Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Answering Situational questions in PMP Exam

Step by Step Guide to Answering Situational questions in PMP Exam by Bheema Prakash, PMP

If you are preparing for the PMP certification and you have taken some practice exams already you know what situational questions are. Everyone will agree that situational questions in the PMP exam are by far the most confusing ones. These describe a situation and expect you to pick the right course of action described in the answers. These questions are normally lengthy and may contain a lot of information including irrelevant stuff. In addition, you may find multiple correct answers where you are challenged to pick one answer. The answers could be lengthy and confusing also.

Unless you are prepared to analyze the question and answers in a systematic manner, there is a good chance of getting these questions wrong. A "correct" answer may not be the "right" answer!

The purpose of this article is to provide a step by step guide to approach these questions and arrive at the right answer. In a later section I take a real situational question from a PMP sample question collection and walk through the process of arriving at the answer.
When you find a situational question in the PMP exam, follow these steps in this order to arrive at the right answer. Not all the steps may be relevant for all questions. But you can apply the relevant steps by reading the questions.

Step 1: Filter irrelevant information and capture the gist of the question: Lot of times only certain parts in the question are relevant and rest is just noise. It is important to eliminate them and understand exactly what the question is asking for.

Step 2: Read all the answers:
You must read ALL the answers provided. Some people have a tendency to just stop and pick the fist answer they found correct. For situational questions there could be more than one correct answer and you have to pick the best answer.

Step 3: Rule out obviously wrong answers: This is where the filtering process begins. While reading the answers you will find that some of the answers are obviously wrong. You first eliminate them.

Step 4: Shortlist potential correct answers: By eliminating the obviously wrong answers you will end up with potential correct answers.

Step 5: Apply each answer to the context: Try to apply each potential correct answer to the context. Meaning, an answer may be correct. But, does it satisfy ALL the conditions mentioned in the question? Based on that, eliminate any answer that is out of context.

Step 6: Compare the actions against the processes and knowledge areas: The PMBOK guide explains in detail, different ITTOs attached to the knowledge areas and their sequence. Compare the question and the answers against them and see if an answer is in line with those ITTOs. If not, eliminate that answer.

Step 7: Look at specific terms such as BEST, NEXT, NOT, EXCEPT and LAST used in the question: This is really important! In most cases this becomes the deciding factor while picking the final right answer. Pay extra attention to these keywords. For a specific problem, question may be asking for the NEXT action and there could be multiple actions listed in the answer section. Then you have to pick the NEXT action applicable to the situation described in the question.
Let us take an example situational question and follow through these steps to arrive at the final answer. That will make these steps much clearer.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

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ESI Announces Top 10 Project Management Trends for 2012

Collaboration Gains Importance as Project Complexity Grows

1. Programme management will gain momentum, but resources remain in short supply

Increasingly, large initiatives undertaken by corporations and government agencies are being recognised for what they are and aren't: namely programmes, not projects, which require a highly advanced set of skills supported by appropriate tools and methods to successfully execute. Yet many organisations struggle to find the right people and lack the management practices necessary to ensure success. In 2012, we will see more investments made in competency models, training, methodology development, tool use, and career pathing to ensure that professionals who carry the title Programme Manager are fit for the role.

2. Collaboration software solutions will become an essential business tool for project teams

The proliferation of collaborative software in the project environment such as SharePoint® is going to intensify in 2012. Fuelled by increasingly complex and virtual projects as well as tightened budgets, today's environment demands a more efficient way to manage communication and workflow. Collaboration is central to project management and having a site which allows project artifacts to be created, shared and distributed within a repository that provides Web-based access and critical functions such as automatic distribution and notification, version control, and user authentication, greatly enhances productivity.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Steps To Recover From a PMP Exam Fail

by Josh Nankivel
I get to help people with all kinds of questions about their project management careers, and I absolutely love doing it.
I offer and recommend training to teach general project management knowledge, career coaching, and to help with things like PMP certification.

