Saturday, October 1, 2016

MS Project 2013 and 2016, What is new!



MS Project 2013 and 2016, What is new!

MS project is one of the greatest project management applications, and one of the products that Microsoft is proud off. That is why Microsoft keep committed to this application by keeping improving it every day.

MS project kept evolving from 2010 to 2016 and will keep evolving. The nice thing here is that if you mastered the MS project 2010, then it is very easy to master the 2016 and beyond as the structure of the application; main features; workflow, and the built logic are the same and didn’t change but rather enhanced.

So when you see project 2013 or project online or project 2016 don’t get lost; it is all about where and how do you want to implement the MS project. Microsoft made these editions to make your life easier as you are adapting the most appropriate version for you, your work environment, and your team knowledge.

What is new in 2013
Microsoft kept the same interface and same structure as project 2010 so if you are familiar with 2010 version you will have no problem with 2013 version. Three main improvements:
Reports
Now you can access the report section from the ribbon.
Great reporting capability where you don’t have to leave the MS project to create nice looking and informative reports, now all is done inside the project.
Very powerful graphical reports covers all your project aspects.
Pre-installed ability to compare projects, do dashboards, and to export to Visual Reports.
         
           Task paths
No it is very easy to locate any task’s predecessors and successors. By clicking on a specific task, all of its predecessor tasks show up in one color and all of its successor tasks show up in another color.

Integration and Sharing
Just hover over the name and you will be able to contact him via skype, email, or start an IM session.
From any MS Office products, you can copy from or to the project.
Access your project from anywhere with Project 2013 online. Project Online 2013 is a web app that has a
All Project 2013 functionalities.


What is new in 2016

Reports
New Reports section
Compatibility
Project Server 2013 backwards-compatibility
Integration
Perfect integration with other Microsoft products,
User friendly
Improved appearance of user interface items
Multiple timelines
Now user can create multiple timeline bars and custom date ranges in a single view
Coordination
Great feature to improve the coordination between Project Manager and Resource Manager
Help

Uses the new Office query 'tell me what you want to do’ to get instant help and support

Monday, May 4, 2015

The 7 Questions Every PMP Student SHOULD Ask Their Coach

The 7 Questions Every PMP Student SHOULD Ask Their Coach
By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM and Dan Ryan, MBA, PMP


In our previous article we discussed the 7 questions that most of our PMP Exam coaching students ask us as they start out their journey. However, over the years we have identified a second set of 7 questions - the questions students SHOULD be asking us but they don’t. Here they are: 




