CMMi – Project Planning – Resourcing

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Ironically, though resourcing the product team members is a very important and significant part of a project manager’s role, not much focus is placed on resourcing. Because of this, we’ve encountered many project managers that are overwhelmed, worn out, and in many ways, well ineffective. Who to blame for?

In my own projects, I have been so very little blessed with good resourcing, and I am not talking from the perspective of ‘Skills’, I’m talking about manpower! 30% here, 10% there, 10 % I don’t know where, and remaining 50 % of the same resource already is planned for some other projects! Seems familiar…wow! look at the smiling faces of few PMs around 🙂

So rather than giving ‘Gyan’, let me ask you a very simple question, and before that; Resourcing is not just ‘Man-power’, resourcing includes, but not limited to, manpower, equipment, methods etc. So my question would be:

How do you plan for the necessary facilities? How do you plan for the necessary staff?

The top-level WBS, remember we developed it under estimation mechanism is typically explained / expanded by decomposing the top levels into small workable items that that can be separately assigned, performed, and tracked.

Now as this may be seen as additional work, but believe me, always remember to ‘Break-it-down’, this is so very important in our estimation and resource allocation methods.

You can or in fact should assign WBS a unique identifier (e.g., number) to permit tracking. A WBS generally is based on requirements, activities, work products, or a combination of these items.

So to answer the question that I asked, You do it this way:

You can provide excerpt from Project Plan (Say Project Delivery Approach), the MS project plan, or any other means of WBS of the project plan that identifies the need, available tools, schedule and budget etc.

You should provide excerpt from Project Plan that identifies staffing need, available staff resource, and plan for recruiting etc.

Scope of Work - MS Excel Work Breakdown Struct...

Scope of Work - MS Excel Work Breakdown Structure template (Photo credit: IvanWalsh.com)

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CMMi – Project Plan – Introduction

Project Planning

Heard of this…hah! you got to be kidding me Amit, you seems to have lost your senses…this is what we do daily, we talk about this delay, we always say that our project is getting delayed…we are missing deadlines…we are not on track…. :), we do have a plan dude! I see many of you thinking aloud this in your mind…well good for you…now go back and read the same lines again…one more time…

we talk about this delay, we always say that our project is getting delayed…we are missing deadlines…we are not on track…

And you say you have a project plan, and you talk about this daily…now is my turn to say…YOU must be kidding me! How can you ever have a delay in your project, how can you ever miss a deadline…IF you ever had a Project Plan!!!! Have it in your face…I am loving this giving you back…

From today let’s make things a bit “Real”…let me introduce Rehan as a character in this journey, and Rehan…he will be a project manager in our organization…so what does Rehan do…, tell us Rehan!

Well Hi, I am a project manager, and I should be managing the project…OK, sounds good…why is that I am made a project manager….? Well, I did good in one project, I am out spoken…my boss feels I can be good in client communication, and well, I speak a bit of jargons!

So???

Does that make you a good project manager…hold on…we are diverting, our job is to understand Project Planning and not to determine my worth of being a project manager…

All right…perfect, so lets start with asking few questions from Rehan!

What is a Project Plan…Mr. Rehan?

Ha!..this is a plan for the project, in which we have everything…

Can you be more specific?

Well…I mean…OK, if you feel you’re so good, tell me what is Project Plan?

With Pleasure Mr. Project Manager!

A project plan is a formal, approved document which is used to manage and control the execution of the project.

It is based on project requirements and established estimates.

The project plan should consider all phases of the project lifecycle.

Oh! Yes, now I know…hmmm… this is exactly what I meant…just that not coming out! You know…its been a while, I am more of a practical guy!

Ah…practical guy…right…ok…tell me about this…

Do you:

  1. Establish the Budget and Schedule?
  2. Identify the Projects?
  3. Plan for Data Management?
  4. Plan for resourcing?
  5. Plan for Knowledge transition / Training?
  6. Plan for a Project Plan?

So, Mr. Practical Project Manager?

See, this is what happens, when we think we do…but in reality we are far away from doing! And this is where we want all of us to understand and be on the same page!

In tomorrow’s post, will go through these topics in detail and we will also see, what are the work products associated with Project Planning!

Till then…Cheers!

CMMi – Project Planning – Estimation

Talking of Project Management, we have always been told…that the project is or was failure due to project manager. I strongly disagree! And why do I do this, because, I know that project manager as individual are not the only reason for any project’s failure, this is more due to the lack of project management resources or you may call it process which results in a failure!

So starting from where we left yesterday, lets begin by understanding what all we have in Project Planning, and how the Project planning combines with requirement management, project maintenance and control etc.

