APMP typical exam questions project management in context and organisation and governance

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    Paul Naybour

    Try the following questions and I will give you feedback on how you are progressing
    1) List and describe five duties of a project management office (PMO)?
    2) Explain five items you would consider as part of an end of project review?
    3) List and describe five benefits of project governance?
    4) Explain five advantage of a project (task force) project organisation?
    Remember each answer needs to consist of five paragraphs of 2-3 sentences each.


    Benjamin Stokes

    2) Explain five items you would consider as part of an end of project review….Ok, timed myself for 15mins.

    Risk Register. The risk register would be reviewed and analysed to understand which (if any) “uncertain events” occurred during the project and whether or not the perceived impact was correct or not. This information could then be used by the organisation to assist with the risk rating of similiar risks on future project.

    Project Schedule. The project schedule would be reviewed for each of the phases in detail (level 4) and be compared against the project baseline schedule. Did activitities take longer or shorter than planned and if so why? Again this review would be feedback into an orgainisation database to assist with the planning of future projects.

    Project Finances. The project finances (costs and incomes) would be reviewed to assess if the project budget estimate was a reasonable assessment and to identify any major over/under runs of costs. This data is important to know as it feeds back into the project investment appraisail techniques used in the business case and could influence on whether or not future projects are sanctioned or not.

    Procurement. The project procurement plan would be reviewed as well as evaluations of the major vendors/suppliers/subcontractors performance. This is to assist with supplier selection on future projects and as well determine if the contracting strategy used was appropriate or not for this type of project/orgainisation. If the project found they did not have adequate resources to manage the various contractors, they may prefer to go for a ‘turnkey’ contract for their next similar project.

    Success Criteria. Finally the project success criteria would be reviewed to confirm or comment on why or why not the project did not achieve its success criteria.


    Steve Potterill

    2.Explain five items you would consider as part of an end of project review? (Drat, ran out of time)

    1)Agree handover / after-actions for anything overhanging. At the end of the project, some actions, activities or issues may be unresolved. Anything that can’t be closed-off should be allocated to and accepted by entities outside of the project. This may include aspects of normal project delivery (e.g. transitioning to support) where projects are prematurely closed.

    2)Compare outcome with plan, identify why variance. The planned cost, time, effort should be compared with the end-of-project actuals. Where variances are identified, causes should be explored. (Some of this evaluation may already have been undertaken, for instance if a project has exceeded tolerance and needed to be rebaselined). Relevant evaluations should be reported to the business to aid future planning.

    3)Identify funding to hand back to the business. The finances need to be reconciled, with any remaining unspent funds returned to the business.

    4)R&I review. The risks and issues throughout the project should be considered with a view to informing future corporate decisions should comparable activities be undertaken in the future.

    5)Lessons learned. The lessons learned throughout the project, and any additional lessons teased out at the end, (by discussing all of the items above with the stakeholders and project team), will be considered for where they may be used. Both a corporate repository, and any extant projects / business-as-usual activities, should be considered as directed recipients of the ‘lessons learned’ information.


    Naresh Kaundal

    1) List and describe five duties of a project management office (PMO)?
    1.1 – Set Standards for how project run
    1.2 – Ensure project management standards are followed
    1.3 – Collect information & production of data for management review
    1.4 – Source of guidance & advice for project managers
    1.5 – Managing & facilitating the portfolio management
    1.1) The PMO builds up a common set of practices, principles, & templates for managing projects. Standarisation means project manager can move more easily between different projects and new project managers get upto speed fast.
    1.2) While the PMO sets project management standards, it also must ensure they are followed by performing regular assessment of projects
    1.3) The PMO will trach the status of the projects in the organisation based on update from the projects manager. i can be submitted through dashboard.
    1.4) Source of guidance & advice to project managers. The PMO’s develope into a centre of excellance for project managemnet and can provide guidance & coaching to novice project manager or new project manager who need to understand how the organisation runs the projects.
    1.5) Capturing project request and ensuring each request has sufficient informations to assess the projec, managing a resource capacity plan

    2) Explain five items you would consider as part of an end of Project review
    2.1- Lesson learned
    2.2- Benefit realisation review
    2.3 – Team dissolution
    2.4- Final Acount closure
    2.5- Acceptance
    2.1) Lesson Learned – The organisation should be prepared to take the information available and actually circulate it around the business to make sure that other similar project can make use of it.
    2.2) Benefit realisation – Only after the products has been completed and handover has been carried out can a proper evaluation of the benefits be achieved.
    2.3) Team Dissolution – The project team will need to be disbanded and future opportunities depends upon organisation structure & more works inhand to join other team
    2.4) Final Acount closure- The project code need to be finalised so that final account can be drawn up.
    2.5) Acceptance – Typically the project will expect the sponsor / or the users to sign some form of acceptance certificate to formally demonstrate that they are happy with the products.

