Project Management Tools ‘N Techniques®

Our top-selling workshop; read the Learning Objectives to understand why!

Why This Session?

Duration: 3 days

Better projects. Faster response. Lower cost! That is the mandate in today’s organization. This session contains the topics that will help you improve success in today’s projects, by applying project skills in the core competence areas that can make all projects more successful.

This 3-day session consists of the five core modules of our Modular Project Management program. It covers practical tools and techniques for planning and managing the vital signs of project success. Using content, discussion, a series of exercises and case study application, participants learn today’s best practices for project planning, estimating, scheduling and tracking. The result: they bring them in on time, within budget and with high quality. Given advance preparation, intact groups of participants can use their own project as their case study.

See our Modular PM catalog section for more modules that you can “add on” to this session.

Learning Objectives; after this session, participants will be able to …

1. Initial Planning

Define project management; itemize six vital signs of a successful project, and relate them to ISO 21500, a recently-adopted global Project Management Standard.
Initiate the project with the right participants and an approved minimum Project Charter.
Evaluate the business case, and use it to prepare Preliminary Project Scope and Objectives.
Make an early forecast (estimate) of project effort, and then use modeling to define the project’s ideal staffing and duration.
Structure the appropriate life cycle and deliverables for the size and nature of the project.
Evaluate Initial Planning Progress towards completing the Project Management Plan.

2. Phase Structuring

Describe the use of Rolling Wave Planning (key to a Stage-Gate approach); identify when it may not be appropriate, and the techniques to use then.
Brainstorm and organize the phase Work Packages using WBS Templates.
For single-team projects, extend the WBS by working with the team immediately to perform Phase Activity Definition.
Contrast the individual and team approaches to structuring project work.
Assign responsibilities for key roles; explain the Project Manager’s essential responsibilities.
Choose from a range of delegation methods that improve performance of Phase activities.
Structure the project team appropriately for the project’s size.
Identify the prerequisites of quality, then plan and perform reviews that validate that quality.
Summarize phase structuring results into a Work Plan.

3. Activity Estimating

Implement a consistent, accurate, and repeatable estimating process that improves communication and helps to manage risks.
Use assumptions-based estimating appropriately for activities of different size and risk.
Manage the assumptions that can affect an estimate, and improve its actual performance.
Estimate other costs, in addition to the cost of team members.
Quantify and increase control of the factors that affect an activity’s duration estimate.
Estimate activity duration.
Apply guidelines for estimating and optimizing Project Management time.

4. Phase Scheduling

Perform Activity Sequencing, to determine initial precedence relationships of the activities in a Phase.
Analyze activity flow with Precedence Diagrams, and show how to end any phase faster.
Balance the Vital-Sign tradeoffs when reducing duration or optimizing resource use; evaluate by “Crashing the Model”.
Use Gantt charts to show how to optimize resource use; produce a baseline project schedule.
Describe the use and benefits of Resource Histograms and Cumulative Cost Curve charts.
Define the requirements for an effective Automated Project Environment.
Identify ways to speed approval of your updated Project Plan.

5. Project Control and Closure

Select minimum-effort tracking methods that can prevent, detect, and recover from problems.
Analyze project performance using Issue Logs and Earned Value Management; monitor and evaluate the status of multiple concurrent projects.
Produce project reports that are appropriate for their audience, and for their timing.
Institute a Change Control process that manages the impact of changes, while responding to Customer needs.
Describe the actions and outcomes of proper Phase closure.
Plan and implement project evaluation and Post-Project Review steps needed to successfully end a project.


The intended audience of this Project Management Tools ‘N Techniques session is Project Managers, team leaders, and key team members (including customers) of medium-to-large projects. Other, shorter-duration Learning Experiences in our curriculum may be more appropriate for those who work on small projects, or are participants in projects.

Note: Those who have taken our Small Project Management session should wait six months before taking this class. Because the two classes are based on a common subject area, Project Management, there is some overlap between them.

Session Outline

1. Initial Planning
  • What is a Project? What is Project Management? Project Challenges
  • Balancing the Vital Signs; The Project Charter
  • Defining the Business Case: Problem or Opportunity Analysis; Scope Statement and Objectives
  • Early Forecasts of Project Effort; Successful-Project Staffing and Duration
  • Project Life Cycles and Deliverables; Initial Plan or Proposal
2. Phase Structuring
  • Project Processes: Steps in Planning; A Phased Planning “Rolling Wave” Approach
  • Using Work Breakdown Structure Templates; A Team Approach to Planning
  • Project Roles and Responsibilities of Key Stakeholders
  • Organizing the Project; Activities of the Effective Project Manager
  • Customer Involvement and Quality; Quality Assurance Reviews
  • A Range of Delegation Methods; What to Include in the Project Work Plan
3. Activity Estimating
  • Guidelines for Successful Estimating: What is a Good Estimate?
  • Vary Methods With Size and Risk; Assumptions-Based Estimating
  • One-Point, Two-Point and Three-Point Consensus Estimating
  • Estimate Project Costs; Fix the Factors That Make Estimates Wrong
  • Effort-to-Duration Conversion; Estimating Project Management Time
4. Phase Scheduling
  • Establish Activity Precedence Relationships; Using Precedence Diagrams to Finish a Phase Faster
  • Analyze the Vital Signs Trade-Offs Beyond Better, Faster and Cheaper
  • Network vs. Gantt: Comparison; Using Gantt Charts to Optimize Resource Use
  • Other Project Management Charts: Histograms and Cumulative Cost Curve
  • Automated Project Environment: Software for Project Management; the Baseline Plan
5. Project Control and Closure
  • Minimum-Effort, Maximum Usefulness Project Tracking Information
  • Types of Project Reporting: Status, Progress and Issues
  • A Responsive Change Control Process
  • Phase Closure Actions; Project Closure; Successfully Ending a Project
  • Post-Project Evaluation; Your Final Exam