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Success Driven Project Management Methodology. Vladimir Liberzon, PMP Spider Project Team Moscow, Russia PMI Chapter. History.

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success driven project management methodology

Success Driven Project Management Methodology

Vladimir Liberzon, PMP

Spider Project Team

Moscow, Russia PMI Chapter

  • Success Driven Project Management (SDPM) methodology was developed in Russia in 90-s and since then was successfully used in many projects, programs, and organizations and not only in Russia
  • Two years ago its implementation in Petrobras (Brazil) was presented at PMI COS Conference in Chicago
  • Last year its application for management of 2000 projects portfolio of Romtelecom (Romanian Telecom company) was presented at PMI COS Conference in Boston
  • SDPM is supported by Russian PM software Spider Project but its basic approaches can be used with other PM software tools and we will discuss how to apply this methodology using other software packages
  • Success Driven Project Management methodology has some common features with Critical Chain Project Management approaches but many differences too
  • Application of SDPM approaches showed very good results and the number of companies that implement SDPM is growing very fast
sdpm ideas
SDPM Ideas
  • Triple constraint and multiple project success criteria make project management too complicated. There is a need in the single and integrated project success criterion.
  • Single project schedule and budget for all project stakeholders leads to project failure. There is a need for setting different targets for project work force, for project management team, and project sponsor.
sdpm ideas5
SDPM Ideas
  • Project schedule and budget for project team members shall be optimistic (no reserves included), project targets (scope, time, cost) for project management team shall include contingency reserves, project sponsor targets shall include management reserves for unknown unknowns.
sdpm ideas6
SDPM Ideas
  • Thus project management team shall have time and cost buffers for managing project risks and uncertainties. These buffers are not connected with any activity sequence. Project buffer is a difference between target value and the value for the same parameter in the optimistic schedule.
  • Targets shall be set using risk simulation. These targets shall have reasonable probabilities to be met. Risk simulation shall calculate necessary project cost and time buffers.
sdpm ideas7
SDPM Ideas
  • Project status information is useful but not sufficient for decision making. Decision making shall be based on the analysis of project trends.
  • Project buffers will be consumed during project performance. Project management is about managing these buffers. If they will remain positive to the moment of project finish then project management was successful and the targets were reached.
  • There is a need to have tools for measuring project buffer penetration and project performance analysis. The best indicator of buffer penetration and project performance status is current probability to meet project target.
sdpm ideas8
SDPM Ideas
  • If the probability to meet project target is rising then project buffer was consumed slower than we expected, in other case project buffer was consumed too fast and project success is endangered.
  • Success probability trends are the best integrated performance indicators – they take into consideration project risks, they depend not only on performance results but also on the project environment.
  • SDPM methodology also includes approaches to creating project schedule models and organizing project data.
  • In this presentation we will discuss:
    • Organizing project data in the corporate project management system
    • Resource Constrained Scheduling and Resource Critical Path,
    • Risk Simulation methods and objectives,
    • Setting right project goals,
    • How to set and to manage Project Buffers,
    • Success Probabilities,
    • Management by Trends

