PMP Exam Prep Seminar – Complete Exam Coverage with 35 PDUs
Updated for January 2, 2021, PMP Exam and based on PMI’s Exam Content Outline.
Join the thousands of others who’ve completed this top-rated course and passed their PMP exam. You can do this!
PMP® Exam Prep Seminar: ID 109EPSWB
- 20 hours for technical skills
- 9 hours for business skills
- 6 hours for leadership skills
- 35 PDUs / 35 contact hours for the PMP exam application
- 90-question pre-assessment exam
- 90-question end-of-course assessment exam
- 20-questions in each section
- Assignments and discussion
- Coaching sections throughout to keep you motivated – You can do this!
- You MUST complete all assignments and exercises to claim the 35 Contact Hours.
You need to pass the PMP exam and you need quality training that’ll help you in your role as a project manager. You also want to learn from an authority in project management, in an online environment with plenty of assignments, videos, and concise explanations. This course provides 35 PDUs and is taught by project management author and expert Joseph Phillips. Joseph is the author of several project management books from McGraw-Hill, the American Management Association, and Dummies Press. He is certified as a PMP, PMI-ACP, ITIL, Project+, and is a Certified Technical Trainer.
The 35 hours of project management education are earned by completing all of the course, the assignments, exercises, and quizzes. The Learning Management System tracks your completion of the course; if you complete all the videos, assignments, and interactive sessions, you can claim these hours for your PMP exam application or maintain your PMP certification.
Preparing to Pass the PMP
Let's begin by talking about this course as a whole. We'll discuss what you can expect in this course, how the class operates, and how to use this course to pass your PMP.
You need to pass the PMP® exam and you need quality training that'll help you in your role as a project manager. You also want to learn from an authority in project management, in an online environment with plenty of exercises, videos, and concise explanations. This course provides 35-contact hours of project management education and is taught by project management author and expert Joseph Phillips.
Yes, you will get a certificate of completion for this course, but you must complete the entire course to claim the certificate. You will only need the certificate IF you are audited by PMI. Watch this lecture for directions and information.
FAQs for this course...
This introductory lecture will set the stage of what you can expect in this module. It's always good to have a clear overview and understanding of what you're about to learn. Or, as my old college professor used to say, tell 'em, show 'em, and then tell 'em what you told 'em.
This first section is all about the PMP certification and how to earn the credential. Let's get started!
Let’s discuss the rules of the PMP exam and what the exam is based upon. In this lecture I’ll also discuss the exam fees, retake policies, and some PMI policies you should know before moving forward with your certification.
Not everyone can take the PMP, only qualified applicants. Do you really qualify? This lecture will explain what it takes to qualify for the PMP exam and how to apply.
- Become a member of the Project Management Institute
- PMP® exam requirements Document your application
- Document your application
People have lots and lots of questions about completing the PMP exam application. While I cannot review PMP exam applications, I can take you through the whole process and show you how it currently works on PMI’s website. Let’s check out this lecture for a complete understanding of what’s needed for the exam application.
Sometimes the hardest part of an endeavor is just getting started. You have done that part – taking those crucial first steps, but now you need to build momentum, keep going. I’m going to coach you throughout this course and help you achieve your goal, our goal, of you earning the PMP.
This first assessment test will serve as a benchmark for the course - and where you stand in your preparation for passing the PMP.
Do not worry if you don't score well or see terms you're not familiar with. This test is an assessment that will help you gauge your current understanding of the PMP terminology.
Great job finishing this first section in the PMP Exam Prep Seminar. You’ve done more than others have to begin the process of earning your PMP, now let’s keep going. We’ve discussed the PMP exam, PMI, and what it takes to clear an audit – if you’re selected. Keep going!
Get the Most from this course
People ask if they need to read the PMBOK Guide for their exam. Or should they add other resources to their study efforts? Or can they pass with just this course. Those are all tough questions, as I don’t know you, your background, or project management experience. I can say, however, that having too many resources crowds your concentration. You need laser-focus and I believe this course is the best method to get you there.
