2009Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMPhttps://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggarPMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                                                                         May 2009Ta...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                              May 2009Project Management Framework   Sunk costs, t...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                              May 2009   The project manager’s power is relative t...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                                May 2009    Projects within each organization will...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                               May 2009            Project Sponsor: Authorizes the...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                       May 2009Scope Management   Projects are initiated based on ...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                    May 2009         Cost estimating         Cost budgeting      ...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                     May 2009   Be able to define a WBS and its components. The WB...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                               May 2009Time Management   You should understand how...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                               May 2009   charts show when key deliverables are ex...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                               May 2009     constraints of the product schedule, th...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                                May 2009Cost Management   The PMP examination requ...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                             May 2009   The Cost Performance Index shows how well ...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                             May 2009Human Resource Management   Project human res...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                             May 2009   Within projects there will likely be confl...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                              May 2009   Because projects are often similar, the p...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                             May 2009Communication Management   Communication is t...
PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS                                              May 2009Planning for Communication    Communication ...
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  1. 1. 2009Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMPhttps://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggarPMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS
  2. 2. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009Table of ContentsProject Management Framework ................................................................................................................. 2 Two-Minute Drill ....................................................................................................................................... 3Scope Management ...................................................................................................................................... 6Time Management ........................................................................................................................................ 9Cost Management....................................................................................................................................... 12Human Resource Management .................................................................................................................. 14Communication Management .................................................................................................................... 17 Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 1
  3. 3. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009Project Management Framework  Sunk costs, the money already spent on a project, should not be considered when deciding if a project should continue. Instead, the cost of the work to complete is one of the elements that should be taken into consideration when considering to kill a project.  Remember that each phase creates a deliverable of some sort and allows the project to move forward if the deliverables meet preset metrics.  Projects don’t last forever. Though projects may sometimes and seem to last forever, they fortunately do not. Operations, on the other hand, do go on and on. Projects pass through logical phases to reach their completion, while operations may be affected or created, by the outcome of a project.  The phases within a project create deliverables. The deliverables typically allow the project to move forward from one phase to the next phase—or allow the project to be terminated based on the quality, outcome, or condition of the completed phase deliverable.  The project life cycle is different than the Project Management Life Cycle. The Project Management Life Cycle is composed of the five project management processes (initiation, planning, execution, control, and closure). The project life cycle, meanwhile, is composed of the logical phases within the project itself.  The project life cycle is affected by the project stakeholders. Project stakeholders have a vested interest in the outcome of the project. Stakeholders include the project manager, project team, management, customers, communities, and anyone affected by the project outcome. Project managers should scan the project outcome in order to identify all of the stakeholders and collect and record their expectations, concerns, and input regarding the project processes. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 2
