Closing the Gap Between Strategy and Results

Copyright Â© 2011 RPM Systems Corporation

There is no better learning for math than by using it on an applied basis in the context of how it is actually used in careers that hold a studentâ€™s interest.

Typical high school business math seldom goes beyond the basic math inherent in everyday life (checkbook accounting, interest income or expense, credit, mortgages, etc.) or running a small business (markup, discounts, accounting for income and expenses, credit, loans, etc.).

However, looking carefully at the tools and techniques that are useful in project management, algebra and higher math skills like math analysis and calculus can be incorporated to enhance student learning of math that is actually used in business. Probability, estimation techniques, statistics, data analysis, projections and related business math applications all relate to an organizationâ€™s ultimate Return on Investment.

A review of PMBOKâ€™s framework in the Project Management Body of Knowledge shows the math tools and techniques specifically mentioned in different process groups and knowledge areasâ€¦where math is in everyday use in business and industry.

There is a body of applied math at a variety of levels that is useful and used consistently in business that can be teased out of existing tools and techniques found in PMBOKâ„?/span>, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (Guide, 4th Edition) or seamlessly added to a course in project management at the high school/community college level.

Probability, statistics, ROI, the time value of money, data analysis, estimating, projections and research all contain rich uses for math, including algebra and beyond that can lead to understanding of math through relevant quantitative applications that make sense in the world of learners who want to know, â€œwhy learn thisâ€¦what good is itâ€¦how will I ever use it? /span>

Elements of algebra and higher order math found in economics, finance and quality management are additional learnings that can be added to PMBOK-

The structure of PMBOK always includes tools and techniques between inputs and outputs as it codifies the process of project management for learners under the umbrella of PMIâ€™sâ„?/span> (the Project Management Instituteâ€™s) certification learning content.

This draft document is a first-

6.4.2 Estimate Activity Durations: Tools and Techniques

Parametric estimating uses a statistical relationship between historical data and other variables. Three point estimates or PERT (program evaluation and review techniques) analysis calculates an Expected Activity Duration (tâ‚? uses a weighted average of three estimates

t1 = (t1 + 4*t2 + t3)/6

Where

t1 = most optimistic duration

t2 = most likely duration

t3= most pessimistic duration

7.1.2 Estimate Costs: Tools and Techniques

Parametric estimating and PERT analysis are listed as cost estimating tools.

8.1.2, 8.2.2 Planning for Quality and Performing Quality Assurance

Quality audits and Process Analysis uses statistics, data analysis, graphing and formulas for estimating, predicting and analyzing performance against prediction.

8.3.2 Perform Quality Control: Tools and Techniques

Cause and Effect Diagrams, Control Charts, Flowcharting, Histograms, Pareto Diagrams, Run Charts, Scatter Diagrams, Statistical Sampling, etc. are tools and techniques pervasive in todayâ€™s business world. These and other Total Quality Management tools and techniques can/should be introduced and used throughout a class in Project Management.

11.3.2 Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis: Tools and Techniques

Risk probability and impact assessment, establishing and using risk probability and impact matrices and risk data quality assessments all use probability and algebraic formulas as math tools.

11.4.2 Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis: Tools and Techniques

Data gathering and representation techniques, probability distributions, sensitivity analysis, expected monetary value analysis, modeling and simulation are all quantitative tools and techniques used in project management. Monetary value analysis, including return on investment and the time value of money are key math familiarities for everyoneâ€™s personal finance as well as necessary job knowledge in todayâ€™s business world.

11.6.2 Monitor and Control Risks: Tools and Techniques

Risk audits and variance/trend analysis require math knowledge in graphing and formulas, such as with earned value.

Jim Noeldner, PMforCTE 01-

PMBOKÂ® Guide

References