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Tuesday, 24 November 2020


What to Expect When Taking the Exam?—Center-based (in person) & Online:
The PMP exam is timed, you have 240 minutes (4 hours) to complete the exam, and it consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. Of those, 25 are considered pretest questions (which means only 175 are scored), and these are placed randomly throughout the exam. You will get a pass/fail result at the end of the exam.

The exam is divided into two sections; there is a 10-minute break after you complete the first section (does not count toward the 240 minutes). Once your break has begun, you can’t go back and review any questions from the previous section.

The exam is preceded by a tutorial and followed by a survey, neither of which are required or are counted in the 240 minutes.

PMP exam questions are based upon and satisfy the test specifications outlined in the PMP Exam Content Outline (ECO).

You will be permitted to have scratch paper and a pencil, or a dry-erase board and marker(s). For online exams, you’ll have access to a virtual whiteboard. If you would like to know more about the online version of the exam and how it works, there’s a great tutorial video you can find on Pearson VUE’s website here.

Tips for Passing the Exam:

Have a strategy to combat/control anxiety:
This could include things like getting lots of rest before the exam and eating a good meal and drinking lots of water beforehand. Previously, one would use the tutorial time to write down their brain dump. But under the new policy, an individual can’t be writing down their brain dump until their exam actually begins. So, if someone spends 15 minutes writing the brain dump down, they just used 15 minutes of their overall exam time. Use these 15 mins only if you need and try not to waste any of your time spent on writing the exam. Plan this before you enter the exam center and try to avoid getting anxious over the last minute!

Stress management during the exam:
If you start to feel stressed or have anxiety, take a few deep breaths, and try to clear your head of the negative self-talk. Find a strategy that works for you and be sure to employ it during the exam. It may take some time to figure out what works for you to reduce your stress level, and this should be part of your exam preparation.

If you are unsure of the answer to a question, or several questions in a row, during the exam –don’t panic! Just take your best guess and follow the principle of the process of elimination – you should be able to eliminate two of the choices fairly quickly, so then you’ll have a 50/50 chance to determine the correct answer from the remaining two choices. 

Tips for Passing PMP Exam

Have a good study plan that will allow you to focus your studies on the right content. Refer to the Exam Content Outline (ECO) for more information about what to prepare for on the exam.

The Number One best piece of advice I received before taking the exam was that it is best to answer every question, even if you must guess. Because a 25% chance to get it correct is better than a zero percent chance if you don’t answer it at all!

Also, remember that you have 4 hours (240 minutes) to complete 200 questions, which equates to approximately about 83 seconds, or 1 minute 20 seconds, per question. Keep this in mind as you’re taking practice tests and time how long it takes you to complete each question. This is a good strategy to combat anxiety and fully prepare for the exam.

When you take practice tests, try to simulate how the real exam will be as much as possible—complete your brain dump using scratch paper, have a timer ticking down, etc. If you know what to expect, this can help you feel more prepared, and that is a key to success – preparation!

EduMind Inc at 04:34

Tuesday, 17 November 2020


The Project Management Institute (PMI) is changing the PMP exam content effective January 2, 2021. You can locate the new Exam Content Outline (ECO) on PMI’s website here. The ECO outlines the Domains, Tasks, and Enablers that will be covered on the exam. 

Please note that the PMP exam is available to take online; you can find more information about this process on PMI’s website. 

Outline of Changes to the New PMP Exam Content 

The new exam content will incorporate approaches relative to the value delivery spectrum. Approximately half of the exam will represent predictive project management approaches, and the other half will represent agile or hybrid approaches, all of which are found throughout the three domain areas listed below. 

The following image identifies the proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the exam: 

PMP Exam Content Is Changing

Content Area Definitions and Examples 

Each domain has tasks and enablers associated with it. Per the ECO, PMI defines the content areas as follows: 

  1. Domain: the high-level knowledge area essential to the practice of project management 
    1. An example of a high-level knowledge area would be People 
  2. Task: the underlying responsibilities of the project manager within each domain area 
    1. An example of a task would be Manage conflict 
  3. Enabler: illustrative examples of the work associated with tasks 
    1. An example of an enabler would be to interpret the source and stage of the conflict

EduMind Inc at 10:03

Tuesday, 10 November 2020


By Rebecca Zapor, PMP 

Studying for the PMP exam requires both a strategy and a plan, so I’ll share some ideas and suggestions for how to create ones that are customized to your specific needs. 

Armed with this information, you should be able to come up with a solid strategy and plan that will help you effectively use the time you have available to study. Best of luck to you, and happy studies! 

Understand the Exam Content: 

First and foremost, it is important to understand what information will be on the exam—for this, you should locate the updated 2021 Exam Content Outline (ECO) found on PMI’s website. 

Please be aware that the exam content is changing as of 2 January 2021, so it is important to understand this to ensure that you’re studying for the correct version of the exam. The advice I’m giving here is based on the assumption that you’ll be taking the new exam content. 

Carefully reading and fully understanding the ECO is considered the first step because if you are unaware of what the content of the exam is or will be, then it’s difficult to know where to focus your studies. I’m certain that you wouldn’t want to put in months of work only to discover that you studied the wrong thing, so knowing what to expect is the first thing to take into consideration when creating a study strategy. 

Set a Deadline to Take the Exam: 

Now that you understand the exam content, the next step would be to set a deadline to complete your studying, and you can do this by selecting a date to take the exam (not more than one year out) and scheduling it. 

By scheduling the exam, you’re giving yourself a finite deadline and ensuring that you have enough time to study. Plus, you’ll need to plug this information into the upcoming step of creating your study plan. 

Create A Study Timeline: 

So now that you know what content the exam covers, and you’ve picked a date that you will take the exam – you’re ready to create your timeline

It is important to know how long you have to study for the exam when creating the study plan so that you know how best to break down your outline, and how long you’ll have to spend on each section. 

In addition, this is where you’ll want to decide if you will take a PMP Exam preparation course; it’s important to note that if you do take a course, there will still be a lot of self-paced studying, so you’ll have to be disciplined, accountable, focused, and motivated. 

Some questions to consider about PMP exam prep courses: 

  1. Will it be self-paced (on demand) or led by an instructor? 
  2. How long will the course last? 
  3. How will I ask questions? 

PMP Exam Study Plan

Create A Study Plan: 

Now you’re ready to create your study plan. 

The first thing you want to think about when creating your study plan is your learning style. You probably utilize a combination of multiple styles; knowing this information will help you create your strategy and plan, so you will know which strengths to capitalize on to best focus and maximize your studies. 

        Some examples of learning styles: 
    1. Visual/spatial learners tend to learn best by utilizing graphs, tables, charts, colors, and diagrams 
      1. Use color-coded highlighters, pens, markers 
      2. Illustrate notes and unknown words 
      3. Use flash cards 
    2. Aural/auditory learners typically retain information better when it is spoken 
      1. Use mnemonics, rhymes, auditory repetition (See #1 in “General Study Tips & Tricks” section below) 
      2. Try to study in quiet areas where distractions will be minimized 
      3. Read content aloud or have someone read it to you 
      4. Play videos that audibly explain concepts 
    3. Verbal/linguistic learners tend to learn best by utilizing both written and spoken words 
      1. Use mnemonics and acronyms whenever possible 
      2. Write down concepts/ideas that you’ve just learned about, and try to explain them in your own words 
      3. Read content out loud, or listen to it being read (audiobooks, for example) 
      4. Writing or creating your questions based on the content you have just learned is a great way to ensure understanding (can also be done in collaboration with others) 

You’ll now want to use all of the information you have gathered to create a study plan outline. Once you have an outline, you will have a better idea of how long each section will take you to complete. Please keep in mind that you may need to revise your study plan as you progress. 

When creating your study plan outline, here are some elements to take into consideration: 

  1. Break your study guide into sections by chapter within the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition 
  2. Think about the timing as well as the content 
    1. For example, I chose to spend one hour per day during the week, and two to three hours on the weekend studying 
    2. You should proceed at whatever pace works for you; this may require some trial and error 
  3. Tailor your study sessions around the ‘320B’ principle 
    1. This means you want to study 3 topics in 20 minutes, and then take a break 
    2. This is a strategy used to account for the duration of our attention span, and studies have shown that this approach can be effective when learning this type of content 
  4. Incorporate ways to learn relevant vocabulary 
    1. Create your flash cards to help build vocabulary 
    2. Please refer to the ‘Vocabulary Tips & Tricks’ section below for more tips & tricks 
  5. Build in time to review what you have previously learned 
    1. Practice creating/completing a brain dump 
      1. This is a twofold exercise because it can be used while studying and also when you take the exam 
      2. Time it so you have the information you’ll need during the first 15 minutes of the preparation time available before starting the exam (more on this in a future blog). 
    2. Another review strategy is to build 10-15 practice questions into your study guide that cover the content you previously studied. 
  6. Build in goals & rewards 
    1. Make them realistic and manageable 
    2. Try to incorporate weekly and/or monthly goals, or goals by chapter or concept. Do whatever works for you to help you stay motivated! 

