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Friday, 07 August 2020


By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP 

Projects are document intensive. Project documentation serves a myriad of purposes including project selection, design, engineering, management, implementation, and control to name a few. One indicator of the density of project documentation is the 1,600-plus hits returned when the latest edition of The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK? Guide) is searched using “document” as the keyword. That number tells the story of how interrelated and interwoven documents are in the many actions and activities of a project. No matter the use or need, project documents have one thing in common. At their core, documents are communications tools. Their purpose is to transfer project understanding and knowledge. 

Project documentation is divided into two groups: “primary” and “secondary.” Primary documentation contains information not previously created or used before. Primary documents are the original and “first-source” of the information they contain. Secondary documents are derivatives of primary documents. Secondary documents are often a combination of two or more primary ones. Primary documents are indispensable and considered “essential” for any project. In order of their development: 

1. Strategic traceability document. A project is never “just a project.” A project is always a part of a larger organization and always undertaken to achieve one or more organizational goal. In that sense, projects are really “instruments of strategy.” We know this is true because projects can either enhance or diminish a firm’s competitive advantage. Knowing how a project fits into an organization and contributes to its strategy is key to understanding the role and importance of the project. A strategic traceability document is an effective method to do that. 

To create it, you will need to identify the following strategic elements: An organization’s strategic vision, its strategic goals or objectives, any legal mandates, as well as the goals of the project itself. With those in hand, show and explain their relative alignment. In other words, “trace” how each element contributes to the achievement of the next higher element. Applications like “Smart Art” do a nice job of documenting strategic traceability. Once created, the strategic traceability document is tantamount to the “north star” of the project. Never lose sight of it.

2. Project scope statement including a Work-Breakdown Structure (WBS). The scope statement is the most important document of a project. Without scope, there is nothing to “project manage.” Ideally, this document is a detailed description that paints the best possible picture of the intended result and outcome of the project. Part and parcel to the scope statement is a WBS. The WBS compliments the scope statement by providing structure and logic. The WBS serves as a framework for the scope statement and is critical to explaining it. As Albert Einstein famously said, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” A well-prepared scope statement and WBS will ensure you can do the former, while helping others with the later. Using an “organization chart” as a template does an effective job creating a basic WBS. A scope statement is only as good as its WBS.

3. Schedule. The schedule document follows the scope statement and WBS. A project schedule is a two-dimensional representation which depicts units of work on the Y-axis and units of future-time on the X-axis. Ideally, the units of work are correlated with the WBS. Carrying the WBS structure into the schedule document significantly enhances the schedule’s communications value. The most common displays of a schedule are the Gantt, PERT, or GERT formats. 

As an aside, an important thing to know about any project schedule is the existence of the “time-monster.” He is invisible, yet very real. He also has an insatiable appetite… and delights in eating any flavor of project whether in minutes, hours, and days. If you have ever uttered the words, “where has the time gone?” now you know. 

4. Cost estimate. Created next is the cost estimate document. Coming after schedule (which comes after scope) makes sense. Logically, the cost of something cannot be known without first identifying what it is (from the scope), and second, identifying when you will need it (from the schedule). When this sequence changes, warning alarms should sound. 

One often-overlooked component of any professional cost estimate is the basis of estimate, or “BoE.” The BoE is often much longer and richer than the numerical estimate itself. Like the relationship of the WBS to the scope statement, the BoE is the indispensable explanation of the cost estimate. The BoE details everything that factors in or influences the estimate including assumptions, constraints, sources of cost information, contributors, and any other important details not otherwise shown in the numbers. A cost estimate without a BoE is only half an estimate. The undisputed king of applications used to create a cost estimate is Microsoft Excel. 

5. Communications plan. Ending on the same note as we began, communications is the heart of all project documentation. The communications plan is therefore essential as it is the very “plan” to make sure that all documents, primary, and secondary are doing their job. The communications plan is the pumping heart of a project. Too little information and the project becomes faint, too much information and the project can seize, and if the information stops altogether the project dies. An effective communication plan makes firm commitments to every action or activity related to communications including all routine project meetings; executive briefings; client presentations; all scope, schedule, or cost updates; all social media announcements and marketing updates; and anything else that communicates project information. Never leave the dates for these items “TBD.” Commit to them and include them in the schedule for best results. 

While there are many more documents that are important in a project, without these it is unlikely a project will ever start or finish. They are the “essential documents.” While a project may get by without others, it will not get far without these.

EduMind Inc at 08:51

Tuesday, 04 August 2020


By Robert Marshall, PhD, CSPM, PMP 

There are many reasons to earn the Project Management Professional (PMP)? designation. One is its global appeal. The number of PMP holders has now reached 1 million, across more than 200 countries, according to the issuing organization, the U.S.-based Project Management Institute (PMI). By comparison, a similar designation issued by the International Project Management Association (IPMA), headquartered in the Netherlands, has a fraction of the holders, and represents far fewer countries (approximately 70). 

Many consider the PMP to be the de facto world-standard in project management. Supporting its strong multinational use is the availability of the PMP examination in many languages. Whereas the IPMA examination is currently available in English, German, and Polish, PMI offers the PMP examination in 14 languages including Chinese. Earning a PMP means recognition as a Project Management Professional no matter where your next project takes you. 

Another reason to earn the PMP, and much more importantly, is the credibility it confers on its holders. Few efforts bestow standing like earning a professional credential. Whether in information technology, software programming, or another discipline, credentials symbolize knowledge, skills, abilities, and even work ethic. 

Not all credentials are equal, however. The credibility of a given designation stems from the standing of the organization behind it and the rigor of the requirements to obtain it. As a leading practitioner, academic, and research organization, PMI is not only the largest dedicated project management organization, the standards it has set for obtaining its credential are among the most stringent. PMI has considerable standing among professional organizations as does its PMP credential. As a direct result, PMP holders enjoy the trust and confidence of their peers and clients. 

While recognition and credibility are two important reasons the PMP is worth earning, there is another reason that is frequently talked about: increased earnings potential. So, “how much does a project manager with a PMP make?” 

Project managers with or without PMI’s credential can earn attractive salaries. Those with a PMP distinction can earn even more. Those with the credential made 23% more than their non-credentialed counterparts, according to a 2019 survey conducted by PMI. For example, the average salary of project managers without PMI’s credential earned approximately $100,000.00 per year as compared to the median U.S. household income of $56,516.00 per year. However, with a PMP, project manager salaries increase significantly, with an average salary in the U.S. of $123,314. Holding the PMP pays off financially for those that have earned it! 

Three good reasons to earn the PMP designation: Global acceptance, professional credibility, and the opportunity to earn high salaries. Like most professional credentials, the PMP represents an investment that pays strong dividends to those that earn it.

EduMind Inc at 08:00

Tuesday, 28 July 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

You know what they say about project management: “plan the work and work the plan.” While that adage is a bit out of date with the advancement of agile and adaptive project development techniques, planning is still at the core of any successful project. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK? Guide), the ultimate tool for planning, managing, and monitoring and controlling your project is the project management plan. 

Think of the project management plan as the ultimate “how-to guide” for your project, defining and describing how the project work will be determined, managed, monitored and controlled, and closed. This includes information on change management, configuration management, what project life cycle and approach will be used, and how all aspects of the project management will be handled. Depending on the complexity of the project and the environment, the project management plan may be a simple high-level document or something much more in depth. 

There are two primary components of the project management plan: the subsidiary plans and the project management performance measurement baselines. 

Subsidiary Plans 

The word subsidiary refers to being a part of something bigger. That is exactly what these plans are: a component of the overall project management plan. Subsidiary plans provide a more detailed level of information and direction around a specific area or aspect of the project. Subsidiary plans may be developed for any of the knowledge areas, such as a cost management plan, a schedule management plan, a stakeholder engagement plan, a scope management plan, a communication management plan, etc. 

Subsidiary plans may be simple bulleted lists or much more detailed, depending on the complexity of the project. Not all subsidiary plans will necessarily be used on every project. For example, if you will not be working with any sellers or vendors, a procurement management plan would be unnecessary. 

Baselines 

Performance measurement baselines are developed at the start of the project and define the intended performance of the project. There are three primary baselines: scope baseline, schedule baseline, and cost baseline. Consider these baselines as the measuring sticks, against which you will measure the performance of your project. The baselines are created through the planning processes and are considered a key component of the project management plan. 

