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You are here: Home Blogs Displaying items by tag: Project management
Project Management Blog
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 08:10

Questions & Answers for the PMP Exam

The Questions & Answers for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam is now available for download at http://traffic.libsyn.com/pmpodcast/PMP_Exam_Q_and_A.pdf

If you are already a subscriber of The Free PM PrepCast, you will get this for free together with other PMP® Exam prep resources.

These Q&A's are answers to questions asked during a Free PMP® Exam webinar held by Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM. The questions and answers here cover such topic as becoming a certified PMP®, the exam application and process, preparing for the exam, exam study materials, taking the exam, and maintaining your certification after you pass the exam. Some questions and answers also address the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® exam offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®.

Dont' be left behind. Download your free copy now of this very valuable resource, or to get even more, be a subscriber of The Free PM PrepCast.

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PMProject accounting is a critical concept for today’s business world, yet most businesspeople do not know their project accounting data. 

For the last 30,000 years, our hunter/gatherer and farmer ancestors have always understood their costs of production. Why is it okay that in the last 50 years, nobody does anymore? It’s not. 

Project accounting for the hunter/gatherer is easy. The ROI is simple to calculate and it's intuitive.  And if the ROI isn't good enough, a harsh environment would make sure you didn't make that mistake very long because you'd be dead. Farmers invented accounting – eventually double-entry bookkeeping - which many people argue is the basis for civilization. It enabled the measurement of and accumulation of capital, without which no progress is possible. Today, knowledge workers work with knowledge and information instead of with "stuff". Accounting for knowledge work is different. 

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Cost engineers understand the value of effective project cost estimation and analysis more than anyone.  In today's competitive environment, every dollar counts and organizations cannot afford to remain ignorant about true project costs.  Fortunately, there are a few formulas that help cost engineers to track and analyze project cost and to estimate projects with increasing accuracy in the future. 

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Much has been written about how best to establish a PMO. There are many elements to take into account, and this article seeks only to provide what we believe are a few “pointers” to consider.

For purposes of this article, we’ll assume that we are in a situation in which we (or you) work for an organisation with no existing type of PMO. It is important to fully understand the ‘Driver’ for introducing a ‘PMO’ of any type. When we say “of any type”, we mean – what type of PMO are we talking about? What does the “P” stand for in this abbreviation for a Management Office? A PMO can serve to control governance for projects, it may oversee a program of work, or it can operate at an Enterprise level and therefore be more strategic. In one way or another, all PMOs are ‘Governing Bodies’. The questions you need to ask are:

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Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:35

Is there an “Art” to Project Management?

sculpture_-_WhittWhen you think about “art”, words such as music, literature, film, photography, sculpture, or painting come to mind. Rarely, if ever, do you hear Project Management. Why is this? I think Project Management should be added to that list. One definition of art is “the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect”.

I don’t know about you, but every project I undertake involves influencing and affecting one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect to get things done! Sure, there’s always the “science” of project management…identifying deliverables, creating a WBS, compiling schedules, and monitoring budgets. But, there’s also the “art” of project management that involves knowing when to follow your gut instincts, knowing when to talk or remain quiet, knowing when to raise a risk or let it ride and knowing just the right thing to say to different people to bring your project to closure.

What do you think? I’d love to hear if you think there is an “art” to project management and what that includes.
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Whether you are a current practitioner in program or project management or you are considering a career in this profession, you may have thought about the value of obtaining one or more project management credentials.

If you are already certified and/or have one or more credentials, you may be contemplating ‘broadening your armory’ by seeking additional credentials or certificates in program or project management. For many reasons, the three of us are believers in holding credentials. To prove our point, a quick review of our bios at the end of this article shows that we all have several program and project management credentials. So what is the benefit of obtaining one or multiple credentials? Is there a typical value against the investment in time and money?

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We have all been told that communication with all stakeholders, particularly the core project team, is one of the central responsibilities of the Project Manager. We support this idea and have mentioned it in several of our previous articles. You may have seen a well-known communications formula of ‘N(N-1)/2’ used as proof that the addition of new members to any program or project team increases the number of communication channels exponentially. For example, if your team increases from 15 to 17, the number of possible communication channels goes up by 31; try the calculations and you’ll see what we mean.

Applying this theory, a small team may have ten to fifty communication channels, while a large team may have thousands. A Project Manager should understand that the time required to manage communications grows with the number of channels, and begin to look for ways to effectively and efficiently communicate with their project stakeholders – keeping in mind that different stakeholders require different information at different times in the project. (Our article on Project Success Planning covers this topic.) With the ease and availability of blogs in today’s corporate setting, you may be asking yourself, “Is blogging a good communication option for my project?”

Because each project phase requires the appropriate emphasis at a given time, the number of channels the program or project manager must manage varies throughout the lifecycle of a project. For example, in the early stage of a project – let’s call it Preliminary (or Discovery, the term we use in our article “Nine Essential Steps for Project Success”) – you may have a relatively low number of channels because you are only working with a few key stakeholders. In contrast, in the Execution or Deployment phase, your team will be fully engaged with many people. Further, communication by the project manager is a key area of focus as the project lifecycle draws to a close. Figure 1.1 below illustrates an example/typical scenario. (Note: the lifecycle phases are examples; your organisation probably has different ones).

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011 21:00

Team Sports and Project Management

If you spend a reasonable amount of time working on projects, you are likely to hear team members use sports metaphors. This is a positive trait. Sports metaphors can be great motivators and examples of “how to do things.”

Beyond the metaphors, can methodologies in team sports suggest core practices for project management? We think the answer to this question is yes.

There are many similarities between project management and team sports. For the purpose of this article, we focus on eight areas that we feel are particularly relevant.

Published in Blogs
Thursday, 02 June 2011 21:49

Nine Fundamental Steps to Project Success

85If you are an experienced project practitioner you may be asked at some point, ”What are the key things that a Project Manager should do in order to be successful?” There is no one-line, simple answer to this question. Success depends on many factors, including the organization for which you work, the power granted or bestowed on the project manager, the responsibilities they are given on their project, and other influencing criteria. Having said that, we have found over the years that there do exist certain factors which, when done well, usually influence success. Let us elaborate.

First, we must establish your expectations as the reader. The nine steps we put forth in this article are not a “Holy Grail” for successfully managing a project. They represent actions which, if undertaken with purpose and meaning, can help set your project on the path to success, and keep it on that path. Think of the nine steps in this manner: if you are planning a road trip by car, there will be many steps to your plan (many of which you will do automatically); check that your vehicle is in good working order, ensure you have a map of the route, be certain that you have fuel, and so on. Some steps in this plan are more critical than others. This is the same principle we are applying to these “success factors” for project management. The nine steps are not in a sequence; whilst Step 1 will be undertaken before the others, the others may be undertaken in a different order.

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In mid-2010, we wrote an article about project communications which focused on the challenges and techniques of communicating in a virtual team. We gave some examples of when to use different communications mediums to suit the task at hand. In this follow-up communications piece, we talk about some of the nuances of working in an international project team, and in particular, some things to bear in mind when you communicate with, and present to people from cultures different from your own.
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