Monday, October 28, 2019

PMP Success Story: Apply Your Learnings to Be a Good Project Manager In Real Life

By Ram Babu, PMP



Introduction
I am working as a Project Manager for Delivery in my organization. However, I was lacking certain standard processes and procedures in applying the project management concepts and fundamentals. Hence, I found Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential as the right certification for me. With this certification, I believe I can excel, provide the needed expertise to my organization and also add value to our profile.

PMP 35 Contact Hours Experience
First, I joined a classroom session to take the mandatory 35 contact hours learning. Satya Sir was our trainer and he led the classes for 4 days. His teaching style was impressive. He guided us to not only focus on key concepts, but also relate our understanding of project management in context.


The formulae and numerous examples he provided were very helpful. In 4-days, he covered most of the topics needed for the exam. 

However, for me, the focus on Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Schedule Network Diagram Analysis such as forward pass, backward pass, free float and total float calculation, critical path analysis etc. were really helpful. 

Own Study
My situation was completely different from other aspiring candidates for the PMP credential. I am from Arts background and hence, didn’t have the environment to think about PMP like others do, who are mostly from engineering backgrounds. It was really challenging to overcome this situation and concentrate on self-study more.

I used to study 2 to 3 hours every-day for more than eight months. It took sufficient preparation from my side to clear the exam. 

In fact, at the end of the final day, Satya Sir took an evaluation test. I scored only 10 out of 30 questions. Satya Sir told me – “Ram Babu, you will need 1 year to prepare and clear the exam. You have to really work on it.” And it took me nearly 1 year to crack it. You can understand how much hard work was required.

I studied the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Guide, 6th edition 2 to 3 times along with another reference book. I also used the material given in the PMP 35 contact hours sessions and attempted 8 mock tests overall. These were helpful for me to clear the concepts.

I would say as the exam questions are mostly situational in nature, you may find it problematic in the beginning. But with sufficient mock tests, we can overcome this problem.

PMP Exam Experience
I scheduled my exam at Pearson VUE, Shivaji Nagar, Bangalore because it was close to my locality. I followed no specific strategy while going through the 4 hours of the exam. This is primarily due to the fact that I have had the practice of mock tests with 4-hours sitting. 

From the perspectives of exam questions, I faced the following types:
  • Most of the questions were situational in nature. Hence be ready for them.
  • I received a few mathematical questions – around five to six questions, including Earned Value Management (EVM). However, they were quite straight.
  • I face a few Input, Tools and Techniques (ITTO) questions from the PMBOK Guide. Again, they were quite straight-forward.
  • A number of questions were from change requests, change management, and risk management. 

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
Dos
  • Improve reading speed and read the PMBOK Guide’s glossary. You must read the glossary. 
  • Ensure to have good time management. The 4-hours exam is also a test of your endurance. 
  • Always keep your calmness intact. It will help you during the test.

Don’s
  • Do not just read the PMBOK Guide, but read in the context of project management, your own management experience and how you can relate to it. 
  • Do not memorize the ITTOs, which we will not be a proper usage of your time.  Instead, apply their meanings and use them to understand the way project management gets done in the real world.

Conclusion
I’ve been working as a project management for quite sometime and with this new knowledge gain, I hope I can apply and improve on the practices. I also hope these learnings will help me to be a good manager in real life.

Brief Profile:
Ram Babu, PMP: I’ve been working as a Project Manager for 10 years.



Friday, October 25, 2019

Book Excerpt from "I Want To Be A RMP", 2nd Edition - Representations of Uncertainty



This article is an excerpt from the Book - I Want To Be A RMP, 2nd Edition
It is from Chapter – 8: Quantitative Risk Analysis. 

For the partial index of the book, refer the above link for the book.

To know what is NEW in this book's 2nd edition, refer:
What's New - I Want To Be A RMP Book, Second Edition

For overall details of the book, refer:
https://www.managementyogi.com/p/books.html



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Representations of Uncertainty 

The individual project risk arises from sources of uncertainties, e.g., as we just saw in probability distributions – you can reach you friend’s house in 1 hours (best case), 2 hours (most likely) or 3 hours (worst case). 