Organizing project data in the corporate project management system

corporate pm requirements
Corporate PM requirements
  • Corporate requirements to the data that are used for the portfolio/project planning and control may be divided into two main groups:
    • High level requirements based on portfolio management needs,
    • Low level requirements that shall be applied to creating project schedule models.
  • High level requirements consider data organization that shall be same for all portfolio projects,
  • Low level requirements cover details and instructions on creating project schedule models.
corporate pm requirements12
Corporate PM requirements
  • The same Project, Phase, Activity, Resource, Material, and Department coding structures shall be used in all projects
  • Resources that are used in all projects shall belong to the corporate resource pool
  • Resources of the same type share the same characteristics (like cost, productivities on the same assignments, material consumption per work hour)
corporate pm requirements13
Corporate PM requirements
  • WBS structures that are used in similar projects shall be developed based on the same templates
  • Project costs have the same structure in all projects (same cost components are used)
  • Cost accounts are the same in all projects
corporate pm requirements14
Corporate PM requirements
  • Activities of the same type have the same characteristics in all projects (like unit cost, material requirements per work volume unit, etc.)
  • Typical resource assignments have the same characteristics in all projects (like productivity, cost and material requirements per work volume unit)
  • Typical (repeating) processes are modeled in the same way in all projects
  • Project archives are kept and stored as required
organizing data
Organizing data
  • These requirements shall be set on the corporate level and are mandatory for all projects in the organization / program / portfolio
  • Templates, reference-books, coding systems etc. are developed in the Project Management Office
  • Project Management Office creates Databases (or Reference-books) that contain those parameters that shall be used for planning of all projects of the organization
corporate databases reference books
Corporate Databases (Reference-Books)
  • Corporate Reference-books usually include:
      • Activity cost and material requirements per volume (quantity of work) unit for all activity types,
      • Resource assignment cost and material requirements per volume unit for all assignment types,
      • Resource assignment productivities for all assignment types,
      • Resource assignment workloads for all assignment types.
  • Activities, resources and resource assignments belong to the same type if they share the same characteristics.
typical fragment library
Typical Fragment Library
  • Project fragments usually describe typical processes and technologies that are used more than once as small projects.
  • Creating project schedule models using the library of typical fragments helps to avoid inconsistencies and assures that the project model follows corporate standards.
  • A library of typical fragments is very important tool for the development of common culture and management standards.
  • An example of the typical fragment (construction of 1km road) is shown in the next slide
project archives
Project Archives
  • It is necessary to keep project schedule archives to be able to restore and to analyze trends of project parameters.
  • If project schedule archives are available it is possible to compare current project schedule with the schedules created one week ago, one month ago, etc.

Project Resource Constrained Scheduling and Resource Critical Path

scheduling tasks
Scheduling Tasks
  • Project scheduling without resource limitations taken into the consideration,
  • Project/Portfolio resource constrained scheduling (resource leveling),
  • Calculation of feasible activity floats and those activities that are critical,
  • Calculation of the Project/Portfolio cost, material and resource requirements for any time period.
critical path method
Critical Path Method
  • The problem of project schedule development without allowing for resource constraints has a correct mathematical solution (Critical Path Method), which would be the same for all PM packages, provided that initial data are identical.
  • Other tasks are solved using different approaches and yielding different results.
resource constrained scheduling
Resource constrained scheduling
  • Resource constrained schedules produced by different PM software are different. The software that calculates shortest resource constrained schedules may save a fortune to its users.
  • That is why we pay most attention to resource-constrained schedule optimization.
resource constrained scheduling24
Resource constrained scheduling
  • The schedule stability is no less important, especially at the project execution phase.
  • That is why our project management software Spider Project features an additional leveling option - the support of the earlier project version schedule (keeping the order of activity execution the same as in selected earlier project schedule).
sample project before leveling
Sample Project before leveling
  • Traditional notion of Critical Path works only in case of unlimited resources availability.
  • Let us consider a simple project consisting of five activities, presented at the next slide.
  • Activities 2 and 5 are performed by the same resource.
sample project after leveling
Sample Project after leveling
  • Please pay attention to activities that became critical. Now delaying each of the activities 1, 2 and 5 will delay the project finish date.
  • We call these activities Resource Critical and their sequence comprises Resource Critical Path.
resource critical path
Resource Critical Path
  • In many projects it is necessary to simulate financing and production, and to calculate project schedules taking into account all limitations (including availability of renewable resources, material supply and financing schedules).
  • True critical path should account for all schedule constraints including resource and financial limitations.
  • We call it Resource Critical Path (RCP) to distinguish it from the traditional interpretation of the critical path definition.
resource critical path28
Resource Critical Path
  • The calculation of RCP is similar to the calculation of the traditional critical path with the exception that both early and late dates (and corresponding activity floats) are calculated during forward and backward resource (and material, and cost) levelling.
  • This technique permits to determine feasible resource constrained floats.
  • Activity resource constrained float shows the period for which activity execution may be delayed within the current schedule and with the set of resources available in this project without delaying project finish.
resource critical path29
Resource Critical Path
  • As you may notice in our example, Resource Critical Path may include activities that are not linked with logical dependencies.
  • Resource Critical Path is actually not the path but the longest sequence of activities in the current schedule.
  • One activity may depend on another because these activities are performed by the same resources. We call these dependencies as Resource dependencies.
  • Resource dependencies may be shown in the project schedule with the dotted arrows but they are the result of the project levelling and not initial information like logical dependencies.

