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Running head: PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES

Project Management Methodologies: A Review of the Literature


Pamela McClinton
Liberty University

PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES


Abstract
Project management is a discipline that is growing rapidly as organizations expand
nationally and globally around the world. To successfully implement new strategies,
organizations are faced with selecting project managers to introduce innovative products,
services, software and systems to the gain competitive edge in the marketplace. But simply
selecting a team is not enough. Managers are faced with using innovative skills to deliver
quality outputs in record time. Project management methodologies have been developed over
the last century to help organizations consider all the necessary components of a project and
execute processes to apply improvements to existing systems or introduce new products or
services to the marketplace. A review of the literature supporting some of the most notable
project management methodologies can help project managers make evidence-based decisions
about the benefits of a good project management methodology and select the project
management methodology that is best fits the goals and objectives they seek to achieve.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES

Project Management Methodologies: A Review of the Literature


The turn of the twentieth century catapulted the world into a global age of business,
innovation, war, politics, and technology. As the Industrial Age ended, companies began to
grow nationally and expand globally into new marketplaces. When new ventures arose,
managers were tasked with dividing operational staff into two groups: one group to keep current
operations running while utilizing another group of team members to act on strategies to grow
the business, whether opening a new location, increasing market share, expanding nationally,
creating a new product, or acquiring a new line of business. Consequently, the modern concept
of project management was developed. Over the century, researchers, analysts and managers
have examined the practice of project management. This analysis has generated several
approaches to employing project management within an organization. But to understand the true
advantages of project management, a thorough review of the literature surrounding the history,
definition, as well as the methodologies used in modern project management is necessary. As a
result of exploring the literature supporting project management, managers have the ability to
make evidence-based decisions about the benefits of a good project management methodology
and select the project management methodology that is best fits the goals and objectives they
seek to achieve.
Project Management
The history of project management begins when the word project is defined. While
organizations focus on developing products and services for their customers in their day-to-day
business, there are times when they engage in a temporary assignment to test the introduction of
a new opportunity and determine if it would be advantageous to the department or organization.
A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result

PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES

(Stackpole, 2010, p. 7). A project does not last indefinitely, but instead has time constraints and
is focused on generating a product, service, system or result that is distinctive to the organization.
The uniqueness of the project differs from a program, which can last indefinitely, or a
portfolio, which is a collection of projects (Stackpole, 2010). This uniqueness captivated project
management pioneer, Henry Gantt, an engineer at the turn of the twentieth century. Gantt led the
way in inventing tools to facilitate his team of engineers as they managed projects and consulted
for large companies such as Westinghouse, Canadian Pacific Railways, and Union Typewriter
(Gantt, Henry Laurence, 2006). Gantts most famous development was the Gantt chart, which
began as a daily balance chart depicting the daily process of work. This chart was critical to a
change in the planning practice. The chart focused on time and detail instead of quantity. While
surprisingly simple, the chart was completely revolutionary for the time period. Gantts work
spawned many other engineers and managers to examine projects in a completely new light,
centered around timeliness, attention to detail, and productivity, and how these components
could be captured on a grand scale. The concept of project management was in full swing and
managers pursued the best project management practices to give their organizations the
competitive edge in the marketplace when contemplating new opportunities. Unlike the middle
to late twentieth century where projects were growing and new to the organizational landscape,
Edmonds (2010) states that it is virtually impossible to find a business today where there are no
projects being employed.
Project management is now a rapidly growing field and is defined as the ability to define
a goal, plan to reach it, and then execute the plan with accountability and control (Samid, 1995,
p. 18). When undertaking any task, whether temporary or ongoing, researchers agree that
outlining the overall objective is vital to achievement and it only seems practical to devise a plan

PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES

to get from start to finish. But with temporary tasks, it is even more important that the time
invested in the endeavor is utilized in the most efficient of ways because this costs the
organization less money and time allocated to resources used to the project. Since the time of
Gantt, managers have become more dedicated to the skill of project management and
associations have been established to help project management professionals understand the
worldwide standards that make project management successful in todays businesses.
Project Management Methodologies
As project management grew fast during the twentieth century, the subject moved from a
concept to a discipline that would be practiced to gain competitive advantage in the world
marketplace. Researchers sought to improve the practice of project management. Several
prominent methodologies are now in use due to the investment of time and research focused on
project management. In 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI) was founded and set out
to be an association where project management professionals worldwide could collaborate on
best practices in project management. PMI developed The Guide to the Project Management
Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), now in its fourth edition, a leading guide of PMI standards for
project managers worldwide (Stackpole, 2010).
The PMBOK guide is not a methodology itself, but promotes several key components
that good methodologies must contain. These areas are integration, project scope, time, project
cost, project quality, human resources, project communications, project risks, and procurement.
Greater detail of these areas will be discussed in subsequent methodologies, but the guide also
advocates that all projects hold to a project life cycle which includes initiating, planning,
executing, control, and closing (Strait, 2006). With the temporary nature of projects, utilizing a
project life cycle is beneficial to adhering to time constraints given by upper level management.

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The use of a specific methodology, or procedure, gives managers a directive on undertaking their
projects that can help achieve the goals they desire to ultimately accomplish. A review of the
literature concerning five prominent project management methodologies will be discussed in the
following sections. These methodologies include: Agile, Prince2, Six Sigma, System
Development Life Cycle (SDLC), and Waterfall.
Agile
The software industry faced significant challenges with the rise of computer processing
and the Internet Age. Software developers were unable to create a sustainable software
application product because of the number of glitches that a software application faced in
different microcomputer environments or with upgrades to computer operating systems. This
prompted several information technology engineers to come together at the turn of the twentyfirst century to create the Agile Alliance (Mellor, 2005). In the Alliances well-known Agile
Manifesto, the proponents of a more lightweight method of software development share a project
management methodology that has become recognized as Agile Project Management.
In this methodology, the alliance sets forth several fundamentals that express the
perspective of this project management approach. First, the method emphasizes individuals and
interactions over processes and tools (Mellor, 2005, p. 17). This means that investing in the
team of people within your project is critical to generating the best product. The process used
and the tools employed are useless without a solid team that is able to work together. Next, the
Agile approach advocates working software over comprehensive documentation (Mellor,
2005, p.17). Within project management, documenting a process had become overemphasized
and exhausted time and resources. So, in Agile Project Management, the developers suggested
focusing on working software more than an exhaustive explanation of the how to get the

PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES

software working. This concept was equivalent to having a map to get home works better than
recording the route to get home on a piece of paper. Then, the Agile approach encourages
customer collaboration over contract negotiation (Mellor, 2005, p.17). Within many
organizations, the customer of a project is internal, but in the software industry, customers are
mostly external and should be consulted in regards to whether the right product is being
delivered. Lastly, the Agile methodology upholds responding to change over following a plan
(Mellor, 2005, p. 17). This principle teaches that sometimes following a plan may not yield the
best results especially if change in the market, the industry, or with the customer occurs.
Therefore, teams should be adaptive and react to the rapid change of economic environments or
customer demands rather than concentrating on a plan.
The concepts found in Agile project management answer several distinct implications
that are prevalent to in the world marketplace. The first is that the business and technology
worlds have become turbulent, high speed, and uncertain, requiring a process to both create
change and respond rapidly to change (Cockburn & Highsmith, 2001, p. 131). The uncertainty
of the economy and the rapid pace at which technology is growing demands project management
professionals to become adaptive to constant changes, especially in the midst of projects which
are temporary in nature. Cockburn & Highsmith (2001) also note that the Agile approach is not
just about getting used to change, but embracing change along with maintaining quality has
become paramount to the success of the practice. Secondly, the Agile project management
methodology is intended for people. One of the most significant characteristics the developers of
the project management methodology desire for implementers of the practice to understand is
that this method places more emphasis on people: their talent, expertise, amiability, and
interaction (Highsmith & Cockburn, 2001). Concentrating on these factors helps managers build

