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New Standards from PMI

  • By: pcadmin on 21 Apr 2013

PMI members can now access the three new standards from PMI as PDF files for their own use.

PMBOK® Guide 5th ed, The Standard for Program Management 3rd ed, and The Standard for Portfolio Management 3rd ed. Go here to see the FAQ about this.

Canadian Military Helicopter Project – Commentary

  • By: pcadmin on 10 Apr 2013

Various articles in newspapers have painted different pictures of the project to replace Canada’s aging fleet of Sea King helicopters. The first article I saw was in the Toronto Star, by Murray Brewster published April 16, 2012. Mr. Brewster pointed the finger at the Harper government for “go(ing) easy on the maker of the air force’s long-delayed maritime helicopters after winning a series of economic concessions”, then explains that this project is over budget and behind schedule, and the manufacturer is at fault and the Canadian military is allowing Sikorsky to get away with it. Of course, there is always more to projects than simple explanations like this. The Canadian military is quite disciplined when it comes to contract management, so when I read that they have not threatened Sikorsky with application of the liquidated damages, I am suspicious of Mr. Brewster’s accusation that Sikorsky is at fault for the delays. Probing deeper it becomes evident that this is another project that is suffering from scope changes and “requirements creep” (Globe and Mail, Feb. 11, 2013 “Five decades, two contracts and still no helicopters for Canada”). Notice to journalists: Liquidated damages cannot be applied when the client is the source of the delays.

Speaking of clients being the source of delays, an excellent commentary on these types of projects was printed in the Toronto Star on February 19, 2013, by the same authors of the Globe and Mail article (Michael Byers and Stewart Webb). They suggest a lack of discipline in the management of requirements and scope changes in military projects. This brings me to question whether lessons learned from similar past projects are considered and applied. In the Project Management Journal of September 2002, Bud Baker wrote on “The Fall of the Firefly: An Assessment of a Failed Project Strategy”, a lessons learned summary of the US Air Force’s acquisition of the T-3A “Firefly” trainer. Some characteristics of this failed project are remarkably similar to the Sikorsky project. The T-3A trainer was also based on existing commercial flight trainers, with the thought that it would be more cost-effective to build on an existing design, then the Air Force decided to change the engine and a number of other client initiated changes were requested. Suffice it to say, that the project did not end well. I have asked this question of experts who are in this type of business, and the answer has been unanimous that changing an engine is a substantial change that effectively changes the fundamental nature of the product. So it brings me to wonder whether effective change management was implemented on this project with full understanding of the impact of changes.

Maybe I am simplistic, but faced with a fundamental redesign of a product, especially one that is well into its project life cycle, means going back to square one, pressing the reset button, or in our wonderful project management language, reassessing the business case, and developing new baselines of requirements, scope, schedule, costs. Of course, the contract may be structured with considerable costs to the Canadian government for this type of revision. Canada already paid once for cancelling the helicopter contract during Chrétien’s time in office. But contracts can be structured differently if scope change is anticipated.

A reminder to study these topics…

  • By: pcadmin on 13 Mar 2013

Just a reminder to study the following: decision trees (be prepared for a question with an actual decision tree shown), crashing (be prepared for a question similar to our question 3.27), critical path calculations, fast-tracking, earned value (be prepared to calculate EAC).

Exam writers tell us there are lots of long situational questions. Situation, then a blank line, then the question itself. But you should also expect a few blatant input/output questions such as (not a real question) “What is an input to “Control Costs”?

There is a new PMP Handbook

  • By: pcadmin on 31 Jan 2013

The language has evolved from “leading and directing project tasks” to “leading and directing projects”.

This will not affect the way I address it with candidates. You have to show experience leading and directing your project. But remember that PMI is liberal at interpreting “what is a project”. Your project could be small or could be a small portion of a larger project.

You can view the handbook here.

One of our PMP exam-writers studied thoroughly…

  • By: pcadmin on 11 Jan 2013

Thank you, I passed the PMP exam this month. The Procept 6-day Comprehensive Project Management Seminar, which I took late last year, and your Farndale’s Guide were definitely useful.

My advice to current students would be to read the PMBOK Guide at least twice (including the glossary) and learn as many of the ITTO as possible. I also read Andy Crowe’s The PMP Exam – How To Pass On Your First Try, and completed all the sample questions in Christopher Scordo’s PMP Exam Prep Questions, Answers, & Explanations: 1000+ PMP Practice Questions with Detailed Solutions. Whenever I took any sample questions I timed myself, which was a useful way to prepare for the actual exam.”

PMBOK Guide 5th edition is coming!

  • By: pcadmin on 20 Dec 2012

PMI says the next edition of the PMBOK Guide will be released in very early 2013. I have reviewed it and found nothing dramatic. Here are some of my observations:

  • Of course, some revisions were for alignment with other PMI standards and practice standards.
  • Desire to align with the newly emerging standard ISO 21500.
  • There is one new knowledge area and number of processes is up from 42 to 47.
  • The new knowledge area is Stakeholder Management. The two stakeholder processes from Communications Management are moved over and expanded to four processes.
  • Four new processes displaying an emphasis on the “subsidiary management plans”: Plan Scope Management, Plan Schedule Management, Plan Cost Management, and Plan Stakeholder Management.
  • Process names: Verify Scope changed to Validate Scope with unchanged meaning, and several other minor process name changes.
  • More on life cycles and phases, including description of predictive (waterfall), incremental and iterative, and adaptive (agile) life cycles.
  • More on tornado diagram.
  • More on contingency and management reserves.
  • Coverage of statistical process control is reduced.

Related changes to the PMP examination will be implemented approximately July to September 2013.

PMP exam-writer M says…

  • By: pcadmin on 29 Nov 2012

Passed the exam last week. Read Rita’s 7th edition, Andy Crowe’s book and PMP in Depth by Paul Sanghera. What I learned from my exam is: there is no single book covers everything. If you have the time, read more. Of course, PMBOK is the one worth reading more than one time. Rita Mulcahy says you don’t need to memorize the ITTO (Inputs, T&T, Outputs). I don’t agree it. I missed 2 questions in exam because of that.”

PMP exam-writer R says…

  • By: pcadmin on 19 Nov 2012

I agree with Rita. I had 2-3 questions directly related to ITTO’s but you have to decide if the amount of time it would take to memorize all of the ITTO’s is worth the payoff. It would have taken me days to memorize all of the ITTO’s so I decided to focus on being solid with the concepts and memorize the Knowledge Areas Map (table 4-3 in PMBOK) instead.”

PMP exam-writers from Nunavut report…

  • By: pcadmin on 18 Nov 2012

They found it challenging but fair. Don’t memorize ITTO’s!! Just know them really well. Basic formulas need to be known. Did not find any trick questions. They thought Farndale’s Guide questions were harder and that there were some trick questions in there. Think multi-million, large, multi-year project when answering the PMP questions.

PMP vs. CAPM?

  • By: pcadmin on 13 Jul 2012

Q Should a person should do their CAPM first if they don’t have their hours for the PMP?

A First, have a fresh look at your experience. Even if you are not formally labeled a PM, you may qualify as having managed some “temporary endeavours”. If still insufficient hours and you have not yet taken our course, some of us advise against the CAPM if you will have enough PMP hours within six months.  If you have taken the course, then I advise writing the CAPM now as you’ll forget the content that you are not using.

I suspect the growth in number of the CAPM has disappointed PMI. There are 17,000 CAPMs compared to 468,000 PMPs.

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