Success Criteria

project success criteria
Project Success Criteria
  • If project success criteria are set as finishing project on time and under budget then proper decision making will be complicated.
  • For example, project managers will not be able to estimate if their decisions to spend more money and finish the project earlier are reasonable.
  • We suggest to set one integrated criterion of the project/program success or failure.
project success criteria32
Project Success Criteria
  • Many projects can be considered as business oriented:
    • construction of roads, power plants, bridges, ports, telecommunication networks, new product development and production etc. brings economic results and generate future profits,
    • Implementation of the corporate information system will improve organization processes, etc.
  • In any case the delay of project finish date usually increases project indirect cost, and acceleration means saving some money.
project success criteria33
Project Success Criteria
  • So each day of project delay means some money losses and finishing project earlier means additional profit
  • We can define cost of a project day (maybe separate and different for acceleration and delay) estimating these profits and losses
  • This way we define the rules of the game that is called Project Management
project success criteria34
Project Success Criteria
  • Another option – to set the profit that should be achieved at some point in time basing on the forecast of the revenues that will be obtained after the project will deliver its results.
  • Such success criteria will permit to weight time and money making managerial decisions.
  • At the next slide you may see the project schedule that is calculated without allowing for project financing and supply restrictions. There are periods when project has no money and necessary materials (wall frames) to proceed.
project success criteria35
Project Success Criteria
  • If project manager finds enough money and materials then project total profit to the imposed date will be close to $219,000.
project success criteria36
Project Success Criteria
  • If we calculate project resource, supply and cost constrained schedule then it become clear that the project will loose $25,000 due to necessary delays.
project success criteria37
Project Success Criteria
  • Maybe it is reasonable to borrow money or to find some other solution?
  • To be able to weight options and to select the best it is necessary to consider not only expenses but also future profits.
  • Proper project (program, portfolio) schedule model is the powerful tool that helps to select the best decisions.

