Tag Archives: PMI Credentials

PMI Standards Round-Up

PMI StandardsThe three standards released by PMI at the beginning of this year were the:

PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition
Standard for Portfolio Management Third Edition
Standard for Program Management Third Edition

As a consequence, the global PM community now has a set of basic standards that will remain stable for the next four years through to the next cyclical update scheduled for late 2016. The tight integration between all three standards means minimal duplication of ideas and best practices.

Whilst each of the PMI Credentials tends to focus on one of these three standards, the key thing from an organisational perspective is they are integrated, and after this round of upgrades better integrated than ever!

The Portfolio Management standard focuses on the investment decisions needed to select the best projects and programs to start and maintain to achieve the organisations strategy within its resource constraints. Selecting the ‘right projects and programs to do’.

For guidance on ‘doing them right’, the Program Management standard focuses on the business outcome and integration aspects of program management and the PMBOK® Guide covers off the basic skills and capabilities needed to deliver the project outputs efficiently.

Each standard can be used in isolation; however, the real power lays in using all three as a framework for organisational improvement – Creating an effective Project Delivery Capability (download our PDC White Paper). The final missing link, PMI’s updated OPM3 standard will be released later this year.

This means that organisations interested in developing a best practice capability across the ‘enterprise’ aimed at achieving the maximum sustainable value from its investment in projects and programs now have an ideal opportunity to buy into current thinking via these standards and time to develop improved processes.

We have enjoyed working through the standards and writing this series of posts on the improvements (for previous posts click here) – but 4 months down the track we now consider these ‘new’ standards business as usual, have consigned the ‘old’ standards to history, and will make this our last post on the updates. Our very last PMP and CAPM course based on the ‘old’ standards will be run at the end of May (course details) and then we will be 100% aligned to the new and improved versions. We encourage everyone else to do the same.

PMBOK 5 – Some final thoughts

PMI_PMBOK5We are now well into the process of updating materials and writing new questions based on the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition – From being something new, the book is now becoming increasingly familiar:

  • Our daily PMP question has had a 5th Edition reference for the last 3 months, you can follow the questions on Twitter: see today’s question (the questions are good for PMP, CAPM and PMI-SP)
  • Updates to our CAPM, PMP and PMI-SP courses are planned and under development – our new Mentored Email™ courses will start in late April.
  • Our last classroom course based on the 4th Edition will be at the end of May 
  • The PMI examination date changes are:
    - CAPM 1st July
    - PMP 1st August
    - PMI-SP 1st September
  • The initial rush of people interested in buying the 5th Edition has subsided and we are effectively out of stock of the 4th Edition. 

Overall as we become more familiar with the 5th Edition we are finding it to be a significant improvement. There are certainly a few issues and problems highlighted in earlier posts in this series (view the full series) but the enhancements significantly outweigh the odd regression.

One of the minor but important improvements is he ranges for cost estimates are back to the industry standards of -25% to +75% for ROM and -5% to +10% for detailed estimates. This pessimistic shift in the ranges more accurately reflects reality.

The rearrangement of the first three chapters is also significant and is aligned with the standards for Program and Portfolio management:

  • Chapter 1 sets the scene with:
    - definitions of a project and project management,
    - discussion of the relationships between project, program and portfolio management, in the context of organizational project management,- Discussions of the relationship between project management, operations management, strategy and business value
    - the role of the project manager.
  • Chapter 2 focuses on organisational influences including the influence of project stakeholders and governance on the project team and the overall project lifecycle.
  • Chapter 3 looks at project management processes and the structure of the rest of the PMBOK.

The reorganisation of this front section, facilitated in part by the move of the ANSI standard to Annex A1 is probably the quiet achievement in the standard. The section flows far more sensibly and logically than in previous editions.

In conclusion – the quality of the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition has been enhanced by hundreds of small changes that make the work of transitioning our course materials hard work and will certainly require some hard work from anyone who has to update their exam preparation.

So a word of warning: If you are trained for the current exam make sure you sit before the change over dates – PMI do not have any flexibility in the timing of the system changes!! This includes re-sits. After the change over date, all new exams are based on the new standards.

But once through these changes we certainly have a better book for the next 4 years and the development team deserve congratulations for a job well done.

PMBOK 5th Edition some key changes #1

We are starting work on the updates to our training courses (for the change dates see: Examination Updates) and rather like most of the enhancements in the 5th Edition (due for publication on 31st December). Over the next few months we will be posting a number of commentaries on the changes and improvements. This post looks at some of the key changes.