  4. 4. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009  The project manager’s power is relative to the organization structure he is operating within. A project manager in a functional organization will have relatively low authority. A project manager in a matrix environment can have low, balanced, or high authority over the project. A project manager in a projectized organization will have a high level of authority on the project. Essentially, the project manager’s authority is typically inverse to the authority of the functional manager.  Project managers must scan the project for hidden stakeholders. The project manager should investigate all parties affected by the project to identify all of the stakeholders— not just the obvious ones. Hidden stakeholders can influence the outcome of the project. They can also add cost, schedule requirements, or risk to a project  When it comes to stakeholder expectations, nothing beats documentation! Get stakeholder expectations in writing as soon as possible  Know that customers can be internal or external but they all have the same theme: Customers pay for, or use, the product deliverables. In some instances, they’ll pay for, and use, the deliverable.  Leadership and management are interrelated. You won’t have effective leadership without management, and vice versa. Know that leadership can also come from project team members, not just from the project manager.  The purpose of negotiations is to reach a fair agreement among both partiesTwo-Minute DrillProject Management and Organizations  The Project Management Framework is the inner construction of project management that allows it to operate and fluctuate from organization to organization. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 3
  5. 5. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009  Projects within each organization will follow the culture and expected practices of the organization hosting the project. Projects, in any organization, operate to support the organization and its purpose.Project Phase Create Projects  Projects follow a logical sequence of phases to completion. Phases are typically different from project to project since the project work will differ from one to the next. The point of segmenting projects into phases is to allow for smaller, manageable sections, and to provide deliverables in support of the ongoing operations.  The collection of the project phases, as a whole, is known as the project life cycle.  Project life cycles define the beginning, middle, and end of a project. Projects have a greater risk and uncertainty in the early phases of the project life cycle than near its end. The project is also most susceptible to change, failure, and stakeholder influences at the beginning of the life cycle than near its end. In tandem, project costs and demand for resources are generally low at the beginning of the project, have a tendency to peak near the end of the project work, and then diminish.Identifying Project Stakeholders  Project stakeholders are individuals, businesses, or communities that have a vested interest in the project’s outcome. Typically, project stakeholders are involved in the project process and their expectations drive the project requirements.  It is essential to scan for hidden stakeholders early in the project life cycle to eliminate the need for change when addressing stakeholder needs later in the project.  There are several key stakeholders that have direct influence over the project. They are:  Project manager: Manages the project  Customer Pays for the project; uses the project deliverable  Performing organization: The organization hosting the project  Project team: The collection of individuals completing the project work Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 4
  6. 6. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009  Project Sponsor: Authorizes the project work and budgetOrganizational Structures  Organizational structures have direct influence over the project. Organizational structures determine the procedures that the project manager must follow and the amount of authority the project manager possesses. A project office may oversee project management activities and provide additional support in any of the organizational structures. The organizational types and the level of authority a project manager can expect are shown in the following table:Organizational Structure Level of Power  Beyond the concept of getting the work done, project managers must also consider the social, economic, and environmental influences that may sway a project. Specifically, the project manager must evaluate the project to see its social, economic, and environmental impact—as well as note the project’s surroundings. The project manager may have some external guidance in these areas in the form of standards and regulations.  Standards are guidelines that are generally followed but not enforced or mandated. Regulations come in the form of laws and industry demands, which are enforced by various governing bodies. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 5
  7. 7. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009Scope Management  Projects are initiated based on business and customer needs, as well as opportunities.  Feasibility studies can help determine if a project should be selected for authorization.  The product description is created to help direct the project planning and selection method.  The project charter is created and signed by senior management to authorize the project.  The project manager is named and appointed in the project charter.  There are two types of scope, project scope, and product scope. Unless the exam is talking about features and characteristics of the project deliverables, it will be referring to the project scope. If you think this through, it makes sense: think of all the billions of different product scopes that can exist… the exam will offer big, old hints if its talking about product scope. Project scope, on the other hand, focuses on the work that has to be done in order to create the product. Recall that the project scope is concerned with the work required—and only the required work—to complete the project.  Your favorite project management tool, the WBS, is the most important tool in your project management toolbox. It is used as input to five planning processes: Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 6
