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How do you eat an Elephant

How do you Eat an Elephant

So we have heard the saying, How do you eat an Elephant – One Bite at a Time. Well that’s not how project managers eat elephants – Project manager share the elephant – divide it up and find the right people to do the eating.

Why?  There are a number of reason why

The Elephant will be well gone off before we progress any distance. Project management need to create a sense of urgency and if the goal is to get the elephant eaten then we have to share.

We will be sick of elephants. We need to give ourselves little goals otherwise we will be sick of the tedious task of just eating the same thing.

 

 

To share we first must break the Elephant down into manageable pieces. Project manager call this the work breakdown structure. Once we have identified the manageable pieces we find the right person to take on this smaller task. In-fact the The project manager puts together a team of people to work on the job simultaneously thereby getting the elephant eaten as quickly.

If it all goes well,  chances are the project manager didn’t actually eat any elephant, he share everything.

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To PMO or not to PMO

PMO
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PMP Exam Day
prometric test centre

Preparing for and Passing the PMP Exam

Having got the approval email from the PMI and before you schedule the exam, let us just revisit the exam content outline:

  • The PMP exam consists of 200 objective-type questions with 4 answer options.
  • The five domains consist of questions in the following ratio:
Initiation13%
Planning24%
Executing31%
Monitoring & Controlling25%
Closing7%

 

  • 25 out of 200 questions are not counted towards the score, as they may be for pre-release testing. As such you don’t know which 25 questions are not graded, and so you should just treat it as 200-question exam.
  • The maximum time to answer all questions is 4 hours.
  • The PMI does not disclose your pass score; in most cases the pass score is thought to be around 61%

So you have built up your confidence over time; have already taken the 35-hour course; have gone through the PMBOK Guide; and have a fair knowledge of project management practice. Now you need to test that confidence by answering questions and checking the answers. Once chapter-level answering is finished, you need to go for a mock test of 200 questions; a minimum of two full 200-question mock-up exams passed at above 80% is suggested. This is an indication that you are adequately prepared to venture into the actual exam.

How to Handle Each Question

One of the advantages we have in answering objective-type questions is that the right answer is in front of us – we just need to select it. Carefully read the question-and-answer choices. Attach importance to words such as always or never, except for, or have to, best, worst, most, least, first, last, etc.,  and then determine which answer the question is looking for. Look at the following example question.

Conditions that are not under the control of the project team that influence, direct, or constrain a project are called:

  1. Enterprise environmental factors
  2. Work performance reports
  3. Organisational process assets
  4. Context diagrams

The term conditions NOT under the control needs to be carefully read. Answer A is correct. (Note that the question calls for a plural answer, and all answers are plural.)

Here is another example where we need to read carefully:

A logical relationship in which a successor activity cannot start until a predecessor activity has finished is known as:

  1. Start-to-start (SS)
  2. Start-to-finish (SF)
  3. Finish-to-start (FS)
  4. Finish-to-finish (FF)

Answer C is correct. A clear scrutiny of the question and the answer choices is required. You need to eliminate the answers that do not fit with the question.

Another example:

External organisations that have a special relationship with the enterprise and provide specialised expertise are called:

  1. Customers
  2. Business partners
  3. Sellers
  4. Functional managers

Based on experience, we can quickly eliminate A, C and then D, to correctly answer B.

A practical tip is to not spend more than a minute with a single question. You can come back to the question later. Sometimes, the other questions may throw some light on this question for you. Try to recollect the study that you did within that knowledge area and process group, and work out where the question belongs. For some questions you may have to recollect your project management experience. Here is a question where we need to recollect process ITTO – Input, Tools and Techniques, and Output:

An output of the Direct and Manage Project Work process is:

  1. Deliverables
  2. Activity list
  3. A work breakdown structure
  4. A scope statement

The answer is A

It is recommended that you try to remember ITTO to select the answer to these types of questions. I suggest that you get familiar with these by reviewing them regularly so you as much get a ‘feel’ more than just learning them off by heart.

After you enter the testing centre for the exam, you will be given a pencil and paper and 15 minutes’ preparation time. This can be used to prepare a chart of process groups, knowledge areas and certain tables or formulas you can recollect. This may be handy for answering the exam questions. Try to utilise all of the 4 hours’ exam time to check your answers before you submit. Best of Luck!

/Althris

Applying for the PMP Exam

PMP training Dublin

PMP – Applying for and Scheduling the Exam

Having decided to go for a prestigious PMP certification, one should plan and carry out several steps as follows:

  • Receive 35 hours of project management education.
  • Become a PMI member.
  • Apply for the PMP exam and receive an approval email.
  • Book the exam in a testing centre.
  • Take the exam and pass it.

