2024 PMP Exam Prep: Mindset, Tips, Study Plan, Notes, and more.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2024 by andrewshih

Preparing for the PMP exam can seem overwhelming, but with the right mindset, strategies, and resources, you can set yourself up for success.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to prepare effectively for the PMP exam. From essential tips and strategies to checklists, study plan, and study notes, we’ve got you covered during your PMP exam preparation.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents
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Strategies for Answering PMP Exam Questions

General Strategies

  • Read the Last Sentence First:
    • By reading the last sentence of a scenario question first, you get a sense of what the question is specifically asking. This helps you focus on relevant details as you read the rest of the question.
  • Highlight and Strikethrough Functions:
    • Use the highlight function to mark key points in the question.
    • Use the strikethrough function to eliminate obviously incorrect answer choices. This helps narrow down your options and focus on the most likely correct answers.
  • Time Management:
    • Follow the 70/70/80 rule for time allocation.
    • Mark questions for review if unsure and revisit them.
    • Use breaks strategically to maintain focus and energy.
  • Understand Question Keywords:
    • Recognize keywords such as “first,” “next,” “best,” and “most important,” which indicate the order of actions or priority.
    • Pay attention to terms like “may/might/claims” (indicating risk) versus “will/should/could” (indicating issues).
  • Assess and Review Before Action (especially situational ones):
    • Assess the situation thoroughly before taking action.
    • Prioritize collaboration, people, and communication​.
    • Review plans, documents, and stakeholder inputs before making decisions.
  • Mindset-Specific Strategies
    • Think like a PMI project manager: always wear a PMI hat and consider PMI standards and practices in your answers.
    • Always discuss, investigate, and analyze before deciding on a solution.
    • Never escalate or react without proper assessment and communication​.

Specific Tips for Different Question Types

  • Multiple Choice Questions:
    • Read all the answer choices before selecting one.
    • Look for the best answer that follows PMI standards and practices, not necessarily what you might do in a real-world scenario.
  • Drag and Drop Questions:
    • Carefully match terms to their definitions or steps in a process.
    • Ensure you understand the relationships between different elements.
  • Hotspot Questions:
    • Accurately click on the area of a chart or diagram that answers the question.
    • Review charts and diagrams in your study materials to become familiar with common types.
  • Graph Questions:
    • Be prepared to interpret charts such as burnup, burndown, and other performance metrics.
    • Understand how to determine project status (e.g., under or over budget) using these graphs.

Avoid Common Pitfalls

  • Jumping to Conclusions:
    • Avoid rushing to select an answer without fully understanding the question.
    • Take your time to read and interpret each question carefully.
  • Ignoring PMI Standards:
    • Base your answers on PMI’s best practices and standards, even if they differ from your personal or organizational experiences.
  • Overthinking:
    • Trust your preparation and don’t second-guess yourself excessively.
    • Go with the answer that best fits PMI’s guidelines.

PMP Exam Study Materials and Effectiveness

Based on the comments from the Reddit PMP forum, here is a detailed analysis of the study materials used by students to prepare for the PMP exam, including their usefulness and how they were utilized:

1. David McLachlan’s YouTube Videos

  • Resource: David McLachlan’s YouTube Videos (200 Agile Questions, 150 PMBOK 7 Scenario-Based Questions)
  • Effectiveness: Highly effective; widely praised for helping understand the thought process behind answering questions.
  • Usage:
    • Watched multiple times, often at 1.25x-1.5x speed.
    • Paused videos to answer questions before listening to the explanations.
    • Used to develop the PMI mindset and learn to eliminate wrong answers effectively.
    • Emulated David’s highlighting and elimination techniques during the exam.

2. Ricardo Vargas’s PMBOK Guide Videos

  • Resource: Ricardo Vargas’s PMBOK Guide 6th Edition Processes Explained Videos
  • Effectiveness: Effective; particularly useful for visual learners.
  • Usage:
    • Watched twice to fully grasp the processes and their interrelationships.
    • Paused and took notes to reinforce learning.
    • Used to complement other study materials and solidify understanding of the PMBOK processes.

3. Third3Rock’s Study Notes

  • Resource: Third3Rock’s PMP Study Notes and Cheat Sheets
  • Effectiveness: Highly effective; considered one of the best investments by many students.
  • Usage:
    • Read through multiple times, especially in the last week leading up to the exam.
    • Used for quick reviews and to reinforce the PMI mindset.
    • Kept handy for reference during mock exams and practice questions.

4. PMI Study Hall

  • Resource: PMI Study Hall (Essential and Plus versions)
  • Effectiveness: Very useful; provided realistic exam simulations and practice questions.
  • Usage:
    • Completed all available mock exams and mini quizzes.
    • Focused on reviewing rationales for incorrect answers to understand mistakes.
    • Used to get familiar with the exam format, question styles, and timing strategies.
    • Scores from Study Hall were used to gauge readiness for the actual exam.

5. Andrew Ramdayal’s Udemy Course

  • Resource: Andrew Ramdayal’s Udemy Course for 35 PDUs
  • Effectiveness: Mixed reviews; some found it foundational, while others preferred supplementing with additional resources.
  • Usage:
    • Watched at 1.5x-2x speed to cover the material quickly.
    • Took notes on important concepts and the PMP mindset.
    • Used primarily to meet the 35-hour training requirement needed for the PMP application.
    • Some students used it on the go, listening to it during commutes or daily activities.

6. AR TIA Simulator

  • Resource: AR TIA Simulator
  • Effectiveness: Effective; helped solidify knowledge and improve exam-taking skills.
  • Usage:
    • Took all practice exams available in the simulator.
    • Spent additional time reviewing explanations for questions answered incorrectly.
    • Used as a supplementary resource to PMI Study Hall for additional practice.

7. Books and Other Courses

  • Resource: Additional books and courses (e.g., AR’s PMP Exam Prep Simplified Book, Joseph Phillips’ Udemy Course)
  • Effectiveness: Varied; depended on the student’s learning style.
  • Usage:
    • Used primarily to reinforce learning from primary resources like Udemy courses and YouTube videos.
    • Some students found specific sections of books helpful for deep dives into particular topics.

Summary of Usage Patterns:

  • Combination Approach: Most students used a combination of videos, courses, study notes, and simulators to prepare for the exam.
  • Focused Reviews: Emphasized reviewing incorrect answers and understanding rationales behind them.
  • Incremental Learning: Gradually increased study intensity as the exam date approached.
  • Practical Application: Practiced extensively with mock exams and real-life scenario questions to apply theoretical knowledge.

PMP Exam and Study Material Cost

Here is a cost breakdown for the study materials:

  • PMI Membership: ~$159
  • PMI Study Hall Plus: ~$79
  • PMP Exam Fee: ~$425
  • Udemy Course: ~$20
  • Study Guide: ~$15-$25
  • Total estimated cost: ~$723.

You may also want to check out our cost calculator in another currency.

PMP Study Plan

This study plan combines advice and experiences from students who have passed the PMP exam. It includes various study resources, strategies, and schedules to help you prepare effectively.

