3 Project management – Micro MBA

Gema Calleja Sanz, Jordi Olivella Nadal, Joan Vinyals Robert

3Project management

Abstract: The main aim of this chapter is to present the essential concepts of project management, including a definition of the concept of a project, a brief history of project management, a general vision of the different methodologies used in the field, and some insights on present trends in the field. In addition, the business case concept and contents are discussed. Finally, some insights on the Project Management Body of Knowledge approach are developed, including the definition of the 42 processes involved.


Today projects and project management are widely recognized by organizations as essential for achieving their strategic objectives [1]. Meeting organizational objectives often involves undertaking projects that bring necessary change to advance a given strategy [2]. Projects can take many forms, such as an engineering project, an information system, or a social structure. In addition, projects differ from routine organizational work, contrasting sharply with the repetitiveness and familiarity associated with ongoing operations [3].While routines are cyclical and predictable, projects are temporary and nonrecurring. Thus, projects are chaotic by nature [4]. This chaos needs to be harnessed through project management. In a project, when an organization wants to create a new product or service, it creates a temporary organization to which resources are allocated so that it can carry out the activities required to accomplish the desired goal. During the lifetime of the project, the temporary organization needs to be managed so that the expected beneficial change can be delivered upon project completion. More specifically, project management requires initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing down the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at a specified time [5].

Recent years have seen significant growth in project work across different sectors and industries. Both academic research and industry reports highlight the growing adoption of project management practices in organizations [6, 7].

Project management is supported by several professional organizations around the world, which have advanced the practices in the field by establishing standards, guidelines, and certifications. These organizations have gathered and published the accepted best practices of project management as standards or bodies of knowledge (BOKs) that reflect the evolving project management profession [8]. The largest among these professional organizations is the PMI (Project Management Institute) based in the USA. The PMI is the publisher of the PMBOK® Guide, an internationally recognized standard that gives project managers the essential tools to effectively manage projects and deliver results to their organizations.

The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of the essential principles of project management. The remainder of the chapter is structured as follows. Section 2.2 presents an overview of project management, including a discussion of the concept of a project, a brief history of project management, a general vision of the different methodologies involved in project management, and some insights on present trends in the field. In Section 2.3 the business case concept and contents are presented. In addition, the concept of a project charter and the 42 steps of the initial phase of project management are presented. Finally, Section 2.4 includes the general structure and phases and processes of the PMBOK approach.

3.1.1What is a project?

A project can be defined as a “one-shot, time-limited, goal-directed, major undertaking, requiring the commitment of varied skills and resources” [9]. According to the PMBOK® Guide (PMI, p. 3), a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The development of interactive software to enhance student learning, the construction of a building or a highway, humanitarian assistance to relieve the effects of natural disasters, or a program to improve fitness in elders – all these are examples of projects. In addition, the PMBOK® Guide also specifically states that besides creating a new product or service, a project can also create an improvement in an existing product or service, such as, for instance, in a Six Sigma project carried out to reduce manufacturing defects.

Based on the preceding definitions, the following characteristics of projects can be highlighted:

Change: Projects are a way to introduce changes to an organization (by accomplishing the project goals).

Temporary: A project has defined start and end times. Once the project starts, its end is set and the project must be accomplished as profitably as possible. The project ends when its declared objectives have been attained or when it becomes clear that they are no longer achievable. The project also ceases when the need for the project no longer exists or when the client wishes to terminate the project.

Unique: Projects are unique in the sense that there is always something different in each project. For example, the same team may construct office buildings, but there may be differences in the materials, location, or design.

Uncertainty and risk: All projects are prone to uncertainty and risk owing to their complexity and many variables that are beyond the control of the project manager. Uncertainty and risk are higher during the initial phase of a project and decrease over its lifetime [9]. However, successful projects have in common that the project manager considers, and plans to some extent, the risks that are likely to be faced [10].
Cross-functional: Projects involve people from different business departments with different levels of seniority. A project may need to draw on the skills and resources of a single individual or multiple individuals, a single organizational unit or multiple units, and an individual firm or even multiple organizations.

Tab. 3.1: PMBOK® Guide’s definitions of project, program, and portfolio.

Level Definition
Project A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.
Program A group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities managed in a
coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.
Portfolio Projects, programs, subportfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve
strategic objectives.

A project is always constrained by limited resources. Resources are the means needed to achieve project objectives. These resources can be any combination of personnel, time, funds, knowledge, skills, space, equipment, materials, energy, and so forth. In addition to the variation in resource availability, the duration and criticality of project tasks are usually higher than those found in most activities of other organizations.

Another unique feature of projects is the temporary relationships that exist between the different stakeholders, which forces managers to continuously shape and reshape the positioning of the project in the relational framework [11]. Moreover, the often complex and uncertain transactions involved in a project pose challenges in establishing well-functioning coordination and cooperation routines [12].

Typically, many organizations tackle larger, more complex efforts that combine several parallel projects, namely programs and portfolios. Such undertakings require specific management approaches and, as in the case of projects, play an important role as a vehicle for achieving strategic goals. The definitions of project, program, and portfolio provided by the PMBOK® Guide [13] are shown in Table 3.1.

3.1.2A brief history of project management

Since the beginning of civilization, projects have always been undertaken in one form or another. Monumental constructions such as the Great Pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China echo feats of project management thousands of years ago. Although evidence of large-scale projects in ancient times is impressive [14, 15], project management as we know it today did not begin to take root as a formal field of study until the middle of the twentieth century, when organizations began to see the benefits of organizing work around projects with systematic project management principles and tools [16]. This project-centric view of the organization evolved further as organizations have become more and more complex and have understood the critical need for their employees to collaborate and integrate their work through departments, professions, and, in some cases, industries.

Four periods can be identified in the history of modern project management: (i) prior to 1958, (ii) 1958–1979, (iii) 1980–1994, and (iv) 1995 to present [17].

