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

What The Guide Says About Project Management Leadership

project management leadershipIn the coming weeks, we will be reviewing the 8 interpersonal skills that A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) calls out specifically, which a project manager needs to possess. We begin with leadership.

Leadership is one of the important skills that a good project manager must possess. The reason for this is that in many cases, the project manager doesn’t have any authority over the team members for a project. This means he or she must manage the project through leadership.

Although it can be more difficult to manage through leadership rather than authority, project management leadership is usually more effective because it is built on trust and respect.

A leader is especially important at the beginning of a project to define the vision of the project and communicate this vision to the team. This helps all of the team members to get on board with the goals of the project. Good leadership skills will also keep the members inspired and motivated to do their best work.

Unfortunately, project management leadership is difficult to teach from books (or tips like this one). You can learn the basics from the written word and even through project management leadership training, but then you need to show that you “have it” by applying it on the job. For the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam it is important that you recognize situations that require leadership and that you are able to select the appropriate action.

In order to succeed in the PMP® Exam, you should have hands-on experience in project management. Watch this short video to learn more:

Essential Interpersonal Skills of a Project Manager

PMP® Exam Tip: The Project Manager’s Essential Interpersonal SkillsA successful project manager must have many different types of skills. Those that come to mind immediately are the technical skills that we need to put together a project plan, schedule, budget and all of the necessary documentation. It is also important for us to have the conceptual skills needed to “see” the project as it is being developed.

However, those skills won’t ensure a successful project unless the project manager is able to complement his / her technical skills with many different types of interpersonal skills.

These essential interpersonal skills include the following:

  • Leadership
  • Team building
  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Influencing
  • Decision making
  • Political and cultural awareness
  • Negotiation

Being able to call upon and apply these skills at the right moment in your project can help ensure success. We will review each of these skills in our upcoming weekly exam tips.

Why do we need a Risk Register?

PMP® Exam Tip: Why do we need a Risk Register?A risk register is a critical project document and should not be short changed. Regardless of how well your project is planned and executed, there are always risks associated with it. The key to a successful project is being aware of those risks and documenting them so that if they materialize, they don’t completely derail the project.

Each potential risk is identified and added to the risk register. Then the risk is analyzed to decide how likely it is to occur, how much of an effect it would have and whether or not any steps should be taken to either reduce the likelihood of the risk occurring or to mitigate the possible damage.

In many cases, plans are also made on how to handle the situation if the risk occurs. This may include the steps that must be taken and who will be responsible for those actions.

Being prepared is an essential part of a successful project. Completing a comprehensive risk register, and reviewing it after each stage of the project is completed will help to keep the project on track and ensure that it s a success. A good risk register also makes it easier to keep senior management aware of the risks associated with a project so that they are not surprised.

One final note: The risk register is not part of the project management plan but it is instead “just” another project document. See A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).

What is Cost of Nonconformance in Projects?

What is Cost of NonconformanceThere are two separate components within Cost of Quality (COQ). We looked at the Cost of Conformance in our last tip and this time we’ll focus on the Cost of Nonconformance. The Cost of Conformance is focused on avoiding potential failures and the Cost of Nonconformance in projects is the cost incurred as a result of any failures because the quality expectations were not met.

This “failure” is really easy to understand: You built a product, service or result through your product and it failed to meet quality expectations. Now you have to fix it, which is going to cost you.

There are both internal and external costs related to failure. Internal costs are those identified within the scope of projects. This includes things like the time and money it will take to rework part of the project. It also includes any cost involved if you have to throw away parts of your project work, which is officially called “scrap”.

External failure costs are those identified after the product or service has been delivered to the customer. This includes things like warranty fulfillment, liability costs and the potential of a loss of business.

Is Cost of Nonconformance vs Cost of Conformance in projects now clear?

Preparing for your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam can be a daunting task. That is why Cornelius Fichtner, PMP has created a series of 8 videos in which he answers the 8 most important questions for you. Learn what the expert knows in these 8 videos at http://www.pm-prepcast.com/8videos

Watch the first video here:

Study Cost of Conformance for the PMP® Certification Exam

PMP® Exam Tip: Cost of ConformanceThere are two separate components within Cost of Quality (COQ) and you must have a complete understanding of both of them for your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam. One is the Cost of Nonconformance, which is the money (and time) that will be spent due to the failure of a deliverable from your project. The other is the Cost of Conformance. This is the figure that is determined to be necessary to avoid those failures in the first place.

There are two categories within it. The prevention costs are those associated with building a quality product or service so that any errors are within the range that is considered acceptable. These usually include the elements of training and equipment. Also included in this category is the time and effort required to fully document processes and to do things the right way.

The other category within the Cost of Conformance is the appraisal costs. These are the costs associated with determining the level of quality to ensure it meets the required standards. Appraisal costs include things like inspections and various types of testing that are then evaluated to ensure the quality expectations are being met.

In our next tip, we’ll take a closer look at the Cost of Nonconformance.

Understanding the Basic Concept of Cost of Quality

PMP® Exam Tip: Understanding Cost of QualityThe cost of quality (COQ) as it relates to project management is frequently misunderstood. It is a monetary figure but it does not solely relate to how much it will cost to provide a quality product or service through the project as most people initially believe.

Instead, COQ is also about the costs that will be involved to bring a product or service that is considered sub-standard up to the standards as they are described. This concept isn’t limited to only the duration of the specific project either. It also takes into consideration costs that occur after the project has ended, such as product returns, recall campaigns and warranty claims. So the complete product life-cycle (not just the project life-cycle) is included when figuring out COQ. The overall cost of quality is reviewed as part of the project to make decisions on how much will be invested in quality.

There are two main categories within the COQ definition. They are the cost of conformance, which is the money spent to avoid problems, and the cost of nonconformance, which is the money spent because of the problems that occurred. We’ll look at those in our next tips.

The Project Management Tool to Help You Pass The PMP® Exam

Windows CalculatorAs you prepare for your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam, you should know that there are many PMP® Exam formulas that you will be expected to know. Among them are Earned Value, PERT, communications channel and about 40 others you must have memorized.

Since these formulas must be in your head, you will not be allowed to bring your own personal calculator into the exam room with you because it could have some of the formulas saved with it. This is when your alternative project management tool comes in... Windows Calculator.

Some of the calculations you will be required to complete are likely to be complex enough that they will require the use of a handy project management tool. So during the exam you will have to use the Microsoft Windows-based calculator.

It’s important for you to be prepared for all facets of your PMP® Exam, and being comfortable with the Windows calculator should be included in your preparation.

That’s why after learning that they will not be allowed to bring their own calculator into the exam room, most people simply stop using their hand-held calculators and fire up an alternative project management tool - the Windows calculator, every time they are faced with a formula in a sample question. I recommend that you do the same.

And here is my most surprising recommendation: use the calculator for every single calculation you have to make: 100 divided by 2? Use the calculator. 3 times 10? Use the calculator.

The reason for this is simple: Taking an exam is stressful and it’s easy to make a silly mistake in your head. And we don’t want 100 divided by 2 to suddenly to be 200. So use the calculator.

Passing your PMP Exam is too important to your future. It will be stressful and you may struggle to have enough time to finish it. It only makes sense to use all of the tools you have at your disposal to make it as easy as possible. This includes being prepared to use the Windows based calculator.

If you want to study the correct formulas for your PMP Exam, then the PMP Exam Formula Study Guide is a must-have. It is THE authoritative reference and contains all the correct PMP exam formulas for you to study and practice. In this video we show you an overview of The PMP Formula Study Guide.

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