Wednesday, February 22, 2023

PMP Live Lessons Success Story: Tomorrow is Hope, Today is Real, Go For it Today and Be A PMP with PMP Live Lessons

By Adinarayana Murthy Bhuvanagiri, PMP


I began my career in marketing and finance domains and moved my career later into the Information Technology industry. I started looking for PMP to have better career prospects and a better future. More importantly, I wanted to master the project management domain, rather than being a political expert playing politics in an organization and hanging on to a job.

I asked myself what I can do to master this topic, get a better prospect and get respect and recognition for my expertise. This led me to the PMP certification, the most well-known, influential and respected PM certification.

But easier said than done!

I knew it would be a challenging exam, and I had to prepare for it. I started my PMP journey a few years before and joined the classroom session of Satya Narayan Dash. It was completed in four days, but I took a long break due to personal commitments. But I did not give up hope.

Going for the PMP and Cracking It
I’ve been getting emails frequently (Management Yogi’s mailing list) on new management articles, new courses and above all, the Success Stories.  I would always pinch myself on it as it motivated me a lot. I again started what I could not complete earlier and started my PMP journey in May, 2022 and cleared the Exam in January, 2023.

I am proud to say that I am a PMP certified and formally qualified management guy with one of the world’s most well-known certifications. My overall score was Above Target (AT) with two ATs in three performance domains. That was very heartening.

PMP Coaching Experience
As mentioned earlier, my first coaching 35 hours of learning was from Satya’s classes. It was good, in fact, very good. And I loved it.

The project management language was new to me, so it was not initially very exciting. I merely attended as many were going for it. But when I started paying attention to it, the real learning started, and it was all fun, with the needed seriousness.

I started enjoying the session and learned a lot in the process. I learned, if we give our all, we learn the most.

After the session, I purchased the PMP Exam Prep Book, I Want to Be A PMP, 2nd Edition, written by Mr. Satya Narayan Dash. I went through the book and the 60+ videos, which came as part of the e-Book.

Later on, I purchased PMP Live Lessons Video Course, again by Satya Narayan Dash in May 2022, where my actual and final preparation started.

Own Study
After subscribing to the PMP Live Lessons, I started reading the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, 6th edition.

The PMBOK guide is like a novel, not exam preparatory material. But I’d recommend that you read the guide.

There is no need to read the PMBOK Guide, 7th edition. In fact, I didn’t face a single question from the PMBOK Guide, 7th edition in my PMP exam, though I’ve learned it from Satya’s Management Review Sessions.

I’d read two to three hours early in the morning. It’s around 4:30 AM to 7 or 7:30 AM. Before going to bed, I’d again glance at what I’ve read in the morning. This is like a revision for my earlier 2-3 hours of learning.

Along with the must-have PMP Live Lessons – Guaranteed Pass, I’d strongly recommend these two:

The best thing about the Live Lessons videos is that you can watch them as many times as you want. I want to mention one important aspect: the length of Live Lessons video is two to ten/twelve minutes maximum. Hence, you won’t be bored for sure. It keeps the pace of learning.

During my preparation, my main obstacle was time, as I was the critical resource only after my onsite manager. It created a lot of obstacles as I’ve a lot of workload. But keep your commitment, and don’t give up.

The primary reason I purchased PMP Live Lessons is to have a sound understanding of Agile and Hybrid methods, along with traditional ones. It provided me with that.

I’ve gone through the videos, and I can definitely say one thing: Whatever video I watched and re-watched is worth every minute I spent. 

Every lesson in this course is equipped with a set of Smart Cards and several practice questions with answers. I’ve gone through them and it was very helpful for me. The explanation of why an answer is correct is also quite beneficial.

As you go through and complete the lessons in the course and go through the Smart Cards, you can quickly know how much you’ve understood on the subject you have completed. There are also references to the PMBOK Guide.

Satya’s Management Review Sessions
I joined Satya’s Management Review Sessions from October 2022. Several participants also join this session, particularly those who have subscribed to his video courses. It was very helpful. Even today, I join these sessions.

