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APM Practitioner Qualification revision cards


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These notes were produced for APM's PQ assessment which I completed and passed in July, 2013. The assessment was based on APM BoK version 5. They are ideally printed at six to a page and then guillotined into pocket sized cards. Please contact me at for the six to a page download.

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APM Practitioner Qualification revision cards

  1. 1. 1. Determine stakeholders and their influence/interests Stakeholder management strategy • Identify • Analyse • Map/prioritise • Communication Plan • Review Effectiveness of communication They may: • Support or oppose • Gain or lose from project • See project as a threat or enhancement to their position May be from: • Inside project • Outside of project • Outside project organisation, i.e. regulator, local authority Include business, user and supplier stakeholders Do they have influence and no interest or interest and no influence? Can produce stakeholder influence and interests matrix Drive communication and stakeholder management strategies Consider risk management strategies Identify project success criteria
  2. 2. 2. Optimal project organisation Include the following: • Senior user • Executive • Senior supplier • Business user and project assurance • Change authority (if applicable) • Project team May be: • Matrix (functional and project line management in parallel • Functional (limited influence of project manager over other function) • Project types (hired for duration of project only, no functional line manager) Can be divided into: • Directing (project board) • Managing (project manager) • Delivering (team manager) • Managing and delivering may be combined on smaller projects Produce RACI to define and communicate roles and responsibilities • Responsible • Accountable • Consulted • Informed Produce OBS/organogram Undertake gap analysis and map required competencies against team Identify required roles and responsibilities Identify resource requirements (skill and size of resource)
  3. 3. 3. Project success criteria and business benefits Success criteria • Determines what the project will be judged against – may be schedule, cost, scope or quality or a combination of 2 or more. • Determine from who's viewpoint the important success criteria will be seen from Business benefits • A perceived improvement brought about by a project outcome • Likely to be realised after project completion • Reviewed throughout project • Need to be aligned to corporate strategy • Quantified and measureable • Assigned Business benefits are: • Clearly identified • Focus for delivering change • Committed and ownership assigned • Proactive business realisation – likely outside project lifecycle • Record benefit realisation to justify investment Can be tangible or intangible
  4. 4. 4. Project constraints and dependencies Assumptions and constraints characteristics - condition, circumstance or event. • Assumption allows the project to proceed. • Constraint restricts and limit project execution. • Assumptions must be analysed and monitored to ensure validity and relevancy as the project proceeds. • Constraints must be identified and incorporated into the project plan to ensure that the plan is realistic. Therefore an assumption may be the required project budget (based on planning) and the constraint may be funding curve limiting availability of budget. Dependencies: • Internal - between project activities and products • External – products or activities from other projects, sign-off by external body External dependencies are a project risk Both constraints and dependencies should feature in project plans Periodic assessments and at Stage gates
  5. 5. 5. Project risks Include threats and opportunities Risk description terminology – cause, risk, effect Risk register will include • Who raised risk and when • Category and description • Probability and impact • Proximity • Risk response (Avoid/Exploit, Reduce Fallback Transfer/Enhance, Share, Accept/Reject) • Risk response actions • Risk status, owner and actionee Methods to identify: • Use of risk breakdown structure , PESTLE, PBS • Lessons learned and in-house checklists • Brainstorming, risk review sessions etc Periodic assessments and at stage gates
  6. 6. 6. Project issues ‘Issue’ – an unplanned event requiring management action Can be raised by any member of team and put in issue register May relate to change control Issues can be: • Resolved within project (problem/concern) • Request for change • Off-specification • May need to be elevated to project board if either of latter two Method of categorising, prioritising and determining management level of response to be included in Configuration Management Strategy, for example:- must have, should have, could have, won’t have (for now). Issue procedure: • Capture – mitigate informally / formally • Examine – impact on outputs, benefits and overall risk • Propose mitigation • Decide on mitigation and level of escalation • Implement mitigation