General Study Tips & Tricks 

  1. Create your acronyms or mnemonics 
    1. Examples include the order of operations in mathematics: PEMDAS (‘Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally’ which stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction) 
    2. Another example is the mnemonic used to remember the planets in the solar system: My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas (which stands for Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) 
  2. Find a study/accountability partner 
    1. Is there someone else at your company, or in your network, who is also studying for their PMP exam? Team up! Help each other out. 
  3. Make sure that you take time to rest—give your brain at least one day per week to rest and have a break from studying 
  4. Stay hydrated and fuel your brain with food that can help increase your energy 
  5. Familiarize yourself with PMI’s Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct 
    1. This is available via download from PMI’s website and is not specifically referenced as part of the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition. However, you will likely see questions related to this topic on the exam. 
  6. Crunched for time and can’t make your flash cards? 
    1. You can purchase some instead or use PMP exam study apps – there are some free ones, but some of the better ones require you to pay for them. This can be helpful to have access to practice questions and/or vocabulary on the go. 
  7. Join or create a PMP exam study group on LinkedIn 
  8. YouTube videos can be particularly useful learning tools. 
  9. Are you a member of PMI? If so, it’s a good idea to be part of the local PMI chapter as well. 
    1. This is a great way to network, meet other Project Managers, and find others who are studying for the PMP exam with whom you can buddy up 
  10. If you purchase supplemental materials (for example, the study guides created by Rita Mulcahy, Crosswind Learning, or O’Reilly’s “Head First PMP”): 
    1. Find out if they also have an app or online content available to accompany the book/study guide 
    2. What other materials are available to you if you purchase their content? For example, do you get access to practice questions and/or flash cards? 

General Study Tips and Tricks

Vocabulary Tips & Tricks 

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Glossary & Index of the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition 
    1. Familiarize yourself with all definitions in the PMBOK Guide as you’ll need to know them for the PMP exam 
  2. Create your flash cards (or you can purchase them if you have the means to do so) 
  3. Try to learn at least three new vocabulary words per week 
    1. Explaining what the word means out loud to someone else can help solidify your understanding 
    2. Practice using the new words you’ve learned in a sentence whenever possible; try to explain what concepts mean in your own words.

EduMind Inc at 06:00

Tuesday, 06 October 2020


By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP 

As professional exams go, the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is on the more difficult side. Composed of 200 multiple-choice questions, the exam covers five process groups (otherwise known as phases or stages of a project), 10 knowledge areas, 49 defined processes, and dozens of tools and techniques. It covers a lot of ground in four hours—and not a minute more. The passing rate for first-time candidates is about 60 percent. In other words, six in 10 people who take the examination will pass, four in 10 will not. The takeaway is, while the examination is very passable, it is not a walk in the park. You must be prepared and ready. One way to help yourself is learning from the pitfalls that have ensnared the unsuccessful. Here are their six biggest regrets: 

Not starting a review early enough: This regret is a frequent one. As with anything, time has a way of sneaking up on you. Before you know it, the examination is around the corner and you have not started your review. Cramming is always an option, just ask any high school or college student. Unfortunately, cramming is not an effective approach for the PMP exam. The reason is because of what the exam measures. The PMP exam attempts to scientifically measure competence. Each question gauges how well you know the concepts and theory as well as how well you can integrate the right theory with a given set of circumstances. That takes higher order thinking and a cognitive ability. That level of knowledge needed only comes over an extended time period and can no more be reduced to a single marathon cram session than three years of experience can be reduced to 30 days. Give yourself many months ahead of the examination date to review each chapter of The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) using frequent and short review sessions over as long a period as you can give. 

Not using the latest edition of the PMBOK Guide: The PMP examination is based on the latest version of the Project Management Institutes’ PMBOK Guide. The latest version is the Sixth Edition. Editions do change from one edition to another. Sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. From its first edition in the 1990s, the PMBOK Guide has grown from 180 to 980 pages and added 12 new project management processes. The latest edition added an entirely new approach to project management, namely “adaptive” or “agile” as it is commonly known. Resist the urge to save money by borrowing an old copy from a co-worker. Be sure to check the PMI website to identify the latest PMBOK Guide version number, then buy a new copy for yourself. You will be glad you did. 

Not being familiar with the exam question types: The PMP examination relies heavily on “scenario-based” questions. At a quick glance, scenario-based questions appear easy because of their multiple-choice nature. That is where the similarity ends. Scenario-based questions on the PMP exam measure several important aspects of competence not found on more ordinary multiple-choice exams. Not only are the questions designed to test what you know, but they also test your level of comprehension and your ability to apply your knowledge to a set of circumstances and facts. Getting to the right answer requires analysis, evaluation, and the integration of knowledge and experience. It is more difficult than it looks. The good news is that scenario-based questions have been around a long time—long before the PMP exam. Their design and structure are well known. The more you know about the organization of the question, the quicker you can identify the question “stem” and get to the right answer. Better review courses will include a review of the question types and how to approach them. 

Regrets of Unsuccessful PMP Examination Takers

Being over-reliant on work experience as a project manager. As the age-old saying goes, experience is the best teacher. The importance of experience is a key reason why PMI requires all applicants to meet specific minimums. As invaluable as experience is, it alone is not enough to pass. Candidates must also have an excellent grasp of the underlying theories, concepts, and principles of project management along with an understanding of contemporary project management tools, techniques, and processes. In a word, successful candidates must have a strong handle on theoretical project management as well as applied project management. The primary theories, concepts, and principles are included in the PMBOK Guide, many by reference. The PMBOK Guide is a compendium of the entire “body of knowledge” of project management. 

Not committing “inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs” to memory. While it takes knowledge and experience to pass the examination, here is one area where memorization is helpful. The PMBOK Guide includes well over 100 “tools and techniques” which include everything from “scatter-diagrams” to “team-building.” There are also at least 33 specific documents mentioned. The exam expects you to know which tools and techniques, along with which documents are associated with one or more of the 49 defined project management processes. The quicker you can recall the right tool, document, or technique for any given process, the more time you can devote to putting your knowledge and experience into the question. 

Not taking a PMP exam review course. Finally, a common regret is the decision not to take a review course. This is perhaps the most short-sighted shortcut of all. A good review course is essential. Not only will it cover all of the process, tools, and techniques you need to know, it will also cover important considerations including time management, question-types, managing personal issues during the exam, and many other administrative details that build confidence and free your mind to do your personal best. Not all review courses are equal. Make sure that you enroll in a course from a reliable provider. Look for those that are PMI Registered Education Providers (REP). That way you know the material being reviewed matches the PMBOK Guide and the text. 

EduMind is proud to be a Registered Education Provider through the Project Management Institute. Learn more about our comprehensive PMP exam review courses by clicking here.

EduMind Inc at 11:16

Tuesday, 29 September 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is considered to be one of the most challenging exams, and it is not uncommon that a project manager may not pass on the first attempt. While it is every project manager’s goal to pass the first time, what happens if you don’t? 

Passing the PMP exam 

Much to the dismay of PMP candidates, the Project Management Institute (PMI) does not release a passing score on the PMP exam, nor do you receive a percentage score on your test result. While this may be frustrating, it is crucial to understand how PMI determines whether you passed or failed. 

There are hundreds of questions in the PMP question bank. When you start your exam, 200 questions (175 that are scored and 25 that are unscored) are randomly selected from five domains: 

PMP Questions from Five Domain

Each question has been weighted based on its difficulty, with more difficult questions having a higher weighting. That weighting is factored into the final pass/fail result. For example, if you have an exam with more difficult questions, the threshold to pass the exam will be lower. 

What happens if I fail? 

If you do not meet the necessary threshold to pass the exam, you will be notified immediately upon completion of your exam. In addition, you will receive a score report that indicates your proficiency level in each of the five domains. While the report does not tell you what questions you missed, it does map the results to the different tasks, which provides some essential insight. 

You can take your PMP exam up to three times during your eligibility year. Your eligibility year begins the day PMI approves your application. Keep this in mind and ensure that you do not put off your exam until near the end of your eligibility year. In the event you do not pass, you want to ensure that you have time to repeat the exam within that time span. 

The reexamination process 

It typically takes about 48 hours after your failed attempt for the system to be updated with your result. Once that happens, you will receive an email from PMI advising you that you are eligible to pay your fees and schedule your reexamination. The fees for the re-take are $275 for PMI members and $375 for non-PMI members. 

Preparing for your second (or third) attempt 

A frequent contributor to a failing result is fear of the unknown and exam anxiety. Now that you have fully had the experience of taking the exam, hopefully, that anxiety is minimized. Take some time to review your results and go back to the areas where you need improvement. 

To increase your chances of success, it is essential to prepare adequately, but at the same time, you do not want to put off your reexamination for too long, as you may lose some of your prior learning. 

What if I don’t pass after three attempts? 

While it is not common, occasionally, a project manager will use all three opportunities without passing. If you do not pass on your third attempt, you will need to wait a year before submitting a new PMP application and starting the process from scratch. 

And remember, this is a tough exam! Not passing is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Instead, use it as an opportunity to receive some feedback to place yourself in the best possible position for success on your next attempt! 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 11:03

Tuesday, 22 September 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

You have been studying and preparing for your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam, and now it is time to put all of your preparation to the test… literally! You may have heard that the PMP exam is difficult, and the questions—many of which are very wordy—are challenging and often confusing. The good news is that with some proven tactics, you can work your way through even the most difficult questions. 

Tip #1: Read the actual question first 

Many of the PMP exam questions are long and wordy, and yet, there are typically only a few pieces of information that you may need. To best work your way through a long question, actually read what they are asking you first: skip to the bottom and look at the very end of the question. This is especially important before doing any type of lengthy math or calculations that may end up being a waste of time. And sometimes, you may find you do not need any of the information provided as a lead up to the question! 