Feel free to adjust based on your schedule, availability, and learning style.

1. Study Schedule Overview

  • Total Study Duration: 1-3 months (Adjust based on your availability and familiarity with the material)
  • Daily Study Time: 1-2 hours on weekdays, 2-4 hours on weekends

2. Week-by-Week Study Plan

Week 1-2: Foundation and Application

Goals:

  • Gain foundational knowledge of PMP principles.
  • Submit your PMP application if not done already.

Activities:

  1. Andrew Ramdayal’s Udemy Course:
    • Watch the entire course at 1.5x-2x speed to cover 35 PDUs.
    • Take notes, especially on the PMP mindset.
    • [Estimated Time: 17 hours]
  2. Submit PMP Application:

Resources:

Week 3-4: Deep Dive into Materials and Practice

Goals:

  • Deepen understanding of key concepts.
  • Start practicing exam questions.

Activities:

  1. David McLachlan’s YouTube Videos:
  2. Ricardo Vargas’s PMBOK Guide 6th Ed Processes Explained:
    • Watch this video twice to solidify process understanding.
    • [Estimated Time: 2 hours]
  3. Third3Rock’s Study Notes:
    • Read and highlight key points in the study notes.
    • Use these for quick reviews.
    • [Estimated Time: 5 hours]

Resources:

Week 5-6: Practice Exams and Refinement

Goals:

  • Simulate exam conditions.
  • Identify and improve on weak areas.

Activities:

  1. PMI Study Hall:
    • Take all 5 full-length mock exams.
    • Review the rationales for all questions, especially those you got wrong.
    • [Estimated Time: 20 hours]
  2. AR TIA Simulator:
    • Complete all practice exams to master the PMBOK mindset.
    • [Estimated Time: 9 hours]
  3. Review Incorrect Answers:
    • Focus on understanding why you got questions wrong.
    • [Estimated Time: 5 hours]

Resources:

Week 7: Final Review and Exam Readiness

Goals:

  • Consolidate knowledge.
  • Prepare mentally and physically for the exam.

Activities:

  1. Review Key Concepts:
    • Go through notes, particularly focusing on weak areas.
    • Rewatch any difficult videos from previous weeks.
    • [Estimated Time: 10 hours]
  2. Final Mock Exam:
    • Take one last full-length mock exam 3 days before the actual exam.
    • Review the results and focus on final adjustments.
    • [Estimated Time: 4 hours]
  3. Relaxation and Light Review:
    • Avoid heavy studying the day before the exam.
    • Lightly review key concepts or watch motivational videos.
    • Ensure a good night’s sleep before the exam day.

Resources:

  • Third3Rock’s Study Notes
  • Final mock exams from PMI Study Hall or AR TIA Simulator.

3. Additional Tips and Strategies

  • Time Management: Follow the 70/70/80 rule for time allocation during the exam. Use breaks effectively.
  • Mindset Videos: Watch Andrew Ramdayal’s mindset videos a day before the exam for reinforcement.
  • Exam Day: Arrive early, bring snacks for breaks, and wear comfortable clothing. Use the highlight and strikethrough features effectively during the exam.

The Day Before the PMP Exam Checklist

Here is a checklist that you can use to prepare yourself for the day before the PMP exam.

The checklist is divided into 3 sections.

  • A general checklist
  • Additional checklist for taking exam at Pearson Vue center
  • Additional checklist for home exam

General Checklist

  • Review keynotes and cheat sheets
  • Refresh exam strategies
  • Watch mindset videos
  • Avoid cramming
  • Engage in relaxing activities
  • Avoid social media
  • Prepare exam day essentials
  • Stay hydrated and eat well
  • Relaxation Techniques (Deep Breath, Mediation)
  • Get a good night’s sleep

Checklist for Pearson VUE Testing Center

  • Plan travel route
  • Book nearby accommodation if needed
  • Pack ID and necessary documentation
  • Prepare comfort items (snacks, water, etc.)
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Visit the testing center if possible

Checklist for Home Exam

  • Check computer and internet requirements
  • Test webcam, microphone, and software
  • Set up a quiet, distraction-free space
  • Ensure comfortable seating
  • Run a system test
  • Inform household of exam schedule
  • Practice relaxation techniques

You can learn more details about the checklist here.

You may want to review this post if you are taking the exam at home, or at the Pearson Vue test center for more tips.

PMP Exam – What to Expect

PMP Exam Time and Time Allocation Tips

  • Exam Duration:
    • Total Time: 230 minutes.
    • Questions: 180 questions.
    • The 180 questions are divided into 3 sections of 60-minute questions.  Once you complete a section, you cannot go back.
    • Tip: Students recommend allocating 70/70/80 minutes per section, using the remaining 10 minutes as buffer as needed.
  • Check-in Time:
    • Home Exam: Expect approximately 30 minutes to complete the check-in process. (not included in exam time).
  • Exam Tutorial:
    • Duration: 7 minutes (optional to watch or skip).
    • Note: Watching the tutorial does not count toward your exam time.
    • Tip: Use this time to write down any important formulas, mindsets, or notes on the provided white notepad or Pearson Vue app notepad (depending on where you take the exam).
  • Breaks:
    • You have the right to a 10-minute break after every 60 questions.
    • Break Time: Does not count toward your 230-minute exam time.
    • Note: Taking more than 10 minutes for a break will count toward your 230-minute exam time.
  • Additional Tips:
    • If you take the exam at a test center, you can use both the white notepad and Pearson Vue app notepad.
    • For home exams, only the Pearson Vue app notepad is available.
    • Use the 7-minute tutorial period effectively such as preparing notes, learning the exam interface, de-stressing, clearing your mind to stay focused, or getting yourself ready for the exam mode.

PMP Exam Question Types and Styles

Based on the comments from the Reddit PMP forum, here is a detailed analysis of the format, questions, and styles of the PMP exam:

Percentage of Agile vs Predictive Questions

  • Approximately 40% of the exam questions are Agile-based.
  • The remaining 60% are a mix of Waterfall (predictive) and Hybrid methodologies.

Calculation Questions

  • Few calculation questions, if any. Most candidates reported not encountering questions involving the Critical Path Method (CPM) or Earned Value Management (EVM).
  • Some exams included basic formula-based questions, but they were rare.

Types of Questions

  • Multiple Choice Questions:
    • The majority of questions are multiple-choice, requiring the selection of one correct answer from several options.
  • Multi-Select Questions:
    • Some questions require selecting multiple correct answers from a list. These questions are usually scenario-based and test the understanding of project management concepts.
  • Drag and Drop Questions:
    • Candidates encounter several drag-and-drop questions. These questions typically involve matching terms to definitions, steps in a process, or placing items in the correct order.
  • Hotspot Questions:
    • Hotspot questions involve clicking on a specific part of a diagram or chart. For example, identifying parts of a burnup or burndown chart.
  • Graph Questions:
    • Questions involving the interpretation of graphs such as burnup, burndown charts, and other performance metrics are included. Candidates may need to determine if a project is under or over budget/schedule.