  7. 7. 7. Project context and overall business case Develop at beginning of project • Senior user specifies benefits • Executive ensures benefits are delivered • PESTLE or similar Outline BC before project initiation from project mandate Contains: • Executive summary • Reasons for project and objective – drivers for change • Project plan (approximate cost, timescales, scope) – timescales to include benefit realisation • Risks • Options (inc do nothing, do minimum, do something) • Benefits (and dis-benefits) – how will these be measured? • Success criteria • Constraints, assumptions • Dependencies • Impact on BAU • Investment appraisal based on all above – use through life costs, ROI, net benefits, payback period, discounted cash flow, net present value, sensitivity analysis Business justification – continue throughout project To drive decision making (cost /benefit / risk balance) Output → outcome (derived change) → benefit (improvement from outcome) Benefits often after project complete To be reviewed at: • End of project phase / start of next (inc at end of project) • Major changes (risk, exception plan) • As part of benefit review (benefit review plan)
  8. 8. 8. Define scope of project What the project delivers, i.e. deliverables What the project does not deliver Prevent scope creep and aid project handover Provide a baseline against which change control can be assessed Can be defined through PBS • Products numbered for configuration management External products that are dependencies Phased handover – early delivery of scope Ensure effectively communicated to all stakeholders
  9. 9. 9. Project management planning Project execution plan contains all aspects of project planning All project processes and procedures that impact on managing the project Includes: • Time • Resources – cost, plant and labour • Scope • Quality • Team – organisation and resource and expertise requirements Create product breakdown structure Time • Gantt chart – Primavera, MS Project etc • PERT analysis such as activity on the node • Planning horizon, i.e. plan each stage in detail • Critical paths, resource smoothing or resource levelling, milestones Cost • Estimating techniques such as top-down, bottom-up, comparative, parametric, three-point, delpi techniques • Resource loading of schedule to give basis for EVM – produce S Curve Resource • Histograms Agree quality criteria Used to baseline project so that changes can be assessed against Governance RACI and OBS
  10. 10. 10. Risk management process As per slide 5 – take outline risks within business case risks develop To manage risks the following are important: • Understanding of project context • Organisation’s risk appetite • Stakeholder involvement • Establishment of clear project objectives • Develop risk management approach • Report on risks regularly • Clear roles and responsibilities • Support structure and supportive culture • Monitor for early warning indicators • Review cycle and continuous improvement Establish risk management strategy – define process from identification to implementation Record key decisions Establish project board’s ‘risk appetite’ Risk management procedure • Identify • Assess • Control (plan, implement, communicate)
  11. 11. 11. Quality management Meet business expectations and enable desired benefits to be achieved Quality assurance independent of project team is best practise Project assurance from within project – independent of delivery function Establish plan • Quality criteria including tolerances • Quality methods for QC (in-process) and product acceptance (appraisal methods) • Project Board Agreement - acceptance of quality criteria by key stakeholders • Communicate – all are aware of what will be achieved • Control – establish methods to achieve quality and QC Establish a quality register and ensure complete quality records Apply MoSCoW to conflicting quality criteria Quality responsibilities divided into: • Producer • Reviewer • Approver Planned audits by quality assurance including upon project assurance arrangements
  12. 12. 11a Project execution plan Acronyms/Abbreviations Project context - Introduction, Project Description, Purpose, Objectives Approval and Revisions Roles and responsibilities - Organisation Project Interfaces and Dependencies Resources Sanction Process – Stage-gates etc Product or Work Breakdown Structure Procurement Strategy Project Scope Quality Management and Criteria Project Schedule Estimated Project and Lifetime Costs Issue and Exception Management Project Management Control and Reporting Baseline Change Control Management Risk Management – Risk Register Environment, Safety and Health Value Engineering Configuration Management Communications plan and Stakeholder management Project Meetings and Reviews Quality Assurance Handover Lessons Learned Project Closeout Benefits Review
  13. 13. 12. Best Value Optimise project schedule • Increasing resource • Modify schedule calendar • Parallel working • Changing methods and logic • Resource smoothing / levelling Management requirements and scope • MoSCoW • Stakeholder engagement Apply appropriate quality criteria Apply innovative methods of delivery – balance against risk Procurement techniques – competitive tender, frameworks, negotiated contract Continued business justification Benefits realisation plan – realisation of benefits