Thousands and thousands of people have completed earlier versions of this course both online and in my live PMP Exam Prep seminars. I’ve kept records of trending questions that people have and created this Frequently Asked Questions documentation. Please check out this FAQ – your question may be herein. If not, ask a question through the Q&A interface.
Contact hours and PDUs are not the same thing! You get contact hours before you are a PMP. Once you're a PMP, then you can earn PDUs... this lecture explains the difference.
This lecture also explains the new PMI Talent Triangle and how your PDUs are distributed among technology, leadership, and business.
I'm often asked how long should it take to pass the PMP? Well, technically you only have four hours to pass the test, but you can prepare to pass the PMP in four weeks. Four weeks?! Absolutely!
In this lecture I'll walk through a sample four-week strategy and a six-week strategy that you can adapt to pass the PMP.
The PMBOK Guide is not necessarily needed for this course, but it's a good idea. The PMBOK is:
Did you know this course has lots of cool resources? Ok, maybe they aren't cool, but this course includes:
After you pass the PMP - and you will pass the PMP - what will you do next?
This lecture gives some advice on what you should do to maintain your hard-earned credential. This is an optional lecture, so watch it now or watch it later.
Having confidence is a must as you prepare to pass the PMP – and it’s a value for being a great project manager. But how do you gain confidence? By achieving step after step, experience, and believing in yourself. You can do this.
In this section, we talked about your study efforts, the frequently asked questions, and how you can earn Professional Development Units after the PMP and Contact Hours before you are a PMP.
We also talked about the certificate of completion and how to create a study strategy. Of course, one of the most important topics was exploring the PMBOK Guide and how it relates to the PMP exam. Finally, we looked at the course resources and you completed an assignment to download the course resources for future use. Keep going!
PMBOK Guide, Sixth Edition
If you’re aiming to pass the PMP exam you’re obviously already serving in the role of a project manager. So often with PMP candidates, however, they’ll try to answer the PMP exam questions based on how they manage projects in their environment, rather than how the PMBOK Guide suggests as best practices. I’m not saying that you aren’t effectively managing projects where you work, but I am saying that you need to answer exam questions according to the PMBOK Guide rather than solely on your project management experience.
In the PMBOK Guide, there is a clear profile of the ideal project manager and an ideal environment. Part of the profile, is the ability to be flexible, to adapt, and to follow best practices. That’s really what you’ll be tested on: what’s the next best thing to do in any given scenario. It all begins, really, with a clear understanding of what the project manager does and what the PMBOK Guide expectations of a project manager is. That’s the goal of this chapter; let’s build a solid foundation of the project manager role that you’ll be tested on so you can clear the exam and continue on with your life and career.
The environment where a project exists can influence how you manage the project, expectations of the project manager, how stakeholders contribute to the project, and a myriad of other concerns. Understanding the environment and what’s expected of the project manager as far as formalities, processes, rules and regulations, and even simpler things like templates and forms are all part of the project environment.
The project manager’s role is to get things done by leading the project team through the challenges of the project to achieve the project goals and objective. Most often, project managers get involved with a project after the vision of the project has been created. Consider a project to build a house, design some software, or to move employees from one building to another. All of these projects and their objectives can be defined well before the project manager is involved.
However, it’s not unusual at all for project managers to be involved in the project formulation before the project is initiated. A project manager could consult with the portfolio review board, customers, and management to offer input before a project is selected, funded, and then initiated. Project managers may work with business analysts (or take on the role of a business analyst) to gather requirements, create high-level estimates, and develop business cases and feasibility studies – all work that precedes project initiation.
Project integration management is the only knowledge area that has a process in every process group. Project integration management is the knowledge area that ties all of the project together, it integrates the processes, and ushers the project through all process groups from initiation to closing. This is also the knowledge area where you’ll find integrated change control – an important process throughout the project.
