For this assessment, you will estimate the costs of the project you selected in Assessment 1. Your project cost estimate is to include all necessary supporting documentation, such as constraints, dependencies, and assumptions

Assessment 4

For this assessment, you will estimate the costs of the project you selected in Assessment 1. Your project cost estimate is to include all necessary supporting documentation, such as constraints, dependencies, and assumptions.

Note: In this course, you will develop a project plan by completing a different component of the plan for each assessment. Therefore, you will need to complete the assessments in the order in which they are presented.

SHOW LESS

Estimating project budgets is far from an exact science. Many of us have heard of projects running over budget. Why is this? Why do we consistently forecast low? There are many reasons for this, from improper funding at the beginning of the project to cutting corners that should never have been cut. Whatever the reason, there is a need for project managers and their teams to become better at forecasting cost.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

Competency 2: Analyze current best practice approaches to develop cost estimates and resource constraints to ensure successful project outcomes.
Organize project expenditures by category and priority.
Describe constraints relative to estimating project cost resources.
Analyze resource constraints and constraint characteristics of a project.
Describe assumptions relative to estimating project cost resources.
Incorporate industry best practices to successfully meet budget plan.
Competency 6: Communicate in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the business profession.
Communicate in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the business profession.
Assessment 4 – Project Cost Estimate

The project schedule you completed in Microsoft Project in Assessment 3 can be an effective guide in your costing effort. Each task in the Microsoft Project file should have an associated cost. Although you have heard this before, detail continues to be important. Each supporting tab should be labeled and contain sufficient detail to explain the costs. Keep the “Dragons’ Den” and the “Shark Tank” in mind. The panels on those television shows must be convinced before they will invest their money, and they tend to ask very pointed cost questions in the process.

Imagine you receive an estimate for a $2 million project with only five lines of cost. Would you invest your money based on this type of information? The more detail you can put into your cost estimate, the more convincing it will be. You are required to use the supporting tabs to have a main page that is relatively uncluttered, while still allowing the detail to be readily available. Remember to put totals on your supporting spreadsheets to make comparisons with the main page more convenient. Also, remember that all cost items listed on the main page must have supporting spreadsheets.

If you are using Microsoft Excel, remember that you have a wide variety of “Conditional Formatting” and “Cell Styles” available in addition to Sparklines available under the “Insert” tab. The functional use of color can make your spreadsheet much easier to read, so it is required to get full credit for this assessment.

Note: In this course, complete the assessments in the order in which they are presented.

For this assessment, estimate your project costs for the project you selected in Assessment 1, using an Excel spreadsheet. For tutorials on using Microsoft Excel, refer to the Computer Skills section under the Supplemental Resources link in the left navigation menu of the courseroom.

Be sure to use the following resources as you complete your assessment:

Review the Concept Map (linked in the Resources under the Capella Multimedia heading) to see how the project cost estimate fits into the project management life cycle.
Read the Assessment 4 Coaching document (linked in the Resources under the Required Resources heading) for expert tips and advice on how to create a project cost estimate.
Refer to the Project Cost Estimate media piece (linked in the Resources under the Capella Multimedia heading) for information on cost estimates.
Use the Cost Estimate Template (linked in the Resources under the Required Resources heading), which is a simple Excel spreadsheet, to estimate your project costs. Be sure to include all necessary supporting documentation, such as constraints, dependencies, and assumptions.

Complete the following:

Determine project expenditures.
Organize project expenditures by category and priority.
Determine constraints relative to estimating project cost resources.
Analyze the resource constraints and constraint characteristics of the project.
Describe assumptions relative to estimating project cost resources.
Incorporate industry best practices to successfully meet budget plans.
Submit your project cost estimate as an Excel file.

Determines project expenditures, organizing them by category and priority. Ensures alignment with project goals and the allocation of funds effectively.
Describes constraints relative to estimating project cost resources and clearly identifies potential mitigating strategies.
Analyzes the resource constraints and constraint characteristics; provides specifics of how to best address constraints.
Analyzes assumptions and dependencies relative to estimating project cost resources; describes associated impact on overall project completion.
Incorporates industry best practices to successfully meet budget plans; evaluates why best practices are the most appropriate for a project.
Communicates in a manner that is professional, scholarly, and consistent with expectations for members of the business profession.
Assessment 5
Toggle Drawer
Overview
For this assessment, you will create a risk matrix for the project you selected in Assessment 1. You will include a minimum of ten risks, rate the probability and severity of each risk, develop mitigation plans for each risk, and describe a plan to inform stakeholders of risks.

