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A Beginner’s Guide to Project Management – Part 2

In my previous post “A Beginner’s guide to Project Management – Part 1”, I spoke about 5 tips that can make your life easier if you are entrusted with the role of project manager during the initiation phase of the project. In case you would like to go through that article again, here is the link.In this second post, I am going to share some tips to save time and improve efficiency and hence having a better chance at success in the project planning phase.I am intentionally going sequentially as per PMBOK® guide whereby Initiation precedes, planning, then execution followed by control and closure. In the latest 2017 edition of PMBoK®, i.e. the 6th version of PMBoK® guide from PMI® [Project Management Institute], there are 24 processes within the Planning phase.I am not going to delve into each and every process and then try to explain to you because this post has been started with the thought in mind that you are well versed with the theory of project management, and you are looking for bullets to help save your time and peace of mind.In short, idiot’s guide to project management! ☺Alright. Let’s begin.Planning is the root cause of evil:Yes, you read that right. We the project management community gets stressed with the fact that there are too many unknowns in your project leading to instability, the budgets and business forecasts can shrink anytime, the team can go on unplanned leaves and what not!This causes us to plan more and adopt multiple tools to reduce the volatility in our project which in turn increases the paperwork, documentary submissions, compliance requirements and above all, a very stiff environment that hampers team productivity and bonding.So to cut the evil should we stop planning?Definitely not!But there has to be a threshold to it. And that relates to my first tip in planning section, numerically numbered as Tip 6 since first 5 tips were covered in post 1.Tip # 6: Over Planning is a SinIf you are starting a brand new project with no history then create a broad overall plan for the project and get it reviewed with stakeholders but then do not start planning entire 24 processes right from the word go.You should have a broad level [one page max] plan for each of the knowledge area: Quality, resource, cost, schedule, communication, risk, procurement etc. Just a high-level summary of what you plan to do in that particular fieldIf you make the mistake of planning each and everything in detail right from the word go then you will end up:Wasting your time in reworkIrritating your team by forcing to follow “Your” plan instead of what’s the ground realityDemotivated workforce that is scared to talk to youTip # 7: Have weekly, monthly, quarterly goals clearly defined.If you are saving your time by not over planning then you should utilize this opportunity to find out your customer and business owners’ expectations and line them up in weekly, monthly and quarterly goals fashion.These goals need not be hard and set in concrete but laying of a foundation for your entire project team to starting wrapping their minds around them.How do these goals help?The benefit is since we are not reviewing detailed project plan with the stakeholders at the beginning of the project so sharing with them:A broad project plan andYour short-term, mid-term goalsHelps them give confidence that you are on board with them on the same ship.Tip # 8: Get the leave plans of your team firstThis tip is based on my professional experience whereby I had burnt my fingers quite a few times in my projects. The problem was my plans were laid bare by the leaves taken by the key personnel of my team on multiple occasions.If I had known that some of the people were going on long leaves then I can either modify my plans or allocate some other person. While leave planning and allocation is part and parcel of project execution, but as soon as I am allocated to a project and I have a team assigned to me, the first thing I do is to submit their immediate leave plans for at least 1 month. And make it a habit to have that clarity until the project closes.Tip # 9: Have a Refined plan for unplanned leavesIn one of the projects I had under my stewardship, the improvement plans to deliver something more meaningful above and beyond what is committed to the client were big flops because every time someone’s unplanned long leave came into the picture.While a couple of instances were beyond anyone’s control but in a couple of other instances, the erring team member had intentionally hidden this piece of information for me, only to burst on my face in the time of crucial need.The trick to bringing this behavior down to 0, as per my experience is as follows:Gain trust of the team members that you are not against genuine and planned leaves. And the best way to gain that trust is through “Action”. Because action speaks louder than words.Explain to the team the harm it caused to the entire team [not only the project] due to unplanned leaves.Let off first few incidents with a polite face to face discussion followed by a written note as an official note.Discuss those incidents [without naming the person] in team meetings and help the entire team understand the impact of those actions.In spite of all this, there will be people who will refuse to cooperate with you and leave you high and dry with unplanned leaves, for those cases, you need to have an official reform mechanism that ranges from personal improvement plan to involving HR.But believe me when I say that if your team genuinely feels that you will not stop them from going on leaves if they are fair and open with you then the cases of unplanned leaves will come down drastically in your team. That is why first thing I do is to get the leaves plans of the team sorted out as soon as I take over a project.Tip # 10: A handy and accessible issue tracker.Speak to your seniors, ex-managers and existing team members on their experience of handling or working on similar projects. Document the issues that they faced and mark them accordingly. Some people confuse it with risk register but that is a different artifact.Issue tracker is an ongoing document on the current issues being faced by the team or the ones that are unsolved since long time.Document the actions taken so far by the authorities so far on each issue and what are the next expected actions by whom.Have a clear-cut ETA on each of those action itemsRegularly review those issues every fortnight until the project goes into cruise mode; then you can move the meeting to monthly or quarterly.The benefits of having issue tracker handy and accessible for everyone in your team allows everyone to be a stakeholder in your project. If you keep it locked only for you to access then rest assured you will not get the correct visibility. Let your team members add issues to the tracker if they sense something is wrong. You can spend a few minutes to review those entries and weed them out if they are unnecessary but the benefit of being 100% sure you earn by this practice is valuable.So these are the top 5 tips for you in the planning phase of project management. In total, I have shown you 10 tips so far.In my next post, I will come back with more such tips and tricks to help you out. So stay tuned and do leave a comment.All the best !!

