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Project Planning and Control™ (PPC)

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 26th January 2021

APM's Guide to Project Planning and Control
APM’s Guide to Project Planning, Monitoring and control

This post was updated on 17 March 2022

Based on the Association for Project Management (APM) guidance for Planning and Project Control Managers and Engineers this course builds a structured and formalised approach to planning and controlling projects.

The APM’s guide, ‘Planning, Scheduling, Monitoring and Control – The Practical Project Management of Time, Cost and Risk.’ sets out a comprehensive and practical guide to project control across a number of different industries. The guide set out in practical terms the recommended best practice for the implementation of project planning and control.

Benefits of effective planning and control

The aim of the guide is to establish common standards and processes for project planning and control. Adopting this guide will provide organisations and individuals with the following benefits:

  1. Following this guide provides organisations with a common understanding of the approaches to project planning, reporting and control.
  2. Being clear about the standards improves the quality of project planning, especially the level of detail required to give effective project control.
  3. It improves the quality of transparency and accuracy of project reporting, so that project managers and senior stakeholders can have improved confidence in the data presented.
  4. This is turn strengthens the project governance processes and leads to more effective decision making.

The combined effect is more clarity about the current state of the project and increased chances of project success.

Project Planning and Control:Two Levels Foundation and Practitioner

There are two levels of qualification foundation and practitioner.

Who is the Foundation course for?

  • Planning Managers & Engineers.
  • Project Control Managers & Engineers.
  • Cost Engineers.
  • Project Managers.

Above all the intention is to provide greater certainty over project delivery.

Foundation Learning Objectives

  • The approaches and products used to gain a clear definition of a project.
  • The approaches and techniques used to plan and close a project.
  • The selection and use of appropriate scheduling techniques.
  • The practices used for rigorous monitoring to enable proactive control of the project.
  • The basis for good record keeping, which also facilitates the virtuous feedback and learning cycle.

Foundation Exam format:

  • Multiple Choice
  • 50 questions per paper
  • 25 marks required to pass (out of 50 available) – 50%
  • 40 minutes duration

Closed-book

Who is the Practitioner for?

  • Planning Managers & Engineers.
  • Project Control Managers & Engineers.
  • Cost Engineers.
  • Project Managers.

Practitioner Learning Objectives

  • The approaches and key products used to gain a clear definition of a project
  • The approaches and techniques used to plan and close a project
  • The scheduling techniques and appropriate presentation of the outputs
  • The management of risk in the planning, execution and evaluation of a project
  • The practices and data used for rigorous monitoring to enable proactive control of the project.

Practitioner Exam format:

  • Complex Multiple Choice
  • 8 question paper with 10 marks available per question
  • 40 marks required to pass (out of 80 available) – 50%
  • 3 hour duration
  • Open-book (Project Planning & Control guide only)

Project Planning and Control Course Contents

Both foundation and practitioners cover the same contents. The difference is in the format of the exam. The course contents are:

Planning techniques and approaches including:

  • Scope management,
  • Requirements management,
  • Works information and statement of works,
  • Stakeholder management,
  • Breakdown structures, levels, PBS, WBS, OBS, RAM, CBS and RBS,
  • Dependency management

Budgeting and cost control including:

  • Types of estimate,
  • Contents of an estimate,
  • Estimating methodologies,
  • Definition of budgeting,
  • Funding and budgeting,
  • Cost breakdown structures,
  • Cash flow,
  • Budget transfers

Scheduling practices including:

  • Steps in establishing a schedule and the different types of schedule including:
    • tender,
    • contract
    • baseline,
    • working,
    • target,
    • medium and short term
    • and as build schedules.
  • Project trackers required to support the schedule including
    • Procurement schedules,
    • Design and other trackers,
  • Elements of a schedule, including:
    • Critical path,
    • links,
    • leads and lags.
  • Estimating durations,
  • Resource management.
  • Horizontal and vertical integration of schedules from different perspectives including combining schedules from several organisations.
  • Schedule interfacing and coding,
  • Contingency and the use of buffers

Communicating the Schedule including:

  • Bar charts,
  • line of balance,
  • time chainage

The supporting components of a schedule including:

  • Schedule narrative including calendars,
  • activity codes,
  • calendars,
  • shutdowns,
  • possessions,
  • permits and licences.

Schedule review including the processes for approving and accepting schedules.

Building Information Management (BIM) including the integration of the schedule with the design process

Agile including planning for the use of sprints, timeboxes and other ag

Monitoring and Control including

  • baselines,
  • re-planning,
  • baseline
  • maintenance,
  • re-programming

Performance reporting including

  • drop line method,
  • activity weeks,
  • milestone monitoring,
  • cost value.