Tip #2: Read all four answers 

You will typically find that one answer is wrong, one answer is kind of right, and the other two both seem to be correct. You are looking for the best right answer, so never stop at the first right answer. Read all four answers before selecting your choice. You may be surprised that there is an even better answer after evaluating all of the options. 

Tip #3: Be mindful of keywords 

Keywords in the question will enable you to determine the best answer to a question. For example, be on the lookout for words like “except,” “always,” “must,” “never,” or “rarely.” Undoubtedly you will get a challenging double-negative question that gets your head spinning a bit! Please slow down and read carefully what they are actually asking you to answer. 

PMP Exam Tips

Tip #4: Know when to change your answer 

This is a tough one, and there are a lot of mixed opinions out there. My advice would be not to change your answer under most circumstances. Typically, your first or gut response is going to be the correct answer, even if you are unsure of why it is the right answer. Second-guessing yourself can be detrimental in three ways: you are increasing your anxiety, which feeds your flight or fight response; you are losing precious time sitting on a question; and frequently your second answer will be incorrect. 

There are two exceptions for when to change your answer: either another question alerted you that you answered the previous question incorrectly or it was a math problem, and when you double-checked your math, you realized you were off. Just because your math answer is there, does not mean it is correct. 

Tip #5: Answer with PMI in mind 

This can be one of the most challenging aspects of the exam, especially for more experienced or seasoned project managers. To pass the exam, you must answer the questions from the Project Management Institute (PMI) perspective, not using your own experience as a project manager. This means that there may be questions that, in practice, you would not handle the same way as you are going to answer on the exam. That can be tough, but remember, the goal here is that you pass your exam and hopefully on your first attempt! 

While there is no 100% foolproof way to pass the PMP exam, using these tips can undoubtedly improve your likelihood. Good luck on your exam! 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 08:21

Friday, 18 September 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

The vast majority of people have some form of exam anxiety, and the intensity can range from just a little nervous to paralyzing or crippling impacts. Exam anxiety is even more common for an exam as challenging as the Project Management Professional (PMP)®. If you have considered pursuing this globally recognized credential, you have likely heard that the 200-question exam is not for the faint of heart. In addition to the difficulty, most folks spend a lot of money and time preparing for the exam, and some also face the additional pressure that their credential is a job requirement. This can significantly add to the pressure you may feel going into the exam, which, in turn, increases the probability of experiencing exam anxiety. 

What is exam anxiety? 

Unfortunately, the same beautiful brain that is going to enable you to pass the exam may also fight against you based on core biological behaviors that are hard-wired into us from our caveman days. Within the deepest mechanics of our brain lies the limbic system. As the central gatekeeper and communication system, the limbic system signals the fight-flight-or-freeze response when it perceives danger. 

While we know that the PMP exam can’t kill us, our limbic system perceives it as just as much of a threat as a grizzly bear. Stress hormones get released, blood flow is redirected to your large muscles, your pupils dilate, and your heart rate and respiration increase. Your body is preparing you physically to deal with the threat while bypassing the logical (or executive) portion of your brain. This can be trouble on an exam that desperately requires your logical brain to be successful. 

How can I reduce my anxiety? 

The good news is that it is possible to curb your anxiety and decrease the negative impacts of being in fight-flight-or-freeze. 

PMP Exam Strategies

· Name your emotion – as silly as it sounds, when your limbic system is being hijacked with anxiety, merely stating your emotion, out loud, invites your logical brain back to the party. This is extremely simple and yet extremely effective! If you are feeling nervous, say, “I’m feeling nervous about this exam.” 

· Be prepared and be early – do your research and know what to expect before, during, and after your exam. The unknown is an intense fear provoker. Plan to arrive at the test site early, not giving yourself any extra stress from running late. 

· Visualize success – the law of attraction is very real. What you put out is what you will experience, so see yourself being successful! Visualize sharing your success with your friends, family, and co-workers. 

· Hydrate – while it may be tempting to skip the water to minimize bathroom breaks, trust me, you will want to be well hydrated! Optimal hydration is imperative for the functioning and processing of our brain and the transmission of information. Plus, because your brain is made up of more water than your body, by the time you are feeling thirsty, your brain is already dehydrated. 

· Get rest – staying up all night before your exam will not increase your chances of success. In fact, lack of sleep can be incredibly detrimental, especially for memory recall and analytical tasks. Do yourself a favor and get some good sleep the night before your exam! 

· Cycle through your questions – your PMP exam will be split into two sections, with an optional break between the sections. As you start your section, move through the questions at a good pace, answering any that you can answer within a few seconds. Continue to cycle through, answering more with each round. This low-hanging-fruit technique minimizes the fear of the unknown while also burning your adrenaline down to a more functional level. Do not sit on any one question for an extended period. This will simply increase your anxiety. 

· BREATHE! Lastly, do not forget the importance of some nice deep breaths! The oxygen will do your brain and your body good!

While exam anxiety is a common concern, there are strategies that you can easily put into place to ensure that the anxiety does not prevent you from passing your PMP exam! 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 10:17

Tuesday, 15 September 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

Regardless of your industry, if you are a project manager, you more than likely have considered pursuing your PMP® credential. As the most globally recognized project management certification, a PMP is undoubtedly a demonstration of your expertise. Still, the road to get those three little letters after your name may have you considering whether or not it is worth it. 

To qualify to take the PMP® exam, project managers are required to document both their project management experience as well as their relevant education. If your application is approved, the final step is to pass a notoriously difficult 200-question exam. To best be prepared for success, candidates typically pursue exam preparation classes, invest in multiple study books, and devote time to studying and taking practice tests. So, is it worth it? 

If you are serious about your career as a project manager, then the answer is most likely “yes!” There are several benefits to earning and maintaining your PMP that should be seriously considered when deciding if you want to pursue the credential. 

· Earning the PMP credential demonstrates that you are an experienced and skilled project manager, as demonstrated by your achievement of the designation. 

· According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the median salary for project professionals with a PMP is 25% higher than those who are not certified. 

· By maintaining your PMP over time, you are significantly increasing your earning potential over your career. 

· The PMP may be the deciding factor in earning a position over another candidate that is not certified. 

· In many circumstances and situations, PMP is a condition of employment. 

· By maintaining your PMP credential, you are committed to continued education and professional development in the sphere of project management. This ongoing knowledge ensures you keep up with today’s trends for the most in-demand skills. 

But isn’t the market saturated with PMP holders? 

In 2020, the PMI surpassed 1,000,000 PMP-credential holders worldwide. That leaves some project managers to believe that there are too many PMP holders to make the credential valuable. However, that is not the case. 

As the baby boomers leave the job market, as infrastructure becomes more technically complex, as more and more organizations recognize the tremendous value of project managers, and as the pace of change becomes swifter, there is an ever-increasing need for skilled project managers. Do not let the numbers dissuade you! 

There is a real and pressing need for skilled project managers in today’s businesses, and there is no better way to demonstrate your capacity as a skilled project manager than with the PMP credential. As a matter of fact, many companies will only hire project managers if they have already earned their PMP. 

A little caveat…

Just because someone earned their PMP does not mean they are a “good” project manager. And along with that, there are a lot of amazing, skilled project managers that do not have their PMP credential. Earning your PMP is just one step in your career of being a professional, skilled, and experienced project manager. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 07:11

Friday, 11 September 2020


By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP 

One of the most effective ways to demonstrate credibility in almost any career field is to obtain a professional certification. The field of project management is no exception and the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential does just that. Around the world, project managers with the PMP designation are recognized and sought-out for their high level of project management knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

The requirements for earning the PMP represent a competency framework that encompasses an applicant’s past, present, and future. The Project Management Institute (PMI) requires a combination of general knowledge and experience, joined with specialized knowledge and experience, all obtained in the last eight years. PMI understands that at the point where theory meets practice is the moment that the highest levels of competence and readiness occur. To that end, PMI requires applicants to demonstrate the following: 

· A four-year degree (bachelor's or the global equivalent); along with at least three years of project management experience of which 4,500 hours must be leading projects. In addition, PMI requires 30 hours of project management training.

· For non-degree holders, a secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent); along with at least five years of project management experience of which 7,500 hours must be leading projects. In addition, PMI requires 35 hours of project management training. 

Applicants who successfully meet the required background requirements will receive an email notification with an eligibility identification number shortly after they apply. The eligibility ID allows the applicant to move from the past to the present. 

Within one year of receiving the identification number, PMI requires all applicants to schedule and take the PMP examination. The purpose of the examination is to ensure that everyone awarded the PMP credential has achieved, by observation, an acceptable standard of project management knowledge, skills, and abilities. Just as an applicant’s self-reported education and experience are reliable indicators of competency and readiness, the examination is an equally reliable method of measuring it. Passing the exam means PMP holders have the demonstrated competency to lead and manage projects of all sizes and types. 

Are the requirements for the PMP challenging? Yes. Are they achievable? Absolutely. As of this writing, PMI reports that one million project managers in over 200 countries hold the PMP credential. These one million men and women share two things in common: Not only have they met the requirements to earn the certification, but they also have the professional credibility that goes along with it.

EduMind Inc at 07:30

Tuesday, 08 September 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is considered to be one of the most challenging certification exams. With the proper preparation, organization, and dedication, however, you can pass this exam and reap the benefits that come with holding a globally recognized certification. 

Why is the exam so difficult? 

