Follow-up review of the iStudy v2.0 PMP application

No Comments

The iStudy PMP v2.0 is an iPhone and iPod Touch application specifically designed to help those aspiring to pass the PMP® Exam.

When I did my Original Review of the iStudy PMP® application, I was pretty happy with it.  I said for $10, go for it.  One feature I really liked was the questions were completely random.  So, each test was unique.

So, how does v2.0 compare to v1.0?

Here is what changed between the two versions:

– Key summary for each question as well as page references to the PMBOK
– The initial number of questions has been increased from 20 to 35.  All 35 questions are new and were not available in the previous version.
– Improvements to the UI (better responses; works in both landscape and portrait)
– Users can now purchase an additional 550 questions from within the application.  This version leverages a freemium model.  The free version is ad supported.  If users wish to upgrade, they get an additional 550 questions for $2.99.  (Purchase from within the app).  If you’re interested in this app, you can get it from the iTunes store or go to www.istudyapps.com.

Do I think you should get it?  Again, I say go for it!
It’s only $2.99 for 550 questions and this version is even better than the last.

Disclaimer: Though I recommend this product, I am not financially benefiting from this review.
Categories: Misc, Project Management Tags: Tags: , , , , ,

What happens when you walk your own critical path

8 Comments

Last night we deployed HueCubed v1.0 to Production.  A year ago, I had an idea for a product that would inexpensively help people study for the PMP® Exam and other certifications or tests.  The result?  HueCubed.

HueCubed is a web application which will display randomized flash cards.  Upon reviewing the question, you simply click on the Flip button.  The card flips and displays the answer.  You then have several buttons you can click.  If you click on skip, incorrect, or correct, the system will log your selection.  You can then, at any time, click on Check Progress.  If you click on Flip, the card flips to the other side.  If you click Back, you will navigate to the previous card.

So let’s say you want to see your progress and click Check Progress.  Your choices will be broken down by categories of study.  Think of them as mini decks of cards.  There is one big deck (All) and then you have it broken down into 23 categories.  At any time, you can click one of the squares and it will return you to that card for review.  e.g. if there were 28 cards in a deck and you click on 14, you can go directly to card 14 of 28. (see image)

Anyway, I can go on an on about this product.  The idea came to me after I was asked over and over again to recommend products to help people study for the PMP® Exam.  Sure, the products are out there.  But, each one had something I didn’t like or thought could be improved upon.  I wanted something Simple, Powerful, and Cost-Effective.  So, I created HueCubed.

The last year has been hard.  I went through 3 development teams before I got a winner.  I’m not demanding or anything.  It’s just hard to find the right team sometimes.  I spent countless hours eating my own dogfood.  I created UI wireframes, I created fnctional designs.  I created a WBS.  I used a Kanban to manage my work.  We iterated and iterated.

HueCubed v1.0 was my critical path.  All of the required deliverables are there.  It will be a solid platform to build upon.  I hope I didn’t drive me wife too crazy with the idea of this first product.  I still have a group of offerings I want to provide.

In closing, I want to quote 2 great people who inspired me to do what I did.

Jason Calacanis said “Starting is easy; Finishing is hard.”

Seth Godin wrote “Pick a budget. Pick a ship date. Honor both. Don’t ignore either. No slippage, no overruns.”

I had an idea on March 22, 2009, that seemed simple enough to finish.  How hard could it be?  The answer was “very”.

I had a budget and stuck with it.  I gave myself 1 year to get it done or move on with my life.

I bootstrapped the effort and got it delivered.

HueCubed v1.0 went live at 11:28PM last night.
Yep, March 22, 2010.



Review of the iStudy PMP App for iPhone and iPod Touch

10 Comments

Disclaimer: Though I recommend this product, I am not financially benefiting from this review.

main page

Main Screen

Questions and Answers

Question and Answer

Result

Correct/Incorrect

The iStudy PMP is an iPhone and iPod Touch application specifically designed to help those aspiring to pass the PMP® Exam.

If you have seen sample questions from the PMP exam, you know the pain points; double-negatives, lengthy questions, what is the “best” answer…  When I prepared for the PMP Exam a few years ago, I spent several hundred dollars for a program that simulated the PMP exam.  I’ll admit, it worked great!  But, what if I could have passed the exam and also saved several hundred dollars?  If this application was around when I was preparing to sit for the exam, I would have purchased it first.

Interface

iStudy PMP contains 200 questions that intend to replicate the PMP exam. The interface is clean and it allows the user to concentrate on answering the questions.  If you come to a question you’re not sure about, you can Mark (skip) it.  I thought I ran into some problems with the Mark feature.  Swiping my finger across the screen didn’t always advance me to the next card.  After some practice, I realized it was just me. The application was working just fine.

Not to get ahead of myself, but there is a results page to see correct/incorrect results.  One thing missing is a similar navigation page showing the skipped questions.  You’re given the opportunity to go though the skipped questions at the end of the exam but you can’t see how many skipped you have.  You just have to go through them one by one.  I contacted the creator of the application and he confirmed this is something to be resolved in a future update.

Tests

iStudy PMP has 4 different modes designed to cater to different learning styles.

Normal – This mode displays all 200 (randomized) questions and allows you to sequentially browse. You can go back and forth as many times as you wish, but you have to go in sequential order.

Exam – This mode is similar to the Normal mode minus the fact you have a time limit of 4 hours to answer all of the questions. You can go back and forth between questions as many times as you need to change answers.  If after 4 hours you have not answered all of the questions, the exam will automatically end and your results calculated.  This is good because if there was one thing I took away from doing full length practice exams, they help you build up your stamina.

Stress Test – This is a pretty interesting mode. I like that you choose the number of questions you want to answer (out of 200) and an amount of time you wish to allow yourself.  If you fail to answer a question before the timer hits zero then that question is marked as incorrect and the application advances you to the next question.  Let’s say you set the stress test to 15 questions and 2 minutes per question.  Your stress test will be done in 30 minutes.  Pretty cool.

Knowledge Area – The PMP Exam assesses your competency from 9 Knowledge Areas. This mode is like the normal mode but it allows you choose a specific knowledge area.  This is a nice feature when you know you have specific knowledge weaknesses.

Results Screen

Once you have completed a test, or if you intentionally end it, you will be presented with the Results screen. Here you will see whether or not you passed the practice exam. Results will be broken down by knowledge area so you can see where you need to improve.  All questions will be listed as either correct and incorrect with an option to display the entire question and answers.

Summary

For $10, I say go for it!  One feature I really like is the questions appear completely random.  So, each test should be unique.  If you’re interested in this app, you can get it from the iTunes store, go to www.istudyapps.com or click here.

Innovate and Monetize

2 Comments

I thankfully found a developer to create three of my Apple iPhone/iPod Touch applications.  Is one going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread?  I don’t know.  When an idea comes to me, I quickly write it down.  I think my wife gets tired of hearing of my daily revelations and seeing post-it notes litter my desk.  Still, there is always potential to monetize an idea.  That can’t hurt.

It’s time I practice what I preach.  I’m the SME, sponsor, AND the project manager for this.  Do we have schedule, scope, and budget? Yes.  Do we have requirements, assumptions, and constraints? Yes.  No gold plating these applications.  Let’s get them to market and fulfill a need.  How much would you pay for a Derek Huether idea?