These talks are a really good approach; you can ask questions directly face-to-face. This happens every week and is led by Satya. These sessions provide a lot of support for aspirants, and it’s of high value.
You can clear all your doubts and it helps a lot to improve your knowledge wherever you are lacking.

PMP Exam Experience
I went for the Online Proctored Mode for my PMP exam. My strategy was simple, and it was to take all 180 questions in the prescribed 210 minutes (3 hours 50 minutes). But the problem was sitting that long, even with breaks.

As a professional working manager, I rarely sit that long as I have to address issues or solve problems frequently. I’ve practiced five to six full-length questions to prepare for this purpose and sit for longer durations.

The following are the types of questions I faced in the exam:

  • A number of questions were on Agile and Hybrid-Agile management.
  • A large number of questions were from Procurement Management, and Resource Management.
  • A number of questions were also from Schedule Management.
  • Most of the questions were situational.
  • I didn’t receive a single mathematical question, which surprised me.

As you go through the exam, watch the clock continuously. Time flies.

I could not get enough sleep before the exam. All the Q&As were running through my mind. In fact, before the exam, I was thinking about how soon the night would be over, and I’ll sit in the PMP exam! It worked for me with a final satisfactory score.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants

  • Believe in yourself. You surely can do it with the right material.
  • Give your 100%, prepare for PMP preparation.
  • With the right material and practice, you can confidently give the PMP Exam.


  • Don’t give up once you have started your PMP preparation.
  • Revise and rethink what you have learned earlier, and where you can apply your learning.
  • Don’t be irregular at all in your preparation. Regular preparation is the right and best way to clear the exam.

Finally, I want to share a small story.

I visited a car showroom to enquire about a newly launched car. The salesperson informed me about a waiting period of six months. I took the car details and the brochure and came back home.

One day the salesman called me and asked about my car purchase. I said the waiting time was too long, so I dropped the idea. The salesman replied: “Sir, if you had booked the order on your first visit, by this time, the car would have been delivered to you!”.

That made me think about PMP certification and the session I attended years before for my 35 contact hours. And I postponed it again and again!  

I realized if I kept on postponing, I’ll never be a PMP and would never have success in the exam. Then and there, I searched for Satya’s mobile number, called him immediately and informed him that this time I wanted to be a PMP without any delay at all.

So, if you plan to be a PMP, start it today. Do it today and start now.  We don’t know about tomorrow. Tomorrow is hope, and today is real.

I wish you all the best in your journey and hope this success story helps you become a PMP. Good luck!

Brief Profile
Name: Adinarayana Murthy Bhuvanagiri, PMP, SAP Certified PM

Role: Working at Wipro Technologies, as an offshore Project Manager. I’ve over a decade and half of experience in various corporations, primarily in software, finance and marketing domains.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Working with User Stories and Story Points in MS Project Agile (Scrum)

Recently, while interacting with many Agile practitioners in a webinar, a number of questions came-up on the capability of MS Project Agile software with respect to user stories and hence, associated tasks. MS Project has features, tasks and as you’d know the features can be broken down into tasks. However:

  • Can MS Project Agile have items in user story format?
  • Can the stories be estimated in story points?
  • Can the stories be broken down into tasks?

You can watch the international webinar here:

Practical Scrum using MS Project Agile (2 of 3) by MPUG

Yes, absolutely you can! In this article, we learn more such capabilities with MS Project Agile. To download and use the MS Project Agile, you can use the following step-by-step installation guide.

Step-by-Step Guide: Install, Set-up and Run MS Project Agile 

In-depth, hands-on explanation with User Stories and how to address them have been explained in the below video course:

Mastering MS Project Agile – Scrum, Kanban and ScrumBan

User Story Basics

A story is written on a stick note, a simple piece of small paper, a card or an electronic card, if you are using a sophisticated software tool. A user story has three aspects:

  • Who – Who wants this?
  • What – What is wanted to be done by this?
  • Why – Why does someone want it?

A user story is written in this format: 

As a <role>, I want <need>, so that <value or benefit>.