  8. 8. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009  Cost estimating  Cost budgeting  Resource planning  Activity definition  Risk management planning  Here’s a nifty hint: WBS templates come from previous projects and/or the project management office if the organization has one. WBS activities are defined in the WBS dictionary.  Understand the purpose of the scope statement. The scope statement serves as a baseline for future project decisions. The project objectives and deliverables and their quantifiable measurements are documented in the scope statement and are used by the project manager and the stakeholders to determine if the project was completed successfully.  Be able to name the Scope Definition tools and techniques and outputs. The tools and techniques from Scope Definition are decomposition and WBS templates. Decomposition is breaking the deliverables down into workable, manageable units of work. The outputs are the work breakdown structure and scope statement updates.  Be able to describe the purpose of the scope management plan. The scope management plan describes how scope changes will be handled during the project and how to request changes. It details how likely it is that scope changes will occur, their frequency, and their impact. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 7
  9. 9. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009  Be able to define a WBS and its components. The WBS is a deliverables- oriented hierarchy. It uses the deliverables from the scope statement or similar documents and decomposes them into logical, manageable units of work. Level one is the project level, level two is the major deliverable level or subproject level, and so on. The lowest level of any WBS is called a work package. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 8
  10. 10. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009Time Management  You should understand how activity estimates are created.  Analogous estimates use historical information to predict how long current project activities will take place. These estimates are considered top-down estimates and are part of expert judgment. Quantifiable estimates, on the other hand, use a quantity to predict how long activities will take. Consider any unit such as square feet painted per hour or number of units created per day.  GERT is the only network diagram that allows for loops and conditional branching based on what the project has experienced to date. System dynamics is another example of conditional advancement.  When developing the schedule, the most common method is the CPM, though PERT and GERT may also be used. Lag is a positive time added to a task to indicate waiting. Lead is negative time added to a task to “hurry up.” Fast tracking arranges activities to happen in tandem rather than in succession—this increases risk. Crashing adds more resources to activities to decrease their duration, which typically adds cost.  Monte Carlo Analysis is typically a computer program to estimate the many possible variables within a project schedule. Monte Carlo simulations predict probable end dates, not an exact end date. Another tool the project manager can use is resource leveling. Resource leveling smoothes out the project schedule so resources are not over- allocated. A result of this is that projects are often scheduled to last longer than initial estimates.  The critical path in a project has zero float, and is the path with the longest duration to completion. There can be more than one critical path in a network diagram. Should delays happen on non-critical paths, and all float is consumed, the critical path may change.  The project schedule is a calendar-based system used to predict when the project, and work, will start and end. Gantt charts map activities against a calendar and may show the relationship between activities. Milestone Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 9
  11. 11. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009  charts show when key deliverables are expected; they do not show the relationship between activities.  When resources are needed but are not available, the project manager must negotiate to secure the resource. This may involve tradeoffs between projects or additional expenses as the activity is outsourced to a vendor to complete the work. The project manager does not want to delay the project waiting on a resource  The critical path is used to determine which activities have no float. It can also be used to determine the earliest date for when the project may be completed. There can be more than one critical path in a project. It is possible for the critical path to change.  You’ll encounter float, scheduling, and critical path activities on the PMP exam. You have to remember a few important rules:  Always draw out the network diagram presented on your scratch paper; it may be used in several questions.  Know how to calculate float. (The complete process was shown earlier in the “Calculating Float in a PND” section)  You may encounter questions that ask on what day of the week a project will end if no weekends or holidays are worked. No problem. Add up the critical path, divide by 5 (Monday through Friday), and then figure out which day of the week the activity will end on.  You may see something like Figure 6-7 when it comes to scheduling. When three numbers are presented, think PERT; optimistic is the smallest number, pessimistic is the largest, most likely is somewhere between the two. When a number is positioned directly over the tasks, it is the task duration. When a number is positioned to the upper-right of a task, this represents the Early Finish date.  Projects cannot last forever—thankfully. To effectively finish and manage a project, a project manager must be able to effectively manage time. Within a project there can be many factors that affect the project length: activity duration, project calendars, resource calendars, vendors, activity sequencing, and more. Time management begins with the Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 10