A Beginner’s Guide to Project Management – Part 2

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A Beginner’s Guide to Project Management – Part 2

In my previous post “A Beginner’s guide to Project Management – Part 1”, I spoke about 5 tips that can make your life easier if you are entrusted with the role of project manager during the initiation phase of the project. In case you would like to go through that article again, here is the link.

In this second post, I am going to share some tips to save time and improve efficiency and hence having a better chance at success in the project planning phase.

I am intentionally going sequentially as per PMBOK® guide whereby Initiation precedes, planning, then execution followed by control and closure. In the latest 2017 edition of PMBoK®, i.e. the 6th version of PMBoK® guide from PMI® [Project Management Institute], there are 24 processes within the Planning phase.

I am not going to delve into each and every process and then try to explain to you because this post has been started with the thought in mind that you are well versed with the theory of project management, and you are looking for bullets to help save your time and peace of mind.

In short, idiot’s guide to project management! ☺

Alright. Let’s begin.

Planning is the root cause of evil:

Yes, you read that right. We the project management community gets stressed with the fact that there are too many unknowns in your project leading to instability, the budgets and business forecasts can shrink anytime, the team can go on unplanned leaves and what not!

This causes us to plan more and adopt multiple tools to reduce the volatility in our project which in turn increases the paperwork, documentary submissions, compliance requirements and above all, a very stiff environment that hampers team productivity and bonding.

So to cut the evil should we stop planning?

Definitely not!

But there has to be a threshold to it. And that relates to my first tip in planning section, numerically numbered as Tip 6 since first 5 tips were covered in post 1.
Planning Sections in project managementTip # 6: Over Planning is a Sin

If you are starting a brand new project with no history then create a broad overall plan for the project and get it reviewed with stakeholders but then do not start planning entire 24 processes right from the word go.

  • You should have a broad level [one page max] plan for each of the knowledge area: Quality, resource, cost, schedule, communication, risk, procurement etc. Just a high-level summary of what you plan to do in that particular field

If you make the mistake of planning each and everything in detail right from the word go then you will end up:

  • Wasting your time in rework
  • Irritating your team by forcing to follow “Your” plan instead of what’s the ground reality
  • Demotivated workforce that is scared to talk to you
    Planning Mistakes Conversation

Tip # 7: Have weekly, monthly, quarterly goals clearly defined.
Strategy and goals definedIf you are saving your time by not over planning then you should utilize this opportunity to find out your customer and business owners’ expectations and line them up in weekly, monthly and quarterly goals fashion.These goals need not be hard and set in concrete but laying of a foundation for your entire project team to starting wrapping their minds around them.

How do these goals help?

The benefit is since we are not reviewing detailed project plan with the stakeholders at the beginning of the project so sharing with them:

  • A broad project plan and
  • Your short-term, mid-term goals

Helps them give confidence that you are on board with them on the same ship.

Tip # 8: Get the leave plans of your team first
Leaving plans of teamThis tip is based on my professional experience whereby I had burnt my fingers quite a few times in my projects. The problem was my plans were laid bare by the leaves taken by the key personnel of my team on multiple occasions.

If I had known that some of the people were going on long leaves then I can either modify my plans or allocate some other person. While leave planning and allocation is part and parcel of project execution, but as soon as I am allocated to a project and I have a team assigned to me, the first thing I do is to submit their immediate leave plans for at least 1 month. And make it a habit to have that clarity until the project closes.

Tip # 9: Have a Refined plan for unplanned leaves

In one of the projects I had under my stewardship, the improvement plans to deliver something more meaningful above and beyond what is committed to the client were big flops because every time someone’s unplanned long leave came into the picture.

While a couple of instances were beyond anyone’s control but in a couple of other instances, the erring team member had intentionally hidden this piece of information for me, only to burst on my face in the time of crucial need.

The trick to bringing this behavior down to 0, as per my experience is as follows:

  • Gain trust of the team members that you are not against genuine and planned leaves. And the best way to gain that trust is through “Action”. Because action speaks louder than words.
  • Explain to the team the harm it caused to the entire team [not only the project] due to unplanned leaves.
  • Let off first few incidents with a polite face to face discussion followed by a written note as an official note.
  • Discuss those incidents [without naming the person] in team meetings and help the entire team understand the impact of those actions.