To accurately assess project performance, the baselines are “frozen” and only updated when there is a significant authorized change to the scope of the project. This could include adding scope or work to the project or removing work from the project. These baselines are used during the monitoring and controlling processes to assess the performance and progression of the project and determine the need for any type of corrective or preventive actions. 

Summary 

The project management plan is one of the essential tools for managing any project, from simple endeavors to large, complex engagements. PMI considers the project management plan to be mandatory as it reduces risk to the organization while also providing clear guidance. Should the project manager or a key team member leave the project, the project management plan enables successors to get up to speed quickly on project specifics. 

On the PMP? exam, many of the questions ask, “what is the first thing/best thing/next thing you do?” and frequently, the correct answer is “check the project management plan.” On the exam, PMI may refer to the project management plan as the project plan, removing the word management. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)?, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK? Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 08:12

Friday, 24 July 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

The PMP exam is challenging, even for the most experienced project managers. But with the proper preparation and some keen insight, you can pass the exam and earn this industry-leading credential. It takes time, focus, and commitment, but passing this important exam will make the effort worth it. 

The first step toward acing your exam is verifying the current exam specification and content. Ensure that any study material you are planning to use is updated and aligned with the current version of the exam. You can find this information at www.PMI.org to confirm the exam version. The PMP exam changes every two to three years, either due to an update of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)? Guide or to incorporate the results of a role delineation study. 

Some project managers mistakenly believe their experience in managing projects will be enough to pass the exam. However, experience alone will not provide the insight and context you will need to answer the 200 questions. Creating a deliberate and comprehensive study plan and approach will help you develop a strong foundation for answering the questions from the PMI perspective. 

As part of your study plan, be sure to incorporate plenty of practice questions that reflect the types of questions and the content that will be on the exam. To add to your preparation, it is beneficial to use timed questions, giving you a better feel for the actual exam. The majority of questions on the PMP exam are situational, asking things like “What’s the first thing you do,” “What’s the next thing you do,” or “What’s the best way to handle this situation?” Reliable mock exams will include a number of these types of questions. To ensure readiness, you should be scoring at least 75% to 80% on these practice tests. 

While preparation is incredibly important, do not minimize the impact of your behavior during your exam. Most people have at least some level of exam anxiety, but with the right approach and a few behavioral hacks, you can still be successful on this exam. Anxiety is fear of the unknown, which can plunge us into a ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ response. However, this is not conducive to answering 200 questions! 

When we are in that heightened state of anxiety, our prefrontal cortex (the logical part of our brain) is left out of the communication loop. What you want to do is bring the adrenaline and other stress hormones down to a level where they can help you versus hurt you. The most effective approach is to skim through the questions, only answering those you can answer within a few seconds. Moving through the 200 questions removes the fear of the unknown because now you’ve seen all the questions, and it is reducing your adrenaline down to a more functional level. 

Once you get through all the questions, you will have the option to filter by the ones you left blank. Cycle through again, answering what you can. Continue this way until all questions are answered. Be careful to leave no questions blank! Go with your gut if you’re not sure. If you leave a question blank, it will count against your total score. Do not change your original answers unless you are 100% certain the first answer is incorrect. Frequently, our first answer is the correct one, even if we are unsure about it. 

It is helpful to have a well-thought-out approach to taking the exam. For more complex questions, read the actual question at the bottom first. This will allow you to work through all of the details more efficiently. Remember to read all four possible answers and see how they work with the actual question. Do not just assume the first answer that sounds good is correct. 

Finally, do not get distracted with your subject matter expertise. The PMP exam is a generalist exam, meaning that project managers from all industries are being tested. Identify the project management concept they are asking you about and ignore any content that may appear to be industry specific. 

How to Ace the PMP Exam

With a solid plan for preparation and sound techniques for approaching the questions, you will be better prepared to ace your PMP exam. EduMind’s comprehensive PMP exam review courses can help you get ready with confidence! Click here for more information. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)? is a registered trademark of Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 08:29

Friday, 17 July 2020


Getting your PMP certification is important for professional project managers and essential for consultants. For consulting, the PMP is often required to be eligible for consideration. Much like the CPA for accountants, the PMP represents a common level of understanding of concepts, standard principles, and vocabulary. Ample preparation for the exam is critical. 

Choosing the right approach for you is half the battle. For some, it may be as simple as getting the current Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and reading it from cover to cover. However, this approach has a low probability of success in passing the exam for most examinees. 

You might buy a book that is designed for exam preparation. This is a low-cost approach with a reasonable chance for success for those who learn well by reading. However, this requires a lot of perseverance and discipline and may become problematic if you get stuck on or misunderstand something. In addition to the inherent risks of self-teaching, you also risk using information that may be out-of-date or not relevant to the exam. If the outcome is not a certification, you will need to determine what went wrong and how to take corrective action. 

The best approach for most people is to take an exam preparation course from a Registered Education Provider (REP). REPs provide the best opportunity for success for several reasons. They have access to the most current materials and experience in helping students successfully prepare. They also have resources proven effective in preparation, such as practice exams and study aids. Additionally, most REPs include remedial action if things don’t go well during the certification exam. We all have one of those days from time to time. Having someone in your corner if that happens during your exam is invaluable! 

So now that you’ve decided on the right approach for you, what’s next? 

First, establish your regimen for studying and preparation. If possible, set up an area where you can spend some time every day reading and practicing your preparation approach with everything you need, such as references, paper for notes, index cards (for flashcards), etc. Schedule when and where you will take the exam, allowing yourself plenty of time for preparation. 

If you take a preparation course, you should consider taking the exam shortly after the class is concluded, but probably not the very next day. You will want to spend some time taking practice exams. Do them as many times as it takes until you consistently pass with a comfortable margin. 

Avoid the urge to cram the night before your exam is scheduled. Like our muscles recover from working out to be stronger, your brain needs to de-stress for improved memory. The night before you take the exam, make sure you get some light exercise, eat something healthy, and get a good night’s sleep. 

During the exam, take advantage of the tools available to you along with a strategic approach. If you have memorized equations, images, phrases, or a mnemonic to recall useful terms or concepts, you can use the online whiteboard if taking an online exam. For onsite testing, you will not be permitted to bring calculators or scrap paper into the test site. However, according to the PMI handbook, the following items will be provided for you by the test center on the day of the exam: 

· Calculators are built into the CBT exam and will be provided to those candidates taking a PBT exam. 

· Writing materials for taking notes during the examination: either scrap paper and pencils or erasable board and markers 

On your first pass through the exam, read each question carefully and be sure to note any negatives, such as “Which of these are NOT…” Answer the questions you know and mark those of which you are less certain.

Passing the PMP Exam

Next, go back to the unanswered questions. Resist the urge to change a prior answer unless you have a clear and specific reason to change it. Often, people change from the right answer to a wrong answer unless they realize they overlooked a “not” or come across another question that contradicts their first answer. 

Frequently we find that some questions in the exam may answer another question in the way the question is posed. Answer all the marked questions using the information you gathered from the rest of the exam. In some cases, you will find the answer outright, while others you will know enough to exclude one or more wrong answers. Using this process of elimination will help improve your odds of choosing the best answer from those remaining. 

Do NOT leave any questions unanswered. Even if you just guess, you still have a 25% chance of getting it right. Using the process of elimination can improve that to 33% or even 50%. An unanswered question is automatically wrong. 

Following the study approach with a REP and following these steps is the best way to achieve your desired outcome—becoming a certified Project Management Professional. EduMind is a REP that can help you achieve your goal with comprehensive exam review courses offered in a variety of formats. Click here for more information and to determine which option is best for you.

EduMind Inc at 06:24

Tuesday, 14 July 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

In A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK? Guide), 6th Edition, there are 12 processes within the monitoring and controlling process group. These processes are performed throughout the project, from inception to completion, and are essential to managing and monitoring the progress of the project. Twenty-five percent of the questions on the PMP? exam will be from these 12 processes. 

As the project manager, you want to be diligent and proactive in understanding the health of your project and, thus, the importance of these monitoring and controlling processes. Monitoring and controlling provide the project manager and the team with critical insight to enable proactive decision-making versus succumbing to reactive actions. 

Baseline Variances 

When planning the project, the project manager develops a plan that incorporates the subsidiary plans and the scope, schedule, and cost performance measurement baselines. These baselines represent the intended progress of the project and are the ideal tool for assessing any variances from realized risks or other unforeseen project events. The control scope, control schedule, and control cost processes will evaluate the project’s progress against these performance baselines to determine the need for any type of corrective or preventive actions. 

