CompTIA Project+ PK0-003

Project+ and how to prepare for the exam

by Steve Caseley

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What is Project Management

Project+ and how to prepare for the exam

00:00:01 - Deciding to take a certification like Project Plus or deciding
00:00:05 - to take on the preparation required to prepare yourself to take
00:00:10 - a certification like Project Plus is a lot of work and it can
00:00:14 - be a little daunting at times especially if this is your first
00:00:17 - certification or especially this is your first re-introduction
00:00:21 - into education and training since you've joined the workforce.
00:00:27 - In this nugget we're going to focus on preparing for the exam
00:00:31 - to make sure you're ready to pass it.
00:00:35 - I'm going to try to and I hope I'm going to succeed in putting
00:00:40 - your mind at ease, making you convinced that undertaking your
00:00:46 - Project Plus Certification is the right thing to do and making
00:00:49 - sure that you're absolutely prepared to pass this exam on your
00:00:52 - first try. This nugget is going to be broken into two main parts.
00:00:57 - One is we're going to talk a little bit about why are you taking
00:01:01 - the exam. Now I'm sure you have your own reasons for embarking
00:01:04 - on Project Plus and already made the decision that Project Plus
00:01:09 - is the right way to go but perhaps now that you've actually started
00:01:13 - down that path you're starting to get cold feet so to speak so
00:01:17 - I'm going to spend just a few minutes explaining why I believe
00:01:22 - Project Plus is a good certification and again helping reinforce
00:01:27 - your won convictions of why you wanted to take your certification
00:01:30 - and we're going to spend just a few more minutes talking about
00:01:34 - what Project Plus itself is. We've already spent some time discussing
00:01:38 - what the Project Plus Certification is. We're going to spend
00:01:40 - just a few more moments on that to make sure that the Project
00:01:43 - Plus Certification is in fact the right certification that you
00:01:47 - should be taking on at this point. Then we're going to embark
00:01:51 - on ensuring that you're ready to pass the exam.
00:01:55 - We're going to make sure that you understand the format of the
00:01:58 - exam, how many questions are on the exam, the types and styles
00:02:02 - of questions that's going to be on the exam, and what you need
00:02:06 - to do to pass the exam. And finally knowing the material that's
00:02:10 - the focus of the entire nugget series in this particular nugget
00:02:14 - we're going to talk about some tips and hints
00:02:17 - to help you understand and know the material and be prepared
00:02:21 - for the format of the exam and ready to pass the exam. As
00:02:27 - I've already discussed I'm sure you all have your own personal
00:02:30 - reasons for why you're taking the exam. I just wanted to share
00:02:33 - with you some norms of why people would take the exam and why
00:02:37 - people want to get Project Plus certified.
00:02:41 - Number one it demonstrates proficiency.
00:02:45 - Why does it demonstrate proficiency? Because the Project Plus
00:02:50 - is based on
00:02:52 - the industry best practices
00:02:58 - and by passing your Project Plus Certification you have proven
00:03:04 - that you understand
00:03:08 - and can apply
00:03:11 - to project industry best practices and therefore yes you can
00:03:17 - demonstrate proficiency by on the job success as project managers,
00:03:22 - delivering your projects on time, on schedule, on budget and
00:03:26 - that is certainly a key part of demonstrating proficiency but
00:03:30 - by going out and getting your certification it's just one more
00:03:34 - way to demonstrate
00:03:38 - the proficiency. Often people will take a certification like
00:03:41 - Project Plus to improve their job opportunities. Many job postings
00:03:46 - are going to say
00:03:48 - "proof of
00:03:51 - PM proficiency"
00:03:57 - or may even say "certification
00:04:03 - required." So by getting your Project Plus certification there
00:04:10 - will be extra job opportunities out there that you can now apply
00:04:14 - for or you will be able to apply for once you get your certification
00:04:17 - that you probably would not have been able to apply for in the
00:04:20 - past. If you're not looking for a new job but are looking for
00:04:24 - career advancement in your own workplace again getting your certification,
00:04:28 - demonstrating your proficiency
00:04:31 - should be, will be significant improvement in your capability
00:04:37 - or your suitability for career advancement.
00:04:42 - If you go to the boss and say "hey boss, I've just delivered
00:04:45 - five projects successfully, it's time for a raise and a promotion"
00:04:49 - the boss may say "Yes, you're right Steve, you've done a really
00:04:52 - good job and I'd love to promote you" and that may be all you
00:04:56 - need. But let's look at it this way if you go to the boss and
00:04:59 - say "Hey boss, I've just delivered five projects successfully
00:05:04 - and six months ago I went out and passed my Project Plus certification"
00:05:09 - that's just one more
00:05:14 - piece of convincing
00:05:16 - to the boss that says "Yes, you deserve that next career promotion,
00:05:21 - you deserve that next raise." And if you're really excited about
00:05:25 - Project Management and proving your worth as a project manager