In spite of all this, there will be people who will refuse to cooperate with you and leave you high and dry with unplanned leaves, for those cases, you need to have an official reform mechanism that ranges from personal improvement plan to involving HR.

But believe me when I say that if your team genuinely feels that you will not stop them from going on leaves if they are fair and open with you then the cases of unplanned leaves will come down drastically in your team. That is why first thing I do is to get the leaves plans of the team sorted out as soon as I take over a project.

Tip # 10: A handy and accessible issue tracker.
Project Accessible Issue TrackerSpeak to your seniors, ex-managers and existing team members on their experience of handling or working on similar projects. Document the issues that they faced and mark them accordingly. Some people confuse it with risk register but that is a different artifact.

  • Issue tracker is an ongoing document on the current issues being faced by the team or the ones that are unsolved since long time.
  • Document the actions taken so far by the authorities so far on each issue and what are the next expected actions by whom.
  • Have a clear-cut ETA on each of those action items
  • Regularly review those issues every fortnight until the project goes into cruise mode; then you can move the meeting to monthly or quarterly.

The benefits of having issue tracker handy and accessible for everyone in your team allows everyone to be a stakeholder in your project. If you keep it locked only for you to access then rest assured you will not get the correct visibility. Let your team members add issues to the tracker if they sense something is wrong. You can spend a few minutes to review those entries and weed them out if they are unnecessary but the benefit of being 100% sure you earn by this practice is valuable.

So these are the top 5 tips for you in the planning phase of project management. In total, I have shown you 10 tips so far.

In my next post, I will come back with more such tips and tricks to help you out. So stay tuned and do leave a comment.

All the best !!

Abhinav

Abhinav Gupta

Blog Author

PMP, has 12+ years of experience working in Information technology sector and has worked with companies like Infosys and Microsoft in various capacities. He started his career as a manual tester for a world renowned software product and grew on to become automation champion in both functional as well as UI. He has worked with Healthcare units providing various software solutions to companies in North America and has worked with search engine based groups to enhance their experience and provide more bang for buck to their customers.

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CAPM or PMP: Which Is Better?