1. What’s the most important brain dump or diagram to learn?
This is an easy question! It’s Table 3-1 in the PMBOK® Guide. This covers the Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping. It’s a complicated matrix and a very important visual representation of Project Management Body of Knowledge and Project Management framework. It is very much a guiding tool for approaching the PMP exam and one of the most important brain dumps that you could have in the testing center to help you.
2. What formulas do I need to know for the PMP exam?
There are many formulas in the PMBOK® Guide; upwards of 20 or 30 that could be referenced in the PMP exam. A PMP exam coach would tell you that you will probably only see somewhere in a range of around 15 formulas on the exam itself.
If time is short and you want to focus your learning on what will really make a difference to your success in the exam, identify the formulas that are most likely to come up and make sure you fully understand those. A formulas study guide, coach or PMP exam tutor will be able to pinpoint the most important formulas for you. Start by memorizing those to maximize your learning time.
3. What are these Inputs, Outputs, Tools and Techniques (ITTOs)?
ITTOs tend to scare a lot of PMP students and some exam candidates have confided that they didn’t understand or know about them before they took the exam! They are very important for understanding how project management concepts and processes fit together, both for the exam and also for managing projects in ‘real life’ after the exam.
Make sure you spend enough time learning about their structure, and how you are likely to encounter them on the PMP exam. You can do this through studying the PMBOK® Guide, and using other study guides and flashcards. Taking practice PMP exams is another good way of testing your knowledge of ITTOs as you will get to see how the questions are framed on the exam and learn how best to respond to them.
4. What are some tricks to answering these long scenario-based questions on the PMP exam?
This is an excellent question that PMP exam coaches don’t hear often enough! The best students want to know how to deal with the long paragraphs that they see on the PMP exam.
These long questions are often a source of great difficulty for many students. The content of the question is often in a strange order and there are facts that are added in simply to distract you. The answers are also often longer than normal, so scanning through and making a quick judgment about how to answer is tricky. So how can you deal with these scenario-based questions?
Something that works well for many exam candidates is to read the last part of the question first. You can also use a process of elimination on certain answers by referring to your brain dump of Table 3-1, the Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping, or your formula sheet.
Practicing with an exam simulator and talking to your colleagues and coaches will help you understand and practice these long scenario-based questions.
5. How can I manage my time on the exam day?
Four hours seems like a very long time and in the past students were often able to complete the exam comfortably within this time. Now PMP exam tutors learn from their students that the test seems to be taking longer. You can still complete it within the 4 hour window allocated, but students are reporting that it is taking the full allocation of time so they don’t have the opportunity to leave early.
This could be for any number of reasons, including that students are now better prepared and are marking more questions for review. It could also be that earned value calculations are playing a great part in the exam and for many students, they add additional time. Whatever the reasons, you do need to manage your time carefully on the day to ensure that you have enough time to finish without being rushed. 
Once you get on top of your time management you have a much better chance of passing the PMP exam.
6. What’s the best approach for learning all the content?
The best approach for learning all the content (and there is a lot of it!) depends on your learning style. Some people learn best by reading and absorbing information in their own time. This allows them to make notes and create their own flashcards, for example. If that sounds like you, a PMP study guide would be a good starting point.
Other people learn best through visual means, and if that sounds like your preferred learning style then the best approach that you could possibly take would be to find yourself a world class set of video learning lessons which will provide you with all of the content on all of the processes, the framework, and the body of knowledge in a visual way. 
Others learn best in an environment with other people. A classroom course or PMP exam tutoring in a group can be a good solution if you prefer to learn in the company of others. Of course, you also have the option to learn one-on-one with a study buddy (a peer who is studying for the PMP exam at the same time as you), a mentor or PMP coach. Don’t limit yourself to having to meet in person as there are online options that also give you the personal touch without physically having to be in the same location, such as coaching via Skype.
You may want to use a combined approach to suit your situation so mix and match your learning options until you feel comfortable that you have a study plan that meets your personal needs and preferences.
7. How many practice exams should I take and what score should I score?
How many exams you take depends on how much time you have! It’s more important to make sure that you have access to practice exams that provide you with questions that are known to be almost exactly like the ones on the real test. Try to find a source of questions that are highly regarded to be very realistic. When you get to a point where you are repeatedly doing simulated exams at scores of 80% or better you know you are ready go in and pass that exam.
Do you feel better prepared for your PMP exam knowing the answers to these questions? We hope so! As you can see, it’s very difficult to give definitive answers in some cases as every student is different. The main message is to ensure you dovetail all of this advice together, making sure that you are studying in the right way, learning on the right timeline, taking the test questions right, and getting ready for the exam. Good luck!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Three R's You need for Your PMP Exam

The Three R's You need for Your PMP Exam
By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM

As part of the process of preparing to take the Project Management Professional (PMP®) Exam you have most likely read about the use of a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM), Roles and Responsibilities, and the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). Each of these tools & techniques are discussed within A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013, the globally recognized standard and guide for the project management profession. In this article we not only look at each of these tools & techniques individually, but also how they interact with each other.