00:05:30 - you may see the Project Plus Certification as a stepping stone
00:05:34 - to the next level of certification which is PMP, Project
00:05:39 - Management Professional,
00:05:47 - and that's from PMI. I
00:05:50 - would describe PMP certification as the advanced certification
00:05:58 - in Project Management and the Project Plus would be the intermediate
00:06:02 - certification in Project Management.
00:06:07 - So hopefully some of these reasons
00:06:10 - are consistent with your reasons for wanting to get Project Plus
00:06:13 - and realizing that everybody
00:06:17 - has different reasons that maybe some of these can help solidify
00:06:21 - your commitment to your Project Plus and give you that extra
00:06:25 - incentive to continue on through this nugget series and that
00:06:29 - extra incentive to put in the time and effort and go and take
00:06:33 - the exam and get your Project Plus Certification. As
00:06:38 - I said in the introduction we're going to spend just a few more
00:06:41 - minutes validating what Project Plus Certification is and use
00:06:46 - that to again help ensure that you're taking your right certification.
00:06:51 - Project Plus is absolutely a composite of PM Best Practices.
00:06:57 - What does that mean? It's going to validate
00:07:00 - that you're following industry
00:07:05 - best practices for PM having
00:07:10 - said that the Project Plus is heavily based on PMI, Project Management
00:07:16 - Institute, Project Management Body of Knowledge, the PMBOK or
00:07:20 - the PMBOK guide.
00:07:22 - The PMBOK guide is a heavy influencer of
00:07:27 - industry best practices for Project Management.
00:07:31 - But there are other industry best practices for Project Management
00:07:35 - that are not in the PMI PMBOK guide that will appear in the Project
00:07:41 - Plus Certification.
00:07:42 - And what I just described almost sounds like an oxymoron.
00:07:47 - How can the PMI PMBOK guide be one of the authoritative volumes
00:07:51 - on Project Management Best Practices where in fact I then turn
00:07:56 - around and say there are industry best practices for PM that
00:07:59 - are going to not be contained in the PMBOK guide.
00:08:03 - Well the main reason for that is Project Plus itself has a strong
00:08:08 - IT influence. In fact CompTIA described Project Plus as a certification
00:08:14 - exam for IT Project Management professionals.
00:08:18 - Therefore there are IT PM principles,
00:08:28 - i.e. industry best practices for Project Management, that are
00:08:32 - not in the PMBOK guide.
00:08:37 - Project Management is Project Management is Project Management,
00:08:41 - it doesn't matter whether you're building a bridge, constructing
00:08:45 - a house, project managing research and development project, or
00:08:50 - project managing an IT project.
00:08:53 - The nine principles of project management that we've discussed
00:08:57 - already time, cost, quality, scope, etc. etc. are the same.
00:09:04 - All of the knowledge areas are applied in IT Project Management
00:09:09 - as defined in the PMBOK guide. The difference is IT has
00:09:15 - some uniqueness.
00:09:20 - And we've discussed one of the key uniqueness already in this
00:09:24 - series requirements.
00:09:29 - IT requirements because they're intangible are much more difficult.
00:09:38 - Therefore our industry best practices for IT project management
00:09:44 - will expand/extend
00:09:52 - the PMBOK guide and will validate that we're using
00:09:57 - some enhanced and I may be flattering us IT project managers
00:10:02 - but I'm going to continue with the flattery some enhanced aspects
00:10:05 - for requirements management that may not be as relevant for PMI
00:10:10 - PMBOK guide and some of these enhanced requirement definition
00:10:14 - processes that we use in IT may in fact never make it to the
00:10:18 - PMBOK guide. Another key uniqueness I feel that IT has is in
00:10:23 - risk management. All projects have risk
00:10:28 - but IT projects because the requirements are harder to define,
00:10:33 - because we're dealing with technology
00:10:39 - and our technology is always changing,
00:10:42 - we have a steep learning curve for technology, etc. etc. Again
00:10:46 - IT projects I believe often have a much higher risk profile than
00:10:53 - other projects so therefore again our industry best practices
00:10:57 - for IT Project Management has expanded on, extended the PMBOK
00:11:02 - guide and that's what you're going to see validated, confirmed
00:11:07 - in your Project Plus Certification. Now
00:11:13 - I hope that this overview of or explanation of what Project Plus
00:11:20 - is, the fact that it is based on the PMBOK guide but it's different,
00:11:26 - hasn't confused you because I will come back and say it is very
00:11:30 - much based on industry best practices on Project Management.
00:11:34 - If you've been involved in IT and if you've been involved in
00:11:38 - IT Project Management you already know this,
00:11:44 - you already know it all,
00:11:47 - and I'm not going to say no one likes a know-it-all because in
00:11:51 - this case we love the know-it-all's because you're going to pass
00:11:54 - their Project Plus.
00:11:57 - What we do in IT Project Management every day is the industry
00:12:02 - best practices on IT Project Management is extremely heavily
00:12:07 - based on the PMI PMBOK guide but it has some expansions and extensions
00:12:13 - to support the uniqueness of IT and that's what we're going to
