Sunday, 17 November 2013

Hits and Views for weekending 17/nov/13

wow... What a week it has been.... a 2 fold increase in views and hits compared to the last week... Hits and Views between 3/nov/13 to 9/nov/13: Hits and Views between 10/nov/13 to 16/nov/13:

The cumulative hits and views for this date range has been at least 4 times increase compared to what it was last month for the same period - Hits and Views between 1/oct/13 to 16/oct/13: Hits and Views for the period between 1/nov/13 to 16/nov/13:

wow again... The cumulative hits and views for nov '13 so far is already  2 times the hits and views for whole of the month of oct '13 - Hits and Views for whole of month Oct '13:

Its overwhelming to see that the users are understanding the concept behind -

You fail only when you don't attempt (again)


Wednesday, 13 November 2013 Approach - For Chapter Tests

Prepare – Attempt – Improve

1. Go through a particular chapter in PMBOK® 5th edition.
2. Attempt the Chapter test for the corresponding chapter to know where you stand.
3. If you score > 80% and happy with all the sections performance for the chapter, go to next chapter.
4. If you score less than 80% in the chapter, use your dashboard to understand the weaker sections in the chapter.
5. Go through the PMBOK®, Process ITTO and the video tutorials in order to prepare for the weaker sections.
6.  Attempt the chapter test until you score 80%.
7. Follow the above process for all the chapters and ensure you score more than 80% in all the chapters. Process to use Chapter Tests

Thursday, 7 November 2013 Hits and Views

Good to see a steady increase in hits and views for - Graph

Hits for this week have really been good. Nice to see hits from all around the world - Hits and Views this Nov 2013 week

Has been a good improvement compared to last 2 months -  Hits and Views for Sept 2013  Hits and Views for Oct 2013
Hope to break into 10000s on a daily basis with the addition of content to New Audio and Video tutorials.

Since the Audio and Video tutorials will mentor around the mock tests and exams, the hits and views should go up in the coming weeks and months.


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Estimate Cost Process

Estimate Cost
Once the scope is baselined in terms of deciding the project boundaries and also, as soon as the schedule is baselined in terms of coming up with the schedule with details about the activities, their duration and the resource requirements, one of the next steps is to come up with the cost estimate.

Prior to coming up with the cost estimate, it is necessary to have a plan as as to how the estimation process will be covered.

Based on the above understanding, here are the inputs to the estimate cost process:
1. Scope baseline: What is the boundary to be covered.
2. Schedule baseline: The schedule having details about the activities, their duration and the resource count for each activity.
3. Human Resource Management Plan: While the resource count gets covered in the project schedule, the resource characteristics,personnel rates gets covered in human resource management plan.
4. Cost Management Plan: How to estimate the cost for this project, what tools to use?

Generally, PM plan can be taken as an input (to cover all of the above) since it has the different baselines and plans too but , to be specific and vital, specific inputs like, scope and schedule baselines are listed as inputs.

Going ahead, the following are other inputs,

5. Enterprise Environmental Factors - Cost estimation can have external factors like, government approval, license cost etc. to be considered
6. Organizational Process Assets - For  leveraging any prior experience or template reuse because this is a vital process and it is necessary to follow  a process and reuse prior experience as much.
7. Risk Register - what risks need to be accounted (contingencies cost)

Cost estimation is understandably a vital process and so, it needs experience in terms of anticipating all issues and covering those in the estimate. Looking at the scope and schedule baselines, the cost is estimated for the project activities. Not all the times there is enough information to do the estimate. So, different types of estimation techniques need to be followed based on experience. Personnel rates are applied alongwith activity duration and resource count to come up with the cost estimate, first at activity level , summing it up to the project level using a project management software. Estimation for any risks is also an important aspect since it helps add a buffer to the actvities and the project as such. Different types of estimation techniques like top-down approach, bottom-up estimation are used. Cost of conformance and non-conformance in terms of quality is also an important aspect to be covered. All these are added on to a project management software like Microsoft Project Plan (MPP).

Based on the above understanding, here are the tools and techniques:
Project Management Software - for activity-wise cost estimation and cumulation
Different estimation techniques: based on available information, different techniques might be used:
 1. Bottom-Up estimation - results in more accurate estimates since the estimator knows what time it takes to complete each activity since he/she has done something like this before
 2. Top-Down or Analogous estimation - based on experience or comparison with other projects a high-level estimation is arrived at. Here accuracy may not be there but if this is coupled with experience then a good estimate can be arrived at. Mostly this estimate has a range.
 3. Parametric estimation - if the model is good, can result in accurate estimates. e.g., rate / sq ft multiplied with no. of sq ft to come up with the cost for the land as a whole.
 4. Three-point estimating: Optimistic, most likely and pessimistic estimates used to come up with the actual estimate for the activity.