Risk Analysis &

Success Driven

Project Management

why risk analysis
Why risk analysis
  • Our experience in project planning shows that the probability of successful implementation of deterministic project schedules and budgets is very low. Therefore project and portfolio planning technology should always include risk simulation to produce reliable results.
risk simulation
Risk Simulation
  • Risk simulation may be based on Monte Carlo simulation or use three scenarios approach.
  • We prefer 3 scenario approach for the reasons explained further.
risk simulation three scenarios approach
Risk Simulation – three scenarios approach
  • A project planner obtains three estimates (optimistic, most probable and pessimistic) for all initial project data (duration, volumes, productivity, calendars, costs, etc.) and creates optimistic, most probable and pessimistic scenarios of project performance
  • Risk events are selected and ranked using the usual approach to risk qualitative analysis
  • Usually we recommend to include risk events with the probability exceeding 90% in the optimistic scenario, exceeding 50% in the most probable scenario, and all selected risks in the pessimistic scenario
risk simulation three scenarios approach42
Risk Simulation – three scenarios approach
  • Most probable and pessimistic project scenarios may contain additional activities and costs due to corresponding risk events and may employ additional resources and different calendars.
  • As the result project planner obtains three expected finish dates, costs and material consumptions for all project phases and the project as a whole.
  • They are used to rebuild probability curves for the dates, costs and material requirements.
risk simulation three scenarios approach43
Risk Simulation – three scenarios approach
  • If probability curve is known the required probability to meet project target defines the target that shall be set.
  • The area under the probability curve to the left of the target value determines the probability to meet the target.
  • P=S(blue)/S(whole)
project program targets
Project/Program Targets
  • Target dates of most projects usually are predefined. They may be set not only for the whole program/project but also for its major phases.
  • Project planning includes determining how to organize project/program execution to be able to meet required target dates with the reasonable probability.
success probabilities
Success Probabilities
  • Probabilities to meet approved project targets we call Success Probabilities. These targets may be set for all project parameters that will be controlled (profit, expenses, duration, material consumption).
  • Target dates do not belong to any schedule. Usually they are between most probable and pessimistic dates.
  • A set of target dates and costs for project phases (analogue of milestone schedule) is the real project baseline.
  • But baseline schedule does not exist!
performance measurement problems
Performance Measurement problems
  • It means that application of usual project performance measurement approaches (like Earned Value Analysis) is complicated.
  • Without certain schedule and cost baselines it is impossible to calculate Planned and Earned Value.
  • If we select some schedule (Optimistic or Most Probable) as the project management baseline the values of Performance Indices that are lower than 1 do not mean that the performance is worse than expected.
  • We recommend to use optimistic schedule for setting tasks for project work force and manage project reserves.
  • The schedule that is calculated backward from the target dates with most probable estimates of activity durations we call Critical schedule.
  • The difference between start and finish dates in current and critical schedules we call start and finish time buffers (contingency reserves).
  • The difference between activity (phase) cost that has defined probability to be met and optimistic cost of the same activity (phase) we call cost buffer.
sample critical schedule
Sample Critical Schedule
  • There are time, cost and material buffers that show contingency reserves not only for a project as a whole (analogue of Critical Chain project buffer) but also for any activity in the optimistic project schedule.
monte carlo and 3 scenarios
Monte Carlo and 3 Scenarios
  • Let’s look at the difference between accuracy and precision.
  • Accuracy: Precision:
monte carlo and 3 scenarios50
Monte Carlo and 3 Scenarios
  • Monte Carlo means Accuracy but lack of Precision.
  • 3 Scenarios means Precision but lack of Accuracy.
  • The choice depends on management approach.
  • Our approach may be called “Management by Trends”.
  • We think that trends supply management with most valuable information on project performance.
  • We think that trend analysis helps to discover performance problems ASAP and to apply corrective actions if necessary.
monte carlo and 3 scenarios51
Monte Carlo and 3 Scenarios
  • It is the main reason why 3 scenarios approach was selected.
  • We think that the quality of initial data for project risk simulation is never good enough but Monte Carlo risk simulation creates an impression of accuracy that is actually dangerous for project managers.
  • In any case we need Optimistic schedule and budget for project performance management.
  • We need to understand what happens with success probability during project performance and so we need data precision.