This knowledge area deals with the planning, creation, protection, and fulfillment of the project scope. One of the most important activities in all of project management happens in this knowledge area: creation of the work breakdown structure. Oh, joy!
Schedule management is crucial to project success. This knowledge area covers activities, their characteristics, and how they fit into the project schedule. This is where you and the project team will define the activities, plot out their sequence, and calculate how long the project will actually take.
Cost is always a constraint in project management. This knowledge area is concerned with the planning, estimating, budgeting, and control of costs. Cost management is tied to time and quality management—screw either of these up and the project costs will increase.
Quality is about conforming to requirements and creating a deliverable that is fit for use. Let's explore this project management knowledge area.
his knowledge area focuses on organizational planning, staff acquisition, and team development. You have to acquire your project team, develop this team, and then lead them to the project results. This knowledge area deals with both physical resources, like materials and equipment, and human resources.
The majority of a project manager’s time is spent communicating. This knowledge area details how communication happens, outlines stakeholder management, and shows how to plan for communications within any project.
Let's take a quick look at Chapter 11 in the PMBOK Guide, Project Risk Management
Projects often need to procure products, services, and results purchased from outside vendors in order to reach closing. This knowledge area covers the business of project procurement, the processes to acquire and select vendors, and contract negotiation. The contract between the vendor and the project manager’s organization will guide all interaction between the project manager and the vendor.
Stakeholders are the all people who are affected positively or negatively, or perceived to be, by your project. They can influence your project’s success as a subset of them defines the projects goals. Project stakeholder management is also about engaging and maintaining the stakeholder engagement.
It takes daily work and dedication to run a marathon. You can’t run occasionally, skip your workouts, and eat poorly. You need a daily commitment to the race in all areas of your life. The same is true with the PMP exam – you need daily work, daily commitment.
The sixth edition of the PMBOK Guide will be referenced throughout this book. Why? Well, your PMP exam is largely based on the facts, figures, and subtleties of the current PMBOK Guide. The good news is that unlike the PMBOK Guide—fine book that it is—this course you are completing is in plain language. This course, unlike the PMBOK Guide, focuses on how to pass the PMP exam. It will also help you be a better project manager and explain some mysterious formulas and concepts, but its main goal is to get you over the hump toward those three glorious letters: PMP.
Define Project Management Foundations
In order to be a project manager you need to understand what a project is, what a project manager does, and how your personality can help you be a better project manager.
Regardless of what some projects may seem like, they must be temporary. If the work is not temporary, it is operations. Like a good story, projects have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Projects end when the scope of the project has been met—usually. Sometimes projects end when the project runs out of time or cash or when it becomes clear that the project won’t be able to complete the project objectives, so it’s scrapped. You might also experience the end of the project when it becomes clear that the project is no longer needed, such as when a new technology supersedes the project you’re managing.
This one isn’t tough to figure out. Projects have to create a thing, invent a service, or change an environment. The deliverable of the project—a successful project, that is—satisfies the scope that was created way, way back when the project got started.
Projects are unique. This means that every project you ever do is different from all the other projects you’ve done in the past. Even if it’s the same basic approach to get to the same end result, there are unique factors within each project, such as the time it takes, the stakeholders involved, the environment in which the project takes place, and on and on. All projects are unique, even if your company does the same type of project repeatedly. Lucky you.
Projects need to provide business value. Business value is the sum of the benefits that an organization can quantify. Benefits can usually be defined in financial terms, but they may also be intangible benefits, such as goodwill, brand recognition, benefits to the public, strategic alignment, and even your organization’s reputation. Time savings, a common business value, can be quantified. You’re looking for benefits for stakeholders in the form of monetary assets, equity, utility, fixtures, tools, and market share. Business value is almost always quantified in financial terms—something that helps set the objectives of the project. You might be asked to predict the profitability of a project to justify the organization’s investment in the project. As you know, projects cost money and time, and you’ll have to justify that investment of resources up front. This is where we’ll get into project selection, return on investment, and whether your project—or any project—should move forward or not.
