Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Book Review: I Want To Be A PfMP – A Definitive Guide for PfMP Certification

By John P S Oliver, PfMP, PgMP, PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, PMI-SP



Why this Book?

The PfMP Exam Prep Book, I want To Be A PfMP, is a result of the author’s knowledge and experience in the project, program and portfolio management domain. This book covers the entire portfolio management topics in a simple and practical manner so that any portfolio management practitioner or anyone aspiring to practice portfolio management would find it easy to absorb the concepts and practice it in real world scenarios.

This book along with the practice standard for portfolio management is a one stop solution to ace your PfMP exam. The author has covered concepts from all reference books for the PfMP exam to give us a single source material for the PfMP exam. 

This book comes with sample chapter end questions along with a full set of exam level questions and various financial calculations and formulas required for the exam.


PfMP Book – I Want To be A PfMP

The key aspect of this book is that it maps each of the knowledge areas /processes to the PfMP exam content outline tasks which helps the readers to understand context and ultimately help them answering the questions in the exam. 

The other distinct feature of the book is the vision and revision tips for each significant topic. This helps the reader to remember and review the important points. 

Another highlight of this book is the way in which the process interactions have been explained graphically, for every knowledge area. This method simplifies the complex interactions and makes it very useful to grasp the knowledge of how the various processes interact with one another which is not available in most of the other books.

A distinct feature of this book is the availability of videos for Risk Response Strategies, Monte Carlo Analysis, EVM and Portfolio Management Process interactions. These videos help the learner in understanding the concepts effectively.

The various snapshots using MS Project and Primavera provide the learners with real life utilities in applying the concepts.

The other prime feature of this book is calling out the ITTO’s for each process and explaining their relevance. For example, the same tool or technique is used in different ways in different processes. Since most of the questions from the PfMP exam are based on ITTO’s, this understanding is essential to get the right answer in your PfMP exam.

The chapter end questions provide you with an opportunity to revise your knowledge of the chapters while the full-length question set helps you prepare for the certification exam. 

Overall this book is indispensable for aspiring PfMPs to get certified in the first attempt.


Chapters in the Book – I Want To be A PfMP

Chapter 1 – Welcome: This chapter provides you a sneak peek of the contents of the book while setting the context for each chapter. This is a good place to start as it helps you to understand how to use this book along with the Standard for Portfolio Management v3 and Exam Content Outline. This chapter also provides you information on the PfMP exam which is invaluable for your preparation.

Chapter 2 – Introduction: As the title suggests, this chapter introduces us to Portfolio, Portfolio, Program, Project and Operations Management. The main highlight of this chapter is that it simplifies some crucial concepts of Portfolios, Programs, and Projects in layman’s terms for our understanding. This understanding is crucial to acing your PfMP exam.

Chapter 3 - Portfolio Management and Organization: This chapter talks about the various life cycles, stakeholders, roles and responsibilities of portfolio management and the common inputs and outputs of portfolio management processes. The various life cycles and their differences are explained in a simple manner which is easy to understand.

Chapter 4 - Portfolio Management Process Groups: This chapter covers the portfolio management process groups, knowledge areas and the processes. The author has done a wonderful job of explaining the sequence and interaction of the 16 processes across the process groups and knowledge areas which is the highlight of this chapter. This sequencing acts as a process map / work flow of the processes for portfolio management. 

There are also videos explaining the interaction of the processes. This helps the reader in understanding how the processes work within the portfolio management process groups and knowledge areas which is important from the PfMP exam point of view.

Chapter 5 - Portfolio Strategic Management: This is the first knowledge area in the portfolio management and the author explains the 4 processes of this knowledge area in a graphical manner which is easy to understand. This chapter also calls out the ITTO’s of the processes and provides the contents of each key deliverables like the portfolio strategic plan, portfolio charter and portfolio roadmap. These are very important points in the context of the exam.