(i) Prior to 1958: Principles of project management transcend time

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, with the rising complexities of the businessworld, project management evolved from basic management tactics. The need for more structure in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation sectors gave rise to large-scale government projects that became the basis for project management methodology. Suddenly, business leaders were faced with the challenging task of organizing the manual labor of thousands of workers and the manufacture and assembly of unprecedented quantities of raw material [18].

Near the turn of the century, Frederick Taylor (1856–1915) applied a scientific approach to work to analyze and improve labor by focusing on its elementary parts. Known as the “father of scientific management,” Taylor revolutionized management practices and introduced the concept of working more efficiently, rather than working harder and longer [19].

Taylor’s associate Henry Gantt (1861–1919) is considered the founding father of modern management. He studied in detail the order of operations in work and developed planning and control techniques that changed the way of managing projects. One example is the creation of the Gantt chart to monitor and control the project schedule. This basic chart outlines the sequence and duration of all tasks of a project from inception to completion.

Gantt’s work led to the emergence of project management as a distinct discipline. In the decades leading up to World War II, industrial psychology, marketing, and human relations began to take hold as integral parts of project management.

(ii) 1958–1979: Application of management science

After World War II project managers began to adopt two planning and control techniques to conduct and manage projects. The first technique is the program evaluation and review technique (PERT), developed in 1957 by the US Navy to calculate the shortest time in which the nuclear submarine Polaris could be constructed. PERT analyzes individual tasks by assuming a minimum amount of time for completion. Almost simultaneously, a chemical giant, Du Pont, introduced a similar technique, called the critical path method (CPM). As such, the technique is often referred to as PERT/CPM.

As the twentieth century progressed, project managers began to integrate human aspects in their projects, primarily within European organizations. Practices of communication, motivation, negotiation, conflict resolution, stress management, and leadership started to be considered as one determining factor of success [20].

(iii) 1980–1994: Computers and human resources

The 1980swere characterized by a revolutionary development of the information technology sector and the rise of the personal computer, which brought connectivity and communication to the forefront of project management. This development enabled the use of low-level multitasking computers that had high efficiency in managing and controlling complex schedules. During this period, project management software for the personal computer was made widely available by a number of companies, which made project management techniques more easily accessible [17].

(iv) 1995 to present: Rise of automation and efficiency

As information technologies grew into the 1990s, complex algorithms for project planning and control were developed, enabling project managers to complete more work in less time and with fewer errors. The Internet brought the development of web-based project management applications. The benefits of web-based project management applications include the fact that they can be accessed on mobile devices, computers, or wide-scale enterprise resource planning systems without installing software. Advances in project management software that can function over extranets are enabling project teams to place particular emphasis on communication and coordination. In many industries, continual communication and coordination has become mandatory as the time allocated for projects shrinks, project members are geographically dispersed, and projects involve external partners and suppliers [21].

Since its inception 60 years ago, the discipline of project management has undergone significant changes, from both a practitioner’s and an academic’s perspective.

From a practical point of view, there has been a significant increase in project work and significant progress in the professionalism of project management. This has led to the increasing importance of the discipline of project management and efficient project management processes, which are acknowledged as businesses processes that create value [22].

From an academic view, the call for an integration of project management with further academic disciplines, such as the social sciences, is growing louder [23]. One aim is to better understand and explain why approved practices in project management work in reality [24]. Even though the BOK on project management is rich and helpful [25], it has a highly practical focus and often does not address the theoretical foundations and interdependencies underlying these practices.

3.1.3Common project management methodologies

The PMI broadly defines methodology as a system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline. The structure and level of detail of project management methodologies can differ significantly. While some methodologies, like agile methodologies, simply apply principles, others, such as Prince2, define a framework of themes, principles, and processes. Some are comprehensive lists of standards with some process, like PMI’s PMBOK, while others simply include processes, like Scrum.

Project management methodologies can broadly be grouped into four categories [26]: (i) traditional approaches, (ii) agile methodologies, (iii) change management methodologies, and (iv) process-based methodologies. They are described in what follows.

(i) Traditional approaches

Traditional project management methodologies are applied to projects that must be run sequentially. Common methodologies that fall into this category are the waterfall method and the CPM.

Waterfall method

The waterfall method is a project management methodology that values planning projects fully, then executes them through phases. Requirements are defined in full at the beginning. Then each phase must be completed before the next one is initiated, and phases must not overlap. Because of this single cycle approach, once a plan is approved, there is little room to reflect, revise, and adapt the plan. This approach can be useful if requirements in a project are fixed and well documented and the project is short.

Critical path method

The goal of the CPM is to map out all the tasks of a project, define the requirements to be met before each task starts, then estimate the duration of each task. With this information it is possible to calculate the longest path through the planned tasks to the end of the project, and the earliest and latest times each task can start without making the project longer. This makes it possible to prioritize tasks by identifying those that are critical and those that can be delayed. This method has been used in many types of projects. Although the original approach is no longer used, the term is generally applied in the analysis of project network logic diagrams.

(ii) Agile methodologies

Agile methodologies are based on a core set of principles of delivering value and collaborating with customers. Scrum, Kanban, eXtreme Programming (XP), and Adaptive Project Framework (APF) are examples of agile methodologies.


Scrum is the simplest and most popular agile methodology. The project team organizes around central roles: scrum master, product owner, and development team. The product owner defines the goals and priority for the project, and the scrum master removes any obstacle in the way of the development team in order to get the work done at the right pace. Scrum calls for periodical meetings to keep the project on track.


Introduced by Toyota in the 1950s to visually control the inventory process, Kanban is a visual approach that focuses on tasks. It aids decision-making about what, when, and how much to produce. Many agile teams use Kanban boards to visualize where their work stands in process. This visual management of the process allows teams to quickly show project obstacles, discuss them, and collaborate to get rid of them.

Extreme programming

Developed in the 1990s, this agile methodology for software development aims at enhancing quality by responding quickly to change. XP is suited for projects that have changing requirements and demand continuous feedback. XP involves four elementary activities performed within the software development process that enable change and rapid revision: coding, testing, listening, and designing. Teams organize in shorter sprints and can immediately make changes to their planned work.