But what happens if you fail the PMP exam? It's Not All Puppy Dogs And Rainbows

I've noticed a higher number of people than usual contacting me who have failed the PMP exam, asking what to do next.

My guess is that more people rushed to take the exam before the August PMP exam changes, even though I advised not to.

And they weren't ready for it.

It can be a devastating blow to your ego anytime you fail at something. So let me give some tips about dealing with it, and moving forward.

Step 1 - Mindset

First, stop beating yourself up about it. It's probably a good idea to take a break from studying for a bit too and give yourself some space and time to get your head right.

I'm a big believer that we learn the most when we fail, if we have the right mindset about failure. If you failed at nothing, would you ever have succeed at anything?

In fact, I think it's healthy to view failure as something you should expect to do now and then. Sure, try to avoid it if you can.

But it's no good beating yourself up about it once it's happened.

Pick yourself up and move forward with your new insights.

Focus on lessons learned and trying to objectively assess what you could have done better...more specifically, what you will do better next time.

This is where the next step comes in, assessment.

Step 2 - Assess

Once you are approaching this from the right perspective, it's time to ask yourself some tough (but very useful) questions.

Memorization vs Understanding
Do you feel like you truly understand the concepts and find them easy to recall; or do you feel like what you are doing is mostly memorization?

When you were studying and listening to
The PrepCast, etc. - did you find yourself asking questions like "but what does that really mean" or "I don't understand, I need an example?" - I feel you should have these types of questions popping up all the time while studying... and then take the time to go answer those questions for yourself.

I think you'll find that once you allow yourself to ask questions about anything and everything you are uncertain about, after you are finished answering them you'll feel you REALLY know and fully understand the content.

When you get to that point, passing the exam is easy - because now you are pursuing mastery, not merely a passing score. Did you struggle with particular areas, or in general?

Be honest. Did you just not get risk management at all, or need a better grasp on the concepts in general? What do you feel your primary areas to work on are?

Was your preparation sufficient?

Describe in detail what you have been doing so far to prepare....how have you been using the materials? How confident were you in your knowledge (true understanding of the concepts) and how did you ensure your confidence was warranted? Don't make this a question about how much money you spent - I've seen people spend thousands and get nothing out of it, while others spent less than a few hundred and were fully prepared for mastery, not just passing.
Is English your native language?

I have heard that for people who have English as a second language, the test can be difficult even if you understand the content very well. If you feel that a language barrier was the primary reason why you struggled with the exam, try to explore what exactly was tripping you up about the language.

Are you just not good at taking tests?

Some people are just better at taking tests than others. It's true. And the questions in the PMP exam can be confusing, even 'trick' questions. You can do things to get better at taking tests though. For example, during the exam get up and take short breaks often. Especially for those of us who get mondo-stressed about taking any kind of test, sitting still for hours is just not conducive to performing well.

Step 3 - Plan Your Comeback

Once you have forgiven yourself for failing and seen it as a way to learn and grow, and you've assessed what you can do better going forward it's time to make a plan.

It's going to depend completely on your assessment. Do you need more (or better) study materials? Do you need to focus on a particular area? Perhaps you just need to try again, with a focus on mastery instead of memorization.

Whatever it is, make a plan. Write it down in concrete terms. Schedule your new exam date, even if it's far out in the future.

Step 4 - Execute

Now you are approaching the PMP exam with a whole new outlook.

If you don't feel like something significant has changed in your approach and understanding of how to prepare for the exam, stop. You've done something wrong.

Don't use the same approach and mindset you did last time. That's the definition of insanity.

If your assessment didn't come back with some actionable things you can do differently, you were not being honest with yourself. Go back to step 2, or even step 1 if you haven't forgiven yourself yet.
Source: http://pmstudent.com/4-steps-to-recover-from-a-pmp-exam-fail/