Three facets contribute to the difficulty of the PMP exam: 

  1. An extensive volume of information 
  2. Vocabulary that may be unfamiliar 
  3.  Challenging exam questions and a lengthy exam 

These three facets have a direct impact on the need for proper preparation to be successful on the PMP. Preparing for the exam may involve taking an exam preparation course, self-studying, or a combination of both. There are pros and cons of all options, and it really is up to you to determine what makes the most sense in your particular situation. 

Not studying is not a legitimate option, no matter how good you are at passing exams! This is not a test that you can “logic” your way through. 

The self-study option of preparation 

For some project managers, self-studying to prepare for the exam may be a legitimate option. Self-studying may eliminate the cost of an exam preparation course, but it will most likely increase your time commitment required. 

If you decide to self-study, there are some serious considerations for your preparation approach: the pace of your study plan, the source of your material, and the alignment of your learning with the current version of the exam. 

Study plan pace 

There is a delicate balance between going too fast and going too slow to prepare for the exam. Attempting to “cram” or study quickly in a short amount of time will leave you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and, most likely, poorly prepared. While the content is not necessarily difficult, there is a lot to learn! And regardless of how experienced you are as a project manager, it is more than likely that there will be many new topics and vocabulary terms to learn. 

On the flip side, it is essential to stay on-task and focused when learning the content. If you take too long to learn the material, especially without the proper reinforcement, you may find yourself forgetting the concepts you learned earlier in your preparation. 

Source of the material 

There is a lot of PMP exam preparation materials on the market. Quantity, however, does not equal quality. I encourage you to be incredibly diligent when purchasing any exam preparation material. Keep in mind that each book is written from that author’s perspective of the exam, and as such, each author may describe the context differently. Validate that the author is exceptionally well-versed in preparing project managers for the PMI (Project Management Institute) exams, not just simply someone who holds the PMP themself. Passing the test is one thing. Having the capability to teach others how to pass is another skill set altogether. 

Alignment with the current version of the exam 

PMI updates the PMP exam regularly, and some of these updates can be very significant. Verify that any and all study materials that you are using are in alignment with the current version of the exam. For further benefit, it is incredibly vital that the materials you are using include access to exams, preferably online exams, to replicate the actual exam experience as closely as possible. 

Self-studying is a viable option for individuals that: 

  1. Have the time for a set studying and preparation schedule 
  2. Have access to top-of-the-line preparation materials 
  3. Are disciplined with their studies 
  4. Can develop a strong understanding of complex topics 
  5. Can stay on-task, on-point, and disciplined with their learning 

While self-study may not be the best option for everyone, with time, dedication, and discipline, it can be done. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 10:25

Friday, 04 September 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam is undoubtedly a very challenging test. However, there are some proven tips and tactics that can significantly increase the probability of a successful outcome. Having taught, mentored, and advised hundreds of project managers on preparing for the exam, I have found that these seven tips build the most robust foundation. 

Tip 1: Do not underestimate the difficulty 

There are two common misconceptions related to the difficulty of the exam: if you’re good at taking tests, the PMP will be easy, and if you’re an experienced project manager, you will have no problem passing. These are both blatantly untrue. While you will yield some benefit from being a good “test taker,” the PMP is not an exam that you can simply “logic” your way through, no matter how smart or experienced you are. It is essential to understand the project management concepts as described and enforced by the Project Management Institute (PMI), which may or may not align with your experience or practice. 

Tip 2: Use reputable resources 

There is no shortage of preparation materials available. It seems that everyone who has passed the exam in the past 40 years has decided to write a book. However, merely passing the exam does not make someone an expert in helping others prepare for the exam. Use sources that are authored by credible experts in the field of project management and adult education. 

Tip 3: Exercise caution with advice that is given 

Just as many PMP holders feel they can write a book, many also feel like it is their moral duty to advise anyone that is preparing for the exam. And while they should be very proud that they passed their exam, take any advice with a grain of salt. Remember that there are hundreds of questions in the question bank, and their experience may not be the same as your exam. People tend to have very selective amnesia upon completing the exam. Do they hate critical path? Guaranteed they will tell you they had a dozen critical path questions when, in reality, they probably had two. 

Tip 4: Set the date 

An underutilized technique is setting the date to take your exam. And when I say set the date, I mean actually schedule it with PMI. Believe it or not, we work best (and most efficiently) when there is a deadline. Student syndrome is a genuine thing! It is like having kids: if people waited until they could afford them, the human race would cease to exist! If you wait until you feel 100% confident about the exam, you will never take it. Schedule your exam and work tirelessly towards a successful attempt. 

Tip 5: Practice, practice, practice 

Reading and knowing the information for the exam is just one aspect of being successful. It is imperative that you take multiple practice tests. This will get you used to not only what information they may ask you but also how to work through complicated questions. Just verify that the questions align with the current version of the exam. And be skeptical of free exams. You get what you pay for! 

Tip 6: Speak the concepts 

Restating the concepts, out loud, is a potent tactic to ensure that you fully understand the project management concepts. While many people read the materials, that is only going to get them so far. To amplify your learning, try teaching the concepts to someone else: your spouse or partner, a work or study buddy, or heck, even your pets may make good listeners.

PMP Exam Preparation

Tip 7: Leverage your experience 

I have yet to meet an experienced project manager that uses the exact same vocabulary or follows all of the processes that are detailed within A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). However, I encourage you to “map” the concepts of the PMBOK Guide to your work experience. What PMI may call the project charter, you may know as the project authorization form. By drawing the correlations between the concepts and your experience, the material will be much easier to retain. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 07:56

Tuesday, 01 September 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

The Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential is one of the most globally recognized credentials for project managers across all industries and organization types. In today’s competitive landscape, having the coveted PMP credential increases your job and salary opportunities. There are multiple steps required to earn your credential. Being organized and prepared can make this process easier and less stressful! 

Step 1: Verify that you meet the criteria 

To qualify for the PMP credential, you will need to meet the defined criteria. If you have a four-year degree or higher, you are required to have 36 months leading projects and 35 hours of project management education (or the Certified Associate in Project Management [CAPM]®). 

For candidates without a four-year degree, the experience requirement increases to 60 months leading projects and the 35 hours of project management education (or the CAPM). 

Step 2: Complete the online application 

Once you are confident that you meet the requirements, it is time to complete the online application at www.PMI.org. It is at this point that you will also be required to set-up your profile with the Project Management Institute (PMI). 

To complete the online application, you will need to document where you did your project work, your roles and responsibilities, the approximate project budget, team size, and the duration of your projects. Each project must represent professional project experience (not a personal project, such as a home improvement project), and you must have been responsible for leading and directing the work of the project. You will also document your education on the online application. 

WARNING: Approximately 25% of applications are randomly selected for audit. Be sure you can provide proper verification in the event you are in the lucky 25%! In other words, do not lie on your application. 

Step 3: Pay for your exam 

As the saying goes, “nothing in life is free,” and that is true for the PMP exam! The exam fees are $405 if you are a PMI member and $555 if you are not a member. HINT: given that you save more than the price of membership, it is definitely worth it to become a PMI member, at least while you’re pursuing your credential. 

Step 4: Schedule your exam 

Once your application is approved by PMI and/or you have successfully completed the audit, it is time to schedule your exam. An exciting change was put into place in 2020, where PMP candidates can now complete their exam proctored online. No need to leave the safety and comfort of your home or office! If you prefer to take your exam at a testing site, the PMP exam is administered at Pearson VUE locations around the world. When scheduling your exam, leverage the time of day when you know you can perform at your best! Remember, this is a 4-hour exam: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 

PMP Exam

Step 5: Pass your exam 

And the most exciting step is passing your PMP exam and demonstrating to the world that you are a serious, experienced, and professional project manager. You will be notified immediately upon completion of your exam as to your results. You will receive a proficiency rating in the five domains: initiating; planning; executing; monitoring and controlling; and closing. 

With the proper preparation, you will be well on your road to being a PMP! Good luck! 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 09:30

Friday, 28 August 2020


By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP 

Are you taking over a new project team? Are you meeting your new team for the first time? This information is for you if so. How you introduce yourself will either confirm or inform your team's expectations. Your introduction will either motivate or deflate. Make it count, make it professional. Here’s how the professionals do it: 

· Start by sharing a few key personal details: For example, you might share your previous role either in the same organization or another, along with the nature of the work you did. You could share your marital status, the number of children, and pets. You could share where you went to school, your favorite professional teams, or the sports you enjoy playing. Also, try sharing something about yourself that is not widely known even by your past collages. You may have climbed Pikes Peak in Colorado all the way to the top, or you are in the Guinness World Records book. By offering the team a window into your life, you allow them the opportunity to make instant connections with you. Sharing a few personal details about yourself is an important first step.

· Share the strategic importance of the project: A project is never “just a project,” but rather, projects are “instruments of strategy.” As a part of a larger organization, projects are purposefully selected and undertaken to achieve organizational goals. An organization’s goals, in turn, contribute to its strategic intent. Optimal alignment between the project, the organization’s goals, and its strategy is the “fit” of a project in the organization. In that sense, projects connect to strategy. We know this is true because projects can either enhance or diminish a firm’s competitive advantage. Share with your new team how the project at hand fits into the organization and how its result contributes to the organization’s strategic success. 

· Share the triple obligations you have as the project manager: All project managers (PMs) have three primary obligations: 

First, PMs are responsible to the organization they are working on behalf of. If it is an internal project, the PM is an associate or officer of the firm with an obligation to not only keep its leaders informed but also to deliver the expected strategic value of the project. If the project is an external one, the PM is typically a contractor-partner, yet has the same obligations, by contract, to inform and deliver value for the client. 

