Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Bangalore Experience

I was the speaker on a PMP event in Bangalore, India. It was exhilarating, rewarding and also, very tiring! Team participated exceptionally well and by the end of the program, it is the team which was talking about processes, knowledge areas - Not myself!

A great team to coach and to be part of. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Seven Steps to Achieve the PMI-PMP Certification

Takeaway: Learn how to get certified with PMP. Also, in the market, there are a lot of myths running and learn what exactly is the fact.
Step – 1: Prerequisites
Minimum 3 years of unique non overlapping "Project Management Experience", in which you have spent 4,500 hours in management activities. 

For details, please visit: 

Please note that by "Project Management Experience", it does not mean you should be a Project Manager or a Product Manager or a Program Manager. If you are Lead Engineer, or a Team Lead/Project Lead/Module Lead etc. and you have done management work, you are eligible. 

Step – 2: Membership
Once you are sure of prerequisites, then go ahead. If not, please be careful. PMI does not tolerate any kind of malpractice. 

If sure, it is better to get a PMI membership. For it, you have to pay an amount to PMI. Have an account at and pay the amount.

P.S.: You may NOT be a member, but still can get PMI certified. However, if you are a member, then the overall cost is somewhat less and you also get the benefit of various journals and magazines from PMI. 

Step – 3: 35 Contract Hour Program

You need to have 35 contact hour programs to take the test in addition to the criteria in "1". This is in addition to the Project Management Experience, and is termed as Project Management Education. And this is mandatory. 

Step "1" and "3" are with respect to professionals with a Bachelor's degree or equivalent. 

Step – 4: Experience Validation
PMI validates your claim of experience and hence requires you to put the experience in detail at their website. You have to prove that you have 4500 hours of Project Management Experience. 

If it is found to be fake (they will have the contact details of your previous company, managers etc), your application is rejected. And PMI strictly follows it. 

Step – 5: After the Validation
After your experience is validated (normally within a week), you will be invited to take the exam. PMI randomly selects application for validation. If you are not selected, you will be immediately informed. 

For the final exam you have to a pay the exam fee. 

After paying, you will have an ID, which will be required to schedule via Prometric. You can schedule in advance at a Prometric center near to your locality. ( 

Ideally you should take the exam after 3/4 weeks of getting the contact program. One normally looses motivation.

Step – 6: At the Exam

You have to take a print out of the invitation for the exam and valid government issued identity proof. The exam is of 4 hours with 200 multiple choice questions. 

If you have understood the PMBOK, time is never a constraint. 

You will be notified on your pass or failure at the exam center itself by PMI. It will be reflected on your computer screen. You can take a print out of your certificate. 

The final certificate will reach at your snail mail address afterward. 

Step – 7: If you fail
You can go for another attempt and you have to pay additional fee.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

What is the Health of your Project?

Takeaway: I have seen a number of status reports in my one of my earlier organizations. And mostly it is % of completion of each feature. However, does it really convey the status? I am sure, it does not. Here, we will have a simple question to know the status of the project. 

To know the status of the project, you need to simply ask only these two:

1. What is the SPI for your project?
2. What is the CPI for your project?

If SPI and CPI are below 1.0, then the project is not in good health, i.e., not performing well. 

The calculation for these is also known as EVM, i.e, Earned Value Measurement. 

SPI: Schedule Performance Index
CPI: Cost Performance Index

To understand it, we will use a simple example. 

Example: Say you have a project, which will have to complete 6 modules. Cost of each module is $10,000. And you have to complete the project in 6 months. After 3 months, you find that 2 modules have been completed and the current cost for the project is at $35,000. Now find out the values of SV, CV, SPI, and CPI. 

Answer: We will use EVM here to calculate. 

BAC = Budget At Completion - The planned budget for the entire project 
EV = Earned Value - The value being earned by the project with the current work completed till date. 
PV = Planned Value - The expected value of work to be completed till date. 
AC = Actual Cost - The actual cost incurred for this project till date.

And all will be calculated in terms of money. This will somewhat difficult to understand initially. However, it will be clear shortly. 

These are basic EVM metrics. 

BAC = 6 modules and each of $10,000 = 6 * $10,000 = $60,000
EV = 2 modules completed = 2 * $10,000 = $20,000
PV = [(6 modules/ 6 months) * 3 months] * $10,000 = $30,000 
AC = $35,000

The performance indices are:

SPI = Schedule Performance Index = EV/PV = $20,000 / $30,000 = 2/3 = 0.667 
CPI = Cost Performance Index = EV/AC = $20,000 / $35,000 = 4/7 = 0.557


With SPI as 0.667, it means that for every 1 day effort I am getting a return of 0.667 day of work. 

With CPI as 0.557, it means that for every 1 dollar spent on the project, I am getting a return of 0.557 dollar. 

With these indices, it means that the project is under schedule and over budget. And it needs remedial actions.