In fact, there are many ways you can have such representations of uncertainties, including probability distribution. For your RMP exam, you need to be familiar with these three:
  • Probability distribution
  • Probabilistic branching
  • Correlation


8.10.1 Probability Distribution
We have discussed probability distribution in-detail in the earlier section. 

[Note: In this site, there is an exceprt on various probability distributions. More have been added to the 2nd edition of the book. Link: Probability Distribution in Risk Management]

8.10.2 Probabilistic Branching
This is another way to represent individual project risks. In this case, risks are included in the project model as probabilistic branches, i.e., you model the risk of different outcomes occurring in a project. Obviously, due to branching, we will have paths or branches with respective outcomes. In other words, you can say probabilistic branching is used in quantitative risk analysis when the outcomes are mutually exclusive, i.e., only one of the outcomes occurs. 

However, to understand probabilistic branching, you need to first understand a concept called "Activity Existence". This is because branches in a project will be between two activities (tasks) or among multiple activities (tasks). Activity existence tells the probability that an activity can exist in a schedule network diagram. 

When an activity's existence is probabilistic, i.e., it may not exist or may exist with a probability, then obviously, it will impact the duration (and cost) of the project. If an activity or task does not exist (0% chance) during a risk analysis, then there can't be any probabilistic branching between the task under consideration and another task. 


Next, there can be two types of probabilistic branching. 

8.10.2.1 Probabilistic branching, single branch
In this branching, the activity exists on a single branch. An example is shown in the below figure. 


As shown in the above figure, we have a branch in a network diagram with 3 activities - A, B, and C, with durations of 3, 4 and 5 days, respectively. However, the activity B has a 30% chance of existence.  During quantitative risk analysis, this “Activity Existence” probability will be considered. 

8.10.2.1 Probabilistic branching, multiple branches
In this type of branching, the activity exists on multiple branches. An example is shown in the below figure. 


As shown in the above figure, we have four activities here, with activity A being succeeded by three other activities – B, C and D, with 20%, 35% and 45% chances, respectively, as their existence values. The durations for these activities are noted next to their names. Considering the above figure, we have 3 branches:
  • Activity A followed by Activity B, 
  • Activity A followed by Activity C, and
  • Activity A followed by Activity D.
These activities are modelled with their chances of existence before conducting risk analysis with simulation. For example, considering our previous probabilistic branching with multiple branches, the network diagram is shown below as a risk-adjusted Gantt chart. The image is drawn with Primavera Risk Analysis software.


As shown in the above figure, the activities in the above Gantt chart are risk adjusted, with the probabilities for existence shown for them - 20% for Activity B, 35% for Activity C, and 45% for Activity D.   

Next, as we do risk analysis, the most likely or least likely branches will be chosen based on value that we enter for our simulation. Depending on the number of iterations and branches chosen, our project’s end date will be impacted. If you considering both the durations and cost for the activities, then not only the project’s end date, but the overall project cost will also be impacted.

So, probabilistic branching is useful when the outcomes are exclusive, i.e., the associated risks are not related. How about these situations when the outcomes are not exclusive? In other words, how about scenarios when the risks are related?  Will the probabilistic branching be used? No! In such cases, we use “Correlation” – another representation of uncertainty.



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This section in Qualitative Risk Analysis is further explained in the book with: 
  • Correlation for risks (coming from correlation of tasks/activities).
  • Other data analysis techniques used such as Monte Carlo Simulation, Latin-Hypercube Simulation.
  • Subsequently, we have discussions on Risk-adjusted S-curve analysis, Contingency reserve calculation etc.

It is further followed by detailed explanations on various aspects of quantitative risk analysis as outlined in the Book Index.



Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Book Excerpt from "I Want To Be A RMP", 2nd Edition - Risk Response Implementation



This article is an excerpt from the Book - I Want To Be A RMP, 2nd Edition
It is from Chapter – 10: Risk Response Implementation. 

For the partial index of the book, refer the above link for the book.

To know what is NEW in this book's 2nd edition, refer:
What's New - I Want To Be A RMP Book, Second Edition

For overall details of the book, refer:
https://www.managementyogi.com/p/books.html



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Risk Response Implementation


In this process of “Implement Risk Responses”, we actually implement or execute the response plans that we created in “Plan Risk Responses”. This process is newly added into the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition and also available in the newly launched “The Standard for Risk Management in Portfolios, Programs, and Projects”.