Earned Value Analysis and Forecasting 

To calculate the impact of any variances, the project manager can use an earned value analysis to determine the cost variance and schedule variance of the project. This earned value analysis is conducted at set intervals throughout the project to reveal project trending data. 

In addition to an earned value analysis, several forecasting techniques can be used to determine the estimate to complete (ETC) the project work and the estimate at completion (EAC) forecast. When the EAC is compared to the budget at completion (BAC), the project manager can determine if there will be a negative variance at completion (VAC). A negative VAC indicates the project will exceed the given budget. 

Integrated Change Control 

Critical to the management of any project, is a defined and communicated change control process. Integrated change control is considered a component of project monitoring and controlling. While ideally changes to your project are limited, realistically, changes will be requested or necessary. The integrated change control process evaluates the change requests, leveraging a change control board (CCB). The CCB includes the key stakeholders and the project sponsor, and it is generally facilitated by the project manager. 

Reporting and Communication 

Effectively managing stakeholder expectations throughout the project increases the likelihood of project success and product acceptance. The work performance information generated throughout the monitoring and controlling processes is used to create the work performance reports (also known as status reports). Following the agreed-upon protocol in the communications management plan, the work performance reports are distributed to the appropriate parties on a consistent schedule. If, at any time, there is an indication that communication is not adequate, the communication processes should be revisited. 

The project manager is expected to be honest and transparent in their communications with the sponsor and stakeholders regarding the status of the project, any variances that have been identified, the impacts of those variances, and the recommended and implemented actions. 

In Summary 

Mature and skillful project managers understand the critical importance of project monitoring and controlling to gain insight into the health of their project. The information gained from monitoring and controlling, evaluating progress against the project baselines, and a strong change control process, enables the project manager to be proactive in making recommendations and changes. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)?, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK? Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 06:01

Friday, 10 July 2020


Organizations that predominantly operate using a project construct are undergoing a substantial shift to a product approach. In practice and theory, we more collectively refer to the flow of value through our organizations. This becomes a disruption driver in the digital reality unfolding before us. 

As this happens, there are several pertinent shifts in the landscape of our organizations. Efficiency is not king at the moment because we should first be aware of our relative effectiveness. To be efficient without effectiveness is to waste resources faster. Those who are digitally inclined will be those who reconsider their value propositions as value streams and manage them appropriately. 

This is apparent in several of our professional areas or domains—such as project managers, operations, technology, and even organizational structures—as we increasingly implement Agile, DevOps, or ITIL v4 in a cloud environment where essentially everything is available as a service (XaaS). 

1. Recognize Opportunity 

Unfortunately, there may be fewer PMs in the future than we have today. The role is evolving to be closer to its roots as a means of developing and delivering a new product or capability, largely because of shifts in how work is defined and executed. 

The next step for most is to move from a matrixed functional organization to a team-based, iterative, value-focused organization with virtuous cycles that we can sustain indefinitely. Organizations that have done this have consistently disrupted their markets. This will mean a significant reduction in the number of projects that are needed. Most of the kinds of work we projectize will become managed as a product where we have the consistency of team and eliminate the start-stop inefficiencies in favor of a pull-based flow of value. 

Work item management shifts to teams and product owners via backlogs. Forecasting is replaced with projections and financial reporting is completely automated. Many project managers are perfect candidates for product owners. 

2. Look at the Big Picture

Product ownership is a leadership opportunity with an increasingly critical role as organizations grow and scale. Product owners are charged with understanding the current and future term needs of the consumers of their value and how we can best deliver that value in a mutually beneficial value exchange. PMs must have big-picture skills along with the ability to manage the details. Having experience and exposure in a wide range of domains is a strong indicator of the ability to manage the diverse demands in managing value streams. Look for product roles as increasingly occurring and in-demand opportunities for good PMs. 

3. Build Transformation Skills as a Core Competency 

US Navy Seals say, “The only easy day was yesterday.” Change is that way for everyone. The frequency and amplitude of change will only increase, with possible temporary plateaus. Understanding your resilience mechanisms and being prepared to adjust or evolve will be life-changing for the better. Like so many other things, awareness and maintaining situational awareness are key drivers. Keeping up to date professionally, especially from a technology perspective (DevOps, Site Reliability Engineering, Agile Product Owner, for example) will enable you to be proactive in recognizing the right role and opportunity. 

4. Take Control of Your Future 

With the current COVID-19 crisis still in full swing, there is much doubt regarding what tomorrow may bring. Life will eventually go back to normal for some, but for many, the new normal will be a bumpy ride. What will prevail is impossible to know at this point. 

Having current training and certifications makes you more competitive in the marketplace over those who are still operating under the old model. During this time of pause, where most work is being done remotely, do your research and consider the “what if” of becoming part of the gig economy. 

Remember: 

“The best defense is a strong offense.”[1]
“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”[2]



References:



EduMind Inc at 09:19

Friday, 03 July 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

The Project Management Professional? exam is undeniably tough, and passing the exam requires dedicated attention and a focused study plan. But how do you know if you are ready to pass the exam? And can you predict a passing score? While a passing result cannot be guaranteed, there are some things that you can do to significantly increase the probability of success. 

Let’s start with understanding what it takes to pass the PMP exam, because it is not as simple as having a set score or percentage of questions correct. In the earlier years of the PMP exam, the Project Management Institute (PMI) assigned a passing score to the exam. This score was communicated to the candidates. 

At one point, PMI decided to increase the passing percentage, making the exam much more difficult. There was an adverse public reaction to this, and it was shortly after this situation that PMI made the decision not to release the passing score. To make it even more of a mystery to candidates, PMI did away with a defined percent score and moved to a weighted model. 

Today’s PMP exam is scored based on a weighted model that is applied to each candidate’s set of questions. There are hundreds of questions in PMI’s question bank, and each question has been evaluated and assessed for difficulty. Questions that are deemed to be more difficult will have a higher weight and vice versa. Hypothetically, if your exam has more difficult questions, the required passing score will be lower. If your exam has more straightforward questions, the required passing score will be higher. 

The best indicator of your success on the exam is going to be practice exams. But not just any practice exams. They must: 

· Be based on the most current version of the exam. Verify that the questions are reflective of the current version and are not out of date. PMI changes the PMP exam every few years. 

· Include lengthy and detailed questions. Get practice working through wordy questions, identifying the keywords and concepts. 

· Ask scenario-based or sequencing questions, such as “what’s the next thing / best thing / first thing you do?” or “how would you handle this situation?” This is an excellent reminder that the PMP exam is not a test of memorization, but rather an application of the concepts. 

· Have a timed element that corresponds to the timing of the actual exam. The exam is a 4-hour, 200-question exam, meaning you have less than a minute and a half per question. Practice working under time pressure! 

· Be provided by a reputable source. Using an unreliable set of questions can cause much more harm than good in your preparation. EduMind provides a comprehensive PMP exam review course taught by industry experts to help you prepare, practice, and pass your exam. 

· Include at least 100 questions in one sitting. The PMP exam is a marathon, not a sprint. Practice with an extended set of questions to replicate the exam experience. 

If the practice exams you are taking meet all of the above criteria, a score higher than 80% indicates that you are very well prepared and will most likely be successful on the actual exam. Now, even though you may have achieved a comfortable score, do not sabotage yourself on test day. To further improve your chances of success: 

· Take your test within a short timeframe after achieving a good practice test score. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. 

· Get a good night’s sleep the night before your exam. Forfeiting sleep for some last-minute studying is counterproductive. You will function at a much higher level when you are well rested. 

· Remember proper nutrition and hydration. Feed and hydrate your brain to tackle this 4-hour exam. 

· Employ proven strategies for dealing with exam anxiety, arrive early at your test center, and remember—most importantly—to breathe. 

With a focused and dedicated study plan, a wide variety of practice exams, and proper self-care, you can be successful on your PMP exam. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)? and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 09:08

Friday, 26 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

Managing risk is a crucial aspect of managing projects. It is wise to anticipate multiple questions on the exam about project risk management and the processes from the risk knowledge area within A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK? Guide). Two of those processes that are commonly confused are Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis and Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis. For exam success, it is vital to understand the differences between these two processes. 