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a better team. With a better team, the organization will ultimately produce the best quality
product and in less time. Overall, this methodology functions from the position that ensuring the
concepts that the project management team incorporates centers on having a team with the
expertise to produce the best quality product even amid a rapidly changing environment in the
end leads to competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
Prince2
The Prince2 project management methodology stands for PRojects IN Controlled
Environments (What is PRINCE2? 2012) and was developed in 1989. It is the project
management standard for the UK governments information technology projects though it is now
used extensively in both the public and private sectors. Prince2 is described as a structured
project management approach and centers on eight characteristic techniques for the successful
administration and control of a project (Karamitsos, Apostolopoulos, & Bugami, 2010).
Starting Up a Project. Within the Prince2 project management methodology, the first
process is the startup of the project. The startup centers on selecting the project and the project
management team. A Project Mandate is required to begin selection of team members and also
outlines the purposes and results of the project (Karamitsos, Apostolopoulos, & Bugami, (2010).
This mandate usually comes from a Programme Committee or a group of similar classification
(Vais, Miron, Pedersen, & Folke, (2006).
Directing a Project. The next step within the Prince2 project management methodology
is to direct the project. This function of the project begins with the startup of the project and
lasts until the projects closure (PRINCE2 Process Model, 2012). Directing the project is
typically carried out by a Project Board, which is usually the senior management of the project
team. The Project Board guides all activities of the project and resources used during the project.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGIES

To accomplish this task, the Project Board authorizes the initiation of the project, approves the
business case for the project, reviews the project at each of its stages boundaries, engages in
progress monitoring, and ensures that the project comes to an organized close while experiences
from the project are shared with other (Karamitsos, Apostolopoulos, & Bugami, 2010).
Initiating a Project. The third stage of the Prince2 project management methodology is
initiating the project. In this process, a project initiation document (PID) is presented that
includes the project plan and costs associated with the project including: the plan objectives, key
performance indicators (KPI) of the project, impacts and assumptions, project constraints and
evaluations of options, benefits analysis, risks, and the delivery of all project implementations
with stages and/or milestones (Karamitsos, Apostolopoulos, & Bugami, 2010). This process
leaves little to be questioned about the advantages of the project for upper management staff. The
plan is required to be thorough to answer all questions and concerns that could be raised from
moving forward with significant investments in the project.
Controlling a stage/milestone. The fourth process of Prince2 involves directing each
milestone or stage the project reaches. Karamitsos, Apostolopoulos, & Bugami (2010) share that
this breaks the project into practical and controllable stages that facilitates monitoring the
projects activities. This process is a main standard in Prince2 project management methodology
that sets it apart from other project management techniques. Hinde (2012) reports that
controlling a stage involves completed work packages, reviewing the work package status,
authorizing the work packages, reviewing the stage status, capturing and examining the risks
involved, taking corrective action, reporting the highlights, and escalating issues and risks as
necessary.

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Managing Product Delivery. To manage the delivery of the project, or that each stage
of the project is completed successfully, Prince2 identifies its fifth process of managing product
delivery. Hinde (2012) notes that this process involves three distinct activities: accept a work
package, execute a work package, and deliver a work package. The work package is simply all
of the work agreed upon by the team and the project manager. So, reports are often exchanged to
ensure the work packages are in agreement with the cost, quality, an timing of the project
(Karamitsos, Apostolopoulos, & Bugami, 2010).
Managing stage boundaries. The sixth process of the Prince2 project management
methodology is managing stage boundaries. To move successfully from one milestone, or stage,
to another, project managers must ensure that all components of the stage have been satisfied. In
most projects, approval from a senior management team is necessary to move from one stage to
the next (Karamitsos, Apostolopoulos, & Bugami, 2010).
Planning. The seventh process of planning in Prince2 is a repeatable procedure that is
carried out for the entire length of the project. In planning, the project team is required to have a
deliverable checklist and log of risks associated with the plan (Karamitsos, Apostolopoulos, &
Bugami, 2010).
Closing a project. The final process in the Prince2 project management methodology is
closing the project. Closing the project does not require substantial activity as it is chiefly
making sure that all results of the project have been delivered and the objectives of the project
have been met (Karamitsos, Apostolopoulos, & Bugami, 2010). Hinde (2012) goes further to
note that closing a project is where ownership of these products is transferred from the project
team to the clients or operational teams (Chp. 11, p. 3).