Between the last two major steps, there is need to prepare for the exam. One can decide on the timings depending on situational conditions:

  • The PMP exam is conducted by the PMI through authorised testing centres.
  • The PMP exam application is submitted online to the PMI.
  • The entire application process happens through the PMI Online Certification System.

The application process proceeds as follows:

  • You submit your online application.
  • The PMI reviews the application and sends you an email approval, which is valid for 1 year. You can submit the exam fee at this point, and PMI will ask you to schedule the exam with an authorised testing centre.
  • Some exam applications are randomly selected to go through an audit process.

Audit Process

The PMI takes every step possible to ensure the quality and integrity of the certification. To this end, some exam applications are randomly selected to verify the education and experience reported in the application. Note that not all applications go through this audit process – it is completely random. Applicants are advised to carefully provide true information while applying, and not to worry about the audit process.

Besides the educational and experience qualification, there is a requirement of having received 35 contact hours of relevant education. The commonest way of doing this is taking a formal course with a PMI-registered educational partner. In this course, all of the project processes covered in the PMBOK Guide are taught in a highly comprehensible manner. As this is done in a class environment, or conducted in a boot-camp manner, candidates can devote exclusive time and attention to it, which goes well towards exam preparation. Some educational partners provide online training as well. Whether online or with a classroom-based course, after this formal education is completed a certified document of proof is received. After this you can apply for the PMP exam at any time.

Application and Approval

The exam application is submitted through the PMI certification online portal. You will receive an invitation to pay for and schedule the exam. You can schedule the exam with an authorised testing centre of your choice. After getting an approval email from the PMI, there is a time limit of a year to schedule the exam, though it is usually done earlier! There is no payment to be made to the testing centre. Please note that the 35 hours’ education that you receive from an educational partner is different from that in a testing centre. You are advised to take into account an adequate amount of exam preparation time when deciding the date of your exam, and only then do the scheduling.

The next part is Preparing for and Passing the PMP Exam

Or Try the Althris Free sample exam online 

/ Althris

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PMP ready – Exam requirements

PMP Certification – To Be or Not to Be?

Project Management Professional (PMP) is the most important industry-recognised certification. It is one of the flagship certifications offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the leading not-for-profit professional membership association. PMP is recognised globally as a gold standard in project management. The PMP certification can provide a significant advantage when it comes to salary and earning potential. Well over 700,000 certified PMPs around the globe stand as testimony to its benefits!

Gaining and maintaining PMP certification goes with its own process, starting with the first goal of passing the PMP exam. There are certain prerequisites as to eligibility for taking the exam. The PMP Handbook by the PMI outlines the eligibility criteria. The first step is to see whether you meet the following prerequisites:

  • A secondary-level degree (high-school diploma, associate’s degree, or the global equivalent);
  • 7,500 hours spent leading and directing projects;
  • 35 hours of project management education.

or

  • A 4-year degree;
  • 4,500 hours spent leading and directing projects;
  • 35 hours of project management education.

Explanation of educational qualifications

  • A high-school diploma or associate’s degree or global equivalent means education partaken for 3 years or less after school leaving.
  • A 4-year degree means any graduate degree such as Engineering or Technology, of 4 years’ or more duration, which is partaken after 10+2 school years.
  • You will need to show 36 hours of PMP related Project Management Training from a training organisation such as Althris Training Dublin

Explanation of experience requirements

  • For diploma holders, the project management experience required is 7,500 hours. This is roughly 60 months or 5 years’ experience.
  • For degree holders, the project experience required is 4,500 hours. This is roughly 36 months or 3 years’ experience.
PMP training Dublin

You get a real certificate with embossed stamp

Explanation of “Leading and Directing Projects”

This means that you should briefly state any job/experience that you have done in the field of planning, execution and control. It is not necessary that you should have experience in all of the project processes.

Explanation of Non-Overlapping Experience

  • Let us assume that you have managed two projects in the year 2016. Project A ran from January 2016 to May 2016 (5 months). Project B ran from March 2016 to February 2017 (12 months). This should not be taken as 17 months’ experience as there is an overlap of 3 months. Experience will be taken as 14 months only.
  • Experience reported should have been accrued within the last 8 consecutive years prior to your application submission. If you are applying in 2017, you can report experience between 2009 and 2016.