Project risk management involves:

  1. Planning the approach to risk management for the project 
  2. Identifying the risks to the project, including both negative risks (threats) and positive risks (opportunities) 
  3. Analyzing the identified risks, qualitatively and perhaps quantitatively 
  4. Planning and implementing the risk responses 
  5. Monitoring risk throughout the project 

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis 

All risks that have been identified on the project will be qualitatively analyzed. This analysis is performed on both threats and opportunities to assess and establish the priority of the risks, as well as determine the need for possible quantitative analysis and risk responses. 

A qualitative risk analysis involves subjectively assessing the probability, or likelihood, the risk event will occur as well as the impact, or effect, if it does occur. The probability and impact scales are numerical scales that are agreed-upon and documented in the risk management plan. 

For example, the probability may be assessed on a 0 to 1 scale, where 0.3 would correspond to a 30% probability. The impact may be assessed on a 0 to 1, 1 to 5, 1 to 10, or another agreed-upon scale. Multiplying the probability score by the impact score will return the individual risk score. For example, a risk is assessed as a 0.2 probability and an impact score of 4. The overall risk score would 0.8. It is the risk scores that allow the risks to be prioritized, with the highest rated risks being considered for quantitative analysis and risk response planning. 

Because a qualitative analysis is subjective, the biases, attitudes, and opinions of the assessors should be considered. However, having documented criteria that correspond to the impact level can assist with minimizing the subjectivity of the evaluation. 

Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis 

While all risks are evaluated through a qualitative risk analysis, only the highest priority risks will be analyzed quantitatively. While a qualitative analysis is a subjective numerical scale, a quantitative analysis, in contrast, assesses the project risk impact in terms of dollars and/or time. For example, qualitatively, the risk impact may have been assessed as a “3,” whereas quantitatively, the risk is assessed as having an impact of $3,000 or an impact of a 20-day delay. 

Quantitative analyses are dependent upon high-quality data, fully loaded project models, and possibly high-end tools and software. Therefore, it is not typical to perform a quantitative analysis on all risks, but instead, it is performed on a subset of risks, such as those deemed to be the most impactful. 

Unlike a qualitative analysis that is relatively quick and easy to perform, a quantitative analysis is typically more time-consuming. Techniques used to perform a quantitative analysis include Monte Carlo simulations, decision tree and expected monetary value (EMV) analyses, and sensitivity analyses. 

In Summary 

The perform qualitative risk analysis and perform quantitative risk analysis are both processes within the PMBOK? Guide, 6th Edition risk management knowledge area. A qualitative analysis assesses all risks that have been identified, is subjective, quick and easy to perform, and prioritizes the risks for further action by assessing the probability of the risk occurring and the numerical assessment of the impact if it does occur. 

A quantitative analysis, on the other hand, is more time-consuming, requires good data and robust tools, and is only applied to those risks that have been prioritized through a qualitative risk analysis. In a quantitative risk analysis, the impact is evaluated in terms of financial and/or schedule impact, not merely a numerical scale. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)?, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK? Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 09:07

Tuesday, 23 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

As a project manager, you are most likely responsible for estimating the duration of the project activities and the costs for the project. As part of the PMP? exam, you will be tested on the various estimating techniques. This requires that you have a strong understanding of the differences between the techniques and even possibly calculating some estimates based on the data provided. 

There are four techniques used for both cost and duration estimating: analogous, parametric, three-point, and bottom-up. 

Analogous Estimating 

Analogous estimating is used when there is very little detailed information about the current project, so we leverage a similar, past project as the basis for the estimate. Think of analogous as an analogy: we are comparing two similar items. Because it considers an overall project or segment of the project for the estimate, it is considered top-down. On the exam, they may use either term to describe this technique. The past project must be as similar as possible to the current project. Analogous estimating is a combination of historical information and expert judgment, is quick and easy to do, but will not be as accurate as other estimating techniques. 

The website project last year took three months and cost $6,000. To launch a similar website this year, the project manager estimates that it will take three months and also cost $6,000. 

Parametric Estimating 

Parametric estimating uses a statistical relationship between variables to calculate the cost or duration. The statistical relationship could be a unit cost or productivity rate. As with analogous estimating, parametric estimating also relies on historical data and expert judgment. The underlying data must be stable and scalable. 

Based on previous projects, the editor can complete 20 pages per hour at a rate of $25 per hour. For a 100-page user guide, the project manager estimates that it will take five hours at a cost of $125. 

Three-Point Estimating 

Also known as a PERT (program evaluation and review technique), a three-point estimate factors uncertainty into the estimate by considering the average of the optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic estimates. There are two PERT estimates: triangular and beta. For a triangular estimate, the calculation is (optimistic + most likely + pessimistic) ÷ 3. For a beta estimate, the most likely duration or cost is weighted by a product of four; therefore, it is divided by six instead of three: (optimistic + 4(most likely) + pessimistic) ÷ 6. 

The activity has an optimistic duration of 6 days, a most likely duration of 10 days, and a pessimistic duration of 15 days. 

The triangular estimate would be: 10.3 days 

The beta estimate would be: 10.2 days 

The activity has an optimistic cost of $700, a most likely cost of $1,000, and a pessimistic cost of $1,600. 

The triangular estimate would be: $1,100 

The beta estimate would be: $1,050 

Bottom-Up Estimate 

The opposite of an analogous estimate is a bottom-up estimate. The most time consuming, but also the most accurate, a bottom-up estimate involves determining the cost and/or duration estimate for each activity and then rolling that up into an overall estimate. For costs, the sum of all of the estimates would provide the overall estimate. For the duration, however, the project manager needs to consider which activities are happening concurrently to come up with the most accurate overall project duration. 

The employee orientation project will involve the following costs: 

Lunches $50, handbooks $30, badges $20, laptops $900 = $1,000 estimate 

Based on the duration of each activity, and the dependencies and sequencing of the activities, the duration estimate for the project is six weeks. 

Understanding these estimating techniques, how they differ and compare to each other, and also knowing how to calculate the estimates will be vital in passing the PMP exam. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)? and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 07:58

Tuesday, 09 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

There is a continually increasing demand for skilled project managers across all industries. Senior project managers are not only at the forefront of driving change for their organizations, but their position typically involves a substantial salary base. There are four keys to successful career growth and development within the project management field of expertise: 

· Knowledge of various approaches to project management
· Well-developed leadership skills
· Strategic thinking with tactical application
· Certification

Project Management Approaches

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to project management. As the project manager, you will need to have a strong understanding of the project constraints, environmental considerations, and product development options to select the best approach when working on a project. Traditional or plan-driven approaches are appropriate when the work is well-defined: plan the work and work the plan. In environments with increased uncertainty and a perceived level of complexity, adaptive or agile approaches may be more appropriate. In today’s business environments, it is common to see project managers applying hybrid approaches. A strong project manager understands the different approaches, the pros and cons of them, and what would best serve the project needs. 

Leadership Skills

A project manager is no longer a task-manager but rather a strategic leader that is guiding and influencing not only their team members but also the organization. The project manager is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in all directions. Having solid leadership or soft skills is at the core of successful project management. Soft skills to be developed include emotional intelligence, communication (both written and verbal), creating a vision, inspiring others, giving and receiving feedback, and meeting facilitation. Regardless of title or authority, the project manager is in a position to be a leader to those involved in and impacted by the project. 

Strategic Thinking

In the early days of project management, the project managers were considered to be task managers, not leaders. However, in today’s complex environment, organizations expect their project managers to be considering their projects from a strategic alignment perspective. As projects are selected, initiated, and monitored and controlled, the project manager is responsible for benefits management to validate that the project results will return a benefit to the organization, while aligning with the strategic direction of that organization. 

While it is essential to think strategically and create a vision, a skilled project manager must also be able to put together a technical and tactical plan for achieving that vision. This may include leveraging expertise outside of their own, building a strong team, and engaging stakeholders throughout the project, taking all of the steps necessary to deliver the project that supports that vision. 

Certification 

One of the most credible methods of establishing yourself as an experienced and skilled project manager is to pursue and achieve one or more project management certifications. The most globally recognized certification is the Project Management Professional (PMP)? issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMP? credential signifies that the project managers have not only met the educational and experience requirements for certification but they have also passed a rigorous 200-question exam. 

