A risk register for PMP Prep project

  1. Choosing the trainer 
    1. Choose the best trainers who can explain the concepts from a practitioner’s perspective with real life examples. This will make the training (understanding 756 pages of PMBOK version 6) interesting and easy to recollect. Good trainers can make the preparation easier and interesting.
    2. The structure of the training is very important. If the topics are covered knowledge area wise, then it is very difficult to recollect. Go for trainers who teaches process group wise (initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, closing). That is easy to understand and remember.
  2. Preparing for the exam  
    1. Spending too much effort in understanding Inputs, Tools and techniques, Outputs (ITTO). It is humanly impossible to remember these for all the 49 processes. One may get some questions around these for the exam, and at the same time it is not a good decision to spend too much time and effort just to remember these. A good trainer and training method will help you to logically reason this out to a great extent.
    2. There is no dearth of free advise for PMP preparation. Each free advise may add another five hundred pages to your preparation load. Be careful enough to check the credibility of the source of information.
    3. Knowledge of the project management good practices as defined within PMBOK is mandatory. Read PMBOK thrice. First reading for a quick understanding. Second reading a detailed one with notes preparation of all the difficult to remember stuff. The third reading is just revision of notes.
    4. Whatever may be your experience and knowledge about project management, exam practice is inevitable to achieve the PMP credential. Instead of practicing several mock exams, choose the one which is more similar to the real PMP exam. Practice the tests several times till you score above 80 percentage. While doing the exam practice, one will be aware of the strong and weak areas. Go back to PMBOK and revise those portions again.
    5. Professionals from the information technology domains are generally weak in risk management and procurement management where as those from EPC projects are weak in human resource management, quality management.
  3.  Registering for the exam 
    1. Many do not write the exam, because there is no deadline for their PMP project. Registering for the exam will provide you with a target date. In the worst scenario, PMI allows you to reschedule the exam three times with prior notice.
    2. While registering for the exam, sometimes PMI audits your application. This is a very random process by PMI, hence there is no reason to worry.
  4. Writing the exam 
    1. Nobody ever writes an exam with hundred percentage confidence. So is the case with PMP. If you are scoring above 80% consistently during your practice exams, take a calculated risk and go ahead.
    2. If you are a person who can perform better under pressure (like me), then go and advertise about your PMP certification to everyone, thus creating that peer pressure which will help you to finish it off in flying colours.
    3. If you are a person who cannot perform under pressure, like many, then keep your PMP project confidential. Advertise after becoming a PMP.
    4. Do not expect the exam center to be as comfortable as your office. Sometimes it can be very cold inside, and you have to spend around four hours there. Go with some warm clothes. Coffee may or may not be available. If it is a must, go with a flask full of coffee. These are hygiene factors, which may demotivate you, if not available.
    5. Reach the venue early, so that you can approach the exam with normal blood pressure.
    6. The exam tests your ability to answer to the question. So, it becomes important to understand the questions before choosing the most correct answer from a set of almost correct answers. Read the questions word by word. If you are in a hurry while reading the question, then you will end up reading it again. So read it carefully the first time itself.
    7. You will have to answer 200 questions in 240 minutes (4 hours). That sounds like a photo finish. Actually there is amble time. Some questions you will take only seconds to answer and the time saved can be used for difficult questions.
    8. If you find some questions as very difficult to answer, then you can mark them for later. Towards the end of the test, these questions will come back to you for answering. If you are lucky, you may get pointers to answer the skipped questions from the subsequent questions.
    9. There are no negative marks. So, do not leave any question unattended. If you do not have the answer, then gamble a bit.
    10. Artificial intelligence is built into the exam engine. If you answer a series of difficult questions correctly then the questions gets tougher and tougher for you till you make a mistake. Once you make a mistake then the questions get easier. When the going gets tough, please remember that you are doing well and hang on for the entire four hours.
    11. After all, it is just another exam. You might have completed forty to fifty exams successfully for your graduation. Do not glorify the PMP exam too much and make it as difficult as your graduation. Have the realization that it is only as difficult as one paper of your graduation.
  5. After the exam 
    1. Tell everyone that you passed the PMP exam
    2. Publish posts about ‘How to prepare for PMP’
    3. Tell everyone that it was very difficult, so that you get better value for your credential.

PMP, PMBOK are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute (PMI, USA)

 

About the author of this post 

Abrachan Pudussery is a seasoned trainer/coach/mentor  of  predictive and adaptive project management. The Pmdistilled project management training (classroom and online)  program delivered by him has benefited nearly twenty thousand professionals across the globe during the last one decade.

Contact 

Project management – On the job training

I am delighted to announce PM-OJT (on the job) training. We invite individuals and groups to this on the job learning experience.