  14. 14. 13. Legal and contractual issues Legal • Regulatory authorities such a HSE, EA, ONR etc • Legislation and regulations such as Heath and Safety at Work Act, 1974 Contractual • Forms of contract such as NEC, GC Works JCT etc. • Contract tenders – deliverables, contract schedule, fixed price, target cost, cost reimbursable • Payment terms • Intellectual property rights (IPR)
  15. 15. 14. Negotiation with supplier of critical services Understand bargaining position (yours and theirs) May include: • Resources • Schedule • Priorities • Quality • Procedures • Costs • People Process is: • Planning – understand issues, research and understand opponents objectives, anticipate strategies and define own (i.e. fallback plan etc), allocate roles and responsibilities (lead negotiator, minute taker, observer etc) • Discussing • Proposing • Trade-offs • Bargaining • Agreeing Linked to interests/influence of stakeholders Need to understand could have, should have, must have Dual Concern Model
  16. 16. Identify Understand from both sides Consider method for dealing with conflict All agree Monitor Reinforce agreement Linked to interests and influences of stakeholders Conflict may be about: • Resources • Schedule • Priorities • Quality • Procedures • Costs • People 15. Analyse conflict situation and apply approprate style
  17. 17. Change Control process All links to Project Execution Plan and Business Case Continued business justification Update risk register May also have contractual impact leading to variations Exception plan will need approval from project board or beyond Will need to understand Project Success Criteria as there will be conflicts • Cost versus time versus scope / quality Will be interdependencies between plans which will need assessing Review scope – MoSCoW Assess issue as per slide 6 Schedules can be optimised by: • Increasing resource • Modify schedule calendar • Parallel working • Changing methods and logic Communicate and manage expectations Ensure buy-in from stakeholders 19. Optimise project plans to respond to a major change
  18. 18. Roles and responsibilities clearly understood Change Control process will identify • Tolerances and bands within which category of change falls within • Authorities to which application foe change control is to be made Ensure project baseline is set • Scope • Cost • Schedule • Quality Issue register to identify potential changes Tools and processes for capturing, examining, proposing, decision making, implementing changes. Change control decisions – approve, reject, defer, RFI, request exception plan Config management decisions - concession, resolve, defer, RFI, exception plan PBS will be numbered to identify all elements for configuration control Configuration management procedures (planning, identification, control, status accounting, verification and audit) Records and reporting established and timing of activities 20. Apply effective change control and configuration management
  19. 19. Relating to change Assess as per interest / influence matrix Assess scope as per MoSCoW Conflict and negotiation management techniques Consider Project Success Criteria in decision making Early engagement and as per communication plan Ensure communication is to appropriate level Make stakeholders aware of project risks 21. Balancing stakeholder expectations
  20. 20. Against all project data including risk, scope quality. Form plan • Determine method of gathering data Gather data • Percentage complete or other pre-determined method, eg. 0, 50%, 100% • Actual costs from Contractors • Determine who gathers this information • Could be quality logs, scope delivery, benefit realisation • Timesheets Review data against plan • EVM • Milestone slippage chart Action levels pre-agreed Take action • Increasing resource • Modify schedule calendar • Parallel working • Changing methods and logic • Resource smoothing / levelling Change control if required Audit methods of reported progress – contractor supplied data may be optimistic 22. Monitor progress and take suitable controlling action
  21. 21. 22a. Earned Value Management • CPI – Cost Performance Index • CPI = BCWP / ACWP • SPI – Schedule Performance Index • SPI = BCWP / BCWS • BAC – Budget at Completion • EAC – Estimate at Completion ACWP BCWP BCWS
  22. 22. Schedule as project deliverable Identify attendees and ensure well attended Identify objectives - agenda Project description Evaluate project success factors Evaluate project success criteria Benefits against Benefits Realisation Plan (slide 3) Review against plan and business case, i.e. re-evaluate business case • Cost • Scope • Schedule • Quality Quality management strategy, errors in strategy and statistics for defects What went well and what went badly Was the project a success? Identify follow-on actions Agree closing date for costs to be charged against the project Evaluate team performance Contact details for project personnel Contain recommendations Ensure it is adequately communicated Needs attendees to be candid Ensure findings are communicated Arrangements for archiving 23. Post Project Evaluation Review