Exam Question Style

  • Scenario-Based Questions:
    • A significant number of questions are scenario-based, requiring candidates to apply their knowledge to real-world project management situations.
    • These questions often involve a paragraph describing a situation followed by a question on what the project manager should do next, or what would be the best course of action.
  • Mindset Questions:
    • Many questions test the PMI mindset, focusing on principles such as servant leadership, stakeholder engagement, and value delivery.
    • Understanding the PMI approach to problem-solving and decision-making is crucial.
  • Complexity and Difficulty:
    • The difficulty level of questions varies. Some are straightforward, while others are expert-level and require careful consideration.
    • Expert-level questions often involve choosing the best option among multiple correct answers, requiring deep understanding and analysis.

===== PMP STUDY NOTES =====

Understand the PMP Mindset Principles

Successfully passing the PMP exam requires not only knowledge of project management processes and methodologies but also the right mindset to approach the questions. Here are detailed strategies and tips to develop the appropriate mindset for the PMP exam.

  • Servant Leadership:
    • Always encourage, support, and empower your team.
    • Never remove a team member abruptly; instead, guide, coach, and provide training or pair them up with experienced team members.
    • Facilitate collaboration, listen to everyone, and remove obstacles.
    • Maintain honesty and integrity in all actions.
  • Assess Before Acting:
    • Never react abruptly to any situation.
    • Always assess, analyze, communicate, make a plan, and act accordingly.
    • Review documents or plans or make a change request if necessary
  • Value Delivery:
    • Focus on delivering value to the customer.
    • Ensure that the project aligns with business objectives and stakeholder needs.
    • Always aim to deliver value through minimum viable products (MVPs) or demos
  • Risk Management:
    • Identify risks early and manage them proactively.
    • Value continuous feedback and root cause analysis.
    • Use root cause analysis to understand issues deeply.
    • Develop preventive actions rather than reactive solutions.
  • Stakeholder Engagement:
    • Identify and engage key stakeholders throughout the project based on their power, interests, and needs.Communicate effectively and regularly with stakeholders.
    • Engage stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle to ensure their needs are met.
    • Prefer face-to-face interactions over emails for better understanding and quicker resolutions.
  • Change Management:
    • Follow formal change control processes in predictive projects.
    • Embrace change and adapt quickly in agile projects.
    • Never implement changes independently; always seek approval through the appropriate channels​.

Project Management Principles and Performance Domains

12 Principles of Project Management

1. Stewardship

Definition: Acting as a diligent, respectful, and caring project manager.

Key Actions:

  • Demonstrate responsibility and accountability for the project.
  • Ensure ethical conduct and compliance with laws and regulations.
  • Foster a culture of trust and respect within the team and among stakeholders.

Example: Maintaining transparency in all project communications and decisions to build trust among stakeholders.

2. Team

Definition: Creating a collaborative project team environment.

Key Actions:

  • Encourage open communication and collaboration.
  • Build a cohesive team by promoting team-building activities.
  • Resolve conflicts quickly and effectively.

Example: Organizing regular team meetings and team-building exercises to foster a collaborative environment.

3. Stakeholders

Definition: Engaging stakeholders effectively.

Key Actions:

  • Identify all stakeholders and understand their needs and expectations.
  • Develop and implement a stakeholder engagement plan.
  • Regularly communicate with stakeholders and manage their expectations.

Example: Conducting stakeholder analysis and creating a stakeholder register to ensure all stakeholder needs are addressed.

4. Value

Definition: Focusing on delivering value beyond completing tasks on time and on budget.

Key Actions:

  • Define and measure project value.
  • Align project objectives with stakeholder needs and organizational goals.
  • Continuously evaluate and enhance the value delivered by the project.

Example: Prioritizing project features that deliver the highest value to stakeholders and customers.

5. Systems Thinking

Definition: Understanding the interactions within the project environment.

Key Actions:

  • Recognize the interdependencies between project components and external factors.
  • Use holistic thinking to address project challenges and optimize performance.
  • Adapt to changes in the project environment.

Example: Considering how changes in one project element might affect others and adjusting the project plan accordingly.

6. Leadership

Definition: Leading with vision and empathy.

Key Actions:

  • Inspire and motivate the project team.
  • Demonstrate empathy and understanding towards team members’ needs.
  • Lead by example and foster a positive project culture.

Example: Setting a clear vision for the project and supporting team members in achieving their goals.

7. Tailoring

Definition: Customizing processes to fit the project.

Key Actions:

  • Assess the project environment and requirements.
  • Tailor project management methodologies and processes to suit the specific needs of the project.
  • Continuously review and adjust processes as the project progresses.

Example: Adapting agile methodologies for a project with rapidly changing requirements.

8. Quality

Definition: Ensuring quality in processes and deliverables.

Key Actions:

  • Define quality standards and criteria for the project.
  • Implement quality assurance and control processes.
  • Continuously monitor and improve project quality.

Example: Conducting regular quality audits and inspections to ensure deliverables meet the required standards.

9. Complexity

Definition: Navigating complexity and uncertainty.

Key Actions:

  • Identify and analyze complex project elements.
  • Develop strategies to manage and mitigate complexity.
  • Foster an adaptive and flexible project environment.

Example: Using risk management techniques to identify and address potential complexities in the project.

10. Risk

Definition: Optimizing risk responses.

Key Actions:

  • Identify, assess, and prioritize project risks.
  • Develop and implement risk response plans.
  • Monitor and control risks throughout the project lifecycle.

Example: Creating a risk register and regularly updating it to reflect the current risk status and responses.

11. Adaptability and Resilience

Definition: Being flexible and resilient in project management.

Key Actions:

  • Embrace change and adapt to new circumstances.
  • Develop contingency plans to handle unexpected events.
  • Foster a resilient mindset within the project team.

Example: Encouraging the team to be open to change and to view challenges as opportunities for growth.

12. Change

Definition: Embracing and managing change effectively.

Key Actions:

  • Develop a change management plan.
  • Communicate changes clearly and effectively to all stakeholders.
  • Monitor the impact of changes and adjust the project plan as needed.

Example: Using change control procedures to manage changes in project scope, schedule, or cost effectively.

8 Performance Domains

1. Stakeholders

  • Identify Stakeholders: Understand the process of identifying all project stakeholders, assessing their needs, expectations, and influence.
  • Engage Stakeholders: Learn to develop and implement stakeholder engagement plans tailored to each stakeholder’s level of interest and influence.
  • Communicate Effectively: Master the skills of maintaining regular, transparent communication with stakeholders to manage their expectations and keep them informed of project progress and changes.
  • Manage Stakeholder Relationships: Gain the ability to address stakeholder concerns and resolve conflicts promptly to maintain positive relationships.

2. Team

  • Assemble the Team: Learn to form a project team with the necessary skills and competencies.
  • Develop Team Competencies: Understand the importance of providing training and development opportunities to enhance team performance.
  • Lead Effectively: Develop leadership skills to inspire and motivate the project team, fostering a collaborative environment.
  • Resolve Conflicts: Acquire techniques for promptly addressing and resolving conflicts to maintain team cohesion and productivity.