Project Management is one of the fastest-growing professions around the world. Earning a project management certificate is not only a great way to build skills, position yourself as a valuable asset in your organization, and earn a bigger cheque, but also a great way to stay ahead of your peers. Two popular and in-demand certification options are the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Certification. Both of these certifications are offered by Project Management Institute (PMI) and understanding the difference between these two certifications is critical to decide and choose the right course that fits your career goals.  In this blog, we will look into the differences between PMP and CAPM certification, including cost, difficulty levels, prerequisites, and industry demand; so, you can make an informed decision to fast-track your career towards success.CAPM vs PMP Certification: Which is Right for You?Before figuring out which course is right for you, let us start by understanding the differences. In simple terms, CAPM is considered as the beginner-level certification compared to PMP, which is a professional level course. Hence, the prerequisites required for CAPM are much lesser than PMP and the exam for CAPM is considered to be easier and less expensive as well. Having said that, PMP certification is better known, more prestigious, and highly likely to earn you a bigger paycheque.  The Certified Associate Project Management (CAPM)® will help you stand out from your competitors and enhance your effectiveness and credibility while working on different projects. On the other hand, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification course is a qualification that is recognized industry wide. Becoming a PMP will enhance your work methodologies in any industry, regardless of the complexity of the projects being handled. This course covers a wide range of techniques and tools necessary in project management. This will help increase your earning potential as well as your confidence in your work. Difference between CAPM and PMPCategoryCertified Associate Project Management (CAPM)®Project Management Professional (PMP)®Difficulty LevelEntry LevelProfessional LevelBenefitsGreat recognition by peers and project managers.Potential salary increasesSteppingstone to becoming a PMPGreater credibility and confidenceNew job opportunitiesPotential salary increasesWhat is examinedKnowledge of Project Management processes and understanding of terminologyKnowledge of Project Management and the ability to apply the same in real-life scenarios.CostRelatively cheaper, compared to PMPRelatively more expensive, compared to CAPMBenefits of the CAPM and PMP CertificationsBoth CAPM and PMP have their own set of benefits. Let us look into each one of them.  If you wish to acquire a CAPM certification, you should know that it will enhance your efficiency and is recognized to distinguish you from the others in the industry. Benefits of CAPM course include: Recognition of your success from a renowned professional body in the industry Respect from your peers and project management professionals Increased confidence in your abilities Career progression Possibility of receiving a higher salary at work Affordable compared to PMP certification If you have made up your mind about taking up the PMP certification, it will benefit you in the following ways:  Professional recognition from your peers as well as the industry as a whole Higher understanding and experience in project management process Higher salary compared to un-certified project managers Wider range of job opportunities Greater professional responsibility Greater recognition compared to CAPM certification Both these courses give you access to a range of professional resources and an international network of fellow certificate holders. Certified Associate Project Management (CAPM)®Project Management Professional (PMP)®Respect from your peers and project management professionalsHigher understanding and experience in project management process.Increased confidence in your abilitiesHigher salary compared to un-certified project managers.Career progressionWider range of job opportunitiesPossibility of receiving a higher salary at workGreater professional responsibilityAffordable compared to PMP certificationGreater recognition compared to CAPM certificationHow Difficult are the CAPM and PMP Certification Exams?Before understanding the difficulty of the exams, let us learn the similarities between CAPM and PMP exams.Both CAPM and PMP exams use a Guide To The Project Management Body Of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) as a base for their exams, but these two exams are not similar.  Both exams follow the multiple-choice format of questions and are computer-based. Paper tests may be allowed in special circumstances.Both the exams have non-scoring questions. The participant would not know which questions are non-scoring and hence it is important to answer all the questions given in the exam.With the right training and guidance, both these exams can be cleared. KnowledgeHut provides exam guidance and mock tests to help aspirants nail their exam in one go (hyperlink CAPM and PMP pages from KH)CAPM vs PMP Exam RequirementsThere are fewer guidelines for CAPM exam compared to PMP as it is created for entry-level professionals who have minimal to no project management experience. On the other hand, PMP requires more time and effort and is designed for professionals who have experience in project management. Let us look at the requirements in detail. CAPM Certification: A Secondary degree (high school diploma, an associate degree, or equivalent that is globally accepted) 23 hours of project management education before writing the exam. To complete this requirement, you may want to consider an exam preparation course. For example, Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification prepares you for the exam as well as meets the education requirement. PMP Certification:  There are two routes to consider a PMP Certification. Option 1: Secondary Degree (high school diploma, associate degree, or global equivalent) 60 months of experience in leading projects. 35 hours of project management education or a CAPM certification. Option 2:  A four-year degree 36 months of experience in leading projects. 35 hours of project management education or a CAPM certification. PMI will waive off the 35-hour education requirement for the PMP exam if you are an active CAPM certification holder.CAPM vs PMP Exams: What to Expect Like mentioned earlier, there are many similarities between CAPM and PMP exams. Both follow the PMBOK Guide and are designed by PMI and administered by Pearson VUE. Both exams cover a few of the same topics and neither exam allows reference material during the test. But there are some unique features to each of these exams. They are: CAPM vs PMP ExamCAPM ExamPMP ExamExam Components150 multiple-choice questions180 questions including multiple-choice, multiple response, matching, hotspot, and limited fill-in-the-blanksExam Time Limit3 hours or 180 minutes3 hours and 50 minutes or 230 minutes.Exam ContentCovers chapters from 1 to 13 of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)  Covers three domains: People, Process, and Business Environment. Use the PMP Examination Content Outline provided by PMI to prepare.  Non-scoring questions15 questions25 questionsFormat of examMultiple choiceMultiple choiceMethod of examComputer-basedComputer-basedPMP vs CAPM: Roles and Responsibilities in Real WorldThe real understanding of either of these certifications happens when you understand their real-world applications. After all, certifications are a means to a better career and if they do not meet your expectations, you should reconsider your choices.  CAPM will give you a chance to start with entry-level project management roles. Assistant project manager, project coordinator, junior business analyst are some positions you would be qualified for. In these roles, you would be applying your coordinating skills, scheduling meetings, and creating an effective platform for communication.  However, if you are someone with considerable technical experience, the CAPM certification will pave the way for a leadership position, which in turn can lead to a full-time project management position.  With a PMP certification, the scenario is slightly different. You will be qualified for full-time project management roles where you will deal with different projects of all sizes and complexities. Project manager, program manager, project controller are some roles in your reach with this certification. 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CAPM or PMP: Which Is Better?

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The PMP® Exam Blueprint For 2019

