Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting Started in Project Management: An Introduction

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Rita Mulcahy, PMP, was the President and founder of RMC Project Management, Inc., and a world-renowned project management author, trainer and speaker. In this YouTube video titled "Getting started in project management - 1. An Introduction", she gives an introduction to project management. Please spend some time to listen to her absorbing speech, which would help you in your preparations for the PMP certification exam.

How did you find the video? Please share your views.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Answer to PMP Question #1

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You can read the question by clicking here: PMP Question #1

The correct answer to PMP Question #1 is (C).

Reasoning behind the answer
A project is defined as "a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result." (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMBOK Guide, Fourth edition) From this definition, we can identify certain characteristics of the project which are listed below:
  • Projects are temporary in nature. Temporary does not necessarily mean the projects are short in duration. It means they have a definite beginning and ending date; or in other words, a project has a finite and defined lifespan.
  • Projects are unique as the products, services, or results they produce are different in some distinctive way from similar products, services, or results.
  • Projects are completed when the project goals and objectives are achieved or it's determined the project is no longer viable
Following are some examples of a project:
  • Creating a new software application or system
  • Creating a new drug
  • Building a house
  • Organizing a political campaign
  • Designing and building a new airplane

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PMP Question #1

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PMP Question #1
You are appointed as the project manager of a $460 million construction project. All the following are characteristics of a project except:

A. Temporary endeavor
B. Creates a unique product, service or result
C. Short in duration
D. Definite beginning and end

What is your answer? Why? Please leave your comments. I will upload the correct answer tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to Pass PMP in First Attempt?

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PMP (Project Management Professional) is one exam which you cannot pass just by reading the books or having great experience as a project manager or as a project team member. It requires hard work, dedicated effort, good understanding of the project management concepts and thorough knowledge to apply the learnt concepts to practical project scenarios.

Take As Many Tests As You Can
The most important thing I would recommend for passing the PMP examination is to try and answer as many questions as possible. You cannot pass this exam without getting your hands dirty. Let us not get negative here. You will PASS the PMP exam if you prepare well, take as many tests as possible, find your shortfalls/ knowledge gaps, update your knowledge where you are weak, continue with more mock tests.

Number of Questions in Each Attempt
It is not necessary that you need to always take a full-length mock test. Keep yourself a simple target; everyday, I will try to answer 10 to 15 PMP questions. After completing the set target of PMP questions, go through your answers. Review why you could not answer a particular question or why you have answered wrongly or even how you got it right. This review exercise is very important to reinforce your understanding and further learning. Several candidates are merely interested in how much they scored; rather than having deep insight into their answers. Don't commit this mistake.

Time Factor for PMP Preparation
Another excuse candidates generally throw at me is "I don't have time; I am busy in my project. I have my family". Yes, I understand. Please understand that you are not the only person who is busy in this world. You wanted this PMP certification under your belt. So, no point giving excuses. When I was preparing the PMP exam few years ago, I used to be in a similar situation. I sat in a corner for a moment and told myself that I need to cross this hurdle whatever happens.

Plan Your Time
Once I committed myself, I allocated about 15 minutes of my lunch break to answer about 5 to 10 questions everyday. I normally used to relax myself during this time browsing the internet, having a chat with my colleagues or take a nap. I sacrificed this for PMP. As the exam date got nearer, I spent about half an hour at home answering another 15 questions. This way, I was in constant touch with the topics.

Monitor & Control Your Preparation
Appearing for your PMP examination is in itself a project. So, don't forget to apply the PMP concepts. It is not sufficient for you to just plan and execute. It is also necessary for you to monitor and control your progress. I monitored my progress with an Excel spreadsheet. I used to note down date wise, the number of questions attempted, time taken and the score. This helped me to understand whether I am really progressing well.

As some people put it, PMP does not only stand for Project Management Professional; it also stands for Practice Makes Perfect. So, go ahead plan your studies, execute them well, monitor and control; you will successfully pass the PMP examination in your first attempt.

Do you agree with my approach? What have you done for your PMP exams? Or what are you planning for your exam? Please feel free to share your experience.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis

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Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis is the third project management process in the Project Risk Management knowledge area. It follows the process Identify Risks. In this process, the project team will prioritize identified risks by combining the probability of occurrence and likely impact.

In any project, either small or big, we would have identified several risks. All identified risks are not equal; the risk rating of each risk varies. They vary depending on the probability/ likelihood of occurrence and the impact of those risks on the project objectives. For example, some risks may have high probability of occurring, but may have only a small impact on the project if it happens. Similarly, another risk may have a huge impact on the project objectives, but have a remote chance of occurring in this project. How about a risk that has very high probability of occurring and a very high impact on the project cost if it occurs? Which of the above three risks would you put your effort on?

We need to have a way to prioritize the risks so that we can channel our efforts towards risks with high risk rating. Project performance can be improved by focusing on high-priority risks rather than spending scarce resources on low-priority risks. Perform qualitative risk analysis provides a rapid and cost-effective means of establishing priorities for “Plan Risk Responses” process and also lays foundation for “Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis”.

Please note that this process may lead to “Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis” or directly into “Plan Risk Responses”, depending on the project team’s necessities.