The PMP exam has a price of US$405 for PMI members, and $555 for non-members. PMI membership is not mandatory for you to take the exam. However, it makes sense to become a PMI member, at a fee of $139, as you get an exam fee reduction of $150! Additional benefits can also be enjoyed with PMI membership. 35 hours of project management education needs to be undertaken through a Registered Educational Partner (REP) that imparts the training and grants the necessary certificate towards fulfilment. Its cost can be ascertained from the education partner.

The next part of this article is “PMP – Applying for and Scheduling the Exam”

/ Althris

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PMBOK 6 Tailoring

PM Tailoring

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) presents the guidelines for best practices that can be applied to projects. It also presents a standardised terminology. PMBOK guideline preparation itself follows ANSI standards, so it is natural that it goes for a standardised terminology! Generally a single word (or phrase) is used to define or describe a process (or element) of project management. Those who have worked on projects can readily appreciate the benefits of standardised terminology in the project management profession. In the real world, we have seen the confusion created by using different words for the same thing.

PM Process Mapping

One of the important phrases that have started appearing from PMBOK Guide Third Edition is tailoring. The usage of this term in the later editions is growing, and there is an even greater emphasis on tailoring in the 6th edition, which emphasises the importance given to tailoring. Project management methodologies/processes are constantly increasing; and real-life projects are becoming ever more diverse and complex! The saying One size does not fit all goes well here. It makes sense now to throw some light on tailoring.

Tailoring is making project methodology fit. There may be different situations warranting different methodologies and the adaptation of different processes. Industry type, environment, organisational experience, kind of project, etc., may lead to different processes being chosen for different projects. Each project is unique with its own set of goals, resources and constraints. Tailoring is the act of adapting different processes to make them suitable for different projects. The standards, guidelines and rules presented in PMBOK may be general and globally applicable. There is a need to design and tailor the processes so that desired goal is achieved in each project.

The project manager along with his/her team is responsible for the process of tailoring. To quote PMBOK,

for any given project, the project manager, in collaboration with the project team, is always responsible for determining which processes are appropriate, and the appropriate degree of rigor for each process. Project managers and their teams should carefully address each process and its constituent inputs and outputs.

When the project manager and his/her team do this they obviously buy into this.

There can be several stages in tailoring. In the initial stage, the PM methodology may be based on the PMBOK Guide. In the second stage it is more geared towards the elements of the project and based on Organisational Project Management Office (PMO) guidance. The third stage of the tailoring can be at the project execution level, depending on how well suited the processes are for achieving the desired outcome. As we can see, tailoring is done throughout the entire life cycle of the project. Another important aspect to remember is the documentation. There is a need to document the tailoring process approach in the project management plan, and then at the execution stage, in terms of how each process was tailored, and why it was added, removed, or revised.

Four key takeaways from this blog post are:

  1. Tailoring is making project methodology fit.
  2. The PM and team are responsible for the tailoring process.
  3. Tailoring is done in three stages.
  4. Tailoring needs to be documented.

Join the conversation and follow us to get an update on PMP exam preparation or take an open PMP test.

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PMP Open Quizz, Project Management Institute

PMP sample quizz based on the PMP exam. 25 Random questions. This is should take you about half an hour to do.

This is a sample question set, partially based on feedback from my students but I’ve balanced it with my own as they generally only remember  the HARD questions

Check out our project management courses and book direct https://www.althris.com/events/

Althris Project Management Institute PMP Sample Quizz

Project Management Institute

More information on PMI

 

 

 

 


 

PMP Project Management Professional Dublin

Project Management Professional Overview

This course prepares you for the PMI PMP exams. Althris run public course and in-company course for the Project Management Professional course in London, Dublin, Manchester, Belfast and Cork.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification is the most coveted credential in project management offered by the reputed Project Management Institute (PMI)®. The Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is a must-have for any serious project manager.Project Management Professional (PMP)® certified Project Managers on average earn over 20-25% more than those without the certification. The Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification can help you get the job, keep your job, be an effective and efficient project manager, and earn more money at the same time. PM Simplify makes sure that you are prepared to pass the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification exam on your first attempt.

Topics Covered

Daily Short PMP exam questions completed and discussed at end of each day. New PMP5 based tests to give the student the feel of the questioning style and answers. The answers will discussed in class to ensure the student have a deep understanding of the topic and can answer variances on the questions.

  • The complete project management process
  • Project integration management
  • Human resources management
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Project scope, cost, quality, and time management
  • Standard project procurement process
  • Professional responsibility and social management
  • Project procurement management
  • Process group view

Includes the Business Case examined added to the exam in Q1 2016

Who Should Attend?