00:12:17 - cover in the rest of this nugget series on Project Plus exam
00:12:21 - preparation. So now we're convinced that Project Plus is the
00:12:26 - certification for us let's focus on passing that certification.
00:12:31 - First step in doing that is understand the format.
00:12:35 - The current release of the Project Plus certification, the 09
00:12:38 - release, has 100 questions. That is up slightly from the previous
00:12:44 - releases so if you've been studying some old material it may
00:12:48 - have said there's a slightly lower number of questions that is
00:12:50 - currently on the Project Plus 09,
00:12:59 - today there are 100 questions and you have 90 minutes to complete
00:13:05 - the exam or the certification. Now you may first say "100 questions,
00:13:12 - I only have 90 minutes, that's more than one question a minute.
00:13:16 - I'm not going to be possibly able to get all that done in 90
00:13:20 - minutes." Relax, you will.
00:13:24 - The type of questions are multiple choice, multiple response,
00:13:28 - drag and drop. And we'll come back and talk of what the tips
00:13:32 - and hints for passing those are in just a moment but the fact
00:13:35 - is it's a multiple choice, you're going to read the question,
00:13:38 - the five possible answers are going to be presented to you, you're
00:13:42 - going to look through the list, and you're going to say "C is
00:13:45 - the right answer" and you're going to get that done and it's
00:13:48 - going to take you 10 seconds.
00:13:52 - So many, many of the questions you're going to do well, well
00:13:55 - below a question a minute, you're going to do three and four
00:14:00 - questions a minute, which is going to leave you lots of time
00:14:05 - for the harder ones,
00:14:10 - the ones you have to think about.
00:14:13 - So be conscious of the time you only have 90 minutes you don't
00:14:17 - want to dally and run out of time but don't stress that you're
00:14:22 - not going to have enough time to get it done because many of
00:14:24 - the questions you're going to do very quickly and as I say that
00:14:27 - will leave you the time that you need to work on the harder ones.
00:14:31 - Probably the most important question that everybody asks about
00:14:34 - this certification is "What's the passing grade?"
00:14:38 - Well the passing grade is 710 out of 900
00:14:44 - and if you get 710 out of 900 or higher you pass.
00:14:50 - Now how do you get 710
00:14:54 - out of 900
00:14:56 - when there are only 100 questions? Well it comes down to the
00:15:01 - fact that we have multiple types of questions
00:15:05 - and therefore we can have multiple answers. Drag and drop, multiple
00:15:10 - response, multiple choice there may be more than one right answer,
00:15:14 - the questions may be formatted in a way that in fact the rights
00:15:19 - there will be more than 100 rights there may be 110, there may
00:15:22 - be 120, there may be 200 rights.
00:15:27 - CompTIA as part of grading the exam will scale the number of
00:15:35 - answers to 900
00:15:42 - then they will scale
00:15:45 - the number of rights
00:15:48 - by the same scaling factor of course and determine whether you
00:15:52 - made the 710 out of 900. Now that's to me far too stressful worrying
00:15:59 - about 710 out of a possible 900. What is the real passing grade?
00:16:05 - And if you do the math and try to figure it out on your own the
00:16:10 - passing grade is rounded 65%.
00:16:14 - So provided that you get 65% of all of the answers right you're
00:16:18 - Project Plus certified. And getting 65% of the answers right
00:16:23 - is absolutely achievable for everybody listening to this nugget
00:16:28 - series. You already understand Project Management, you've been
00:16:33 - involved with IT projects probably for your whole career,
00:16:38 - you know what many of the right answers are already and therefore
00:16:42 - you're well on the way to meeting, to making, to satisfying that
00:16:47 - passing grade of 65%. Now
00:16:50 - let's talk about the questions themselves.
00:16:54 - There are typically three styles of questions on the Project
00:16:57 - Plus Certification, multiple choice. You get a question
00:17:02 - and you have multiple right answers A, B, C, D, or E you pick
00:17:06 - the right
00:17:08 - answer and you're on the way to the next question. I think everybody's
00:17:14 - very familiar with multiple choice, multiple responses much the
00:17:18 - same, instead of a question you get a statement,
00:17:23 - somewhere in the statement there's a blank,
00:17:26 - and you pick the right response A,
00:17:31 - B, C, D, or E to fill into that blank to make the statement a
00:17:34 - true statement. Drag
00:17:37 - and drop, you're given two columns of information, columns A
00:17:42 - and columns B, and you're given a series of statements, facts
00:17:49 - in columns A and B, and a drag and drop is basically the way
00:17:53 - that CompTIA has implemented matching the columns. So the first
00:17:58 - statement in A is matched to support the fourth column in B and
00:18:04 - so on.
00:18:09 - And through using your mouse and doing drag and drop you do the
00:18:15 - equivalent of drawing the lines and matching the columns.
00:18:19 - And that's the exam, the next step is to get registered
00:18:23 - for the exam and then dive into the rest of this nugget series
00:18:28 - and get prepared. To register for the exam you go to www.comptia,com
00:18:40 - click on Project Plus and
00:18:44 - explore the exam.