Performance Management

performance measurement
Performance Measurement
  • Performance measurement routine shall be set for all projects belonging to the portfolio/program.
  • Portfolio/Program schedule is revised regularly. For most large programs it is done weekly. To be able to reschedule the portfolio/program it is necessary that all projects belonging to the portfolio/program have the same data date.
  • So the portfolio/program management team requires from all project management teams to enter actual data of their projects at specified dates and time (for an example: each week on Tuesday before 12:00 the actual status on Tuesday 08:00 shall be entered).
performance measurement54
Performance Measurement
  • If different projects have different data dates then program scheduling became impossible and most reports will not be reliable.
  • So setting the rules for entering actual data is mandatory for program/portfolio management.
  • Project/Program/Portfolio planners shall keep performance archives to be able to get trends of project/program/portfolio parameters.
management by trends
Management by trends
  • We recommend to manage projects and portfolios basing on the analysis of performance trends.
  • If some project is 5 days ahead of the baseline but one week ago it was 8 days and one month ago 20 days then some corrective action shall be considered.
  • If the project is behind the schedule but the distance become smaller then project team improved project performance process and interference is not necessary.
management by trends56
Management by trends
  • So trend analysis shows short term performance results and helps to make timely management decisions.
  • Usually project management team analyses trends of main project parameters like duration, cost, profit.
earned value analysis
Earned Value Analysis
  • Earned Value Analysis is another method that is used for estimating program/project performance.
  • But this method shall be used very carefully and only in combination with other methods because:
      • the real situation may be distorted,
      • project managers are motivated to do expensive jobs ASAP and cheap jobs ALAP,
      • it does not consider if activities that were performed were critical or not,
      • it does not consider project risks.
success probability trends
Success Probability Trends
  • We consider success probability trends as the really integrated project performance measurement tool.
  • Success probabilities may change due to:
    • Performance results
    • Scope changes
    • Cost changes
    • Risk changes
    • Resource changes
  • Thus success probability trends reflect not only project performance results but also what is going on around the project.
measurement of buffer penetration
Measurement of buffer penetration
  • Success probability is a measure of buffer penetration.
  • If in the middle of the project half of project buffer was consumed it does not mean that the project is performed as expected.
  • If most risks were behind then success probability will become higher and it will tell us that project buffer consumption was lower than expected, if success probability went down then buffer consumption is too high and it is necessary to consider corrective actions.
success driven project management
Success Driven Project Management
  • Success probability trends may be used as the only information about project performance at the top management level because this information is sufficient for performance estimation and decision making.
  • We call Management by Trends methodology Success Driven Project Management.


success driven project management tips
Success Driven Project Management Tips
  • There is a need for common methodology, templates, reference-books to be able to implement corporate project management system.
  • There is a need for Project Management Office – organizational unit that develops corporate project management standards, collects actual information on project performance and works with the Portfolio Schedule Model, creating and updating portfolio plan and analyzing portfolio performance.
success driven project management63
Success Driven Project Management
  • Most norms and standards are usually applied to the activity physical units (m, t, m3, piece, function point, etc.). So it is necessary to plan activity schedule and to monitor project performance basing on physical quantities (volumes of work) measurement.
  • Portfolio and Program schedule models include the models of individual projects and shall be resource loaded.
success driven project management64
Success Driven Project Management
  • We recommend to create a library of project fragments that may be used for fast development of the detailed project computer models.
  • We recommend to set reliable target dates basing on risk analysis and simulation, but to use optimistic project schedule for setting tasks for project work force.
  • Time and Cost contingency buffer penetrations shall be regularly re-estimated. If these buffers are consumed too fast there is a need for corrective actions.
success driven project management65
Success Driven Project Management
  • We recommend to keep project archives and to analyze trends of project parameters.
  • If trends are negative corrective actions shall be considered even if the status is good.
  • Earned Value Analysis supplies management with the useful information on project status. But it shall be used carefully and only as the supplement to other methods of project performance measurement.
success driven project management66
Success Driven Project Management
  • Success Probability trends are the best integrated indicators of project health.

Positive trends show that recent project performance is better than expected. Negative trends show that buffers are consumed faster than expected and corrective actions may be necessary.

Success probability trends depend not only on project performance but also on risks that may change during project life cycle.

Success Probability Trends may be considered as integrated indicators necessary for proper decision making.

success driven project management flowchart
Success Driven Project Management Flowchart




Cost Components

Cost Breakdown Structure

Resource Breakdown Structure


Resource Productivities

Unit Costs

Material Requirements per Volume Unit



Code Structures

Typical Fragnet Library

Project Schedule

WBS Templates

Project Budget

Project Portfolio

Risk Analysis

Risk Register

Success and Failure Criteria

Issue Register

Performance Reports

Success and Failure Probabilities

Corrective Actions


Success Probability Trends


Work Authorization