Some recent PMP V6 faq

If I use the older version of Rita, will it help to appear for pmbok V6 based exam?

It will. Except for ITTO. Just do not follow the inputs, tools and techniques and outputs in Rita. For that refer to PMBOK. Do the chapter end questions of Rita. That will be useful.

How important is to remember ITTO?

Remembering the ITTO (inputs, tools &techniques and outputs) for 49 processes is difficult and at the same time you may get some questions around it. Gamble little bit. Do not prepare focusing on mugging up ITTO. That is not a wise decision.

How important is the knowledge of agile while appearing for PMBOK V6 based PMP exam?

An overall understanding will help. The agile based questions will not be considered for evaluation as of now.

Traditional manager to agile leader

How is agile project management different from traditional project management?. True agile teams are self organising. The problem is given to the team and the team decides how to solve it and who will do what?. This is totally different from traditional project management based on task allocation where the manager decides who will do what and in which order. In agile, as a lead ones sole objective is to get the best out of the team by playing a servant leader role. The focus is on how we can improve than fault finding. As a lead in the agile world ones focus is on capability enhancement than focusing directly on production. When the capabilities improve automatically production improve. The major shift is from a command and control to contribute and collaborate mindset. Io Positional power does not help here. Credibility has to be earned through contribution and collaboration. It calls for real transformation from manager mindset to leadership thinking. Giving away positional power and embracing contribution power is painful and at the same time rewarding.

Stop trying to borrow wisdom..

“Stop trying to borrow wisdom and think for yourself. Face your difficulties and think and think and think and solve your problems yourself. Suffering and difficulties provide opportunities to become better. Success is never giving up.” — Taiichi Ohno

Very much applicable for individuals, teams and organizations!. Ultimately wisdom is gained through hands on experience.

Project portfolio management

Organizations have business goals to achieve. These business goals are achieved through execution of carefully selected projects, programs and other work which are in true alignment to the organizations strategy to achieve their business goals. There are three stages to project portfolio management;

  • Selection of the right projects, programs and other work, which has the best fitment to the organizations strategy for growth.
  • Execution of these projects and maintaining their alignment to the organizational strategy throughout execution.
  • Measurement of the actual benefits derived from these and comparing them with the forecasts made while choosing these.

All these steps collectively is known as project portfolio management. Portfolios are managed by portfolio managers. The managers of the programs, projects and other work of the portfolio report to the portfolio manager.

Portfolio can exist at the organization level, division level and unit level. Portfolio management is always associated with the achievement of strategic business goals.

Programs and program management

  • Collection of inter related projects
  • When done together gives more value than doing them one after the other
  • Managed by program managers
  • The individual projects that constitute the program are managed by project managers. These project managers report to the program manager

Improving the traffic sysyems within the city to eliminate traffic congestions can be a program, supported by projects like;

  • Enhancing the existing roads
  • Implementing car pooling
  • Establishing metro rail
  • Implementing traffic monitoring system
  • Implementing boat services
  • Implementing cycling tracks
  • Conducting traffic awareness programs

Each of these individual projects will be managed by project managers and they report to the program manager. The cumulative effect of doing these projects together as a program is much better than performing them one after another.

Projects and operations

  • Projects have definite start and end dates
  • Projects deliver unique products or services
  • Projects are temporary in nature. Upon completion the team is dismantled
  • Projects are constrained by the limited resources of time, cost and scope
  • A project is considered as successful if it is completed within the agreed upon time, cost and scope, and met its business objectives
  • Projects are managed by project managers
  • Operations are ongoing in nature
  • Operations produce standard outputs
  • Operations are managed by operations / functional managers

Designing a new car is a project. Manufacturing cars are operatiins.

Which certification to pursue?

Which certification to pursue?..that is a million dollar question which every professional face, at some point in time of their career. This discussion is based on which certifications one should pursue, after making a concrete decision to tread the project management route. Within project management, we have two major schools;

  • The agile project management
  • Traditional project management

Both are valuable, and complementary.  Which one will give you the fastest return on investment depends on;

  • The industry to which you belong to
  • The industry where you want to spend your future
  • The country where you will be working

The globally well known certifications for project managers

  • Project Management Professional (PMI, USA)
  • Projects in controlled environment (UK)
  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM), by Scrumalliance
  • Professional Scrum Master (PSM) by Scrum.org
  • Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) by PMI-USA

If you are from the information technology domain, it is better to with any one of the agile certifications straightaway. The certified Scrum Master (CSM) by Scrumalliance is expensive and has the early starter advantage, where as PSM is not that expensive, and at the same time it is very authentic, because it is coming from Ken Schwaber’s Scrum.org. For those of you who do not know Ken Schwaber, he founded scrum along with Jeff Sutherland, and both of them together developed the scrum guide, which is the most authentic documentation on scrum, becuase it is coming from the founders. The syllabus for these two certifications (CSM and PSM) are the ScrumGuide, and upon completion of the certification process, one will have the proficiency to play the role of a scrum master (project manager, in the traditional forms).

Then we have the PMI-ACP certification. The syllabus for this certification is a cocktail of all the frameworks available out there and calls for;

  • Complete understanding of  SCRUM
  • A very good understanding of Extreme Programming
  • Some key concepts like earned value management, risk management, communications management from the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK)
  • Complete understanding of Agile body of knowledge

After getting anyone of the agile certifications, then try for PMP credential. Without a proper understanding of the ten knowledge areas of PMBOK;

  • Integration management
  • Scope management
  • Time management
  • Cost management
  • Quality management
  • Communications management
  • Human resource management
  • Risk management
  • Procurement management

one will fail, when it comes to real life project management. More than that, while the future holds good for the Agile, many customers insist on PMP’s to manage their projects. If you are from the I.T background, these two certifications are mandatory. Start with agile, and then graduate into PMBOK. Both complements.

If you are from any other domain, other than I.T, then the options are either PMP or PRINCE2. Since the origins of PRINCE2 are from U.K, it is appreciated there, and the rest of the world is with PMP. So, based on where you are, and where your customers are, you have to decide.

Please post all your additional queries as comments to this page, and I will reply.