Adaptive Project Framework

The APF methodology adapts to a project’s goals. Before determining those goals, first the project requirements, functions, and subfunctions must be documented. The project team is organized in iterative stages rather than in sprints, and stakeholders can change the scope of the project at the beginning of each stage.

(iii) Change management methodologies

Change management methodologies are intended for project managers looking for stable ways to manage the inherent risk of every project. The methodologies include Event Chain Methodology (ECM), eXtreme Project Management (XPM), and Projects Integrating Sustainable Methods (PRISM).

Event chain methodology

ECM is an uncertainty modeling and scheduling network analysis technique that focuses on the identification of risks and their potential impact on a project’s schedule. ECM improves the accuracy of project planning, simplifying the modeling and analysis of uncertainties in project schedules.

Extreme project management

XPMrefers to a method for managing highly complex and uncertain projects. XP Mutilizes the principles of human interaction management rather than scheduling techniques and heavy formalism. XPM is about embracing change and altering project plans, requirements, resources, budgets, and potential obstacles to meet changing needs. Most projects that fit XPM are fast-paced and require short cycles of work and openness to feedback, negotiation, and iteration.

Projects Integrating Sustainable Methods

Developed by GPM Global, this method aims at managing change focused on sustainability or reducing negative environmental or social impacts. PRISM follows six principles that are derived from the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles. This method is mainly implemented in large-scale real estate development or construction/infrastructure projects that may result in adverse environmental effects.

(iv) Process-based methodologies

Process-based methodologies are new ways of working that are seen as a theme with principles applied more to business processes than methodologies. These include Lean, Six Sigma and PRINCE2 methodologies.


Lean streamlines processes and eliminates waste to deliver more with less. It starts by identifying value and then maximizes it through continuous improvement by eliminating any type of waste (e.g., unneeded steps, resources, and budget) and optimizing the flow of value. Lean can be a helpful mind set for project managers to adopt when reviewing the project delivery process. It can strip projects back to the essentials that deliver value and eliminate the unnecessary things that do not add value.

Six Sigma

Developed by engineers at Motorola in the 1980s, Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven methodology for process improvement that has been adopted by many large manufacturing organizations. It seeks predictable process results to improve the quality of the final product by following a set of steps and removing the causes of defects andminimizing variability. It uses a set of quality management methods – mainly empirical and statistical methods – and requires a special infrastructure of experts within the organization to apply them.


The PRINCE2 methodology is a waterfall project management methodology that includes themes, processes, and principles. Created by the UK government for IT projects in 1996, PRINCE stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments. It is a process-oriented methodology that divides projects into multiple stages, with each individual stage having its own plans and processes to follow. This methodology is based on eight high-level processes and defines inputs and outputs for every stage so that nothing is left to chance. PRINCE2 enables project managers to run large, predictable enterprise projects and ensures a focus for projects while giving teams greater control over resources and the ability to mitigate risk effectively.

3.1.4Megatrends in project management

We live in a world in constant change. To survive and prosper, organizations need to adapt continually at a faster pace than ever to their environment’s needs. Technological innovation is rewriting every industry and the way in which organizations are managed. In this world, the ever-increasing acceleration of change brings more innovations and, consequently, an increasing number of projects. Project managers must understand how these changes impact businesses from a strategic level and how projects can support business changes.


Megatrends can be defined as large, transformative global forces that impact everyone on the planet [27]. Megatrend analysis enables companies to build a proactive, long-term strategy to better anticipate market developments and better lead change for their industries [28]. Following an extensive study, Ernst and Young [27] identified six megatrends driving our future:

(a) Digital future

Digital technologies are disrupting all areas of the business enterprise, fueled by developments of cloud, mobile, big data, social media and tools, and opportunities that exist for companies to exploit the insight that analytics offer regarding consumer trends.

(b) Entrepreneurship rising

Technology is also enabling enterprises and individuals to become faster and more agile in their interactions with customers. Thanks to digital technology, entrepreneurs can build innovative, fast-growing, and scalable enterprises and move to a lead position in record time.

(c) Global marketplace

The world is becoming a global marketplace. The gap between emerging and advanced economies is shrinking. The disruptive digital future will enable technological innovation in all regions. With growing economies, this great shift in economic power will force major adjustments in strategy for both established multinationals and their fast-growing market challengers.

(d) Urban world

The world is becoming more and more urban. As the number of cities grows and a rising middle class migrates to these cities, policymakers and the private sector must undertake effective planning and invest in infrastructure and telecommunications to support growing populations. Effective policy responses to the challenges that cities face, including climate change and poverty, will be essential to making cities competitive and sustainable.

(e) Resourceful planet

Population growth, an increasing middle class, and urbanization will increase the demand for natural resources. This means that we must innovate how we access and manage nonrenewable natural resources. Corporations are adopting green policies for IT, reducing their carbon footprints and leveraging natural resource inputs. In addition, governments are looking to develop more sustainable solutions to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

(f) Health reimagined

Healthcare is undergoing a significant transformation. To cope with increasing cost pressures and a rising middle class with greater healthcare demands, healthcare providers are looking for ways to innovate, be more sustainable, and reduce costs. The shift is to leverage patient data and trends using big data and mobile health technologies. This change means that healthcare providers can focus on healthy behaviors, prevention, and real-time care rather than on illness management.

Digital disruptors

Although each megatrend is important in its own right, the digital future megatrend is possibly the immediate impacting trend today. Digital disruptors, such as the cloud, social media, mobile, and big data, are revolutionizing the world of business and, hence, the role of project managers.

(a) Cloud

Cloud computing is a model of computing that provides access to a shared pool of computing resources (computers, storage, applications, and services) over a network, often the Internet [29]. What that means is that the cloud allows organizations to access new technology that pays for what they need and when they need it. It is precon-figured, so there is no setup time. The cloud has three models, depending on which technology is provided – infrastructure, platform, or software:

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Often used to increase capacity for organizations, during a project IaaS can be used as a development arena. As companies migrate internally developed software to IaaS-based cloud alternatives, the number of project managers increases with respect to software developers because of the initiation of new projects and the reduction of internally developed software [30]

Platform as a service (PaaS). Project teams can use it to develop in a new technology environment. Because cloud providers are vendors, the project manager’s role will continue to integrate vendor management, service-level agreements, and contract negotiation.