    3) List and describe firve benefits of Project governance
    3.1 – Roles & responsibility clearly defined
    3.2 – Disciplined Approach
    3.3 – Clear gate ways
    3.4 – Business case study
    3.5 – Standard reporting process
    3.1) Roles & responsibility – The roles , responsibility & performance criteria for the governance of project management are clearly defined. This would be reflected in the organisations governance documents.
    3.2) – Discipline approach – Discipline governance approach supported by appropriate methods and controls and ensuring they are applied through the project life cycle. this implies an agreed and implementd reporting system that has some consistency approach across the projects
    3.3) – Clear Gate Ways – Clear gate ways / authorisation points – All project have an approve plan containing authorisation points at which the busuness case is reviewed and approved. Decisin made at these authorisation points are recorded and communicated.
    3.4) Business case study – The business case is supported by relevant and realistic informations that provides a reliable basis for making authorisation decisions. The word realistic is key the organisation should not allow itself to follow an unrealistic plan.
    3.5) Standard reporting process – There are clearly defined criteria for reporting project status and for escalation of risks and issues to the level required by the organisation.

    4) Explain five advantage of Project (Task force) Project organisation.
    4.1- Clear Focus
    4.2 – Line Manager
    4.3 – Defined roles & Responsibilities
    4.4 – Integration
    4.5 – Team work
    4.1) Clear Focus – Team has a very clear focus on the project objectives
    4.2) Line Manager – Line manager / team leader – All staff members are aware of who is in charge & take directions accordingly
    4.3) Defined Roles & responsibilities – Easy to identify very clear roles & responsibilities with out crossing organisation boundaries.
    4.4) Integration – Project organisation provides intigration of functional capabilities with in projects.
    4.5) project organisation provude better team work.


    Mark Vinall

    1) List and describe five duties of a project management office (PMO)?
    a) Admin support to the PM. Issue of minutes, gathering of data from the project team, production and issue of reports and notifications to the project team; providing holiday / sickness cover
    b) Specialist input. Provision of services and skills that the PM may not have such as: detailed estimating; planning management; scheduling; risk management; cost and commercial management.
    c) Resource centre. Allocation of resources to projects from the pool of available Project Managers
    d) Development. Performance reviews; career guidance; professional development; mentoring and coaching of the pool of PMs under its management.
    e) Assurance: internal checks to ensure that standard process and procedures are being undertaken in line with the corporate policy and expectations of the sponsor.

    2) Explain five items you would consider as part of an end of project review?
    a) Achievement of project criteria. Did the output satisfy the time, cost and quality criteria that was established within the PMP? If not why not?
    b) Team performance. How did the team perform against expectations? Were deadlines met? was sufficient resource provided at the right times? Was the mix of in-house vs external resource correct?
    c) Benefit delivered. Did the output satisfy the Project Requirements and was the benefit delivered? What was the feedback from the users? Were the requirements correctly specified?
    d) Cost control. Was the output achieved within the project budget? Were the estimates correct throughout the lifecycle? How did the outturn cost compare with other known cost benchmarks? How was the financial change control managed and what improvements could be made?
    e) Method and processes. How effective / successful were the processes and procedures that were employed? What were the strengths and weaknesses? what changes could be made? How will the output of the end of project review be fedback into the project team, the PMO and the stakeholder group?