00:18:47 - The CompTIA site will give you more details on the exam format,
00:18:51 - will explain the passing grade of 710 out of the 900, and will
00:18:56 - allow you to select
00:18:59 - a date
00:19:02 - and a site
00:19:03 - where you'll take your exam itself. The Project Plus Certification
00:19:09 - is a computer-based exam, it is not available over the web, you
00:19:13 - must go to an exam center and that's what you do on your website
00:19:17 - is you select the site and the date where you will go to pass
00:19:23 - your exam, there are sites worldwide, and you simply select the
00:19:28 - site, the location that's nearest to your home and you're all
00:19:32 - set to pass your Project Plus. So
00:19:35 - now exam day has come and you're taking the exam, you're sitting
00:19:39 - down in front of that computer screen and ready to go. Here are
00:19:42 - my tips and hints for you. Read the questions carefully.
00:19:49 - Most of the questions on the Project Plus are going to be comprehensive
00:19:54 - questions, they're going to be two or three sentences long and
00:19:59 - they're going to be situational.
00:20:04 - In a project delivery scenario this situation happens, what is
00:20:14 - the best way to deal with it? A, B, C, D, or E so absolutely
00:20:20 - read the questions carefully to make sure you understand he situation
00:20:24 - in which the question is being presented and then equally important
00:20:29 - read the answers carefully. There are going to be four, five,
00:20:34 - maybe even six possible answers, don't just glance at the answers
00:20:39 - and say "Oh, C looks like the right answer, I'm going to grab
00:20:41 - it." Read each
00:20:46 - answer and read it carefully. The Project Plus exam has been
00:20:51 - put together by professionals and there are what's called distracters
00:20:56 - in some of the answers. On first brush, on first glance B appears
00:21:01 - to be the right answer but when you read it carefully there's
00:21:06 - a not in it or the phrasing of the answer puts it into the wrong
00:21:11 - situation so read each of the answers carefully to make sure
00:21:16 - that you are truly selecting the best answer. And
00:21:20 - that's the next key look for the best answer. There may be more
00:21:24 - than one right answer,
00:21:34 - look for the best answer.
00:21:38 - How there can be more than one right answer? Remember it's situational
00:21:43 - in this given situation what would you do? Well A, C, and E may
00:21:48 - be all valid responses, they may be all
00:21:52 - appropriate things to do given that situation but one of them
00:21:57 - is going to be better
00:21:59 - and better is often based on a pro-active
00:22:05 - Project Management decision.
00:22:10 - What is the most pro-active action that I as a project manager
00:22:15 - can take to keep my project on the success path? And that's going
00:22:20 - to be your best answer.
00:22:23 - If after doing all of this reading the questions carefully, reading
00:22:27 - each answer carefully, looking for the best answer you can't
00:22:31 - find the best answer then
00:22:35 - I'm not going to say you start guessing, the next step is to
00:22:38 - eliminate the wrongs A,
00:22:43 - B, C, D, or E based on reading the question carefully I absolutely
00:22:47 - know that A cannot possibly be the right answer, I know that
00:22:51 - D can't possibly be the right answer, now my domain of interest
00:22:58 - is limited to three of the answers B, C, and E and on review
00:23:03 - of those it may become more obvious that B is the best answer. So
00:23:10 - when you don't have the obvious answer eliminate
00:23:15 - the definitely wrongs and you're going to be in better shape
00:23:18 - to select the right answer
00:23:21 - or the best answer. Now comes
00:23:27 - the guessing yes there may be guessing in this. You've read the
00:23:32 - questions carefully, you've read each answer carefully, you've
00:23:35 - looked for the best, you've eliminated the wrong, and you still
00:23:39 - aren't sure whether B, C, or E is the
00:23:43 - best answer.
00:23:45 - My advice to you is to guess.
00:23:48 - This is not one of those exams where a right cancels a wrong,
00:23:54 - if you guess and you say C and you're wrong you've done yourself
00:23:58 - no harm and you had in this case a 33% chance of getting the
00:24:03 - right answer. Now I don't expect there will be many instances
00:24:08 - on the exam where you'll have to guess, that it will become pretty
00:24:12 - obvious to you what the best answer is going to be, and you're
00:24:16 - going to select it but when necessary guess leave
00:24:21 - no question
00:24:25 - unanswered. Don't just start guessing right off the top, the
00:24:34 - exam is also structured that you can mark
00:24:38 - questions for review
00:24:43 - so as you're going through the exam the first pass and you come
00:24:47 - across question 5 that you really don't know what the best answer
00:24:53 - is you can mark it for review, you can at that point leave it
00:24:57 - blank, or you can do your guess
00:25:01 - at that point, go on, go through the remaining 95 questions in
00:25:06 - the exam, when you're all done let's say you have 10 marked
00:25:11 - for review,
00:25:15 - you have 15 minutes left of your 90 minutes, you go back to the
00:25:20 - 10 that you've marked for review and then you again go through
00:25:25 - more of the elimination, more of the searching for the best answers,