Based on the  understanding of the process, the following are generally important techniques for this process -
Expert Judgment
Analytical Techniques like brainstorming, delphi technique are used

Apart from the above, the other techniques used are -
Cost of Quality: Cost of conformance and cost of non-conformance
Reserve Analysis: What amount of reserve is needed to account for known and unknown risks. They are usually a percentage of the estimate.
Vendor bid analysis: Based on what is the bid rate, the actual project cost can be benchmarked and then estimated.

Proj Document Updates: There might be a need to add missing information (onto other project documents) uncovered as a result of this process.
Activity Cost Estimates: For each activity what is the cost, based on no. of resources used and the duration for which they are used alongwith the personnel or resource rate for the concerned resources.
Basis of Estimates: On what basis this estimate was arrived at. Any supporting documents, attributes to support the estimation process and make it reliable.


Monday, 28 October 2013

Plan Cost Management

Plan Cost Management
Once the project charter charter is received, the project manager builds a PM plan outline. As he does that, he starts building the core of the PM Plan - The core objectives being the scope, time and cost. So, the scope, time and cost management plans are built in an iterative manner - looking up one while building another and filling information in the relevant plans.

As with any plan, these plans will have information about what processes are relevant in the knowledge area for the project and also add any tailoring guidelines for the different documents in the concerned knowledge area. The plan documents leverage prior experience in the organization rather than thinking right from scratch. So, all tools and techniques to leverage experience is utilized by the manager.

The Plan Cost management process deals with coming up with a process to derive the cost baseline, manage cost baseline and changes to the baseline. It also deals with defining process tailoring guidelines for the other processes in this knowledge area based on the project context. It also has details about the estimate like the unit of measure, range, accuracy etc.

Project management Plan: As in case of all other processes and also since planning is an iterative process and project management plan is one of the first documents the project manager starts outlining, the contents in the project management plan are useful in detailing the cost management plan.
Project Charter: Since scope , time and cost are termed triple constraints and they are the first few knowledge areas whose plans are detailed, project charter becomes an important input to take care of risks, assumptions and constraints and also the high-level budget allocated in case of the cost management process.
Enterprise Environmental Factors: As with all planning processes, the effect on project due to external factors becomes an important input for the planning process and that too in case of the planning processes part of triple constraints.
Organizational Process Assets: The templates and prior experience is leveraged to build the cost management plan.

Tools and Techniques:
Expert Judgment: Expert Judgment from experienced managers and consultants is leveraged to create a viable cost management plan.
Analytical Techniques: Analytical techniques like brainstorming, delphi technique become handy in detailing all possible scenarios and building the plan for the same.
Meetings: A lot of time in spent by the project manager in meetings during the planning phase. So, this is an important tool that a manager must utilize.

Cost Mgmt Plan: Has details about how cost will be managed within the provided budget. The plan keeps in mind about other objectives and provides a feasible plan to manage cost. Some of the factors covered in the cost management plan are -
- Units of measure
- Order of magnitude (range)
- Rules and frequency for performance measurement


Friday, 25 October 2013

pm-prep35 Toppers List Update

Good to see chapter tests getting filled with toppers list -

Chapter-1 and Chapter-2:   >90% scorer:
pm-prep35 Chapter-1 Toppers List

Chapter-2 Toppers List
These chapters seem to be among the tougher ones. The pass percentage is too low for these two chapters. Being the first two chapters, it is among  the first everyone starts studying but maybe the test has got better off in this case.

Chapter-3 ,Chapter-4 ,Chapter-5, Chapter-6, Chapter-11: No toppers yet
Chapter-4 Toppers List
Chapter-5 Toppers

Chapter-3 Toppers List

Being one of the main chapters any PMP aspirant would like to be thorough with, not any passers in these chapters, although there have been takers.

Chapter-7 Toppers List:

Takers seem to believe in taking their time to prepare. This seems to be a consistent pattern across the different tests and takers seem to return after a brief period of preparation. 

Chapter-8 Toppers List:

The one and only 100% scorer that too in the very first attempt. Important to note that this doesn't have many passers although it has had many takers -

Chapter-10 Toppers List:

Some of the takers are regular -

Chapter-10 Toppers List

Chapter-13 Toppers List:

Some of the takers seem to enjoy the test while others use it to check their consistency. Chapter-13 test seems to be favorite among takers at the moment.

