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by Elizabeth Copley
I've been posting a lot on LinkedIn about the upcoming changes to the PMP test and wanted to take this month's blog opportunity to elaborate and clarify on the current test, the prep classes, studying for and taking the exam.
The current exam is on the fourth edition of the PMBOK (PMI's Project Management Body of Knowledge) that supports five process groups along with the nine bodies of knowledge: Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Human Resources, Quality, Communications, Risk and Procurement. A tenth body of knowledge has been added to the fifth edition released in January of this year for Project Stakeholder Management. I've been delaying even purchasing the fifth edition since the current exam is based on the fourth edition - not worth risking my prep class participants with information they do not need to know yet. This new body of knowledge coupled with a lot of new information on project management will add another level of complexity to the already difficult exam. I will make that purchase soon, however; I have a prep class scheduled for early August.
The point to all of this is if you are interested in obtaining your PMP certification, consider taking the exam as soon as possible. At 11:59 p.m. on July 30, all fourth edition exams will be destroyed. That is, if you wait until the last minute to take the exam and end up having to retake it, you will be tested on the fifth edition starting July 31 and you will have to prepare for the new information. I called PMI last week on behalf of my latest prep class to see if they could be "grandfathered" in and the response was no; if the exam is a retake after July 30, it is on the fifth edition.
Another thing to consider is taking an exam preparation class as soon as possible. We are offering two more exam prep classes - a two-Friday/Saturday format (May 31, June1, June 7, June 8) and a four-day bootcamp format June 10-13. This will give you ample time to study, take the exam (I always encourage my participants to take the exam within 30 days) and time for a retake just in case you did not pass the first time prior to July 30. Since one of the requirements to sit for the exam is 35 hours of project management training, our prep class fills this requirement for you.
One more "PMP" tidbit of advice and I promise to step down from my lectern - join PMI to reap the benefit of membership discounts. Non-PMI members pay over $500 to take the exam; PMI member cost is $405. If you do not pass the test the first time, you have two more tries within a year (and in the case of this year's changes effective July 31, that "year" window is closing for the fourth edition exam). For PMI members, the fee for the retake is $275; for non-members, $375. There are also many other benefits for becoming a member as well. Go to www.pmi.org to join and become a member of an outstanding organization.
See you in class!
by Tony Timbol
When a technology or process matures, it becomes more reliable and more productive. Think about new car engines that every year increase miles-per-gallon ratings and feature extended lifecycles. Each step forward brings progress for the end user. Unfortunately for the Project Management community, estimation maturity seems an elusive goal that continues to slip away. Despite VOLUMES of knowledge about project management methods and practices, projects being on-time and on-budget continue to be a challenge.
Estimation effectiveness is linked to how mature an organization is in understanding its estimation process, methods and outcomes. Estimation is actually more about culture than technique. The graphic below has evolved, at a high level, to organize how I talk with project managers and PMO’s about maturing a critical capability within their domain, estimation.
Think about a large enterprise that whose project throughput is around 200 to 1000 projects a year. Think of the dollars and resources allocated to each of those projects. The risk of those dollars and resources being wasted is high. Reducing that risk makes sense. Getting better at estimation helps you conserve resources and assign them to higher priority, high business value projects.
Look at the graphic below and the characterization of maturity at each level. Ask yourself the hard questions about how you rate at each level. Are your project estimate outcomes unpredictable or are you moving toward establishing statistical processes for estimation? Are you converging disparate estimation methods or is it just a success to get a consensus?
I’ll talk more about each of the levels in subsequent posts, so stay tuned!
Have questions? Need more information? Let me know at our LinkedIn Group
or via e-mail!
by Barbara Pratt
One of the toughest jobs of the project manager is making sure you actually receive the resources you have been given for your project. People resources are the trickiest of all because each person assigned to you can choose to come to your meetings or not, answer their phone or not, respond to your e-mails or not, review materials you send them or not, do their work on time or not and so on.