In alignment with business value is the discussion of project initiation: why choose a project at all? For most project managers, this question is out of their scope of responsibilities, but they may get called upon to contribute to the project selection and initiation conversation. As a general practice, there are four reasons why projects get initiated:
• Satisfy stakeholder requests, needs, and opportunities
• Meet regulatory requirements, legal requirements, or social requirements
• Change business and/or technological strategies in the organization • Improve upon existing products, processes, or services or add new products, processes, and services
Project management is the supervision and control of the work required to complete the project vision. The project team carries out the work needed to complete the project, while the project manager schedules, monitors, and controls the various project tasks. Project management requires that you apply your knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques, and do whatever it takes, generally speaking, to achieve the project objectives. Project management is about getting things done.
Projects, being the temporary and unique things that they are, require the project manager to be actively involved with the project implementation. Projects are not self-propelled. Project management is accomplished by using the correct project management processes at the right time, to the correct depth, and with the correct technique.
Application areas of discipline that a project may be based on. Consider technology, law, sales, marketing, and construction, among many others. The application area, or discipline, you work in is likely different than other project managers in this course. The application area affects how the project is managed, not the other way around.
Consider any project, and you’ll also have to consider any phases within the project. Construction projects have definite phases. IT projects have definite phases. Marketing, sales, and internal projects all have definite phases. Projects—all projects—comprise phases. Phases make up the project life cycle, and they are unique to each project. Furthermore, organizations, project managers, and even project frameworks such as Agile or Scrum can define phases within a project life cycle. Just know this: The sum of a project’s phases equates to the project’s life cycle.
In regard to the PMP exam, it’s rather tough for the PMI to ask questions about specific project life cycles. Why? Because every organization may identify different phases within all the different projects that exist. Bob may come from a construction background and Susan from IT, each one being familiar with totally different disciplines and totally different life cycles within their projects. However, all PMP candidates should recognize that every project has a life cycle—and all life cycles comprise phases.
Yes, you want to think through the questions on the exams, but don’t overthink the questions. Thinking too much allows you to twist and convolute the answers to fit a scenario. Nope! Just answer the question with the best answer, not the what-if answ
We talked about projects, project management, organizational structures, and much more in this section. Some important topics we covered included:
Related Areas of Project Management
A project manager will deal with governance on several different levels. Portfolios are the collection of projects and programs that the organization invests in. Programs are a collection of projects working toward a common goal. In a program, projects are managed uniformly to achieve benefits that you likely wouldn’t get if each project were managed independently of the others. And projects, of course, are the temporary endeavors to create a unique product, service, condition, and result. For each of these items, a project governance defines the rules and policies that affect the project manager.
Program management is the management of multiple projects all working in unison toward a common goal. Programs achieve benefits by managing projects collectively, rather than independently. Projects within a program can better share resources, improve communications, manage interdependencies, resolve issues quickly, leverage resources, and provide more benefits for the organization than they would if each project were not managed collectively under a program. Projects within a program still have project managers, but the project managers work with, and often report to, the program manager.
Portfolios include projects, programs, and even operations that are managed and coordinated and should link to the strategic objectives for the organization, as demonstrated in Figure 1-2. Portfolios are created and controlled by upper-level management and executives and include financial considerations of the investment, return on investment, and distribution of risks for the programs, projects, and operations included in the portfolio. A portfolio describes the collection of investments in the form of projects and programs in which the organization invests capital. Project managers and, if applicable, program managers report to a portfolio review board on the performance of the projects and programs. The portfolio review board may also direct the selection of projects and programs.
