Note that this exam is now the APM PMQ.
Anyone preparing to take the APMP course should think about how they would answer questions like:
- What is the difference between a project and business as usual, make five points in your answer?
- Describe five key duties of the project manager across the project life cycle?
- Describe five actions which are the responsibility of the project sponsor?
Each answer should be made up of five short paragraphs with 2-3 sentences in each. Have a go and post your reply below and we will give you feedback?
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Hi Peter and Peter
A generally good answer however you need to refer to the APM Guidance notes for the exam (http://www.apm.org.uk/sites/default/files/3-1-2 APMP Guidance Notes.pdf). Describe should be five statements with each statement being made up of 2-3 three sentences. I would re-work your first answer as set out below. The first sentence says what it is, second why it is important and the third provides and example. The changes are not really of any significant substance they just make it easier for the marker to award you points.
1 – Are unique and transient undertakings done so in order to achieve a change in the organisation. This change (or innovation) is designed to produce a new product service or capability, and in turn generate a benefit for the project. These benefits could be additional sales, reduced cost, improved customer service or increased profit.
2 – projects have an agreed started and finish date (defined lifespan) which is not repeated, whereas Business and usual activities are on-going. For example building a new Tesco store is a project whereas operating that store once it has opened is business as usual.
3 – Projects are inherently risky because they involve change within the business, for this reason they need good decision taking processes. Operations are inherently sable and seek to change slowly by continuous improvement.
4- A projects life is started when a need for the business is identified that cannot currently be filled by an existing product, service or capability and design and development of a new product is required. Whereas business a usual is about delivering the same service in a consistent and reliable way.
5 – A project progresses through a number of life cycle stage stages, concept, definition, implementation and hand over & closeout. The nature of the project activities change throughout this life-cycle, whereas business as usual activities are repeated consistently.
This answer gives a bit more meat for the examiner to mark. I hope you find this helpful.
So as far as i can tell my answer was all right i covered a lot of the points you mentioned?? You have obviously made a couple of points i will include in the future but if that came up in the exam how would my answer go down?
What is the difference between a project and business as usual?
Projects have distinctive characteristics which distinguish them from business as usual. Specifically this includes the requirement to facilitate business change, as opposed to maintaining a stable platform for efficient and ongoing production; projects are defined by a finite time period, rather than repetition of task or activity; projects usually employ subject matter experts to prepare specific plans, specifications and manage risk, as opposed to following pre-defined procedures to ensure business continuity; projects have a defined scope so there is an understanding of what the job is, business as usual has no scoping, because people know the job; projects produce specific deliverables once, but in business as usual specific deliverables are produced repeatedly.
Describe the 5 key duties of the project manager across the project life cycle?
Five key duties of the Project Manager across the project life cycle include the production of the business cycle during the concept phase of the project; production of detailed plans at definition phase include the project management plan, risk management plan and quality plan; construction of the component elements that make up the end product of the project during the implementation phase; commissioning products and migrating them to practical use during the handover phase and finally closing the project and disbanding the team during the closeout phase.
Describe five actions which are the responsibility of the project sponsor?
Five actions that are the responsibility of the project sponsor include; arbitrating between the user communities to ensure their different needs are suitably managed or met, whilst not detracting from the deliverables specified by the project; ownership of the business case to ensure project benefits are suitably realised; chairing of the steering group to ensure senior managers are informed of project progress and can provide delegated authority to the sponsor to get the job done; management of key stakeholders where the project manager does not have the authority to deal directly with them (e.g. journalists) and finally the management of risks, particularly in the early phases of the project seeking ways to eradicate risks from the risk log.
1 – Are unique and transient undertakings done so in order to achieve a change in the organisation. This change (or innovation) is designed to produce a new product service or capability, and in turn generate revenue.
2 – Have an agreed started and finish date (defined lifespan)
3 – Involve uncertain frameworks for working and decision-making and will involve working with risks and uncertainty.
4- A projects life is started when a need for the business is identified that cannot currently be filled by an existing product, service or capability and design and development of a new product is required.
5 – Have four key stages, concept, definition, implementation and hand over & closeout.
1-Is the day to day activities of a business
2-They are consistent, reliable and produce predictable results
3-They need to be stable and routine and usually in a large volume to be highly efficient.
In this phase of the project life cycle the project manager will usually (but not always) aid the project sponsor in putting together the business case. The project manager will aid with estimates on the various stages, he will help select the most appropriate strategy for the project and he will assist and or perform the risk assessment of each stage (among other things). The PM might also aid in the definition and establishment of Key success criteria, KPI`s and success parameters along with the stakeholders.
IN this phase the Project manager will gather his project team together and coordinate the production of the project management plan.
At the end of this phase the team will deliver a full project management plan to the project sponsor for approval and or further editing. At the very end of this phase the plan will be approved and the sponsor will give authority to proceed. This document then becomes a baseline document for project performance.
During this phase the project manager will coordinate all activities as outlined in the project management pan. These may include:
– Seeking authority from the project sponsor for change approvals.
-Ensuring auditing procedures are being carried out
-Monitoring and controlling the project activities and comparing against baseline performance indicators.
-Reporting to project sponsor and or stakeholders
At the end of each phase the project manager will produce a report and update the PMP as appropriate, these are both handed to the sponsor for approval, and again he has the authority to proceed with the project.
Hand Over & Closeout
In this phase the project manager will:
Ensure the sponsor accepts of the project deliverables
Ensure the project sponsor officially signs off on the project
Disband the project team
Conduct lessons learned reviews
Project sponsor has the following roles:
1 – Ensure the project is in line with the corporate strategic aims.
2 – Develop, own and maintain the business case, this is created in the concept phase and developed further in the project management plan in coordination with the project team.
3 – Ensure all changes between project and stakeholders are efficiently conveyed, specifically when it comes to requirements changes.
4 – Accept the project deliverables, sign off on them project and deliver them to the operational organisation.
5 – Ensure the benefits of the project are realised by conducting benefits realisation meetings with the user groups. This usually occurs once the product has entered operation
6 – Authorise stages in the project lifecycle.
7 – Usually chairs the steering group, which traditionally includes suppliers, user groups and various stakeholders and is in place to provide overall direction to the project.
8 – Monitor the project environment for risks and opportunities, SWOT and PESTLE analysis would be the most likely method of doing this.