Manage Stakeholder Engagement

Here is the gist about this process:

- Addressing the different stakeholder needs
- Ensure Stakeholders stay communicated at the planned milestones and at any vital points as planned
- Ensure methods or modes of communications are followed as stated in the communication management plan
- Track issues and update the stakeholders on a regular basis
- Communicate change requests status in change log
- Track changes and raise appropriate change requests for input to ICC process
- Update OPA with lessons learnt or any process tailoring / optimization details
- Ensure PMP stays updated due to changes in timeline or cost due to new issues
- Use communication techniques like negotiation and people management effectively to increase chances of project success

Based on the above gist, here are the inputs, tools and techniques and outputs:

Stakeholder Management Plan
Commmunications Management Plan
Change Log
Organizational Process Assets

Tools and Techniques
Communication Skills
Interpersonal Skills
Management Skills

Issue Log
Change Requests
OPA updates
PMP Updates
PD Updates


Plan Stakeholder Management

The Plan Stakeholder management process is concerned with coming up with the stakeholder management plan - how different project stakeholders, identified as part of initiating process, will be handled. The idea here is to ensure that all types of stakeholders are thought over and covered in order to have a viable approach to handle their needs.

Based on the same, here are the inputs:

Project Management Plan: As with all of the planning processes, this is a general input in terms of the fact that the project manager usually starts with an outline plan and develops more specific plans, relevant to each knowledge area.
Stakeholder Register: An output from the Identify Stakeholders - initiating process that has the list of stakeholders who need to be taken care in terms of ensuring that their objectives are prime to the project success.
Organizational Process Assets: As will all planning processes, this is an important input to look at lessons learnt, processes followed so far, tailoring guidelines etc.
Enterprise Environmental Factors: Another vital input for all the planning processes. Since planning mainly needs to account for external factors affecting the project.

Here are the tools and techniques:

Expert Judgment: The general technique applied in case of planning processes because it is necessary to leverage consultant and senior manager view point here to ensure that the project is covered of all aspects.
Meetings: Lot of time is spent on meetings during the planning phase since it is necessary to take the input from various quarters during the planning phase.
Analytical Techniques: A usual technique used when developing the plan. The current engagement level and desired engagement level are analyzed. The following are the different engagement levels of the stakeholders:

Unaware: Unaware of project and potential impacts. Needs utmost guidance.
Resistant: aware of project and potential impacts but resistant to change. Mostly tough to handle.
Neutral: aware of project and potential impacts but neutral to change. Can be influenced with proper facts.
Leading: aware of project and potential impacts. Proactive in ensuring that the project is a success. Easy to work with.

Here are the outputs:
1. Stakeholder management Plan: Has details about how to handle different group of project stakeholders, current and desired engagement levels, communication requirements and communication points, general process as to what other processes in stakeholder management knowledge are applicable and how they will be tailored to the current context, how changes will be handled.
2. Project Document Updates: Updates to other documents as management plan is developed.

Although not stated in the PMBOK, project management plan updates can also be an output to this process.


Project Stakeholder Management - Introduction

While Project Human Resource Management is concerned with assigning the project team , training the team and ensure that their performance stays appraised, the project stakeholder management is concerned with not only with the project team but generally people influencing the project. The stakeholders might be the customers or contractors or project team's family members.

Here are the processes falling in this knowledge area:
1. Identify Stakeholders
2. Plan Stakeholder Management
3. Manage Stakeholder Engagement
4. Control Stakeholder Engagement

Based on these processes, the stakeholder management knowledge are has the following responsibilities:

1. The project stakeholders are identitied initially in order to ensure that their requirements are accounted during the requirement collection process.
2. Once the stakeholders are identified and the gamut of stakeholders is known, then how they will be managed will help in having having a plan on hand. Planning might involve at what points they will be contacted, what sort of communication model will be followed for the different categories of stakeholders are some of the things to be planned.
3. Once a plan is in place, the next step is to ensure that the plan is executed at the appropriate phase or point in the project lifecycle.
4. Control Stakeholder Engagement is concerned with coming up with corrective or preventive actions if there is any deviation from the plan or there needs to be a change in approach in dealing with the stakeholders.

Stakeholders can have a positive or negative impact on the project objectives. As a project manager, it is important to influence factors that case positive impacts while reducing the effect of negative impacts. This is what differentiates project success from failure.


Control Schedule Process

The Control Schedule process is concerned with -
1. Ensuring that changes are processed in a controlled manner.
2. What has been accomplished so far and what is yet to be accomplished.
3. Ensuring that changes are properly managed.
4. Ensuring that the schedule will be under control in future as the project progresses
5. Ensuring that the project schedule is covered for all possible impacts
6. Ensuring that the schedule data (actuals) collected in the schedule model is correct
7. The availability of resources in case if schedule goes out of control
8. Ensuring critical path and buffers are under control
9. Incorporating changes to the baseline once change is approved by the change control board

In an agile approach, control schedule process might also cover -
1. Work re-prioritization
2. Determine the work velocity in a given iteration and ensure everything stays controlled

The common inputs to this process are:
1. Project management plan: This is the baseline document against which helps in deciding if corrective action is required and impacts to other constraints.
2. Work performance data: The common monitoring and controlling  process input coming from the executing process to cross-check if the schedule is under control.
project schedule: This gives an idea of what has been accomplished and what is planned ahead and if the schedule is under conrtol.
3. Project calendars: In case if schedule is not under control , then there might be a need to plan for corrective action in which case, project calendars of the resources need to be looked up to bring the schedule under control.
4. Schedule data: What has been collated in the form of actual dates and resource allocations will be checked and ensured to be correct.
5. Organizational process assets: Reporting methods , policies for schedule control etc.