  23. 23. Practitioner Qualification will not be awarded to candidates who do not demonstrate at least a basic/partial capability in the assessment criteria shown in bold. 1. Determine stakeholders and their influence and interests 2. Design the optimal project organisation 3. Analyse and understand project success criteria and business benefits 4. Analyse and understand project constraints and dependences 5. Identify project risks and assumptions 6. Identify project issues 7. Demonstrate an understanding of project context and the overall business case 8. Define the scope of the project 9. Demonstrate a comprehensive application of project management planning 10. Apply a risk management process competently to the project 11. Apply a quality management process competently to the project 12. Demonstrate an ability to incorporate best value approaches 13. Demonstrate an awareness of generic legal and contractual issues 14. Prepare for a negotiation with a supplier of critical services for the project 15. Analyse conflict situations and apply an appropriate style to resolve the issue 16. Objectively reflect on the performance of self and other team members 17. Present information clearly and factually 18. Answer questions relevantly and succinctly 19. Optimise project plans to respond to a major change 20. Apply effective change control and configuration management 21. Balance conflicting stakeholder expectations 22. Demonstrate an ability to monitor project progress and take suitable controlling action 23. Plan and conduct a suitable post project evaluation review 24. Objectively identify lessons to be learned separating causes from effects 25. Communicate succinctly in writing 26. Lead and influence a small team 27. Work effectively as a team member 28. Communicate verbally in an appropriate way (including listening) 29. Obtain information through use of appropriate questions 30. Present compelling recommendations to project sponsor (board/steering group) A - Practitioner Qualification Assessment Criteria Business case 1 – 7 (90min written) Planning 8 -11 ( 210min group) Value 12 & 13 (60min written) Negotiation and conflict 14 – 16 (90min group) Presentation and Interview 17 & 18 (30min) Change 19 – 21 (group 210min) Post-project review 23 & 24 (60min group) Monitor and control 22 (90min written) 25 to 30 (throughout)
  24. 24. Course timings and content • Start at mid-day on day one. Try to arrive fresh and in plenty of time. Get to know other candidates as full cooperation will be needed for everyones benefit. • Try to be prepared for first day especially - business cases and planning. It will be tough to catch up if you do not get a reasonable score on criteria 1 to 11. • Day two is a little less frantic. Criteria 14 to 16 will be completed just before dinner. • The afternoon of day 2 is criteria 19 to 21 with the interview (17 & 18) late afternoon or early evening. This will consist of a 5 to 10 minute presentation about a subject, broadly related to a project you have undertaken (home or work) or your CV. Prepare for this in advance to take some of the pressure off yourself. • Day 3 begins with a written question on monitoring and controlling. • The group presentation will rely heavily on time management. Plan the presentation as you go and the handover between presented sections. • An essay aimed at your weak area is the last task. It will only be used for those on the borderline so strong passes and bad failures will likely not get theirs marked. • Completion is mid-day on the third day on the dot. The course staff need to agree passes and fails before they go home and will not want to hang around. • Breaks are planned into the day. • Timings are approximate based on memory. B – Tips 1
  25. 25. General • All but the last group session require preparation of project information from the project scenario. Questions will be asked by the assessor acting as a project sponsor. The last group session will require a group presentation. • Keep track of time and break your group sessions down, including breaks, to ensure they are completed fully. • Cooperation with your team mates is key. There will be disagreements but do not waste too much time on them. Make your point and move on. • Map the group task against the 30 criteria and ensure you cover them. • Assumptions will have to be made with regards gaps within the scenarios. If you exclude key calculations because of lack of information you will be questioned at the end of the session. • Prepare for individual presentation in advance. It consists of a 5 to 10 minute presentation followed by questions. The entire session lasts 30 minutes. • The negotiation / conflict group session only requires negotiation planning but will require conflict resolution with very little planning. Ask the disgruntled stakeholder to take a chair to calm the situation down and do not be afraid to compromise. • The assessment asks that attendees behave as if they are undertaking a project at their work. However if you organisation does not use APM best practise or you are in a PM role you will need to adopt APM behaviours and work practices to succeed. B – Tips 2
  26. 26. APMPQ Candidate Guidance Notes (APM) - 3%20PQ%20guidance%20notes_.pdf Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, 2009. APMP Course Notes – February 2012, based on APM BoK 5. APMPQ assessed against APM BoK 5. References