3. Development Approach

  • Evaluate and Select Methodologies: Learn to evaluate project requirements, constraints, and stakeholder preferences to determine the most suitable development approach.
  • Tailor Methodologies: Understand how to tailor project management methodologies and processes to suit the specific needs and context of the project.
  • Implement Chosen Approach: Gain proficiency in implementing the chosen development methodology and ensuring all team members understand and follow it.
  • Adapt to Changes: Develop the ability to continuously assess the effectiveness of the approach and make necessary adjustments to improve project outcomes.

4. Planning

  • Comprehensive Planning: Learn to develop detailed project plans covering all aspects of the project.
  • Scope and Schedule Planning: Master the processes of defining project scope and developing a detailed project schedule.
  • Cost and Quality Planning: Understand how to estimate project costs, develop budgets, and establish quality standards and processes.
  • Resource and Risk Planning: Gain skills in planning for necessary resources and identifying potential risks with corresponding risk response strategies.
  • Communication and Procurement Planning: Learn to develop effective communication and procurement plans to ensure smooth project execution.

5. Project Work

  • Execute Project Plan: Understand the process of executing the project plan by performing the planned tasks and activities.
  • Monitor and Control Work: Gain proficiency in continuously monitoring project progress and performance against the plan, and implementing corrective actions as needed.
  • Manage Changes: Learn to manage changes to the project scope, schedule, and cost through a formal change control process.
  • Maintain Documentation: Understand the importance of maintaining comprehensive project documentation to ensure transparency and accountability.

6. Delivery

  • Meet Requirements: Learn to ensure all project deliverables meet the defined requirements and acceptance criteria.
  • Control Quality: Master quality control activities to verify that deliverables meet the required standards.
  • Obtain Acceptance: Gain skills in obtaining formal acceptance of deliverables from stakeholders.
  • Handover Deliverables: Understand the process of transferring the ownership of deliverables to the stakeholders or operational team.

7. Measurement

  • Define Performance Metrics: Learn to define and use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure project progress and performance.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Gain proficiency in collecting and analyzing performance data to identify trends, issues, and areas for improvement.
  • Report Performance: Master the skills of providing regular performance reports to stakeholders.
  • Implement Improvements: Learn to use performance data to identify opportunities for process improvements and implement changes to enhance project performance.

8. Uncertainty

  • Identify and Assess Risks: Understand the processes of identifying, assessing, and prioritizing project risks.
  • Develop Risk Responses: Learn to develop and implement risk response strategies to mitigate or exploit risks.
  • Maintain Flexibility: Gain skills in maintaining flexibility in project plans and processes to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Build Resilience: Develop the ability to build resilience within the project team to handle unexpected challenges and setbacks.

Project Lifecycle and Processes

10 Project Management Knowledge Areas

  • Integration Management
  • Scope Management
  • Schedule Management
  • Cost Management
  • Quality Management
  • Resource Management
  • Communication Management
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement Management
  • Stakeholder Management

5 Project Lifecycle Phases

1. Initiation Phase

  • Develop Project Charter: Understand how to create a project charter that formally authorizes the project, defines the initial scope, and assigns a project manager with the authority to use organizational resources.
  • Identify Stakeholders: Learn to identify all potential stakeholders, understand their needs, expectations, and potential impact on the project, and document this information in a stakeholder register.

2. Planning Phase

  • Develop Project Management Plan: Gain proficiency in creating a comprehensive project management plan that integrates subsidiary plans for scope, schedule, cost, quality, resource, communication, risk, procurement, and stakeholder management.
  • Plan Scope Management: Understand how to define and document the project scope, create a detailed scope statement, and develop a work breakdown structure (WBS) and WBS dictionary.
  • Collect Requirements: Learn to gather and document stakeholder requirements using various techniques such as interviews, focus groups, and surveys.
  • Define Scope: Master the process of developing a detailed description of the project and product scope.
  • Create WBS: Gain skills in breaking down project deliverables and work into smaller, manageable components.
  • Plan Schedule Management: Learn to establish policies, procedures, and documentation for planning, developing, managing, executing, and controlling the project schedule.
  • Define and Sequence Activities: Understand how to identify, document, and sequence project activities.
  • Estimate Activity Durations and Develop Schedule: Learn to estimate the time required for activities and develop a detailed project schedule.
  • Plan Cost Management and Estimate Costs: Understand how to define cost management processes and estimate project costs.
  • Determine Budget: Gain skills in aggregating estimated costs to establish a project budget.
  • Plan Quality Management: Learn to identify quality requirements and standards for the project and document how to demonstrate compliance.
  • Plan Resource Management: Understand how to identify and document project roles, responsibilities, and resource requirements.
  • Plan Communications Management: Learn to develop a communication plan that ensures effective information exchange among stakeholders.
  • Plan Risk Management and Identify Risks: Gain skills in defining risk management processes and identifying project risks.
  • Perform Qualitative and Quantitative Risk Analysis: Understand how to assess the impact and probability of risks and analyze their effects on project objectives.
  • Plan Risk Responses: Learn to develop strategies to enhance opportunities and reduce threats to project objectives.
  • Plan Procurement Management: Understand how to document procurement decisions and specify the approach for acquiring goods and services.
  • Plan Stakeholder Engagement: Learn to develop strategies to engage stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle based on their needs, interests, and potential impact.

3. Execution Phase

  • Direct and Manage Project Work: Gain proficiency in leading and performing the work defined in the project management plan and implementing approved changes.
  • Manage Project Knowledge: Learn to use existing knowledge and create new knowledge to achieve project objectives and contribute to organizational learning.
  • Acquire Resources and Develop Team: Understand how to obtain necessary resources and improve team performance through development activities.
  • Manage Team: Gain skills in tracking team performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and optimizing project performance.
  • Manage Communications: Learn to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval, and disposition of project information.
  • Implement Risk Responses: Understand how to implement agreed-upon risk response plans.
  • Conduct Procurements: Learn to obtain seller responses, select sellers, and award contracts.
  • Manage Stakeholder Engagement: Gain proficiency in communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs and expectations.

4. Monitoring and Controlling Phase

  • Monitor and Control Project Work: Learn to track, review, and report project progress to meet performance objectives.
  • Perform Integrated Change Control: Understand how to review all change requests, approve changes, and manage changes to deliverables, project documents, and the project management plan.
  • Validate and Control Scope: Gain skills in formalizing acceptance of completed project deliverables and monitoring scope changes.
  • Control Schedule and Costs: Learn to monitor project activities to update project progress and manage changes to the schedule and cost baselines.
  • Control Quality and Resources: Understand how to monitor quality management activities and ensure resource availability as planned.
  • Monitor Communications and Risks: Learn to ensure that the information needs of the project and its stakeholders are met and monitor risk management processes.
  • Control Procurements and Stakeholder Engagement: Gain proficiency in managing procurement relationships, monitoring contract performance, and adjusting stakeholder engagement strategies as needed.