The tools and techniques part of this process are:
1. Performance reviews: How is the schedule performing and will perform - forecasts. Here are some of the review techniques:
- Trend Analysis: Based on current performance, what will be the future and if everything will be under control at a later point.
- Critical Path Method: What mileage has been covered in the critical path will give a better idea of the project health and corrective / preventive actions needed.
- Critical Chain Method: What amount of buffer was allocated and what is used will give an idea of a need for corrective actions
- Earned Value Management: Schedule Variance (planned v/s actual), schedule performance indicator to check the health of the project and decide on corrective actions.
2. Project Management Software: Softwares like Microsoft Project Plan are useful in looking and understanding the schedule data and finding variance / trends and then useful in finding if there will be a need for corrective action.
3. Resource Optimization Techniques: How effectively resources can be used to get the schedule under control.
4. Modeling Techniques: They are used to simulate what-if scenarios affecting the project objectives and seeing the impacts to the schedule.
5. Leads and Lags: Leads and lags can facilitate paralleling of activities and thus help in gaining time-saving or schedule time gain or schedule catchup.
6. Schedule Compression: Adding more resources if schedule is lagging behind, in order to get schedule back on track.
7. Scheduling Tool: Usually part of the project management software, the scheduling tool is used to build the network diagrams and do some base work that can be looked up and corrected if needed.

The outputs from this process are:
1. Work Performance Information: The data is made concise good for reporting or to be fed in the change requests and then to be presented before the change control board.'
2. Change Requests: The document holding the changes and their impacts to different project objectives like cost and schedule impact. This becomes the input to the integrated change control process.
3. Organizational Process Assets Update: Any new lessons learnt or process tailoring guidelines become part of the organizational process assets.
4. Schedule Forecasts: These become inputs to the integrated change control process.
5. Project management plan updates: Changes to Schedule baseline, once changes are approved by the change control board.
6. Project Document Updates: Any updates to other documents like risk register or other relevant documents based on the change.


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Estimate Activity Durations

For the list of activities identified along with the list of identified resources for the concerned activities and based on the resouce calendars, what is the estimated time to complete each of the activities is what gets covered as part of Estimate Activity Durations process. Most of the times, the resource estimation, duration estimation is all done as part of project scheduling and it is also an iterative process considering the need to come up with a better schedule that befits client deadlines.

The Schedule Management Plan has details about how to come up with the duration estimates. The plan is a common input to all the processes within the concerned knowledge area since it provides direction and guidelines to tailor the different processes within the knowledge area.
Activity list contains the list of all activities identified for the project while Activity attributes has additional information like description or priority and so on.
In order to come up with the duration estimates, the key input is the no. of resources to work on the concerned activity. Understandably, based on the quantity and quality of the resource, the activity's duration would change. An experienced resource is better equipped with skills to complete the activity in a lesser duration compared to an inexperienced one.
Resource Calendars are nothing but identified resource's availability in the project timeline. Certain resources will be available only in the night shift. It also holds the vacation schedule for the concerned resource. The vacation schedule needs to be accounted when coming up with the activity duration.
While requirements usually cover aspects related to the project work as needed by the stakeholders, the project scope statement is more stringent in terms of specifying what is mandatory and what is not. Also, since the activity list is derived from the scope statement as the original source, the scope statement is looked up in order to be sure about any assumptions / constraints. Examples of constraints might include anything related to organizational constraints in terms of not having resources in the expected experience range.
Risk register covers the list of project risks. The risks might influence the duration of the activity. If a resource would be unavailable midway, then that will affect the activity duration as such.
The resource breakdown structure provides the hierarchy of available resource by category and type. This helps in understanding the available options in order to make a quick decision about the activity durations.
Enterprise Environment Factors is a vital input to this process plainly because this is a planning process since planning needs good understanding of environmental factors influencing the project and they need to be accounted.
Organizational Process Assets: Any formats or lessons learnt in similar projects in the past.

