Life and Spiritual Coaching

September 8, 2008

Staying focused – part of Life/Work Balance

Filed under: Life Balance — by Donna Ritter @ 6:12 pm
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The world we live in is extremely busy. Every morning, I have over a hundred emails in my inbox. If I were to carefully go through all of that email the first thing in the morning, I’d end up being bushed before the day began! Something I learned early on in my career was that I needed to stay focused on the most important tasks and screen my time working on non-essential things. This includes a lot of the email that most of us receive. I also learned to value my work life balance. I have a family to spend time with and being a workaholic was not on my priority list!
I put several practices into place to ensure that my life stays balanced. First was to establish clear working hours and stick to them! Another was to clear my desk every afternoon and write down my most important tasks for the next day before I left. That way when I came in the next morning I had a starting point for the day that followed.
Some of the habits I had to change were saying “yes” to every request. I classified requests for my time as vital, important or normal. I also let everyone I worked with know that I had 2 scheduled times to respond to email and phone calls – and that I’d be screening the requests. If it was an emergency, they needed to let me know that. If not, I classified the request in one of the 3 buckets I just mentioned.
Another thing I needed to do was delegate things to others who were more than capable of completing the request. I had to let go of my desire to “do” everything myself. I have always made sure to talk to anyone I worked for to find out what were the most important things to them and to let them know how that they could get my immediate attention if need be.
I also gave up on the idea of multi-tasking being a great solution. Although I thought I did it well, in reality it scattered my thoughts and increased the length of my work day. I gave up on being a perfectionist. They amount of time I spent polishing something was not always productive.
An important part of staying focused is to keep track of your time in your daily schedule to see how much time plan to spend on each task. Then next to each task, write an ROI value. When you look over this list of tasks you can fine tune your ability to prioritize your work to make sure you are putting your time towards the most valuable tasks.

When I put these practices in place for myself, I found is that I was more relaxed, got more things done and left work at a reasonable hour.

May 28, 2008

PMP Project Time Management Notes

Filed under: PMP — by Donna Ritter @ 6:20 pm

My notes on Time Management for the PMP test.


     ·Baseline – original approved with approved change 

·Work Breakdown Structure: WBS – most central item; deliverable oriented;

 The WBS helps to define scope. One teacher told me if you do not know the answer to a

 question, it is probably WBS.

·Refinements = WBS updates; Revisions = Schedule updates

 (usually a result of scope/cost change, start/finish date)

·Work package – lowest level to manage; lowest level of WBS;

 assigned to one person; broken into activities, and then discrete tasks;

 level-of-effort, proportionate

·WBS dictionary – work package descriptions; schedules; budgets;

 and staff assignments

·CWBS, Contractual WBS – when and what information supplied

 to the buyer

·OBS, Organizational BS – relate work package to individuals and

 resources; organizational WBS

·Change control process – set up in scope definition; implemented with baseline;

 authorized change; itself need to be authorized

·Dependencies – mandatory, discretionary, or external; restricted by constraints

·Project network diagrams – activities and the logical relationships; explanation of their

 sequencing; PERT chart; PDM is a method

·Activity duration estimates – specific numbers, range, possibility; 2 weeks ± 2 days

 or 85% probability 3 weeks or less

·Leads – start earlier; -; FS –2 the successor start 2 days earlier before the finish of the


·Lags – more time needed, +; FS +2 the successor start 2 days later after the

 finish of predecessor

·Effort – people-hours; estimated cost

·Duration – time to do a task; only working time

·Span – time that elapsed between the start and finish; considered in activity

 duration estimating

·Total float, or Slack = LF – EF or LS – ES based on duration, not activity

·Total float (slack) – time of activity can be delayed without causing a delay in

 the overall project time; negative float not enough time; accident of the logic;

 no risk consideration involved; chain activity floats are all the same but can only

 be used once

· Free float – time of activity can be delayed without delaying the early start of

 any immediately following activities; no negative; occur when two or more

 activities share a common successor

·Float variance analysis – sorted sub critical activities analyzed

·Critical path – group of activities; “zero float”; longest path; shortest

 finish time; could not delay without delaying the project no resource constraints

 considered; deterministic numbers; not critical activities, just activity duration;

 may change as time progresses; may have more than 1

·Overloaded resources may result inefficiencies

·Resource leveling – accommodate resource constraint; result longer than

 preliminary schedule; adjustments to critical activities; reduce the over-utilization

 of resources. This is very easy to use with Microsoft Project Server.

·Critical chain – schedule with resource limits; buffers used; time/resource/risk

·Crashing – doing anything to reduce delay; often higher cost; time/cost optimization

·Fast tracking – overlapping of project phases or activities; often rework or higher risk.

· A project schedule should not be adjusted by lengthening the duration of the activities

·Buffering – increase schedule or reduce risk; using lags in the relationships

 or creating buffer activities (create a duplicate activity for each activity that is to be buffered)

·Gantt Charts – timing and orders; hide relationships and resource requirements

·PERT, Project Evaluation and Review Technique

·Expected Value = (Optimistic + 4*Most Likely + Pessimistic)/6

 Normally, the expected value is higher than the average value and  

 the most likely value because most activities take more time rather than less.

 The most likely value has a higher probability than the expected value (Standard Deviation =

(Pessimistic – Optimistic)/6

·95.5% probability of being within 2* Standard Deviation of the expected value (mean value)

·99.7% probability of being within 3*Standard Deviation of the expected value

·Project duration – only the critical path duration and SD

·In PERT, if the scheduled project completion time and sum of the average completion

 time for critical path activities are the same, the probability of completing the project

 on schedule is estimated at 50%, assuming no other paths are near-critical.

·PERT assumptions – stable critical path; “Beta” probability distribution; defined time;

 resource free; cost direct of time; no time value

·GERT, Graphic Evaluation and Review Technique – simulation; probability distributions

 and conditional logic; looping

·The result of CPM, PERT, GERT dates are not the schedule, but rather indicate the

 time periods within which the activity could be scheduled given resource limits and

 other known constraints.

·Monte Carlo – simulation; result probability of each possible date or cost;

 You need pessimistic, optimistic, and most likely values and likelihood of the estimate between

 the optimistic and most likely values

·Simulation – uncertainties translated into impacts and possibilities; used in schedule

 development & quantitative risk analysis; Monte Carlo, GERT, What-if;

·The project schedule remains preliminary until resource assignments have

  been confirmed. This would usually happen no later than the completion of project

  plan development.

·The supporting details of the project schedule – resource requirements by time period;

 Alternative schedules and schedule contingency reserves may be used.

·When risk occurs, schedule baseline will be adjusted to include the contingency

 reserve time, which will be deducted from the reserve pool.


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