00:25:28 - and again worst case, last cut through, leave no question unanswered,
00:25:36 - do the guess.
00:25:38 - And I don't want to emphasize this guessing because I really
00:25:41 - don't believe you'll be in a position where you're going to do
00:25:43 - a lot of guessing but I just want you to remember to leave no
00:25:48 - questions unanswered, don't stress as you're going through, you
00:25:51 - have questions 5 and question 36 and question 38 you don't have
00:25:56 - an obvious answer for, mark it for review then when you've completed
00:26:01 - the rest of the exam go back, do the review, and get the right
00:26:07 - answers for those remaining questions. The
00:26:11 - exam itself will test everything
00:26:17 - about PM.
00:26:21 - And as we discussed it will be situational,
00:26:27 - it will be practical,
00:26:31 - it will be real life
00:26:34 - most of the time. There will be the occasional what I would describe
00:26:38 - as academic questions,
00:26:41 - the memorization type questions, but the majority of your questions
00:26:45 - are going to be situational, practical, real life type questions.
00:26:50 - In preparation for the exam
00:26:53 - the short and long of it is you need to know everything about
00:26:56 - PM but the exam itself will test your knowledge in five areas
00:27:04 - pre-project setup and initiation about 12% of the total exam
00:27:10 - will be in pre-project setup and initiation type questions.
00:27:16 - Twelve percent of 100% means 12 questions.
00:27:24 - Project planning will be 29% or 29 to 30 questions related to
00:27:29 - project planning. I would say this is key,
00:27:33 - it is the single largest component of your Project Plus Certification
00:27:39 - and my experience is a lot of new project managers and I'm assuming
00:27:44 - although you have some experience to Project Management to be
00:27:47 - taking your Project Plus Certification you probably don't have
00:27:51 - 20 years of experience in Project Management. A lot of new project
00:27:55 - managers don't understand the importance of project planning
00:28:00 - to be in a successful project delivery and therefore may not
00:28:05 - put as much attention in preparation for the Project Plus Certification
00:28:10 - in the planning area but it is the single largest area and if
00:28:14 - you combine it with the pre-project it's 41% of the total exam
00:28:19 - is going to be tested on activities that you would do as a project
00:28:23 - manager before the project really starts to spend enough time
00:28:29 - in your preparation understanding the Project Management situational
00:28:33 - practical real life activities that you would do as a project
00:28:38 - manager I setup, initiation, and project planning. Carrying
00:28:44 - on the certification is going to test you in the Project Management
00:28:48 - activities associated with the execution and delivery. So this
00:28:53 - is when the team is doing the analysis, the design, and the development
00:28:57 - that's not what you're going to be tested on you're going to
00:28:59 - be tested on the PM activities
00:29:04 - that you would be doing during project execution and delivery.
00:29:08 - Same thing the key Project Management is in the change, control,
00:29:13 - and communications aspect6, 27%,
00:29:16 - and finally 9% or 9 questions
00:29:22 - are going to be in the project closure, the wrap up, the conclusion,
00:29:26 - the gaining acceptance, and the harvesting of the lessons learned. Having
00:29:31 - said the exam test 5 areas don't expect the questions to be serial.
00:29:37 - The first 12 questions presented to you are all going to be on
00:29:41 - pre-project setup and initiation and the next 29 questions on
00:29:45 - project planning absolutely not. The first question you hit may
00:29:50 - be on project closure. The exam
00:29:54 - draws from
00:29:57 - a database
00:30:02 - with thousands of questions
00:30:06 - and the exam presentation software is going to basically randomly
00:30:12 - select questions from that database of questions and present
00:30:17 - them to you in any order.
00:30:20 - And it's going to present them to you based on this relative
00:30:25 - distribution. When I say project closure is going to be 9% does
00:30:29 - that mean I guarantee you there will be nine questions related
00:30:33 - to project closure? No, there may be only eight or there may
00:30:37 - be 10, but it's going to be in that range.
00:30:41 - I present the exam areas and the weighting just so you can properly
00:30:46 - judge your preparation and your confidence that you can pass
00:30:51 - the exam based on how well prepared you feel you are in project
00:30:56 - planning versus how well prepared you believe you are in project
00:31:00 - closure. And just to repeat a principle I've already covered
00:31:06 - you need to know your material, you need to understand what Project
00:31:10 - Management is but as I've already discussed the exam is based
00:31:14 - on practical application, situational application.
00:31:20 - When you read the question put the question into action if I
00:31:25 - were a project manager and I was presented with this situation
00:31:30 - how would I respond and again how would I respond pro-actively
00:31:37 - to ensure future project success? Think through all of the questions,
00:31:44 - put them into the practical application,
00:31:48 - and you will do very, very well on your Project Plus Certification.
00:31:53 - I already mentioned there will be limited theory and definitional
