Monday, April 30, 2007

Sample PMP questions

Do not know whether these questions are any good.

There are some more here
Use the following free sample tests as a place to start. The more questions you read and answer the better prepared you will be for the exam. Even if some of the sites with free questions are, well, questionable. Here are four good ones: offers 20 free questions at
Oliver Lehman offer 75 excellent questions at
The PMI itself offers a PDF document with 5 official sample questions at
Tutorialspoint offers 200 questions at

Got this in an email group list.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Project Integration Management

What is the main role of the PM - to perform integration. Integration Management (IM) is the whole initiation process group and the closing process group and some parts in between.

Develop Project Charter - a project cannot be started without one.
Formally recognizes the authority of a PM, high level requirements and issued by the sponsor. Should be broad enough to not change throughout the project. Only the sponsor can change the charter
. Constraints and assumptions
. Project Statement of Work - created by the sponsor or the customer, further defined in the preliminary project scope statement and the scope statement.
. Enterprise environmental factors and organization process assets
. Project selection method - benefit measurement methods (comparative approach) or contrained optimization methods (mathematical approach)
. Project management methodology
. Management plans

Develop Preliminary Project Scope Statement

Develop Project Management Plan
. Design the configuration management plan (may include a change control system and is used in integrated change control)
. Change control system
. Work authorization system
. Baseline - scope, schedule, cost and quality - scope baseline includes the WBS, project scope statement and WBS dictionary
. Project Management plan approval
. Kickoff meeting

Direct and Manage project execution

Monitor and control project work
. Corrective action - any action to bring expected future project performance in line with the project management plan.
. Corrective action process
. Preventive action
. Defect repair

Integrated change control
Before changing - evaluate impact, create options, get internal buy-in, and get customer buy-in if required
Process for making changes - prevent root cause, identify change, create change request, assess the change, impact of change, perform integrated change control, options??, approve or reject change, adjust project management plan and baselines, notify stakeholders and manage according to new/changed PM plan.

Close project


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Project Management Processes

Initiating - start
Planning - plan
Execute - do
Monitoring and Controlling - check and act
Closing - end

Here is a link to the process chart on the RMC website


Project Management Framework

What is a project - temporary with a beginning and an end, creates a unique result and is progressively elaborated.

PMI breaks PM into
  • Professional and Social Responsibility
  • Knowledge areas - Integration, scope, time, cost, quality, HR, risk and procurement
  • Process groups - Initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing

A program is a group of project. A PMO centralizes the management of projects.

The project objectives are contained in the preliminary scope statement and the scope statement and the project is considered complete only when these objectives are met.

Management by objectives (MBO) - organization is managed by unambiguous and realistic objective and works only if management supports it.

The constraints on a project are CTSQRC - cost, time, scope, quality, risk, cost.

Stakeholder management involves identifying all, determining all requirements, determining their expectations, communication and managing stakeholder influence.

The organizational structure is classified into:
  • Functional - most common
  • Projectized - most power with PM, no home
  • Matrix - two bosses, strong matrix - more power to PM, weak matrix - less power with matrix, tight matrix - co located. Weak matrix - project expeditor, manages communication, no decisions, project coordinator - some authority, make decisions, report to higher manager.

Life cycle - two life cycles, one process
  • Product life cycle - new projects can be formed within
  • Project life cycle - a methodology
  • Project management process - all the process groups

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Random stuff I need to know before I give the exam

BCR - its revenue not profit
matrix power - less in weak, more in strong
balanced matrix - best for PM
PErT S curve - used for the cost baseline which is a time-phased budget for arctivities.
time and cost management - remember the formulas for cost
CPM - include buffers
GERT - allows loops
cost baseline - see S curve, does not include the management reserve. contingency reserve -> cost baseline -> management reserve -> cost budget
direct/indirect costs - direct -> team travel, training - indirect -> taxes, variable ->cost of materials, fixed -> setup, rental
conflict resoln - best
PM powers - expert and reward the best
Hertzberg - hygiene (salary), motivating agents (growth, responsibility)
McGregor - theory X and Y
Straight line depreciation - value
negotiation - means of negotiation
Ishikawa - fishbone, cause/effect
control chart - means, rule of seven, assignable cause
change control board - whoever important, should be on it
sensitivity analysis -
project interface
project expeditor/coordinator - Remember E then C, E no authority, C some authority. both report to a higher boss
difference between quality planning and quality control -

So this is an update. Now I guess I know the stuff.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Professional and Social Responsibility

For the PMP exam you could expect 9% of questions on this topic which is about 18.Thats a lot.