Note: In this course, you will develop a project plan by completing a different component of the plan for each assessment. Therefore, you will need to complete the assessments in the order in which they are presented.

SHOW LESS
Risk management is another essential tool for bringing a project to successful completion. Risk management involves:

Identifying and analyzing risks.
Planning risk-handling actions.
Tracking and controlling risks.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

Competency 3: Evaluate research and practices related to methodologies appropriate for managing risk.
Describe project risk factors for a project.
Describe the probability and severity of risks determined for a project.
Describe mitigation strategies determined to minimize risk for a project.
Competency 6: Communicate in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the business profession.
Describe the communication plan to inform stakeholders of risk factors of a project.
Communicate in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the business profession.
Assessment 5 – Risk Matrix Assessment

The motion picture Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, highlights the importance of project management (in general) and project risk management (in particular). The movie examines the plot by dissonant army officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944, an effort that meets all the definitions of a project. Von Stauffenberg, the man charged with actually killing Hitler, smuggled a bomb into a briefing room with Hitler present, and then left.

There were many problems associated with this failed project, including lack of proper requirements. However, risk identification was one of the more glaring deficiencies. If you were von Stauffenberg, what risks would you have considered and what risk responses would you have planned? One of the obvious risks of using explosives in an assassination attempt would have been injury and not death. If this risk happened, what would be the risk response? As a contingency plan, Von Stauffenberg could have returned to the briefing room in the confusion after the blast (a natural response that would arouse no suspicion) and finished the job with his sidearm if necessary. If that failed, Von Stauffenberg’s assistant could have deployed a hand grenade.

Unfortunately, Von Stauffenberg assumed that no risks would be realized and that a contingency plan was not necessary. As soon as the bomb exploded, he left the area, assuming (incorrectly) that Adolf Hitler was dead. In fact, Hitler was only slightly injured. After Von Stauffenberg had left the briefing room, someone accidentally kicked the briefcase that contained the bomb and then moved it behind a heavy table support, which helped protect Hitler from the blast. Only those nearest the bomb, a secretary and three officers were killed. As a result, WWII lasted for almost another year. During that period, hundreds of thousands died. In Germany, the Gestapo executed hundreds of people suspected of supporting the assassination attempt. It was a very high price to pay for poor risk planning. Is it any wonder that project management places so much emphasis on risk?

Risk Matrix

Detail continues to be important. In this assessment make sure that you have enough detail in the “Response to Risk” and “Action Plan” columns to make them understandable to an outside reviewer. In past risk matrixes, learners have stated “PM” for each risk in the Action Plan. This response suggests that the project manager is supposed to do something, but it is not clear. There is a “Curse of Knowledge” element here that you must overcome to create an understanding of your plans. In addition, even the smallest project will have at least 10 risks, and that is what will be required in this assessment. This means you will need to include a minimum of ten risks in your matrix to get full credit. Below is an example in text format of the type of information required in your risk matrix:

——————————————————————————–
Risk #: 01

Risk: Limited supply of part XYZ

Probability: Medium

Importance: High

Impact: Lack of this part will delay the manufacturing operation until the part becomes available (work stoppage)

Response to Risk: Mitigate – Find alternative suppliers for part XYZ currently in short supply

Action Plan: Contact the purchasing department to get quotes from the three major XYZ suppliers. Divide the order between the two providers with the lowest cost to maintain an active relationship with more than one supplier.

Person Responsible: Manager of Purchasing

Status: Currently waiting for the price quote response from the third major XYZ supplier.
—————————————————————————–

If you are looking for a book on developing project risks, Mulcahy’s (2010) Risk Management: Tricks of the Trade for Project Managers provides a direct, practical approach with little philosophical discussion. This book isn’t particularly entertaining, but it is easy to read and provides useful information for actually performing risk identification. The appendix of the book lists hundreds of common risks for different industries. Kendrick’s (2009) Identifying and Managing Project Risk: Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project provides good insights with discussions of the management concepts that drive the real-world handling of project risks. The information is excellent, but Kendrick writes long sentences that make him very difficult to read. Royer (2002) wrote a much shorter book in almost outline style, but neither Kendrick nor Royer are as down-to-earth as Mulcahy.

If you are more interested in the philosophy behind risk and uncertainty, you might enjoy Savage’s (2009) The Flaw of Averages. It is a book that avoids mathematics but still gets across fundamental ideas about how we think about risk and uncertainty. This book is a series of short, frequently disconnected chapters. You will have to choose what you find interesting. Bernstein (1996) describes the historical development of our understanding of risk. Bernstein is more scholarly and financially oriented than Savage, but if you have an interest in the history of mathematics, you will enjoy this well-written narrative.

