Monday, December 28, 2020

Updated Book: What’s New – I Want To Be A RMP, Second Edition


The book, I Want To Be An RMP, Second Edition has been available since last year. This book has helped many to successfully  achieve the PMI-RMP® credential. In fact, the book has seen 100% success rate so far, as I write this post.


Why the Updates?

Like any aspect of learning, risk management processes, principles, practices, and framework continuously evolve.  It brings in new practices, new principles and also updates on risk management software tools. Based on this, this book has seen continuous updates.

A traditional book in print rarely gets updated and if it is updated, the print cycle will be in months or years. This itself -- the inaction, because of inability -- is a risk, when the world of risk management changes frequently!

The book for Risk Management Professional Exam (RMP®) has seen frequent updates since its availability. These updates are possible, because all these books are hosted online. These updates are also important to know the latest practices or frameworks and stay up-to-date.

The updates for the RMP book are primarily driven by seven factors:

  • Availability or updates to existing guides: Risk management is based on guides, e.g., the PMBOK® guide, governance practice guides, risk management practice guides etc.
  • Availability or updates to existing standards: For example, updates to Risk Management standards.
  • New questions or ways to take the exam: New types of questions come in the RMP exam or new ways are introduced to take the exam.  
  • Emerging new practices: For example, some practices of Risk Governance or Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).  
  • Feedback from exam takers: Some successful RMPs write their exam experiences and inform on new types of questions. 
  • Updates on advanced or complex areas: For example, many times advanced concepts such as Contingency Reserve, Management Reserve, Simulations need further elaboration as readers request for it. 
  • Updates on Videos: Many times, I add additional videos with exercises and solutions so that exam takers get more practice and feel more confident. 

With this background, there have been continuous and frequent updates to the PMI-RMP Exam Prep: I Want To Be A RMP

All these updates are FREE for existing customers of the book.


What’s New in the Book – I Want To Be A RMP?

The book, I Want To Be A RMP, as noted before, has seen continuous updates. These are highlights for the new addition, and updates to the book. 

1. NEW section on Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is an approach to manage the risk of the entire enterprise or organization. Any organization’s leaders must manage this risk to stay relevant and stay in the business. A new detailed section has been added. 

2. NEW section on Risk Governance

Risk governance is a highly misunderstood concept. To understand governance, you need to first understand the elements of any governance model. Another misconception is this: Governance exists only at the organizational level. Not correct. It can exist at multiple levels. A new section on Risk Governance elaborates on it.

3. NEW section on Risk Attitude Spectrum

Risk attitude is a foundational topic to know. While some associated risk terms such as risk seeker or risk averse are known, many aspects of Risk Attitude and terms remain unknown. For example, in the attitude spectrum, a stakeholder can have risk addicted, risk paranoid, among others. A new section on it has been added. 

To understand basics of Risk Attitude, you can check:

PMP Protein: Understanding Risk Attitude 

Though it’s written for the PMP aspirants, the concepts are useful and valuable for RMP aspirants, too. 

4. UPDATED section on Probabilistic Branching 

The existing section of probabilistic branching has been explained further. I’ve written about probabilistic branching many times before. You can read some of the associated articles noted below:

5. UPDATED with a number of tips and tricks.

A number of new tips and tricks have been added. In addition, as I frequently write on Risk Management topics, they have brought in new additions to the book.  

6. UPDATED formulas in the RMP Exam Formula Gold Cars

Formulas in the RMP Gold cards are updated, primarily with respect to quantitative risk analysis, probabilistic durations and models. Don’t assume that the RMP exam has few formulas. Particularly, in the context of project risk management, you have to know a number of formulas. 

Note: The formula gold cards of the book can be downloaded.

7. NEW section on Conditional Branching 

A new section on conditional branching has been added to the book. Probabilistic and conditional branching are different concepts, though they can be used together. Many take the two concepts as the same, which is not correct.

The book now gives detailed explanations with examples. 

8. NEW – A list of varieties of possible risks

In risk management, you can have varieties of risks. Some risks are frequently used. For example, you would have heard about known risk, unknown risks etc. But there are a number of other possible risks such as enterprise risks, aggregated risks etc. This new section consolidates them. I believe it will help you in the RMP exam.  

9. UPDATES to planning aspect of Risk Management

With a detailed explanation of enterprise risk management, it’s key to note that project risk management is integrated and linked to enterprise risk management. To make the link clear, the contents of Risk Management Plan and the ITTOs of Plan Risk Management process has been elaborated.