5. Closing Phase

  • Close Project or Phase: Understand the process of finalizing all activities across all project management process groups to formally close the project or phase.
  • Obtain Acceptance: Learn to obtain formal acceptance of project deliverables from stakeholders.
  • Conduct Post-Project Reviews: Gain skills in conducting post-project or phase-end reviews and documenting lessons learned.
  • Update Organizational Process Assets: Understand how to archive all relevant project documents and update organizational process assets with project information.

Methodologies – Agile, Predictive, Hybrid

Agile Manifesto Values

  1. Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools
  2. Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation
  3. Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation
  4. Responding to Change Over Following a Plan

Agile Manifesto Principles

  1. Our Highest Priority Is to Satisfy the Customer Through Early and Continuous Delivery of Valuable Software.
  2. Welcome Changing Requirements, Even Late in Development. Agile Processes Harness Change for the Customer’s Competitive Advantage.
  3. Deliver Working Software Frequently, From a Couple of Weeks to a Couple of Months, With a Preference to the Shorter Timescale.
  4. Business People and Developers Must Work Together Daily Throughout the Project.
  5. Build Projects Around Motivated Individuals. Give Them the Environment and Support They Need, and Trust Them to Get the Job Done.
  6. The Most Efficient and Effective Method of Conveying Information to and Within a Development Team Is Face-to-Face Conversation.
  7. Working Software Is the Primary Measure of Progress.
  8. Agile Processes Promote Sustainable Development. The Sponsors, Developers, and Users Should Be Able to Maintain a Constant Pace Indefinitely.
  9. Continuous Attention to Technical Excellence and Good Design Enhances Agility.
  10. Simplicity—The Art of Maximizing the Amount of Work Not Done—Is Essential.
  11. The Best Architectures, Requirements, and Designs Emerge From Self-Organizing Teams.
  12. At Regular Intervals, the Team Reflects on How to Become More Effective, Then Tunes and Adjusts Its Behavior Accordingly.

Adaptive (Agile) Project Management Methodology

Characteristics

  1. Iterative Development: The project is divided into small cycles called iterations or sprints, typically lasting 1-4 weeks.
  2. Incremental Deliverables: Working products are delivered frequently, allowing for continuous feedback and adjustments.
  3. Flexibility: The approach is highly adaptable to changes, with an emphasis on responding to customer feedback and changing requirements.
  4. Collaboration: Agile promotes close collaboration between the project team and stakeholders.

Advantages

  • High adaptability to changes.
  • Continuous delivery of value to the customer.
  • Encourages stakeholder engagement and satisfaction.

Disadvantages

  • Can be challenging to manage without experienced teams.
  • Requires continuous stakeholder involvement.
  • May lead to scope creep if not properly managed.

Use Cases

  • Projects with high uncertainty and changing requirements.
  • Need for frequent stakeholder feedback.
  • Emphasis on rapid delivery of usable products.

Predictive (Waterfall) Project Management Methodology

Characteristics

  1. Fixed Scope: The project scope, schedule, and cost are determined early in the project lifecycle and are strictly followed.
  2. Phase Sequence: Each phase (initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing) must be completed before the next phase starts.
  3. Detailed Planning: Extensive planning is done upfront, and changes are managed through formal change control processes.
  4. Risk Management: Risks are identified and managed through predefined plans.

Advantages

  • Clear structure and documentation.
  • Easy to manage and track progress.
  • Well-suited for projects with stable requirements.

Disadvantages

  • Inflexible to changes.
  • Can be slow to adapt to new information.
  • Risk of delivering a product that may no longer meet stakeholder needs due to changes in requirements over time.

Use Cases

  • Projects with well-defined requirements and scope.
  • Low uncertainty and risk.
  • Stakeholders need a clear linear plan.

Hybrid Project Management Methodology

Characteristics

  1. Combination of Predictive and Agile: Combines elements of both predictive and agile approaches.
  2. Flexibility: Suitable for projects where some aspects are well-defined while others require flexibility.

Specific Techniques

  • Rolling Wave Planning: Progressive elaboration where detailed planning is done for the near term and broader planning is done for the future.
  • Time-Boxing: Allocates a fixed time period for activities, common in agile methods like Scrum.

Use Cases

  • Suitable for projects where some aspects are well-defined while others require flexibility.
  • Projects that can benefit from both the structured approach of predictive methodologies and the adaptability of agile methodologies.

Key Project Management Techniques

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Definition and Purpose

  • Deliverable-Oriented Decomposition: WBS is a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to accomplish the project objectives and deliverables. It organizes and defines the project scope in smaller, manageable components.
  • Scope Management: WBS is an essential tool for defining and managing project scope, preventing scope creep by breaking down the project into detailed and manageable tasks.

Characteristics

  • 100% Rule: Ensures that the total scope of work is captured by decomposing the project into its components. Every item in the WBS must represent 100% of the work defined by the project scope and capture all deliverables.
  • Hierarchy and Levels: WBS is structured in a hierarchical format with multiple levels, starting from the project goal at the top and decomposing into smaller, more detailed components at lower levels.

Components

  • Work Packages: The smallest units of work in a WBS, detailed enough to estimate and manage the work effort, duration, and costs. They are the foundation for scheduling, cost estimation, and control.
  • Planning Packages: Components within the WBS that fall below the control accounts and above the work packages. They contain known work content but lack detailed schedule activities.
  • Control Accounts: These are management control points where scope, cost, and schedule are integrated and compared to the earned value for performance measurement.

Processes

  • Decomposition: The process of breaking down the project scope and deliverables into smaller, more manageable components until the work packages are defined.
  • WBS Dictionary: A companion document to the WBS that provides detailed information about each component, including descriptions of work, deliverables, and necessary resources.

Use Cases

  • Project Planning: Helps in defining the scope and deliverables, making it easier to plan and estimate the project schedule and budget.
  • Resource Allocation: Assists in identifying the resources required for each component of the project, aiding in resource planning and management.
  • Performance Measurement: Used as a baseline for comparing planned versus actual performance, helping in tracking progress and managing changes through formal control processes.

Critical Path Method (CPM)

Definition and Purpose

  • Project Scheduling Technique: The Critical Path Method (CPM) is a project management technique used to predict project duration by analyzing which sequence of activities (path) has the least amount of scheduling flexibility (the longest path).
  • Focus on Critical Activities: It identifies critical and non-critical tasks, helping project managers prioritize tasks that directly impact the project completion date.

Processes

  • Identify Activities: List all project activities or tasks.
  • Sequence Activities: Determine the dependencies between tasks.
  • Estimate Durations: Estimate the time required to complete each task.
  • Develop the Network Diagram: Create a visual representation of the sequence and dependencies.
  • Identify the Critical Path: Calculate the duration of each path through the network and identify the longest path as the critical path.

Components

  • Early Start (ES) and Early Finish (EF): The earliest time an activity can start and finish.
  • Late Start (LS) and Late Finish (LF): The latest time an activity can start and finish without delaying the project.
  • Float (Slack): The amount of time that an activity can be delayed without delaying the project. Total float is the time an activity can be delayed without affecting the project end date, while free float is the time an activity can be delayed without affecting the start of the successor activity.

