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Friday, 06 November 2015 00:00

The PMP Exam is Changing on January 11, 2016

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Simona Fallavolita, PMI Product Manager
Are you studying for your PMP Exam, and did you know that the exam is changing soon? And maybe you are wondering about one of the following questions:
  • Why is the PMP exam changing in 2016?
  • Wait... wasn't it supposed to change in 2015?!
  • So when exactly is the PMP exam changing?
  • What exactly is changing with the PMP exam?
  • Do I have to study new topics?
  • Is there a new PMBOK Guide?
  • Are my study materials still OK after the PMP exam changes?

We have the answers to these and many more questions about the upcoming changes.

This interview with Simona Fallavolita (Program Manager, PMI) was recorded at the 2015 Global Congress in Orlando, Florida. We review the upcoming PMP exam changes, how this affects training companies, what PMP students can do to prepare for this change, and look at some of the detailed changes that are coming to the PMP exam early next year.

Spoiler alert: The PMP exam changes were originally scheduled to go into effect in 2015 but were later moved to early 2016 for scheduling reasons, and no there is NO new PMBOK Guide.

Published in Blogs
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 14:13

PMP® Exam: Do I or Don't I?

Are you thinking about applying for and taking the PMP® exam? Have you heard tidbits on what may help you in this process? Does the whole thing seem overwhelming causing you uncertainty on how to begin? Following are recommendations for taking the PMP® exam. Note that these are not guarantees; however, these are from people who have passed the exam. Each person studies and tests differently so consider what will work best for you.

      Plan to take the PMP® Exam within 30 days of class completion.

      Consider taking a training class or self-study course for complimentary discussions to the PMBOK® Guide material, such as training classes PMP Prep Training and self-study material PMP Prep Self Study.

      Purchase the PMBOK® Guide <current> Edition prior to the training class. Acclimate to it so that the class can be used reinforcement of your current knowledge, rather than as an introduction to the PMBOK® Guide materials.

      Complete the application to sit for the exam (on PMI®’s website) prior to the training class, if all pre-requisites have been met. If staff members require a training class to fulfill the pre-requisite for “contact hours”, complete as much of the application as possible prior to the training class and save it online. This reduces the amount of work after the class completion to submit the application, and reduces the overall duration to receive PMI® approval to take the PMP® Exam.

      Budget for the PMP® Credential Fees and PMBOK® Guide fees.

      Some individuals find it easier to print out the application form and draft the information required prior to entering online.

      Spend the last 2-3 days prior to the PMP® Exam only (or mainly) taking questions.

      Set aside at least one 4-hour block of time to complete 200 questions and simulate the actual Exam.

      Supplement this material with another Test Bank, providing different styles and types of questions for practice prior to the actual Exam.

      Visit the test center in advance so the facility is familiar prior to the day of the Exam.

      Review PMI® website tips regarding exam preparation

You can do it - organize your approach and stay the course!

At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit or contact us at

Published in Blogs
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 18:59

RSP™ Exam Simulator

Over 1000 PMP® Exam Practice Questions
Practicing against simulated PMP® Exam Questions is one of the absolute best ways to prepare for the actual exam. Completing multiple practice exams gives the learner an opportunity to better understand the exam layout, types of questions and pace of the exam. 200 questions over 4 hours equals roughly 1.2 minutes per question. You have to learn to gauge your exam pace.

About the PMP® Exam Simulator
Designed to prepare candidates for the PMI® Project Management Professional (PMP®) Certification Exam. Practicing against simulated PMP® Exam Questions is one of the absolute best ways to prepare for the actual exam. Our Question Simulator database has hundreds of exam questions. Our simulation software randomizes the questions and answers so you can take the sample exams over and over again. Complete your PMP® Exam learning experience. Buy a package for 90-day access to our PMP® Practice Question Exams.

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Why Practice Exams

  • Hundreds of practice PMP® Exam questions
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  • Learn to manage your exam time
  • Developed by certified PMP's
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    "Practive Exams are the learning tool you need to pass the PMP® Exam. Our realistic questions database helps you figure out what you need to know and guides you on the answers to what you don't. With the flexibility in the schedule of e-learning you'll have everything you need to get the job done right. With our simulated practice test, you have a tool you need to gain the confidence you desire."

