Project Practitioners > PMBOK Tips - Executing

PMBOK Tips - Executing

By Sinikka Waugh

In these early days of Fall, lets think about spring. The month of March to be exact. “The month of March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb,” says the old adage, when speaking of the transition from the blustery winter-esque days of late February and early March to the mild, more temperate spring-like days of late March into April.  I heard recently that here in Central Iowa, we actually get more snow in February and March than any other time of year. 

In some ways, Project Execution is a bit like the month of March.  PMBOK refers to the Executing Process Group as the “processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications”.  This is, quite simply, Doing What You Said You Would Do.  Even the name of the Month sort of implies action – March.  Go.  Move forward with a deliberate, measured pace. 

  1. In like a lion & out like a lamb - During early execution, we sometimes hit the ground with gusto, creating flurries of activity, clearing the road for more work, and trying to gain traction. After executing for a while, we sometimes slow our pace and calm our approach.  Sometimes the comfortable repetition of execution softens our sharpness, especially as we interact with our team.
  2. Changes (and spring storms) will happen - Sometimes, during execution, we become surprised or irritated by the changes that come up or the risks that become issues. We’re surprised, and sometimes annoyed, despite our instinctive awareness that every project will have some change to it, and despite the fact that we’ve been anticipating the risks all along.  This is not unlike putting away the snow shovel and boots before Mother’s Day in May, and then being frustrated when we have to haul them back out again on May 5th.
  3. Like annual snowfall, the PMBOK asserts “A large portion of the project’s budget will be expended in performing the Executing Process Group processes”.

What do you think?  Chime in on our Linked in Group to share other similarities between project execution and the month of March! 

The Executing Process Group includes some pretty critical functions that we need to do well.  The following processes fit within the Executing Process Group, each of which includes a self-reflection question to help us make the most of each one, to ensure project success. 

Try to get to a resounding “yes” for all of the questions:

  1. Direct and manage project work: Looking at your own projects and calendars, do you have a solid, sustainable pace for directing and managing the project work including the body of work defined in planning as well as the implementation of approved changes? (PMBOK 4.3)
  2. Perform quality assurance: While your project team is executing on the project work, are you taking active measures to “ensure that appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are used,” and to “facilitate the improvement of quality processes” overall in your domain?   (PMBOK 8.2)
  3. Acquire project team: As human resources are assigned to your project, are you preparing them for the [long] “march” of execution? (PMBOK 9.2)
  4. Develop project team: As the individuals become a team, and start to gain traction, are you taking deliberate steps to clear the path for them, to improve “competencies, team member interaction, and overall team environment to enhance project performance”? (PMBOK 9.3)  Are you developing in the team the skills to execute well and the desire to achieve the best outcome for the project and each other?
  5. Manage project team: As execution continues, are you maintaining a predictable, consistent schedule for “tracking team member performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and managing changes to optimize project performance”? (PMBOK 9.4)
  6. Manage communications: As execution continues, are you continuing to maintain, review, and refine as necessary “the process of creating, collecting, distributing, storing, retrieving, and the ultimate disposition of project information in accordance with the communications management plan”? (PMBOK 10.2)
  7. Conduct procurements: As vendor interactions proceed, though collections of RFP responses, vendor selection, contract award, establishment of agreements, etc., are you being deliberate and transparent about aligning “internal and external stakeholder expectations?” (PMBOK 12.2)
  8. Manage stakeholder engagement: have you made time on your calendar on a regular basis to work “with stakeholders to meet their needs/expectations, address issues as they occur, and foster appropriate stakeholder engagement” (PMBOK 13.3)?

What tips can you share?  Chime in on our Linked in Group to share tips you leveraged to ensure that you’re conducting the executing processes well.

For more information on the PMBOK Process Groups read our previous blogs  initiating, and planning.

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