10. UPDATES to Book’s Index File

The index file is important to know the content of the book. As the book gets updated the index file also gets updated with clear highlighting for the NEW, as well as the UPDATED content. You will also know if any item has been removed. 


How Will I Know about the Updates?

Professinoals and people who want to purchase the RMP book, raise this question frequently. I understand this concern and below points clearly inform how to know about the updates.

  1. All changes will be clearly communicated to you via E-Mail. 
  2. Inside the book, the new ones will be highlighted as *** NEW ***, and the updates ones will be *** UPDATED ***. Green color coding will be there for these changes.
  3. All the previous updated mails are part of the RMP book, so that you are clearly aware of the new changes that have happened. 
  4. The index file of the book is also updated, because that gives you a quick view on the new/updated content. 
  5. For the new videos in the book, the videos are clearly noted as NEW, so that you are immediately aware of it. Yes, the RMP exam prep book also contains many videos. 
  6. For the new documents, the documents are cleared noted as NEW, too.
  7. A number of tips and revision reminders are also added along the content in the RMP exam prep book. They are also clearly highlighted.
  8. For any clarification or questions on these updates, you can ask your questions. You will definitely get a response. This one of the biggest advantages of having the book as I respond not only the queries on updates, but also your questions and clarifications.
  9. As noted earlier, all the new/updated content will be FREE of cost to you.

Conclusion

Almost every field of management is continuously evolving and bringing-in new practices, principles and knowledge. Risk Management is not different. In fact, with COVID19 pandemic, risk management is in focus. 

With these changes, the book – I Want To Be A RMP, also changes.

As far as I am aware, this is the only RMP Exam Prep book in the world, which sees continuous changes and updates. I firmly believe it enormously benefits all the readers of the book, helps them to prepare in a better way and gives them more confidence.

For overall details of book, please refer (first in the list):
https://www.managementyogi.com/p/books.html


New Book for PMI-RMP Exam Prep:


Monday, December 14, 2020

Updated Book: What’s New – I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition


The book, I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition has been available since last year and has help many to successfully achieve the PMI-ACP® crendetial.

Why the Updates?

As you would know, nothing is static in the world of learning and you have to continuously learn and upgrade as new practices or approaches emerge. Hence, this ACP Exam preparatory book has seen continuous updates since its first availability.

Usually, a traditional book NEVER gets updated after its availability in print. It stays there static, becomes stale and quickly gets outdated. It really doesn’t help much in the world of development and Agile practitioners, which changes frequently. 

All my books for preparing with respect to the Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP®) exam, Project Management Professional (PMP®) exam, Risk Management Professional Exam (RMP®) or other exams have seen continuous updates since their availability. These updates are possible, because all these books are hosted online. These updates are also important for you to know the latest practices or frameworks and stay up-to-date.

These updates are primarily driven by seven factors:

  • New availability or updates to existing standards: For example, updates to existing Agile standards.
  • New availability or updates to existing guides: For example, a new Scrum 2020 Guide has recently been released.
  • New ways to take exam: For example, as the world goes through the COVID-19 crisis, exams now have an online option, with proctors. 
  • Emerging new practices: For example, some practices of Kanban such as cadence are now part of Scrum. 
  • Feedback from exam takers: Some successful ACPs call, write and/or share their exam experiences and inform on new types of questions. 
  • Updates on advanced or complex areas: For example, many times advanced concepts such as Earned Value Management, Graphical Interpretations of Agile Metrics need further elaboration as readers request for it. 
  • Updates on Videos: Many times, I add additional videos and/or new exercises with solutions so that exam takers get more practice and feel more confident. 

There have been continuous and frequent updates to the PMI-ACP Exam Prep Book: I Want To Be An ACP. All these updates are FREE of cost for the customers of the book.


What’s New in the Book – I Want To Be An ACP?

The book, I Want To Be An ACP, as noted before has seen frequent updates - on an average one update every few months. Followings are highlights for the new addition, and updates to the book. 

1. NEW Document and Videos for Online ACP Exam

The ACP exam has gone online and with that a new document has been added, which illustrates how to take the exam step-by-step. The document has been divided into two sections:

  • Steps for traditional mode of the exam.
  • Steps for online proctored mode of the exam.

The book also has been updated with a number of detailed videos on how to take the exam online. 

2. NEW Formulas in Formula Gold Cards

There is a prevalent misconception that the PMI-ACP exam has little to no formulas. Not correct. There are quite a few related to earned value management, velocity calculation, Little’s law, among others. The Formula Gold Cards of the book now has additional formulas.

