estimating, Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)
Schedule compression
Hi All,

I wonder if anybody could set me straight on my query below?

I got a question wrong on Rita Mulcahy's mock exam related to scheduling. According to the answer all schedules should be compressed before they are finalized.

However if you compress the schedule before finalizing as a matter of course then where does they leave you to go if any schedule issues arise while the project is being executed?

I get that you might have to compress a schedule up front in order to meet a client or sponsor imposed deadline but if there is no requirement to do that why compress the schedule? Especially when you considered it has cost and risk implications.

Am I getting this all wrong?

Thanks in advance
Simon
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Anonymous
Hi Praveen

I read your comments carefully and I did not say that you said that the whole rita book is non-conformant --- I was speaking about the process chart; which is a core part of the book and for the exam. So my discussion was mostly focused on this point.
Anonymous
In regard to the PMBOK Guide --- you can read it literally or as a concept. What it is saying is that it is a MANDATORY sequence or dependency - to borrow a term from scheduling and there are interactions (= iterations) but THERE IS A SEQUENCE.

Can you do scheduling (properly) without a WBS?

Can you finalize the cost estimate before you finalize the schedule?

Can you do risk before quality, estimating, scoping or scheduling?

Is not this is a sequence that is defined within the PMBOK Guide?

The key is to iterate

Now - you are talking about update --- of course we can update

If you update during planning --- AGAIN - that is iteration. If you update in execution that can be due to change.

I still do not see where is the non-conformance in Rtia's process chart?

You see - the word non-conformance is a strong word and usually indicate or have a negative connotation
...
1 reply by Praveen Malik
Apr 21, 2016 2:30 AM
Praveen Malik
...
Hi Mounir,

Please note that we are specifically talking about the "processes" and not about "how to do project management". So let me rephrase your Q.

"Can you do scheduling (properly) without a WBS?" - Can we perform "Define Activities" process immediately after receiving the contract and perform "Create WBS" process after a short while?

"Can you finalize the cost estimate before you finalize the schedule?" - Can we perform "Determine Budget" process while performing "Develop Project Charter" process and perform the scheduling processes later?

"Can you do risk before quality, estimating, scoping or scheduling?" - Can we perform "Identify Risks" process while performing "Develop Project Charter" process?

Both of us agree that there are iterations among the processes.

But the point is, which process is performed first (even for 5 minutes) will depend entirely on the PM and the project situation. Sometimes the processes will be performed in parallel and at other times the sequence of the processes will be reversed.

As quoted earlier, the PMBOK Guide clearly states its position about the interactions among the processes without defining a sequence whereas the Rita's book (with its own process chart) clearly states that "what-comes-first".

Let me restate that the point of discussion is "non-conformance related to the PM processes" and not about "how to do project management".
Anonymous
On this last part of your post

"In addition, in many projects, you may create a small initial activities schedule for the team so that they start the work. Then you may start developing a formal scope stmt and WBS."

This is why we need to have a project life cycle with many phases and in each phase the process group repeat.

During Phase 1 (Pre-Project in PMBOK Guide) we do high level scope, cost, schedule, quality, risk, etc. ----- then we repeat them with more details during the development phase
Hi Mounir, Let's talk about some interesting things first. I used the word "conformant" in my post. Today googled the word "conformant" for its meaning. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/conformant gives the meaning of "conform". http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conformant say that the word is obsolete. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/spellcheck/english/?q=conformant says spelling error. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definiti...nt?q=conformant takes you to "non-conformant" and says the word is rare.

So, you are right I should not have used the word "conformant". :)

One of the meanings of the word "conform" from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/conformant - "To be or act in accord with a set of standards, expectations, or specifications..."
Let's come to main Q. The chapter 3 titled "Project Management Processes" of Rita's book provides "Rita's Process Chart". The chart is very different from (does not conform to) the PMBOK Guide's Project Management Processes.