Software as a service (SaaS). For project managers, SaaS allows teams to work together in innovative ways. Teams can subscribe to Google Docs, share information across cloud-based file transfer systems such as Dropbox, or collaborate through SharePoint workflows.

The cloud is also changing economic models. Corporations are moving from a capital expenditure model to an operational expense model. This means that instead of spending money up front on a technology investment, they pay as they consume. The way consumers buy is changing as they expect subscription models instead of purchase models for software and services.

(b) Social media

The development of content-based marketing and social media analytics has enabled the integration of marketing and IT. Today, both business functions are virtually connected on activities such a website design, blog posting, and search engine optimization. These activities require effective communication and intense coordination between individuals with shared information.

For the project manager, social media offers new ways to communicate with project teams. Internal corporate social networks are also a great means to handle change management. For example, regular updates as to the status of a project or milestone accomplishments can keep team members engaged through changes. Finally, the project manager should include social media in communication planning, not only for team members but also for both internal and external stakeholders.

(c) Mobile

The introduction of a cloud-based PaaS model allows organizations create technologies that can be accessed on any mobile device. However, because the systems must be deployed within weeks rather than months, application development often requires project managers to apply more agile deployment methodologies.

Another critical change that project managers face is that communication with team members is rarely face-to-face anymore. Project teams usually work in globally geographically dispersed location in disparate time zones. In cases where synchronous meetings are challenging since video cameras and high bandwidths are not possible in a global team, project managers will have to take advantage of mobile technologies to enable effective communication. This entails adapting messages and content to the platform, considering smaller group meetings, and relying less on synchronous interactions.

(d) Big data

Given that customers today expect personalized service, big data are key to providing insight into consumer patterns before consumers even know. This allows organizations to push products and services that are tailored and relevant to the individual. Project managers are starting to use big data to make smarter project decisions. Their ability to capture information on team interaction, stakeholder requirements, and change management is growing through their use of social, mobile, and cloud-based technologies. As this data pool increases, it is important for the project manager to study how analytics can increase the effectiveness of future project work.

The introduction of big data has also brought about a new role: the data scientist. From a project management viewpoint, big data initiatives require project managers to coordinate multidisciplinary teams, implement new technologies, and create new processes and business relationships.

In sum, today’s megatrends are changing the way we live and do business. The technology shifts toward the digital future will be particularly influential because they underline every other megatrend to some degree.

As organizations strive to remain competitive and be more adaptive to the changing market, the role of project manager becomes essential to maintaining the pace of change and delivering projects more efficiently. Cloud technologies can facilitate new forms of team communication and collaboration and help to adhere to deadlines more rapidly. Social media also allows for new engagement and communication models between teams and with external partners. These digital innovations will create new opportunities for growth as the increasing pool of data obtained can be further analyzed to improve future projects.

3.2Business case

3.2.1What is a business case?

The term business case is increasingly used in the industry. A business case is a document that outlines the justification for a project to be developed in a company. It includes the description of the business problem or opportunity, one or more available options to address the problem, the associated benefits and costs, and a recommended solution for approval.

By extension, in a business context the term business case is used to refer to the reason for developing an activity, even when it is not presented in a document. It is common to say that a certain project has a strong business case or that only projects with a strong business case will be approved, for example. We treat a business case as a formal statement of the reasons for developing a project.

The person presenting a business case wants some project to be approved; otherwise he would not propose it. He uses the business case to pitch the idea. From the point of view of the person or persons who will assess and decide whether or not it will be developed, the business case provides the information on which to base a decision.

The selection of projects to be developed is important in any organization. A department or manager has a fixed volume of resources that can be used to develop activities. To obtain more resources for specific projects, additional support must be requested. Many different projects will be competing for a limited amount of resources. Most organizations tend to allocate less funds to departments and more funds to specific projects. In addition, public authorities follow this trend. A business case must be prepared to apply for funds assigned to specific projects.

In an organization, spending time on the preparation of a business case requires an initial decision (Figure 3.1). Following this decision, the business case is developed. At this moment, it is still not clear whether or not the project will be approved. The business case is used to make this decision. If the project is approved, the business case will serve as the basis for project development.

Fig. 3.1: Project initiation processes. Source: Zwikael and Smyrk [31].

3.2.2Content of a business case

A Business case starts from a need or an opportunity, for example, a market demand, an organizational need, a customer request, a technological advance, or a legal requirement. In project management, the business case is the document that sets out the main advantages and parameters of the project. The business case includes the answers to the following questions [32].

  1. Why is the project required?
  2. What are we trying to achieve?
  3. What are the deliverables?
  4. What is the anticipated cost?
  5. How long will it take to complete?
  6. What quality standards must be achieved?
  7. What are the performance criteria?
  8. What are key performance indicators (KPIs)?
  9. What are the main risks?
  10. What are the success criteria?
  11. Who are the main stakeholders?

The structure and level of detail of the Business case differ strongly from one organization to another. It ranges from a short statement to a complete description of all the main aspects of the project.

PRINCE2 proposes to include in business cases the blocks that are presented in Table 3.2.

In addition, in Table 3.3 an example given in the PRINCE2 training manual is presented. Even though quite a lot of details are included, they are very succinctly presented. One or more reports developing the technical aspects will be appended. Planning aspects and responsibility assignment are not included. They will be considered after approval – in PRINCE2, this statement is called the business case following approval and, in PMBOK, project charter.

3.2.3Project charter

As mentioned earlier, the project charter includes the main aspects of the project to be developed. In particular, the concrete decisions adopted for the responsible person or committee that approves the project are specified. Table 3.4 shows the content that, according to PMBOK, the project charter must contain.

Tab. 3.2: Blocks to include in business case according to PRINCE2 [33].