Chapter 6 - Portfolio Governance Management: The highlight of this chapter is the flow chart of Portfolio Component states and the explanation of various tools and techniques which are important for the exam. The various portfolio component states help us understand the processes and the resultant output clearly.

Chapter 7 - Portfolio Performance Management: This chapter provides critical information on performance management of the portfolio including the KPIs and the various tools and techniques used to measure the KPIs. You can expect a good amount of questions based on EVM metrics in the exam.

Chapter 8 - Portfolio Communication Management: Here the author has talked about the importance of communication in portfolio management. This chapter provides information on various communication terms like communication models and communication methods. One other important aspect covered in this chapter is the stakeholder identification, analysis and classification for communication.

Chapter 9 - Portfolio Risk Management: This chapter delves into the portfolio risk management knowledge area and its processes. It talks about the sources and types of risks, categories of risks and the various tools and techniques used in the processes. 

Chapter 10 - Portfolio Management Financials, Charts and Calculations: This chapter covers the various financial calculations, charts and formulas used in the portfolio management domains.

The last 2 chapters provide information on the PfMP credential including the qualifications required and the process for applying and getting certified.


Brief Profile:

Name: John P S Oliver, PfMP, PgMP, PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, PMI-SP

Current Role: Lead Business Accountability Specialist

Brief experience: 25+ years of experience in Operations, Project, Program and Risk management across Healthcare, Retail, Telecom and BFSI verticals.



New Book Available for PfMP Exam:
You may also like:

Saturday, June 08, 2024

Planned Vs. Actual Percent Complete–Understanding the Format () Function in MS Project


One of the most read articles in this website is Planned and Actual Percent Complete with MS Project. I periodically receive questions on it as MS Project practitioners need this functionality. By default, the ‘% complete’ (Actual % Complete) field is available in MS Project software, but not the Planned % Complete. 

The Problem

Now, while data is needed, your stakeholders would like to see the reports – most likely in a histogram. I realized it’s easier said than done for many as they struggle to format the field in certain special situations and hence their report doesn’t come properly. For example, when you add a special task into the already baselined plan, and try to determine the Planned and Actual % complete, you will get the following numbers.


As shown:

  • I’ve added a new task: Special Task of 2 days duration.
  • When tracked, not so readable numbers of 68.8888888888889% is coming for the Top Summary Task and 36.3636363636364% is coming for the Phase – 2 Summary Task. 

The above numbers are not properly readable and hence, won’t be visualizable with our histogram report. You can see the above numbers in this video at 4m:37s.

Current Formula Used

The formatting given for Number 3 with cStr () function, doesn’t help much as this what the cStr () function does according to MS Project custom fields in Project Desktop

CStr

Coerces an expression to data type String.

Syntax

CStr( expression )

expression  Any valid string or numeric expression.

In our case, I’ve concatenated the “%” into the ‘Number 3’ custom field and have this expression. It’s noted as: 

Text1: cStr ([Number3] & “%”)

The Format () Function

The Format () function available for MS Project custom fields is quite useful in this scenario. In this article, we will understand more of it. In an upcoming article, I’ll show how to build the Planned Vs. Actual % Complete in a histogram.

Again, the format function is noted in this link of project functions for custom fields for MS Project. While it’s noted for MS Project 2019, these fields and functions are applicable for later versions of MS Project.

For the Format () function, the documentation notes the following.

Syntax

Format( expression[, format[, firstdayofweek[, firstweekofyear]]] )

expression  Required; any valid expression.

format  Optional; a valid named or user-defined format expression.

firstdayofweek  Optional; a Constant that specifies the first day of the week.

firstweekofyear  Optional; a Constant that specifies the first week of the year.

It’s clearly saying that the Format () function must have a valid expression. It's followed by a ‘format”, which is optional and it can be user-defined format. The final two – firstdayofweek and firstweekofyear – are optional. 

