Random Acts of IT Project Management

Project Management for Information Technology

Posts Tagged ‘PMI’

Project Management Training

Posted by iammarchhare on 17 July 2009

I am not going to reinvent the wheel.  I had on my list to write to the Helium title “Finding project management training courses”.  I’m looking over the rankings, and I find it surprising that the #3 ranked article is actually the most comprehensive of all 3 articles.  It was written by E. Allen Barkum.

I’m thinking over what I would do differently.  For one thing, I might shy away from the prices.  Prices change, after all.  I would probably rewrite the first paragraph to be a little more grabbing.  I would include hyperlinks to the organizations I mentioned.

Other than that, I would stress webinars more.  They are usually pretty cost-effective (sometimes even free!).  I would stress PMI membership and meetings because chapter meetings often involve training as well (and membership usually means a discount on outside seminars).

It just doesn’t seem that these changes would make it worthwhile to pursue competing against the article.  I just can’t figure out why it’s ranked #3.

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Webinars from PMCentersUSA

Posted by iammarchhare on 16 June 2009

PDUs – usually you think of a paid educational event of some type.  While many of them are nice, they can be a bit pricey for the times.

If you are like me, you are always looking for free PDUs, but that is even more true in this economy!  PMCentersUSA has been putting on a slew of free webinars lately.  Each is worth .5 PDUs.

BTW, not everyone knows it, but if you can claim a formal class or seminar for a PDU, you should be able to claim it towards your initial 35 contact education hours for credentials (see PMP handbook, p. 7 to verify that a particular activity is eligible).  Because of a change in rules and format, the class I took at Baldwin-Wallace did not have all the hours I needed.  However, budget and time constraints dictated I go for it.  However, it so happened I also had attended a whole slew of webinars that gave me enough credits to go for certification.  If you are strapped for time and/or budget, AND if you are good at remembering what you read, AND you read through the PMBOK at least 3 times, then this might work for you.

Even then, I’ll admit I could have done better with the full course, so that route is not for everyone.

So far, the PMCentersUSA seminars have been pretty worthwhile, even though they are short (they are supposed to be a half-hour, but one ran to 40 minutes with the question-and-answer period).

PMI Information Services Special Interest Group (ISSIG) also has webinars.  If you are a member, they are free (the webinars alone make the price of membership worth it).  These are typically a full hour, though, so it is easier to get your minimal 15 per year (if you are actively practicing PM for more than 1500 hours in a year, otherwise it is 20) that way.

Also, don’t forget you can earn credits for authoring, teaching and volunteering as well as attending educational events.  Be sure to read the PMP Credential Handbook thoroughly for ideas that might suit your situation.  And, no, fellow bloggers, having your own blog doesn’t fit any of the categories.

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Ethics Problems in Project Management

Posted by iammarchhare on 16 April 2009

Please note my new Helium article on project management ethics:

What are the challenges a project manager faces?

What do Bernie Madoff, Enron, WorldCom and AIG have in common?  If you said, “Investigations into accounting fraud”, you would be correct.  There have been numerous accusations of fraudulent activity of large corporations since 2000.1

Our entire economy is run on at least a basic level of trust.  We trust that our money will be accepted.  We trust that public corporations will have oversight and comply with the law.  The stock market indicates the level of trust that investors have in our economy.  When news is good, the stock market usually goes up.  When the news is bad, the stock market usually goes down.  The strength of the US dollar overseas is an indication of the level of trust that other economies have in our own.

Customers trust companies to provide the goods and services contracted and paid for.  Companies trust customers to pay on time.  Likewise, vendors trust companies to pay them on time, and companies trust the vendor to deliver on time.  Many times in the middle of these affairs will be a project manager (PM).

You can read the rest here.

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Webinar: PMBOK Guide 4th Edition Changes

Posted by iammarchhare on 15 April 2009

I don’t remember where I found the link, but PMCentersUSA and ConsultUSA are putting on free joint webinars on “What’s New in the PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition“.  The next webinar is 12 May, but sign up now to ensure you aren’t shut out!

Disclaimer: I have no connection with either PMCentersUSA or ConsultUSA other than attending the webinar, and everything here is my opinion and not necessarily theirs unless stated otherwise.