Preparing for your PMP® exam might seem like a struggle, but the end result is quite rewarding. From the initial application process, you need to go through a lengthy procedure to become a PMP® certified professional. The PMP® exam tests the professionals on the five project management processes: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing.  It is also important for the candidates to have a thorough understanding of the nine knowledge areas under project management, which includes integration management, project scope management, time management, project resource management plan, procurement management, cost management, and time management.The PMP® certification is a validation of a professional’s experience in project management and is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to those candidates who qualify the PMP® examination.The process of preparation can be quite challenging for a candidate who is preparing for a PMP certification. This article discusses the details of the PMP® exam, giving an insight into the prerequisites, layout of the exam and some tips on how to ace the exam the first time.PMP® Examination FormatThe PMP® examination contains a total of 200 multiple-choice questions. Out of these 200 questions, 25 questions are ‘unscored questions’, that is, they do not affect the exam score. These questions act as an effective and admissible way to test the validity of future examination questions. The questions are placed and are asked randomly throughout the examination. It is very important to keep in mind that the unscored questions cannot be distinguished from the scored questions. Hence it is important that all the questions are answered with the same level of precision.No. of Scored QuestionsNo. of Unscored QuestionsTotal number of Questions17525200The standard method of PMI  examination is Center-based Testing (CBT). While paper-based Testing is also available, but only under limited circumstances.The allotted time duration for completion of the exam is 4 hours. There aren’t any scheduled breaks during the examination, though a small break can be taken if needed. If any break is taken during the exam, the exam clock time does not stop but continues to count down.Before you begin taking the exam, you will be shown a tutorial explaining the process of the exam. It’s recommended to go through this video that takes around 15 minutes. Further, your PMP® exam will be followed by a survey. The time for both excludes the four hours of the examination during which you need to answer 200 questions.Allotted time for the Examination4 hoursNew PBT Policy effective from 1 July 2017The Paper-based testing for the PMP® examination is available under limited circumstances. The instances are listed as follows:Distance to a Prometric CBT (Centre-based testing)  site exceeds 240 km (150 miles)A Prometric CBT site isn’t available in the country of residence and travelling across borders is prohibited/burdensome.As of 01 July 2017, the price for PBT exam has been changed, which now equals the CBT prices.NOTE: It should be indicated during the certification payment process if the candidate will be opting for a centre-based or a paper-based examination. In the case of PBT examination, the site location, date and group testing number on the application should be included as well.How are the PMP® examination questions developed?The questions which are asked in the PMP® examination are:Developed in accordance with the standards of  IOC/IEC 17024Developed and are validated independently by global work groups of PMP® certification holders.Monitored via psychometric analysisAccording to the specifications made in the PMP® Examination Content Outline.Referenced to the present project management titles, which include but not limited to PMI ’s global standards.Are any language aids provided for the PMP® examination?PMI  examinations are administered in English. However, for the questions and answers of the PMP® examinations, language aids are provided with no additional costs.Language Aids are available in 14 languages, which are stated as follows:ArabicHebrewBrazilian PortugueseItalianChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)JapaneseKoreanFrenchRussianGermanSpanishPolishTurkishThe language aids are provided when the examination is being administered. They are protected under the PMI  Test Security and Confidentiality rules.NOTE: If a language aid is required, it should be indicated as a part of the payment process, that is, while submitting the application online; or as a part of the application process, if a paper application is being submitted.The post-exam survey and pre-exam tutorial are administered only in the English language. The language aid is provided only for the PMP® examination questions and answers.What is the Blueprint of the PMP® Examination?The PMP® examination blueprint, which is depicted in the table below defines the proportion of questions which are asked from each domain. These percentages determine the number of questions that will appear in the examination, covering all the domains and process groups of the project management. The following is the blueprint:Blueprint of the PMP® ExamDomainPercentage of QuestionsInitiation13%Planning24%Execution31%Monitoring and Controlling25%Closing7%TOTAL100%Further, let’s discuss the domains, tasks, knowledge and skill statements which are defined by the Role Delineation Study. There are multiple tasks under each domain which are measured through the process of PMP® certification.Domain I, Initiating - 13%Task 1: Carry out a project assessment based on the available information, meetings with stakeholders, and the lessons which are learned from the previous projects.Task 2: Figure out the key deliverables to direct the achievement of project goals and manage customer expectations based on the business requirements.Task 3: Use appropriate tools and techniques to perform stakeholder analysis so that expectations can be aligned and support can be gained for the project.Task 4: Recognise high-level risks, constraints, and assumptions based on the historical data, current environment, organisational factors, and expert judgement, so that an implementation strategy can be proposed.Task 5: Engage in the process of development of project charter by compiling and analyzing the gathered information so that it is ensured that the project stakeholders agree on its elements.Task 6: Acquire the project charter approval from the sponsor, so that the authority assigned to the project manager can be assigned, while at the same time commitment and acceptance can be gained.Task 7: Perform benefit analysis with relevant stakeholders so that the project alignment with organizational strategy can be validated.Task 8: Ensure that there is a common understanding of the key deliverables, milestones, as well as their roles and responsibilities by informing the stakeholders of the approved project charter.Knowledge and SkillsAnalytical skillsBenefit analysis techniquesElements of a project charterEstimation tools and techniquesStrategic managementDomain II, Planning - 24%Task 1: Based on the project charter and lessons learned, review and assess the project requirements, constraints and assumptions with the stakeholders.Task 2: Based on the approved project scope and using scope management techniques, develop scope management so that the scope of the project can be defined, maintained and managed.Task 3: Based on the project scope, resources, schedule, approved project charter, and other information, plan the cost management using estimating techniques so that the project costs can be managed.Task 4: Based on the approved project deliverables and milestones, scope, and resource management plans, develop the project schedule so that a scheduled completion of the project can be managed.Task 5: Come up with a Project Resource Management plan where the roles and responsibilities of the project team members can be defined so that a project organizational structure can be created and guidance can be formed regarding how resources will be managed and assigned.Task 6: Work on a communication management plan which will be based on the project organizational structure and stakeholder requirements, so that the flow of project information can be defined and managed.Task 7: Based on the project scope, budget, and schedule, create a procurement management plan. This ensures that the required project resources will be available.Task 8: To prevent the occurrence of defects while at the same time control the cost of quality, come up with a quality management plan to define the quality standards for the project and its products which will be based on the project scope, risks, and requirements.Task 9: Work on change management so that the changes can be managed and tracked.Task 10: Develop a risk management plan. Identify, analyse and prioritize the project risk; create a risk register, and define risk response strategy to do so. This way, the uncertainty and opportunity throughout the project life cycle can be managed.Task 11: Present the project management plan to the relevant stakeholders in accordance with the applicable policies and procedures, so the approval to proceed with the project execution can be attained.Task 12: Conduct kick-off meeting, communicate the start of the project, and other relevant information to engage stakeholders and gain commitment.Task 13: Develop a stakeholder management plan after analyzing the needs and potential impact so that the stakeholders’ expectations can be managed and can be engaged in project decisions.Knowledge and SkillsChange management planningCommunications planningEstimation tools and techniquesLean and efficiency principlesQuality management planningRegulatory and environmental impacts assessment planningScope deconstruction (e.g., WBS, Scope backlog) tools and techniquesStakeholder management planningWorkflow diagramming techniquesCost management planning, including project budgeting tools and techniquesContract types and selection criteriaHuman resource planningProcurement planningRequirements gathering techniquesRisk management planningScope management planningTime management planning, including scheduling tools and techniquesDOMAIN III, Executing - 31%Task 1: Follow the human resource and procurement management plans by obtaining and managing the project resources so that the project requirements can be met.Task 2: Lean and develop the project team to manage the task execution based on the project management plan so that the project deliverables can be achieved.Task 3: Use appropriate tools and techniques to implement a quality management plan. This is done to ensure that the work is being performed as per the required quality standards.Task 4: Follow the change management plan to implement the approved changes and corrective actions so that the project requirements can be met.Task 5: Follow the risk management plan to implement the approved actions so that the impact of risks can be minimized while at the same time, the advantage of opportunities on the project can be attained. ‘Task 6: Follow the communication plan and manage the flow of information so that the stakeholders are kept engaged and informed.Task 7: Follow the stakeholder management plan to maintain the stakeholder relationship so that continued support can be received and expectations can be managed.Knowledge and SkillsContinuous improvement processesElements of a statement of workProject budgeting tools and techniquesVendor management techniquesContract management techniquesInterdependencies among project elementsQuality