    Tom Mochal, PMP, PgMP
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    Published in PMP® Exam Prep

    If you studied to take your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam using A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) fourth edition and had to reschedule your exam date to on/after July 31, 2013, then you now have to take the PMP Exam based on the new PMBOK® Guide fifth edition. The Project Management Institute (PMI)® will not make any exceptions to this rule.

    There are notable changes between version four and version five of the PMBOK® Guide. For instance the number of Knowledge Areas has been increased from 9 to 10 and the number of processes has been increased from 42 to 47. But this change is only simple if you look at it numerically. It is much more complex under the hood. Here’s an example:

    The new Knowledge Area is called Project Stakeholder Management and was added to emphasize the importance of good stakeholder management on all projects. It contains four processes. Two of these processes were renamed and moved here from Project Communications Management. Two are new processes. That leaves three new processes that were added in other Knowledge Areas throughout the guide. In addition many more processes were renamed.

    Appendix X1 in the PMBOK® Guide fifth edition describes the bulk of the changes. A number of authors have also described these changes and made their analysis available on the web. A quick search for “PMBOK 5 changes” will find them. It is, however, important to note that these articles don't list all the detailed changes. For instance, the inputs, tools & techniques and outputs of almost every single process have changed. Some ITTOs have been removed and new ones have been added. You will therefore not find a complete description of all the changes.

    Because of this large amount of changes throughout the PMBOK® Guide it is impossible to simply "study the difference". The changes are sometimes conceptual, sometimes dramatic and sometimes minor. But they are here and your PMP Exam may require you to know them. "Upgrading" your knowledge from the fourth to the fifth edition can therefore not be done "change-by-change". You have to apply a holistic approach.

    However, it must also be said that just because the PMBOK® Guide has changed, project management itself hasn't changed. The fundamental way in which projects are managed is still the same. The PMBOK® Guide is simply our general framework describing the activities & techniques that are commonly accepted to be good practices on most projects most of the time. And just because the PMBOK® Guide has changed its Project Cost Management Knowledge Area from three to four processes doesn't mean that Earned Value systems need to be changed as well.

    But in order to pass your PMP exam you will need to be aware of the new definitions in the PMBOK® Guide. Studying them takes effort, dedication and time. Here is a possible study approach to "upgrade" yourself to the PMBOK® Guide fifth edition:

    1) Study Appendix X1 and familiarize yourself with the changes. In particular: Familiarize yourself with the processes that have been added, moved or renamed and learn the new process names.

    2) Study Appendix X3 and familiarize yourself with the Interpersonal Skills a project manager should have.

    3) Study Annex A1 - The Standard for Project Management of a Project. Here you want to Study the short descriptions for each of the five process groups and for each of the 47 processes.

    4) Study table 3-1 on page 61 and know which process belongs to which process group. (You will find that it contains the same information as Table A1-1 in Annex A1). For the exam it is a good idea to be able to start with a blank piece of paper and draw this table from memory.

    5) Study table 4-1 on page 78 and know which documents are part of the project management plan and which ones are "just" other project documents.

    6) And finally (and unfortunately): Study the complete PMBOK® Guide 5th edition twice.

    When studying the new PMBOK® Guide familiarize yourself with the new inputs, tools & techniques and outputs of all the processes. A good approach is to study the Data Flow Diagram for each of the 47 processes. These diagrams illustrate the flow of the inputs and outputs and will strengthen your understanding of how they move between the many processes. It will also help you understand the integrated nature of all the processes in the PMBOK® Guide.

    You should also get to know the new processes that have been added and make special note of the new Earned Value Calculations Summary Table 7-1 on page 224, which looks suspiciously close to a table that I developed and have published since 2009 for our PMP Exam Formula Guide…

    As you might have guessed by now, "upgrading" your knowledge to this new version of the PMBOK® Guide is not something that you can do in just a day. While your PM experience is the main focus of the PMP Exam, it will also be necessary for you to have an in-depth understanding of the PMBOK® Guide fifth Edition to be able to correctly answer many of the questions the test.