Note: The formula gold cards of the book can be downloaded.

3. NEW S-curve representation and elaboration for AgileEVM

S-curve related questions have little chance to appear in the exam. However, when you understand it, the neatness and usefulness of Agile earned value management (AgileEVM) becomes much clearer. The book has a new section on this regard.

4. NEW Changes to the Agile Scrum Framework

The Scrum framework has been revamped with the new release of the 2020 Scrum Guide, which happened in November, 2020. 

The guide contains numerous changes, some of which are:

  • Commitment based artifacts.
  • Product goal being clearly defined. (In a way it’s a new introduction)
  • Introduction of “Why” into the Sprint Planning event, among many others.

This has necessitated changes to various parts of Scrum framework such as:

  • Scrum Accountabilities (Roles)
  • Scrum Artifacts
  • Scrum Events
  • Practices related to Scrum
  • Overall Scrum Framework explanation, among others. 

5. UPDATED Changes to the Scaled Approaches, which uses Scrum

There are many scaled approaches in Agile, which uses Scrum as the foundation. They can be Scrum of Scrum (SoS), Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), or Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), among others.

Whenever a change is applicable and corresponding changes have happened in the released framework, they have been made available. 

6. UPDATED Changes to the various Agile Stakeholders and their roles

These have been updated due to change in roles, responsibilities and accountabilities related to various stakeholders. Some of the highlights are:

  • There is no “Development Team”, but one Scrum Team.
  • The Product Owner (PO) is accountable for developing and communicating the Product Goal.
  • The Scrum Master (SM) is no longer informed as the Servant Leader etc. 

This in turn has resulted in changes related to team formation and performance related contents. 

7. UPDATED Changes to various associated concepts of Definition of Done (DoD)

Increments which give value to the end user, customer or stakeholders are closely related to Definition of Done (DoD). There are associated concepts to this definition such as Definition of Ready (DoR), Acceptance Criteria, among others.

The book now gives detailed explanations with examples. 

8. UPDATED Changes to Planning aspects of Agile.

There has been changes to planning aspects of Agile as well. Some of the highlights here are:

  • Removal of three questions in Daily Scrum event or Daily Stand-up meeting.  
  • Removal of taking one prioritized improvement into the next Iteration or Sprint.

9. NEW A Detailed Section for Backlog Refinement

A detailed section of backlog refinement has been added with the latest practices on it. It also contains diagram representations and explanations on how the refinement (earlier known as grooming), happens. Earlier little information was given, and it has been updated. 

10. NEW Document for All Scrum Guide 2020 Changes

As noted earlier, the new Scrum Guide has been made available last month. Scrum is one of the most used and popular frameworks in the Agile domain. In the PMI-ACP exam, you can expect a number of questions related to Scrum.

All the changes related to the new Scrum framework have been elaborated in detail. 

11. UPDATES to Book’s Index File

The index file is important to know the content of the book. As the book gets updated the index file also gets updated with clear highlighting for the NEW, as well as the UPDATED content. You will also know if any item has been removed.

How Will I Know about the Updates?

I face this question frequently from people who want to purchase this book. I understand this concern and hence, decided to add as part of this post.

  1. All changes will be clearly communicated to you via E-Mail. 
  2. Inside the book, the new ones will be highlighted as *** NEW ***, and the updates ones will be *** UPDATED ***. Green color coding will be there for these changes.
  3. All the previous updated mails are part of the book, so that you are clearly aware of the new changes that have happened. 
  4. The index file of the book is also updated, because that gives you a quick view on the new/updated content. 
  5. For the new videos, the videos are clearly noted as NEW, so that you are immediately aware of it. Yes, the book contains a number of videos as well.
  6. For the new documents, the documents are cleared noted as NEW, too.
  7. A number of tips and revision reminders are also added along the content. They are also clearly highlighted.
  8. For any clarification or questions on these updates, you can ask your questions. You will definitely get a response. 
  9. As noted earlier, all the new/updated content will be FREE of cost to you.


The world of development in Agile is never static. It’s continuously evolving and bringing new practices, principles and knowledge. As they change, the book – I Want To Be An ACP, also changes.

As far as I am aware, this is the only ACP Exam Prep book in the world, which sees continuous changes and updates. I firmly believe it benefits all the readers of the book enormously. 