00:31:58 - academic type questions on the exam. There will be a handful
00:32:02 - of them, there may be three to five questions that are going
00:32:06 - to be textbook, the rest are going to be practical, but don't
00:32:11 - worry that there are going to be some of these theory questions
00:32:13 - because you need to understand the theory and we're going to
00:32:16 - go through all of the theory. We need to understand what all
00:32:20 - of those knowledge areas are all about, what is scope management
00:32:23 - and how do I put it into action, what is time management and
00:32:28 - how I put it into action, what is each of our knowledge areas
00:32:31 - and how do I put it into action and with that you're well on
00:32:36 - the way to be in success in your exam. But I do have to warn
00:32:41 - you there will be earned value questions on your exam and there
00:32:46 - will be network scheduling questions on your exam be prepared
00:32:54 - for earned value and be prepared for network schedule questions.
00:33:01 - Why do I call these two areas out? It's my experience that earned
00:33:05 - value is the most
00:33:09 - misunderstood aspect of PM and network scheduling is probably
00:33:19 - the second most
00:33:21 - misunderstood. And we're going to have modules in this series
00:33:30 - directly focused on earned value and we will have a nugget in
00:33:35 - the series directly focused on network and scheduling so I'm
00:33:39 - going to give you all of the support material that you need to
00:33:41 - be a success but I just want you to be prepared that there will
00:33:45 - be earned value questions and there will be network scheduling
00:33:48 - questions on the exam but
00:33:53 - there's going to be only
00:33:56 - a few. I would say less than five questions that is going to
00:34:01 - be earned value and probably less than three on the network schedule
00:34:07 - and that is an approximation,
00:34:10 - I can't guarantee you that there will be less than five, my memory
00:34:14 - serves me that when I did my Project Plus Certification I only
00:34:17 - had two earned value questions and I believe I had three network
00:34:23 - questions when I did my exam. Again, it's being drawn from the
00:34:27 - test bank, the questions will be generated randomly, but again
00:34:32 - I'm sure there is some factoring in that randomness to make sure
00:34:37 - that at least one or two, maybe up to as many as five, earned
00:34:41 - value questions and one or two, again probably around three,
00:34:46 - network scheduling questions are going to be on the exam.
00:34:50 - Don't stress about it, we have nuggets that are going to prepare
00:34:53 - you for it but it's just one of these things I want you to be
00:34:56 - aware of. The other aspect is
00:35:01 - it's only
00:35:04 - a few.
00:35:06 - And if you hit an earned value question and you say your mind
00:35:11 - goes blank in spite of all your preparation your mind goes blank
00:35:14 - and you say "I don't know what to do" mark it,
00:35:20 - come back to it. After you've been through the rest of the exam
00:35:23 - and you've got half a dozen questions marked for review
00:35:29 - you're going to be feeling much calmer, you're going to be feeling
00:35:32 - much more relaxed, you're going to be feeling much more confident
00:35:35 - because you have gone through the 100 questions and you think
00:35:39 - you've got 90, 91, 92 of these questions bang on, you've got
00:35:45 - that confidence, you can come back and look at that handful of
00:35:48 - questions that's going to be of the earned value, of the network
00:35:51 - schedule and you're going to get them right. I just want you
00:35:53 - to be prepared, not to "freak out" if the very first random question
00:36:01 - that gets presented to you in your exam is an earned value and
00:36:05 - you go blank, mark it, come back to it, you're going to be prepared
00:36:10 - and you're going to do just fine. So
00:36:14 - now the big day of the exam has come, you've done all of your
00:36:16 - prep, and you're ready to go. How are you going to ensure you're
00:36:21 - prepared for the day of the exam? Well my first recommendation
00:36:25 - is know where you're going. If the exam center is in a part of
00:36:28 - the city of even in a new city that you're not overly familiar
00:36:32 - with do a dry run,
00:36:37 - go there the weekend before, find out where it is. Where is their
00:36:42 - parking? Be prepared
00:36:49 - nothing is going to put you in a more agitated stressed frame
00:36:53 - of mind than trying to get to the exam site on the morning of
00:36:59 - for the first time and getting lost. Be prepared, do a dry run,
00:37:04 - understand where there's parking, but know where you're going
00:37:07 - so that when you set out in the morning or the afternoon, whenever
00:37:10 - your exam is scheduled for, you have confidence that you're going
00:37:13 - to be able to go directly to the site. Secondly
00:37:17 - arrive early. I would say be there at least 30 minutes and maybe
00:37:23 - that's cutting it close for a lot of people, maybe you want to
00:37:25 - be there as much as an hour early.
00:37:28 - Again, nothing is going to put you in a stressed agitated frame
00:37:32 - of mind than looking at your watch or the clock in your vehicle
00:37:36 - saying "I'm going to late. I didn't expect it to be this much
00:37:40 - traffic" or there was an accident or there was some other delay
00:37:44 - that's holding you up. Arrive