This course is intended for professionals who wish to obtain their Project Management Professional (PMP)®credential. Prior to taking the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam, Project Management Institute (PMI)® requires you to prove you have 3+ years working as a project manager and 35 contact hours of project management education. Our Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification training course is designed to help you earn your Project Management Professional (PMP)® certificate the easy way.

Daily PowerPoint flash card available for review of ITTO and key definitions. These are invaluable tools based on the Inputs Tools Techniques Output as well as definitions that are vital to the understanding and completion of the Exam. Student can use the Flash card assist with memorisation and determine the area that they need to brush up on.

Supporting Environment

Backup is provided by the course lecturer to assist with exam planning and preparation. We also actively create a mail group where past and current student can discuss experiences and share information about the exam. Links to topical issue are also posted.

We have practice Exam and online sessions available

Daily PowerPoint flash card available for review of ITTO and key definitions. These are invaluable tools based on the Inputs Tools Techniques Output as well as definitions that are vital to the understanding and completion of the Exam. Student can use the Flash card assist with memorisation and determine the area that they need to brush up on.

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Scrum Master is not a Project Manager

The Specific Reasons Why a Scrum Master is Not a Project Manager

 

Companies new to Agile often fall into the crucial trap of mistaking the Scrum Master role with the role of a Project Manager. This often leads towards a dramatic detriment in productivity, since the Scrum Master role requires a very specific skillset which is entirely different from the more generalist role of a Project Manager.

 

This article will point out the main differences between those roles and help you to chose the right person for both positions to make your project a success.

 

The Classical Role of Project Management

 

The Project Manager leads the project on a day-to-day basis, controls, communicates and provides direction. His role can be summarizes into the four following categories:

 

#1: Manage Processes: The Project Manager gets the project “up and running”, selects the team, establishes milestones and project schedules with the team and leads the project on a daily basis

 

#2: Track Process: The Project Manager monitors the timely achievement of milestones, tracks team costs and investments, overseas the documentation and provides direction

 

#3: Facilitate Cross-Functional Collaboration: The Project Manager Identifies linkages between sub-projects and coordinates cross-team cooperation

#4: Communication: The coordination of key project-related messaging to internal and external audiences, as well as communicating project information to the line management are Project Management roles

The Specific Role of the Scrum Master

The Scrum Master on the other hand does not manage the team on a daily basis. His role is more of a coaching and a facilitation role regarding Scrum, which makes him the link between the project team and the client.

Scrum Masters cooperate closely with the Executive Sponsor. They ensure that the project complies with Scrum and that all processes are implemented properly. The role can be summarized into the 3 following categories:

#1: Overcome Stumbling Blocks: The Scrum Master steers the development, resolves problems and involves the right people in the development process

#2: Oversee the Groundwork: The Scrum Master keeps two eyes on user experience, functionality issues and feedback from all stakeholders

#3: Provide Guidance: Helping to facilitate changes and assist in the planning process while providing overall Scrum guidance is a crucial function of the Scrum Master

 

There you have the main difference:

The Scrum Master is there to help and assist with highly specific technical knowledge but not to manage the workflow.

Summary: The Scrum Master is not a Project Manager

 

The role of the Scrum Master is more specific and technical than the more general role of a Project Manager. Both are important. Confusing these roles however almost certainly leads towards failure in the execution of Agile – and towards huge losses.

 

Make sure you have these important positions covered with the right people.

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The Servant Leader – Reconciling Two Apparently Incompatible Strategies

Does ‘servant leader’ sound strange to you? After all, does it make sense to talk about leading a team so that it moves forward to achieve goals, while being behind it to tend to the wants and needs of team members? Yet in numerous project management situations this style of leadership can be very effective. What might look like incompatibility at first blush becomes a doubly positive force for obtaining better results faster and more efficiently.

Agile project management methods like Scrum are a case in point. Handling change and rapid development cycles requires intelligence and creativity from team members. Leaders that try to pull rank are likely to do more harm than good. On the condition that everybody understands the basic rules of engagement, the contributions to be made and the objectives to be met, hierarchical levels can be taken out of the equation.

A servant leader then:

  • Assures the well-being of the team and team members
  • Prioritizes his or her own actions to help team members solve problems (without dictating the solution)
  • Focuses on people, on the understanding that well-motivated and enthusiastic people will meet project targets and expectations best.

At the same time, the servant leader is also the lynchpin for communicating with sponsors, stakeholders and other management. This is as challenging as any other leadership approach. That means good servant leaders are usually the ones that have had the right training and experience. And the right training also instills the recognition that servant leadership is one possibility among several, to be applied as and when the situation calls for it.