The tools and techniques used as part of this process are:
Expert Judgment: A vital tool during planning normally employed by SMEs.
Analogous Estimating: A technique wherein one project is estimated based on another due to the similarity and then the estimation accommodates for any differences by adding a buffer using expert judgement. This technique is used when there is very less details available about the project requirements. This is less time consuming and it has more risk too because due diligence is not used to come up with an accurate estimate.
Parametric Estimating: Based on what work a resource can do per time period, the time period to cover the activity is calculated and this is termed parametric estimation. This is normally used when there wouldn't be much change in the kind of work being done from time to time.
Three-point Estimating uses 3 possible estimates like optimistic, pessimistic and most likely values and extra-polates the values to come up with the estimate number. This needs good expert judgment else, this can become inaccurate or totally irrelevant to say the least. There are two types of calculations shown as below:
- Triangular Distribution. tE = (tO + tM + tP) / 3
- Beta Distribution (from the traditional PERT technique). tE = (tO + 4tM + tP) / 6
Group Decision Making Technique: In some scenarios where there is no proper data available to make an estimate, a group decision making approach based on available information is the best approach to follow. This uses techniques like braistorming, Delphi technique etc.
Reserve Analysis:Duration Estimates also involves estimation for contingencies or risks. There are different types of risks like Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns. These are accounted in the estimate as buffers. The different types of reserves are:
Contingency reserves are buffers for known unknowns for which mitigation plan is available. They are a percentage of the activity duration or a fixed work period might be added to account for them. The duration gets reduced as more clear visibility is available about the mitigation approach.
Another type of reserve is management reserve to account for unknown unknowns. They are not part of schedule baseline. So, use of the management reserve may include a change in the schedule baseline.

The outputs from this process are:
Activity Duration Estimates: What is the duration for the concerned activity based on different constraints like resource capability , resource calendar and so on. This estimate usually has a range to denote a rough order magnitude.
Project Document Updates: Project documents like activity attributes get updated as part of this process.


Control Scope Process

The Control Scope Process is concerned with ensuring that the scope baseline is pristine and is not breached unless a proper change control process is followed. The baselines are usually maintained in the project management plan and the PM plan also being the master plan can also be useful in analyzing the impacts when one of the baseline changes. So, that way, the PM plan is a common input for all the monitoring and controlling processes. Note that the scope baseline includes the scope statement so, that also gets included when PM Plan is the input.
Apart from this, the requirements documentation is also useful in this process. The requirement documentation is an exhaustive document to be considered for the control scope process since the scope statement has the boundaries but, the requirement document probably provides better details about the context when requirements were collected.
The requirement traceability matrix provides a quicker lookup in terms of finding what all requirements have been covered across the project phases and ensuring that all requirements have been covered and only the requirements relevant to the project context are covered. Also, in order to be sure that the baselines are under control , metrics are  an important factor. This is where the work performance data is useful.
Work Performance data is an output from the executing process provided by the project team. This has details about what requirements have been covered and what percentage has been covered. Apart from these, how scope control has been handled so far in other similar projects? What issues have been faced and how they were handled so far is picked from organizational process assets.
So, these are the inputs for this process:
1. Project Management Plan: What are the baselines and the concerned impacts in case of a change.
2. Requirement Documentation: List of requirements provided by different stakeholders providing the need to control scope.
3. Requirement Traceability Matrix: What requirements have been handled and what are not or is there any scope creep? Control Scope is needed then.
4. Work Performance Data: Is project health good? Is something wrong because of a scope creep introduced recently by the project team?
5. organizational Process Assets: How scope creep has been handled before?

Once the inputs are available, the most important technique employed is variance analysis. Is there a variance from the baseline? What amount of variance from the baseline and what are the possible solutions without impacting the other factors or, what other factors get impacted.
So, here is the most important technique utilized in this process:
1. Variance Analysis

Once variance analysis is done, there might be a need to present the information to the change control board, in case there is a variance or deviation from the planned scope. So, presentation of the data is important. Impacts to different project constraints like cost, time, risks are documented to be presented as work performance information. While Work Performance information has details about project health, the change request is used to present the information in a format desired by the change control board so that the board can make the necessary decision and sign off the request. In the whole process of collating the work performance information and documenting the change request, the project documents and project management plan might be updated. Since the control scope process is also concerned with including approved changes in the scope baseline, the approved changes can in turn impact the project management plan milestones or the risk register. So, these take the form of project management plan updates and project document updates respectively. Organizational Process Assets get more documents in the form of approved or rejected change requests or any lessons learnt as part of this process. So, these are the outputs of this process:
1. Work Performance Information: Collating the information in a presentable format to analyse project impacts and solutions.
2. Change Requests: Present the information in a format needed by the Change Control Board (CCB).
3. Project Management Plan Updates: Milestones updates as a result of change in baseline.
4. Project Document Updates: Changes to other documents like risk register, change register.
5. Organizational Process Asset Updates: Lessons Learnt, more documentation updates.


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Define Scope - PM Process for a Bachelor/Bachelorette looking for a date

Define Scope for Dating

The scope is to date someone who fits your constraints like budget, time period in hand etc.

So, how do you define the scope for this process? Or, in other words, you have a vague idea
that you need a date but then there are too many requirements making rounds in your mind. So,
you need to prioritize and come up with a trimmed list that will fit your bill and can give a quick solution for the situation on hand.

As a first step, you need to clear how you will go about defining the concerned scope. What kind of person will suit you. So, you must have a plan on hand before defining the scope.