    Jessie Hiney

    List and describe 5 duties of a Project Management Office

    1. Administrative Support
    The PMO assists the project manager by proving administrative duties. These duties can range from filing and meeting organisations through to providing cover during a holiday period.
    2. Centre of Excellence
    The PMO often has specialists available to assist the project manager on aspects of the project and will allocate these specialists as necessary . Some examples are risk managers, cost managers, etc.
    3. Data Collection and Reporting
    The PMO collects back-up and details and collates this information to provide routine or scheduled reports for the Project Manager e.g. monthly or weekly flash reports, progress updates. etc. The PMO can also maintain a record of timesheets and other data that may be required by the organisation to review resource inputs etc.
    4. Lessons Learnt Roll Out
    The PMO rolls out all lessons learnt across the organisation so that there is continuous improvement. This allows an organisation to benefit for every project delivered.
    5. Assurance
    The PMO has a role to ensure that the governance procedures and requirements set out in the PMP are adhered to.


    Jessie Hiney

    Explain 5 items you would consider as part of an end of project review

    A project review is essentially about one thing – did we deliver what we said we would deliver? If so, a project review should look at:
    1. Did we deliver the required product. The PMP will set out what was required and the review of the end product can identify any discrepancies between that which is delivered and that which was required.
    2. A review of the performance of the project team including the project manager and the full delivery team. This will include areas where individuals and the team excelled, met expectations or where the performances need improvement. The outcomes should be shared as lessons learnt across the organisations.
    3. Staff feedback. The performance review should also contribute to the staff feedback which should be part of the project review process.
    4. Lessons learnt review. Sharing lessons learnt adds to continuous improvement and assists with the avoidance of pitfalls and highlights good practice. Sharing this information helps develop excellence.
    5. Request a client performance review where the client assesses and grades our performance


    James Saunders

    1.List and describe five duties of a project management office (PMO)?

    Project Administration
    Supporting the Project Manager
    Project Assurance
    Project Reporting
    Providing specialist input

    Project Administration – one of the duties of the PMO is to provide administration on a project. This could include the uploading of documents and drawings onto the project document management system (configuration management). They will also support this by setting up the project filing structure and the start of the archiving procedures.

    Supporting the Project Manager – The PMO can also act as the deputy to the Project Manager, assisting in the management of the project during absences etc. This means they will generally be knowledgeable on project delivery and familiar with the key project contacts and will often be responsible for organising and maintaining the project meeting cycle.

    Project Assurance – An important duty of the PMO is to provide project assurance to the sponsor. This will generally mean ‘policing’ the procedures that are in place on the project, carrying out QA audits to ensure compliance. It is important to note that they also provide QA support to the project rather than simply auditing them. They also carry out review of the project objectives at the various phase gates to ensure that the project is on track to realise its benefits.

    Project Reporting – The PMO will also help in the reporting of project information, often to be included in project reviews. This information can include the collation of reports from suppliers / contractors as well as statistical data such as environmental (waste) figures and safety stats. Any information gathered that should be shared will be on the project portal or intranet.

    Providing specialist / expert advice – The PMO will often have ‘central’ specialist departments who will support the organisations portfolio of projects. This could be an established procurement and purchasing department who will provide support on that specialist area but also estimating, quality assurance, environmental, surveying, temporary works engineering and so on.

    2.Explain five items you would consider as part of an end of project review?

    The project schedule – One of the common success criteria for a project is that the project was completed on time as stipulated in the Project Management Plan. This may be more crucial on some projects where time is critical such as the construction and opening of the Olympic park in time for the Olympics. In this case, if the project wasn’t delivered to the programme then it will be perceived as unsuccessful. One of the items I would consider would be a review of the programme. Did we achieve the various phases by the target dates? If not then why and how can we improve on this for next time?

    The project budget – At the beginning of a project the sponsoring organisation would have set a project budget for delivery. One of the items I would consider at the end of project review is a review of the project costs and whether we achieved the budget which was set at the outset. Project scope often evolves over the course of a project and as a consequence, the costs often increase. This exercise will help to review the cause of these changes and allow you to provide more accurate budgetary parameters for next time.

    KPI’s – At the start of the project and throughout the project lifecycle, a number of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) will have been set. KPI’s enable the Project Manager to ensure that the activities are progressing as planned. An obvious agenda on the end of project review will sum up the achievement of KPI’s at all stages of the project. Any areas for improvement can be established during this review and put into lessons learnt.

    Safety and environmental statistics – Safety and environment is on the top of organisations agenda when it comes to project delivery. Accidents that happen as a result of bad safety performance is damaging on a business reputation. There will be procedures and processes set up throughout the project lifecycle to ensure safety is carefully considered. At the end of project review it will be possible to review the performance of the whole project, assess trends and put into an improvement action plan for future projects. I.e. at the end of the project it may be that you had 4 minor accidents, 3 of which occurred during the commissioning of the product. This review would allow you to assess these in detail and put in additional measures to prevent this happening in the future.