    I therefore recommend that you plan a minimum of two weeks of intense study.

    Published in Blogs
    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

    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.

    Published in Blogs

    After eight years as a project management trainer, I have helped more than 20,000 students prepare for their Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam. In my experience along the way, I’ve found one thing that unites them all: They all want to practice with free PMP Exam sample questions.

    In an effort to help, I have identified 10 web sites that offer free PMP Exam sample questions. I recommend each of them for the quality of their questions.

    Published in Blogs
    Wednesday, 29 February 2012 22:29

    Are You Cutting the Right Costs? Are You Sure?

    The global financial marketplace has recently become quite volatile, as fears of an American recession affect economies all over the world.  In addition, the Dow Jones Industrial Average currently hovers at around 12,400, while it was at around 14,000 in October 2007.  A drop of 11% in just four months is cause for concern for many people.

    At times like this, executives typically search for ways to cut costs, which can be a sticky business.  And yet, what if you could know where your company is profitable and where it's not, and then figure out a way to do more of the profitable work?  In other words, what if you got rid of unprofitable customers instead of loyal, productive employees?

    The truth is, many companies that slash costs in response to an economic recession find it difficult to achieve top-line growth when the recession ends.  This is not hard to believe, considering the fact that their best workers are gone and their long term projects were cancelled.  A company cannot grow on short term plans alone.  Overzealous cutting of people and projects can, however, be avoided, or at the very least, they can be performed with more intelligent precision.  All that are required to handle such problems the right way are per-customer per-project profitability metrics.

    Understanding costs is the first step to understanding profitability. Most companies know their profitability company-wide, but few of them know it on a per-product or per-customer basis.  Such precision of understanding is necessary in order to develop and implement the right growth strategy.

    Here is a five step process that will take your company there.

    1.  Current situation: “Chaos”

    If you don’t know your costs on a per-project basis, then you have no way to validate future project estimates.  Without knowing how long your last project took to complete, how can you determine how accurate the initial estimate was?  Calibrating project estimates is not just about calendar time, since a project that was delivered on time may not have been delivered on cost.  For example, some organizations provide on-time delivery by adding resources to projects that are behind schedule, and they do it without drawing attention to the fact.  This is something you must know in order to avoid over-commitment and under-pricing.

    You also need this information in order to repeat past successes.  Not knowing which projects were on-time and on-budget means you cannot know which projects were successful, and therefore, which processes to continue following and which to improve.

    Over-commitment, under-pricing, inability to repeat past successes and abandoning proven processes in times of crisis leads to chaos, which is especially dangerous during a recession.

    2.  Track project labor hours

    Having your employees track their time on a per-project basis lets you know when projects are in trouble much earlier than you otherwise would.  Contrary to what you might think, total compliance is not necessary to gain significant insight into project progress, profitability, and adherence to estimates.

    The basic time tracking data you obtain from this system will surprise you.  You can figure out, for example, which projects are consuming more labor hours than you thought, or which of your customers are cheap to service.

    What many project managers don’t realize is that the noisiest customers are often the ones who pay you the most.  While these are often labeled as "problem customers," they may account for much of your revenue.  A simple basic level of employee project time utilization data can give you insight into the profitability of each customer, so you don’t have to wonder anymore.

    In recessionary times, your best bet is to “fire” unprofitable customers and kiss up to the profitable ones.

    3.  Put labor rates on time data and track all expenses

    Travel expenses represent the second largest controllable corporate expense for most companies, and some projects, products or customers utilize more travel expense than others.  Collecting all this data on a per-project basis can help you understand true direct per-project cost.  Once you have that, profitability is not far behind. 

    Now is also the time to aim for nearly 100% compliance on time and expense data collection so that management will have better insight into how to cut costs without a chainsaw.

    4.  Allocate indirect costs

    Indirect costs, such as the cost of office space or HR, apply to different projects in different ways.  There are two basic kinds of indirect costs: general indirect costs, like rent, that must be allocated across every project in the company, and semi-indirect costs, like customer relationship management, which should be applied to all projects for that customer.