If you are looking for a textbook, How to Manage Project Opportunity and Risk by Chapman and Ward (2011) is well regarded. Unlike the works mentioned above, this textbook definitely reads like a textbook. Nonetheless, it is comprehensive, insightful, and useful.

References

Bernstein, P. L. (1996). Against the gods: The remarkable story of risk. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Chapman, C., & Ward, S. (2011). How to manage project opportunity and risk (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Kendrick, T. (2009). Identifying and managing project risk: Essential tools for failure-proofing your project (2nd ed.). New York, NY: American Management Association.

Mulcahy, R. (2010). Risk management: Tricks of the trade for project managers (2nd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: RMC Publications.

Royer, P. S. (2002). Project risk management: A proactive approach. Vienna, VA: Management Concepts.

Savage, S. (2009). The flaw of averages. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Note: In this course, complete the assessments in the order in which they are presented.

For this assessment, create a risk matrix for your selected project using the template provided. Even the smallest projects have at least ten risks, so you will need to include a minimum of ten risks in your matrix.

Be sure to use the following resources as you complete your assessment:

Review the Concept Map (linked in the Resources under the Capella Multimedia heading) to see how the risk matrix fits into the project management life cycle.
Read the Assessment 5 Coaching document (linked in the Resources under the Required Resources heading) for expert tips and advice on how to complete a risk matrix.
Develop a risk matrix for your project, using the Risk Matrix Template linked in the Resources under the Required Resources heading. Include a minimum of ten risks. Fill in all parts of the template; an example is provided in the Assessment 5 Coaching document.

Describe at least ten risks for a project.
Describe the probability and severity of each risk. (Record this information in the Probability and Importance column of the matrix.)
Describe mitigation factors to minimize each risk. (Record this information in the Respond to Risk column of the matrix.)
Describe the communication plan to inform stakeholders of risk factors. (Record this information in the Action Plan column of the matrix.)
Be sure to include plenty of detail in your risk matrix so your risk management plan is clear.

Additional Requirements

Written communication: Ensure that your writing is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
Number of resources: No resources are required for this assessment.
Determines project risk factors for a project
Determines multiple methods to communicate project risk factors to key stakeholders and identifies methods for stakeholders to provide feedback.
Determines the probability and severity of the risks to the project. Describes how to manage risks throughout the project life cycle including the impact to the organization.
Determines mitigation strategies to minimize risk, articulates mitigation strategies and describes the impact to the organization.
Communicates in a manner that is professional, scholarly, and consistent with expectations for members of the business profession.

Assessment 6
Toggle Drawer
Overview
For this assessment, you will put together a complete project plan for your selected project. In addition to the project plan components you have developed throughout the course, you write an executive summary and project evaluation. The total page count for your compiled project plan is 20–23 pages.

Note: In this course, you will develop a project plan by completing a different component of the plan for each assessment. Therefore, you will need to complete the assessments in the order in which they are presented.

SHOW LESS
When a project is complete, you should not simply move on to the next project. Rather, you must analyze and document the project and the lessons you learned. Upon reflection, consider what you would have done differently. By properly closing out a project, you develop documentation that aids you in your future endeavors. This is your opportunity to do a post-project review with all of the key players, having them describe their concerns and triumphs.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

Competency 1: Analyze current approaches and concepts for developing a project plan.
Describe project background and business objectives.
Describe the project scope in a clear and concise manner.
Competency 3: Evaluate research and practices related to methodologies appropriate for managing risk.
Describe project risk factors and a means to communicate them to stakeholders.
Competency 4: Develop a project schedule with current project software.
Analyze project milestones and deliverable dates.
Competency 5: Evaluate a project to identify proper closing and lessons learned.
Analyze the success of a project.
Describe how business objectives were met in a project.
Describe lessons learned from managing a project.
Competency 6: Communicate in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the business profession.
Communicate in a manner that is professional and consistent with expectations for members of the business profession.

Assessment 6 – Executive Summary, Evaluation, and Plan Assessment

Executive Summary

The executive summary should be at least two or three pages in length. To be complete, the executive summary should include a summary of project goals, milestones, costs, and risks. Remember to outline this assignment. The best way to do that would be to use the left-hand column of the scoring guide as your section headings.

Project Evaluation

The Project Evaluation should be at least two or three pages in length. List the questions provided in the assessment along with your answers.

Project Plan

The Project Plan is mainly an integration effort. Compile all the components of the project plan into one Microsoft Word document. Do not enter any information as links. There are a number of components in the plan that have already been assessed and will not be assessed again.