standard toolsDomain IV, Monitoring and Controlling - 25%Task 1: Use appropriate tools and techniques to measure the project performance so that any variance and corrective actions can be identified and quantified.Task 2: Follow the change in the management plan and manage changes to the project so that the project goal remains aligned with the business needs.Task 3: Use appropriate tools and techniques to meet project requirements and business needs in order to verify that the project deliverables conform to the quality standards which has been established in the quality management plan.Task 4: Monitor and assess the risk to determine if exposure has changed and evaluated the effectiveness of response strategies so that the impact of risks and opportunities on the project can be managed.Task 5: Review and update the issue log as well as determine corrective measures by using appropriate tools and techniques so that the impact on the project can be minimized.Task 6: Use lessons learned management techniques to capture, analyze, and manage the lessons learned so that continuous improvement can be attained.Task 7: According to the procurement plan, monitor the procurement activities so that the compliance with project activities can be verified.Knowledge and SkillsPerformance measurement and tracking techniquesProject control limitsProject monitoring tools and techniquesQuality measurement toolsRisk response techniquesProcess analysis techniquesProject finance principlesProject quality best practices and standardsRisk identification and analysis techniquesQuality validation and verification techniquesDomain V, Closing - 7%Task I: Collect the final acceptance of the project deliverables from the relevant stakeholders as confirmation that the project scope and deliverables were achieved.Task II: According to the project plan, transfer the ownership of deliverables to the assigned stakeholders so that the project closure can be facilitated.Task III: Obtain financial, legal and administrative closure via the accepted practices and policies so that a formal closure of the project can be attained and a transfer of liability can be ensured.Task IV: According to the communications management plan, prepare and share the final project report so that the project performance can be documented and conveyed as well as project evaluation can be assisted.Task V: Collect and combine the lessons that were learned throughout the project and conduct a project review so that the organization’s knowledge base can be updated.Task VI: Archive the materials and project documents by making use of the generally accepted practices so that statutory requirements can be complied with and for potential use in future projects and audits.Task VII: Use appropriate tools and techniques to get feedback from relevant stakeholders so that their satisfaction can be evaluated.Knowledge and SkillsArchiving practices and statutesContract closure requirementsFeedback techniquesProject review techniquesActive listeningBenefits realizationBusiness acumenCoaching, mentoring, training, and motivational techniquesConfiguration managementCustomer satisfaction metricsDecision makingDiversity and cultural sensitivityExpert judgment techniqueGenerational sensitivity and diversityInterpersonal skillsLeadership tools, techniques, and skillsMeeting management techniquesOrganizational and operational awarenessPresentation tools and techniquesProblem-solving tools and techniquesQuality assurance and control techniquesRisk assessment techniquesStakeholder management techniquesVirtual/remote team managementCompliance (statute/organization)Close-out proceduresPerformance measurement techniquesTransition planning techniqueApplicable laws and regulationsBrainstorming techniquesChange management techniquesCommunication channels, tools, techniques, and methodsConflict resolutionData gathering techniquesDelegation techniquesEmotional intelligenceFacilitationInformation management tools, techniques, and methodsKnowledge managementLessons learned management techniquesNegotiating and influencing techniques and skillsPeer-review processesPrioritization/time managementProject finance principlesRelationship managementSituational awarenessTeam-building techniquesTips for passing and preparing for PMP® ExamPMP® exam requires a lot of dedication and efforts in order to clear it at one go. The following tips will surely help you to prepare and pass your PMP® exam:Memorise all formulas to easily answer the math questions.Spend around 4 hours to practice full sample exams at one sitting.On the day of your exam, use your time effectively to answer 200 questions within 4 hours. You will have 1 minute to answer each question.Answer all questions, do not leave any question blank.Use the process of elimination for obviously incorrect answer options to maximise probability in case you are not sure about the correct answer.Avoid spending too much time on any single question. If you are spending more than 2 minutes on a single question then you can make your best guess for the answer and mark it for review at the end of the exam.Try to reserve the last 10 minutes to review the marked questions.Read all the answer options before selecting an answer.Keep in mind that some questions may provide hints to other questions in the exam.Wear comfortable cloth and footwear on the day of your exam.To wrap it up!The PMP® certification acts as a validation of a professional’s experience in project management and is a challenging process as well. Start preparing well for the five domains (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing) in advance so that you can ace the examination and get nearer to achieving your dream career. All the best!
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The PMP® Exam Blueprint For 2019

