Google Project Management Professional Certificate Journey – Part II

The Google Project Management Professional Certificate course is a stepping stone anyone who wants to enter the world of project management. The course covers the fundamentals skills for being a successful project manager, for transitioning to a project manager role or changing careers to a project management role.

At the time of writing this post, I had completed the third course – Project Planning: Putting it all together.

The benefits of project planning is to understand the work that is needed to achieve the goals, coordinate efforts and timeline with everyone involved and identify & prepare for risks.

Usually, a kickoff meeting is scheduled at the beginning of the project planning phase. The team members, stakeholders, project sponsor and other members identified from the RACI chart will be present in this meeting. The meeting starts of with a brief introduction of the team members and their roles, followed by project background, goals and scope. This meeting helps to build team rapport and set expectations to the team members.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

A work breakdown structure, commonly know as WBS, sorts the milestones and tasks of a project in a hierarchy. A milestone is an important point that indicates or signifies the completion of a deliverable or a phase. A task is an activity that has to be completed. Multiples tasks should to completed to reach a milestone.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

After the WBS is completed, it is generally translated to a initial plan.

Components of a project plan

  • Tasks
  • Milestone
  • People
  • Documentation
  • Time


We see two kinds of estimations while planning projects – time estimation and effort estimations. Time estimation is the time needed to complete a task. Effort estimation is the amount and difficulty of active work required to complete a task. For eg., the time estimate to complete the cloud storage backup can be 24 hrs. but the effort estimation can be 30 mins in which the resource will configure the setting and start the backup. After this the resource needn’t sit in front of the machine , the backup will keep running in the background.

A good practice during deciding estimates for tasks is to consult the team member who would be working on that task as they can give a better estimate. It is always good to have buffers – task buffer and project buffer. A task buffer is generally set for tasks that are out of the team’s control. For eg., the PM can set the dealing for vendors a few days ahead of the hard deadline so that a small delay can be accommodated in the plan. A project buffer is a buffer set for the project as a whole. A small setback for the project can be accommodated in the project buffer.

Capacity Planning

Capacity is the amount of work the people in the project can reasonably complete in a period of time. Capacity planning is the allocation of people to tasks and finding out whether necessary people are present or not.

Critical Path

Critical path is the bare minimum list of milestones that has to be completed in order to meet the project goal on schedule. To find the critical path, these steps can be followed: list all the tasks, identify the dependencies, make a network diagram, fill in time estimates, then you will be able to identify the critical path.

Project Schedule

The best practices for a project schedule are to carefully review the deliverables, milestones & tasks, to give enough time to plan, to plan for inevitable, to stay curious and to champion your plan. Gantt chart is a useful visualization that helps you to plan a project.


The project budget is an estimated monetary resources needed to achieve the project’s goals. The key factors to consider if the budget is sufficient or not are to understand the stakeholders needs, budget for surprise expenses, review and re-forecast the budget throughout the project delivery. It is good to have a contingency budget that is not present in the actual estimate but used for any unforeseen circumstance. While planning the budget, categorize the costs as direct and indirect. It is beneficial to refer to historical data of similar projects, leverage information from experts, use a bottom up approach to identify all costs and to create a baseline for the planned budget. Throughout the project, you will be mapping the planned costs vs the actual costs.

Budget Plan


Procurement is out sourcing something that has to be completed. The steps in procurement are to initiate, select, write a contract, control and complete. In the initiating phase, the proposal is sent for the work required. In the selecting phase, the vendor is selected. Next, the contract is written of the work that the vendor will be committing to. In the control phase, the progress and quality of the work is measured. Finally, the work is completed. Usually, some documents are created for the work to be done like Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA), Request For Proposal (RFP), Statement of Work (SoW). NDA is a document that keeps the details about the work between the organization and the vendor as confidential. A RFP is shared to vendors with details of work needed to done and in turn asking for a proposal from them. SoW contains the details of the product or services the vendor has to deliver.

Risk Management

Risk is a potential event which can occur and impact a project. Risk Management is the process of identifying and evaluating potential risks and issues that could impact a project. It has five phases – initiate, analyze, evaluate, treat and monitor. The team brainstorms and identifies potentials risks. Then they analyze them to find the probability of it occurring and the impact it can cause. Then the team identifies steps it can take to mitigate the risk. Finally, the monitor as the project progresses to check the likelihood of the risk. Teams can use a fishbone diagram, also known as a cause and effect diagram to show the possible causes of an event or risk. The measure of a risk, calculated by its probability and impact is known as inherent risk. Risks can be mitigated by – avoiding the risk, controlling the risk, transferring the risk or by accepting the risk.

Risk Management Plan

Communication Plan

Communication is the flow of information; includes everything that’s shared, how it’s shared, and with whom. Communication plan is a document that organizes the process, types, and expectations of communications for a project.

Communication Plan

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