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Overall, the eight processes that form the Prince2 project management methodology offer
a comprehensive project management strategy that aids project teams in all areas of the project to
be successful in delivering a quality, cost-effective, and detailed product for its client.
Six Sigma
The Six Sigma project management methodology was developed in the 1990s by
Motorola, Inc., a world leader in the telecommunications industry. The approach is best
described by researchers as a data-driven structured problem solving methodology for solving
chronic issues facing business (Joshi, 2012, p. 2). Six Sigma is known and employed by
organizations around the globe because of its success in helping gain competitive advantage
within their industries. The objectives of Six Sigma are ten-fold: to improve customer
satisfaction, gain process knowledge, defeat reduction, yield improvement, obtain higher
operating income, target Six Sigma standards, improve process capability, defeat the
competition, gain market share, and produce continuous improvement (Joshi, 2012). The
approach is highly systematic and has been revised several times. This literature review will
analyze the DMAIC methodology: an acronym for define, measure, analysis, improve, and
control.
Define. The first component of the methodology requires project teams define the
requirements and expectations of the customer, define the project boundaries, and define the
process by mapping business flow (Kwak & Anbari, 2006). When defining the project, a
determination of the objectives the results of the project is established.
Measure. The second process in the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology is to measure.
This component is intended to measure the processes used that are meant to satisfy customer
needs, develop a plan for collecting all data, and after collection, compare the data to decide if

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there are issues or deficiencies (Kwak & Anbari, 2006). DeMast & Lokkerbol (2012) share that
this process takes the problem that project managers face and breaks it into measurable parts so
that an evaluation of the current position can be identified.
Analyze. In the third process of the DMAIC methodology for Six Sigma, an analysis of
the causes of deficiencies and the sources of discrepancies are identified. Project managers also
use this process to determine the differences in the procedures and then order opportunities for
future enhancement (Kwak & Anbari, 2006). This component is fundamentally a diagnosis of
the problem that has caused the project to be implemented or an explanation of why things are
the way they are (DeMast & Lokkerbol, 2012, p. 604).
Improve. In the improve process of the Six Sigma project methodology, project
managers are tasked with improving the process to eradicate variations, produce innovative
alternatives, and then execute their improved project plan (Kwak & Anbari, 2006). As the
objective of Six Sigma is to improve the quality of process outputs (Joshi, 2012, p.1), this
component of the methodology is significant to the project management methodology. After all,
the effectiveness of a new product, service, or outcome is the purpose behind embarking on a
new project for many organizations.
Control. The last component of the Six Sigma DMAIC project management
methodology is control. This process is aimed at managing the process variations to meet the
expectations of the customer. In this stage, project managers also develop a plan to supervise the
improved processes and then employ the improvements to the systems or structures according to
the project plan (Kwak & Anbari, 2006). DeMast & Lokkerbol (2012) even note that the control
stage is where modifications of the process management system are made so that the
improvements that the project team has implemented are sustainable.