  12. 12. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009 constraints of the product schedule, the project calendar, the resource calendars, as well as the activities and their expected duration.  Many projects can rely on project templates that have worked before. Other projects, new and never-attempted technology, require that a project schedule be created from scratch. The WBS contributes to the activity list, which in turn, allows the project manager and the project team to begin activity sequencing.  Activities to be sequences must be estimated. The project manager and the project team must evaluate the required time to complete the work packages. The project manager can rely on a number of estimating methods to come to a predicted duration for activities. For example, a project manager may use analogous estimation of historical data to provide the needed estimate. Or, the project manager may use a parametric model to predict the amount of time for the activities. The importance of estimating is that each work package is considered and its duration calculated.  Within the process of activity sequencing there will be hard logic and soft logic. Hard logic is the mandatory relationships between activities: the foundation must be in place before the house framing can begin. Soft logic allows the relationship and order of activities to be determined based on conditions, preferences, or other factors. For example, the landscaping will happen before the house is painted so that dirt and dust won’t get onto the fresh paint.  The relationships of activities are illustrated within a network diagram. Network diagrams show the path from start to completion and identify which activities are on the critical path. Of course, the critical path is the path with the longest duration and typically has zero slack or float. Activities on the noncritical paths may be delayed to the extent that they do not delay activities on the critical path. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 11
  13. 13. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009Cost Management  The PMP examination requires the exam candidate to know how to estimate, budget, and manage costs. The WBS is an input to estimating costs, as it reflects the whole of the project. When creating the estimates, rely on documented historical information over team member’s recollections. There are three estimating approaches:  Analogous A top-down approach that is less costly and less accurate than others and provides just an idea of what the project will cost.  Bottom-up Starts with zero and adds up all the expenses. This is more costly and takes longer, but gains team buy-in to the project.  Parametric modeling Uses a parameter for labor and goods to calculate the cost of the project.  The accuracy of the estimates is based on available information. As the project manager and the project team progressively elaborate the project plan, more details become available. The more details a project has, the more accurate the estimate. Know these facts on estimating:  Rough order of magnitude: The accuracy of the estimate is –25 percent to +75 percent and is used in the initiation process and in top-down estimating.  Budget estimate: The accuracy of the estimate is –10 percent to +25 percent. This is used early in the planning process and also in top-down estimating.  Definitive estimate: The accuracy of the estimate is –5 percent to +10 percent. This is used late in the planning process and in bottom-up estimating.  The resources on a project can include people, materials, and equipment. If the people on a project do not have the necessary skill set to complete the work, either hire an SME to guide the project implementation, outsource the project work, or train the current people for the needed skills.  Earned value management is a tool to measure project performance.  Earned value is the budget at completion multiplied by the percentage of the project work that has been completed. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 12
  14. 14. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009  The Cost Performance Index shows how well the project is performing financially. It is calculated by dividing EV by the actual costs spent on the project.  The most common formula for finding the estimate at completion, EAC=BAC/CPI. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 13
  15. 15. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009Human Resource Management  Project human resource management questions on the exam center around three big points:  A role is who does what.  A responsibility is who decides what.  Project managers are responsible for the project. Team members fill roles on the project.  Because project managers are responsible for the success of the project, they have power to exert over the project team.  There are five organizational theories you may encounter on the exam:  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs People don’t work for money, but for self- actualization.  Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation The presence of hygiene factors doesn’t motivate people; the absence of hygiene factors, however, hinders people’s performance.  McGregor’s Theory of X and Y: X people are lazy and do not want to work. Y people are self-led, motivated, and want to accomplish.  Ouchi’s Theory Z Workers and management cooperate for the good of the organization. Everyone wins!  Expectancy Theory People expect to be rewarded for their effort. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 14
  16. 16. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009  Within projects there will likely be conflicts and disagreements among the project team and stakeholders. Conflicts typically stem from one of the following sources (in descending order): 1. Schedules 2. Priorities 3. Resources 4. Technical beliefs 5. Administrative policies and procedures 6. Project costs 7. Personalities  Conflict Resolution Methods:  Project human resource management focuses on utilizing the people involved in the project in the most effective way. The people involved in the project are more than just the project team members, though they’re the most obvious.  The project manager can’t forget to involve other stakeholders: customers, management, individual contributors, the project sponsor, and any other stakeholder unique to the project.  Organizational planning calls on the project manager to identify the roles and responsibilities of the project and the reporting relationship within the organization.  Reporting relationships can be internal, such as to management, or external, such as to a customer or community. The relationships and the procedure to communicate with these project interfaces must be documented. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 15