For overall details of book, please refer (second in the list):
https://www.managementyogi.com/p/books.html


New Book for PMI-ACP Exam Prep:


Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Displaying Total Slack (Float), Free Slack (Float) and Negative Slack (Float) Graphically in MS Project 2019


Takeaway: Many confuse Free Slack, which can be enabled with a checkbox in MS Project, with that of Total Slack. Free Slack and Total Slack are completely two different concepts in management.  A number of books, guides inform the default slack available in MS Project to be Total Slack, which is incorrect. This post will outline how to enable the Total Slack, Free Slack and Negative Total Slack in MS Project. Slack is also known as Float in project management.

Free slack (or free float) is the amount of time you can delay a task, without impacting the early start (ES) of the successor(s). Consumption of free slack has no impact at all on the project’s finish date and if you have a number of tasks-say thousands-free slack is not going to be your top priority.

On the other hand, total slack (or total float) is the amount of time you can delay a task, without impacting the project’s end date or violating a schedule constraint. This is very important for management practitioners because, this slack will push your project’s finish date. 

To understand early start, and related schedule fields, along with the Total Slack or Total Float values, you can use this webinar. I’ve spoken at length about them.

Recorded Global Webinar: Two Pass Technique with MS Project


Enabling Slack (Free Slack)

Now, in MS Project 2019 software, there is an option to enable the free slack (NOT total slack), with a flip of a checkbox. When you enable the checkbox, the free slack/float value is shown. To enable the checkbox, go to: 

Format tab – Bar Styles – Slack checkbox. 

After you have enabled for slack, the free slack is displayed as shown below.

As shown above, we have 4 tasks:

  • Task A – 3 days duration, FF = 1
  • Task B – 5 days duration, FF = 0
  • Task C – 4 days duration, FF = 0
  • Task D – 2 days duration, FF = 3

Many wrongly take it for Total Slack/Float, and assume this is the time which must be protected in order to protect the end date of the project. 

The most important point to note here is that it’s for Free Slack, not for the Total Slack. A number of books, tutorials, guides inform this the slack, which when exhausted, will have impact on the critical path. This is not correct.

This can be further confirmed by checking the Bar Styles by going to:

Format tab – Bar Styles – Format – Bar Styles. 

As shown above the colored line shown to the right of the task is for Free Slack, NOT for Total Slack. 

Enabling Total Slack

For total slack, there is no checkbox available in MS Project 2019, which can be enabled or disabled to check the value in the graphical side of the Gantt Chart. 

You have to create the conditions for it in the bar styles to show. The condition created is shown below. I’ve added another one for “Total Slack” below the “Slack” field in Bar Styles and it’s from: Task Finish to “Total Slack”. The color for Total Slack is shown as Green

As shown above, I’ve added another condition for Total Slack, just below the condition for Slack, which is for Free Slack. The conditions given for the tasks are minimal, i.e., only Active ones are considered. You can add more conditions in the bar styles. 


As shown above, the green lines are for the Total Slack in the Gantt Chart. 

Enabling Negative Total Slack

The total slack can be negative in a number of situations. To understand when negative total slack/float comes, refer to this article:

Article: Negative Total Float with MS Project

For the project in this post, I would be adding a MFO constraint on the Finish Milestone to have the Negative Total Slack. This is shown below.

As shown above, I’ve applied the MFO constraint on Finish Milestone which resulted in a number of negative total slack for other tasks in the project.

Next, you can enable negative slack, again by making changes to the bar styles. This time, I’ve added another condition for the negative slack. Again, do note that it’s for the total slack, not free slack. 

The conditions given for the tasks are minimal, i.e., only Active ones are considered. You can add more conditions in the bar styles. 

Next, as you apply these bar styles to the Gantt Chart view, it will come as shown below.

In the above figure, the negative total slack values are shown in red color coding, whereas the positive total slack is shown in green color coding. 

Conclusion

This post addresses one of the biggest misconceptions for managers, planners and schedulers who use the MS Project software tool: Slack available as a checkbox in MS Project is for the Total Slack. It’s NOT. It’s for Free Slack. 

Don't think the consumption of this slack is a worrying thing for your schedule or for that matter protection of this slack will anyway help you to protect your end date. I’ve seen this misconception heavily used in various literature of MS Project.

I hope with this post, you get a better understanding on total slack, free slack, and how they can be visualized with MS Project. 


References:

[1] MS Project Live Lessons–Guaranteed Learning or Your Money Back, Satya Narayan Dash

[2] Global Webinar – Two Pass Technique with MS Project, conducted by Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG), presented by Satya Narayan Dash