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Six Sigma project management eliminates useless steps in the project management
process. The methodology has permeated nearly all sectors of industry including financial,
heathcare, engineering and construction and research and development because it is a
comprehensive technique that centers on new measurements for improved processes that are
sustainable for an organization (Kwak & Anbari, 2006).
Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
With the arrival of computer information systems, organizations discovered the need to
manage the systems that created, stored, or utilized the information for their businesses. While
information systems were in place before microcomputers, the vast amount of information that
could be housed within databases and servers introduced a new frontier for project management
professionals. Systems Development Life Cycle, sometimes referred to as Software
Development Life Cycle or SDLC, is the process that is followed to define needs, design a
solution and then build the solution (Bentley, 1990, p. 13). Ruparelia (2010) explains that while
there is a slight difference in a systems development lifecycle and a software development
lifecycle, both have borrowed concepts from each other and include the development of a
structural framework of stages to improve an application or system and guide it through these
stages to implementation in the field. The systems development life cycle has been reported to
be one of the more prominent concepts that has come from the field of information systems
because it has had a significant bearing on programs, study, and practice of information systems
(Hedman & Lind, 2009). Most systems development life cycle follow five clear-cut phases:
planning and problem identification, analysis, design, realization, and use and maintenance
(Hedman & Lind, 2009, p. 105) which is most often referred to as the Waterfall method.

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Waterfall. The Waterfall systems development life cycle, or simply, the Waterfall
model or Waterfall method, is one of the first development life cycles instituted and is still
widely used today for systems development (Sasankar & Chavan, 2011). The Waterfall model
was first recorded in 1956 by Herbert D. Benington where he proposed that software be
enhanced in stages, but the model was revised by Winston Royce in 1970 by presenting a
feedback loop so that each stage within the model could be reexamined (Ruparelia 2010). Many
researchers commend the Waterfall model because of it simplicity compared to other systems
development life cycle models and share that it has even strengthened other system development
life cycles. Waterfall steps have varied in name over the years, but still consists of five distinct
areas: system conceptualization, systems analysis, system design, coding and testing.
System conceptualization. During the system conceptualization phase, all aspects of the
business process are examined. The objective of this phase is to determine how all components
of a systems process works together (Sasankar & Chavan, 2011). Many refer to this also as the
planning stage where the project team comes together to identify the demand requirement for a
system (Hedman & Lind, 2009).
Systems Analysis. In the second phase of the Waterfall model, systems analysis, the
project team collects all of the system requirements that must be covered in the system (Sasankar
& Chavan, 2011). This phase also requires a considerable amount of communication between
the project team and the client and is sometimes referred to as simply the analysis phase because
in this stage, the current information system is analyzed and all requirements identified by the
project team (Hedman & Lind, 2009).
System Design. System design is the third stage that encompasses a thorough assessment
of whether a system can be completed and an exploration of logical and physical designs of the

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system are presented (Hedman & Lind, 2009). The systems design requires the project team to
concentrate on the data needed in the system, the software structure and arrangement, as well as
the interface creation. These components of the system design center on what information will
be in the system, how the application will be build and what the system will look like to the
customer system (Sasankar & Chavan, 2011).
Coding. In the fourth stage of the Waterfall model, the system software is created. This
stage is called coding and all of the design elements of the system design phase are necessary to
execute this area of the project (Sasankar & Chavan, 2011). While some researchers refer to this
phase as the realization phase, it is important to note that this is stage of the system development
life cycle is when the solution that has been identified is programmed and installed (Hedman &
Lind, 2009). In the information technology industry, this phase may also be called the roll out
stage of the life cycle.
Testing. The final stage of the Waterfall model is referred to as testing. In this phase,
effectiveness and efficiency is verified to ensure the system is not only functioning in keeping
with the proposed system design, but also that the system is performing all sub-routines and
improvements that were a requirement of the system being enhanced (Sasankar & Chavan,
2011). Other researchers refer to this stage as the use and maintenance phase because this stage
replaces the old system and the use and the maintenance of the system is tested for continuous
operation (Hedman & Lind, 2009).
Benefits of a Good Project Management Methodology
Reviewing the literature supporting these project management methodologies, it is clear
that methodologies have been created to specifically address the needs of certain industries,
whether information technology, construction, financial, or governmental. The common