What is a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)? 
It is a tool used as part of the Plan Human Resource Management process that relates the organizational breakdown structure (OBS) to the work breakdown structure (WBS) and is used to ensure each project activity is assigned a specific resource. A RAM can be used at a high level, a low level, or a combination of both depending on the size and complexity of the project. A high-level RAM may show that Company A has been hired to complete the engineering portion of a project. A low-level RAM may show that Joe Smith of Company A will be completing the electrical engineering for the design portion of the project. 
One of the most widely known and used type of RAM is the RACI chart. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consult, and Inform. A RACI chart is simply a table with project activities listed along the left and specific individuals or groups identified across the top. This creates a grid where each activity and individual or group intersect. An R, A, C, or I can be placed in each of the intersecting boxes and at least one accountable individual or group is assigned to each project activity. For large activities there may need to be more than one individual responsible for completing the work. There can be multiple individuals or groups who need to be consulted or informed, but be careful to make sure that each is identified correctly so that not too many unnecessary individuals or groups are being consulted when they may just want to be informed.
What are Roles and Responsibilities? They are used to define the project role, authority, responsibilities, and competencies required for the role. Clearly defining and documenting the specific Roles and Responsibilities necessary for each project resource are essential ingredients of an effective Human Resource Management Plan. The best way to determine the specific responsibilities required of each role on a project is to document these roles in the form of specific job descriptions that must be matched with specific project team members in order to properly execute the role’s responsibilities.
The four key items to be addressed when developing Roles and Responsibilities are role, authority, responsibility, and competency. Role is the function an assigned person would take on such as designer, engineer, or tester. As part of a role it is also important to define the authority, responsibilities, and boundaries of the role. Authority is the right to make decisions, sign approvals, apply resources, accept deliverables, and influence others to complete project activities. Responsibility is the assigned tasks and work the individual is expected to complete. When developing roles and responsibilities it is important that the authority and responsibility match. For example, if an engineer is responsible for making technical decisions it is important they have the authority to implement those decisions. Competency is the skill set and experience required to complete assigned project activities. If the wrong competency is assigned to a role project progress can be hindered by some activities not being performed.

What is the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS)? 
It is a graphical representation of the hierarchical structure of resources by category and resource type where each level is broken down until it is small enough to be used in conjunction with the work breakdown structure (WBS). The goal is to have all resources on a project, not only human resources, linked to specific activities in the WBS in order to plan, monitor, and control the project work. Being able to link resources back to the WBS is essential in ensuring that each activity will be successfully performed.
One thing to remember when taking the PMP Exam is that the acronym RBS has two meanings in the world of project management; Resource Breakdown Structure and Risk Breakdown Structure. If you read the questions carefully and understand the context of the question context (i.e., are they asking about resources or risks?) you should not encounter any problems.

How do the Responsibility Assignment Matrix, Roles and Responsibilities, and Resource Breakdown Structure interact? 
The RBS will provide the project manager with information concerning the resources required to complete the project work. Once the RBS is decomposed to the same level as the WBS then identified resources can be linked to specific activities. A RACI chart can then be developed based on the identified resources in the RBS and the activities that need to be completed in the WBS. The documented Roles and Responsibilities provides the project manager with specific information such as the responsibility, authority, and competency level of the role that each human resource is assigned to. This also helps the Project Manager complete the RACI chart because it provides them with important information such as making someone responsible or accountable for an activity fitting within the role they fill.
In this article we were able to take a brief look at three very important project management topics and how they interact with each other in practice. A popular RAM, the RACI chart, is an extremely useful tool used to identify who is accountable or responsible for or needs to be consulted or informed with regard to specific project activities. Roles and Responsibilities can be thought of as job descriptions that define the role itself along with the authority needed to perform the role, the responsibilities of the role, and the competencies required by the role. The RBS graphically displays what resources are necessary for successful completion of the project, broken down by both resource category and resource type. For the exam, it is important that you understand not only how and when to use each of these tools & techniques, but also how they interact with each other.


