Example of questions you would get when study a Project Managment course online

This is an example question and answer you would get when you study a Project Managment Diploma in Melbourne Australia.

Explain 2 estimation techniques project managers can use to determine task duration and resource effort.

Expert judgement is often used to assess task durations and efforts. Expert judgement is gained often through experience allowing comparison to previously completed work in order to allow a prediction of future work. An example of this would be in estimating duration for a task such as laying bricks. An expert in the field would be able to assess the duration of such a task by utilising a rule of thumb quantity per day per bricklayer. Assessing how many bricklayers would be expected to be operating in the space available and therefore be able to ascertain a time length and effort involved in the task. Expert judgement may also extend to specialists in the field, consultants and sub-contractors are often consulted to determine task durations and efforts in-fact many sub-contractors or specialist consultants may drive task and/or project durations. It is important during the use of expert judgement that schedules are produced that are neither too conservative or optimistic and that they can constantly change as required when new information is presented. Published estimating data is also frequently used. Books such as Rawlingsons are published and sold to construction companies the world over. These books go into quite a significant amount of detail in how they should be used and read. They have a very large range of material and labour quantities and costs through many facets of construction. Often the data can be used independently or with alterations. For instance, data may publish a rate which you may discover is old or outdated, particularly with items that are subject to large price increases. Therefore, the costs may be able to be adjusted, or the labour component used to determine time and the material costs discovered from another source. Publications such as these can be very helpful but certainly cannot be used in isolation as there are dangers in relying solely on works such as these. There is always a gap between existing and new construction techniques as often newer construction techniques do not make their way into these publications until they have proven themselves in the market. This is a sample answer for an Project Managment Online course

Explain the procedure to identify a project’s critical path?

Expert judgement is often used to assess task durations and efforts. Expert judgement is gained often through experience allowing comparison to previously completed work in order to allow a prediction of future work. An example of this would be in estimating duration for a task such as laying bricks. An expert in the field would be able to assess the duration of such a task by utilising a rule of thumb quantity per day per bricklayer. Assessing how many bricklayers would be expected to be operating in the space available and therefore be able to ascertain a time length and effort involved in the task. Expert judgement may also extend to specialists in the field, consultants and sub-contractors are often consulted to determine task durations and efforts in-fact many sub-contractors or specialist consultants may drive task and/or project durations. It is important during the use of expert judgement that schedules are produced that are neither too conservative or optimistic and that they can constantly change as required when new information is presented.

Published estimating data is also frequently used. Books such as Rawlingsons are published and sold to construction companies the world over. These books go into quite a significant amount of detail in how they should be used and read. They have a very large range of material and labour quantities and costs through many facets of construction. Often the data can be used independently or with alterations. For instance, data may publish a rate which you may discover is old or outdated, particularly with items that are subject to large price increases. Therefore, the costs may be able to be adjusted, or the labour component used to determine time and the material costs discovered from another source. Publications such as these can be very helpful but certainly cannot be used in isolation as there are dangers in relying solely on works such as these. There is always a gap between existing and new construction techniques as often newer construction techniques do not make their way into these publications until they have proven themselves in the market.

Explain the procedure to identify a project’s critical path?

The critical path is determined by following the path generated by the longest durations. It is the sequence of all activities that must be completed for the entire project to be completed. If there are multiple tasks occurring at one time, the task that will form the critical path will be the task with the longest duration. For this to be successful all tasks must have at least one predecessor and one successor except for the first and last tasks. If a task is deemed to on the critical path and it is delayed by one day, then the project will have delayed by one day.

Critical paths have either zero or negative float, if a task can be delayed without an impact on the project than it will not be on the critical path.

A manual way of determining the critical path is via the use of a schedule network diagram. Once this is plotted you can determine all possible paths available and calculate the duration for each individual path. If the schedule has been plotted on a software system such as Microsoft Project, the critical path can be determined by the software. It is important however, for this to be reviewed and sometimes adjustment may need to be made, as the programmed critical path line may not go where you would like. Adjustments would be made to other tasks in this case to reduce float.

Explain procedures for managing project baselines, establishment and variance.

Once a schedule has been fully developed, a schedule baseline is created and accepted by the project managing team. This schedule provides the project start and finish dates, identifies the critical path and provides a fixed point on which the project performance can be measured against. The critical path established may change throughout the project due to tasks completing early or running late. Often multiple baselines can be created dependant on the scope of the works or unknown or latent conditions which could drastically alter the original schedule baseline where it becomes unpractical to measure changes. Schedule control is required to ensure that the project schedule is updated when events require it. Often such a review period would occur at major milestones, change of personnel that impact the program such as key staff, completion of deliverables and finalisation of the project. The project manager works with the stakeholders and clients to ensure that changes are agreed upon, the project manager examines the results and conditions on site to determine if such changes have occurred. The project manager will also implement these changes into the program

A schedule control system could be used for managing the mentioned changes and facilitates the tracking of changes, approval processes and does this considering the conditions of the change requests, reasons, costs and risks of these changes. Alterations to the schedule can also be driven by poor performance, this is needed to be monitored using performance review which considers actual start and finish dates, percentage complete and remaining durations. Part of the project management process is identifying when corrective action could be required dependant on the overall impact of poor performance on an activity. Performance of this analysis is key in controlling the schedule, the comparisons can be often viewed in a comparison bar chart where the baseline and the schedule changes can be reviewed side by side and slippage can be visually identified. At these points the schedule can be reviewed for potential forecasting changes that could be implemented into bringing the schedule back towards the baseline. What if scenarios, resource levelling and adjusting leads and lags can be used to identify the changes that would be required to reduce delay to the project.

