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Important topics in project management pertaining to project framework

For a PMP aspirant, the entire syllabus of PMBOK is very broad and illustrative. An individual could not escape with any topic. Each and every topic has a unique role and importance in the project management. As you know there are five process groups and nine knowledge areas that a project manager has to unify, articulate, overlapped in the practice. Let me explain you the important topics for the project management introduction, framework, and processes that will help you while preparing for the examination:
  • Definition of Process
  • Definition of Project
  • Definition of Project Management
  • Difference between Project and Operation
  • Differences between Project vs. Program vs. Portfolio Management
  • Role of PMO
  • Six Constraints (Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Resource, Risk)
  • Stakeholder and their impact on the projects
  • Organizational Structure and differences among it (Functional vs. Matrix vs. Projectile vs. Composite)
  • Project Lifecycle vs. Product Lifecycle
  • Project management processes, Initiation (Start), Planning (Plan), Executing (Do), Controlling & Monitoring (Check & Act), Closing (End)
  • Be able to replicate the specific order of PM processes by understanding what happens when, how previous works supports what comes next. Knowing the processes in this order can help you get a large no. of questions right on the exam, because the exam often asks ‘what should be done next?’
  • Understand the project management process groups of initiating through closing and when each should be done on projects. The exam asks questions that present a situation and require you to name the process group the project is in.
  • An input means – What do I need before I can?
  • An output means – What will I have when I am done with?
  • PM processes in Integration knowledge area are as follows:
    1. Develop Project Charter – contents of project charter like business case, project objectives, high level risk, budget, schedule, Authority level of project manager, etc.
    2. Develop Project Management Plan – the main input is signed project charter and the output is your project management plan.
    3. Direct and Manage Project Execution – Here you carrying out the project management plan with the main input as Project Management plan.
    4. Monitoring and controlling project work & Perform integrated change control – Variance with performance baselines, raising change, if required, get an approval, etc.
    5. Closing the projects – final closure of the project and getting sign off of the customer.
  • Value and authority level of Project Charter
  • Project Selection Criteria – very important topic for PMP examination
  • Economic models of Project selection
    1. Present Value [PV = FV/(1+r)n ; FV= Future Value, r = interest rate, n= no. of time periods] – don’t confuse with Planned Value
    2. Net Present Value
    3. Internal Rate of Return
    4. Payback Period
    5. Benefit-cost Ratio
  • Opportunity Cost (given cost over selecting other project) & Sunk Cost (expended cost)
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors – company cultures, existing systems
  • Organizational Process Assets – existing process and procedures, lessons learned knowledge, templates mainly on WBS.
  • Baseline (Scope, Cost, and Schedule)
  • Change Management Plan and Change Control System
  • Work-authorization System (Authorization for the start of the work package)
  • Corrective actions, Preventive actions, and defect repairs
  • Remember while the questions related to change request either from team members, Stakeholders, or from Customers --- the best actions taken by Project Manager serially are as follows:
    1. Evaluate the impacts
    2. Create options like schedule compression
    3. Get the change request approved internally
    4. Get Customer-buy-in
Be prepared for this type of question as PMI will assess your skill set, capability, and knowledge on the project management by asking question like that. PMI will check what type of decision making capability you are with. So, don’t feel nervous on this question – just think in better way what suitable decision you can take. Pick the best one!
  • Realistic project closing process:
    1. Confirm the work is done as per the scope baseline
    2. Complete procurement closure
    3. Gain formal acceptance of the product
    4. Complete formal performance reporting
    5. Archives project records
    6. Update lessons learned knowledge base
    7. Hand off completed products
    8. Release resources
    9. Milestone party at the end of success of the project
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For a PMP aspirant, the entire syllabus of PMBOK is very broad and illustrative. An individual could not escape with any topic. Each and every topic has a unique role and importance in the project management.

Pradip Dwevedi, PMP is currently the Lead PMP Trainer / Corporate Trainer at Reputed Global REPs, India and also the Head – Project Management at Invida Trans IT Solutions PVT LTD. Prior to this, he was Divisional Manager at Stylo Graphic Imaging and before this he was working as Facilitator/Team Leader at Aptara.

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