Executive summary
Highlight the key points in the business case, which should include important benefits and the return on investment (ROI)
Defines the reasons for undertaking the project and explains how the project will enable the achievement of corporate strategies and objectives
Business options
Analysis and reasoned recommendation for the base business options: do nothing, do the minimum, or do something
Expected benefits
The benefits that the project will deliver expressed in measurable terms against the situation, because it exists prior to the project. Benefits should be both qualitative and quantitative. They should be aligned with corporate or program benefits. Tolerances should be set for each benefit and for the aggregated benefit. Any benefit realization requirements should be stated.
Expected disbenefits
Outcomes perceived as negative by one or more stakeholders. Disbenefits are actual consequences of an activity, whereas, by definition, a risk has some uncertainty about whether it will materialize. For example, a decision to merge two elements of an organization on a new site may have benefits (e.g., better joint working), costs (e.g., expanding one of the two sites), and disbenefits (e.g., drop in productivity during merger). Disbenefits need to be valued and incorporated into the investment appraisal.
The period over which the project will run (summary of project plan) and the period over which the benefits will be realized. This information is subsequently used to help timing decisions when planning (project plan, stage plan, and benefits review plan).
A summary of the project costs (taken from the project plan), the ongoing operations, maintenance costs, and their funding arrangements.
Investment appraisal
Comparison of aggregated benefits, disbenefits from project costs (extracted from project plan), ongoing incremental operations, and maintenance costs. The analysis may use items such as a cash flow statement, ROI, net present value, internal rate of return, and payback period. The objective is to be able to define the value of a project as an investment. The investment appraisal should address how the project will be funded.
Major risks
Key risks associated with project, together with likely impact and plans should they materialize.

In relation to the structure of the charter, many templates and forms are available. One of them is presented in Table 3.5.

Courses and handbooks on project management usually do not include examples, probably because it is held that all projects are unique and the imitation of previous projects should be avoided. In addition, real projects are not usually publicly available. Nonetheless, some complete examples can be consulted [31].

Tab. 3.3: Example business case document for CRM project [34].

Executive Summary
We recommend the development and implementation of a web-based customer relationship management system to allow our clients to order online, view order history, and download report information to Excel. We forecast recovery of project costs in 18 months, with a benefit of €24,000 over the following 3 years.
The reasons for this project are as follows:
To make it easier for clients to order and view their order history. This could also result in an increase in sales.
One of our biggest competitors is offering such a system, and their salespeople are promoting this as a valuable service.
To help reduce our costs, as we can cut one of our in-house salespersons.
To reduce the errors we have today with incorrect orders. – To make it much easier for our in-house salesperson to follow up on orders and provide the correct information to the shipping department.
To provide better sales reporting for the sales manager with minimum effort.
Expected benefits
Reduce sales administrative costs by 30%
Forecast increase in sales by 5% to 10%
Prevent loss of existing clients to another competitor
Forecast 66% reduction in errors in the ordering process – Provide required sales information to sales manager with minimum effort
Expected disbenefits
Most clients will now order and track their orders online without ever having to contact administrative personnel from the company. This could have a negative effect as the administrative people in the company communicate less with customers.
Project time: 5 months
Project start: February 1: start with requirements analysis
Project finish: August 1
Tolerance: ±3 weeks
First benefit reviews will be 3 and 6 months after go-live
Estimated costs: €24,000
Estimated yearly maintenance and support: €4,000
Change budget (20% of cost): €6,800 will be available
Investment appraisal (simple)
Estimate costs for project: €34,000
Estimate to save one of the two admin sales roles: €26,000 a year
Estimate to increase sales and earn 5% profit: €12,000
Estimated ROI: less than 18 months
CRM provider may not be able to deliver our exact requirements using their easy-to-use configuration tools and may need to use more development services.
All competitors may start using a similar system, which will affect our expected increase in sales.
Clients may not like to use the system and may insist on ordering via telephone.

Tab. 3.4: Items in project charter [35].

Charter content item What it does
Purpose and justification Reason for project – may refer to business case, strategic objectives, or external factors
Objectives Multiple objectives related to, for example, scope, schedule, cost, quality, customer satisfaction
Success criteria Measureable criteria to indicate successful completion of each objective
High-level requirements Assumptions and constraints Initial high-level business and compliance requirements that meet customer expectations
Initial assumptions about scope, resources, funding, limitation, budget, or fixed due date
High-level project description Summary of project deliverables and approach to budgets
High-level risks Initial risk that will later be progressively elaborated
Milestone summary Significant events of deliverables: phase completion, deliverables, and acceptance
Summary budget Initial range of expenditures estimate
Stakeholder list Initial list of people who can influence or be influenced by the project
Approval requirements Who can approve and sign off on each deliverable and criterion for acceptance
Project manager authority on staffing, technical decisions, conflict resolution, budget management Authority to hire, fire, discipline, accept, or reject. Authority to make technical decisions or decisions on approach, resolve conflicts within teams or external stakeholders, and commit and manage funds variance
Sponsor, project manager, and other relevant signatures Demonstrate commitment and approval for project

3.2.4Steps of initial phase in project management

The initial phase of the development of a project starts with a broad definition of the project and its scope and ends with the preparation of a project charter or, alternatively, with the withdrawal or rejection of the project. Each project has its own context and characteristics. However, the steps that follow can be applied to any project.

Step 1. Definition of project (project statement of work)

The first step consists in defining broadly the product, service, or results that the project intends to create and the scope of the project. This initial definition can be stated in the document called the project statement of work.

Tab. 3.5: Components of project charter [36].

1.0:General project information
1.1: Project name
1.2: Sponsor (who is funding or will be the primary benefactor of the project)
1.3: Document history (for tracking changes and version control)
2.0:Identify stakeholders and contacts (e.g., project manager, team lead)
3.0:Project description
3.1: Project purpose, business need, opportunity, or justification (problem to be solved)
3.2: Project objectives (measurable outcomes, such as cost reduction, enhanced performance, increased sales)
3.3: Deliverables or major milestones (products of project, for example, working software code, training manual, completed call center, user test document)
3.4: What the project is intended to do and not do
3.5: Risks or constraints (barriers/limitations)
4.0:Financial or resource information
4.1: Budget assumptions
4.2: Reporting strategy (frequency and format)
4.3: Type of estimate
4.4: Funding source(s)
5.0:Acceptance criteria
5.1: Approvers
5.2: Change control process

Step 2. Analysis

The different aspects of the project need to be analyzed. The analysis will include the following elements:

Obtaining an analysis of information on alternative options, technological perspectives, and competitive aspects.