In the earlier edition of the PMBOK guide and the current edition of “Practice Standard for Project Risk Management”, this process is not there. Also, in the earlier editions of both the guide and standard, implementation of risk responses were happening in the monitoring and controlling process group, i.e., in “Monitor Risks” process. 

So, be very clear from the beginning. The implementation of risk response plans happens ONLY in “Implement Risk Responses” process. In this chapter, we will discuss this process in detail. 

10.1 ‘Implement Risk Responses’ Process – What Happens?

As per PMBOK Guide 6th Edition, “Implement Risk Responses is the process of implementing agreed-upon risk response plans.”

As simple as that! In this process, we are executing the response plans in order to:
  • Address overall project risk exposure,
  • Minimize individual project threats, and
  • Maximize individual project opportunities.

Now, you would be wondering: Isn’t that what we do in “Plan Risk Responses” process? Yes! But, that’s from planning perspective. Here, it’s from the execution or implementation perspective. In this process, we are ensuring the planned responses are carried out in a timely manner. The process of “Implement Risk Responses” is performed throughout the life cycle of the project.



Here we need both the Risk Register and Risk Reports as inputs, because the risk response plans for individual project risks and overall project risk are documented in these two project documents. 

The overall flow diagram for this process – “Implement Risk Responses” - is shown below. The main process of “Implement Risk Responses” is highlighted in red in the flow diagram. 



As shown above, the updated Risk Register and Risk Report both act as inputs to this process, along with the RMP. The RMP is acting as an input because roles and responsibilities of stakeholders/project team members related to risk management is documented in the plan.



The register and report are also updated in the output, because you might want to change some of the risk responses, which you previously agreed-upon in “Plan Risk Responses” process. 

One of the common problems faced in Risk Management is this: risks are identified, then analyzed, response plans are developed and documented in the register and report. But NO action is taken in managing the risks! Hence, this process is significant - because it actually implements the risk responses.

We already know both Risk Owners and Risk Action Owners are briefed about their responsibilities in the earlier process. In fact, in "Plan Risk Responses", we actually have risk action owners being assigned. Now, in this process:
  • The risk owner must give the needed effort to implement the responses and manage them proactively.
  • The risk owners and risk action owners should be briefed, if there are any changes affecting their respective responsibilities.
  • Actions related to risk responses are delegated by the risk owner to the risk action owner.
  • The risk action owner updates the status of response actions to the risk owner.
  • Effective communication should be maintained between risk owners and other managers at higher levels, e.g., project/program/portfolio managers.



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This section on risk response implementation is further explained in the book with: 
  • Implement Risk Responses’ Process - Why do it?
  • Critical Success Factors for Risk Response Implementation.
  • Tools and Techniques used in Implement Risk Responses Process.

It is further followed by detailed explanations on various aspects of Risk Response Implementation as outlined in the Book Index.







Sunday, October 20, 2019

What's New - I Want To Be A RMP Book, Second Edition




I've received calls and mails from 2018 on the PMBOK guide's edition to be used for Project Management Institute's (PMI®) Risk Management Professional (RMP®examination. In fact, I started writing on the new book for PMI-RMP Exam this year, after confirming with PMI that the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition will be used. This post outlines the main references for the PMI-RMP examination and what's new in the content of the book - "I Want To Be A RMP", 2nd edition.

PMI's website clearly informs that for the RMP exam the latest edition of the PMBOK guide will be used. 

Also, I checked with PMI on the applicability of the new Risk Management Foundational Standard for Portfolios, Programs and Projects. PMI confirmed that it will be referred.

Now, let's know what are the new and enhanced content for the book:
I Want To Be A RMP, 2nd Edition 




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1. Refers the LATEST edition of the PMBOK Guide. 
Yes, the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition will be for referred the RMP exam. This also as per PMI website. There should not be any confusion regarding this. 

Do note that PMBOK Guide 6th edition has larger coverage compared to PMBOK Guide 5th edition. 

2. Refers the NEW Foundational Standard for Risk Management in Portfolios, Programs and Projects.
This standard was released in mid-2019. This standard emphasizes on enterprise risk management. This, as per PMI, will also be referred.