    Project Management Methods, tools and processes – A review of the basis of project delivery is important at the end of the project review. Were the PM methods as documented in the PMP successful and if not why not? This can also be said for the PM tools such as the document management / project reporting system used or the snagging system (for handover) as examples. The QA audits will help identify shortfalls in project processes but often processes that are successful from an auditing perspective are deemed unsuccessful for delivery (i.e. heavily bureaucratic, hinders progress). At this review these processes can be identified and improved upon for next time.

    3.List and describe five benefits of project governance?

    Would like to run through the best answer for this question please.

    4.Explain five advantages of a project (task force) project organisation?

    Clear Focus on the project objectives. The scope is clearly defined and each individual team member knows what the project objectives are. When objectives are clear there is less room for error.

    Many different skills and specialist professionals who can be relied onto assist in the delivery of the project. An example would be the construction of a multimillion pound stadium in London – the project team may consist of a number of industry professionals which will assist in the overall success of the project (i.e. cost consultants, stadia experts, planning experts who are aware of common conditions associated with such developments etc.)

    Clear management structure – all the staff know who to report to, removing any room for confusion when it comes to knowing who is in charge. This absence of confusion can have a positive effect on performance because any issues get reported to the right people in good time.

    Clear roles and responsibilities – everyone knows what bit they need to do and their involvement in achieving the benefits of the project. These clearly defined roles and responsibilities encourage a more collaborative project team.

    Experience – Many of the project team members would have been involved in various other projects throughout their career in various environments and countries rather than fixed in one organisation (such as in a functional organisation). This experience / knowledge can be called upon to better identify project risks and mitigation methods as an example.


    Jessie Hiney

    List and describe 5 benefits of project governance:
    1. Defined roles and responsibilities: The project governance sets out clearly the roles and responsibilities of all team members. This definition avoids any ambiguity or gaps in responsibilities and every team member knows what is expected of them and what they are required to deliver.
    2. Realistic business case: It is expected that the business case will be realistic and that its benefits will be deliverable. This provides certainty to the project delivery team.
    3. Identified review points(Gateways): By setting out specific review/approval points or gateways and their respective criteria, project governance clearly identifies points at which stage outputs can be reviewed, declared delivered and approval to proceed to the next stage granted. These also provide the procuring organisation an opportunity to stall or stop the project should they need to.
    4. Defined Reporting: The project governance sets out a clear reporting requirements and timetables. It also provides an escalation route for issues or concerns if necessary.
    5. Appropriate Decision Makers: The project needs competent representatives from the organisation to have the necessary authorisation, skills and expertise to take timely decisions. The project governance will provide that the necessary delegated authority is awarded to the necessary personal so as to allow the project to proceed without delay.


    Jessie Hiney

    I have no idea what a “project (task force) project organisation” is!


    Paul Naybour

    Jessie a project based (or task force organisation) is one organised into project teams unlike a functional or matrix organisation. Have a look at page 61 in the book. However I can understand that cold the project question makes little sense, which is why I added it here.


    Paul Naybour

    @ Jessie List and describe 5 benefits of project governance: Good answer, don’t forget to list first and then describe. Makes sure you actually like to a benefit for example

    4. Defined Reporting: The project governance sets out a clear reporting requirements and timetables. It also provides an escalation route for issues or concerns if necessary. In this way the senior managers or the organisation can be confident that they have a clear picture of the status of every project in the organisations portfolio.


    Paul Naybour

    James a very good answer, for governance you can look at the answer Jessie did.


    Paul Naybour

    Jessie Hiney
    List and describe 5 duties of a Project Management Office.

    A good answer, may be a bit on the brief side. a marginal pass..


    Paul Naybour

    Mark Vinall
    1) List and describe five duties of a project management office (PMO)?

    You have the right content but they are looking for a structure with two to three sentences per paragraph, for example (plus a list first)

    a) A PMO provided admin support to the project manager. This can include suties such as dssue of minutes, gathering progress data from the project team and the production of production and issue of reports and notifications to the project team. This support can be vital to a busy project manager running an complex and dynamic project.

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