A project management office (PMO) organizes and manages control over all projects within an organization. A PMO is also known as a program management office, project office, or sometimes, the program office. (And I’m sure some project managers have other names for them that won’t be on the PMP exam.) PMOs usually coordinate all aspects, methodology, and nomenclature for project processes, templates, software, and resource assignment. Ideally, a PMO creates a uniform approach within an organization so that all projects, regardless of their discipline, technology, or purpose, are managed with the same approach. The PMO can help project managers share resources (people, facilities, and equipment) across projects, offer coaching and communication, help with change control and stakeholder management, and help resolve issues.
In some organizations, everything is a project. In other organizations, projects are rare exercises in change. There’s a fine line between projects and operations, and often these separate entities overlap in function. Consider the following points shared by projects and operations:
• Both involve employees.
• Both typically have limited resources: people, money, or both.
• Both are hopefully designed, executed, and managed by someone in charge.
Organizational project management (OPM) is an organizational approach to coordinate, manage, and control projects, programs, and portfolio management in a uniform, consistent effort. The philosophy of OPM is that by doing all work within projects, programs, and portfolio management with the same type of processes, actions, and techniques, the organization will consistently deliver better results than it would if the processes and approach were independent of one another. While project, program, and portfolio each have different skill sets, there is overlap in their approach, and these endeavors may utilize the same resources—including you, the project man
When you think about a project—any project—it’s all about change. Any project you’ve ever worked on changed something. You added a server to your work environment? Change. You created a new product for your customers? Change. You led a project to develop a new product? Change again. All projects drive change. In the business world, your projects move the organization from its current state to a desired future state, and projects facilitate that change from now to then.
Throughout the course there are lots of terms. Take the time to learn these terms, really understanding the terms will help you better answer questions on your exam. Like so many things in life, if you understand the rules, you’re odds of being successful increases.
The investments the company makes in projects and programs should have, of course, a positive return. These investments are monitored by the portfolio review board and portfolio manager through communications with the program managers and the project managers. The organization wants to see a return on investment through profits, social or performance improvements, reduction in waste, or other key performance indicators established at the selection of the projects and program investment.
Project Management Components
Processes exists within process groups, but processes are also part of knowledge areas. In this section I'll walk you through how processes are in both process groups, such as planning, and in a knowledge area, such as Project Schedule Management.
Projects, being the temporary and unique things that they are, require the project manager to be actively involved with the project implementation. Projects are not self-propelled. Project management is accomplished by using the correct project management processes at the right time, to the correct depth, and with the correct technique. These processes, which you’ll learn throughout this course, are logically organized in five process groups:
• Monitoring and controlling • Closing
Before we get too deep into documentation, however, let’s nail down some terms that relate to project management data and information. In a project, lots of data and information will be created, added to your project management information system (PMIS), compiled into reports, distributed, communicated, and sometimes even ignored. You’ll need to have good project knowledge to access the needed data and information quickly to communicate what’s happening in your project and determine why things are going the way they are.
You need to know three specific concepts that you’ll see throughout this course: data, information, and reports.
Chances are that you follow a prescribed methodology to manage projects where you work. Your work environment uses names for some of these processes that differ slightly from those presented here and in the PMBOK Guide, and that’s perfectly fine. The methodology that your organization uses to manage projects is just that—a method. The PMBOK Guide is not a methodology, but a guide to the best practices of project management. The flexibility of the PMBOK Guide and project management is beautiful, when you think about it. Okay, maybe “beautiful” isn’t the best word, but the flexibility works. The processes and approaches that you utilize in your project management approach involves tailoring of the processes, and that’s what’s needed in every project. Tailoring enables you to choose what processes should be used on a project and to what depth the processes should be used.
Adaptive life cycles can be either agile, iterative or incremental. Change is highly probable, and the project team will work closely with the stakeholders regarding any changes in the project. You might also know this approach as agile or change-driven. This is new information to the PMBOK Guide, but the amount of information is somewhat light. You should be topically familiar with adaptive projects for your exam.