Professional and social responsibility categories:
  • Ensure individual integrity
  • Contribute to PM knowledge base
  • Enhance personal professional competence
  • Promote interaction among stakeholders
Here is a nice article that covers these categories, no sense in repeating.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Procurement Management

For the PMP you have to assume that you are the buyer.
The inputs to the procurement management process are enterprise environment factors, organization process assets, contract manager assigned, project scope statement, WBS and WBS dictionary, risk register, resources, schedule, cost estimates and cost baseline for the project.

The six sequential procurement processes are:
Plan purchases and acquisitions - What goods and services do we need for this project?)
  • Make or buy analysis
  • Contract type selection - There are three types of contracts
    • Cost Reimbursable (CR) (best for seller)
      • Cost Plus Fee (CPF) or Cost Plus Percentage of Cost (CPPC) (dangerous for buyer)
      • Cost Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF)
      • Cost Plus Incentive Fee (CPIF)
      • Cost Plus Award Fee (CPAF)
    • Time and Material
    • Fixed Price (best for buyer, more work for buyer)
      • Fixed Price Incentive Fee (FPIF)
      • Fixed Price Economic Adjustment (FPEPA)
The contract SOW describes what work is to be completed under the contract. The types of contract SOW are performance, functional and design.

Plan contracting
Procurement Documents may take one of the following forms:
  • Request for proposal - CR - Performance or functional
  • Invitation for bid - FP - Design
  • Request for quotation - T&M - Any
Request seller responses - get the procurement documents into the hands of the sellers, answering the sellers' questions and the sellers preparing the proposals

Select sellers - receive and review the proposals from sellers and select one.

Contract administration - assure that the performance of both parties to the contract meets contractual requirements.

Contract closure - Finish up all the loose ends of the contract.


Risk Management

What a chapter! I have to come back to this one or read about it in other books. I cannot take the exam based on my performance in the back of the chapter.

Risk Management Process consists of the following sequential processes:

Risk Management Planning

The goal is to determine how how the risk process will be structured and performed for the project. This is a road map for handling risks on your projects.

The risk management plan can include the methodology for the process, roles and responsibilities for members regarding risk management, budgeting, timing the process, risk categories, clarification for probability and impact on the project, stake holder tolerances, reporting and tracking.

Risks on your project could fall in categories. Here is a visio diagram of a Risk Breakdown Structure. Do download and open. Risk categories are also called sources of risk. From the page

The Risk Breakdown Structure is a hierarchical structure which decomposes identified risk categories into sub-categories. Risk categorization helps to identify potential risks for a project.

Here is the image if you do not have visio.

Risk Identification: Identify/find/locate your risks.
Everyone is involved here. Cannot be done unless the project scope statement and WBS are ready. The delphi technique is a technique used to build consensus of experts who participate anonymously, this can also be used for estimating time and cost. The output is the Risk Register which is the document where risk information is constantly updated during the risk management processes.

Qualitative Risk Analysis
Involves creating a short list of previously identified risks. The main aspects are creating a probability and impact matrix, risk data quality assessment, risk categorization and risk urgency assessment.

The output is the updated risk register where risk rankings are included, watch lists and trends. You might decide to discontinue the project at the end of this process if the risks are unsurmountable.

Quantitative Risk Analysis
A numerical analysis of the probability and impact of the highest risks on the project. Risk assessment can be thought of as risk identification through quantitative risk analysis. The main aspects are determining probability and impact, expected monetary value (product of the risk event probability and the risk event value), Monte Carlo analysis (simulation) and decision trees.

The output includes an update to the risk register. Updates include prioritized quantified risks, amount of contingency time and cost reserves needed, among others.

Risk Response Planning - What are we going to do about each top risk?
Risk response strategies or risk mitigation strategies are selected thta enhance opportunities and reduce threat. These include avoiding, mitigating, transferring (deflect, allocate) for threats and exploting, enhancing and sharing for opportunities. Else you can just accept the risk.

The outputs again update the risk response register and also the project management plan updates.

Risk Monitoring and Control - Look out for risks according to the risk response plan
Terms to watch out for: workarounds, risk audits, risk reassessments, status meetings, reserve analysis, status meetings, reserve analysis and closing risks no longer applicable.

Outputs are risk register updates to include outcomes of risk reassessments and risk audits and lessons learned. Also requested changes, recommended corrective and preventive actions, updates to the project management plan and organization process updates.

Here is a good link with bullet points on risk management.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Communications Management

This is becoming a lessons learned blog.