Project Management Career Growth
PMI also offers other specialized project management certifications that can further elevate your status as a skilled project manager, such as the PMI Risk Management Professional, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner, Program Management Professional, and the PMI Scheduling Professional. More information on the various project management certifications can be found at www.PMI.org

Project management is an ever-growing and ever-changing field that provides significant opportunities for project professionals. By creating a deliberate plan for growth and personal development, you can continue to progress in this lucrative professional role! 

Project Management Professional (PMP)? and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 19:00

Friday, 05 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

Project success is determined, in part, by the quality of the product being produced as well as the quality of the project itself. The quality of the product is determined by how well the product, service, or project outcome meets the stakeholders’ needs and expectations. The quality of the project is determined by the ability to deliver the project within the defined constraints of schedule and cost, while also providing the intended value to the organization. 

Project quality management involves managing, estimating, and controlling the costs associated with product quality. The cost of quality can be categorized as the cost of conformance and the cost of non-conformance. Costs associated with both conformance and non-conformance should be considered, analyzed, and monitored throughout the project. The costs of conformance and costs of non-conformance are inversely related, meaning that theoretically, the more we spend on conformance, the less we will have to spend on non-conformance. 

Cost of Conformance

The cost of conformance is money spent to ensure quality, for both prevention and appraisal activities. The cost of conformance for prevention includes process documentation, training, and quality activities. The cost of conformance for appraisal involves activities such as testing, audits, and inspections. The cost of activities that fall under the umbrella of quality assurance is also considered the cost of conformance. Quality assurance typically involves evaluating and auditing the processes that are in place to ensure they support producing high-quality products or results. 

During project planning, quality and acceptance criteria and quality risks should be evaluated and analyzed to determine the acceptable level of spending associated with the quality activities on the project. This budget will vary from project to project depending on the project outputs and deliverables. For example, a project to develop a $3 item will most likely spend less on quality activities than a project that is developing a $1 million product. 

Cost of Non-Conformance

The cost of non-conformance is money spent because of failures. Non-conformance are those costs associated with failures, including those discovered by the project and those discovered by the customer or end-user (escaped defects). Within the project, non-conformance costs may come from inconsistent results, scrap, and rework, for example. External failure costs may stem from damage to the organization’s reputation, paying for warranties, or having returned items or send-backs. 

The challenge with the cost of non-conformance is that it is often difficult to estimate those costs until after the non-conformance has occurred. Therefore, the project manager must balance what they spend proactively on the cost of conformance to keep the cost of non-conformance within an acceptable range. 

In Summary

Quality management is and should be a significant focus for any project manager. Being able to analyze, estimate, and monitor the costs associated with quality activities is an expectation of all skilled project managers. Cost estimating and budgeting must include the cost of quality, encompassing both the cost of conformance and the cost of non-conformance. As with all project work, the project manager should consistently monitor any variances between the expected costs of quality and the actual money spent on conformance and non-conformance. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)? and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 07:34

Friday, 29 May 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is the highest industry-recognized project management credential. The PMP recognizes individuals who have demonstrated competencies and experience in leading project initiatives. Along with documented experience and education, candidates for the PMP must pass a rigorous 200-question exam. 

Step 1: Evaluate Your Experience 

Evaluate your Experience

The first step toward obtaining your PMP certification is to evaluate your project management experience. That experience must be within the last eight years and within a professional context, meaning you were compensated for your work. Projects are considered temporary initiatives that create unique products, services, or results. If you have a four-year degree or higher, you will need to document 4,500 hours / 36 months of project experience. Without a four-year degree, the experience requirement increases to 7,500 hours / 60 months of project experience. You will also need 35 hours of project management education or a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)? certification. 

Step 2: Submit Your Application 

Once you have confirmed that you meet all requirements, you can complete your application on the Project Management Institute (PMI) website. It is highly recommended that you have all your information gathered and handy when you start your application. The application will stay open for 90 days for you to enter the required information. After 90 days, it will close. 

Submit your Application

PMI will conduct an application review to verify that what you submitted on your application is appropriate and valid. The application process typically takes about five days, at which time you will be notified via email of the result. PMI may contact you for additional information during this time, or you may be selected for an audit. 

If you are selected for an audit, you will be instructed to provide proof of the work and education that you submitted on your application. Education audit requirements are fulfilled by supplying a copy of your training transcript, certificates of completion, or copies of your diploma. A supervisor or manager will be required to submit signed experience verification forms confirming that your experience is accurate. All audit materials must be submitted to PMI in a hard-copy format. 

Step 3: Schedule Your Exam 

Once your application is approved, you can pay your PMP exam fees. As of April 2020, the PMP exam fee is $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-PMI members. Your eligibility year begins on the day PMI approves your application. After your fees are paid, PMI will email you your eligibility ID, which is required to schedule your exam at a local Pearson VUE location. 

Schedule your Exam

Step 4: Complete Your Exam 

The four-hour PMP exam is administered by Pearson VUE and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. Of the 200 questions, 25 are considered pretest, meaning they do not count against you if you miss them. However, there is no indication during the exam regarding which questions are pretest. 

Before beginning your exam, you will have 15 minutes during which you will take the test tutorial. After the tutorial, you can start your test. You will be given one question at a time and will have the option to answer the question, leave it blank, or answer it and mark it for review. After the last question, you will be provided with a review screen, indicating which questions you have answered and which have been left blank or marked for review. Be sure to answer all questions, as those left blank will count against you. 

When you have answered all questions, submit your exam. The testing system will evaluate your exam answers and return your pass or fail results. The exam proctor will provide you with a hard copy of your test results. In addition to the pass or fail, you will receive one of four proficiency ratings for each domain: above target, at target, below target, or needs improvement. If you do not pass your exam on the first try, you will have two additional attempts available within your eligibility year. 

Complete your Exam

If you are interested in PMP certification, EduMind can help you prepare for and pass your exam. With various course learning format options to choose from, you can find the one that works best for you. Click here to find out more. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)? and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)? are registered trademarks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 09:05

Thursday, 28 May 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

If you are a project manager who has considered certification, you have likely heard horror stories about how difficult the exam is to pass. As certification and credentialing exams go, there is no doubt that the Project Management Professional (PMP) is one of the more difficult ones to attempt. But even getting approved to take the exam poses a challenge. 

To be approved to sit for the exam, candidates must demonstrate either three years (4,500 hours) of experience with a four-year degree or five years (7,500 hours) of experience without a four-year degree, plus experience leading and directing project activities. While the application simply asks for the description of the project work, approximately 25% of applicants are randomly selected for audit. Audited applications require further documentation of their experience. 

The PMP exam is based on A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK? Guide) and “other relevant sources,” which contribute to the difficulty of the exam. The PMBOK Guide is a large text with 49 processes that all have inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. Realistically, it is very unusual that a typical project manager will have experience with most of those processes, let alone have a sound understanding of the various tools and techniques. As such, it can be intimidating to learn all of these details and the vocabulary. The “other relevant sources” are not identified by the Project Management Institute (PMI), so there is an inherent level of ambiguity in fully and adequately preparing for the test. 

The next factor contributing to the difficulty is the questions themselves. The vast majority of the questions on the PMP exam are scenario-based or application questions. You will find that many of those questions will ask, “What is the first thing you do,” “What is the next thing you do,” or “What is the best action to take?” So even if you have a strong knowledge of the processes and the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs, the questions will want to validate the appropriate sequencing and application of those processes. Typically, you will find that there will be one incorrect answer, one answer that is not entirely right, and two that may both seem correct. You’ll have to choose the best right answer. 

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the exam is that you will need to answer the questions from the PMI perspective, not based on your own experience. Likely, you may fundamentally disagree with the correct answer to some questions. However, to be successful on this exam, you must answer in alignment with the PMI approach. It has been said that the more experienced project managers find the exam more difficult than those who just barely meet the experience requirements. As a seasoned project manager, you may have developed your own approach and best practices, which may or may not align exactly with PMI. You will need to challenge yourself to answer in alignment with PMI instead of your own point of view. 

Finally, the wording of the questions themselves also proves challenging. The majority of the questions and even the answers will likely be very wordy. Working your way through these particular questions can cause anxiety, especially considering that you only have about one minute and 20 seconds per question. Leaving these long or confusing questions to the end of your exam is often helpful. 

How difficult is PMP Exam and Certification

There is absolutely no doubt that the PMP application and exam are notoriously difficult. However, with the proper preparation and leveraging the right tools, you can and will be successful. Create a strong study plan with the appropriate coursework and mentoring, use mock exams, and have an excellent “dump sheet” of memorized formulas to increase your chances of success. 