Business documents are referenced throughout the PMBOK Guide, sixth edition.Business documents are used as inputs and are also outputs of the project management processes. Let's take a look now at what business documents are in a project.
Projects that are large in scope will likely be preceded by a business case, an analysis of the financial feasibility and validity of the proposed project. The business case will walk through the proposed project, include a sense of how much the project will likely cost, calculate the return on investment for the project, and offer reasons why the project should, or should not, be initiated. The business case can help decision-makers (the project sponsors or the project steering committee) make a go/no-go decision to proceed with the project.
When a project is initiated, it sets about to accomplish something, to create something, and, most importantly, to achieve business value for the organization. The project will create a result, and that result is all about benefits. Benefits are the results and outcomes of project actions. Consider a construction company, for example: when it constructs a building for a client, there are obvious benefits to the client and community, but there are also benefits for the construction company. The company will generate income, create opportunities to market itself based on the project success, maintain employees, provide educational opportunities with the team, and obtain other benefits as a result of the project work.
There are ten project management knowledge areas in the PMBOK Guide. You must know these knowledge areas, how they affect one another, and their processes. We'll be spending the bulk of our time reviewing these project management knowledge areas for your PMP in this course. Let's dive in and check these out now.
Why are you pursuing the PMP? Is it for a better opportunity? To advance your career? To become a better project manager? Whatever the reason why your goal of passing the PMP, you should examine your benefits of earning the PMP. Make it personal – when it’s personal, it’s more valuable to you.
This exam will test your knowledge of the material covered in this section and in Chapter One of the PMBOK Guide, Sixth Edition.
This section covered the fundamentals of project management and the expectations for the PMP examination. The PMBOK Guide is an excellent book that documents the ideal processes and procedures for project management. The PMP exam is based on the PMBOK Guide, and this book (the one you’re reading now) focuses on the key exam essentials to help you pass your PMP exam. We discussed what a project is and is not. Projects are temporary endeavors to create a unique thing, product, or service. An operation, on the other hand, is a series of activities that go on and on, such as manufacturing a car, writing a newspaper column, or running a business. Many businesses have a business model of completing projects for other people or organizations.
The environment in which a project exists can influence the expectations of the project manager, how you manage the project, how stakeholders contribute to the project, and a myriad of other concerns. Understanding the environment and what’s expected of the project manager as far as formalities, processes, rules, and regulations—and even simpler things like templates and forms—are all part of the project environment. Often when we discuss the project environment, we think of things like the tangible attributes of where the project takes place: construction sites, offices, hospital settings, and more. Although these are certainly part of the environment, there’s also the political landscape, the reputation of the project manager and stakeholders, and the industry influence in which the project is operating. The environment includes all characteristics of where the project exists—all the moving parts, the seen and unseen, and the expectations of management regarding the project manager; these are all parts of the project environment.
Enterprise environmental factors are the elements that directly or indirectly influence the management of the project, but the project manager has no direct control over these elements. For example, your organization may have particular rules for bringing a project team member onto your project. This rule is outside of your control, and you must abide by it. This rule might sometimes hinder you from zipping along in project execution, but it also helps bring order and control to the projects within the organization. Just as organizational process assets are inputs to many project management processes, so, too, are enterprise environmental factors.
“Organizational process assets” is a nice way of referring to all the resources within an organization that can be used, leveraged, researched, or interviewed to make a project successful. This means past projects, subject matter experts within your organization, risk databases, procedures, plans, processes, stakeholder knowledge, and methods of operations.
As a project manager, your goal is to get things done—that’s what project management is all about. Too many project managers get stuck in planning for too long and don’t get into execution. I’m not saying you don’t need to plan—you do, but you don’t need to start from zero every time. When you consider the projects that you manage, chances are there’s some similarity between the projects. You’re doing the same type of projects over and over, because you’re working in a specific industry where the nature of the projects you manage all support the organizational vision and strategies.