Summary 
Three tools & techniques you may encounter as you prepare to take the PMP Exam are the Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM), Roles and Responsibilities, and the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). It is essential to understand each of these topics by themselves in order to plan, monitor, and control project activities. It is also important to understand how the RAM, Roles and Responsibilities, and the RBS interact.

For FREE PMP Exam Preparation tools, tips, and self-study materials visit PMLEAD.NET



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

PMP Exam Myths...


You have read the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) publication, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), from cover to cover; studied other Project Management-related texts; and you feel you are preparing well to take and pass the Management Professional (PMP)® Exam. There are, however, a number of myths related to the exam process and the exam itself that you are not sure are valid. In this article, we are going to take a look at six myths related to the PMP® Exam process and bust them so you can quit worrying about what is true and continue with studying for and taking the exam
Myth1: You need to score a 61% to pass the PMP® Exam
No, while this was true at one time, it is no longer the case. Passing the PMP® Exam is no longer determined by the percentage of questions you answer correctly. It is calculated using a sound psychometric analysis. In essence this means that the harder questions are worth more than the easier questions. So you get a higher score if you answer more of the harder questions correctly and a lower score if you answer more of the easier questions correctly. The minimum score needed to pass is determined by the overall difficultly of your individual exam.
Myth 2: Only PMI Registered Education Providers are authorized to give PMP® Exam Prep Courses
No, there is no authorized or unauthorized training material for the PMP® Exam. Several types of training companies can provide training for the PMP® Exam, which may include courses or programs offered by PMI Registered Education Providers (REP); training companies or consultants; PMI component organizations; employer- or company-sponsored programs, distance-learning companies, which need to include an end-of-course assessment; or even university or college academic or continuing-education programs. Essentially anyone can provide training for the PMP® Exam. The advantage of ensuring your training comes from a PMI REP is you have the assurance that the provider has been reviewed by PMI for standardization and quality.
Myth 3: Obtaining the PMP® Certification will lead to a higher salary
That depends. The potential to see an increase in salary depends on several factors including your country of employment, years of experience, and the average size of projects you manage. Every year PMI conducts and publishes information related to their salary survey. In the 2012 report, it was found that even with a sluggish economy, the average salary for a PMP® credential holder had risen. However, there is no guarantee that passing the PMP® Exam will lead to a higher salary.
Myth 4: The exam application audit process uses applicant profiling
No, the exam application-audit process is completely random. When completing your PMP® Exam application, keep in mind that you may be audited, so be prepared just in case you are selected. Make sure you are 100% truthful; have documentation to back up anything you claim on your application such as training certificates; and mention to current and former employers or colleagues that you are applying to take the PMP® Exam in case they are contacted by PMI to verify any assertions on your application. Think of this application as a job application; there is a chance that your references will be checked.
Myth 5: You must know the Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs (ITTOs) by heart
No, you do not need to spend time memorizing the around 500 ITTOs described in the PMBOK® Guide; instead you need to understand the concepts behind them. It is possible you will have questions on the PMP® Exam such as “Which of the following is not an input to the Create WBS process?” where memorizing the ITTOs may help. However, it is more likely you will have questions that relate to how or why a specific ITTO is used in a process and memorization will be of no use to you when answering those types of questions. So, your goal needs to be to fully understand the concepts of each process in the PMBOK® Guide, not the memorization of the ITTOs.
Myth 6: You need 35 PDUs before you can take the PMP® Exam
Almost. You need are 35 contact hours before you take the PMP® Exam -- not 35 Professional Developmental Units (PDUs). So you are required to have at least 35 contact hours to be eligible to take the PMP® Exam. You do not need to worry about PDUs until you have obtained your PMP® Certification, then you must follow PMIs Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) and earn 60 PDUs every three years to maintain your PMP® Credential. Remember, you need contact hours before taking the PMP® Exam and PDUs after.
There are many PMP® Exam myths, and it is often difficult to distinguish what is the truth and what is myth. Myths can be difficult to eradicate so remember, anytime you come across something that makes you scratch your head or say “hmmmmm”, you can verify what you have heard or read by checking the PMP® Handbook or writing to PMI Customer Care; they are happy to help dispel myths.

