Advice for passing the PMP Exam

Posted by mikeberry | CAPM,PMP,Project Management | Monday 10 December 2012 11:02 pm

The PMP, or Project Management Professional certification, indicates a person possesses years of industry experience participating in projects, and they understand the PMBOK framework.

The PMBOK, or Project Management Body of Knowledge, is a framework comprising 42 processes useful to managing formal projects.

Legendary in the industry, the PMP exam is one of the toughest professional exams out there.  It consists of 200 questions and takes most people the entire 4 hour allotment of time to complete.

The test is put together using Blooms Taxonomy, a learning framework that describes different ways people process learned information.   Recalling lists versus selecting the best option from a set of viable options are examples of categories in Blooms Taxonomy.

One major tip for passing the PMP exam is to expect to be reading questions in street lingo.  For example, the question may be a short story about a manager asking for something from her project manager.  The question will contain no terminology…you will be expected to translate the street lingo into the particular framework component being described and select the correct answer from the choices given.

I teach a PMP Exam Prep class and have many students who pass, and a few who don’t.  What’s the difference?  Quality study time.  Be sure you take this exam seriously so that you can benefit from the PMBOK framework concepts.

Mike J. Berry, PMP, CAPM, CBAP, ITIL, ACP, CSP, CSM, CSPO
John C. Maxwell Leadership Coach

One or Two Day Tasks

Posted by mikeberry | Agile Development,Agile Executives,PMI-ACP,Product Owner,ScrumMaster | Monday 10 December 2012 10:44 pm

Recently while coaching Agile to a large client in the Salt Lake City area one of the developers on one of the teams asked me why an Agile team should decompose features into one or two day units of work.  It seems, he said, the particular unit of work he was considering could not be broken down into anything smaller than 4 days.

This is a common question for groups first exposed to Agile.   Decomposing features into one or two day tasks can be challenging at first.  Here are several reasons why it is a good practice:

1. Breaking down features and large tasks into one or two day units of work forces the Agile team member to really understand the nature of the tasks.  Ambiguity is the enemy of success and large units of work really are ambiguous.

2. Smaller units of work limit the amount of risk that a particular task can adversely impact a schedule that was estimated incorrectly.

3. Decomposing work into many one or two day tasks gives the team member a win every one or two days.   They and their teammates will njoy a sense of accomplishment more frequently, helping team morale.

4. Decomposing work in to one or two day tasks creates more transparency and precision so the team can account for completed work more accurately.  This many not be noticeable for one single work item but imagine the effect if the entire team kept work items at a non-decomposed level…too much ambiguity.

5.  Some teams I encounter hold standup meeting less frequently than daily.  This is a mistake.  Standup meetings should be held daily.  When I drill down and ask why, I typically hear that the team is reporting on the same work item the whole week.  Further questioning reveals they are not decomposing work into one or two day tasks.  When they start decomposing work into one or two day tasks then they have something new to report each day, and the standup meetings become more helpful.

Mike J. Berry, PMP, CBAP, ITIL, PMI-ACP, CSP, CSM, CSPO
John C. Maxwell Leadership Coach

Red Rock Research