The plan anticipates all kinds of problems how will you handle those. This particular plan is called scope management plan. In our case, it is dating management plan.

The next valuable input would be to be sure about what all you need. It is nothing but out-of-the-box thinking. You think wild to come up with the most exhaustive list of requirements about your date. For girls, it might be something like having Billion dollars in bank, looks like Tom Cruise but as tall as Amitabh but then can play soccer like Beckham etc. Now, this is too exhaustive and this is your requirement documentation. It goes blah blah... very wild thinking indeed. You don't care if all requirements will be met but you just go about collecting requirements! So, (dating) requirement documentation is an input to the define scope process.

Now, your plan is ready and your list of requirements is also ready. Now, you need a roadmap. Think this to be a set of values. You  have accumulated a set of high-level expectations about your date as such and these have been passed on by the way you have grown up over a period or blame it on your friends and the books you read, videos you saw!
In other words, You vaguely have an idea of what kind of person will actually fit you. This might not be a perfect fit for the guys because we are ok with anything that comes our way! Anyway, to nail this, this input is nothing but a high-level idea of different impacts or risks, money you are willing to spend etc. This is nothing but your dating charter. It becomes project charter in PM context.

Now, you might have some previous experience - failing or succeeding in a similar context. Some people might use friends who have failed many times in such situations and leverage their experience. How sadistic? but then anything for a girl. These friends are called as consultants (yes, uncle) in project management context. These people are definitely assets. So,  in project management context, they become organizational process assets.

Now, let us derive the tools and techniques from the above process:
Expert Judgment: Whether you will get beaten by a girl if you approach in a particular way, the capability to tell that - This is called expert judgment. This might come from your friend who is full of scars or, it might be your own talent.

Product Analysis: Sorry to make the date an object but we are here with a goal. So, you spend a lot of time analyzing the product err the date. This will help you define the date better so that you are better equipped the next time you try because we don't give up just in one attempt and this is called as progressive elaboration since we get to know the person better as we put more effort.

Alternatives Identification: This is perfect for a dating scenario. You keep multiple options as backup. What if one fails to turn up, so, you always need to have a couple  of alternatives maybe a bit of a costlier option but then the goal matters rather than anything!

Facilitated Workshop: Sometimes you pull your friends, next house old man and first street uncle to understand the context and see what approach will be better. This is nothing but cross-functional team - people totally unrelated to each other sitting in one room and brainstorming just because you gave then 5 chips packet and one full bottle of scotch whisky!

Now, the output of this process (hopefully!) is a defined scope written in a scope statement. If your scope doesn't get defined here, then blame on the consultants and their so called expert judgment! Anyway, at the end of this process, you have a scope statement that has the following details:
- product characteristics: yes, guys can relate to this very easily!
- Exclusions: What features or characters you specifically DON'T want. This is too much of a specification and this is what annoys the boys because girls have too much of preferences
- Assumptions: As with anything, You assume certain things about the product and its features!
- Constraints: Too many brothers?
- Acceptance Criteria: You fairly get an idea as to what is the chance of being accepted. So, do you still want to proceed with the concerned project on hand?

Project Document Updates: Might want to update more requirements. Some more? Maybe even God would fail fitting the bill!


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Project Scope Management - Define Scope Process

The Define Scope Process deals with defining the inclusions and exclusions of the project. The actual product features are defined here. While the Collect Requirements will result in an exhaustive list of requirements, not all those requirements can be handled now. So, this is where define scope process is important. In this process, the product features get defined and mainly the exclusions for the current project phase are clearly defined.
Define Scope Process Introduction

The project scope statement, the main output for this process, has the following details :
- Product Characteristics
- Exclusions
- Product Acceptance Criteria
- Assumptions
- Constraints

The following are the inputs to this process:
1. The scope management plan has the details about how the scope will be defined and how the scope statement will be tailored for this project.
2. The Project Charter has the high-level details, provided by the sponsor. The different constraints, assumptions are picked from here and detailed thereon by progressively elaborating  the details.
3. Requirements Documentation has the sum total  of all requirements collected from different stakeholders with mostly a priority assigned to each of the requirements
4. Organizational Process Assets are used to refer prior lessons or best practices.

Define Scope Process Inputs - 2

The following are the tools and techniques for this process:
1. Expert Judgment: Consultants might be used if the project is in a niche area.
2. Product Analysis: Requirement breakdown to come up with proper details and product characteristics.
3. Alternatives Identification: For the given constraints, what other alternatives exist and how they can fit the current context.
4. Facilitated Workshops: A cross-functional team brainstorms and analyses different options to come up with the most feasible product features or breakdown.
Define Scope Process Tools and Techniques - 1

Define Scope Process Tools and Techniques - 2

Define Scope Process Tools and Techniques - 3

The following are the outputs:
1. Project Scope Statement
2. Project Document Updates: Updates to supporting documents like requirement traceability matrix, risk register etc.