So what’s an enterprise environmental factor and what’s an organizational process assets? What about processes, policies, and procedures that are unique to the organization?
Ideally, your organization has a method for cataloging, archiving, and retrieving information from past projects and work. The PMBOK calls these the “knowledge repositories.” This is most likely an electronic data storage and retrieval system, or it might just be a hallway closet full of past project files.
A system is a way of doing things. When I wash the dishes, I have a system for how I load the dishwasher that’s completely different from my wife’s approach. Or when I make purchases, track receipts, and do my company’s bookkeeping, I have a system that’s orderly and reasonable. Organizations, big and small, need a system that provides structure for how projects and operations complete the assigned work, strategies, and vision of the organization. The organizational system is unique to that company and may have been planned from the start or evolved over time through trial and error.
Governance defines what you can and cannot do within an organization. It includes the rules, policies, procedures, and boundaries that you and your colleagues operate within. Governance describes how you operate within a system: the cultural norms, relationships, and organizational processes used to get things done. Consider purchasing, for example: your organization likely has a process regarding how you contact vendors, move through contracting, sign off on the contracted work, and pay the vendor. This process is all part of the organizational governance framework specifically for your organization. Your framework is likely completely different from that of your competitors, a company in a different industry, and other businesses.
Management elements are the functions of a manager, including to some extent project managers. Through the governance framework, managers are expected to utilize varying levels of management skills. As a project manager, you’ll likely have some, if not all, of the following management elements as part of your role of a project manager:
- Delegation of project work to the project team
- Authority to assign resources to project work
- Expectations of respect for others, authority, and organizational rules
- Unity of command (one person is in charge)
- Unity of direction (one plan driven by one person)
- Clear communication channels
- Provision of materials to people as needed
- Fair and equal treatment of people on the project team and stakeholders Positive, optimistic personality
Organizations are structured into one of ten models, each with an organizational structure that will affect the project in some aspect. The organizational structure will set the level of authority, the level of autonomy, and the reporting structure that the project manager can expect to have within the project. In this lecture we’ll explore the level of authority in each of the organizational structures for the project manager and the functional manager.
A project management office (PMO) organizes and manages control over all projects within an organization. A PMO is also known as a program management office, project office, or sometimes, the program office. (And I’m sure some project managers have other names for them that won’t be on the PMP exam.)
PMOs usually coordinate all aspects, methodology, and nomenclature for project processes, templates, software, and resource assignment. Ideally, a PMO creates a uniform approach within an organization so that all projects, regardless of their discipline, technology, or purpose, are managed with the same approach. The PMO can help project managers share resources (people, facilities, and equipment) across projects, offer coaching and communication, help with change control and stakeholder management, and help resolve issues.
These first several sections have all been about the foundation of the PMP. Some of this, if not all of this, may have been a review of things you’ve already learned as a project manager. Now, moving forward, we’re going to be diving into some very specific, very important project management terms and concepts. Keep going!
This quiz will test your knowledge of the contents of this section and the PMBOK Guide.
Enterprise environmental factors are the rules that you must work with and abide by on your project in your organization. The industry that you operate in, from construction to healthcare, will have its own set of enterprise environmental factors. Internal environmental factors describe the governance framework and the common approach for getting things done in an organization. External enterprise environmental factors describe the things outside of the organization’s control, such as laws and regulations, that also affect how the project manager leads the project.
Projects don’t last forever. Though projects may sometimes seem to last forever, they fortunately do not. Operations, however, go on and on. Projects pass through logical phases to reach their completion, while operations may be influenced, or even created, by the outcome of a project.