If your team members are also your employees, then you have tremendous influence over these decisions. But in many project situations - virtually all large project situations - your team members are not your employees, instead they are ‘borrowed’ from other managers in the company.
This means their number-one priority is NOT you or your project; their top priority is pleasing and meeting the needs of their line manager.
If you get people resources on a ‘dedicated’ basis – meaning you get 100% of their time for the duration of your project – then their manager has pretty much handed them over to you. You effectively become their line manager for that time period, usually up to and including giving input to their performance, salary and bonus reviews.
However, in any situation where an employee has to split his or her time between working for their line manager and working for your project - even if you negotiate prorated input to their performance reviews - you need to understand that the other manager has far greater influence over their time and decisions than you have. You will have to deal with that fact for the duration of your project.
It is a good practice to be wary of time commitments for any resource assigned to you on a split-time basis, particularly if anyone is allocated to you less than 50-percent. Here is:
Why a less-than-50-percent allocation so often fails:
The worse case I ever saw of this was when I was working as a consultant to one Fortune 500 company during a time period in which they started and concluded buy-out negotiations with another Fortune 500 company. People who had been assigned to my project on a split-time basis suddenly began skipping project meetings because they were getting pulled by their line managers into meetings related to the buy-out. The impact to my project was that after 90 days the program had only received 60% of the resources we needed.
Get tips for handling matrixed resources and other project management answers at PM Central's PDU Wednesdays!
by Elizabeth Copley, PMP
Greetings and welcome to Project Management Central at UNF Division of Continuing Education, or “PM Central” as we affectionately call it! I’m delighted to have the privilege of introducing you to UNF Continuing Education’s new project management program designed to provide the one-stop-shop for professional project management training and education in the north Florida region.
Along with my fellow instructors, Barbara Pratt and Tony Timbol, we have created this program for anyone interested in learning about project management or those who wish to further their current career in project management. Whether you are an experienced project manager in need of professional certification, a business manager who would like to better understand how to run projects in his or her organization, or a PMP in need of PDUs, look no further than PM Central.
We kicked off our open enrollment classes this year with a PMP Certification Preparation course in late January. The four-day class, taught on two consecutive Fridays and Saturdays, provide students with a workshop-style intensity to prepare quickly for the PMP exam. The Project Management Institute (PMI) requires 35 hours of certification preparation and these four, nine-and-a-half hour days fulfill this requirement, bettering participants’ chances to pass the exam on their first try.
We will offer additional PMP certification preparation classes in this format throughout the spring and into June. Effective July 2013, the exam will change and include a new tenth knowledge area that PMI has instituted, as well as other changes that are in the newly released fifth edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Until the end of June, the exam and its preparation will continue using the fourth edition of the PMBOK. Consider taking this course and the exam before it changes and is more difficult.
In March, we will begin teaching a newly designed project management “basics” course. This two-day class is designed to introduce you to project management. If you are looking to change careers, have a desire to learn about it, your company has determined you need the skill set, this workshop-style class will give you the initial tool set you need to launch your project management knowledge.
Other new classes include Adopting Agile Methodology, Building a Predictive Work Plan in MS Project 2010 and a special addition: PDU Wednesdays. On the second Wednesday of each month beginning March 13, PM Central will host a three-hour course from 6 to 9 p.m. for only $129. Topics range from managing resistance to change, project negotiation, corrective action planning – subjects that everyone, not just PMPs, can learn a lot from.
As a PMP, I am always scrambling for PDUs at the end of the third year. PM Central will make that easy for you.
Join us on Feb. 19 at UNF’s Herbert University Center, 6 to 7:30 p.m. for PM Central’s information briefing. We will discuss the program’s objectives, trends in project management, courses offered and provide you with an opportunity to network with and meet people from many companies who are seasoned project management professionals, new to the profession, or interested in learning more about it.
On behalf of Barbara, Tony and myself: Welcome to PM Central! See you at Feb. 19. If you are unable to join us, download the presentation.
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