Monday, 14 October 2013

Plan Scope Management Process

The Plan Scope Management process deals with laying out a plan to deal with scope handling. How scope will be handled? What will be the road map? What paper work can be done at the moment? The scope management plan is the document that details how scope statement, WBS will be created and scope validation will be performed in order to get client acceptance. The better the scope management plan is created, the higher the probability that the project will not suffer scope creep.
Plan Scope Management Introduction

The following are the inputs to this process:
1. Project Charter: This is the prime input during the initial stages of the project and mainly planning processes involving scope, time and cost. The level of detail available initially is highest in case of this document. It details about product features, project inclusions and exclusions becoming the main criteria to layout the scope management plan according to those criteria.
2. Project management Plan: This is the master plan and all subsidiary plans are part of it. So, any inputs that can be gained from the different subsidiary plans helps in creation of the scope management plan. Also, PM plan is one of the initial documents to be written once the project charter is ready so, this becomes a vital input.
3. Enterprise Environmental Factors: During the planning process, the context in which the organization is performing is an important consideration.
4. Organizational Process Assets: Any existing documents or lessons learnt from previous similar projects are vital time-savers and also help in reusing previous experience to gain mileage rather than reinventing the wheel.
Plan Scope Management Process Inputs

Plan Scope Management Process Inputs

The following are the important Tools and Techniques for this process:
1. Meetings: Like any other planning process, this is a vital tool since most of the manager's time is spent in planning and meetings are the best way to get different stakeholders in a formal setting to gather inputs.
2. Expert Judgment: During planning process, prior experience helps improve productivity and can result in cost saving. So, any experience from SMEs or managers is useful.
Plan Scope Management Process Tools & Techniques

The following are the outputs for this process:
1. Scope Management Plan: The scope management plan details how scope will be managed, validated and controlled. The scope management plan provides the outline to detail different artifacts part of the scope knowledge area.
2. Requirements Management Plan: The requirement management plan details how requirements will be managed and how requirement trace ability will done through all phases of the project life cycle. Configuration management process as to how changes will be handled is also part of requirements management plan.
Plan Scope Management Process Outputs

Sunday, 13 October 2013

pm-prep35 Toppers List

Chapter-wise Toppers List

Get into the Hall of Fame! Attempt the chapter tests and if you make it above the pass criteria of 80% in the chapter tests, you enter the pm-prep35 Hall of Fame 

pm-prep35 Toppers List

If you don't make it to the hall of fame in the first attempt, try until you succeed because the exams are totally free for multiple attempts. This is our attempt to pat you on the back and build that confidence level to help you take the PMP exam. Check the current list of top performers in each of the chapter tests through the hall of fame.

Here is a look at some of the toppers in one of the chapters.
PMBOK® Chapter 13 Toppers List
There are many chapters yet to be cracked. Be the first to crack those.
PMBOK® Chapters Awaiting Top Performers

What are you waiting for? Take the chapter tests and make it to the pm-prep35 hall of fame

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Sequence Activities Process - PMBOK® Guide – Fifth Edition

The Sequence Activities Process deals with creating the Project Network diagram from the list of available project activities. So, this process succeeds the Define Activities process. Most of the times, these are all processes overlapping one another as part of the Develop Schedule Process.

In case of the Sequence Activities process, for each of the activities in the list, the predecessor and successor is identified and they are arranged in an order. The project management software takes care of building the dependency into a diagram. The diagramming method is called Precedence Diagramming Method and it uses the concept of Finish-to-Start relationship wherein one activity's start is dependent on another's finish.

There are many types of dependencies:
1. Mandatory dependency called as hard logic wherein one activity cannot start until the preceding activity(s) is finished. Like, integration testing cannot start until and unless the product and its interfaces are built.
2.   Discretionary Dependencies: This is called as soft logic and the concerned activities can happen in parallel. For instance, development of two modules can happen simultaneously if they do not have any inter-dependencies. Similar to it, once the foundation of a building is ready, the two rooms situated in two corners of the house can be built independently without the need for the other to complete.
3. Internal Dependencies: Any dependencies falling within the project team boundaries are called internal dependencies. Or, in other words, the project team can do something about it.
4. External Dependencies: The project being dependent on something external to the boundaries is called external dependencies. This is not in the hands of the project team. This might relate to any laws or government process having its own processing time.

The following are the inputs to this process:

Sequence Actvities Process Inputs

Sequence Actvities Process Inputs
1. Activity List: Most important output from the Define Activities process providing the list of activities to be networked.
2. Activity Attributes: Another input from the Define Activities process and has additional details about the activity like description or any notes to be taken care in case of other processes or future iterations.
3 Schedule Management Plan: As any other process, the plan for the knowledge area details how each of the processes within the concerned knowledge area is going to be handled.
4. Enterprise Environmental Factors: What external factors have to be accounted in coming up with the project network diagram like any external dependencies.
5. Organizational Process Assets: Any specific software for coming up with the diagram or any lessons learnt from previous similar projects.
6. Milestone List: Milestones must be accounted in the diagrams to give a clear idea of dependencies to the stakeholders.
7. Project Scope Statement: In the initial iterations, the scope statement provides a guideline as to what are the product characteristics , the inclusions and exclusions to be accounted in coming up with the diagram.