Most of the chapters in Rita's book are really good, but this chapter misses the mark. If there is one chapter that they should be working on it is this one. I need to read this topic in other books to see whether there is anything more that has not been covered in the book. Also, I was dissatisfied by the questions asked at the end of the chapter.

Communication between sender and receiver
This topic pertains to any kind of communication be it within the project or in your real life.
Sender responsibilities
  • Non-verbal - 55% of all communication is supposed to be non-verbal such as physical mannerisms or body language
  • Paralingual - The pitch and tone of your voice
  • Feedback - Make sure that the receiver understood what you were trying to say

Receiver responsibilities
  • Feedback - Make sure that what you understand, is what the sender expects you to understand
  • Active listening - Nod, repeat, maintain eye-contact (I get irritated with people who say uh-huh, oh yea and contant interruption while listening)
  • Paralingual again

Communication Methods
  • Formal written - project management plans, project charter, official documents
  • Formal verbal - presentation, speeches
  • Informal written - emails, memos
  • Informal verbal - meetings, personal conversations
Communication Channels
The total number of communication channels between n stakeholders is n(n-1)/2. So if there are 5 stakeholders in a project, there are 10 channels of communication.


Saturday, April 7, 2007

Human Resource Management

Team motivation
One thing I did not realize that HR Management is quite a big part of being a PM. The only difference is that in real life we do not call it that. Most of the projects that I have encountered come up in matrix organizations where you have more than one boss to give TPS reports. In such cases keeping the team motivated is a very difficult task. I particularly liked the Maslow's Heirarchy of needs.

The needs of any person are categorized from bottom to top meaning that one cannot ascend to the next level from the bottom until the levels below are fulfilled. Quite cool.

Sometimes the PM's input has no effect on the salary of the team member. Money is a big motivator but not the biggest motivator. Monitory benefits aside, keeping the team motivated and hungry to give more and perform better is one of the most important aspects in getting a successful project done.

Conflicts on a project
There have been many instance where the PM might think that the reason his project is not doing too well is because of the personality of the people in the team. There are projects sometimes where the PM might prefer not to have these one or two people on board. "Their personalities just do not seem to gel with the rest of the team members, they are either too confrontational or too timid or just plain dumb."

The seven sources of conflict in a project are schedules, project priorities, resources, technical opinions, administrative procedures, cost and lastly personalities. Notice that personality is the last source of conflict. Once you understand that point as a PM, I believe that the project is going to get a lot easier to manage.

The conflict resolution techniques are confronting or problem solving, compromise, withdrawal, smoothing or brute force. Every situation calls for a different technique in my opinion.


Friday, April 6, 2007

Quality Managements in Projects

Quality is the degree to which the project fulfills requirements. Quality Management then is following policies and procedures to ensure that the project meets those requirements. In general quality management is divided in three areas which are quality planning, quality assurance and quality control.

There were two points about quality management that resounded with me.

Gold Plating
In IT projects, we are all about gold plating, trying to give the customer more that he wants. "Lets plugin this feature where the customer can view this document in pdf, xls, xml, txt, csv, sanskrit.." Did the customer ask for this in his requirements document. If yes, then we should be building the particular feature else not.
Gold plating introduces bugs or holes in our products.

From this page

Gold-Plating is the process of building bells and whistles into an application that were not called out by the end-client.

This is so true. Eager programmers (and I am guilty as well) will go out of their way and build a feature in that is not required. This causes their other responsibilities to get postponed and thus slowing up the project.

Quality Assurance
PMP is big monstrous process where if you read the PMBOK, you will see that there plans and processes and plans and processes. There is documentation and checkpoints and every stage that ensure that its processes and plans are followed.

On the contrary we have agile development and test driven development (TDD). TDD is all about quality where you are developing tests before you write any code. Though this is not comprehensive quality control, it does address parts of it.

As I study I keep trying to figure out to what degree does PMP apply in IT projects. The search is on.

Here is good page for bullet points on quality management.

Update: An article on quality at pmstudent.



I plan on giving my PMP soon (a couple of months). I have been studying since the last month and I figured that to learn something well, you gotta be able to teach it or talk about it. I will talk about my experiences and process to get to be a PMP. Thats the goal of this blog, discussion.

As of now, I have purchased the Rita Mulcahy book and have signed up for the Whizlabs pmp course to get the required 35 contact hours. I have studied the Rita book half way the first round. I plan on going through the book thrice. I have not even looked at Whizlabs yet, dont plan on looking at it until I finish the Rita book at least once.