If you are interested in becoming a certified PMP, EduMind can help you prepare for and pass your exam. With various course learning format options to choose from, you can find the one that works best for you. Click here to find out more. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)?, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK? Guide), “PMP,” and “PMBOK” are registered trademarks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 01:37

Tuesday, 19 May 2020


The PMP exam is notoriously difficult, but there are some strategies you can employ to increase your chances of passing on the first attempt. While there is no shortcut on the road to PMP success, here are the top ten strategies to pass your exam! 

Tip #1: Commit to a Date – If you put off your exam until you are 100% confident, you might never take it. Your brain and behavior will perform better when you have a set date that you are working toward. 
 
Commit to a Date

Tip #2: Take Practice Tests – Merely reading books, blogs, and other materials will only get you so far in your preparation. You must practice by taking mock exams to help you identify any gaps and deficiencies. This includes an evaluation of your timing, your knowledge of the material, and your test-taking capabilities. 

Take Practice Tests

Tip #3: Understand Versus Memorize – You may have heard that memorization is the key to passing any exam. However, memorization is not enough, especially on the scenario-based questions. Instead of memorizing, work to truly understand the concepts, tools, and techniques and how and when they are applied. 

Understand vs Memorize

Tip #4: Master Your Dump Sheet – When your exam clock starts, you can jot down what is referred to as a dump sheet, which should include all of the earned value, forecasting, and estimating formulas you have memorized in preparation for the exam. Be careful not to make the dump sheet too extensive because it could eat into your allocated exam time. 

Master Your Dump Sheet

Tip #5: Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Do not underestimate the importance of getting a good night’s sleep before your exam. This is not the time to pull an all-nighter! Lack of sleep has a significant detrimental impact on your logical processing, and you’ll need all the brainpower you can get. 

Get Good Night's Sleep

Tip #6: Stay Hydrated – Given that your exam clock keeps ticking even when you use the restroom, you may be tempted to skip getting a drink of water as well. But don’t! Being fully hydrated increases the flow of information within your brain, improves recollection, and increases attention. Keep in mind that your brain is made up of more water than your body, so by the time you feel thirsty, your brain is already dehydrated! 

Stay Hydrated

Tip #7: Know Your Circadian Rhythm – All creatures have natural circadian rhythms, which are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. It is essential to work with your body and not against it for your exam. Recognize what time of day you are at your peak analytically. If you are a morning person, schedule your exam for an early slot. Night owl? Look for a late-afternoon exam time. 

Know Your Circadian Rhythm

Tip #8: Eat Well – Nourish your body, nourish your brain! Choose your meals wisely the day before and the day of your exam to give yourself the proper nutrients and stamina to power through this four-hour exam. Remember, this is a marathon exam, not a sprint! You don’t want to crash halfway through. 

Eat Well

Tip #9: Arrive Early – The Pearson Vue exam centers reserve their computer terminals based on the length of your exam. If you are late, you will likely be asked to reschedule your exam, costing you money and time. Plan to arrive early and minimize the potential for traffic or other unforeseen delays. This will enable you to enter as relaxed as possible. Use the extra time to visit the restroom, review some notes, and maybe have a quick, healthy snack. 

Arrive Early

Tip #10: Dress Comfortably – Dress in something that will keep you comfortable for four hours in a test room. You will not be allowed to take any type of sweater or jacket off and on during your exam, so it is best to wear something light with long sleeves that can be pushed up if you get warm or pushed down if you get chilly. 

Dress Comfortably

When you are ready to take the PMP exam, EduMind can help you prepare for and pass it with confidence. With various course learning format options to choose from, you can find the one that works best for you. Click here to find out more. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)? is a registered trademark of Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 08:54

Tuesday, 05 May 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

If you’re an experienced, professional project manager, you may qualify to earn your PMP certification. You will need to meet both project management experience and project management education requirements in order to take the exam. Keep in mind that you do not have to hold a formal project manager title. You do, however, have to be in a position of responsibility for leading and directing project activities or a subset of project activities. 

A project with a unique outcome is considered a temporary initiative. Eligible projects are those conducted within a professional setting for which you were compensated. In other words, personal and volunteer projects would not be applicable. 

Depending on your achieved college education, there are two sets of PMP certification requirements. If you hold a four-year degree or higher, you will need three years of experience (4,500 hours) leading and directing project activities in addition to 35 hours of project management education or a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM?) certification. Without a four-year degree, the experience requirement increases to five years (7,500 hours) leading and directing projects along with the 35 hours of education or CAPM. 

Your experience must be within the last eight years and does not need to be sequential. Although you may work overtime on your projects, Project Management Institute (PMI) will allow you to claim no more than 40 hours per week toward the eligibility requirement. Your projects must not only span the calendar months required (36 or 60) but also provide you with the requisite number of hours. 

For example, if you managed two projects full time from January to December 2019 and split your time equally between them, you would be eligible to claim approximately 1,000 hours for each project (or 2,000 hours). However, you would only be eligible to claim 12 months of experience, as the two projects were happening concurrently. 

In documenting your project management experience, you will need to demonstrate that you have work hours in each of the project management domains of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Although you do not need hours in all domains for every project, you must cumulatively show that you have had hours across them all. For example, if you are submitting a project that is currently in process, you may have no hours in the closing domain, so you would need closing hours on another project. 

Unlike your project management experience, there is no eligibility window for project management education, other than that it must be completed before submitting your application. Your project management education may be one class or a combination of courses on any project management topic. If you have your CAPM, you will not need to provide proof of education. 

Upon submitting your PMP application, PMI will do a review to ensure that the experience and education you have claimed meet their criteria. This process typically takes about five calendar days. Some applications are selected for audit. To successfully and easily navigate the audit process, ensure that all information you have provided can be verified. 

PMP Certification Requirements

Once PMI approves your application, you will be instructed to pay your exam fees. PMI will then provide you with an eligibility ID, which is required to schedule your exam at a Pearson VUE location. Your eligibility year begins on the date your application is approved by PMI. The final requirement to achieving your PMP certification is passing the 200-question exam, which must be completed within your eligibility year. To maintain your PMP, you must submit 60 hours of education (professional development units) every three years. 

If you are interested in PMP certification, EduMind can help you prepare for and pass your exam with confidence. With various course learning format options to choose from, you can find the one that works best for you. Click here to find out more. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)? and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)? are registered trademarks of Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 09:03

Tuesday, 21 April 2020


During these uncertain times, it is important to make sure that you clearly communicate with your clients. This is especially true when the client puts a project on hold. There are several assumptions the client could be making when they put a project on hold, and it can be critical to your firm’s operations that the client has all the facts. 

This is especially true when it comes to accounts receivable. The client may be assuming that since the project was put on hold, they won’t be seeing any invoices until the project restarts. That is most likely an incorrect assumption, and something you’ll want to proactively correct. Most firms issue invoices every 30 days and allow the client another 30 days to pay without accruing interest for late payment. This means that at the time a client puts a project on hold, they could be just about to get one of two invoices. This compounds if the client is on a longer payment cycle such as 60 days. The best approach to take is at the time the client puts the project on hold, coordinate with your accounting team, and make sure to inform the client of how many invoices they can expect, (and provide an approximate amount). Taking this step will eliminate any confusion about invoices during the project hold. 

In addition, it is a good practice to inform your client that there will be additional efforts involved in properly putting the project on hold for a while. The original scope of the project likely assumed a progressive flow to developing the design and construction documents, and stopping the project suddenly was not anticipated. You should encourage the client to consider that it will take some effort to wrap up elements of the project that are in midstream and to close it down in a way that facilitates a smoother project restart. These efforts and the related fees are normally outside the scope of work identified in the contract, and the architect is entitled to be compensated for them. Having this discussion at the time the project is put on hold will have better results for all involved. 

Projects on Hold During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Another subject to discuss with the client is what to expect at project restart. Architectural projects are very complex, and it’s not practical to expect that a project can be simply activated without some challenges. For one, there is the issue of staff availability. Can you get the same staff on your team that you had when the project was put on hold? Will you have to bring new team members up to speed? What about the project schedule? When states relax the stay-at-home orders and people begin to return to work, will there be new conditions in the workplace that present challenges to staffing your project? You might not know the answers to these questions now, but it’s best to have an open dialog with the client as the project is being put on hold to addresses the possible challenges to project restart, most of which will likely impact the schedule. 