Tools and Techniques:

Sequence Activiies Process Tools and Techniques

Sequence Actvities Tools and Techniques

1. Precedence Diagramming Method: The method used by most project management software to come up with the network diagam. It includes the following ways of ordering the activities :
a. Finish-to-Start
b. Finish-to-Finish
c. Start-to-Finish
d. Start-to-Start
2. Dependency Determination: What are the types of dependencies possible like mandatory, discretionary, internal and external is all accounted for analysis before coming up with the final network diagram.
3. Leads and Lags: Activities can have a waiting time or a cooling off period before the beginning of the next activity. This is accounted in leads and lags for the activity. Like drying time for the wet concrete is something that is important to be accounted for.


Sequence Activities Process Outputs
1. Project Schedule Network Diagram: The actual diagram with all the activities linked to one another with proper leads and lags along with marked duration.
2. Project Documents Updates: There might be updates to activity list or durations because until schedule is baselined, there can be multiple iterations within the processes in time , scope and cost knowledge areas.


Sunday, 29 September 2013 - Free Dashboard for PMP Mock Exam

Dashboard for Free PMP mock exams:

There are not many sites out there in the web that offer free PMP exams simulating the original exam. Add to this, many more firsts like free PMP online training , unique chapter-wise tests and the list goes on. Now, here is one more first of its kind. has extended the chapter-wise test dashboard interface to the mock exams too. Now, exam takers can not only take free exams simulating the original but also visit anytime to check their previous performances and make any no. of exam attempts to improve their performance. All the attempts get stored in the mock exam dashboard and can be checked during future visits.

Currently there is a dashboard available for the Mock Exams in the mock exam launch page. So far, the dashboard was part of only the chapter tests. The Mock Exam Dashboard can be accessed in the mock exam launch page as shown here -
Mock Exam Dashboard

All you have to do is register for free and take the mock exams and you can see your results in the dashboard. You can make multiple exam attempts and all those attempts will be visible as separate graphs in the dashboard -
Dashboard for multiple Attempts

Percentage Scored in a PMP Mock Exam Attempt

Also, from the dashboard page, you can check your Knowledge Area (KA)-wise performance and process group-wise performance too by accessing the Show Split-Up url -

Split-Up Performance for a PMP Mock Exam 

KA-Wise Performance Graph specific to a PMP Mock Exam attempt:
Knowledge Area Performance Graph
Knowledge Area Performance Tabular Data

Process Group-Wise Performance Graph specific to a PMP Mock Exam attempt:
Process Group Performance Graph and Tabular Data

The PMP Mock Exam - 1 currently has around 75 questions and more questions are being rapidly added to make it soon a full-fledged 200 questions exam while the  PMP Mock Exam - 2 has around 50 questions.

Let us know your feedback through our Contact Us page.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Improve your PMP Exam Preparation with Dashboard

1. The dashboard is a nice utility to look and improve your pmp exam preparation.

2. The dashboard is accessible from the Chapter Tests page  when you are logged in, with your registered Email id.

3. Once you start taking the Chapter Tests, your scores are charted in the dashboard page.

4. The dashboard  shows chapter-wise performance.

5. Since the Chapter Tests have questions from each of the sections in the PMBOK®, You can look at the section-wise split-up of your scores too.

6. Based on your split-up, you know which are your weak areas and you can concentrate on those chapters and sections.

7. The questions in the Chapter Tests are intentionally first-level in order to make you thorough with the PMBOK®.

8. The Chapter Tests are also intentionally a bit critical in terms of picking specific lines from the PMBOK® just to ensure that you are thorough with the PMBOK® as such. They can be a bit nerve wrecking too.

9. This is mainly because most of the people who have had success with the PMP exam will necessary have to be thorough with the PMBOK® then, they are in a much better position to answer the scenario based questions.

10. The Chapter Tests simulate the actual exam with a timer at the top and giving about 1 minute duration for each of the questions.

11. It is good to have an average of 80% in all the chapters since in the actual exam you have to get 131 out of the 175 questions correct, which means you need to get about 75%.

12. Your chapter-wise percentage scored is also visible in the Chapter Tests page within a small box beside the Start Now button.

13. Prior to taking a test, the concerned box shows 80% , which is your pass criteria for the chapter.

14. Although there is a separate mock exam section, currently, the mock exam  is not integrated into the dashboard .

15. Take the Chapter Tests and benefit using the dashboard 

16. Good luck with your PMP exam preparation.

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