One of the topics people struggle with in the APMP is configuration management and that’s because not many projects need the formal control that you get from configuration management; it’s about controlling the design and making sure that all parts of the design move together step by step. So it’s a technical process about controlling the drawings, bills of materials and the documents that constitute the design. So typical documents you would control would be the specifications: requirements specifications, functional specifications, and then all the drawings and the parts lists and the tests that go with those. It’s not just documents but everything technically associated with the project. The steps involved can be remembered by the mnemonic PICSA – not the same as the video company but almost.


P stands for planning – that’s setting up the configuration management system at the beginning of the project – it is usually a database or it can be a  filing system – and how we are going to number the documents, what version control process we are going to use, what document templates we are going to use – all that sort of stuff.


I is Identifying all parts we are going to control in this formal way – that will include all drawings, all the design documents and specifications, but not maybe the risk register, and not maybe the budget, and not maybe emails and letters so it’s the formal things associated with the design.


C is the configuration control that is controlling the changes that happen to documents by issuing a change request or raising a change request before any design document is changed and these might lead to a commercial change but it may, for example, be changing the colour of a wall from green to purple. This is not going to cost any more but it makes it fit with our corporate colour scheme so they are technical changes. And you can imagine there are lots and lots of changes that might happen in projects.


S stands for status accounting and that means making sure we are keeping track of all the changes; the changes that haven’t been done and the latest drawings, and which have been updated and which have not been updated.

And finally we need to make sure that all this information is aligned and make sense and that’s what A is:

A is auditing and that is checking that the configuration documentation all fits together and that we haven’t got any open change requests that haven’t been processed properly .

 So that is configuration management and the simplest way to remember the process is with the mnemonic PICSA – P  I  C  S  A.


Direct download: J671_-_Parallel_Projects_-_PICSA-HD2.m4v
Category:APMP -- posted at: 9:04pm UTC

Parallel Project Training is all about opening up training to the people who couldn’t access it before. We do that by using lots of modern media so that people can learn in much more effective ways. For example, putting material on iTunes, making podcasts, publishing books – a few years ago if you wanted to do a project management training course it would involve 5 days in a class room and would cost you the thick end of £2,000. Whereas nowadays we give people the option to decide how to access that learning and at what cost.


What topics Do You Cover?

We do all of project management really – we do all levels of APM, PMI and PRINCE2 training so those resources are available for people to access as and when they wish to use them. People love the fact that they can listen to the programs on the train, or they can study at home from a book when they wish to.


Who Are Your Clients?

We have some really good clients such as the National Trust, who have some fascinating projects upgrading listed buildings and grade 1 scheduled monument. Network Rail who are a really good client of ours; they have some big changes underway that we are helping them with. Also The Prince’s Foundation for the built environment, which is Prince Charles’ charity, parts of the Ministry of Defence, Essex County Council and lots of other organisations.


What Do Your Customers Want From Your Courses?

Companies are quite often looking for the capability to deliver successful projects and you get that by working very closely with them in a partnership. So understanding their culture and designing courses that really improve particular topics in their organisation; so things they specifically need.

Individuals want to progress their career so they are quite often looking for more certification and qualification based training.

So you have both sets really…

The National Trust for instance is trying to put in a consistent framework that they say will save them £30m a year.

Whereas Network Rail, for instance, is going through a huge change programme and project management is vital for that. Parts of the MOD want to get more mature and more consistent in their delivery so we are helping them with that. Understanding exactly what the need is for each client is really, really important.


Has the way you deliver training changed?

Yes! The way we deliver training has dramatically changed – all the online resources: video, audio, e-learning, publishing books is all a lot easier than it used to be and all those modern learning resources people find much more accessible nowadays; so it has changed a huge amount. And also we originally thought that distance-learning would not be quite as good as a proper classroom course but actually we have found the opposite. The people who study via e-learning by themselves do better in the assessments and better in the exams because they have put their own time into the course and they have engaged in the material as well rather than being force fed it.


What is the Key Element That Parallel Project Training Can Offer a Business?

The key thing that we can offer a business is that we can, using cost-effective ways, improve your ability to deliver successful projects without taking people out of work and putting them in a classroom for a lengthy amount of time.

Read more:

Direct download: J671_-_Paul_Naybour_INTERVIEW-HD_WMV-ipad3.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 8:48pm UTC

Many people taking the APMP get confused between success factors, success criteria and KPIs. The jargon is very similar but the understanding the difference between them is not just important for passing the APMP exam. In this video we explain these terms using the simple story of a birthday cake. 

Project Success Criteria

These are the factors against which the overall success or failure of the project will be evaluated. So for example for a birthday cake this includes if it looks and tastes good, is it delivered on time, does it have the right number of candles. These success criteria can only be evaluates once the project is finished. For a real project the success criteria are that the project is delivered on time, with in an acceptable cost and to a quality fit for purpose. 

Project Success Factors

Are those ingredients which have to be in place for the project to be a success? For a cake this would be a working oven that has a stable and even temperature, sufficient skill in the cook to follow the recipe effectively, the right and fresh ingredients, sufficient eggs and good quality flour. Without these things then the cake project will fail. For a project success factors things such as resources, clear requirements and the support of senior management. These things need to be in place if the project is going to be successful. Without them it is difficult, but not impossible, for the project to succeed. The factors increase the chance of the project achieving its success criteria. For this reason it is useful to identify and actively manage the success factors, as these of the things that the project manager can influence during project delivery. 


These are the returns that come from the completion of the project. Ideally they should be tangible and monetary, although many projects also have many intangible benefits such as brand awareness of an improved environment. For a birthday party this would include happy children, happy memories in the future when you look at the photo.


KPI are measures of progress or quality in the project. So this could include progress against the plan, the stability of the oven temperature. On a typical project this will be number of milestones completed or actual expenditure in a month compared to the plan 


This video podcast is just part of our APMP project management training course

Direct download: J671_-_Parallel_Projects_-_Bday_Cake-HD_WMV-ipad3.mp4
Category:APMP -- posted at: 3:34pm UTC

One area people struggle with in the APMP exam is project governance. However sad bet can help you remember this topic.

Senior Management have a responsibility for governance.

Accountability needs to be defined for governance.

Disclosure of information about the project must be open and honest

Business case must be in place and align with the corporate strategy for every projectEvaluation of project by external peer groups is a required to ensure it remains in control

Termination of projects that don’t have a viable business case must be done.

Direct download: J671_-_Parallel_Projects_-_SADBET-HD_WMV-ipad.mp4
Category:APMP -- posted at: 9:16pm UTC


APM Project Management Podcast from Parallel Project Training

Parallel Project Management Training is a highly flexible Project Management training company managed by seasoned professional project managers specialising in APM, APMP, PMI, PMP and PRINCE2.

APMP, PMP, PRINCE2 from Parallel Project Management Training

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