Last week, I posted an article pondering whether or not it was worth it to purchase the new PMBOK.  While the cost isn’t that high, these days a person needs to think about building up emergency funds and paying down debt, after all.  Even if you have a full-time job, you really are a contractor in today’s economy.  You are hired “at will”, and PMs can be easy targets for layoffs.  People are lucky to do 20 years at one place, let alone get a gold watch out of the deal.  However, there is good news.  If you are a member of Project Management Institute (PMI), you can access the PMBOK online now.  If this was available for the 3rd edition, it wasn’t obvious to me, but this is a welcome discovery!

The answer?  A guarded “Yes”.  I say “guarded” because the conclusion of the matter of “What has changed?” is “Not much”.  People studying for the exam could probably attend this webinar on top of what they would otherwise study and get by.  Just for passing the exam, then, it might not be worth it.  However, enough has changed that I believe I can now justify purchasing it for the day-to-day reference it provides.

So, what has changed?  I’m going to state a few highlights of the webinar, but if you want details, I encourage you to attend it.  You get the slide presentation for reference after attendance as well, so even if you miss something, you have the slides to refer back to.  I’m not going to regurgitate the entire webinar, and obviously it wouldn’t be proper for me to distribute their slides without permission.

The organization of the PMBOK has not changed.  The sections and chapters are arranged as they were in the 3rd edition.  The main changes were put into effect to enhance consistency and clarity.

Specifically, they fixed the inconsistencies for naming processes by changing them all to verb-noun type of names.  The process descriptions were rewritten to be consistent throughout the various chapters of the PMBOK.

PMI also attempted to clarify project phases.  They not only added wording to to distinguish them from project management process groups, but also took the diagram found on p 19 of a single phased project and edited it for a multi-phased project published on p 21.

One criticism I have of the changes is that one of the “clarity” items was a change to the data flow diagrams.  There are now little bullets along the flow lines, and it just looks confusingly cluttered.

Corrective action, preventative action, defect repair and requested changes are now grouped under “change requests”.  This is a welcome change, IMO.

There are some difference in process organization.  Instead of 44, there now are 42.  2 were added, 2 were deleted, and 6 were reorganized into 4.

There is now an Appendix G on People Skills.  You know, the soft skills I’ve been harping on.  And no, I don’t recall being told that this was a change in the PMBOK previously, so I pat myself on the back.

I do have a nit about it, though.  It lists “leadership”, “motivation” and “influencing” as separate skills.  I have a military background, and for me the definition of leadership is the ability to influence others to do thus-and-such.  Furthermore, a leader has to motivate people to pursue the same goals.  Why these are separate is puzzling to me, but maybe I should wait until I get my own copy to pass judgement.

PMI is doing a phased rollout for the exams.  Changes to the PMP exam occur 30 June.  The CAPM changes 31 July.  The rest are 31 August.

PMI takes the stance that the PMBOK is only one source for the exam and for project management in general.  They believe that the change in the exam will not be a jolt to the system.  We will see, of course, as some of you may recall that the last change was somewhat painful.

All in all, I think it might be worth it for those who are not members of PMI to purchase the newer edition sooner rather than later.  However, if you are not a member, you really should reconsider that decision overall.  There are free webinars and other online materials available to members, and members usually get discounts at seminars and other events.

Posted in PM Basics, PMBOK, PMP | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Webinar: PMBOK Guide 4th Edition Changes

PMBOK 4, Anyone?

Posted by iammarchhare on 7 April 2009

Well, I have had to live frugally lately, and, looking at some of the economic statistics, I’m certainly not alone.  So, I have to think hard about purchases a lot more than I used to.  This includes even membership in the Project Management Institute (PMI).  Frankly, I hesitated, but then I went ahead and did it.

So, has anyone who is already PMP certified purchased the new PMBOK?  I have heard PMI expanded the ethics section and changed the triple constraint so its no longer a triangle.  Any other worthwhile changes?

Normally, I wouldn’t even ask; I would just run over to pmi.org and buy it and see for myself.  However, I’m interested in what you have to say about it.  So, project managers, let’s discuss:

  1. Have you bought the new PMBOK?
  2. Why or why not?
  3. If you did, was it worth it?  Why or why not?

If you are PMP certified, then let us know your reasoning.  If you are not a PMP, would you have bought it if it didn’t mean a change in the test?

Mind you, I’m not interested in criticizing anyone’s decision, but let others hear your thoughts.

Posted in PMBOK, PMI, PMP | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »