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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

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

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

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.