The new PMBOK® guide now has 47 processes (up from 42) and a new Knowledge Area:

Four planning processes have been added: Plan Scope Management (back from the 3rd Edition), Plan Schedule Management, Plan Cost Management, and Plan Stakeholder Management. This change provides clearer guidance for the concept that each major Knowledge Area has a need for the project team to actively think through how the related processes will be planned and managed, and that each of the subsidiary plans are integrated through the overall project management plan, which is the major planning document for guiding further project planning and execution.

The addition of a new knowledge area called ‘Stakeholder Management’ has been created making 10 Knowledge areas. In keeping with the evolution of thinking regarding stakeholder management within projects, this new Knowledge Area has been added addressing Project Stakeholder Management. Information on stakeholder identification and managing stakeholder expectations has been moved from Project Communications Management to this new Knowledge Area to expand upon and increase the focus on the importance of appropriately engaging project stakeholders in the key decisions and activities associated with the project. New processes were added for Plan Stakeholder Management and Control Stakeholder Engagement. We will be discussing this important initiative in later posts.

Data flows and knowledge management concepts have been enhanced:

The PMBOK® Guide now conforms to the DIKW (data, information, knowledge, wisdom) model used in the field of Knowledge Management. Information/Data is segregated into three phases:

Work Performance Data. The raw observations and measurements identified during the performance of the project work, such as measuring the percent of work physically completed.

Work Performance Information. The results from the analysis of the performance data, integrated across areas such as the implementation status of change requests, or forecasts to complete.

Work Performance Reports. The physical or electronic representation of work performance information compiled in project documents, intended to generate decisions, actions, or awareness.

Understanding the information in the reports and making wise decisions are functions of the competence of the individual manager reading the report and are therefore beyond the scope of a process (for more on effective communication visit our PM Knowledge Index )

Annex A1 – The Standard for Project Management of a Project created.

This new annex has been designed to serve as a standalone document. This positions the Standard for Project Management away from the main body of the PMBOK® Guide material allowing the evolution of the Body of Knowledge material to be separated from the actual Standard for Project Management. Chapter 3 remains as the bridge between Sections 1 and 2 and the Knowledge Area sections and introduces the project management processes and Process Groups as in the previous editions of the PMBOK® Guide.

More on the improvements next time – in the interim, from now onward our daily question will be Tweeted with reference to both the 4th and the 5th Editions of the PMBOK® Guide: see today’s question.

PMBOK® Guide and Examination Updates

The 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide will be published on the 31st December 2012 and PMI will be updating its credential exams in Q3 of 2013. The new examinations for the credentials we offer courses for are:
PMP®         31 July 2013
CAPM®      31 July 2013
PMI-SP®   31 August 2013

Mosaic’s courses will updated during the second quarter of 2013 to prepare trainees for the new examinations.

Free PMP Questions

Over the years we have collected 1000s of practice questions for our PMP, CAPM and PMI-SP exam prep courses, far more then we need. Rather than simply keeping them we have decided to publish a ‘daily question’ for you to have fun with… Our current stock of question means there will be no repeats for the next 3 years!

If you already hold a PMI credential, the questions will help retain the knowledge you learned when studying.

If you are still studying for a credential, the questions will help with your practice. Each question comes with an answer and is graded   ? or X for each exam:
= Applies to the examination (PMP, CAPM or PMI-SP)
? = Useful but probably too hard
X = Probably not relevant

To round out the page we are also posting a ‘Weekly Tip’ for Project Managers.

Today’s daily question is posted at: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Training-PMP-Q-Today.html – When you think you know the right answer click through to the answer page to see today’s question & answer plus the Q&As sent earlier in the week.

So you don’t miss any of the questions, we are Tweeting the daily question – you can click to ‘Follow’ the questions through our dedicated: @PMPQuestions. If you find the questions ‘fun’ – reTweet to your friends and colleagues, the more people following the questions, the more encouragement for us to keep going.

Good luck!!

Most Effective Forms of Project Management Training

One of the findings from a recently conducted survey by project management training and consulting firm Project Management Solutions (led by Kent Crawford) was that not all forms of project management training are created equal – or are even effective.