00:37:46 - early, take that 30 minutes or an hour, go find a coffee shop,
00:37:51 - go find a nice park, go find a place that's going to allow you
00:37:57 - to compose yourself and make sure that you're in that right mental
00:38:01 - state. Make sure you've eaten well. No matter what time of the
00:38:06 - day you're taking your exam morning, noon, late afternoon, evening
00:38:11 - make sure that you're well fed.
00:38:14 - The exam is only 90 minutes but if you're 60 minutes into that
00:38:18 - 90 minutes and all of a sudden your belly starts to rumble it's
00:38:22 - going to again put you into a different state of mind and you'll
00:38:25 - say "Oh, I'm hungry, I really need a snack. I'm going to speed
00:38:28 - this up and I'm going to get through the rest of these questions
00:38:30 - faster so I can get out of here and get something to eat." That's
00:38:35 - not a recipe for success know where you're going, arrive early,
00:38:40 - be calm, be cool, make sure you're well nourished and you're
00:38:46 - in that right mental state and that's it there's really nothing
00:38:51 - else you have to worry about, there's really nothing you need
00:38:53 - to take with you with the exception of two pieces of ID.
00:38:58 - The IDs need to have pictures on them so people need to know
00:39:02 - what your lovely face looks like, they need to have signatures,
00:39:09 - and probably most importantly is the name on your IDs must match
00:39:15 - the name on your exam
00:39:19 - application. Now the first thing I've done here that makes us
00:39:23 - not match for me is if you've seen my picture on the website
00:39:27 - obviously you know I have a beard so again my picture must match,
00:39:30 - they're going to look at the picture, look at yourself to make
00:39:33 - sure that you are yourself and that your names must match. I
00:39:38 - call myself Steve but my formal IDs all have my name as Steven
00:39:44 - which is my full given legal name therefore when I did my application
00:39:49 - for the exam I needed to make sure that I registered myself for
00:39:52 - the exam as Steven so that when I went in with my IDs they matched. And
00:39:58 - that's it take nothing else with you. As a matter of fact you
00:40:02 - will be allowed to take nothing else into the exam center. If
00:40:05 - you have a cell phone or a PDA or an iPhone
00:40:10 - or a backpack or your purse or any other personal effects you're
00:40:14 - going to be requested to leave it at the reception. Now the reception
00:40:18 - will have a secured locked area, most ones that I'm aware of
00:40:22 - actually have lockers and they will give you a lock and the key
00:40:25 - so that you can rest assured that your personal effects will
00:40:28 - be safe while you're taking the exam but don't come prepared
00:40:33 - with lots of stuff, you're not going to be able to take it into
00:40:35 - the exam and it's just more work to stuff it into the locker.
00:40:40 - And that's it be
00:40:44 - in the right
00:40:48 - mental state
00:40:53 - to pass the exam and maybe arriving early, knowing where you're
00:40:58 - going, being well fed isn't what it takes to put you into the
00:41:01 - right mental state, certainly it's what would take me to be a
00:41:05 - success, but know what conditions are going to put you into the
00:41:09 - right mental state and be prepared on that day of the exam. So
00:41:15 - to conclude this nugget just a few tips and hints that I would
00:41:18 - like to offer you to have success
00:41:21 - on your exam. Most of these we've already touched already anyway.
00:41:25 - Memorization is not enough, most of the exams are going to be
00:41:29 - practical, situational.
00:41:36 - You need to understand what Project Management Principles are
00:41:42 - but you need to understand how to put those Project Management
00:41:45 - Principles into action. You
00:41:49 - should be prepared to do some math as part of answering some
00:41:54 - of the questions on the certification
00:41:57 - exam. Now I just said you're not allowed to take anything into
00:41:59 - the exam with you. How are you going to do math? Do we have to
00:42:02 - do it in our head? No, the exam center will give you something
00:42:06 - scrap paper and a pencil, in my circumstance it was a laminated
00:42:10 - plastic sheet and a whiteboard marker type thing, in some instances
00:42:14 - I believe there's actually a calculator available as part of
00:42:17 - the computer system, or maybe even a rudimentary non-
00:42:23 - programmable calculator may be provided. Whether or not you get
00:42:27 - a calculator don't worry about it the math is very simple. If
00:42:31 - you know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide you're going
00:42:35 - to be prepared to do all of the math and thinking back I believe
00:42:38 - there was a total of two or three questions when I did my exam
00:42:42 - where I actually had to get my little figurine pencil and do
00:42:45 - a little bit of computation on the side. Not a big deal but be
00:42:49 - prepared to do at least some. Get
00:42:53 - yourself in that right mental state. Do the easy questions first
00:42:57 - and mark
00:42:59 - the ones to come back to.
00:43:03 - And this is especially important if the first question or if
00:43:07 - somewhere in the first 10 questions you get one of those hard
00:43:10 - ones. Don't spend a lot of time upfront working on the hard questions
00:43:18 - mark it, come back to it, review it when you're done. Get through
