Kerala floods 2018 – Our office was under flood waters

In August 2018, severe flooding affected the south Indian state of Kerala due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season. It was the worst flooding in Kerala in nearly a century. Over 445 people died, 15 are missing within a fortnight, while at least a million people were evacuated, mainly from Chengannur, Pandanad, Aranmula, Aluva, Chalakudy, Kuttanad and Pandalam. All 14 districts of the state were placed on red alert. According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the total population of Kerala had been directly affected by the floods and related incidents. The Indian government had declared it a Level 3 Calamity, or “calamity of a severe nature”. It is the worst flood in Kerala after the great flood of 99 that happened in 1924.

Thirty-five out of the fifty-four dams within the state were opened for the first time in history. All five overflow gates of the Idukki Dam were opened at the same time, for the first time in 26 years.[14] Heavy rains in Wayanad and Idukki have caused severe landslides and have left the hilly districts isolated.

Courtesy – Wikipedia

 

Our office was also badly affected. Water levels rose till table height in the ground floor. Internet and telephone lines were affected. Vehicles got submersed in water. Furniture was destroyed. There was no power supply and water supply for days together. The situation is coming back to normalcy.

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 

Take the first step to PMP

Online PMdistilled PMP preparatory course Contents

  1. How to prepare
  2. A quick overview of the examination process
  3. Quick introduction to PMBOK V6
  4. The processes in detail
    1. Initiation
      1. Develop project charter
      2. Identify stakeholders
    2. Planning
      1. Develop project management plan
      2. Plan scope management
      3. Collect requirements
      4. Define scope
      5. Create WBS
      6. Plan schedule management
      7. Define activities
      8. Sequence activities
      9. Estimate activity durations
      10. Develop schedule
      11. Plan cost management
      12. Estimate costs
      13. Determine budget
      14. Plan quality management
      15. Plan resource management
      16. Estimate activity resources
      17. Plan communications management
      18. Plan risk management
      19. Identify risks
      20. Perform qualitative risk analysis
      21. Perform quantitative risk analysis
      22. Plan risk responses
      23. Plan procurement management
      24. Plan stakeholder engagement
    3. Executing
      1. Direct and manage project work
      2. Manage project knowledge
      3. Manage quality
      4. Acquire resources
      5. Develop team
      6. Manage team
      7. Manage communications
      8. Implement risk responses
      9. Conduct procurements
      10. Manage stakeholder engagement
    4. Monitoring and controlling
      1. Monitor and control project work
      2. Perform integrated change control
      3. Validate scope
      4. Control scope
      5. Control schedule
      6. Control costs
      7. Control quality
      8. Control resources
      9. Monitor communications
      10. Monitor risks
      11. Control procurements
      12. Monitor stakeholder engagement
    5. Closing
      1. Close project or phase
    6. Learning tests

The knowledge is transferred through;

  • Online 121 classes
  • Assignments (reading PMBOK, learning tests)
  • Doubt clarification sessions
  • Practice tests
  • This is not a record and play course. Personalized attention is provided to the course participants through live online meetings with the instructor.
  • Total effort required for the course (exam readiness) is 80 hours of effort.
  • How fast this can be accomplished depends on the duration of the customized schedule developed for specific participants jointly by the instructor and the participant.

Contact us 

Medium

Take the first step. Contact us 

Pmdistilled PMP Work book

PMdistilledPMPWork book

Communication skills

Check out @HarvardBiz’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/HarvardBiz/status/996208586215886848?s=09

Very true

I always assumed that if something is easy for me, it must be easy for others as well. This article throws more light into it.

Check out @HarvardBiz’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/HarvardBiz/status/994186728394117125?s=09

Do not loose your agility

In order to have an overall understanding of scrum framework, it takes only a couple of hours of reading of scrum guide. As per the founders of scrum, it is a framework which is easy to understand but difficult to implement. The reason being, it is a value based system than a rules driven system. Several discussions are going on in the social media about ‘what is agile?’. I like those self introspection by agilists , because all of us can easily and conveniently forget the fact that agility is based on continuous improvement and it can happen only in an environment based on;

  • Commitment (to the work)
  • Focus (Focused work)
  • Openness (Work environment where people can share their views without fear)
  • Respect (Self respect and mutual respect)
  • Courage (Courage and confidence for decision making)

Many sponsors of agile initiatives do not focus on these aspects, or by the time they realize that these are important,  their organization would have already developed a culture of it’s own with it’s roots on command and control systems, because they hired people with those backgrounds. In such environments, the idea of self organizing teams take a beating. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to re-engineer culture, once it is set.

As an entrepreneur, if you really want to develop a culture conducive for agile and self organizing teams;

  1. Start early, when the organization is still small.
  2. Define your value system (what type of a work environment you want to create)
  3. Recruit the right people who can align with the value system.
  4. Allow the processes to evolve based on the team retrospectives
  5. Do not stick to any one agile framework. Scrum can be a good starting point, then start looking at all other frameworks for good practices.
  6. Implement a reward and recognition system which support the value system

Things to avoid

  • Do not recruit managers/leads who do not have conviction on agile. Many large organizations push their managers to agile certifications just to boast about the number of certified agile masters they have. Certifications does not mean that they are good in agile. Certified scrum masters with conviction on scrum is a very rare breed. If you spot one, recruit, else wait.
  • Avoid recruiting managers who are not willing to unlearn and learn.
  • Avoid recruiting testers with lot of experience in independent manual testing teams. Start looking for testers who are good at test automation and good functional knowledge (learn-ability)
  • Do not have the wrong notion that excellence is linked to experience. Many highly experienced people can become a liability in the agile world.
  • Agile will not solve any of your problems just by implementing a agile framework. Agile will start exposing the weak areas where you need improvement, and these inputs can be easily mistaken as problems of agile when they are actually the problems of the organization/team. Agile will expose the problem areas very fast and it is up to you to address them. That means you get more time to recover and improve. That is the real benefit.

How many of you can really appreciate the airline staff, when the flight is delayed?. Once I reached the airport, they said my flight is delayed by four hours. I got annoyed first. Then I checked the reason. They said the break system have an issue. Immediately I appreciated them for detecting it before take off. A failure detected early. As a sponsor of agile initiative, if you have that kind of a mindset, please embrace it. You must be willing to celebrate a failed early sprint and throw a party for the team for their honesty.  When you go to the gym, what you get first is body pain. If continue it despite the initial pains, then you develop muscles, and you can lift more. That is a good investment.