Mastering Modern Project Management


This three-day program is designed to help you develop project management skills that will be immediately useful, usable, and used back on the job. How do we do this? We use actual projects provided by the participants in each class as the basis for all of the key exercises. This allows you to practice in a realistic environment that is not black and white, but shades of gray — just like the real world.

This program will help you develop the skills needed to build and execute a realistic and robust project plan. You will learn how to balance product constraints, cost constraints, and schedule constraints in order to maximize stakeholder satisfaction. You will also learn how to build a stronger team and how to measure project performance — objectively.

Approximately 70% of class time is devoted to casework and experiential learning. During hands-on exercises, you will work as part of a team to develop a project definition document, a work breakdown structure, range estimates, a network logic diagram, and a risk response analysis.

Key Learning Objectives

Upon completion, you will be able to:

  • Prepare an effective project definition document
  • Develop and document project success criteria
  • Construct a work breakdown structure that adds value
  • Improve the accuracy of project estimates
  • Sequence project activities
  • Calculate an activity-based critical path
  • Understand team behaviors better
  • Assess the need for cost and schedule reserves
  • Use earned value to guide corrective action

Detailed Topical Outline

Core Concepts
What makes it difficult for you to manage your projects?
Organizational Competence in Project Management (OCiPM)
A non-traditional view of the triple constraint
Scope vs. work: understanding the difference is vital for project success
Key project manager responsibilities

The Project Planning Process
Why so many project teams are reluctant to plan
Dealing with the “fuzzy-front end”
Planning and the project life cycle

Project Definition Document
Writing a powerful project justification
Understanding what your real deliverables are
Constraints, assumptions, and exclusions

Project Success Criteria
Product success vs. project management success
Identifying stakeholders and their interests
Getting the stakeholders involved
Influencing success criteria that are beyond your control

Developing a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
The WBS — why it is so often misunderstood and misused
Using your WBS to discover missing work items
Integrating the WBS with the project life cycle

Funding estimates vs. working estimates
The importance of accurate effort estimates
Using range estimates to deal with uncertainty
Converting estimates into budgets
Calculating an appropriate cost reserve
“Revolver” mathematics
Getting your budget approved

Working with Your Team
Understanding power: getting things done through others
Using an Accountability Matrix as a communications tool
Why you should invest in building a stronger team
How to create a high performance team
Understanding how you work in a team:
the internationally famous, PM Partners’ LEGO®kid exercise

Project Scheduling
Getting things straight: how to do activity sequencing
Critical path and merge bias
Understanding float
Preliminary schedules vs. baseline schedules
Dealing with resource constraints
Estimating an appropriate schedule reserve

Formal Risk Management
Differentiating risks, problems, issues, and responses
Techniques for identifying project risks
The most effective way to write a risk statement
Prioritizing and responding to risks

Measuring Project Progress
Change management and corrective action
Objectives of progress measurement: it’s not about the auditors!
Adapting your approach to the needs of your project
The mechanics of progress measurement
Milestones: the Game of Projects

Recap and Review
Getting the most from what you’ve learned: less is more
Mapping the tools and techniques to your project challenges

After this program, you’ll say, “I can do that!”