Cost Control including

  • cost control process,
  • performance management baseline,
  • performance measurement

Change management including

  • Change control process,
  • Adjusting the schedule to accommodate changes,
  • Communicating and reporting change

Risk Management including

  • Risk management process, risk drawdown, quantitative schedule risk analysis (QSRA), Quantitative cost risk analysis (QCRA)
  • Forensic analysis
    • Purpose of forensic analysis, Methods including planned vs as built, Impact method
  • Record keeping
  • Document management
  • Handover and closeout
  • Lessons learned.

It is important to note that it is not possible to take the Project Planning and Control practitioner exam unless you have taken and passed the Project Planning and Control foundation examination.

Parallel can offer this course to corporate clients with groups of 5 or more candidates. For more information please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

FAQs

When it comes to taking the Project Planning and Control Examinations, are there any pre-requisites?

There are no pre-requisites for any individuals who are looking to sit the Project Planning and Control foundation examination. However, those candidates who wish to take the PCC practitioner examination must first take and pass the PCC foundation exam.

Is there a main publication that can be used for Project Planning and Control, and where can I purchase it?

There is one main publication that supports the qualification scheme for Project Planning and Control. This is published by the APM and is called “PLANNING, SCHEDULING, MONITORING AND CONTROL – The Practical Project Management of Time, Cost and Risk”

The book can be purchased direct from APMG Business Books via their website. However, if you are following the course through an Accredited Training Organisation (ATO) like Parallel Project Management then the book is included as part of the course fee.

Is training for the exam absolutely necessary?

Whilst training for the exam is not absolutely necessary, it is highly recommended. Those individuals who undergo training with an Accredited Training Organisation will not only receive lots of help and support with their study but will also be offered the option of self-study in preparation for the examination. Training will help you to consolidate those areas of the exam material that you are unclear on, offer you to ask any questions you might have on the course material and can give you the confidence that will hopefully help you to pass your examinations first time.

How do I sit the exam?

Most Project Planning and Control Accredited Training Organisations will include the examination as part of the training package that they offer for the course. They will give you details of this when you sign up for the course so you will know how long you will have to study in preparation for the examination. However, and this is mainly for those individuals who have self-studied, APMG also hold public exam sessions on a global scale. The UK has four such centres dedicated to public exams.

Is the Project Planning and Control examination available in different languages?

The Project Planning and Control examination is only available in English at the moment. Should there be a greater demand for it in other languages, this is something that the APMG will consider.

How long will it take to learn the material for the course?

When you study for the examination with an accredited training organisation such as us the usual timeframe for delivering the foundation course is just 3 days. If you are studying for both the foundation and the practitioner course, then these are generally delivered over a period of just 5 days. You may want to spend some time studying the course material on your own as well over this time. Using an individual accredited training organisation for your studying of the course material is a good investment that is worth considering as this will allow you to look at things like tailored and blended learning solutions that may work better for your circumstances.

For those individuals who choose the self-study option, there is no set amount of time that is needed. It is down to the individual themselves and how much time they are prepared to put into studying. This means being disciplined enough to make the time to study on a regular basis and of course will vary from one individual to another. For those individuals who want help to study or would like to achieve their qualification in a timelier fashion this is probably not the best route to take.

What is the pass mark for the Project Planning and Control Exam?

If you are taking the foundation exam, then you will need to get 25/50 (50%) of the questions correct in order to achieve a foundation exam pass. If you are taking the practitioner examination then you must achieve 50%, that is 40/80 in order to pass.

How long does it take to get the results from my examination?

If you have taken your Project and Control Foundation exam through an Accredited Training Organisation like Parallel then we will receive your exam results approximately 7-10 days after the date of your examinations, we will then inform you of the results. In some, rarer, cases and at the discretion of the exam invigilator who is presiding over the exam it may be possible for the exam to be marked immediately on the day; however this is not always an option.

Is there an expiration date for the Project Planning and Control Certification?

The certification for this course has no defined period of time attached to it and does not expire. There will be no need to retake the examination again at any point.

How long will it take to receive my certification following the course?

Your results will be available 7-10 days after you take the examination, it will be a further two business days after this before you will be able to claim your certification. This certification takes the form of a digital badge and electronic certificate and is made available through the APMG Candidate Portal.

How can I claim my digital badge for my Project Planning and Control qualification?

When you have been informed that you have passed your examination you will be given the option to go into your APMG Candidate Portal and create a digital badge.

This is done by logging into the portal, looking at your exam results and then choosing “Create Badge”. This will take you to an external website which hosts the digital badges. There will be clear instructions available to assist you in creating an account. Once this has been done you will be able to login, your badge will be pending and all you will need to do is accept it.

What is a digital badge?

You can use a digital badge to show your achievements easily online. You will be able to do this by embedding it in your email signature, on a website, digital CV or social media. It will allow clients, employers and customers to easily check your skills and credentials.

Project Planning & Control™ is a trademark of APM Group Limited, and must not be used without prior permission or an appropriate license.”

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