This course is for those who want to really master professional project management as defined by PMI (Project Management Institute, USA)  , and then go for PMP certification.   The participant chooses a real project from his/her work environment, and under the guidance of the coach, applies the professional project management concepts in a real life environment.  If the participant is unable to identify a project from their work environment, they will work on a hypothetical project case provided to them.

Who should attend?

  • Team leads
  • Fresh project managers
  • Experienced project managers who want to learn project management as per the project management body of knowledge
  • Those who are preparing for the PMP certification

Course outline

Iteration#1 – Master project initiation

Iteration#2 – Master project scope definition

  • Tools and techniques for scope elaboration,base lining, estimation and tracking
    • Product breakdown structure
    • Work breakdown structure
    • Estimation of effort using the work breakdown structure
      • Analogous estimation
      • Parametric estimation
      • Three point estimation
      • Application of wide band delphi technique in estimation
  • Assignment#2

Iteration#3 – Learn to develop the schedule

  • Decomposing the work packages into activities
  • Performing bottom up estimation
  • Sequencing the activities
  • Critical path
  • Optimizing the schedule
    • Crashing
    • Fast tracking
    • Leads and lags
  • Assignment#3

Iteration#4 – Learn to develop the subsidiary plans

  • Integration management plan
  • Scope management plan
  • Schedule management plan
  • Cost management plan
  • Quality management plan
  • Human resource management plan
  • Communications management plan
  • Risk management plan
  • Procurement management plan
  • Stakeholder engagement plan
  • Assignment#4

Iteration#5 – Master Project execution

  • Acquire resources
  • Execute work
  • Manage project knowledge
  • Manage quality
  • Manage communications
  • Implement risk responses
  • Conduct procurements
  • Manage stakeholder engagement
  • Assignment#5

Iteration#6 – Learn to Monitor and control project work

  • Monitor and control project work
  • Perform integrated change control
  • Validate scope
  • Control scope
  • Control schedule
  • Control costs
  • Control quality
  • Control resources
  • Monitor communications
  • Monitor risks
  • Control procurements
  • Monitor stakeholder engagement
  • Assignment#6

Iteration#7 – Learn to formally close project / phases 

  • Close project or phase
  • Assignment#7

Interation#8 – Get an introduction to agile project management

Iteration#9 – Things we did not discuss so far which are very important for the PMP exam preparation

Iteration#10 – Exam practice

For more information, contact us 

 

 

The benefits of project chartering and project charter

If someone assigns me as the project manager of a project, the first document I will refer to understand the overall details of the project is the project charter, which is one of the key outputs of the project initiation process. If it is not available, I will work along with the sponsor (senior management representative who is in charge of the project) to define one and get his approval.

A typical project charter contains;

  1. High level scope of the project
  2. Business case of the project
  3. Key milestones with dates
  4. Major risks
  5. Major assumptions and dependencies including the flexibility matrix
  6. Key stakeholders names, roles and responsibilities towards the project
  7. Project managers name, roles and responsibilities

The project charter is approved by the sponsor. This is the formal document which appoints the project manager to the project officially. Project charter gives authority to the project manager. Any changes to the project charter must be re-approved by the sponsor.

 

Project charter brings in lot of clarity into the project, and is a good basis for planning the project.

Scrum pages – New

I have added a new page Scrum pages. This is for those who want to get an over view of agile and an in depth understanding of scrum, which is one of the most popular agile frameworks. Keep following Scrum pages to understand and master scrum. If you are willing to pay for my time, I am open for scheduled online meetings to mentor you. Knowledge of agile is inevitable for future project managers. For further details contact me

Do not become what you do not like. A weekend reflection.

I have come across many project managers (with PMP credential) and scrum masters (with CSM) with absolutely no passion for their work, hence ending up like glorified secretaries who ends up doing just what other stakeholders ask them to do. All they have is the basic knowledge of

the jargons and practice tests. Most probably, they have not taken any initiative to further their knowledge post certification. Like many, they also thought that certification is the end goal. In the process they suffer, their project suffers, project team suffers and the customer suffers, because the project manager, scrum master roles are leadership roles.

The general characteristics of this category of project managers are;

  • Their main focus is on firefighting than proactive problem prevention.
  • They are in the business of pleasing their bosses alone.
  • They always put the blame on to others.
  • They are not passionate about the area of their certification, hence not confident.
  • They negotiate only with those report to them, they are scared to negotiate with other stakeholders.
  • They always follow , never lead.
  • They do not evangelize professionalism.
  • They consider most of the good practices as theory and not practical.
  • They use the words ‘but’ and ‘they’ frequently.
  • They actively seek empathy from others.

One can improve to some extent and at the same time it is very difficult to achieve excellence without a career path correction , if you are in the wrong career.

I must also appreciate the fact that a good percentage of the project managers and scrum masters are passionate and knowledgeable about their work irrespective of the certifications they hold or do not hold. That is just passion about their work. That is the hope.

This post partially answers the question ‘After certification what is next?’