    Every company is different and allocation of indirect cost is specific to each company.  At my company, Journyx, we allocate more marketing cost to software license sales than we do to professional services or software maintenance sales. We do this because marketing expenses are directly related to winning the customer in the first place, more than they are to maintaining the customer relationship over time.  We have found that marketing matters most during the customer acquisition phase, which is when most of our licenses are sold.

    You must also create a general indirect cost allocation formula for each type of indirect cost in your company.

    Then there are semi-indirect costs.  If you have a large customer whom you do multiple projects for, or a suite of related products that are treated as a group, there are probably some costs that apply to that group of projects, but not any particular project on its own.  Examples of this include management of the customer relationship or marketing of the product suite.  In this case, you may want to allocate these semi-indirect costs by revenue or by direct cost over those projects.

    Another thing to note is that input from all of the managers involved is not only useful, but necessary.  You may want to alter the allocation formulas over time if they are generally perceived as inaccurate, unfair, or leading to bad decisions.

    Once you have allocated indirect and semi-indirect costs across all projects, you will be fully aware of what your complete per-project costs are.  Whether or not you are facing a recession, you will have a very precise tool for making intelligent changes to company resource utilization and direction that are likely to lead to increased profits.

    5. Universal Awareness of Per-Project Profitability

    Imagine if your engineers, developers, services team and salespeople all knew which of your customers were making money for you and which were not. Wouldn't this information alter their behavior in ways that would make you more money?

    Revenue - Cost = Profit

    That formula may seem simple, but sometimes it is necessary to use a proxy in order to gain an understanding of per-project revenue.  For example, if you manage an internal IT shop for a large Fortune 500 firm, you must ask your customers for an estimate (in dollars) of the value their projects provide to the company overall.  Allocating business value delivery – a proxy for revenue – can be every bit as complex as allocating indirect costs, but it is well worth the effort.

    On the other hand, if you're running a consultancy, you can use bookings or billings data right out of the CRM system.

    As new data becomes available, you may have to revise your method.  Yet once you have an estimate of per-project profitability, you will be in the nirvanic state of understanding per-project per-customer per-product profitability, which gives you an enormous advantage over your competitors, both during a recession and in general.  You know where your profits are coming from, and they don't.  Now you can cut out the unprofitable work, or at least perform it consciously if it has to be done for strategic reasons.  You can also easily calculate ROI on anything and your estimates will keep improving.

    An understanding of per-project profitability will make your company more solid in bad times and more flexible in good ones.  When times are hard and you need to cut, you will be able to cut intelligently, with the assurance that you're making the right long term decision for the company.  Though recessions come and go, having great procedures in place is the key that will allow you to weather any financial storm.

    About the Author:

    Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Founded in 1996, Journyx automates payroll, billing and cost accounting while easing management of employee time and expenses, and provides confidence that all resources are utilized correctly and completely. Curt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.  As a software programmer fixing bugs for IBM in the early ‘90’s, Curt found that tracking the time it took to fix each bug revealed the per-bug profitability. Curt knew that this concept of using time-tracking data to determine project profitability was a winning idea and something that companies were not doing – yet… Curt created the world's first web-based timesheet application and the foundation for the current Journyx product offerings in 1997. Learn more about Curt here.

    Published in Blogs
    The PMP Exam is changing on August 31st 2011. If you are taking the exam on or after this date, then your 200 questions will be based on the new PMP Exam Content Outline. To learn more about the detailed changes to the exam, please read my article “The PMP Exam Changes on 31 August 2011. What This Means For You”.

    In addition to what you can find in that article, PMI recently announced the following: If you are taking the PMP Exam on or after 31 August 2011, then - for a limited time only - PMI will not immediately tell you if you have passed or failed your exam.
    Published in Blogs
    Thursday, 29 January 2009 00:00

    Conquering the PMP and our Comfort Zones

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    If you are like me the decision to undertake the arduous process of applying for and then studying and actually taking the PMP was a journey in itself. This article is intended to help you avoid all the obstacles that I encountered on my path and clear the bramble so that you can pass the PMP with ease.

    Published in Blogs
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