Second, PMs have an obligation to the project. Project managers are ethically bound to do their best to meet the goals and objectives of the project. A PM’s every action and decision should aim to lessen the risk, conserve resources, enhance performance, strengthen the project team, and deliver the expected goods, services, and benefits. 

Third, PMs have an obligation to their team. As the PM, you have a responsibility to be forthright and honest with your team, to be respectful and fair, and to lead by example. You also have the obligation to ensure each team member’s role is clear and each member has the tools, support, and authority to perform their personal best. When they excel, you excel.

Meeting Your Project Team for the First Time

· Share with the team what project success looks like: Paint a picture of the positive outcomes of the project. For example, if it is a newly launched product, describe its success in the marketplace and how consumers' lives are enhanced. If it is a new internal IT system, describe the increase in the organization’s competitive advantage as a direct result of improved and streamlined processes. Project success means positive outcomes. It also means improvements and/or enhancement in the lives of one or more groups, whether consumer groups or some other. Identify who and how lives will be bettered, and describe these positive outcomes with images, pictures, and metaphors as best you can. Nothing motivates a team like an inspiring and achievable vision. 

· Wrap it up in 30 minutes but leave the door open for more information sharing later: Let team members know you will be reaching out to them individually, as a follow-up, to see what if anything they might need to excel, and that you look forward to working with them. Encourage them to stop by with any questions, comments, and suggestions. Leave all communications channels wide open. 

There you have it. How to professionalize your introduction. You will likely need to revisit the organization’s strategic plan as well as the goals and objectives of the project. When you understand it well enough to explain it, you will be well prepared to introduce yourself like a pro!

EduMind Inc at 11:23

Friday, 07 August 2020


By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP 

Projects are document intensive. Project documentation serves a myriad of purposes including project selection, design, engineering, management, implementation, and control to name a few. One indicator of the density of project documentation is the 1,600-plus hits returned when the latest edition of The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is searched using “document” as the keyword. That number tells the story of how interrelated and interwoven documents are in the many actions and activities of a project. No matter the use or need, project documents have one thing in common. At their core, documents are communications tools. Their purpose is to transfer project understanding and knowledge. 

Project documentation is divided into two groups: “primary” and “secondary.” Primary documentation contains information not previously created or used before. Primary documents are the original and “first-source” of the information they contain. Secondary documents are derivatives of primary documents. Secondary documents are often a combination of two or more primary ones. Primary documents are indispensable and considered “essential” for any project. In order of their development: 

1. Strategic traceability document. A project is never “just a project.” A project is always a part of a larger organization and always undertaken to achieve one or more organizational goal. In that sense, projects are really “instruments of strategy.” We know this is true because projects can either enhance or diminish a firm’s competitive advantage. Knowing how a project fits into an organization and contributes to its strategy is key to understanding the role and importance of the project. A strategic traceability document is an effective method to do that. 

To create it, you will need to identify the following strategic elements: An organization’s strategic vision, its strategic goals or objectives, any legal mandates, as well as the goals of the project itself. With those in hand, show and explain their relative alignment. In other words, “trace” how each element contributes to the achievement of the next higher element. Applications like “Smart Art” do a nice job of documenting strategic traceability. Once created, the strategic traceability document is tantamount to the “north star” of the project. Never lose sight of it.

2. Project scope statement including a Work-Breakdown Structure (WBS). The scope statement is the most important document of a project. Without scope, there is nothing to “project manage.” Ideally, this document is a detailed description that paints the best possible picture of the intended result and outcome of the project. Part and parcel to the scope statement is a WBS. The WBS compliments the scope statement by providing structure and logic. The WBS serves as a framework for the scope statement and is critical to explaining it. As Albert Einstein famously said, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” A well-prepared scope statement and WBS will ensure you can do the former, while helping others with the later. Using an “organization chart” as a template does an effective job creating a basic WBS. A scope statement is only as good as its WBS.

3. Schedule. The schedule document follows the scope statement and WBS. A project schedule is a two-dimensional representation which depicts units of work on the Y-axis and units of future-time on the X-axis. Ideally, the units of work are correlated with the WBS. Carrying the WBS structure into the schedule document significantly enhances the schedule’s communications value. The most common displays of a schedule are the Gantt, PERT, or GERT formats. 

As an aside, an important thing to know about any project schedule is the existence of the “time-monster.” He is invisible, yet very real. He also has an insatiable appetite… and delights in eating any flavor of project whether in minutes, hours, and days. If you have ever uttered the words, “where has the time gone?” now you know. 

4. Cost estimate. Created next is the cost estimate document. Coming after schedule (which comes after scope) makes sense. Logically, the cost of something cannot be known without first identifying what it is (from the scope), and second, identifying when you will need it (from the schedule). When this sequence changes, warning alarms should sound. 

One often-overlooked component of any professional cost estimate is the basis of estimate, or “BoE.” The BoE is often much longer and richer than the numerical estimate itself. Like the relationship of the WBS to the scope statement, the BoE is the indispensable explanation of the cost estimate. The BoE details everything that factors in or influences the estimate including assumptions, constraints, sources of cost information, contributors, and any other important details not otherwise shown in the numbers. A cost estimate without a BoE is only half an estimate. The undisputed king of applications used to create a cost estimate is Microsoft Excel. 

5. Communications plan. Ending on the same note as we began, communications is the heart of all project documentation. The communications plan is therefore essential as it is the very “plan” to make sure that all documents, primary, and secondary are doing their job. The communications plan is the pumping heart of a project. Too little information and the project becomes faint, too much information and the project can seize, and if the information stops altogether the project dies. An effective communication plan makes firm commitments to every action or activity related to communications including all routine project meetings; executive briefings; client presentations; all scope, schedule, or cost updates; all social media announcements and marketing updates; and anything else that communicates project information. Never leave the dates for these items “TBD.” Commit to them and include them in the schedule for best results. 

While there are many more documents that are important in a project, without these it is unlikely a project will ever start or finish. They are the “essential documents.” While a project may get by without others, it will not get far without these.

EduMind Inc at 08:51

Tuesday, 04 August 2020


By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP 

There are many reasons to earn the Project Management Professional (PMP)® designation. One is its global appeal. The number of PMP holders has now reached 1 million, across more than 200 countries, according to the issuing organization, the U.S.-based Project Management Institute (PMI). By comparison, a similar designation issued by the International Project Management Association (IPMA), headquartered in the Netherlands, has a fraction of the holders, and represents far fewer countries (approximately 70). 

Many consider the PMP to be the de facto world-standard in project management. Supporting its strong multinational use is the availability of the PMP examination in many languages. Whereas the IPMA examination is currently available in English, German, and Polish, PMI offers the PMP examination in 14 languages including Chinese. Earning a PMP means recognition as a Project Management Professional no matter where your next project takes you. 

Another reason to earn the PMP, and much more importantly, is the credibility it confers on its holders. Few efforts bestow standing like earning a professional credential. Whether in information technology, software programming, or another discipline, credentials symbolize knowledge, skills, abilities, and even work ethic. 

Not all credentials are equal, however. The credibility of a given designation stems from the standing of the organization behind it and the rigor of the requirements to obtain it. As a leading practitioner, academic, and research organization, PMI is not only the largest dedicated project management organization, the standards it has set for obtaining its credential are among the most stringent. PMI has considerable standing among professional organizations as does its PMP credential. As a direct result, PMP holders enjoy the trust and confidence of their peers and clients. 

While recognition and credibility are two important reasons the PMP is worth earning, there is another reason that is frequently talked about: increased earnings potential. So, “how much does a project manager with a PMP make?” 

Project managers with or without PMI’s credential can earn attractive salaries. Those with a PMP distinction can earn even more. Those with the credential made 23% more than their non-credentialed counterparts, according to a 2019 survey conducted by PMI. For example, the average salary of project managers without PMI’s credential earned approximately $100,000.00 per year as compared to the median U.S. household income of $56,516.00 per year. However, with a PMP, project manager salaries increase significantly, with an average salary in the U.S. of $123,314. Holding the PMP pays off financially for those that have earned it! 

Three good reasons to earn the PMP designation: Global acceptance, professional credibility, and the opportunity to earn high salaries. Like most professional credentials, the PMP represents an investment that pays strong dividends to those that earn it.

EduMind Inc at 08:00

Tuesday, 28 July 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

You know what they say about project management: “plan the work and work the plan.” While that adage is a bit out of date with the advancement of agile and adaptive project development techniques, planning is still at the core of any successful project. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), the ultimate tool for planning, managing, and monitoring and controlling your project is the project management plan. 

Think of the project management plan as the ultimate “how-to guide” for your project, defining and describing how the project work will be determined, managed, monitored and controlled, and closed. This includes information on change management, configuration management, what project life cycle and approach will be used, and how all aspects of the project management will be handled. Depending on the complexity of the project and the environment, the project management plan may be a simple high-level document or something much more in depth. 

There are two primary components of the project management plan: the subsidiary plans and the project management performance measurement baselines. 

Subsidiary Plans 

The word subsidiary refers to being a part of something bigger. That is exactly what these plans are: a component of the overall project management plan. Subsidiary plans provide a more detailed level of information and direction around a specific area or aspect of the project. Subsidiary plans may be developed for any of the knowledge areas, such as a cost management plan, a schedule management plan, a stakeholder engagement plan, a scope management plan, a communication management plan, etc. 