Techniques

  • Schedule Compression: Techniques like crashing (adding resources) and fast tracking (performing tasks in parallel) can be used to shorten the project duration without changing the project scope.
  • Resource Optimization: Adjusting the start and finish dates to balance resource demand and supply. Techniques include resource leveling and resource smoothing.

Earned Value Management (EVM)

  1. Definition and Purpose
    • Earned Value Management (EVM): EVM is a project management technique that integrates scope, time, and cost parameters to assess project performance and progress.
  2. Key Concepts
    • Planned Value (PV): The authorized budget assigned to scheduled work to be accomplished.
    • Earned Value (EV): The value of work actually performed, expressed in terms of the approved budget assigned to that work.
    • Actual Cost (AC): The realized cost incurred for the work performed on an activity during a specific time period.
    • Budget at Completion (BAC): The total budget allocated for the project.
  3. Performance Metrics
    • Cost Performance Index (CPI): A measure of the cost efficiency of budgeted resources expressed as the ratio of earned value to actual cost.
    • Schedule Performance Index (SPI): A measure of schedule efficiency expressed as the ratio of earned value to planned value.
  4. Variance Analysis
    • Cost Variance (CV): The amount of budget deficit or surplus, expressed as the difference between earned value and actual cost.
    • Schedule Variance (SV): The amount of schedule deficit or surplus, expressed as the difference between earned value and planned value.
  5. Forecasting Metrics
    • Estimate at Completion (EAC): The expected total cost of completing all work expressed as the sum of the actual cost to date and the estimate to complete.
    • Estimate to Complete (ETC): The expected cost needed to complete all the remaining work for the project.
    • Variance at Completion (VAC): The difference between the budget at completion and the estimate at completion.

Earned Value Management (EVM) Formulas

  1. Planned Value (PV)
    • PV = Planned % Complete × BAC
  2. Earned Value (EV)
    • EV = Actual % Complete × BAC
  3. Actual Cost (AC)
    • AC = Sum of the costs for actual work completed
  4. Cost Variance (CV)
    • CV = EV – AC
    • Positive CV indicates under budget; negative CV indicates over budget.
  5. Schedule Variance (SV)
    • SV = EV – PV
    • Positive SV indicates ahead of schedule; negative SV indicates behind schedule.
  6. Cost Performance Index (CPI)
    • CPI = EV / AC
    • CPI > 1 indicates cost efficiency; CPI < 1 indicates cost inefficiency.
  7. Schedule Performance Index (SPI)
    • SPI = EV / PV
    • SPI > 1 indicates schedule efficiency; SPI < 1 indicates schedule inefficiency.
  8. Estimate at Completion (EAC)
    • EAC = AC + (BAC – EV) (assuming current variances will not continue)
    • EAC = BAC / CPI (assuming current cost performance will continue)
    • EAC = AC + [(BAC – EV) / (CPI × SPI)] (if both cost and schedule performance are considered)
  9. Estimate to Complete (ETC)
    • ETC = EAC – AC
  10. Variance at Completion (VAC)
    • VAC = BAC – EAC
    • Positive VAC indicates under budget; negative VAC indicates over budget.
  11. To-Complete Performance Index (TCPI)
    • TCPI = (BAC – EV) / (BAC – AC) (for remaining work to meet original BAC)
    • TCPI = (BAC – EV) / (EAC – AC) (for remaining work to meet revised EAC)
    • TCPI > 1 indicates a need for greater efficiency; TCPI < 1 indicates less efficiency required.

Three-Point Estimating

Definition and Purpose

  • Three-Point Estimating: A technique used to improve the accuracy of activity duration and cost estimates by considering uncertainty and risk. It uses three different estimates to define an approximate range for an activity’s duration or cost.

Estimates

  • Optimistic (O): The best-case scenario where everything goes better than expected.
  • Most Likely (M): The most realistic scenario based on a normal effort.
  • Pessimistic (P): The worst-case scenario where everything goes wrong.

Formulas

  1. Triangular Distribution
    • Formula: E = (O + M + P) / 3
    • Purpose: Used when there is limited historical data, providing a simple average of the three estimates.
  2. Beta (PERT) Distribution
    • Formula: E = (O + 4M + P) / 6
    • Purpose: Used for a more accurate estimate by giving more weight to the most likely estimate, reducing the impact of extreme values.

Kanban

Kanban is a visual workflow management method that uses a board with columns to represent different stages of work, enabling teams to visualize tasks, limit work in progress (WIP), and optimize the flow of work.

Components

  • Kanban Board: A visual tool that displays tasks as cards on a board, moving through columns representing different stages of the workflow.
  • Cards: Represent individual tasks or work items that move across the Kanban board as work progresses.
  • Columns: Represent the stages of the workflow, such as “Backlog,” “Ready,” “In Progress,” “Review,” and “Done.”
  • Swimlanes: Horizontal divisions on a Kanban board that separate different types of work or teams.

Kaizen

The fundamental principle of Kaizen is to continually make small improvements, which over time lead to significant enhancements in productivity, efficiency, and quality.

Kaizen Events focuses on short-term projects designed to improve specific areas of a business, typically lasting from a few days to a week.

PDCA Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act)

PDCA is a continuous improvement process involving planning, implementing, checking results, and acting on findings.

  • Plan: Define the problem, set objectives, develop a plan, establish metrics.
  • Do: Implement the plan on a small scale, collect data.
  • Check: Evaluate results against objectives, analyze data.
  • Act: Adopt, adjust, or abandon the plan based on results, document lessons learned

Pareto Principle

Pareto Principle: Also known as the 80/20 rule, the Pareto Principle states that 80% of a project’s benefits come from 20% of the work. This principle helps in identifying the most significant tasks that contribute the most value to the project.

Conflict Management Techniques

Compromise/Reconcile

  • Description: Finding a middle ground where each party gives up something (lose-lose).
  • When to Use: When both parties have equal power, and a quick resolution is needed.
  • Influence/Power: Effective with similar levels of influence.

Force/Direct

  • Description: Imposing one’s viewpoint at the expense of others (win-lose).
  • When to Use: In emergencies or high-stakes situations requiring decisive action.
  • Influence/Power: Effective when the decision-maker has high authority.

Collaborate/Problem Solve

  • Description: Working together to find a win-win solution.
  • When to Use: For important issues needing long-term solutions.
  • Influence/Power: Best when all parties have similar influence or trust is high.

Smooth/Accommodate

  • Description: Emphasizing agreement to maintain harmony (lose-win).
  • When to Use: When the issue is minor or preserving relationships is crucial.
  • Influence/Power: Effective when the smoother has less power or needs to maintain future collaboration.

Withdraw/Avoid

  • Description: Postponing or avoiding the conflict (unassertive and uncooperative).
  • When to Use: For trivial issues, no chance of winning, or needing more time.
  • Influence/Power: Can be used by anyone, often when the conflict is not worth engaging.