Schedule variance and schedule performance index values for the WBS components are documented and presented to stakeholders, schedule variance analysis and progress reports may have impacts to other components of the project management plan.

The importance of discovering the root problem of the delay or schedule variance cannot be overlooked. This can often be tracked using document and records such as site diaries, incident records and occurrence reports, scheduling charts, evaluation of options, variances, records of analysis and review of work breakdown structure

Research the phases in the life cycle of a project and provide an overview of what is involved in each phase.

There are five phases in the life cycle of a project. These being initiation, planning, execution, controlling and closure phases.

The initiation phase involves definition of the project at a broad level. Project feasibility is determined and investigation of if the project should be undertaken.

Project planning involves developing a plan for the project that is robust enough to give guidance on resourcing, finance, procurements and can give a team direction for producing quality outputs, handling risk and communicating benefits to stakeholders. It will also outlay the costs, scope and timeframe of the project.

Project execution phase is the phase that ties most closely to project managements. Execution phase is all about the deliverables. The executions phase is about implementing the plan developed in the planning phase.

Project control and monitoring is often done at the same time as the execution phase. As the teams execute the project plan, constant monitoring of progress, risk, resources and progress is required. Monitoring of the scope to prevent creep, identifying key performance indicators and reviewing milestones against baselines is important.

Closure phase is the final phase of the life cycle of project management. This phase is the completion of the project, communicating completion to stakeholders and often demobilisation and reallocation of resources to other projects. A strong review is often required in this stage to evaluate performance and allow the team to develop stronger processes and develop skills and know how.

Decomposition is a time management technique commonly used in project management. Write an explanation of this technique including its capabilities, limitations, applications and outcomes.

Decomposition is a very important in the creation of a work breakdown structure as it involves dividing a large piece into simpler and smaller pieces of tasks and activities. Decomposition determines the project components, identifies milestones and creates packages that can be individually targeted. It is important to realise how much time spent in decomposition is correct for the project, as it is possible to do excessive decomposition which may lead to more work without much value in the time spent and decreased work efficiency. A correct decomposition will generate an individual task which can be effectively programmed and resources allowing effective planning. Decomposition is required in many applications as even simple projects require clear definition of activities from a work breakdown structure. The outcome of decomposition should be task that are able to be individually resourced and programmed for duration and effort.

Describe the project management techniques and tools for creating and monitoring schedules.

Creation of a schedule begins with understanding the project and the tasks and activities that are required to be completed in order to complete the project. Once the tasks are established, the activities that are required to complete the tasks can be listed and then resourced as required for duration and effort. Each activity and task will be listed with a predecessor and successor in order to establish a timeline and also identify the critical path. It is important to identify the critical path so that these tasks can be adequately resources as delays on these items will affect the progress of the project as they do not have float for delay. Monitoring of this schedule can be done in several ways individually or indeed combined. Monitoring of documents including procurement information, minutes created on site progress and in planning and developments need to be absorbed and often incorporated into programming. For instance a progress on site is often a common header for minutes, if the certain tasks are running behind or ahead the appropriate changes can be introduced into the program and a comparison Gantt chart can be used to compare the impact on the program. Procurement of contractors can also be used to monitor the schedule as often timelines may need to be adjusted once expert advice is received. Many projects will also require regular attendance from the project manager or his staff and information from these inspections can be incorporated into the project. Such things as delays in getting plant to site can be identified this way and the impact monitored in the schedule.

Explain work breakdown structures and how they apply to project schedules.

Work breakdown structures are the high level overview which are composed of activities. A work breakdown structure is oriented towards deliverables so they are able to be read as manageable sections of the project that can be further broken down to smaller activities that can be achieved. They will form essentially the bones of the project. The top level of the work breakdown structure is the project deliverable, these are defined further into smaller sections or portions of the project. Once all of these summary activities are completed the relevant summary task will be complete. The work breakdown structure is essential as they provide a structure of work where the project can be reduced to a series of task that can be easily completed. The WBS can also be used in estimation and project maintenance purposes as they allow the project to be assessed in smaller portions. Creation of relevant work breakdown structures can also be useful in identifying risks in the projects as if the activities are not able to be correctly defined or planned it will flag an area that may need additional planning or development. Whilst not all work breakdown structures will not have the same amount of detail under them, it is important for them to be able to be completed once all of the relevant activities are finished.