Subsidiary plans may be simple bulleted lists or much more detailed, depending on the complexity of the project. Not all subsidiary plans will necessarily be used on every project. For example, if you will not be working with any sellers or vendors, a procurement management plan would be unnecessary. 

Baselines 

Performance measurement baselines are developed at the start of the project and define the intended performance of the project. There are three primary baselines: scope baseline, schedule baseline, and cost baseline. Consider these baselines as the measuring sticks, against which you will measure the performance of your project. The baselines are created through the planning processes and are considered a key component of the project management plan. 

To accurately assess project performance, the baselines are “frozen” and only updated when there is a significant authorized change to the scope of the project. This could include adding scope or work to the project or removing work from the project. These baselines are used during the monitoring and controlling processes to assess the performance and progression of the project and determine the need for any type of corrective or preventive actions. 

Summary 

The project management plan is one of the essential tools for managing any project, from simple endeavors to large, complex engagements. PMI considers the project management plan to be mandatory as it reduces risk to the organization while also providing clear guidance. Should the project manager or a key team member leave the project, the project management plan enables successors to get up to speed quickly on project specifics. 

On the PMP® exam, many of the questions ask, “what is the first thing/best thing/next thing you do?” and frequently, the correct answer is “check the project management plan.” On the exam, PMI may refer to the project management plan as the project plan, removing the word management. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)®, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 08:12

Friday, 24 July 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

The PMP exam is challenging, even for the most experienced project managers. But with the proper preparation and some keen insight, you can pass the exam and earn this industry-leading credential. It takes time, focus, and commitment, but passing this important exam will make the effort worth it. 

The first step toward acing your exam is verifying the current exam specification and content. Ensure that any study material you are planning to use is updated and aligned with the current version of the exam. You can find this information at www.PMI.org to confirm the exam version. The PMP exam changes every two to three years, either due to an update of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)® Guide or to incorporate the results of a role delineation study. 

Some project managers mistakenly believe their experience in managing projects will be enough to pass the exam. However, experience alone will not provide the insight and context you will need to answer the 200 questions. Creating a deliberate and comprehensive study plan and approach will help you develop a strong foundation for answering the questions from the PMI perspective. 

As part of your study plan, be sure to incorporate plenty of practice questions that reflect the types of questions and the content that will be on the exam. To add to your preparation, it is beneficial to use timed questions, giving you a better feel for the actual exam. The majority of questions on the PMP exam are situational, asking things like “What’s the first thing you do,” “What’s the next thing you do,” or “What’s the best way to handle this situation?” Reliable mock exams will include a number of these types of questions. To ensure readiness, you should be scoring at least 75% to 80% on these practice tests. 

While preparation is incredibly important, do not minimize the impact of your behavior during your exam. Most people have at least some level of exam anxiety, but with the right approach and a few behavioral hacks, you can still be successful on this exam. Anxiety is fear of the unknown, which can plunge us into a ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ response. However, this is not conducive to answering 200 questions! 

When we are in that heightened state of anxiety, our prefrontal cortex (the logical part of our brain) is left out of the communication loop. What you want to do is bring the adrenaline and other stress hormones down to a level where they can help you versus hurt you. The most effective approach is to skim through the questions, only answering those you can answer within a few seconds. Moving through the 200 questions removes the fear of the unknown because now you’ve seen all the questions, and it is reducing your adrenaline down to a more functional level. 

Once you get through all the questions, you will have the option to filter by the ones you left blank. Cycle through again, answering what you can. Continue this way until all questions are answered. Be careful to leave no questions blank! Go with your gut if you’re not sure. If you leave a question blank, it will count against your total score. Do not change your original answers unless you are 100% certain the first answer is incorrect. Frequently, our first answer is the correct one, even if we are unsure about it. 

It is helpful to have a well-thought-out approach to taking the exam. For more complex questions, read the actual question at the bottom first. This will allow you to work through all of the details more efficiently. Remember to read all four possible answers and see how they work with the actual question. Do not just assume the first answer that sounds good is correct. 

Finally, do not get distracted with your subject matter expertise. The PMP exam is a generalist exam, meaning that project managers from all industries are being tested. Identify the project management concept they are asking you about and ignore any content that may appear to be industry specific. 

How to Ace the PMP Exam

With a solid plan for preparation and sound techniques for approaching the questions, you will be better prepared to ace your PMP exam. EduMind’s comprehensive PMP exam review courses can help you get ready with confidence! Click here for more information. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® is a registered trademark of Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 08:29

Friday, 17 July 2020


Getting your PMP certification is important for professional project managers and essential for consultants. For consulting, the PMP is often required to be eligible for consideration. Much like the CPA for accountants, the PMP represents a common level of understanding of concepts, standard principles, and vocabulary. Ample preparation for the exam is critical. 

Choosing the right approach for you is half the battle. For some, it may be as simple as getting the current Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and reading it from cover to cover. However, this approach has a low probability of success in passing the exam for most examinees. 

You might buy a book that is designed for exam preparation. This is a low-cost approach with a reasonable chance for success for those who learn well by reading. However, this requires a lot of perseverance and discipline and may become problematic if you get stuck on or misunderstand something. In addition to the inherent risks of self-teaching, you also risk using information that may be out-of-date or not relevant to the exam. If the outcome is not a certification, you will need to determine what went wrong and how to take corrective action. 

The best approach for most people is to take an exam preparation course from a Registered Education Provider (REP). REPs provide the best opportunity for success for several reasons. They have access to the most current materials and experience in helping students successfully prepare. They also have resources proven effective in preparation, such as practice exams and study aids. Additionally, most REPs include remedial action if things don’t go well during the certification exam. We all have one of those days from time to time. Having someone in your corner if that happens during your exam is invaluable! 

So now that you’ve decided on the right approach for you, what’s next? 

First, establish your regimen for studying and preparation. If possible, set up an area where you can spend some time every day reading and practicing your preparation approach with everything you need, such as references, paper for notes, index cards (for flashcards), etc. Schedule when and where you will take the exam, allowing yourself plenty of time for preparation. 

If you take a preparation course, you should consider taking the exam shortly after the class is concluded, but probably not the very next day. You will want to spend some time taking practice exams. Do them as many times as it takes until you consistently pass with a comfortable margin. 

Avoid the urge to cram the night before your exam is scheduled. Like our muscles recover from working out to be stronger, your brain needs to de-stress for improved memory. The night before you take the exam, make sure you get some light exercise, eat something healthy, and get a good night’s sleep. 

During the exam, take advantage of the tools available to you along with a strategic approach. If you have memorized equations, images, phrases, or a mnemonic to recall useful terms or concepts, you can use the online whiteboard if taking an online exam. For onsite testing, you will not be permitted to bring calculators or scrap paper into the test site. However, according to the PMI handbook, the following items will be provided for you by the test center on the day of the exam: 

· Calculators are built into the CBT exam and will be provided to those candidates taking a PBT exam. 

· Writing materials for taking notes during the examination: either scrap paper and pencils or erasable board and markers 

On your first pass through the exam, read each question carefully and be sure to note any negatives, such as “Which of these are NOT…” Answer the questions you know and mark those of which you are less certain.

Passing the PMP Exam

Next, go back to the unanswered questions. Resist the urge to change a prior answer unless you have a clear and specific reason to change it. Often, people change from the right answer to a wrong answer unless they realize they overlooked a “not” or come across another question that contradicts their first answer. 

Frequently we find that some questions in the exam may answer another question in the way the question is posed. Answer all the marked questions using the information you gathered from the rest of the exam. In some cases, you will find the answer outright, while others you will know enough to exclude one or more wrong answers. Using this process of elimination will help improve your odds of choosing the best answer from those remaining. 

Do NOT leave any questions unanswered. Even if you just guess, you still have a 25% chance of getting it right. Using the process of elimination can improve that to 33% or even 50%. An unanswered question is automatically wrong. 

Following the study approach with a REP and following these steps is the best way to achieve your desired outcome—becoming a certified Project Management Professional. EduMind is a REP that can help you achieve your goal with comprehensive exam review courses offered in a variety of formats. Click here for more information and to determine which option is best for you.

EduMind Inc at 06:24

Tuesday, 14 July 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), 6th Edition, there are 12 processes within the monitoring and controlling process group. These processes are performed throughout the project, from inception to completion, and are essential to managing and monitoring the progress of the project. Twenty-five percent of the questions on the PMP® exam will be from these 12 processes. 

As the project manager, you want to be diligent and proactive in understanding the health of your project and, thus, the importance of these monitoring and controlling processes. Monitoring and controlling provide the project manager and the team with critical insight to enable proactive decision-making versus succumbing to reactive actions. 

Baseline Variances 

When planning the project, the project manager develops a plan that incorporates the subsidiary plans and the scope, schedule, and cost performance measurement baselines. These baselines represent the intended progress of the project and are the ideal tool for assessing any variances from realized risks or other unforeseen project events. The control scope, control schedule, and control cost processes will evaluate the project’s progress against these performance baselines to determine the need for any type of corrective or preventive actions. 

Earned Value Analysis and Forecasting 

To calculate the impact of any variances, the project manager can use an earned value analysis to determine the cost variance and schedule variance of the project. This earned value analysis is conducted at set intervals throughout the project to reveal project trending data. 