Microsoft Word Tips and Tricks

Word 2007

Microsoft Word provides a great deal of writing support that is not always fully appreciated. If you are using Word 2007, you can press the Office button (at the top upper left corner of the screen) and then the “Word Options” button (at the bottom of the dialogue box that pops up when you click the Office button). The “Word Options” button calls up (naturally) the Word Options dialogue box. In the Word Options dialogue box, select “Proofing,” the third menu choice on the left side of the screen, which will change the dialogue box display.

Go to the “When correcting spelling and grammar in Word” section to the right of the menu and towards the bottom of the dialogue box. First, check all the boxes in that section. Second, change the Writing Style dropdown menu to “Grammar & Style.” Then click on the “Settings” button directly to the right of the Writing Style dropdown menu.

Voila! You are now in the “Grammar Settings” dialogue box. You will see the word “Require” in bold type. There are three dropdown menus in the “Require” section. Change “Comma required before last item:” to “always.” Change “Punctuation required with quotes:” to “inside.” Change “Spaces required between sentences:” to “2.”

Directly below the “Require” section is the “Grammar” section. Check each and every box. Then click OK until you are back in the Word text screen.

Word 2010 and 2013

In Word 2010, under the “File” tab, choose “Options” towards the end of the menu. In the Word Options dialogue box, select “Proofing,” the third menu choice on the left side of the screen, which will change the dialogue box display. Then follow the Word 2007 directions above.

Now you have now configured Word to proofread your paper. If Word sees something that raises a question, it is underlined in green. Right click on a green underlined word and Microsoft Word will show a popup with suggested changes.

Conclusion

For those who wish to continue the study of project management beyond Capella’s formal courses, here are a few suggestions.

For those planning to take the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, you should use the PMP Exam Prep by Mulcahy (2009b). This book is relatively expensive for a paperback, but it contains all the information you will need to take the PMP exam and contains most of the important information in the PMBOK by the Project Management Institute (2013). The questions at the end of each chapter are very similar to the actual PMP test and are an excellent preparation. Mulcahy (2009a) also offers study flashcards keyed to the book, which are very handy. In addition, Mulcahy offers software that simulates the exam. Although the software is excellent, it is expensive (around $300), you are only allowed to install it twice, and the license to use it expires after only one year (at which point the software deactivates). For most, the book and flashcards should be enough. Tragically, Rita Mulcahy died of cancer on May 15, 2010, at the age of 50. It was a loss to the entire project management community.

Project management is both a science and an art. The PMBOK addresses the science, but other books discuss the art. Project Management That Works by Morris and Sember (2008) discusses solutions to many real-world problems that project managers frequently face. It is also a fast read. Stop Playing Games by Morris (2010) is also a practical and interesting work on real-life Project Management. Radical Project Management by Thomsett (2002) is an unorthodox (yet perceptive) approach to many of the practical problems project managers must solve. Thomsett is not as easy to read as Morris, but the information is worth the effort. Scrappy Project Management by Wiefling (2007) reads as if it were written by a motivational speaker and actually discusses leadership more than project management. As a result, this small book is more entertaining than informative, but it is so entertaining that it is worth mentioning.

If you are interested in a book on general management, First, Break All the Rules by Buckingham and Coffman (1999) provides some extremely interesting information. It presents data gathered by the Gallup organization from 80,000 managers. Some of the suggestions made in this book at first seem strange, but the authors make an exceptionally strong case for their ideas. It was actually fun to read. Pfeffer (2007) wrote What Were They Thinking? It is an excellent work divided into short, easy-to-read chapters. Each chapter deals with a management practice (such as cutting pay and benefits to save money) that may actually be completely counterproductive.

If you are interested in software development, The Mythical Man-Month, originally written by Fredrick P. Brooks, Jr. in 1975, and re-released as a twentieth anniversary edition in 1995, remains the most referenced work on software engineering. If you have heard of Brooks’ Law (“Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”), this book is the source. Brooks also popularized the term “silver bullet” regarding software development panaceas. If you read only one book on software engineering, Brooks (1995) should be that book.

There is another book that, although absolutely fascinating, is difficult to classify. Outliers: The Story of Success by Gladwell (2008) discusses (among other things) the ways that education and intelligence does (or does not) help you succeed in life. Interestingly, the author notes, “The kinds of errors that cause plane crashes are invariably errors of teamwork and communications” and not problems with technical ability (p. 184). It would appear that failed software projects and airplane crashes have much in common.