Role of the Project Manager
If you’re aiming to pass the PMP exam, you’re obviously already working as a project manager. So often, PMP candidates will try to answer the PMP exam questions based on how they manage projects in their environment, rather than how the PMBOK Guide suggests as best practices. I’m not saying that you aren’t effectively managing projects where you work, but I am saying that you need to answer exam questions according to the PMBOK Guide rather than basing your answers solely on your project management experience.
Where you work as a project manager is likely different from where any other reader of this book works as a project manager. Just as every project is unique, so is the environment in which a project exists. Consider software development projects, construction projects, IT infrastructure projects, learning and development projects, and various other types of projects. Each of these different projects operates in a distinct environment. The environment is a factor of influence in these projects and in your projects.
The project manager’s role is to get things done by leading the project team through the challenges of the project to achieve the project goals and objectives. Most often, project managers get involved with a project after the vision of the project has been created. Consider a project to build a house, design some software, or move employees from one building to another. Each of these projects and its objectives can be defined well before the project manager is involved.
It’s not unusual, however, for project managers to be involved in the project formulation before the project is initiated. A project manager could consult with the portfolio review board, customers, and management to offer input before a project is selected, funded, and initiated. Project managers may work with business analysts (or take on the role of a business analyst) to gather requirements, create high-level estimates, and develop business cases and feasibility studies—all work that precedes project initiation.
As a project manager, you have tremendous influence on the project’s success, the people on the project team, the management of your organization, and stakeholders that can span your organization, region, or even the entire globe. The project’s sphere of influence describes the parties affected by the role of the project manager. Your project can send ripples into all areas of your organization: resources, monetary constraints, politics, and many other factors can all be influenced by you, the project manager, and the project you lead.
Influence isn’t something we often think of as project managers, but it’s a factor that should be considered when we plan, execute the project, and certainly when we communicate with stakeholders. Not that the project manager must play politics, but the project manager must consider the implications of the project’s success, the communication between the project manager and project team, and the perceptions of the stakeholders regarding the project and its leadership.
The success, or failure, of a project is often a reflection of how well the project manager led the project team, balanced constraints, executed the project plan, and monitored the project progress. The person with the greatest influence over a project is the project manager, and the project’s outcome is largely based on the project manager’s ability to influence the project to reach its objectives. And, sure, some projects may be doomed from the start due to lack of finances or qualified resources, an unrealistic schedule, or other problems, but these are the exceptions, not the rule. Besides, a good project manager will address these issues and risks with management and stakeholders and find a solution that works, not an excuse that sticks.
The influence of the project manager on the project is demonstrated in two key aspects: communications skills and a positive attitude. Communication is paramount in successful project management. Project managers will effectively communicate with stakeholders through a variety of methods: verbal, written, and nonverbal. Messages are direct and appropriate for the audience, and the communication style is tailored based on what’s being communicated to whom.
The PMI Talent Triangle also includes strategic and business management skills. As a project manager, you’re not only working on the project, but you also must look at the organization’s bigger picture of why the project is important and has been initiated and funded in the first place. The goal is to understand and communicate the business strategy, effectively plan and deliver the project for the organization, and maximize the business value of the project. You’ll need to understand how your project fits into the organization’s strategy, mission, tactics, and overall prioritization of projects. You’ll do this in the project by managing the following:
• Risks and issues
• Costs and benefits
• Business value
• Benefits realized by delivering the project
• Balance of competing objectives, such as time, cost, and quality
Project managers must also provide leadership. Leadership, the third angle of the PMI Talen Triangle, focuses on dealing with people. You’ll manage the project team, work with vendors, and keep stakeholders informed, involved, and excited about the project. Leadership means that you’ll be optimistic, collaborative, and able to manage conflicts that will creep up within the project. Project managers must build trust, address concerns with stakeholders, and be able to persuade, gain consensus, compromise, network, and provide a long-term view of how the project fits into the overall business strategy. A term you’ll see in Agile project management is “servant leadership,” which means that while you’re the leader, you’re also supporting the project team and ensuring that they have what they need to do their work on the project.