In the end, best practices related to project management require a strong emphasis on clear communication with your client, especially in these uncertain times. Doing so could greatly improve your firm’s ability to resume normal operations and to thrive in the future.

EduMind Inc at 06:50

Tuesday, 07 April 2020


A client comes to an architect with a project. During the process, the client agrees to the design and budget and signs a contract with the contractor for a stipulated sum. While under construction, the client says they are unable to afford the project and reduces scope. What is the team supposed to do? 

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a gray area and a very tricky situation. At the time of construction, the contract between the owner and contractor is based on a stipulated sum—that which is set by the cost of work issued via the schedule of values. That is the basis for their contract and, if the architect’s fees are a percentage of cost of construction, that serves as the basis for the architect’s fees as well. 

It is the right of the contractor to request that the owner provides proof that they can financially support the cost of the project; however, that often does not happen on smaller projects. 

There are instances when the client, after the contract is signed, says they want to reduce scope—not only to lower construction costs but often to avoid architect’s fees as well. I wish this was the exception in the industry, but I have seen it time and time again. What to do? 

First and foremost, this is considered a breach of contract, as it should be. The client has not only committed to a contractual cost via the bidding and negotiation phase but has committed to a scope of work. Contracts aside, an architect has set aside time and could be missing out on potential work due to the commitment to this project. Should a project not live up to its promise (or contractual duties), the risk reaches further into the architecture firm, allocating additional resources (money) to cover work being performed, etc. The AIA contracts provide verbiage concerning the termination of the contract, but that is just that—the contract termination, which the client can do for no apparent reason. 

Project Management - Client Reduction of Scope

If the client does not terminate the contract, they are obligated to adhere to the agreed-upon conditions. They essentially have two options: to stay the course and fulfill their contractual duties, or to terminate the contract. In terminating the contract, they may very well end up with an unfinished project and increased costs due to restarting the work after it has been stopped. It may be in their best interest, then, to continue with the project and stay on track. The unfortunate part of contracts is that the architect and contractor can only terminate the contract if the client does not pay within due notice. They are not allowed recourse in this situation, whereas the client can terminate the work at any time for any reason. 

Should this happen, it is best to educate the client on the issues that arise from reducing scope and fees, as they may be unaware as to how it affects an architect’s business.

EduMind Inc at 08:40

Tuesday, 24 March 2020


A building project has undergone a substantial design process; however, when it comes to the bidding and negotiation phase, it is discovered that the project is grossly over budget. Uh oh. First of all, contractually, it is the architect’s responsibility to keep track of costs with each phase. During schematic design, these costs may be square footage or unit costs, which are very general. Design development adds more detail and costs may be associated with the quantity of square feet for specific materials or assembly costs—the cost of a certain assembly per linear foot. 

The bidding and negotiating phase is when a prospective contractor assigns actual costs to compile the cost of work. This is the most accurate cost for the work; however, the architect should always track costs throughout the process. 

So, the costs come in grossly over budget. What to do? It is the responsibility of the architect to be mindful of budget. The architect can solicit the owner for additional funding, or else they turn to value engineering. Value engineering often has a negative connotation because it is commonly associated with replacing a material or system with an often-inferior material or system due to cost. However, that is not how value engineering should be perceived. 

Value engineering is a concept in which, by definition, a substitution occurs embodying a relationship to the value of function and cost. Although part of the equation with value engineering is to provide a substitution at a lower cost, that cost cannot and should not compromise the function of the material or system to be substituted. 

A poor model of value engineering would be the example of replacing a wall system in an acoustically sensitive area. Should a particular wall assembly be replaced with one that is substantially less expensive but does not manage acoustics as well as the original proposed assembly, the assembly sacrifices functionality, which can greatly affect the use of the space. This is not conducive to the original intent and can require extra, future costs to remedy the inefficiency. 

A good model of value engineering would seek solutions to balance cost, value, and function. Value is somewhat hard to define as it contains varying objectives but, most often, it connects cost and function. For example, the value, which could attach an extra cost, is necessary due to the function it provides for that extra cost. In that case, it may not be best to value engineer that assembly out of the project. An element that may not have such a weight on function and be more aesthetic is a good place to start with value engineering. Costly marble may be substituted with a less costly engineered stone. 

Whatever the change, the process necessitates that the contractor provides substitutions for approval by the architect. The contractor cannot perform the value engineering as it is the responsibility of the architect to confirm—and subsequently approve—the appropriateness of the substitution, which should be value based, not strictly based on cost.

EduMind Inc at 06:21

Friday, 20 March 2020


Per AIA contracts , there is a lot of verbiage regarding damages. Often, all parties agree to the waiver of claims due to damages in the AIA contract A201, the general conditions of the contract for construction. 

The waiver of claims means that all parties bound together by this contract agree to hold the other parties harmless should damages be claimed. This is done for many reasons, but let’s first look at the matter of definition. 

First, what is a claim and what makes it direct or consequential? A claim is a formal request to a surety (an insurance company) to be compensated for damages. A direct damage is one that can be directly connected to damage. A common example is that of a roof that has caved in. This would assume that the roof was newly constructed and has failed due to the incompetence of the design. A claim for direct damages would request that the roof be rebuilt if it is found that there was negligence in the design of the roof. Consequential damage is damage that is a theoretical or disconnected effect due to the failure of the roof. An example of consequential damage would be the loss of rent due to the roof failure and the loss of rent to come due to its repair. The cost of rent is not directly connected to the roof damage and is, therefore, consequential—a result of the consequence. It should be noted that contract breaches could be considered consequential damages but, in court, the definition is wide and varied, and often consequential damages are limited to those defined as a result of a loss or consequence. 

As noted, in the AIA’s A201 contract, these are waived among parties. One reason could be that, with consequential damages, especially, they could be ill defined and could lead to contentious relationships within the contract. However, the contract should anticipate the worst and set up for the best—the best way to deal with unknowns and with contingencies to cover costs should something happen that leads to delays and added costs, etc. Building projects carry risks, and those risks should be managed by all parties. A contract based on rosy situations that does not anticipate issues can be problematic. 

However, a main reason for waiving claims for damages is due to business. A construction company or an architecture firm often does not have the assets of wealthy clients or development companies. Bringing claims such as these could bankrupt construction companies and architecture firms. At the very least, the damages could far exceed the profit for the particular project. It is for this reason that many companies will not work with an owner who suggests striking that waiver from the contract. 

Practice Management

How to deal with these situations? Coming up with alternative methodologies for covering such issues, other than a striking of the waiver, is what is best in these situations. However, this is often covered by professional liability insurance. No matter what, changes to the contract need to be reviewed by lawyers experienced in the construction process so that everyone is mutually covered in these agreements.

EduMind Inc at 03:28

Friday, 13 March 2020


It is often said that billing and fees for architectural services are nothing short of an art form. It is a balance between the work to be performed, fair compensation, and the satisfaction of the client. Whatever the outcome, the fees set by the architecture firm should be measured against recordkeeping but also must acknowledge that an architecture firm is also a business and needs to be viable as such. 

That viability includes maintaining a profit with every job. No matter the fee structure—hourly, percentage of construction cost, and so on—there should be an added profit calculated into the fee. If you look at a fee schedule, there is a billable rate that is much higher than what actually appears on a paycheck. For example, a project manager may earn an annual salary of $83,200, which equates to an hourly wage of $40/hour. However, the fee schedule for the firm may charge the client $120/hour for their services. Why? Should they feel cheated that they are not getting full compensation for work? 

Businesses should charge more for the hourly services of their employees—in fact, an architecture firm on average charges about three times as much. Doing so ensures that the business can pay its bills and then some. Concepts like the break-even rate and overhead rate, as well as an additional percentage for profit, all play into setting the fees for a firm. 

Before these fees can be calculated, the expenses of the firm must be determined. These are the indirect expenses—expenses that cannot be billed directly to a job/client—and include utilities, software, rent, insurance, etc. These numbers determine many things for a firm. Are there too many expenses? Are the indirect expenses benefitting the firm? These are matters of everyday business. On top of that, overhead rate is a factor to give the break-even rate. However, that does not account for profit. A typical business—and an architecture firm should be no different—aims for a 20% profit. This is also added to the hourly rate to ensure that the firm is making a profit off of every hour of wage. 

