What PMAP is. Project Management at Penn (PMAP) is a methodology for managing all kinds of projects.
While it has elements in common with other project management methodologies (for example, the Project Management Institute (PMI) methodology), it has been especially created for use at Penn, taking into account unique features of the Penn structure and culture.
Information Systems and Computing (ISC) initially developed PMAP for large-scale, in-house information technology projects; however, many PMAP components, such as phased project approval, project governance, and management schedules, can be incorporated into the management of all projects, large or small. PMAP is designed to be scalable and it can be applied to projects with durations as short as three months or as long as several years. And a permanent process of grass-roots continuous improvement allows PMAP to continue to evolve with the needs of the University.
Basic princicples. PMAP is designed to get quality results and satisfied clients by focusing on simple yet powerful principles of project management:
- Approve projects phase-by-phase
- Manage the iterative process to promote creativity and facilitate progressive refinement, while preventing rework
- Make decisions, agreements, and assumptions explicit
- Perform frequent reality checks
- Involve clients in all phases of the project
- The "buck" stops with the executive sponsors
PMAP is based on phased project approval, project sponsorship, and frequent and comprehensive status checks. The methodology encourages early and complete definition and planning, provides channels of communication to all involved parties, and builds a partnership between managers and clients by ensuring that clients are formally involved in all stages of a project. PMAP allows informed decision-making by building in frequent reality checks on project budget, schedule, scope, and benefits.
The principles of PMAP should be adhered to on every project, small or large. The activities that make up the PMAP model and their associated deliverable templates were designed to support and advance those principles; however, not every activity may need to be performed and not every template may need to be completed to execute a given project in accordance with those principles. The project manager should consider each activity and each deliverable, but has discretion in deciding the extent to which it is applicable to, or required by, the project.
What PMAP does NOT include. PMAP is not a product development methodology.
It can be used in conjunction with a variety of product development methodologies (e.g., Waterfall, Agile, etc.) appropriate to individual projects. Unlike product development methodologies, which focus on the tasks needed to develop a specific product within the scope of the project (e.g., a computer system or upgrade),PMAP focuses on the tasks needed to manage the overall work effort. These tasks include, for example, preparing and presenting a project proposal, developing project plans and managing project plans, issues and changes to scope.
PMAP is not a priority-setting mechanism; it does not answer the question of which projects will be authorized.
Why use PMAP. With PMAP, you get quality results and satisfied clients.
When PMAP is used. Information Systems and Computing uses PMAP for efforts that can be qualified as projects.
Flexibility and scalability. PMAP is meant to provide a flexible framework.
It is a set of guidelines to be adapted to specific projects; project managers employ what is useful to their individual projects.
Focusing on organizational objectives and utilizing the corresponding PMAP principles allows project managers to retain PMAP’s important features, such as phased approvals and a specified governance structure, but vary the usage of particular project management activities to suit the needs of the project. By applying appropriate activities and deliverables and varying the level of formality, project managers can scale PMAP to projects of any size and complexity.
One of PMAP’s advantages is that it provides a common language of roles, phases, decision points, and deliverables. Organizations using PMAP can accumulate a common body of experience in the form of sample documents from various projects. Each time PMAP is used, a growing set of examples and the experience of others add to the set of knowledge which can be leveraged to improve the project experience in the future.
Scalability using PMAP may be achieved in several ways. For example:
Phase Iteration: PMAP is scalable to projects of any size and complexity by allowing multiple iterations of both the Planning and Execution phases.
Consistency vs. Formality: PMAP provides a foundation for consistent application of project management practices to all projects, and provides some aids in that respect: the life cycle model, phase gate requirements, process guidance, and deliverable templates. It is well understood that project communication and documentation needs vary widely, especially with respect to the level of formality that is required for deliverable templates, such as the project proposal or a status report. Larger size and/or higher complexity projects probably require more formality and detail to convey a correct and complete picture of project plans or accomplishments. Shorter and simpler projects may require very little in the way of formal documentation.
The project manager has wide latitude in deciding, together with the owners and sponsors, what level of formality is appropriate for the project. The project manager can consider all aspects of a suggested template, but has discretion in deciding how those requirements will be addressed on the project. This approach ensures consistency of results but allows variations in the amount of effort required to achieve them.
Learning more about PMAP.