  17. 17. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009  Because projects are often similar, the project manager can rely on templates to re- create the success of historical projects. Reporting structures, role and responsibility matrixes, and other human resource models can be replicated, and adjusted, between projects.  The staffing management plan describes the process that the project manager must follow to bring resources onto a project, or to dismiss them from a project when the resources are no longer needed.  The policies and procedures of the performing organization should be documented within the staffing management plan to ensure the guidelines are followed as management intends.  The staffing management plan will also detail the policies of how the project manager can recruit project team members. The plan may also detail the procedure to procure resources for the project from vendors or consultants.  Throughout the project, the project manager must work with the project team to develop their ability to complete their project work, grow as a team, and focus on completing the project work accurately and on time.  A reward and recognition system can help the project manager motivate the project team to perform as hoped.  Special care to involve the project team must be given when the team is scattered geographically. The project manager can rely on face-to-face meetings, videoconferences, or teleconferences to promote non-collocated teams.  Ideally, the project is collocated and has access to a war room to refer to project information, research, schedules, and other project team members.  The goal of team development is outstanding performance for the good of the project. Through training, the project team may increase their ability to work together and individually with a higher level of confidence, performance, and teamwork.  The result of team development is project performance improvements. The improvements should be noted in an honest appraisal of the project team members’ effort and contributions to the project. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 16
  18. 18. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009Communication Management  Communication is the most important skill a project manager can have. Project managers spend 90 percent of their time communicating.  Since the project manager is expected to spend so much time communicating, you can bet the project manager needs a plan to determine what needs to be communicated, to whom, and when.  The Communications Management Plan is the comprehensive plan the project manager and the project team rely on for all communication guidance.  The organizational structure affects the level of communications the project manager can expect. Matrix structures have to include the functional managers of the project team from the different units within the organization, whereas a functional organization does not have the same level of complexity in reporting.  The basic communication model consists of a sender, a message, and a receiver.  When technology is involved, the project can become more complex: encoders, the medium, and decoders are included. Consider sending a fax: you are the sender and Jane is the recipient, and the message is the information on the page to be faxed. The encoder is your outgoing fax machine, and Jane’s fax machine is the decoder. The telephone lines between the fax machines are the medium.  Management, customers, and other concerned stakeholders will be interested in the performance of the project. The project manager will need to meet their expectations on an established schedule or based on conditions within the project.  The most common method for showing performance is through earned value analysis.  Administrative closure happens at the end of each phase and at the end of the project.  Administrative closure is the final documentation of the project; it includes the process of organizing, indexing, and archive all relevant project materials. The archived materials should show the project performance from start to formal acceptance that signals project closure. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 17
  19. 19. PMP EXAM HINTS AND TIPS May 2009Planning for Communication  Communication centers on who needs what and on when and how you are going to give it to them.  Communication requirements are set by stakeholders.  Communication planning is accomplished early in the planning processes.  Communications are linked to the organizational structure of the performing organization.  Constraints and assumptions can affect the communications planning.Communications Management Plan  Provides instructions on how to gather and disseminate project information.  Provides instructions on the communications methods, such as hard copies, reports, and email.  Includes a schedule of expected communications, such as reports and meetings.  Provides a method to access needed information between regularly scheduled communications.Performance Reporting  Status reporting provides current information on the project.  Progress reporting provides information on what the team has accomplished—and may include information on what is yet to be accomplished.  Forecasting provides information on how the remainder of the project or phase is expected to go.  Variance analysis examines the reason why cost, schedule, scope, quality, and other factors may vary from what was planned.  Trend analysis is the study of trends over time to reveal patterns and expectations of future results.  Earned value analysis is a series of formulas that reveal and predict project performance.  Change requests may stem from performance reports. Waleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMP Page 18

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