3. NEW process of "Implement Risk Responses", which is introduced to Risk Mangement.
This is a completely new process that has been added into the PMBOK 6th edition. Obviously, it directly impacts risk management.

4. NEW set of tools and techniques.
A number of tools and techniques are new. For example:
  • in Risks identification, we have Crawford method, Kipling method among others.
  • in Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis, there are new set of risk assessment parameters, risk bubble chart among others.
  • in Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis, new areas such as representation of uncertainties, etc.

5. ENHANCED coverage on the impact of Risk Management on other Knowledge Areas of the PMBOK Guide.
This changes the aspects, e.g., a number of new documents are added in the latest addition of the PMBOK Guide - Issue Log, Assumption Log, Lessons Learned Register etc. These are all used in the Risk Management Knowledge Area.

A NEW Risk Report has been introduced, which is created in Risk Management knowledge area, but flows across many other knowledge areas.

6. ENHANCED content for Probabilistic Distribution.
In addition to existing distributions, you need to know others, e.g., Cumulative Distribution. Cumulative distribution is foundational to interpret results of Simulations, e.g., Monte Carlo simulations.

7. NEW content for Probabilistic Branching and Correlation.
This is newly added to the PMBOK Guide, 6th edition. It is a must know for quantitative risk analysis. In the RMP exam prep book, these has been exaplained with examples.

8. NEW content for Analytic Hierarchical Process (AHP) with a real-time example.
Analytic hierarchical process has been there in the Practice Standard for Risk Management and also now in the new Foundational Standard for Risk Management. This content has been newly added to the book. Previous RMPs have informed that questions came on this area.

9. NEW content for Risk management in Agile Environment. 
You now have to know how risk management happens in agile environment. It is there both in the PMBOK Guide and also in Foundational Standard for Risk Management. 

10. NEW risk types and classifications.
The 4-quadrant risk classification has been newly introduced which brings a new of risks, i.e., emergent risks. You also have event based and non-event risks with introduction of variability risks and ambiguity risks. 

These are among many others such as Data Analytics, changed areas in Residual Impact Analysis etc. 

For overall details of book, please refer:
https://www.managementyogi.com/p/books.html


New Book for RMP Exam Prep:



Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Book for RMP Exam Prep: I Want To Be A RMP, 2nd Edition





It gives me a lot of pleasure in announcing the public availability of the book for Project Management Institute’s (PMI®) Risk Management Professional (RMP®) examination preparation:

'I WANT TO BE A RMP - The Plain and Simple Way to be A RMP'.

This book is in its second edition. Currently, it’s the only book in the world, which is latest. This is also the first book in the world, which uses the contents of newly enforced PMBOK® 6th edition, and the new Foundational Standard for Risk Management released in 2019.

Nearly three years have passed since the first edition of the book came-up. While preparing for the new content, I realized how much risk management have been updated and upgraded with new changes in these years.

A number of new concepts have been added into risk management such as event vs non-event risks, project resilience, emergent risks, new risk assessment paramters, risk management in agile environment, new tools and techniques such as data analytics, probabilistic branching, new risk report, new process of Implement Risk Responses etc. Most importantly, the latest PMBOK guide has now vast coverage of risk management spreading across the rest of the nine knowledge areas, which was not the case earlier. This book incorporates them all and emphasizes the interaction of risk management with other knowledge areas. Because to be a RMP, you just can't go with stand-alone risk management. Rather, you need to understand how it impacts the overall project management landscape.

What's New - I Want To Be A RMP Book, Second Edition

This book could not have been written without the feedback and inputs from many professionals, who are spread around the globe. In particular, I would like to thank Sindu Sreenath, Hendro Hadiwinoto, Rodrigue Fotso, John Monterona, Francis Makamure, and Winson Lin. There are many others who have given inputs - directly or indirectly.

I thank you all for your inputs. Without your feedback and inputs, it would not have been possible.

The earlier edition of the book has seen many PMI-RMP success stories and a few have written their experiences. In fact, almost everyone who has bought the earlier edition of the book and pursued the certification, has been a successful RMP.