The first role part is about “who”, the second need part is about “what” and the third value or benefit part addresses “why”.

You can learn more on various types of stories in this article of Stories about Stories in Agile Development. 

“Story Points” Custom Field

The Story Points field is not available by default in MS Project. You have to create a custom number field for this purpose. To assess the custom field:

Go to the Task Sheet Tools > Format tab > Columns > Custom Fields command. 

 A number custom field has been used as story points are calculated in numbers. If you are not going with story points, you can have feature points or simply, points. This is shown below. 

Backlog with User Stories 

Let’s say currently in our Product Backlog, we have the following items. This is shown in the Sprint Planning Sheet view. (click to enlarge the view)

As you see in the above figure, while the higher ordered items towards the top of the backlog are written in user story format, and they are estimated in story points, whereas the lower ordered items towards the bottom of the backlog are not in user story format. They are also not detailed or estimated in story points. 

This is expected as we plan for two to three upcoming Sprints, while refining the product backlog. You’d have noticed the items written in Story formats are estimates as 3, 5, 8 story points. 

More Refined User Stories

Many Agile/Scrum practitioners break-down stories into tasks and I’ve also noted it in the earlier linked article of stories. This can be done quickly with MS Project software. 

For example, the below story (first one in the list):

  • As a user, I can log into the online system, so that I can access.

This can be broken down into multiple user stories, if you want to provide access in a number of ways. For example, it can be:

  • As a user, I can log into the online trading system with my Email account, so that I can access it via my Email ID.
  • As a user, I can log into the online trading system with my payment wallet, so that I can access it quickly.
  • As a user, I can log into the online trading system with my social media XYZ account, so that I can access it via social media XYZ.

In such a case, you just have to write them down in the text area of the Task Name field in the Sprint Planning Sheet view.

Backlog with User Stories and Tasks

Many Agile/Scrum practitioners take the user stories and break them down into tasks. This happens during the Sprint Planning meeting. As shown earlier, we have many stories for the upcoming Sprint or Sprint 1. It’s shown in the below Board view. (click to enlarge the view)

Now we are going to break them into individual tasks. I’m going to use a boiler-plate set of tasks for these stories and break-down each story into tasks. For example, consider this user story:

  • As a user, I can log into the online system, so that I can access.

One can break them down into individual tasks, such as:

  • Task – 1: Design and develop
  • Task – 2: Implement UI
  • Task – 3: Prepare test plans
  • Task – 4: Execute test plans
  • Task – 5: Integration work
  • Task – 6: PO Review

All these can be done in the Sprint Planning Sheet view or Gantt Chart view. Once you have created the tasks under the stories, it will come as shown below in the Gantt Chart view.  

This also can be seen in the Sprint Planning Sheet view or Current Sprint Sheet view with a grouping applied.  

As shown:

  • The story has been broken down into individual tasks.
  • The story name is shown as the Task Summary Name, which is correct.
  • Both the story and the related tasks are associated with the Sprint.

Video - User Stories and Story Points

You can watch the following video [duration - 5m:30s]. to see a demonstration how user stories are written, estimated in story points, broken down to tasks, tracked and managed using MS Project Agile software tool.



As we saw in this article, the MS Project (Agile) software has the needed functionality to write each (product) backlog item in the form of user story. A story can be broken down into a set of tasks, and each task can be estimated with duration, start and finish dates.

Next, you have to assign the resources to the tasks and start Sprinting for your project. As you Sprint, you have to just drag and drop the cards in the Current Sprint Board view to complete them. 

As you move the cards across the board, it’ll come as shown below. 

Is it that simple to write with user stories in MS Project Agile? Yes, it is! 

You can quickly write the stories, break them into individual tasks and track them to completion. 