Project Management - Billing and Fees

Profit is not a bad thing, and I have known many architects who sell themselves short thinking that they are being greedy trying to make a 20% profit or any profit! But it’s business. Profit is needed to keep a firm alive, and that is actually for the benefit of the client. If a firm cannot stay viable, that may actually affect the client because if a firm folds and closes due to mismanaged finances, it could have very bad effects for the client, the job, and everyone involved (which I have also seen). It is with this mindset that projects should have a healthy financial base to maintain the growth of the firm and to ensure the success of a project.

EduMind Inc at 07:53

Tuesday, 11 February 2020


One of the most frustrating parts of a construction project can be change orders. They have given a building project a bad reputation but oftentimes, they are inevitable. Things change. This can be due to field conditions and uncovering something unexpected, or it can be due to a design change per to a client or the architect. Rather than not accept any changes whatsoever (which is, more often than not, unrealistic), changes are accounted for and built into the process. In architects’ contracts, contingencies are often included to cover design changes should they arise. Contingencies may also be included in construction contracts to cover construction costs associated with changes. In documentation, changes are handled using three different methods to formally change the contract for construction/contract documents: 

1.An architect’s supplemental instruction (ASI) 
2.(Formal) change orders 
3.Construction change directive 

Any change will have a connection to cost, schedule, and scope. 

If there is no change in cost, schedule, or scope, then an ASI is issued (AIA document G710-2017 or a version thereof). It is only to be used for minor changes and oftentimes serves to provide clarification. 

If there is a change in cost, schedule, or scope, a change can be handled in two ways: through a formal change order or a construction change directive. Despite being treated as two separate entities, they are essentially two different ways of getting to the same place—authorizing a change through a formal change order. To clarify that point, the end goal is to have the change approved and work performed and compensated. A formal change order (AIA document G701-2017) is straightforward. It lists the change in scope and the time and/or costs associated with the change. It is an agreement between the owner, architect, and contractor that is signed by all parties. When it has been signed, the work is done and compensated to cover the extra costs (and may be covered by the contingencies added to contracts). 

However, sometimes this process does not run so smoothly. Sometimes a contractor may issue a change order for approval, but the owner does not agree with the cost or time. Any disagreement could delay the project further. The contractor could be liable for any change in schedule or projection completion could be delayed. This is the role of the construction change directive (G714-2017), which directs the changes to be made while the terms (cost and time) are being hammered out. This is an efficient way of performing the work and keeping the project on schedule, even in a time of conflict and discord. It is recommended that the construction change directive, when approved, is superseded by a formal change order, which is why they are two ways of getting to the ultimate goal: an approved change order. 

These documents not only track the changes in the work (possibly with an accompanying log) but are the three ways to formally change the contract for construction.

EduMind Inc at 13:00

Tuesday, 14 January 2020


Budgeting and contracts are nothing short of an artform when applying them to the practice of architecture. They are always trying to hit a moving target—you never know what the outcome will be. 

With budgets, the moving target is the work needed to perform the services and allocating them in order to make a profit. In the following example, we are looking at the budgets for an architectural firm’s services. 

Top-Down Budget

Referencing the example above, top-down budgets start with the estimated cost of construction and the allocation of the architect’s fee from a percentage of estimated construction costs (note that this assumes that the architect’s contract is based on a percentage of construction costs for their service fee). That gross fee then subtracts the consultant’s fees (per the B101-2017 contract, the architect’s services includes consultants: structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers) in order to produce a net service revenue. The net service revenue is the monies that should be allocated for the architect’s services. However, the direct expense budget and the contingency budget should also be considered. Direct expenses are billable to a specific project and should be set aside as there are always direct expenses for a project. Contingencies cover any expenses should there be design changes. Top-down budgets set aside a direct expense budget and a contingency budget to cover unexpected expenses as a safeguard, so they don’t come out of the service revenue—the monies needed for the actual services of the contract to be performed. If they are not used, they are considered profit. Those expense budgets subtracted from the net service revenue results in the project labor budget, which is then broken down per phase and service percentages (e.g., 5% may go to bidding and negotiation because that is the typical percentage breakdown of that service phase). 

With bottom-up budgeting, services are broken out by how long the architect thinks it will take to perform the service per phase multiplied by an average service fee. A bottom-up budget is much more organic and relies on experience to be able to allocate the time per service. 

What is important to remember is that, again, this is trying to hit a moving target. How do you know which method is right when, compared side by side, they can have a huge difference? What’s important is to recognize that difference in going through the exercise. It should be common practice to work with both budgets side by side and if differences are way off, more time may need to be added/ subtracted per phase (bottom-up) or a different percentage may be allocated (top-down). The point is to see if the budgets meet in the middle and how. However, it is also important to review this along with other business expenses to ensure that compensation is not only fair but attributes to the health of the business practice in other areas (covering benefits, payroll, overhead, etc.).

EduMind Inc at 07:04

Thursday, 15 November 2018


There are many benefits to becoming a certified Project Management Professional (PMP?). However, the process of becoming certified can be stressful. In order to manage the stresses of taking the PMP exam, project managers should adhere to the following PMP exam tips: 

Review Information About the Exam 

Project Management Institute (PMI?) offers several resources to help project managers prepare for the PMP exam. The current PMP exam content outline explains the percentage of questions on the exam from each domain. Reviewing the outline will help you understand where you should focus your efforts when studying. The PMP Handbook includes information about applying to take the exam, exam policies and procedures, and certification policies and procedures. Learning as much as you can about the PMP exam and what to expect on exam day will help ease some stress the morning of the exam.

Study the PMBOK? Guide

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) is an important resource for preparing for the PMP exam. The PMP exam was updated in the beginning of 2018 to align with the release of the sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the project management concepts that are discussed in the PMBOK Guide and have this resource available as you are preparing for the exam.

Take Practice Exams

Knowing the types of questions that will appear on the PMP exam and being familiar with the format of the exam will help you to be better prepared and feel more confident when you are taking the actual exam. PMI provides PMP sample test questions. You can also find practice questions and exam simulators as part of select PMP prep courses

Enroll in a PMP Prep Course

If you feel stressed about preparing on your own, you can sign up for an online PMP exam prep course. A good exam prep course should include lecture notes and PMP practice exam questions. Another benefit of taking a course is that it can count toward the 35 contact hours of formal project management education prerequisite, which PMI requires for PMP eligibility. 

By knowing what to expect on exam day, reviewing the important concepts that will appear on the exam, practicing sample exam questions, and preparing for the exam with a prep course, you should feel confident about taking and passing the PMP exam. 


EduMind Inc at 23:18

Friday, 09 November 2018


Becoming a certified Project Management Professional (PMP?) is not an easy task. Doing so requires thousands of hours of leading and directing projects and passing a difficult exam. However, the benefits of PMP certification far exceed the effort required to become a PMP. 

According to Project Management Institute (PMI?), the PMP “is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers.”i It is not a simple task to earn this industry-recognized certification. In order to even sit for the PMP exam, project managers must meet certain criteria. The application process requires information about education attained and project management experience. In fact, project managers with a four-year degree need 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects while project managers with a secondary degree must have accrued 7,500 hours of leading and directing projects. By completing the PMP exam application, being approved to take the exam, and passing the exam, PMP-certified project managers set themselves apart. Being a PMP shows that project managers have the necessary knowledge and experience to effectively manage projects. 

Not only does obtaining PMP certification prove project management experience but preparing for the PMP exam provides project managers with additional project management knowledge. Project management professionals who are applying to take the PMP exam must have 35 hours of project management education. This education is critical for passing the PMP exam, but it can also be applied in the workplace and can increase a project manager’s skillset. 

A higher salary is another benefit of PMP certification. In a survey of nearly 11,000 project management professionals in the United States, PMP holders had a median salary that was 25% higher than the median salary of project management professionals who were not PMP certified. The median salary for PMP holders was $115,000 compared to $92,000 for non-PMP project management professionals.ii

Whether a project management professional is seeking a way to stand out in the industry, is wanting to learn new project management knowledge and skills, or is looking to make more money, becoming a PMP can help achieve these goals. Start applying to take and preparing for the PMP exam to gain the benefits of PMP certification. 

References

iProject Management Professional (PMP). Retrieved from 

iiProject Management Salary Survey (2018). Retrieved from 


EduMind Inc at 00:49

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