In addition to an earned value analysis, several forecasting techniques can be used to determine the estimate to complete (ETC) the project work and the estimate at completion (EAC) forecast. When the EAC is compared to the budget at completion (BAC), the project manager can determine if there will be a negative variance at completion (VAC). A negative VAC indicates the project will exceed the given budget. 

Integrated Change Control 

Critical to the management of any project, is a defined and communicated change control process. Integrated change control is considered a component of project monitoring and controlling. While ideally changes to your project are limited, realistically, changes will be requested or necessary. The integrated change control process evaluates the change requests, leveraging a change control board (CCB). The CCB includes the key stakeholders and the project sponsor, and it is generally facilitated by the project manager. 

Reporting and Communication 

Effectively managing stakeholder expectations throughout the project increases the likelihood of project success and product acceptance. The work performance information generated throughout the monitoring and controlling processes is used to create the work performance reports (also known as status reports). Following the agreed-upon protocol in the communications management plan, the work performance reports are distributed to the appropriate parties on a consistent schedule. If, at any time, there is an indication that communication is not adequate, the communication processes should be revisited. 

The project manager is expected to be honest and transparent in their communications with the sponsor and stakeholders regarding the status of the project, any variances that have been identified, the impacts of those variances, and the recommended and implemented actions. 

In Summary 

Mature and skillful project managers understand the critical importance of project monitoring and controlling to gain insight into the health of their project. The information gained from monitoring and controlling, evaluating progress against the project baselines, and a strong change control process, enables the project manager to be proactive in making recommendations and changes. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)®, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 06:01

Friday, 10 July 2020


Organizations that predominantly operate using a project construct are undergoing a substantial shift to a product approach. In practice and theory, we more collectively refer to the flow of value through our organizations. This becomes a disruption driver in the digital reality unfolding before us. 

As this happens, there are several pertinent shifts in the landscape of our organizations. Efficiency is not king at the moment because we should first be aware of our relative effectiveness. To be efficient without effectiveness is to waste resources faster. Those who are digitally inclined will be those who reconsider their value propositions as value streams and manage them appropriately. 

This is apparent in several of our professional areas or domains—such as project managers, operations, technology, and even organizational structures—as we increasingly implement Agile, DevOps, or ITIL v4 in a cloud environment where essentially everything is available as a service (XaaS). 

1. Recognize Opportunity 

Unfortunately, there may be fewer PMs in the future than we have today. The role is evolving to be closer to its roots as a means of developing and delivering a new product or capability, largely because of shifts in how work is defined and executed. 

The next step for most is to move from a matrixed functional organization to a team-based, iterative, value-focused organization with virtuous cycles that we can sustain indefinitely. Organizations that have done this have consistently disrupted their markets. This will mean a significant reduction in the number of projects that are needed. Most of the kinds of work we projectize will become managed as a product where we have the consistency of team and eliminate the start-stop inefficiencies in favor of a pull-based flow of value. 

Work item management shifts to teams and product owners via backlogs. Forecasting is replaced with projections and financial reporting is completely automated. Many project managers are perfect candidates for product owners. 

2. Look at the Big Picture

Product ownership is a leadership opportunity with an increasingly critical role as organizations grow and scale. Product owners are charged with understanding the current and future term needs of the consumers of their value and how we can best deliver that value in a mutually beneficial value exchange. PMs must have big-picture skills along with the ability to manage the details. Having experience and exposure in a wide range of domains is a strong indicator of the ability to manage the diverse demands in managing value streams. Look for product roles as increasingly occurring and in-demand opportunities for good PMs. 

3. Build Transformation Skills as a Core Competency 

US Navy Seals say, “The only easy day was yesterday.” Change is that way for everyone. The frequency and amplitude of change will only increase, with possible temporary plateaus. Understanding your resilience mechanisms and being prepared to adjust or evolve will be life-changing for the better. Like so many other things, awareness and maintaining situational awareness are key drivers. Keeping up to date professionally, especially from a technology perspective (DevOps, Site Reliability Engineering, Agile Product Owner, for example) will enable you to be proactive in recognizing the right role and opportunity. 

4. Take Control of Your Future 

With the current COVID-19 crisis still in full swing, there is much doubt regarding what tomorrow may bring. Life will eventually go back to normal for some, but for many, the new normal will be a bumpy ride. What will prevail is impossible to know at this point. 

Having current training and certifications makes you more competitive in the marketplace over those who are still operating under the old model. During this time of pause, where most work is being done remotely, do your research and consider the “what if” of becoming part of the gig economy. 

Remember: 

“The best defense is a strong offense.”[1]
“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”[2]



References:



EduMind Inc at 09:19

Friday, 03 July 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

The Project Management Professional® exam is undeniably tough, and passing the exam requires dedicated attention and a focused study plan. But how do you know if you are ready to pass the exam? And can you predict a passing score? While a passing result cannot be guaranteed, there are some things that you can do to significantly increase the probability of success. 

Let’s start with understanding what it takes to pass the PMP exam, because it is not as simple as having a set score or percentage of questions correct. In the earlier years of the PMP exam, the Project Management Institute (PMI) assigned a passing score to the exam. This score was communicated to the candidates. 

At one point, PMI decided to increase the passing percentage, making the exam much more difficult. There was an adverse public reaction to this, and it was shortly after this situation that PMI made the decision not to release the passing score. To make it even more of a mystery to candidates, PMI did away with a defined percent score and moved to a weighted model. 

Today’s PMP exam is scored based on a weighted model that is applied to each candidate’s set of questions. There are hundreds of questions in PMI’s question bank, and each question has been evaluated and assessed for difficulty. Questions that are deemed to be more difficult will have a higher weight and vice versa. Hypothetically, if your exam has more difficult questions, the required passing score will be lower. If your exam has more straightforward questions, the required passing score will be higher. 

The best indicator of your success on the exam is going to be practice exams. But not just any practice exams. They must: 

· Be based on the most current version of the exam. Verify that the questions are reflective of the current version and are not out of date. PMI changes the PMP exam every few years. 

· Include lengthy and detailed questions. Get practice working through wordy questions, identifying the keywords and concepts. 

· Ask scenario-based or sequencing questions, such as “what’s the next thing / best thing / first thing you do?” or “how would you handle this situation?” This is an excellent reminder that the PMP exam is not a test of memorization, but rather an application of the concepts. 

· Have a timed element that corresponds to the timing of the actual exam. The exam is a 4-hour, 200-question exam, meaning you have less than a minute and a half per question. Practice working under time pressure! 

· Be provided by a reputable source. Using an unreliable set of questions can cause much more harm than good in your preparation. EduMind provides a comprehensive PMP exam review course taught by industry experts to help you prepare, practice, and pass your exam. 

· Include at least 100 questions in one sitting. The PMP exam is a marathon, not a sprint. Practice with an extended set of questions to replicate the exam experience. 

If the practice exams you are taking meet all of the above criteria, a score higher than 80% indicates that you are very well prepared and will most likely be successful on the actual exam. Now, even though you may have achieved a comfortable score, do not sabotage yourself on test day. To further improve your chances of success: 

· Take your test within a short timeframe after achieving a good practice test score. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. 

· Get a good night’s sleep the night before your exam. Forfeiting sleep for some last-minute studying is counterproductive. You will function at a much higher level when you are well rested. 

· Remember proper nutrition and hydration. Feed and hydrate your brain to tackle this 4-hour exam. 

· Employ proven strategies for dealing with exam anxiety, arrive early at your test center, and remember—most importantly—to breathe. 

With a focused and dedicated study plan, a wide variety of practice exams, and proper self-care, you can be successful on your PMP exam. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 09:08

Friday, 26 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

Managing risk is a crucial aspect of managing projects. It is wise to anticipate multiple questions on the exam about project risk management and the processes from the risk knowledge area within A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Two of those processes that are commonly confused are Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis and Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis. For exam success, it is vital to understand the differences between these two processes. 

Project risk management involves:

  1. Planning the approach to risk management for the project 
  2. Identifying the risks to the project, including both negative risks (threats) and positive risks (opportunities) 
  3. Analyzing the identified risks, qualitatively and perhaps quantitatively 
  4. Planning and implementing the risk responses 
  5. Monitoring risk throughout the project 

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis 

All risks that have been identified on the project will be qualitatively analyzed. This analysis is performed on both threats and opportunities to assess and establish the priority of the risks, as well as determine the need for possible quantitative analysis and risk responses. 

A qualitative risk analysis involves subjectively assessing the probability, or likelihood, the risk event will occur as well as the impact, or effect, if it does occur. The probability and impact scales are numerical scales that are agreed-upon and documented in the risk management plan. 

For example, the probability may be assessed on a 0 to 1 scale, where 0.3 would correspond to a 30% probability. The impact may be assessed on a 0 to 1, 1 to 5, 1 to 10, or another agreed-upon scale. Multiplying the probability score by the impact score will return the individual risk score. For example, a risk is assessed as a 0.2 probability and an impact score of 4. The overall risk score would 0.8. It is the risk scores that allow the risks to be prioritized, with the highest rated risks being considered for quantitative analysis and risk response planning. 

Because a qualitative analysis is subjective, the biases, attitudes, and opinions of the assessors should be considered. However, having documented criteria that correspond to the impact level can assist with minimizing the subjectivity of the evaluation. 

Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis 

While all risks are evaluated through a qualitative risk analysis, only the highest priority risks will be analyzed quantitatively. While a qualitative analysis is a subjective numerical scale, a quantitative analysis, in contrast, assesses the project risk impact in terms of dollars and/or time. For example, qualitatively, the risk impact may have been assessed as a “3,” whereas quantitatively, the risk is assessed as having an impact of $3,000 or an impact of a 20-day delay. 

Quantitative analyses are dependent upon high-quality data, fully loaded project models, and possibly high-end tools and software. Therefore, it is not typical to perform a quantitative analysis on all risks, but instead, it is performed on a subset of risks, such as those deemed to be the most impactful. 

Unlike a qualitative analysis that is relatively quick and easy to perform, a quantitative analysis is typically more time-consuming. Techniques used to perform a quantitative analysis include Monte Carlo simulations, decision tree and expected monetary value (EMV) analyses, and sensitivity analyses. 

In Summary 

The perform qualitative risk analysis and perform quantitative risk analysis are both processes within the PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition risk management knowledge area. A qualitative analysis assesses all risks that have been identified, is subjective, quick and easy to perform, and prioritizes the risks for further action by assessing the probability of the risk occurring and the numerical assessment of the impact if it does occur. 

A quantitative analysis, on the other hand, is more time-consuming, requires good data and robust tools, and is only applied to those risks that have been prioritized through a qualitative risk analysis. In a quantitative risk analysis, the impact is evaluated in terms of financial and/or schedule impact, not merely a numerical scale. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)®, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 09:07

Tuesday, 23 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

As a project manager, you are most likely responsible for estimating the duration of the project activities and the costs for the project. As part of the PMP® exam, you will be tested on the various estimating techniques. This requires that you have a strong understanding of the differences between the techniques and even possibly calculating some estimates based on the data provided. 

There are four techniques used for both cost and duration estimating: analogous, parametric, three-point, and bottom-up. 

Analogous Estimating 

Analogous estimating is used when there is very little detailed information about the current project, so we leverage a similar, past project as the basis for the estimate. Think of analogous as an analogy: we are comparing two similar items. Because it considers an overall project or segment of the project for the estimate, it is considered top-down. On the exam, they may use either term to describe this technique. The past project must be as similar as possible to the current project. Analogous estimating is a combination of historical information and expert judgment, is quick and easy to do, but will not be as accurate as other estimating techniques. 

The website project last year took three months and cost $6,000. To launch a similar website this year, the project manager estimates that it will take three months and also cost $6,000. 

Parametric Estimating 

Parametric estimating uses a statistical relationship between variables to calculate the cost or duration. The statistical relationship could be a unit cost or productivity rate. As with analogous estimating, parametric estimating also relies on historical data and expert judgment. The underlying data must be stable and scalable. 

Based on previous projects, the editor can complete 20 pages per hour at a rate of $25 per hour. For a 100-page user guide, the project manager estimates that it will take five hours at a cost of $125. 

Three-Point Estimating 

Also known as a PERT (program evaluation and review technique), a three-point estimate factors uncertainty into the estimate by considering the average of the optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic estimates. There are two PERT estimates: triangular and beta. For a triangular estimate, the calculation is (optimistic + most likely + pessimistic) ÷ 3. For a beta estimate, the most likely duration or cost is weighted by a product of four; therefore, it is divided by six instead of three: (optimistic + 4(most likely) + pessimistic) ÷ 6. 

The activity has an optimistic duration of 6 days, a most likely duration of 10 days, and a pessimistic duration of 15 days. 

The triangular estimate would be: 10.3 days 

The beta estimate would be: 10.2 days 

The activity has an optimistic cost of $700, a most likely cost of $1,000, and a pessimistic cost of $1,600. 

The triangular estimate would be: $1,100 

The beta estimate would be: $1,050 

Bottom-Up Estimate 

The opposite of an analogous estimate is a bottom-up estimate. The most time consuming, but also the most accurate, a bottom-up estimate involves determining the cost and/or duration estimate for each activity and then rolling that up into an overall estimate. For costs, the sum of all of the estimates would provide the overall estimate. For the duration, however, the project manager needs to consider which activities are happening concurrently to come up with the most accurate overall project duration. 

The employee orientation project will involve the following costs: 

Lunches $50, handbooks $30, badges $20, laptops $900 = $1,000 estimate 

Based on the duration of each activity, and the dependencies and sequencing of the activities, the duration estimate for the project is six weeks. 

Understanding these estimating techniques, how they differ and compare to each other, and also knowing how to calculate the estimates will be vital in passing the PMP exam. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 07:58

Tuesday, 09 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

There is a continually increasing demand for skilled project managers across all industries. Senior project managers are not only at the forefront of driving change for their organizations, but their position typically involves a substantial salary base. There are four keys to successful career growth and development within the project management field of expertise: 

· Knowledge of various approaches to project management
· Well-developed leadership skills
· Strategic thinking with tactical application
· Certification

Project Management Approaches

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to project management. As the project manager, you will need to have a strong understanding of the project constraints, environmental considerations, and product development options to select the best approach when working on a project. Traditional or plan-driven approaches are appropriate when the work is well-defined: plan the work and work the plan. In environments with increased uncertainty and a perceived level of complexity, adaptive or agile approaches may be more appropriate. In today’s business environments, it is common to see project managers applying hybrid approaches. A strong project manager understands the different approaches, the pros and cons of them, and what would best serve the project needs. 

Leadership Skills

A project manager is no longer a task-manager but rather a strategic leader that is guiding and influencing not only their team members but also the organization. The project manager is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in all directions. Having solid leadership or soft skills is at the core of successful project management. Soft skills to be developed include emotional intelligence, communication (both written and verbal), creating a vision, inspiring others, giving and receiving feedback, and meeting facilitation. Regardless of title or authority, the project manager is in a position to be a leader to those involved in and impacted by the project. 

Strategic Thinking

In the early days of project management, the project managers were considered to be task managers, not leaders. However, in today’s complex environment, organizations expect their project managers to be considering their projects from a strategic alignment perspective. As projects are selected, initiated, and monitored and controlled, the project manager is responsible for benefits management to validate that the project results will return a benefit to the organization, while aligning with the strategic direction of that organization. 

While it is essential to think strategically and create a vision, a skilled project manager must also be able to put together a technical and tactical plan for achieving that vision. This may include leveraging expertise outside of their own, building a strong team, and engaging stakeholders throughout the project, taking all of the steps necessary to deliver the project that supports that vision. 

Certification 

One of the most credible methods of establishing yourself as an experienced and skilled project manager is to pursue and achieve one or more project management certifications. The most globally recognized certification is the Project Management Professional (PMP)® issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMP® credential signifies that the project managers have not only met the educational and experience requirements for certification but they have also passed a rigorous 200-question exam. 

Project Management Career Growth
PMI also offers other specialized project management certifications that can further elevate your status as a skilled project manager, such as the PMI Risk Management Professional, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner, Program Management Professional, and the PMI Scheduling Professional. More information on the various project management certifications can be found at www.PMI.org

Project management is an ever-growing and ever-changing field that provides significant opportunities for project professionals. By creating a deliberate plan for growth and personal development, you can continue to progress in this lucrative professional role! 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 19:00

Friday, 05 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

Project success is determined, in part, by the quality of the product being produced as well as the quality of the project itself. The quality of the product is determined by how well the product, service, or project outcome meets the stakeholders’ needs and expectations. The quality of the project is determined by the ability to deliver the project within the defined constraints of schedule and cost, while also providing the intended value to the organization. 

Project quality management involves managing, estimating, and controlling the costs associated with product quality. The cost of quality can be categorized as the cost of conformance and the cost of non-conformance. Costs associated with both conformance and non-conformance should be considered, analyzed, and monitored throughout the project. The costs of conformance and costs of non-conformance are inversely related, meaning that theoretically, the more we spend on conformance, the less we will have to spend on non-conformance. 

Cost of Conformance

The cost of conformance is money spent to ensure quality, for both prevention and appraisal activities. The cost of conformance for prevention includes process documentation, training, and quality activities. The cost of conformance for appraisal involves activities such as testing, audits, and inspections. The cost of activities that fall under the umbrella of quality assurance is also considered the cost of conformance. Quality assurance typically involves evaluating and auditing the processes that are in place to ensure they support producing high-quality products or results. 

During project planning, quality and acceptance criteria and quality risks should be evaluated and analyzed to determine the acceptable level of spending associated with the quality activities on the project. This budget will vary from project to project depending on the project outputs and deliverables. For example, a project to develop a $3 item will most likely spend less on quality activities than a project that is developing a $1 million product. 

Cost of Non-Conformance

The cost of non-conformance is money spent because of failures. Non-conformance are those costs associated with failures, including those discovered by the project and those discovered by the customer or end-user (escaped defects). Within the project, non-conformance costs may come from inconsistent results, scrap, and rework, for example. External failure costs may stem from damage to the organization’s reputation, paying for warranties, or having returned items or send-backs. 

The challenge with the cost of non-conformance is that it is often difficult to estimate those costs until after the non-conformance has occurred. Therefore, the project manager must balance what they spend proactively on the cost of conformance to keep the cost of non-conformance within an acceptable range. 

In Summary

Quality management is and should be a significant focus for any project manager. Being able to analyze, estimate, and monitor the costs associated with quality activities is an expectation of all skilled project managers. Cost estimating and budgeting must include the cost of quality, encompassing both the cost of conformance and the cost of non-conformance. As with all project work, the project manager should consistently monitor any variances between the expected costs of quality and the actual money spent on conformance and non-conformance. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 07:34

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