[1] Book: I Want To Be A PMI-ACP: The Plain and Simple Way, by Satya Narayan Dash

[2] Video Course: Mastering MS Project Agile, by Satya Narayan Dash

[3] Video Course: Microsoft Project Live Lessons, by Satya Narayan Dash.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Management Yogi's Hybrid-Agile (CHAMP) Certification: 7 Principles of Hybrid-Agile Management (Part - 2)


In the earlier post, I informed on the first four principles of a Hybrid-Agile Management and emphasized on the need and importance of management principles. As the practitioner of Hybrid approaches, you need to not only be familiar with these principles, but also always align your practices with these principles. 

These principles are taken from the Certified Hybrid-Agile Master Professional (CHAMP) courseThese are brief explanations. In-depth explanations with videos are available in the CHAMP course.

Note: When you subcribe to CHAMP certification course (or PMP, RMP, ACP, CAPM or any other video course), you can join my regular Management Review Sessions, whenever applicable. It'll be completely free of cost to you.

Now, let’s see the next set of principles in Hybrid-Agile Management: Principle 5, Principle 6 and Principle 7

[This series - Part - 1]


Principle – 5: Value delivered is the ultimate measure of progress and success.

It’s always about value delivery, be it Waterfall or Agile. Without value being delivered, your project won’t last long.

In waterfall, value is delivered by various desired artefacts, milestones being completed with deliverables, and of course the deliverables itself. In Agile, value is checked by the customer at the end of short iterations (Scrum) or on-demand (Kanban). 

Value is in the eyes of the beholder; in this case, the eyes of the customer.

Imagine going to a film with your family. Value delivered will different for most members of your family. It's not always the end result or product, i.e., movie! Ask them and you will be surprised what different members actually found to be valuable in the entire trip. 

Principle – 6: Visualize the flow of work for adaptive. Contextualize the work with respect to phases in predictive.

Adaptive work should be visualized, because they are derived from Lean, which says visualize the flow. This shows the progress and bottleneck.

Visualization in Hybrid-Agile projects can happen with various board views. For example, below is a Backlog Board view for a Hybrid-Kanban project. There are 4 workflow states or columns with which we can visualize the flow. 

Predictive work should be contextualized to phases. Instead of having a long waterfall project, break the project into various phases.

Contextualization and breaking of project work into various phases can be done with the Gantt Chart view. For example, the view below shows the possible phases of a Hybrid-Agile project. 

As shown, we have a number of contextualized phases: Start-up, Planning, Development, Test, Deploy and Close.

Principle – 7: Have frequent integration points between predictive and adaptive elements to reduce risks.

It’s important that you have frequent integration points between predictive and adaptive work.

This can be achieved through integration work and integration testing. The integration points are shown in the below figure with black lines between two value-delivery elements: Waterfall/Sequential and Agile.

This way the risk of unsuccessful delivery doesn’t happen. 

Again, do note that much detailed explanation has been given in the course.

[This series - Part - 1]


To recap, the principles are shown in the below figure. With this, you can quickly remember and recall the principles.

You can also watch the below video to have a brief recap on the seven principles of Hybrid-Agile Management [Duration: 7m:29s].

Throughout the CHAMP certification course, these principles are applied – be it Hybrid-Scrum, Hybrid-Kanban or Hybrid-ScrumBan management. As you appear for the exam, prepare and practice them in the real-world, these pricinciples will be equally important.

You May Also Like:

1. What's New: Certified Hybrid-Agile Master Professinoal (CHAMP) (20% Theory and 80% Practical), by Satya Narayan Dash

2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Certified Hybrid-Agile Master Professional, by Satya Narayan Dash

3. Certified Hybrid-Agile Master Professional (CHAMPCourse, by Satya Narayan Dash

4. Management Yogi's CHAMP Certification: 20 Free Questions and Answers (Part - 1)

5. Management Yogi's CHAMP Certification: 20 Free Questions and Answers (Part - 2)

6. Management Yogi's CHAMP Certification: Seven Principles of Hybrid-Agile Management (Part - 1)

7. Management Yogi's CHAMP Certification: Seven Principles of Hybrid-Agile Management (Part - 2)

8. Step-by-Step Guide: Install, Set-up and Run MS Project 2019/2021 with Agile Features (Online Desktop Client)