Preparing for your PMP® exam might seem like a st... Read More

A Comprehensive Guide to PMP® Exam Preparation

Are you still trying to figure out a way to start preparing for your PMP® Exam? Fret not! This blog will guide you with some best practices that you should adopt while preparing for your PMP® exam. This will surely help you to successfully clear your PMP® certification exam.Every PMP certification aspirant differs from one another in terms of experience and expertise. Similarly, every person has got a unique learning habit. Therefore, you should get your own study plan which is based on your personal learning likes and needs. But this doesn’t mean that you should get worried about developing the study plan as you can find a plethora of resources to cater the needs of exam candidates, both online and offline which allows you to come up with a plan which fits your specific needs, style of learning, and individual circumstances.6 best practices for your PMP® Exam preparationUsually, most of the successful PMP® candidates spend long hours preparing for their PMP® certification exam. So, you should make sure that you have plenty of time to prepare for your PMP® exam. You can adopt the following best practices to prepare for your PMP® certification exam:1.Review the PMP® Examination Content OutlinePMP® Examination content outline is an important document which will help you to do well with your PMP® exam. You should go through this document which is published by PMI® to find the following information:Break up of questions as per the Process areasList of skills, tasks, and knowledge which are required as per PMI’s Role Delineation study.Going through this credible document will give you a high-level idea of what all get covered in the PMP® exam. You should go through this once you feel that you have attained a reasonable command on the content covered by PMBOK® Guide or any other study guide which you are referring in order to ensure that you avoid any unwanted surprises while appearing for your PMP® certification exam.2.Take up a formal study course offered by any accredited Registered Education Provider (R.E.P)Project Management Institute (PMI) has approved a few organisations to offer project management training in order to establish a global network of quality education providers to help all the Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential aspirants and credential holders.Enrolling yourself in a PMP® training course is one of the best ways to prepare for your certification exam. The reasons are as follows:These courses provide tailor-made PMP study materials and best practices for the PMP exam.They give you a quick start in getting a grasp of various project management concepts, formulae, terminology, and other key inputs which help you to prepare for your PMP exam.You can also get the 35 contact hours certificate by taking up these training courses which is necessary for you to be eligible for the PMP® exam.3.Come up with a study planYou should start treating your PMP® certification as a project and prepare a plan which covers all the activities that would help you to get PMP® certified. But the core element in this plan is to have a well-defined study plan. You should break your study sessions into smaller chunks and prepare a study plan which includes timelines to read PMBOK®, practice mock tests, study various materials etc.4.Review the latest edition of PMBOK® Guide and self-study books published by other reputable training organisationsNo matter whatever reference material you want to study in order to prepare for your PMP® certification exam, the PMPBOK® Guide is the recommended study material for all the PMP® aspirants. The page number 61 of the guide contains a table that shows the relation between 13 Knowledge Areas and 5 Process Groups with 47 processes. It further explains how these are applicable to project management.As a candidate, you should be thorough with this table and draw this table on a piece of paper in 5 minutes while appearing for your exam. The same can be used as a reference in answering the 200 exam questions. Other than the PMBOK® Guide, you can also review other study guides published by R.E.P.s and other reputable training organisations.5.Get ready for your exam by practicing Mock TestsDo you want to check the status of your PMP® certification exam preparation? You can do that by taking PMP mock tests. These can help you to map the gaps in your project management knowledge. You can take a test and review the results to find the areas that you need to work on.Focusing on answering the questions by sitting at a place for four hours is not a piece of cake. Taking full-length mock tests helps you to prepare for such a physically daunting and mentally straining process. However, it is a very important drill for your PMP® certification exam. So, it’s better to take up these mock tests and prepare well for your big day.6.Study groupStudying in a group can prove to be quite helpful while you are preparing for your PMP® certification exam. Catch up with the like-minded PMP® aspirants to know about new tactics and get benefited in other ways by being a part of the study group. Few of the benefits are as follows:Studying in a group is the best escape from the monotony of studying alone.You can surely overcome the areas which you are struggling with.Helping others will also boost your confidence.Sharing project management experiences with others help you to crack the scenario based questions which is the trickiest part of the PMP® certification exam.It further helps you to stay on course and helps you to motivate each other in the group.The biggest advantage of studying in a group is that it forces you to study on a regular basis and makes the preparation activity a part of your routine.Tips and tricks to prepare for your PMP® examYou need to study numerous materials in order to crack your PMP® certification exam. But do you have access to the right books and materials? Every person has his or her own way of learning. The following ways will surely help you to become efficient in your study and get equipped with all the knowledge that you need to crack your PMP® exam:If you have access to the workshops conducted by PMI then that would be a big benefit for you. This will also help you to receive the bundle of 35 credit hours which are necessary to qualify for your PMP® application procedure. Attending a PMP® boot camp gives you access to numerous benefits. Few of them are:1.Review everything which you need to cover on the examEverybody is oblivious about what he or she is going to encounter during the PMP® certification exam. Whatever you will find in the exam is sure to be geared from the PMBOK®. This means you should be thorough with the PMBOK® guidelines to get PMP® certified at one go. But the PMBOK® consists of only 75% of what you will see in the exam. What about the rest? You need to seek for a PMP instructor’s guidance in order to fill the gap in learning to qualify your PMP® certification exam.2.Review how to study for the examAs discussed, the PMBOK® guide is a great resource for your PMP® certification exam. At times, even if the questions are lengthy with a situational circumstance, you need to bring it down to a rule that needs to be comprehended. Further, there are certain focus areas on which you need to invest more of your study time than others. It is always better to seek guidance from a professional rather than guessing what you should study.3.Informal questionsIf you lack the idea of how to implement cost, schedule, or risk structure, then it’s a great opportunity for you to understand it. You should learn to shed light on practical application using fundamental examples.You should change your study methods to prepare well for a continuously evolving exam process like the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam. These days, this exam is based on PMBOK® Guide 6th edition and is a lot harder than it was in the past. The 4 partially correct choices which are provided for all the questions make it even confusing and raise the level of complication for the candidate.The following tricks are surely going to help you in shaping up your exam:Get aligned with the exam dynamics by spending 30 minutes every day on a free exam simulator.Follow the rule of 85%. Keep practicing mock exams until you score at least 85% in all the model exams. This indicates that you are ready to face the PMP® certification exam.Another important trick is to understand the ‘ITTO TRICK Sheet of 49 processes’ which you can find in the PMBOK® guide. This will really prove helpful to you in mapping all the processes inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques.In order to rightly utilize the 12 minutes after the exam, you need to read and memorize the Formula Trick Sheet. You need to print and paste the same on your desk in order to practice it every day because writing this after 4 hours exam will surely help you to track the questions and save significant time.You need to read and memorize the PMPBOK® 6th Edition 49 Process Chart. Print and paste the same on your desk and practice it every day until you can draw the chart within 8 minutes.To wrap it upWhen you begin with your preparation for PMP® certification, you should remember that attaining the PMP® certification shows your commitment to the profession of project management and demonstrates your credibility to earn more as well as raising the value of your resume above the non-certified professionals. Keeping these points in mind will surely help you to avoid getting discouraged during your certification process.You can also learn more about PMP® certification hereThis blog throws light on a few best practices along with some tips and tricks to smoothly proceed with your PMP® journey. It is important for you to set a standard time for your studies other than having a thorough understanding of the PMBOK® guide. So, start clearing your calendar to fit in your daily study time as PMP® needs a lot of thorough studies and is not an easy path to success.
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A Comprehensive Guide to PMP® Exam Preparation

Are you still trying to figure out a way to start ... Read More

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