Basic Project Management Process Area

Basic Project Management Process Area

My question would be “What is the objective of Project Planning”?

So your answer should definitely be close to “The purpose of Project Planning is to establish and maintain plans that define project activities.”

One of the keys to effectively managing a project is project planning. The Project Planning process area involves the following activities:

  • Developing the project plan
  • Interacting with relevant stakeholders appropriately
  • Getting commitment to the plan
  • Maintaining the plan

Now the biggest question is what is PLANNING? What do you know by planning, lets see:

Planning includes

  • estimating the attributes of work products and tasks,
  • determining the resources needed,
  • negotiating commitments,
  • producing a schedule,
  • and identifying and analyzing project risks.

It may be required that these activities have to go through various iteration to come up with a project plan.

So here in these articles we will surely not go towards explaining each and every special or generic practice but yes, we will surely talk about the work products. Our plan is to make it very simple for you. So how do you : 

Write an Estimate?

Before this Do you know what is an estimate! An estimate would be how much does it take to make a cup of tea? Or say How much does it take to make a Pizza?

In software development, how much time does it take to write a Webservice, which should take parameter from FB APIs, and return the “Common Friends” between you and your friend?

Now how will you tell me the estimate of this: There are two ways :

One : Guess(ti)mate

Second: Gut feeling

Third: Past experience

Issue with all these is, you eventually have no idea which one may fail or even pass for that matter! And by the way what are the parameter you are defining the estimate?

Coming back to What is an Estimate? 

Estimate is a parameters which includes EVERY information needed by the project to perform necessary planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting, and budgeting.

Hmmmm, sound interesting? Or even sounds familiar. You’ve been doing this, every now and then…you have been telling your leads about your leave plans (Staffing / Resourcing), you also told them about how will you report to them every day end, you also have planned for doing a review of code, which you feel would take half a day…so see, you have ben doing all this…what does this mean…hey you’re already a champ in estimation.

So what is here for you, well a new way to learn “how to Estimate”, and do it in a mature (Level-2) and defined (Level-3) way…

Now as we discussed above as to what should be the parameter? Well parameter should be aaything which instill confidence, LIKE:

Means these parameters include project requirements, including product requirements, requirements imposed by the organization, requirements imposed by the customer, and other requirements that affect the project…

This is good…right, since now you know the basis for vital parameters over which you should do the Estimates…

I guess this will be good for today, tomorrow, we will talk about How to establish a Estimate, Project Plan, and how you can obtain COMMITMENT to the plan… Cheers!

CMMi – Capability Model

All right…with understanding of what CMMi is all about, what do we mean by maturity levels, and how we can actually map the maturity levels with the process areas, we are all set to learn about Capabilities, the maturities and capabilities have a great role to play in the entire CMMi journey.

In CMMI models, there are six capability levels designated by the numbers 0 through 5.

  • 0 – Incomplete
  • 1 – Performed
  • 2 – Managed
  • 3 – Defined
  • 4 – Quantitatively Managed
  • 5 – Optimizing

So I am sure you all will be in better control of things even as you have a look at the above mentioned “Capabilities”.

Let’s understand as to what they mean, we will start with very small description of these:

Level 0: Incomplete

An “incomplete process” is a process that is either not performed or partially performed. One or more of the specific goals of the process area are not satisfied and no generic goals exist for this level since there is no reason to institutionalize a partially performed process.

By Institutionalize we mean a process which is tailored as per Organization needs, and is stemmed out of your Organizational processes.

Level 1: Performed

A Capability Level 1 process is a process that is expected to perform all of the Capability Level 1 specific and generic practices. Performance may not be stable and may not meet specific objectives such as quality, cost, and schedule, but useful work can be done. It means that you are doing something but you cannot prove that it is really working for you. This is what that happens with quite a few project which you’ll or we have worked with! We know we are doing something, and that is why we are being survived, but that has nothing to do in terms of improving our cost. and quality.

Capability Level 2: Managed

A managed process is planned, performed, monitored, and controlled for individual projects, groups, or stand-alone processes to achieve a given purpose. Managing the process achieves cost, schedule, and quality. As the title of this level indicates, you are actively managing the way things are done in your organization. You follow metrics, you follow things like variance, scheduled variance etc., to make sure you and your project is on track.

Capability Level 3: Defined

A capability level 3 process is characterized as a “defined process.” A defined process is a managed (capability level 2) process that is tailored from the organization’s set of standard processes according to the organization’s tailoring guidelines, and contributes work products, measures, and other process-improvement information to the organizational process assets.

Again, I won’t go in to details of level 4, and level 5, so this is it for today, assuming you all are having a good go and learning experience in this journey!