Category: Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam using A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

Study Validated and Accepted Deliverables for the PMP® Exam

PMP® Exam Tip: Validated Deliverables and Accepted Deliverables Are NOT the Same!Students often confuse validated and accepted deliverables, so if you’re struggling here, you’re not alone. At first glance, they do seem to be rather the same, but once you get the idea, you’ll never confuse them again. The most important thing you need to understand is in which process from A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) these deliverables are created as outputs. The PMBOK® Guide defines each as follows:

** Validated - have been completed and checked for correctness by the Perform Quality Control process.
** Accepted - have been accepted through the Verify Scope process.

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What’s an Example of a Start-to-Finish Relationship?

PMP® Exam Tip: What’s an Example of a Start-to-Finish Relationship?The Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) is a tool for scheduling and sequencing events in a project plan based on their relationships with other events. The model allows you to visually map activities and their dependencies. Within this model there are four types of dependencies or logical relationships that are possible: finish-to-start (FS), finish-to-finish (FF), start-to-start (SS), and start-to-finish (SF). The start-to-finish relationship seems to be the model that causes the most confusion for students of the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam, perhaps because there are not many good examples of this relationship. Start-to-finish occurs when “the completion of the successor activity depends on the initiation of the predecessor activity,” or, said so that normal folks can process it: Activity A must start before Activity B can finish.

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Why PMI® Places Great Importance on Decomposition

Why The Project Management Institute Places Great Importance on Decomposition“Decomposition” and “work breakdown” are probably not the first words you want to hear with respect to the project you’re managing. However, Decomposition is perhaps the most important technique to understand when it comes to the Scope Management section of the PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam. Decomposition involves breaking down the overall project workload into smaller, more manageable tasks. These tasks can subsequently be broken down into smaller tasks until each piece of work can be prioritized, assigned to resources, and tracked in the form of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The idea is to move from large, general deliverables to the specific work packages and tasks that make up each deliverable. In essence, you’re carving up the individual puzzle pieces that make up the puzzle as a whole.

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PMP® Exam Tip: Quality Assurance VS Quality Control

PMP® Exam Tip: What is the difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?Many people have trouble understanding the difference between Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) as they are preparing for their Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam.

That is not surprising. The terms are very closely related and if you don’t work in the field, the difference doesn’t seem too obvious.

And when you look into A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) glossary, you'll find that neither Quality Assurance nor Quality Control is defined. Instead, you will only find a definition for the respective processes of Perform Quality Assurance and Control Quality. The PMBOK® Guide is as always a bit dry in its definitions.

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Knowing concepts that are no longer in The Guide

The PMBOK® GuideMost exams cover material you’ve studied but sometimes the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam includes questions that were not in the version of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) that you have studied. This can really throw you for a loop but if you’re prepared for it, it won’t be such a shock. The thing to remember is that the PMBOK® Guide is just that - a guide, not an exact accounting of every tool and concept that you will be using as a project manager and PMP®. For instance, techniques such as AON and AOA are still used by project managers around the world even though they were removed from the PMBOK® Guide.

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How To Calculate Network Diagram for PMP® Exam

Calculating network diagramWe recently received the following question from a Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam Student:

“There's some confusion in my head with regards to some of the network diagram calculations. I'm lead to believe there are actually two methods to calculate ES, LF, ES etc etc

The first method adds or subtracts 1 where applicable. This assumes that the start activity has ES, EF, LS and LF as 1. The second method assumes the start activity has zeros for all values thereby not having to add or subtract 1 to any of the formulas.

Is there any indication in the exam that would lead me into knowing which "method" is being utilised so that I can apply the right formula?”

I answered that he is correct. there are indeed 2 approaches:
- First approach: You calculate the network diagram starting on day 0
- Second approach: You calculate the network diagram starting on day 1

I personally use the second approach to calculate for the network diagram, because when my sponsor tells me, that my project starts on the first day of September, then that is September 1 and not September 0. This is also the way that all modern scheduling tools seem to work. You schedule your project based on a calendar start date and not "on day 0".

That is why there is a slight difference between the calculations (you have to add/subtract 1 from the results in the 2nd approach). However, don't worry about this for the PMP® exam too much. The way that the question is formulated you should be able to identify how to go about this. Also: I understand that in most cases when you have to calculate this, it is the end result that is important and not how you got there.

If you want to study the correct formulas for your PMP Exam, then this guide is a must-have. Watch this video:

Communications Channels Formula for Communications Management

PMP® Exam Tip: Why do we need the communications channels formula?The communications channels formula is N * (N-1) / 2. It is a way to numerically show the importance of proper communications management on a project. We all have a "gut feeling" in regards to this and most people would agree that "the larger the project, the more communications becomes a challenge".

The communications channel formula is a way to express this "challenge" numerically.

First of all, it expresses that the number of people on the project is at the heart of what makes communications a challenge. It's not the size of the budget or the the technical complexity that poses our greatest communications challenge. It is the number of people with whom we need to communicate about our budget and technology that makes it harder, the more people we involve.

Second, the formula acknowledges, that it is not only us (the project manager) who has to communicate. The formula takes into account that on a 5 people team it is not just me who is communicating with 4 others, but it's everyone talking to everyone. The number of people who are constantly communicating with each other is much larger than that.

This second point highlights 2 facts: 1.) Harold Kerzner's figure that a project manager spends 90% of her/his time communicating suddenly makes a lot more sense. 2.) It is impossible for us to try and manage all the various conversations that will be going on between the members of our project team.

Third and last, I use the communications channels formula as a "teaching tool". Both in a classroom and an office environment. In the classroom this is simply the formula that you have to know for your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam. There is a very high likelyhood that one of the 200 questions on your exam will include this question. Second being able to discuss this formula with the project sponsor and project team on an actual project allows me to highlight why we cannot just simply "do" communications. We have to plan the how, what, when, why and with whom we communicate early on in the project, so that communications will be effective and efficient.

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