Alternative Analysis

  • Purpose: Determines the best course of action among several possibilities by examining the variables impacting estimates and project performance.
  • Applications: Risk management, scope definition, corrective actions.
  • Methodology: Identify alternatives, evaluate criteria, assign weights, score alternatives, select the best option.
  • Benefits: Informed decision-making, optimal solutions, risk mitigation

Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA)

Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) is a method used in project management to evaluate and prioritize multiple criteria for making complex decisions. It helps balance various factors and involves the following key steps:

  1. Criteria Identification: Determine relevant criteria (quantitative and qualitative).
  2. Criteria Weighting: Assign importance weights to each criterion.
  3. Alternative Identification: List all possible options.
  4. Scoring: Evaluate each alternative against the criteria.
  5. Aggregation: Combine scores and weights to calculate composite scores for each alternative.
  6. Ranking: Rank alternatives based on their composite scores.
  7. Sensitivity Analysis: Assess how changes in weights or scores affect the decision.

Project Management Plans and Documents

Scope Baseline

Scope Baseline: The approved version of the scope statement, work breakdown structure (WBS), and WBS dictionary, used as a basis for comparison.

Components:

  • Project Scope Statement: Describes project scope, deliverables, assumptions, and constraints.
  • WBS: Hierarchical decomposition of the project scope.
  • WBS Dictionary: Detailed information about each WBS element.

Schedule Baseline

Schedule Baseline: The approved version of the project schedule, used as a basis for measuring and comparing progress.

Components:

  • Project Schedule: Detailed plan for project delivery.
  • Milestones: Significant points or events in the project timeline.
  • Activity List: Comprehensive list of project activities.

Cost Baseline

Cost Baseline: The approved project budget, excluding management reserves, used as a basis for comparison.

Components:

  • Budget: Total funds authorized for the project.
  • Cost Estimates: Approximate measures of required monetary resources.
  • Funding Requirements: Forecast of funds required, including cash flow.

Project Charter

Project Charter: A formal document that authorizes the project, outlining the objectives, scope, participants, and key stakeholders. It provides the project manager with the authority to utilize organizational resources for project activities.

Components

  • Project Purpose or Justification: The reason for undertaking the project.
  • Measurable Project Objectives and Related Success Criteria: Specific goals and how success will be measured.
  • High-Level Requirements: Essential requirements that the project must meet.
  • Assumptions and Constraints: Factors that the project will assume to be true and limitations that may affect the project execution.
  • High-Level Project Description and Boundaries: A summary of what the project will deliver and its scope.
  • High-Level Risks: Initial risks identified at the start of the project.
  • Summary Milestone Schedule: Key milestones and their expected completion dates.
  • Summary Budget: An overview of the estimated project cost.
  • Project Approval Requirements: Criteria for project approval and who will sign off on the project.
  • Assigned Project Manager and Authority Level: The designated project manager and their level of authority.
  • Name and Authority of the Sponsor: The project sponsor who authorizes the project.

Stakeholder Register

Stakeholder Register: A document that identifies and lists all the stakeholders involved in the project, including their interests, influence, and impact on the project.

Components

  • Identification Information: Name, position, role, contact information.
  • Assessment Information: Stakeholder expectations, interests, influence, impact, and classification (e.g., internal/external, supporter/neutral/resistor).
  • Stakeholder Classification: Grouping stakeholders based on their impact and influence on the project (e.g., high/low influence and high/low interest).

Risk Register

Risk Register: A comprehensive document that lists all identified risks, their characteristics, and responses.

Components

  • Risk Identification: A description of each risk.
  • Risk Analysis: Qualitative and quantitative assessments of risk severity and probability.
  • Risk Responses: Strategies for mitigating, avoiding, transferring, or accepting risks.
  • Risk Owners: Individuals responsible for monitoring and managing each risk.
  • Risk Triggers: Indicators that a risk event may be imminent.

Change Log

Change Log: A document that tracks all changes requested during the project, including their status and impact on the project.

Components

  • Change Description: A summary of the change requested.
  • Change Impact: The potential impact of the change on project scope, schedule, cost, and quality.
  • Change Status: The current status of the change (e.g., requested, approved, rejected, implemented).
  • Change Requester: The person or entity requesting the change.
  • Decision Date: The date when the change request was reviewed and decided upon.

Lessons Learned Register

Lessons Learned Register: A document that captures the knowledge gained during the project, including successes, challenges, and recommendations for future projects.

Components

  • Lessons Learned: Detailed accounts of what went well and what didn’t.
  • Recommendations: Suggestions for improving future projects based on the lessons learned.

RACI Chart

RACI Chart: A matrix used to clarify roles and responsibilities in a project. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed, providing a clear structure for project roles.

Components

  1. Responsible (R): The person(s) who perform the task.
  2. Accountable (A): The person who is ultimately answerable for the correct and thorough completion of the task. Only one accountable person can be assigned to each task.
  3. Consulted (C): The person(s) who provide information and expertise necessary to complete the task. They are typically subject matter experts.
  4. Informed (I): The person(s) who need to be kept informed of the task status and progress. They are usually stakeholders who need to stay updated.

Example of a RACI Chart

TaskResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
Develop Project PlanProject ManagerProject SponsorTeam LeadsAll Stakeholders
Requirements GatheringBusiness AnalystProject ManagerStakeholdersDevelopment Team
Design SolutionSolution ArchitectProject ManagerTechnical LeadsQuality Assurance
Implement SolutionDevelopment TeamProject ManagerTechnical LeadsStakeholders
TestingQA TeamQA ManagerDevelopment TeamStakeholders
DeploymentDeployment TeamProject ManagerTechnical SupportStakeholders

Communication Channels Formula

Communication Channels Formula: A formula used to calculate the number of potential communication channels in a project. Effective communication is critical in project management, and understanding the complexity of communication helps in planning.

Formula:

Communication Channels = n(n-1)/2

n: The number of stakeholders or team members.

Glossary of Key Terms and Definitions by Topic

Project Management Basics

  • Deliverable: Any type of product or output produced by a project.
  • Milestone: An important point that indicates progress and usually signifies the completion of a deliverable or project phase.
  • Scope Creep: Changes, growth, and uncontrolled factors that affect a project’s scope at any point after the project begins.
  • Project Charter: Document to clearly define the project details.
  • Project Lifecycle: Groups of phases a project goes through from beginning to end.
  • Project Management: Leading a team to accomplish a temporary endeavor to complete it on time, within budget, and within scope.
  • Project Sponsor: Accountable for the success of the project.
  • Project Stakeholder: Anyone affected by the project; expects to benefit from the project.