In the same chapter (pg 49), the author mentions that the chart was created by Rita Mulcahy and is unique to the RMC publications. The author themselves say that their chart is very different from (does not conform to) the PMBOK Guide's Project Management Processes.

On pg 67, the book has "what-comes-before game". The PMBOK Guide, as you agree, does not state "what comes before or after". Anyway, between the guide and the book, the processes are different.

Please note that we are specifically talking about the "processes". Let me now reply to your specific Q in a new post.
Hi Mounir,

Please note that we are specifically talking about the "processes" and not about "how to do project management". So let me rephrase your Q.

"Can you do scheduling (properly) without a WBS?" - Can we perform "Define Activities" process immediately after receiving the contract and perform "Create WBS" process after a short while?

"Can you finalize the cost estimate before you finalize the schedule?" - Can we perform "Determine Budget" process while performing "Develop Project Charter" process and perform the scheduling processes later?

"Can you do risk before quality, estimating, scoping or scheduling?" - Can we perform "Identify Risks" process while performing "Develop Project Charter" process?

Both of us agree that there are iterations among the processes.

But the point is, which process is performed first (even for 5 minutes) will depend entirely on the PM and the project situation. Sometimes the processes will be performed in parallel and at other times the sequence of the processes will be reversed.

As quoted earlier, the PMBOK Guide clearly states its position about the interactions among the processes without defining a sequence whereas the Rita's book (with its own process chart) clearly states that "what-comes-first".

Let me restate that the point of discussion is "non-conformance related to the PM processes" and not about "how to do project management".
Anonymous
Apr 21, 2016 2:09 AM
Replying to Praveen Malik
...
Let's come to main Q. The chapter 3 titled "Project Management Processes" of Rita's book provides "Rita's Process Chart". The chart is very different from (does not conform to) the PMBOK Guide's Project Management Processes.

In the same chapter (pg 49), the author mentions that the chart was created by Rita Mulcahy and is unique to the RMC publications. The author themselves say that their chart is very different from (does not conform to) the PMBOK Guide's Project Management Processes.

On pg 67, the book has "what-comes-before game". The PMBOK Guide, as you agree, does not state "what comes before or after". Anyway, between the guide and the book, the processes are different.

Please note that we are specifically talking about the "processes". Let me now reply to your specific Q in a new post.
Different - absolutely
1. It includes much more info than the PMBOK Guide especially in Initiating and Closing
2. For some of the processes Rita used the name of the output rather than the process name --- for example Define Scope in Guide it is Develop Scope Statement in Rita

So the difference is to expand, elaborate, clarify ---- and is helpful; at least for many people.

The questions should be: (1) Is this Rita Process Chart wrong? (2) Does it include Errors?

By the way - the same apply to process charts created by others - I have my own which includes close to 70 processes and we use this for managing projects; effectively - NOT for exam purpose.

The key point here - is let us have scientific discussions and opinions without judging.
...
1 reply by Praveen Malik
Apr 25, 2016 5:41 AM
Praveen Malik
...
Mounir,

The word "different" and "conform" have (if I may use this word) different meanings. As I wrote earlier
------
One of the meanings of the word "conform" from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/conformant - "To be or act in accord with a set of standards, expectations, or specifications..."
------
I said Rita's process chart does not "Conform" to PMBOK Guide's processes. I did not say if one is better (or worse) than the other; or if one is correct and other is incorrect.

So, if you want me to say "PMBOK Guide's processes do not conform to Rita process chart", I can say that. But this stmt will not be entirely correct as PMBOK Guide is recognized as a PM Standard and not the Rita's book.

I completely agree to your stmt " let us have scientific discussions and opinions without judging." I have given enough evidence from the Guide as well as the book that suggests Rita's chart does not conform to the Guide's processes. In fact the book itself says, "Rita's process chart is unique". So why should we question their claim. Can you provide some evidence from the book or the Guide that suggests that Rita's process chart conforms to the Guide's processes?
Anonymous
Apr 21, 2016 2:30 AM
Replying to Praveen Malik
...
Hi Mounir,

Please note that we are specifically talking about the "processes" and not about "how to do project management". So let me rephrase your Q.