Definition of customer or customers connected to activities under analysis, value analysis from customer’s point of view, and customer experience (CX) analysis.

Definition and analysis of main processes involved using mapping tools and continuous improvement methodologies.

Performing the specific analyses that correspond to the project, service, or intended result.

Analysis of the cost and financial aspects, including CAPEX forecasting; expected operational and financial results; and financial performance assessment.

Step 3. Development of business case

The next step is developing the business case, which is devoted to supporting the decision to approve or not approve the project. The business case will necessarily consider the following elements:

The reasons why the project is necessary or advisable, including a discussion of possible alternative options;

Expected benefits and disbenefits;

High-level timescales, costs, necessary investment, and risks.

Technical reports to support the information provided and the recommendations will be prepared and appended.

Step 4. Developing project charter

The project charter is the outcome of the initial phase of the project and determines the conditions in which the project will be carried out. The project charter will include the following elements:

The contents of the business case that are relevant for the development of the project;

Resource assignment, including the internal resources that will be used, financial resources available, and other criteria in relation to resources;

Authority and organizational aspects; the project manager or profile of the project manager and her specific functions are determined, together with other authority and organizational aspects;

How the project will be controlled, including concrete objectives to be achieved.

3.3The PMBOK approach

3.3.1General structure

The systematic approach to project management led to the establishment of the PMI in 1969,which publishes and updates the standard A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) [3], which describes the management practices that are usually part of most projects.

PMBOK® [3] describes project management as a group of 42 classified interlinked processes according to two dimensions, the project phase, involving 5 chronological phases when the process takes place, and area knowledge, which includes 9 knowledge areas required by the process. Table 3.6 shows these 42 processes.

The phase vector is formed by a time sequence including five steps: initiation, planning, execution, controlling, and closing. However, this time sequence is not a strict one. The sequence phases overlap. For instance, execution may start even if planning has not completely finished and monitoring and controlling are performed at the same time as execution. In addition, some processes listed within one of the phases may be redone after a later phase detects new requirements or needs to do so. For instance, in the construction of a bridge, the design may be reviewed in case some new characteristics of the terrain are found when digging the foundation.

Tab. 3.6: The PMBOK® [35] Processes of project management.

Tab. 3.7: Knowledge areas and their related activities.

Knowledge area Kind of activities included
Project integration management Project scope management All activities required for producing and maintaining the coherence of the project that matches the required characteristics. Activities focused on keeping project in line with customer requirements throughout project development. It includes also the impact that any required change may have on the project scope and securing customer approval for any changes.
Project time management All project management activities related to the scheduling and timely execution of project tasks leading to output delivery of project. These activities form the core in the planning and control phases of the project.
Project cost management All activities of project management related to cost determination, budget setting, and control.
Project quality management All activities related to the establishment of the quality level, determination of related quality attributes and metrics measures, and their control to ensure the desired quality level of the finished project.
Project human resources mgmt. Project mgmt. communications All activities related to acquiring the right human resources, their development as a team, and their management. All activities required for proper information distribution to project stakeholders.
Project risk management All activities related to anticipating risks that might threaten project development and that relate to planning consistent and adequate responses for diminishing, eliminating, or correcting them.
Project mgmt. procurement All activities related to planning, conducting, controlling, and closing procurement of resources or services that might be required for project development.

On the other hand, the knowledge vector includes nine areas of knowledge that must be taken into account when developing a project. Each area includes a set of activities. Table 3.7 shows the kind of activities that correspond to each area.

Next, some details of the 42 processes are presented.

The success of any project depends on the careful formalization of documents elaborated in each of the processes, formal planning, accurate decisions, formal data updating, timely shared information, and proper human resource organization.

The next five sections will explain in more detail the time sequence phases:

Initiation → Planning → Execution → Controlling → Closing

These sections will also review all the processes within each of the phases and in all knowledge areas.

3.3.2Phases and processes

(a) Initiation phase

The two activities that always come first in a project are the elaboration of the project charter and the stakeholder identification documents.

Project charter

As already mentioned, the project charter is a short document that explains the project in words that all stakeholders can understand. According to the PMBOK, the project charter must include the following elements:

Reasons supporting the project initiative

Objective of project

Project constraints

Overall outline of selected solutions


Project scope: things included and things excluded

Main risks associated with project

Benefits from project

High-level budget and authority

In addition, the project charter will be used as follows:

Authorization project document and a base document for comparison and selection among alternative projects;

Baseline document for maintaining project coherence in future reviews;

Plain explanation of project addressed to all people affected, in language that is clear to all relevant stakeholders.

Project stakeholders

Project stakeholders are the people or organizations affected by the project. A good practice is for the project manager, the professional in charge of managing the project, to develop the project charter in consultation with the relevant project stakeholders.

(b) Planning phase

The planning phase groups all management processes necessary for defining and planning the activities to perform, their sequence in time, their output, the resources required, purchases, subcontracts, and so forth, all in advance, so the project can be executed as quickly as possible without incident.

Project Management Plan

The Project Management Plan (PMP) documents the activities for the definition, preparation, integration, and coordination of all subsidiary plans of the project. The PMP is like the backbone of the planning phase and links all documents and processes of the phase.

Requirements collection

When the project charter is written, the project scope is described in words, using few if any numbers. The process of requirements collection establishes the actual numbers and measures of project performance. All projects must perform as desired, no more, no less. A road that is built bigger than it needs to be will have cost overruns, while one that is narrower than necessary will fail to resolve the traffic situation it was meant to address.

Scope definition (scope management)

The scope is derived from the project charter and from the information of the requirements collection document. The scope definition is a document that specifies the project’s actual size, design, required materials, technology used, and so forth that are necessary for the project to perform as the requirements document demands.

The process consists of the following elements:

Expert judgment from experienced managers;

Decomposition of project (product or service) into conceptual parts (engineering breakdown), with an analysis of each part.

Investigation and discussion of different alternatives for design.

The result of this process is the product scope document.

Creation of work-breakdown structure (WBS) (scope management)

The WBS is a hierarchical/ logical decomposition of a project into its smaller deliverable parts that make up the project. The lowest level decompositions are called the work packages or deliverables of the project.

Definition of activities

Activity definition comprises the identification of actions and tasks to perform to produce the project deliverables. The activities are the actions to produce any of the work packages.

Sequencing of activities

Sequencing is the identification of the relations among the activities in terms of the order of their execution, meaning what activity must be done before other activities.

Estimation of activity resources

Resources are the means for performing an activity. For instance, the number of person-hours necessary to perform a certain activity would be the estimation of the required resources.

Estimating activity durations

This is an estimate of the amount of time that each activity will take.

Schedule development

All the previous processes end up in the development of schedule graphs to plan and later control the project.

Cost estimation

Cost estimation is the process of estimating the expected costs of resources required to complete each task in the project activities. These costs can be determined by measurement and calculation or by expert appraisal.

Budget determination

Budget determination is the process of aggregating all estimated costs of individual activities, resulting in the project cost baseline or project budget.

Quality planning

Quality planning is the process of identifying quality requirements or standards for a project and its components and documenting how the project will demonstrate compliance. Quality planning requires definitions of attributes and their measurement metrics.

Human resource planning

This is composed of three useful tools for structuring the organization of a project team, the hierarchy organizational chart, usually derived from the WBS, the responsibility assignment matrix (RAM), and the position descriptions.

Communications planning

To define the communications plan, the relevant stakeholders are registered; this will include complementary information like:

Interest or level of concern of stakeholder with respect to project outputs;

Influence or level of active involvement of stakeholder in project;

Impact or ability of stakeholders to make changes to project planning or execution;

Salience or ability of stakeholders to impose will, urgency, and legitimacy.

Plotting the stakeholders’ power and interest in a grid will impart insight for developing communication strategies.

Procurement planning

Procurement encompasses the acquisition of products and services under the terms and conditions that fulfill the project’s requirements. This activity involves signing binding legal agreements by buyers and sellers and is thus subject to one or more legal systems. Specialists involved must know and understand the technical aspects and their translation into words for legal description, understanding and judgment. Although contracts must be construed based on the legal system that will apply in case of dispute, arbitrators are usually a basic element of procurement agreements to expedite dispute settlements.

Risk management planning

The risk management plan involves making a plan indicating how, when, and by whom the work on risk management will be done.

Risk identification

Risk identification is the process of identifying risks that could affect a project and documenting their characteristics. All identified risks must be recorded in a risk registry file, even if they are later dismissed. In this case, reasons for dismissing them must be recorded.

Risk qualitative analysis

Risk qualitative analysis combines the impact and probability of occurrence for the classification. Impact is the change in any of the project’s main dimensions: cost, time, performance, quality, or scope. The risk probability/ impactmatrix is a tool that is used to perform this analysis (Table 3.8).

Tab. 3.8: Risk probability/impactmatrix.

Impact High Probability Low Probability
Hight Impact Avoid, Eliminate, Reduce Risks Mitigate, Reduce Risks
Low Impact Reduce, Transfer Risks Accept Risks

Risk quantitative analysis

Risk impact can affect the five basic dimensions of any project: performance, cost, completion time, scope, and quality level. A negative impact in any of these dimensions eventually results in lower profits. In contrast, if the impact is positive, profits will increase.

The factors relevant in the evaluation of the risk quantitative analysis are, first, the value of the impact, positive or negative and measured in monetary terms, and, second, the probability of materialization. Both factors are compounded into a single variable called the expected value, which is the result of multiplying the impact value by the probability of materialization.

Risk response strategies

The strategies for risk response are as follows:

Avoidance: Avoidance consists in eliminating the risky activity or the root cause of the risk.

Transferral: Transferring a risk means shifting some of the negative consequences of the risk to a third party. Insurance, warranties, and guaranties, among others, are examples of this strategy.

Mitigation: Mitigating risk means reducing the probability of risk materialization or increasing the level of response. Automatic fire extinguishing systems in a building and machines are examples of the increase in level response.

Acceptance: Sometimes the consequence of a risk has a low impact, and its mitigation or avoidance may lead to an increase of other risks. Then the only action is to document the response in in case the risk materializes. An example of such a case would be a punched tire risk on a car project.

Contingent response strategy: Some risk events upon materialization may require a response that entails a series of tasks. This is called a contingency plan. For instance, a contingency plan for citizens’ protection may be necessary when setting up a nuclear power plant, including organization, actions, and responsibilities in case of a nuclear accident.

(c) Execution phase

The execution plan involves the following processes.

Project management and direction

The main activities within this process are as follows:

Execute the planned activities, and build and deliver the project deliverable.

Staff the team and manage it.

Obtain resources.

Implement the required standards and methodologies.

Implement approved changes.

Take actions to correct errors, prevent them, and repair faults.

Manage communications with stakeholders.

Manage and communicate progress information.

Generate data for forecasting.

Issue change requests, and submit them for approval.

Manage risks and their responses.

Manage sellers and suppliers.

Document project development and their lessons for future projects.

Quality assurance performance

Quality assurance performance is the process of executing the project according to the guidelines set out in the quality management plan by means of quality audits and process capability assurance.

Project team acquisition

When recruiting project team members, the factors that follow are considered:

Competence, or technical and management skills required on the project;

Qualifications required by regulatory standards or demanded by generally accepted rules; these are norms established to ensure the execution of the project with safety, security, or design industry standards;

Mandatory, as required by law (e.g., medical doctors in isolated work areas);

Personality characteristics.

Project team development management

This is the process of improving team performance by developing the competence of its members, by improving the efficiency of team interactions, and by improving the project manager’s skills.

