project management

7 Questions To Ask About Your Project Scope


This month’s article comes from the PMTIPS blog, and focuses on some key questions your team should ask when defining the scope of your project.

One of the first things to do when you start a new project is to work out what it actually involves. As well as all the workshops about requirements and the documentation that results, there are some other things to investigate as part of your project scope.

Sit down with your project sponsor or other key users on the project and go through this checklist of 7 questions you should be asking about your project scope. They’ll appreciate that you have taken the time to ask and you’ll get a much better understanding of what they are expecting the project to deliver on their behalf.

Continue reading

Test Strategy Versus Test Plan

This month’s post is courtesy of the Art of Testing.

Testing is a key part of nearly every successful project. But do you know the difference between a testing strategy and a test plan? This article provides some great detail in defining the roles of both.


Test Strategy

A Test Strategy document is a high level document and normally developed by project manager. This document defines “Software Testing Approach” to achieve testing objectives. The Test Strategy is normally derived from the Business Requirement Specification document.

The Test Strategy document is a static document meaning that it is not updated too often. It sets the standards for testing processes and activities and other documents such as the Test Plan draws its contents from those standards set in the Test Strategy Document.

Some companies include the “Test Approach” or “Strategy” inside the Test Plan, which is fine and it is usually the case for small projects. However, for larger projects, there is one Test Strategy document and different number of Test Plans for each phase or level of testing.


Continue reading

What Are Phase Gates?

Project Management Structure Diagram

This month’s post comes from the folks over at MindTools, and discusses the use of “Phase Gates” as they relate to project management.


What Is A Phase Gate and How Do I Use One?

For all but the smallest projects, experienced project managers use well-established project management methodologies. These are often published systems – such as PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) or PRINCE2 – but they can also be in-house methodologies that are specific to the organization.

These approaches have some differences in emphasis, and they tend to use slightly different terminology, but they generally share two key features: projects are delivered in stages, and certain common project management processes run across these stages.

Continue reading

Application of Project Management in Higher Education

This month’s post is a deep dive into the opportunities and challenges of project management (and establishing PMO’s) in HEI’s (Higher Education Institutions). Based on a study held at Drexel University, this paper by Chanelle Austin and Winifred Browne uncovers some insights about the adoption value and strategic application of project management at Universities. It also discusses some specific issues higher ed institutions face when implementing project management versus other industries.


Key takeaways include:

  • How higher education institutions can benefit from having formal project management methodology or a central PMO
  • PMO’s contribution to the organizational performance can be seen as the result of multiple coexisting values within an organization
  • Project Management may be viewed as “too corporate” of a way to make decisions, yet this is changing within higher education due to the need to be more effective
  • Project management can help Universities increase efficiency in increasingly competitive environments


The full paper is available to read online or you can download it here in PDF format.


Five Phases of The Project Management Lifecycle

What do people mean when they talk about the “project management lifecycle”? This helpful article, originally posted by Villanova University, explains in detail the five phases that projects are broken into throughout their life, when executed using the PMBOK methodology.


At the start of a project, the amount of planning and work required can seem overwhelming. There may be dozens, or even hundreds of tasks that need to be completed at just the right time and in just the right sequence.

Seasoned project managers know it is often easier to handle the details of a project and take steps in the right order when you break the project down into phases. Dividing your project management efforts into these five phases can help give your efforts structure and simplify them into a series of logical and manageable steps.


Continue reading

Assessing the value of project management offices (PMO)

Originally posted on PMI.ORG


There is a growing view from the point of organizational aspects in project management that using project office entity form is valuable to the organization (Lullen & Sylvia 1999). Recently, many organizations show interest in establishing Project Management Office (PMO) to support and manage information systems/information technology projects. PMO can be defined as an organizational entity with full time personnel to provide and support managerial, administrative, training, consulting and technical services for project driven organization. Establishing PMO in the organization is one approach toward improving overall project management effectiveness that leads to successful project outcomes.

However, previous studies on whether a PMO significantly contributes to the project management effectiveness have been very limited and largely anecdotal. Therefore, there is a need for a systematic and quantitative approach that justifies the existence of PMO. This study suggests a systematic approach that measures the benefit and value of PMO quantitatively. By using this model, project managers will be able to better justify the needs of PMO in the project-oriented organizations.

  Continue reading