"Can you do scheduling (properly) without a WBS?" - Can we perform "Define Activities" process immediately after receiving the contract and perform "Create WBS" process after a short while?

"Can you finalize the cost estimate before you finalize the schedule?" - Can we perform "Determine Budget" process while performing "Develop Project Charter" process and perform the scheduling processes later?

"Can you do risk before quality, estimating, scoping or scheduling?" - Can we perform "Identify Risks" process while performing "Develop Project Charter" process?

Both of us agree that there are iterations among the processes.

But the point is, which process is performed first (even for 5 minutes) will depend entirely on the PM and the project situation. Sometimes the processes will be performed in parallel and at other times the sequence of the processes will be reversed.

As quoted earlier, the PMBOK Guide clearly states its position about the interactions among the processes without defining a sequence whereas the Rita's book (with its own process chart) clearly states that "what-comes-first".

Let me restate that the point of discussion is "non-conformance related to the PM processes" and not about "how to do project management".
Wow Praveen :-)

"Please note that we are specifically talking about the "processes" and not about "how to do project management". "

Are not the processes required to manage projects - how do you separate them?
...
1 reply by Praveen Malik
Apr 25, 2016 5:42 AM
Praveen Malik
...
The term "Process" has a meaning. It is very well defined in the Guide.
Anonymous
There are clear dependencies and sequencing in the PMBOK Guide and in real life. It is not logical to do a WBS after you do define activities? Well some do not even do a WBS so why not. Is this a good practice? I leave the answer to you.

There are some situations where one can work in parallel - like scheduling and cost estimating --- but the question is: can you FINISH a cost estimate before you finish a Schedule?

I can assure you in the capital project industry --- YOU CANNOT finish the cost estimate before you finish the schedule. However, if you work in an industry that does not care about scheduling --- the PM can skip scheduling all together. Again, is this a good practice? You can decide.

The discussion is becoming like: can we eat meat or chicken before we finish cooking? Why not - if you do not mind eating raw food; but there might be consequences.

May be we should close this discussion on the basis of agree to disagree!
...
1 reply by Praveen Malik
Apr 25, 2016 5:50 AM
Praveen Malik
...
Mounir, I completely agree with you on this. There is not even an iota of doubt in my mind on what you are saying.
As I understand it, you are saying:
- "finalization of activities" will happen after "finalization of WBS"
- "finalization of cost estimate" will happen after "finalization of Schedule"
Very true. No disagreement here.

The difference of opinion is how you are defining a "Process" and how the Guide defines it. The Guide (as per the 5th ed.) has defined 47 processes. "finalization of WBS", "finalization of cost estimate" etc. are not PMBOK Guide's processes.
Mounir,

The word "different" and "conform" have (if I may use this word) different meanings. As I wrote earlier
------
One of the meanings of the word "conform" from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/conformant - "To be or act in accord with a set of standards, expectations, or specifications..."
------
I said Rita's process chart does not "Conform" to PMBOK Guide's processes. I did not say if one is better (or worse) than the other; or if one is correct and other is incorrect.

So, if you want me to say "PMBOK Guide's processes do not conform to Rita process chart", I can say that. But this stmt will not be entirely correct as PMBOK Guide is recognized as a PM Standard and not the Rita's book.

I completely agree to your stmt " let us have scientific discussions and opinions without judging." I have given enough evidence from the Guide as well as the book that suggests Rita's chart does not conform to the Guide's processes. In fact the book itself says, "Rita's process chart is unique". So why should we question their claim. Can you provide some evidence from the book or the Guide that suggests that Rita's process chart conforms to the Guide's processes?
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