00:43:23 - the easy ones, that way it's going to relieve your stress factor
00:43:26 - that "I have to get through all of these 100 questions, it's
00:43:29 - taken me too long." Get through the easy ones, get the time in
00:43:33 - the bank that's going to give you the time to do the hard ones,
00:43:36 - do the easy ones and get your confidence up. Consistent
00:43:42 - with the exam questions being practical and situational always
00:43:46 - put it in the context. If I were a project manager and I was
00:43:50 - given this situation how would I react,
00:43:54 - going to give you the best answer and that's directly related
00:43:57 - to the next one look for the best answer. We've discussed already
00:44:00 - there may be more than one correct answer or appropriate answer,
00:44:05 - look for the best answer and the best answer is based on the
00:44:09 - practical situational application.
00:44:12 - And my last tip and hint for you is the best answer will be based
00:44:17 - on pro-active project management. A
00:44:21 - couple more tips and hints eliminate the wrong answers, if there
00:44:25 - are five possible,
00:44:29 - two are absolutely wrong,
00:44:32 - that leaves you with only three to find the best within and often
00:44:37 - when you eliminate some of that I'm going to call it noise the
00:44:41 - three best answers are far easier to find or the one best answer
00:44:46 - out of three.
00:44:47 - Key is to relax, get yourself in that positive state of mind,
00:44:53 - do the easy ones first, and you will do fine. You know your stuff,
00:44:57 - you've been through this series, you have been working in Project
00:45:01 - Management or in a project environment for some time, just relax,
00:45:06 - take a deep cleansing breath, and you'll do fine. One
00:45:10 - last comment I'll leave with you on this piece is some of the
00:45:15 - questions in the exam are US-based so if you are based in North
00:45:20 - America or the US and
00:45:24 - you don't need to worry about this but if you're from another
00:45:27 - country besides the US or Canada, I lump us Canadians primarily
00:45:32 - into that North American ethic,
00:45:35 - but if you're not from the North America-US
00:45:39 - geography and you're finding that best answer a little more difficult
00:45:45 - try to put it into the US context if this were a US company or
00:45:49 - I were managing in a US company, based on the US cultural norms,
00:45:53 - based on the US business ethics and I'm not making a judgment
00:45:57 - call of US ethics and US business norms versus other countries'
00:46:00 - ethics and norms, all I'm pointing out is that the questions
00:46:04 - themselves are heavily US focused and therefore searching for
00:46:08 - the best answer is going to be situational if this were being
00:46:13 - delivered in the US using the US culture, the norms, the business
00:46:18 - practices, this is how I would select the best answer.
00:46:23 - And with all of this you're ready to go. In
00:46:32 - this nugget we focused on preparing you to be successful with
00:46:36 - passing your Project Plus Certification. We reviewed some of
00:46:41 - the reasons why you're taking this nugget series and why you
00:46:46 - want to get your certification. It's going to lead to validation
00:46:51 - of your project management proficiency, it's probably going to
00:46:54 - lead to new job opportunities, it's going to lead to potential
00:46:59 - career enhancements, it may be a stepping stone towards advancing
00:47:03 - your expertise as a project manager.
00:47:06 - We reviewed what the Project Plus Certification is all about,
00:47:09 - it's IT focused,
00:47:13 - and it follows industry best practices
00:47:20 - in Project Management.
00:47:23 - We reviewed and understood the format of the exam we have 100
00:47:29 - questions, we have 90 minutes to pass it, the passing grade is
00:47:34 - 710 out of a possible 900 points, let's ignore all of that and
00:47:39 - let's say the passing grade is approximately 65%
00:47:43 - and we reviewed the material, we reviewed what you need to do
00:47:48 - to be prepared, we've looked at some tips and hints,
00:47:54 - and we have all of the background material around the Project
00:47:59 - Plus that we need, now we'll go into the rest of the nuggets
00:48:02 - in this series and we will begin to learn,
00:48:06 - experience PM as it relates to
00:48:17 - the Project Plus. This
00:48:23 - concludes our nugget on Project Plus and how to prepare for the
00:48:26 - exam. I hope this module has been informative for you and thank
00:48:30 - you very much for viewing.

Pre-Project Setup

Project Planning

Prepare Scope Statement

Create WBS and WBS Dictionary

Define Change Management Process

Develop Project Schedule and Resources and Roles

PERT/GANTT/CPM and Schedule Compression

Communications Management Plan

Risk Management Plan

Quality Management Plan

Cost Management Plan

Procurement Management Plan

Transition and Project Management Plan

Human Resource Management

Project Governance

Project Tracking

Project Change Management

Project Risk Management

Project Quality Management

Project Delivery Management

Earned Value Management

Project Communication Management

Project Closure

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Steve Caseley

Steve Caseley

CBT Nuggets Trainer


Area Of Expertise:
Project Management, MS Project, Development Methodologies, Agile Development

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