Scheduling and Time Management

  • Backward Pass: A technique to calculate the late start and late finish dates for uncompleted activities by working backward through the schedule network logic from the project end date.
  • Burndown Chart: Graph that displays tasks completed over the duration of a sprint.
  • Burnup Chart: Shows the work completed by the project team over time, better for understanding team productivity than burndown charts.
  • Critical Path: The sequence of activities that represents the longest path through a project, which determines the shortest possible project duration.
  • Cycle Time: Total time spent working from the start of the first task to the end of the last task.
  • Forward Pass: A technique to calculate the early start and early finish dates for uncompleted activities by working forward through the schedule network logic from the project start date.
  • Gantt Chart: A horizontal chart that maps out a project schedule, clearly showing who’s responsible for what work.
  • Lag: The amount of time a successor activity will be delayed with respect to a predecessor activity.
  • Lead: The amount of time a successor activity can be advanced with respect to a predecessor activity.
  • Lead Time: The time between a customer request and the actual delivery; average time to complete features.
  • On-Demand Scheduling: Team only works on what they can handle to prevent overload.
  • Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM): Technique used to construct a schedule model showing the sequence of activities
  • Sprints: Set timeframes for completing each set of tasks from the backlog, typically lasting 1-4 weeks.

Cost Management

  • Baseline Budget: The dollar amount to measure against throughout the project.
  • Actual Cost (AC): The realized cost incurred for the work performed on an activity during a specific time period.
  • Planned Value (PV): The authorized budget assigned to scheduled work to be accomplished.
  • Earned Value (EV): The value of work actually performed expressed in terms of the approved budget assigned to that work.
  • Estimate at Completion (EAC): The expected total cost of completing all work expressed as the sum of the actual cost to date and the estimate to complete.
  • Estimate to Complete (ETC): The expected cost needed to complete all the remaining work for the project.
  • Variance at Completion (VAC): The difference between the budget at completion and the estimate at completion.
  • Management Reserve: An amount of the project budget or project schedule held outside of the performance measurement baseline for management control purposes that is reserved for unforeseen work that is within the project scope.

Risk Management

  • Risk Appetite: The level of uncertainty someone is willing to take on.
  • Risk Threshold: The measure of acceptable variation around an objective that reflects the risk appetite.
  • Contingency Reserve: Funds added to the estimated project budget to cover identified risks.
  • Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS): Hierarchical representation of potential sources of risk.
  • Risk Register: Captures details of identified individual project risks, including risk title, category, status, potential owners, and responses.

Quality Management

  • Acceptance Criteria: The expectations, conditions, and needs defined by the stakeholders of a product (customers, users, etc.) for development.
  • Control Chart: A graph used to study how a process changes over time.
  • Total Quality Management (TQM): TQM is a continuous process of detecting and reducing errors, improving supply chain management, customer experience, and employee training

Communication Management

  • Change Log: A document that records all changes made to a plan or contract.
  • Interactive Communication: A method of sharing information back and forth in real-time (e.g., instant messaging or meetings).
  • Pull Communication: A method of allowing stakeholders to access information at their leisure (e.g., project website or landing page).
  • Push Communication: A method of sending out information that can be asynchronously consumed by the receiver (e.g., email or reports).

Agile and Adaptive Methodologies

  • Agile Release Planning: High-level summary timeline of the release schedule (typically 3 to 6 months) based on the product roadmap and the product vision for the product’s evolution.
  • Backlog: Prioritized list of tasks and requirements created and maintained by the Product Owner.
  • Sprint: Set timeframes for completing each set of tasks from the backlog, typically lasting 1-4 weeks.
  • Scrum Master: A facilitator who maximizes productivity in an Adaptive project.
  • User Story: Short-form requirements that fulfill a specific user need.
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP): The deliverable has enough functionality to be “acceptable” and usable.
  • Kanban: A visual workflow management method that uses a board with columns to represent different stages of work, enabling teams to visualize tasks, limit work in progress (WIP), and optimize the flow of work.
  • Work In Progress (WIP): The amount of work items currently being processed in a given period.
  • Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF): A prioritization algorithm used in Agile frameworks such as the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). The WSJF technique helps teams prioritize tasks, features, or projects by calculating and comparing their relative value. The goal is to maximize the economic benefits by completing the highest-value items first.
  • Story Points: Metrics used to determine the effort required for each user story.
  • Incremental: Creating deliverables through a series of iterations.
  • Iterative: Short periods of time when a section of work is developed and tested.

Estimating and Forecasting

  • Three-Point Estimate: Uses three figures based on prior experience or best guess: Optimistic (O), Most Likely (M), and Pessimistic (P) estimates to calculate an expected value (E).
  • To-Complete Performance Index (TCPI): Defines how efficient the team needs to be to complete the project within budget.

Planning and Analysis Tools

  • Affinity Diagram: A visual tool that helps organize information from a brainstorming session used to identify project/product requirements.
  • Benchmarking: Comparing actual or planned products, processes, and practices to those of comparable organizations to identify best practices, generate ideas for improvement, and provide a basis for measuring performance.
  • Nominal Group Technique (NGT): A structured form of brainstorming including the entire group involved in a workshop. Participants work by themselves and then share information through round-robin collection.
  • Ishikawa (Fishbone) Diagram: Cause-and-effect diagram that helps to identify a problem’s root cause.
  • Mind Mapping: Consolidates ideas created through individual brainstorming sessions into a single map to reflect commonality and differences in understanding and to generate new ideas​.
  • Nominal Group Technique: Enhances brainstorming with a voting process used to rank the most useful ideas for further brainstorming or for prioritization
  • Storyboarding: A visual technique used to plan and organize the sequence of tasks, events, or processes in a project. It involves creating a series of visual panels or frames that depict key steps or milestones, facilitating better understanding and coordination among team members and stakeholders.

Organizational and Management Concepts

  • Change Control Board (CCB): Project team representatives who approve or deny change requests.
  • Development Team: The people in a scrum team with the right skills to do the work.
  • Kotter Model: An eight-step change management model involving establishing urgency, forming a coalition, developing and communicating a vision, empowering action, creating quick wins, building on change, and making it stick.
  • Stakeholder Register: Contains information about identified stakeholders including identification information, major requirements, expectations, potential for influencing project outcomes, and classification.
  • Project Governance: The set of rules, procedures, and policies that determine how projects are managed and overseen.
  • Project Manager: Plans and organizes the project.
  • Servant Leadership: Understand and serve the team’s needs.

Procurement and Contracts

  • Statement of Work (SOW): Developed from the project scope baseline and defines the portion of the project scope included within the contract.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP): Used when there is a problem and the solution is not easy to determine.
  • Request for Quote (RFQ): Used when more information is needed on how vendors would satisfy the requirements and/or how much it will cost.
  • Request for Information (RFI): Used when more information on the goods and services to be acquired is needed from sellers.
  • Fixed Price Contracts: Suitable when the work is predictable and requirements are well defined.
  • Time and Materials Contract (T&M): Buyer pays per item and per hour, used when the level of effort can’t be determined when awarding a contract.
  • Cost Reimbursable Contracts (CR): Suitable when the scope of work is evolving, likely to change, or not well defined.
  • Bidder Conferences: Meetings between the buyer and prospective sellers to ensure a common understanding of the procurement.

Metrics and Performance

  • Cost Performance Index (CPI): A measure of the cost efficiency on a project; CPI = EV / AC.
  • Schedule Performance Index (SPI): A measure of schedule efficiency on a project; SPI = EV / PV.
  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI): Metrics used to measure the success and performance of an organization or project.

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