Great Video on a Secret of Passing the PMP Exam

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If you’re studying for your PMP®, I think you must watch this video.  This guy, Jeff Minder (PMP) of Victory Vets, gets it. As a disclaimer, I am in no way profiting or promoting his service.  I just think he did an awesome job with this video.  While I’ve been working on HueCubed, I’ve realized the importance of memorizing page 43 of the PMBoK.  I don’t think you can memorize the entire PMBoK and expect to pass the PMP Exam.  To be honest, I would hope you wouldn’t.  The exam is a series of scenario based questions.  You are not going to be asked to define a project.  Rather, a lengthy statement will be made and you’ll probably be asked if it is a project, operations work, both, or neither.

But back to the video and memorizing page 43.

My analogy of memorizing page 43 is like a child memorizing his or her ABCs.  When they memorize their ABCs, they can then identify which letters are vowels and which are consonants.  They can then build words to put into sentences.  Sentences go into paragraphs…and so on and so on.  Memorizing the ABCs will not make kids literary geniuses.  Rather, they use the ABCs as building blocks for future learning.

When you’re looking at page 43 of the PMBoK, you’ll see Process Groups, Knowledge Areas, and processes.  You need to memorize these core processes and understand where they fit into the big picture of a project.  In this video, Jeff explains the proper way to read page 43.  Yes, there is correct way to read that page.

From my perspective, the other note to make about this video happens at 6:17.  The PMBoK and testing are written toward a projectized organizational perspective, in comparison to functional, matrixed, or composite.  Remember that!

What happens when you walk your own critical path

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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.



Formulas To Remember For The PMP Exam

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Use this formula on the PMP exam to calculate the variance of an activityI think back to when I sat for the PMP exam and remember taking the first few minutes to quickly write down the following formulas.  It was my cheat sheet.  There was enough to think about for the next few hours and worrying if I could remember some key formulas was not one of them.  So, here is a bit of advice.  If you’re preparing[1] to take the PMP exam, MEMORIZE these formulas.  The exam won’t come right out and ask you to identify the correct formula for a variance of an activity. Rather, it will offer a question like:  Your current activity was pessimistically estimated at 65 hours and optimistically estimated at 40 hours.  What is the variance of the activity?  (you can use this formula for both time and cost)

You can see how knowing the formula is going to make you or break you on this question.

Do yourself a favor.  Make flash cards, get a tattoo, it doesn’t matter.  Commit these formulas to memory and you’ll save yourself some pain and suffering (and a few points on the exam).

The Formulas

Acronym Title Formula
PERT Program
Evaluation and
Review
Technique
Use this formula on the PMP exam to calculate PERT
P = Pessimistic Estimate
M = Most Likely Estimate
O = Optimistic Estimate
Standard Deviation of Activity Use this formula on the PMP exam to calculate standard deviation of an activity
Variance of an Activity Use this formula on the PMP exam to calculate the variance of an activity
Total Float LS – ES or LF – EF
Communications
Channels
[N(N-1)] / 2
CV Cost
Variance
EV – AC
SV Schedule
Variance
EV – PV
CPI Cost
Performance Index
EV / AC
SPI Schedule
Performance Index
EV / PV
EAC Estimate
at Completion
BAC / CPI

AC + ETC

AC + (BAC – EV)

ETC Estimate
to Complete
ETC = EAC – AC
VAC Variance
at Completion
BAC – EAC
CPIc Cumulative
Cost Performance Index
Σ EV / Σ AC
TCPI To-Complete Performance Index Use this formula on the PMP exam to calculate TCPI
[1] This is a link to a product I created
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