Written by : Cornelius Fichtner, PMP 
Project manager, PMP trainer, 
host of The PM Podcast and public speaker.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Are you PMP certified and need to earn PDUs???

It takes just three steps:

1. Watch The Agile PrepCast
2. Receive your PDU Certificate
3. Claim 35 PDUs

The Agile PrepCast is a PMI-ACP Exam preparation course that certified PMPs can use to earn PDUs.

For the whole month of April 2014, you can get The Agile PrepCast at a discounted price of $161.99. That is $18 savings for you!

To claim the coupon, simply use the coupon code Apr14 when you check out


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

pass your PMP exam successfully

The PM PrepCast is a PMP® Exam Prep Video Workshop that you download to your portable media player like an iPod, Blackberry or Zune. This gives you the freedom to study for the exam wherever and whenever you want. It is a complete PMP® exam study approach that increases your chance of passing the PMP® Exam. It will shorten your study time because it keeps you focused and you don't have to read dozens of other books to prepare. Watch the 42 hours of video from The PM PrepCast and you'll be ready to tackle the exam.

For more PMP exam preparation tools, tips and self-study materials check out The PMLEAD.net

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Earn 37 PDUs with The Agile PrepCast

By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM

Are you a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)®, Program Management Professional (PgMP)®, or PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® in need of Professional Development Units (PDUs)? Then use The Agile PrepCast™ and earn 37 PDUs.

The Agile PrepCast is a PMI-ACP Exam prep video workshop that you download to your smart phone, tablet, or computer. This means you can watch the lessons anywhere, anytime, and at your own convenience. With The Agile PrepCast there is no need to spend hours in the class room. You can put on your headphones while doing house work, working out, even on your commute to work. The Agile PrepCast is a low cost high quality alternative to learning in the classroom setting. The Agile PrepCast has over 150 video and audio lessons which cover Agile frameworks, methods, concepts, and tools and techniques. Each lesson averages 25 minutes in length, which can be perfect for those who are always on the go and want to make the most of their time.

You may be thinking to yourself that because The Agile PrepCast is an exam prep course, is there any real benefit to someone who is already certified? The answer is yes.

First let’s look at The Agile PrepCast if you are currently PMP or PgMP certified. The content is completely dedicated to Agile related topics which are not part of the PMP or PgMP certification process and as more and more companies start to utilize Agile practices these lessons will most likely become more and more relevant in your day to day work. The Agile PrepCast can provide a PMP or PgMP certification holder with the opportunity to greatly expand their knowledge of Agile while earning PDUs at the same time.

And if you are already PMI-ACP certified, then The Agile PrepCast is a great recertification tool. It is based based on the most recent version of the PMI-ACP Exam. If you didn’t use The Agile PrepCast as part of your exam preparation, then you can watch it and claimed 37 PDUs.

Getting started and earning your PDUs using The Agile PrepCast is an easy process. The first steps are to go to www.agileprepcast.com, order the program, and download the lessons to your smart phone, tablet, or computer. Then watch the lessons at your own pace on your own schedule. You can watch each lesson as many times as you would like to. The lessons are designed to help you understand Agile concept instead of memorizing them. Finally, once you feel you understand the Agile frameworks, methods, concepts, tools and techniques you will need to take the “Final Exam” in order to receive your certificate to obtain credit for PDUs. You can take this exam as many times as you needed until you pass.

Earning PDUs with The Agile PrepCast just made maintaining your PMP, PgMP, or PMI-ACP certification much easier. It is a great alternative to a class room setting, provides you with quality up to date lessons related to Agile, and is cost effective.

Take your first step at www.agileprepcast.com.

For more information visit http://www.pmlead.net