References

Brooks, F. P., Jr. (1995). The mythical man-month: Essays on software engineering, anniversary edition. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Buckingham, M., & Coffman, C. (1999). First, break all the rules. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The story of success. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Morris, R. A. (2010). Stop playing games. Minnetonkas, MN: RMC Publications.

Morris, R. A., & Sember, B. M. (2008). Project management that works. New York, NY: AMACOM.

Mulcahy, R. (2009a). Hot topics PMP exam flashcards (6th ed.). Minneapolis, MN: RMC Publications.

Mulcahy, R. (2009b). PMP exam prep (6th ed.). Minneapolis, MN: RMC Publications.

Pfeffer, J. (2007). What were they thinking? Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Project Management Institute. (2008). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (4th ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Author

Thomsett, R. (2002). Radical project management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Wiefling, K. (2007). Scrappy project management. Cupertino, CA: Scrappy About.

Assessment Instructions
Note: In this course, complete the assessments in the order in which they are presented.

For this assessment, put together a complete project plan for your selected project. You have already completed many of the project plan components, but you will need to write an executive summary and project evaluation, as well as format all the required components into a single document.

Be sure to use the following resources as you complete your assessment:

Review the Concept Map (linked in the Resources under the Capella Multimedia heading) to see the project management life cycle.
Read the Assessment 6 Coaching document (linked in the Resources under the Required Resources heading) for expert tips and advice on creating a project plan.
Executive Summary
Create an executive summary for your project plan. The executive summary provides a quick overview of the project facts and should accomplish the following:

Describe the background of the project and the details of how it was initiated.
Describe the business objectives for the project.
Describe the project scope.
Analyze the project to identify all milestones and determine deliverable dates.
Determine risks and a communication plan for stakeholders.
Project Evaluation
Create a project evaluation in which you synthesize the lessons you learned in completing your project and evaluate the project’s success. In your evaluation, respond to the following questions:

After reviewing your scope statement, how successful were you in managing scope creep and change over the project life cycle?
Analyze the success of the project.
According to the business objectives you identified, were you able to meet these objectives through completion of the project?
Describe how the business objectives were met.
Based on your experiences with this project, what would you do differently next time?
Describe lessons learned from managing the project.
What risks or other factors became apparent during the project for which you could have or should have planned?
What would you tell a project manager within your organization the next time he or she kicks off a project?
Project Plan
After writing the executive summary and project evaluation, compile the following components into a single, cohesive executive communication document that is your project plan. Note that the components in the project plan that have already been assessed (project charter, project scope statement, cost estimate, and risk matrix) will not be assessed again, but still must be included in the final document.

Table of Contents.
Executive Summary.
Project Charter.
Project Scope Statement.
Cost Estimate.
Risk Matrix.
Project Evaluation
Reference List.
Also submit your project schedule as a Microsoft Project file. The schedule must include the following:

Phases, tasks, and milestones.
Durations and dates.
Precedence relationships.
Resource allocation.
Additional Requirements
Written communication: Ensure that your writing is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
APA formatting: Format resources and citations according to APA (6th edition) style.
Number of resources: Include a minimum of two resources.
Length of paper: Your project plan should be 20–23 typed, double-spaced pages. In addition, submit your project schedule as a separate Microsoft Project document.
Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12-point.
Note: You are not required to submit your project schedule to the Turnitin source matching tool.

Describes the project background and business objectives and includes additional relevant supporting information to provide a comprehensive view of the project.
Analyzes the project scope identifying dependencies, assumptions, constraints, and mitigating strategies.
Estimates project milestones and deliverable dates and outlines a communication plan and comprehensive plan that takes into account stakeholder needs.
Determines multiple methods to communicate project risk factors to key stakeholders and identifies methods for stakeholders to provide feedback.
Describes how business objectives were met in a project and recommends strategies for implementation.
Analyzes lessons learned from managing a project and recommends strategies for applying to future projects.
Communicates in a manner that is professional, scholarly, and consistent with expectations for members of the business profession.

Total Estimated Costs

<Project> Cost Estimate
Total Estimated Costs
Category Estimated Cost
<category A>
<category B>
<category C>
Misc. Costs
Total
Supporting Documentation
Constraints
Dependencies
Assumptions

<category A>

<Project> Cost Estimate
<category A>
Item # Item Price Qty Estimated Cost Explanation

<category B>

<Project> Cost Estimate
<category B>
Item # Item Price Qty Estimated Cost Explanation

<category C>

<Project> Cost Estimate
<category C>
Item # Item Price Qty Estimated Cost Explanation
 

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