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denominator for all project management methodologies regardless of industry is that a thorough
analysis of the necessary output, product, service, or system is identified in the beginning stages
of the project. Next, a team focuses on creating a quality improvement to replace or introduce to
the organization or customer. Lastly, documentation of processes and implementations are
recorded so that future advances can be made easily and current outputs (whether products or
systems) can be kept current. These factors are components of all the project management
methodologies that have been discussed.
Selecting the Right Project Management Methodology
When selecting a project management methodology for an organization, Cockburn
(2000) suggests using the following four principles: a larger group needs a larger methodology,
a more critical system needs more publicly visible correctness in its construction, a relatively
small increase in methodology size adds a relatively large amount to project cost, and the most
effective form of communication is interactive and face-to-face. Larger groups need a larger
methodology because the larger the group, notes Cockburn (2000), the more roles at work in the
system. This basis of this principle highlights that a small team methodology will most likely
not work for a large group. In the second principle that Cockburn uses, that a more critical
system needs more publicly visible correctness in its construction, simply translates that an
organization should be able to justify the expense of a more critical system due to its necessity to
protect against mistakes (Cockburn, 2000). A relatively small increase in methodology size adds
a relatively large amount to project cost, the third principle in selecting the right project
management methodology, reveals that if little is investing in the analysis stages of the project,
the cost of updating requirements and processes later will inflate the cost of project overall.
Lastly, and the most effective form of communication is interactive and face-to-face, is included

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as a principle for selecting the best project management methodology because throughout all the
project management methodologies discussed, an extensive amount of communication is
necessary between the project teams and project committee, programme mandates, customers,
clients, upper management, and project boards to effectively produce a quality output from the
time and resources invested in the project.
Conclusion
The last century of research and innovation has not only introduced and given definition
to the concept of the project, a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product,
service, or result (Stackpole, 2010, p. 7), but has also forged the unique discipline of project
management into global culture. From the forefathers of project management until now, the field
has steadily grown and even produced methodologies to help organizations utilize the best
methods for embarking on projects within their businesses. Project management methodologies
have been used globally and worldwide associations such as the Project Management Institute
have been created for the specific purpose of helping project management professionals grow in
their knowledge of project management methodologies and implement best practices for project
management within their organizations.
Reviewing the literature supporting project management methodologies, several
prominent methodologies were discussed that can benefit organizations embarking on projects
within with businesses. In the Agile project management methodology, a less structured
approach to project management is observed. In this four process methodology, people and
interactions with people is highly favored over processes and tools. The methodology prides
itself on delivering a quality software product even if that requires less documentation of the
process to achieve the product. Customers are a significant component in Agile project

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management methodology and preferred over contract negotiations. Lastly the methodology
encourages reacting to change within the project rather than just simply following a plan of steps
until completion. Reacting to change often yields an adaptive response to create a better system
because changes during the project management process may need to be addressed.
Prince2 project management methodology was a comprehensive approach to project
management that involved six stages of the project process and was so effective that the UK
government implemented the project management methodology for all of its information
technology projects. The six stages journeyed from starting up a project to closing a project with
each stage going through a comprehensive review of the necessities to begin and end a project
methodically, carefully, and exhaustively. The Six Sigma project management methodology was
not only introduced by the technology powerhouse Motorola, Inc., but is globally recognized as
an approach to help organizations gain competitive edge in the marketplace. Six Sigmas
DMAIC methodology defines, measures, analyzes, improves, and controls the project process to
deliver an innovative, yet quality output from its project teams. The Systems Development Life
Cycle (SDLC) also incorporates comprehensive techniques to help systems and software project
teams improve their information systems in detail. While SDLC is a project management
methodology, it has been revised many times and the notable Waterfall model of the SDLC was
reviewed to show its simplicity in helping software project teams enhance software and systems
thoroughly. When choosing any project management methodology, it is recommended that
project teams look at the benefits of a good project management methodology, as well as select a
project management methodology that is appropriate for their organizational size, the necessity
of their software systems, and the requirements of their customer.

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Project management methodologies will only continue to develop in the global
marketplace. Thus, it is imperative that project managers have a thorough understanding of the
needs of their clients, their current processes, and the techniques that can assist them in
improving their processes for competitive advantage in todays world.

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