Examples of Format () Function

Let’s take some examples to understand as there is no better way to learn! As shown below, I’ve two custom fields:

  • Number1 – A number custom field. There is no formula given for this field. 
  • Formatted Number1 – A text custom field to have the formatted expression for Number1. The formula given for this custom field is Format([Number1],"#0.000"). It tells to format the Number1 with user defined format of ‘#0.000’.

Do note that I’m directly using the Gantt Chart view of MS Project software. 

In the Number1 custom field, I’ll enter a variety of numbers (positive, negative, with decimals etc.) and the formatted expression will be auto-populated in the Formatted Number1 custom field.

Next, as I enter the numbers, the formatted expression of these numbers is shown in the next column. This is depicted below.


Let’s understand the above formatting:

For 23, it returns 23.000. In other words, Format (23, “#0.000”) returns 23.000.

  • Format (45.55, “#0.000”) will return 45.550.
  • Format (3.35, “#0.000”) will return 3.350.
  • Format (-4, “#0.000”) will return -4.000.
  • Format (-5.76, “#0.000”) will return -5.760.
  • Format (0, “#0.000”) will return 0.000.

You’d have understood why that is the case. The Format () function is taking the number and formatting with “#0.000” expression. 

  • The ‘#’ in the expression, before the decimal point, denotes any number.
  • The ‘0’ in the expression, before the decimal point, is specifically to include the zero. If this is not given, then Format (0, “#.000”) with only a “#” will return ‘.000’. Note that a zero is missing before the decimal. We don’t want that! Do we?
  • The three zeroes, after the decimal, results in the expressions including 3 points after the decimal. If you have four zeros, then it will have 4 points after the decimal.

Other Styles of Formatting

In our previous example, we used Format([Number1], “#0.000”) with the user-defined format expression of ‘#0.000’.  Others can be:

  • String = Format(177.8, "###0.00")  will return “177.80 ".
  • String = Format(4499.7, "##,##0.00") will return "4,499.70".
  • String = Format(9, "0.00%") will return "900.00%".

Interpreting the above formatted expressions:

  • In the first case, we have three hashes (#) followed with a zero (0), before the decimal and two zeros after the decimal. We received the corresponding formatted number.
  • In the second case, we have a comma before the decimal and hence, a comma is included in the formatted output string. 
  • The last case is interesting to note! We don’t have any hash before the decimal, and we have a “%” included and hence, the resulting formatted expression has been multiplied by 100!

Solution to Our Problem

Remember the first problem we started with the for Planned Vs. Actual Percent Complete? 

Now, I believe, you can address the problem. We have to simply change the formatting of the Number3 custom field. The formula used will be the following:

Planned % Complete = Format([Number3],"#0.00") & cStr("%") 

I’ve additionally used the cStr (“%”) to display the % notation next to the number. In the custom field it will be used as shown below.

Next, when you apply the above formula, the value will come properly as shown below.

As shown above:

  • Now, for the top summary task, instead of 68.8888888888889%, we have 68.89% being shown.
  • For the Phase – 2 summary task, instead of 36.3636363636364%, we are having 36.36%

Aren’t these numbers more readable?

Conclusion

There are a number of custom fields and functions available in MS Project software. I'd definitely suggest you keep this link handy, if you want to know more on custom fields and working on them. You can also read the following two foundational articles:

The Format () function is quite helpful if you are using MS Project custom fields. As we learned in this article, this function can format any type of number in the way you want.

In addition, with this Format () function we will have a better report, which we are going to see in the next article.

References:

[1] Online Video Course: MS Project Live Lessons, Guaranteed Learning or Your Money Back

[2] Article: Understanding Planned Vs. Actual Percent Complete with MS Project


Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Top Ten Reasons To Go For ManagementYogi’s CHAMP Certification


Professionals around the world have taken the Certified Hybrid-Agile Master Professional (CHAMP) course offered by ManagementYogi and some of them are already CHAMP certified. You can read some of the CHAMP Success Stories.


