10 Important Points for the PMP Exam
To pass the PMP exam, you need to have some key points ingrained in your mind forever. These points are used again and again in the PMP Exam Questions. Nothing difficult… Just simple principles, and once you understand them, you will be better prepared for the revised PMP exam.
1. The project manager is empowered and has ultimate authority and accountability for a project. Therefore, the Project Manager must always be proactive, and look for areas of improvement, and communicate all the time, with all the key stakeholders. Be prepared to make decisions quickly, proactively, and solve problems quickly, directly, and effectively. People look upon you for direction and leadership.
2. Projects should be strategically aligned with the high-level strategic objectives of the organization. This improves the chances of the project success. Do not include any changes to the project, which do not align to the corporate vision, as they will take up valuable time and resources. Get clarity from the Change Control Board (CCB) if required. The Sponsor or Client should be part of the CCB.
3. The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) forms the basis of all estimating and project planning. This is part of Scope Management. Many people confuse the WBS to be part of the Time Management Knowledge Area. Beware! The WBS is an extremely useful tool in clarifying the scope of the project. Because it is like a org chart ( and looks like a picture), it is easy to find any missing areas, are identify blind spots in the requirements.
4. Project Managers spend almost 90% of their time in communicating. It will not do you or the project any good if you simply hide in your cubicle and communicate using email alone. It is important to go out, and meet the team members, stakeholders, and understand what is going on in their world. Communication has to be a 2 way thing. Not only Written, and not just one way.
5. Planning is the most important of all the Project Management processes. Projects don’t fail at the end, they fail at the beginning – if they are not planned properly and accurately. Of the 42 processes in the PMBOK Guide, 20 belong to the Planning Process Group. And 48 questions out of the 200 come from Planning processes alone. So study this carefully. There is a proper sequence of doing the planning work, and it is not listed in the PMBOK Guide. Let me know if you need help in this area…
6. The Project Team must be involved early in the Planning process and in all major decisions concerning the project. The earlier you can onboard your project management team, the better it is. Do not attempt to do everything on your own. Get your project management team, who can jamb runz assist you in the tasks. Remember that Project Management is an art, and you do not have to be a domain expert to manage projects successfully. You should be good at managing people, communicating, negotiating, motivating, and have leadership qualities, which are more important than technical expertise.
7. Lessons Learned and Historical Records are essential inputs to just about every Project management process, especially Planning. For the sake of the PMP Exam, assume that you always have access to the Project management office (PMO), who will be able to provide you with the required templates, checklists, procedures and policies. They also have a complete archive of past projects’ project files, templates, checklists, risk registers, milestone list, assumptions, constraints etc. You can easily get access to this handy resource for this project, just by asking the PMO.
8. Project Stakeholders and their needs & expectations are very important and should be well managed and balanced from the early on. Remember, the cost of making a change increases as time passes. So the early we can get the stakeholders involved, and see their inputs, complete requirements, the better it is for the project (and lower cost too). Stakeholder influence is highest in the beginning of the project, and comes down as the project reaches completion.
9. Quality Control is an internal affair. It takes the completed deliverables coming from the Executing Processes, and converts them into validated Deliverables. These deliverables are then tested by the customer in the Verify Scope Process, and converted into Accepted Deliverables. Both of these processes happen in the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group. Many questions arise from the close relationship between these 2 processes.
10. Adding out-of-scope extras (also called “gold plating”) to please project stakeholders adds no value and is strongly discouraged. You must always be on the lookout for “scope creep” and “gold plating”, as they can take up valuable time and cost on the project. Remember also that adding scope increases risk and impacts time and cost too. So beware of adding any extras. Only deliver what is expected of you.
Quality Control is an internal affair. It takes the completed deliverables coming from the Executing Processes, and converts them into validated Deliverables. These deliverables are then tested by the customer in the Verify Scope Process, and converted into Accepted Deliverables. Both of these processes happen in the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group. Many questions arise from the close relationship between these 2 processes.