Key Features of This Book - I Want To Be A RMP, 2nd Edition
  • Synchronised with PMI’s PMBOK Guide 6th edition, PMI's Practice Standard for Risk Management, PMI's Foundational Standard for Risk Management in Portfolios, Programs, and Projects, and the latest Examination Content Outline (ECO) for the RMP exam.
  • Detailed coverage for various analytical areas, where RMP aspirants face a number of questions. Some of them are:
    • Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP),
    • Fault Tree Analysis / Failure and Effect Analysis (FTA/FMEA),
    • Expected Monetary Value (EMV),
    • Sensitivity Analysis,
    • Criticality Analysis (and Criticality Index),
    • Probabilistic Branching,
    • Probability Distribution,
    • Correlation,
    • Monte Carlo Simulation (MCS),
    • Latin-Hypercube Simulation (LHS),
    • Earned Value Analysis (EVA), 
    • Risk-adjusted Gantt chart,
    • Risk-adjusted S-curve analysis, etc.
  • Over 400 practice questions for the RMP exam, including 2 full length question sets with detailed answers. These questions are with respect to the latest content for the RMP exam.
  • Liberal use of figures and flow diagrams across the books. The book also has a number of tips to crack the exam.
  • Risk management in Agile environment, new methods such as Crawford method, Kipling method etc.
  • A number of videos in various areas such as Earned Value Management, Contingency Reserve, Management Reserve, Risk Response strategies etc.
  • Extensive usage of software tools such as Primavera Risk Analysis which gives you a real-time feel of Risk Register, Risk Report, Various Risk Assessment Parameters, Probabilistic Correlation, Probability Distributions, various types of Simulations, Criticality Analysis, S-curve analysis etc.

Overall Content of the Book
  • Number of Chapters: 12 (+2)
  • Number of Pages: 560
  • Number of Questions: 400+
  • Number of Full-Length Question Sets: 2
  • Two full length question sets, each with 170 questions and detailed answers (total 340)

The price, and access details for this book are available at:
https://www.managementyogi.com/p/books.html


To know the breakdown content of the book, please check the below index (partial one). The detailed index is part of the book.

Index of the Book
The partial index of the RMP book is shown below (Embedded Document). You can scroll to see the content.



Thursday, October 10, 2019

Risk Management: Possible Types of Risks



I receive many questions on Risk Management - particularly from the readers of risk management book and users of risk management course. Many times, there is a lack of clarity on possible type of risks.

Hecnce, I decided to write the possible types of risks that came to my mind and referenced my new book: I Want To Be A RMP, The Plain and Simple Way To Be A PMI-RMP, 2nd Edition.




This list, by no means is exhaustive. There can be other types. Do note that these are types of risks, not categories or classifications of risks.


1# Individual project risk: An uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on one or more objectives.

2 # Overall project risk: A risk that has an effect of uncertainty on the project as a whole.

3 # Positive risk (Opportunity): A risk that would have positive effect on one or more objectives.

4 # Negative risk (Threat): A risk that would have negative effect on one or more objectives.

5 # Known risk (Identified risk): A risk that is identified.

6 # Unknown risk (Unindentified risk): A risk that is not identified.

7 # Secondary risk: A risk that occurs because you took a risk response on a (primary) risk.

8 # Emergent risk: An arising risk that could not have been identified earlier.

9 # Residual risk: A risk that remains after you have taken a risk response.

10 # Outdated risk: A risk that didn't occur - either based on event or condition.

11 # Correlated risk: A risk that is correlated to one or more other risks.

12 # Connected risk: A risk that is connected to one or more other risks.

13 # Undifferentiated risk: A risk that has not been qualified.

14 # Differentiated risk (Qualified risk): A risk that has been qualified.

15 # Quantified risk: A risk that has been quantified, usually in terms of time and/or money.

16 # Aggregated risks: Risks that are aggrgated with one or more other risks and pose a bigger threat or opporunity.

17 # Event based risk: A risk that occurs based on an event.

18 # Non-event risk: A risk that occurs, but not based on an event, e.g., variability risks, ambiguity risks. We have seen these in an earlier post:
Risk Classification: Known-Knowns, Known-Unknowns, Unknown-knowns and Unknown-unknowns

19 # Prioritized risk (High-priority risk)A risk that has been prioritized based on the risk score, which crosses the risk threshold. 

20 # Low-priority risk: A risk that has been prioritized based on the risk score, which is below the risk threshold. This risk will be on a watch-list.


If you know any other types, I welcome your comments. They will be added to this list.



References: