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Closing Process Group

Finally, finally, we’ve gotten to the fifth process group of the 5. Closing. This is the shortest list of steps. This is the one no one likes. This is the one that gets the short shrift (and you thought Planning was undervalued!).

We close the project now. We verify the work was done, and done to the original requirements. We close the procurements, and sign off on those. We sit down with our customers and make sure they agree with us that the original requirements were met, and that the changes were implemented as approved. We DOCUMENT that they sign off on this. We store all of the documents and lessons learned in a single location, so that when you start the next, similar project you have some historical process to refer back to in the  Initiation process group.

Then, we wipe our hands of it. Operations takes over the running of the unique, shiny new thing that was built with the project, and we send our project team back into the wilds from whence they came (Mulcahey, PMP Exam Prep, 6th Edition, 43).

I think it’s this last 2 portions that I most dislike about the Closing process group. I always feel that the deliverable widgets don’t look all shiny and new, or like they’re half-formed, and giving them to Operations, they are going to not appreciate them.

Then, with the releasing of the team, it means that the PM (me) gets released too. Then, you are left with this impression that Ops didn’t like your results, and no one will ever assign you to a project again. And then Monday rolls around…

Project Management Definitions

To begin studying for the exam, I am beginning with Chap 2, in Mulcahy’s PMP Exam Prep 6th Edition, which focuses on some of the ground concepts. I’ve thrown in additional info from the PMBOK 4th edition (specified below).

Definition of a Project-

  • Temporary
  • Has a beginning and an end
  • “creates a unique product, service or result.” ( pg 21)
  • “The end is reached when the project’s objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists” (PMBOK pg 5)
  • “Can involve a single person, a single organizational unit, or multiple organizational units (PMBOK 5)
Definition of Operational work-
  • Ongoing, no clear beginning and end
  • Follows existing procedures (PMBOK 5)
Example: ‘can you figure out what is wrong with this broken process, and fix it?’ This is 2 projects- 1)figuring out what’s wrong (has a beginning and end) and 2) fixing it (has a beginning and end, but only after project 1 is complete).
34% of projects are successful, so a project needs to be finished on time, on budget, and within scope.
For the exam, questions focus on large projects, with “200 people on the team, last[ing] longer than one year, and [having] a value of $1,000,000” (pg. 22)
What is Project Management?
   5 Process groups:
  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controling
  • Closing
   Knowledge Areas (PMBOK 6)
  • Scope
  • Quality
  • Schedule
  • Budget
  • Resources (human and otherwise)
  • Risk
  Knowledge Areas (Mulcahy 22)
  • Project Management Framework
  • Project Management Processes and integration
  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Human Resources
  • Communications
  • Risk
  • Procurement
Project Management, Program Management and Portfolios
  A project has a beginning and an end, and creates a unique product.
  A program is a collection or projects that are managed together to create value.
  A portfolio is a collection of programs and projects that are organized around a strategic business goal. (PMBOK 8-9)
An example from my work: the implementation of a new Medicaid plan is a project. The coordination of all new Medicaid expansions is a program. Government-funded insurance initiatives, as a whole (Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Insurance Exchanges if we get there) make up a Portfolio.

The PMP Handbook

In one of the earlier posts, I talked about the first step being to figure out timelines for this process. Tonight, I downloaded the PMP Handbook and reviewed the entire thing. While the book doesn’t give me much insight into what a PM does or is, it did enlighten me on the PMP Certification process.

PMP Handbook notes

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Tertiary degree
  • 36 months of non-overlapping work leading and directing project tasks since 2003 (past 8 years)
  • 4,500 hours of work leading and directing project tasks since 2003 (past 8 years)
  • 35 hours of training
Currently, I have 24 hours of training, at least 23 months of work and the degree. I have to count the rest of the hours and months.
Gather all the documentation BEFORE you begin the application. You have 90 days to finish what you start with the application. Plus, you have 90 days after the application if you are in the approximately 10% who is audited. So, I need to make sure to get copies of everything up front!
The application takes 5 days to process. But, scheduling the exam could take 3-6 weeks. So, to meet my 1/15/12 deadline, I would need to apply by 11/29. Hmm….
It’ll cost me $405 to take the exam. Hello, Christmas present.
The rules about the exam are straightforward. I’ve taken the SATs and AP exams. I can figure out the rules. Plus, I’m sure they’ll remind me again. Though, no calculators. I have to use theirs…
After I pass, I have to deal with PDUs. 60 PDUs in 3 years. But, 15 PDUs per year can be from working professionally as a PM for 6 months, minimum. So, stay working as a PM, you only need 15 PDUs every 3 years. Cool
Then, there is the code of ethics. I’ll do another entry on that.
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