The survey looked at three forms of training

  • Instructor-led classroom training
  • Blended training
  • Technology delivered training

Instructor-led classroom training ranked #1
69% of respondents rated it as the most effective method for a variety of reasons. These included the opportunity to network, to spontaneously ask questions and share experiences, and to learn in an environment that tries to mimic actual project team dynamics.

“The instructors are typically seasoned project managers who have a lot of war stories,” says Crawford. “They felt hearing lessons from someone who has the scars is invaluable.”

Blended Learning ranked #2
Blended techniques, which combine instructor led-classroom learning with some combination of self-directed e-learning, instructor-led e-learning, or technology-delivered training, ranked second, with 53% of respondents casting their vote.

Technology-delivered training ranked last.

  • 29% of respondents deemed self-directed e-learning to be worthwhile.
  • 27% considered instructor-led e-learning (such as webinars) to be valuable.
  • 20% think technology-delivered training (such as CD-ROMs or podcasts) is useful.

We wholeheartedly agree with these findings. Mosaic has always considered direct integration between trainees and an experienced project manager is critical. Whilst instructor led training is ideal, access to this form of training is limited by location, timing and cost. Our public classroom schedule is outlined at: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Training-Schedule.html

To overcome these limitations and paying for coffee at $5 per cup, we have developed our unique Mentored Email™ courses for the PMP, CAPM, PgMP and PMI-SP credentials. We feel Mentored Email™ offers the best of both worlds; you work at a speed that suits you in the home, office or on the train; but you interact continually with your course mentor via email or telephone. To see more on this unique and effective option see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/Training-Mentored.html

CAPM at Swinburne University

Mosaic has entered into a long term partnership with Meta PM to deliver a series of intensive 4 Day CAPM courses to members of the Swinburne community and others. The courses will be delivered on-campus during semester breaks over the next 18 months.

The Meta PM / Swinburne courses are designed to provide Swinburne graduates with access to a range of industry standard credentials to augment their core academic studies and degrees; improving the graduates position in the job market. Mosaic’s role is to deliver the CAPM courses included in the overall agreement.

Download the Swinburne Brochure, or see more on Mosaic’s CAPM course options.

The implication of bias

Every decision is influenced by a range of preferences and biases. I touched on this subject last month in my ‘Voices on Project Management’ post for PMI (see the post) but the effect extends to every cost and time estimate, the way every communication is received and understood and every decision.

As part of our work to upgrade Mosaic’s PMP materials (see more on the updated course) to align with the new PMP Role Delineation Study, we have developed a White Paper focused on the causes of bias including our innate cognitive biases, learned biases and emotional affective factors.

It is impossible to remove many of these biases; but being aware of them allows their effects to be mitigated, too read more: Download the White Paper.

PMP Exam Updates

The new PMP exam starts on the 31st August. PMI are strongly encouraging PMP candidates who have prepared for the current exam to schedule their exam on or before 30 August.

Following the change to the new exam, there will be a 4–6 week period between taking the examination and the candidate receiving their results via email. This delay is necessary for PMI to validate the new examination structure.

All candidates can expect to receive their examination results by mid-October and once the new examination has been validated, the results will be available at the Prometric examination centres on completion of an exam, as now.

As part of the exam change, the PMP experience reporting requirements are being simplified. Currently, PMI requires candidates to track and report their hours of experience leading and directing projects for each task within the Role Delineation Study (RDS). From 31st August, candidates will only need to track and report their hours for each domain (Process Group) within the RDS. Any candidates who have an application in progress at the time the change is made will have their experience hours migrated to the new application, so that no data will be lost.

For more on the changes visit our News Page.

PMP Exam Update

We are busily updating our PMP materials ready for the new exam scheduled to launch on the 1st September (and helping the last of our current candidates to finish their Mentored Email™  courses).

One of the facets in the new PMP Exam Specification is the concept of ‘Cross-cutting knowledge and skills’ – these capabilities apply to all of the other ‘domains’ of project management from initiation through to closing. A number of these core capabilities are already covered by Mosaic’s White Papers including:
Negotiation
Active listening  and
Leadership.

Two new White Papers uploaded this weekend to round out the information requirements for the PMP exam are:
Data Gathering and Brainstorming  and
Facilitation.

All of Mosaic’s new PMP courses are designed for the new exam including our Mentored Email™  one-on-one training and all futures classroom courses starting with the 5 day intensive course schedule for Melbourne starting 29th August.

Now all we have to do is update our PgMP course before that exam changes on 1st January 2012……