Project team management

Managing the team implies the use of classical management techniques and skills:

Observation and conversation with team members

Project performance evaluation (periodic member evaluation)

Conflict management

Issue registry for future learning (recording experiences)

Interpersonal skills like leadership, influence on team members, and effective decision-making.

Distribution of information

Information distribution is based on the communications plan, stakeholder identification, and performance reports. Distribution methods can include individual or group meetings, conferences (audiovisual), computer-basedmethods, and public media use. Inbound information, consisting of mailing of stakeholder correspondence and meetings records, is also considered. This information must be registered, evaluated, and handled in a systematic manner.

Management of stakeholder expectations

Stakeholders may develop concerns and expectations as a project develops. Addressing these concerns, clarifying or solving identified issues, and issuing change requests are the result of this activity. Early action response to stakeholder expectations leads to increased project support from the stakeholders and a greater probability of project success.


Procurement varies depending on the project. Procurement includes soliciting bids, obtaining seller responses, selecting suppliers, and establishing procurement contracts with suppliers.

Selection of suppliers usually is the combined result of different supplier attributes:

Technical capabilities

Technical expertise in similar projects

Production capacity of supplier

Capacity to meet delivery deadlines

Service (complementary to product) and contract approach

Financial strength and terms.

To evaluate bids, they are usually requested in a certain format where the relevant required characteristics are awarded a partial score. After summing the scores, the best bid is awarded the contract.

(d) Monitoring and controlling phase

The Monitoring and Controlling Phase involves the processes that are presented next.

Monitoring and controlling work

Team members usually carry out this activity in weekly or periodic meetings. They report key information about advancement in their areas, where the team members discuss the following topics:

Current project status

Accomplishments in immediate period

Scheduled activities and forecasts

Issues that must be evaluated

Performing integrated change control

When a request for a change in project requirements or scope is approved, the implications of the change must be reviewed with respect to all parts and deliverables of the project. When this revision is completed, all project documents are updated and renamed according to the last revision.

Scope verification

Scope verification is the process of reviewing the scope and WBS deliverables of the project with customers or sponsors and obtaining their formal acceptance. Scope verification is developed in periodic meetings with the customer, resulting in conformity acts signed by customer.

Controlling schedule

The method for controlling the schedule is usually to develop a Gantt chart that reflects the actual variances of the project, which will establish a new forecast.

Controlling cost

The cost control process is a comparison between the actual cost at a given moment in time and the budgeted cost of the work performed.

Quality control

The work consists of a quality control function for the prevention of errors and inspection of work performed, sampling attributes and variables, and checking measures within admitted tolerances and control limits.

Project advance reporting

The project advance report is a periodic activity. The information and format may vary depending on the project or author. The report usually contains the following items:

List and short description of work completed since last report or update,

List and short description of work to be completed during the next reporting period,

List of changes approved during the period,

Baseline Gantt chart and actual progress Gantt chart,

Risks status and new issues,

Forecast Gantt chart.

Procurement administration

Project procurement administration is based on the supplier evaluation approval, purchase evaluation, and purchase documentation. Because project procurement contracts usually involve substantial sums of money, care must be given to the process by which the contract is awarded to deter unethical behavior among contract decision-makers.

Monitoring and controlling risks

Based on the risk registry, the monitoring and controlling of risks involves:

Periodic risk review of impact, probabilities, responses, and so forth;

Actual risk outcomes;

New risks associated with change requests and corrective and preventive actions;

If necessary, updates made to PMP.

(e) Closing phase

Finally, the closing phase includes project and procurement closing.

Project closing

Project closing is the process of formally checking that all project deliverables have been done, and then proceeding to:

Archiving of project documents (e.g., PMP, risk registries, schedule, scope);

Issuing formal closing documents of phases or project indicating conformity;

Reviewing and classifying lessons learned for future projects.

Procurement closing

Procurement closing involves administrative tasks such as the following:

Verifying and accepting all deliverables,

Settling open claims,

Opening litigation claims if necessary,

Terminating contracts if necessary,

Logging records for lessons learned for future projects and procurement,

Obtaining formal closing acknowledgement from authorized supplier’s managers.


In this chapter, we provided an overview of project management. After presenting the elements that characterize project management, a brief history of its evolution was discussed. Project management has evolved from a period of development of tools to another where automation and efficiency are the central topics. An overall vision of the tools and methods was presented. In addition, megatrends in the field and so-called digital disruptors were discussed. It was shown that the field is evolving in parallel with the fast changes that the production system and society are undergoing.

Then the concept of the business case was presented. A project begins with a proposal, the approval of this proposal, and the allocation of resources. In this context, the proposal is called the business case. A business case includes the reasons for developing the project and its main characteristics. The concept of the project charter was also presented. The project charter is the decision statement regarding the project.

Finally, the PMBOK approach was presented. The PMBOK is the most well-known project management standard. The PMBOK divides the task of planning a project into 42 interlinked processes, 5 chronological phases, and 9 knowledge areas, which were listed and described.

Knowledge revision

True/false statements

  1. A project is a one-time, time-limited, goal-directed, major undertaking requiring the commitment of various skills and resources.
  2. Project management is a methodical approach to initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at a specified time.
  3. Professional associations are essential for the advancement of the practice of project management because they help to develop the norms and rules that governments establish by law.
  4. The megatrends driving the future of project management include automation and efficiency.
  5. A business case is a document that outlines the justification for a project to be developed in a company.
  6. The duration of a project is determined by the duration of the tasks that form the “critical path” and the delays in tasks of the critical path caused by the unavailability of resources because they have been allocated to other tasks going on at the same time.
  7. No risk, once identified, can be accepted, however low its impact or probability of occurrence.
  8. A project schedule baseline is any assumption made in scheduling a project.
  9. If a risk is dismissed based on expert judgment, it is no longer necessary to include it in the risk registry.
  10. The responsibility assignment matrix is a tool for self-coordination of people having responsibilities on a project.

See end of chapter for answers.


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Answers to true/ false statements

  1. True
  2. True
  3. False
  4. False
  5. True
  6. True
  7. False
  8. False
  9. False
  10. True