But as an aspiring professional wants to know about CHAMP, he or she is uncertain due to factors and has a number of questions.

  • Other “well-recognized” bodies also provide Hybrid-Agile certification. Why should I go for ManagementYogi’s CHAMP certificate?
  • I already have Agile certification such as Scrum Master, Product Owner or Agile Practitioner related. How will CHAMP add value to my career?
  • CHAMP certification is not well-known or well-established. How will I get recognition for my effort?

First and foremost, Agile and Hybrid-Agile are different concepts. The way of delivery is different when you compare Waterfall and Agile. Hybrid-Agile is when you combine waterfall or non-Agile with one or more Agile frameworks. 

Hybrid-Agile has seen strong usages in industries and many surveys inform us that usage is on the rise. Learning the concepts and earning a certificate will definitely give a boost to your career and your professional growth prospects.

In this article, I’ll outline 10 top reasons to go for CHAMP certification. There can and will be other reasons as outlined by successfully certified CHAMPs.

--

Reason – 1: CHAMP certification is the only certification in the world on Hybrid-Agile Management with strong emphasis on hands-on learning.

Indeed, there are many Hybrid-Agile certifications offered around the world. But not one – not even one – certification emphasizes hands-on learning!

CHAMP is the only certification in the world which takes your learning to the highest level. You can make a search, and you won’t find anyone offering such content.

Reason – 2: As a CHAMP, you will learn both theory and practical. While theory is needed, practical and hands-on applicability is crucial.

Almost all certifications are focused on the theoretical aspects. While theory is needed to learn and understand, practical aspects are very important when you go to the real world. 

For example, let’s say you are asked to baseline a Hybrid project. How would you do that without using a software tool or knowing how to do it practically? Take another example of earned value management (EVM), which predictive projects need for regulatory compliance. 

Your learning is effective only when you can apply it in the real-world. Otherwise, it’s just plain theory without practical applicability. 

Reason – 3: The CHAMP credential is accepted and recognized by management practitioners around the world: North America, Europe and Asia. 

This is one of the key questions that I face from aspiring CHAMPs – recognition. Is this certificate recognized? As a CHAMP, will I be accepted at my peer level of other certifications?

To answer directly, the certification is recognized by professionals around the world from North America to Asia to Europe. You will be in a specific group of high-achieving professionals, who actually know the management of Hybrid-Agile projects. Very few, if at all, have this skillset as this CHAMP Success Story informs.

Considering another aspect, as a CHAMP, you can demonstrate live – how Hybrid-Agile management happens with a hands-on software tool. In this case, the MS Project (Agile) software tool is used.

Reason – 4: With CHAMP certification, you will learn in-depth, hands-on Hybrid-Scrum Management. No other certification provides it.

Scrum is one of the popular Lean-Agile frameworks. But then:

  • How do you apply and employ Scrum within a Hybrid project? 
  • Are the roles and responsibilities different or do they change for the project manager? Is there any separate role for the Scrum part? 
  • How does one create a burnup or burndown chart specifically for the Scrum part of a hybrid project?

The CHAMP certification will teach you all of the above skills in a proficient manner. More importantly, it’s done in a demonstrative manner so that you can learn quickly. 

Reason – 5: You will learn in-depth, hands-on Hybrid-Kanban Management. As a CHAMP, you will also learn Hybrid-ScrumBan management.

Kanban is another popular Lean-Agile framework. While Scrum is iteration based, Kanban is an on-demand, pull-based framework. CHAMP certification teaches all aspects of Hybrid-Kanban management.

With the CHAMP credential, you will also learn another framework and how to use it in a hands-on manner: Hybrid-ScrumBan. Scrumban combines both Scrum and Kanban. Indeed, a certified CHAMP guarantees it as you read in this CHAMP Success Story

Reason – 6: Waterfall is here to stay. Agile is also here to stay. A CHAMP will know both and combine them to get the best from both!

The waterfall or predictive mode of development has been there for quite sometime, and it’s here to stay. Some industries can’t follow Agile, e.g., making a movie. Will you release a movie in a theater every two or four weeks in parts? Will customers come to watch such a movie? You know the answer!

Similarly, Agile is also here to stay. Agile is used when there is rapid churn in requirements and high uncertainty in the technology platform being used. 

Now, as a CHAMP, you will know both waterfall and Agile and you are going to combine them both. This way, you will get the best of both and apply them in real-world projects. Imagine this skillet and the impact you will have while working with every possible kind of organization. 

Reason – 7: From Waterfall to a CHAMP or from Agile to CHAMP is a natural progression. You need not have any previous certification to be a CHAMP. It goes from a beginner to advanced and finally, to expert level.

Hybrid-Agile combines both waterfall and Agile. Hence, if you are coming from a waterfall background or an agile background, it’ll be natural a progression for you.

Though the CHAMP certification is of high-standard, you can easily understand and master this exhaustive course content. The course takes from a beginner level to the level of an expert. 

Reason – 8: You will know various Hybrid-Agile management types, principles, roles, responsibilities, team structures, among others.

Hybrid-Agile management comes with a variety of shapes and types. For example, it can be predominantly predictive (waterfall) with parts as adaptive, predominantly adaptive (adaptive) with parts as predictive. It can also be predictive and adaptive parts of a project running concurrently. If you consider the frameworks, then only Scrum, or Kanban can be used in Hybrid-Agile, or both Scrum and Kanban can be used. You will know them all.

As Hybrid-Agile Management is different, there will be different principles compared to traditional or agile management. You will know the distinct principles of this course. And of course, the team structure, roles, responsibilities will be clearly explained to you.

Reason – 9: You will get a large number of hands-on solution files, quizzes, practice questions. These will help you now as well as in the future.

The CHAMP certification has a high practical-orientation with the needed theory. Hence, the way the course is organized and the way the certification test happens is fundamentally different from any other certification in the world.

Because it is practically oriented, you will get numerous solution files. Specifically, these .mpp (Microsoft project plan) files. You will have lesson-end quizzes, practice questions, including full-length practice questions.

Based on practice and experience, you’ll take the final test and will be CHAMP certified, if you have faithfully prepared. You can have one retake, which is free of cost to you. 

Reason – 10: If you are a PMP, ACP, SM or PO, the freshly updated CHAMP certification will enhance your resume. You can also apply your earlier learnings.

This is related to reason – 7, but with a different perspective for certified practitioners.

If you are a Project Management Professional (PMP), then you’d know the fundamentals as well as certain advanced aspects of traditional project management. Similarly, as an Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP), Scrum Master (SM) or Product Owner (PO), you’d know Agile management in more depth.

Now, when you pursue CHAMP certification, you can use your earlier learnings on predictive (Waterfall) and/or adaptive (Agile). Because CHAMP combines them both. In other words, your earlier learning will help you know this unique skill of Hybrid-Agile in a hands-on manner.

Video Brief: Top 10 Reasons to Go for PfMP

The below brief video [Duration - 07m: 18s] is in support of this article. You can watch the videos to learn a few more points about the value of ManagementYogi's CHAMP certification.


Conclusion

As noted in the beginning, this is the only hybrid certification in the world with hands-on learning. You can read a number of published articles on hybrid management in this link.

As per a recent PMI report hybrid is considered to be a new standard and many organizations are following it. In fact, usage of Hybrid-Agile management is more compared to the Agile! You can read the report here.

As noted in the above linked report, Hybrid usage (31.5%) is now more than Agile (24.6%) among project professionals! This is depicted below.

If you are considering your career and growth opportunities, this certification provides in-depth understanding and knowledge on Hybrid-Agile management. You also learn with a hands-on software tool and it's a real competency. And as noted in one of the above reasons, a CHAMP certificate surely shines on your resume.


ManagementYogi's CHAMP Certification Course: