Multi dimensional risk analysis for PMP

Here is a multi dimensional risk analysis for the PMP credential from the industry, trainer, PMP aspirant perspectives with an intent to communicate an independent and unbiased view. 

pmprisks

Industry related risks 

  1. The risk – There is a wide spread rumor about PMP credential as a product, which has reached the end-of-life stage in the product life cycle.  Reality – While this can be true from the training providers perspective due to too many trainers / companies undercutting each other, this is never true from the project management professional’s / aspiring professional’s perspective. PMP still rules as most recognized certification for predictive project management (most suited for large projects involving engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM). PMP credential is followed by PRINCE2. There is no other choice as of now for anyone who wants to pursue a globally accepted predictive project management related certification based on Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) by Deming. I am using the term ‘predictive project management’ explicitly because there are many popular certifications available under the agile family (SCRUM, XP, RUP, TDD etc..) which are not a right fit for EPCM projects where the engineering discipline does not allow for much change, hence the agile family of frameworks are more suitable for product development where the requirements and the technology are highly volatile. Even then I am toying with the idea of applying agile during the planning phase of EPCM projects. Do not pelt stones at me because I am talking differently, or because I am the only one talking so. Unfortunately the agilists and the traditionalists do not like each other very much, even when the scrum masters fail miserably because they do not have any clue about stakeholder management, risk management, communication management, resource management, scope management, quality management etc. In my personal opinion, predictive and adaptive (agile) project management streams are complimentary  in nature for those whose goal is to manage their projects successfully, without bias towards any one particular framework.

Trainer related risks

  1. Many trainers teach the inputs, tools and techniques and outputs of the project management processes, in the same sequence as they are listed in the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK), without focusing on the benefits. That makes it very boring and difficult to remember (note that PMBOK is a 750+ page document). A better approach would be to learn process group wise;
    • Initiation
    • Planning
    • Execution
    • Monitoring & Controlling
    • Closing – This approach makes it easy to remember, as this is the natural flow of the project.
    • processgroupwisedoclist
  2. Many trainers provide too much emphasis on remembering inputs, tools&techniques and outputs (ITTO). Remembering them for 49 processes is humanly impossible, especially when one is under exam pressure. In fact, surprisingly those who spent maximum effort to mug up ITTO during their preparation time have failed in the final exam. Once you understand PMBOK process group wise, it is easy to recollect logically the inputs, tools&techniques and outputs. For example remembering the ITTO for the process ‘Develop project charter’ is much easier when one looks at it as the first process under ‘Project initiation’ process group, than the ‘First process’ under ‘Project integration management’ knowledge area.
  3. They do not give any emphasis on the ‘professional ethics’ of project managers. You can imagine the plight of someone who tries into master professional project management without any idea about professional ethics. Since the questions are scenario based, every project management scenario has an ethics angle, and mastering it makes it easier while choosing the best project management decisions.
  4. PMBOK has a wealth of information for the project management practitioner. Many trainers lacks the experience to articulate the concepts from the practitioner’s perspective. For example, project charter can be explained as just an output of project initiation or it can be a great document to develop a well understood project success criteria among all stakeholders..
  5. Trainers may not be well versed with various project domains to cite the right examples, whereas the participants are from different domains. They end up seeing everything as a nail, because the only tool they have is a hammer.
  6. Trainers trying to showcase their knowledge than focusing on the knowledge transfer. Mostly with inexperienced trainers.
  7. Trainers who does not explain things in detail, due to monotony. Mostly with highly experienced trainers.
  8. Trainers recommending too many reference material, thus making the preparation difficult.
  9. Trainers who charge very less fees, who losses interest mid way through the course because they are not compensated enough for their efforts.
  10. Disillusioned trainers, who are wearing the trainer’s hat out of compulsion than by choice.

Learner related risks

  1. Underestimating the effort required. One need to spend atleast 80 hours of preparation time, which include training, self study and exam practise.
  2. Over confidence, hence insufficient preparation.
  3. Lack of confidence, hence not scheduling the exam and finally dropping the idea.
  4. Enrolling for cheap courses, just because they are cheap, without giving any weight age for trainer profile, method of training and track record. Online courses which are just record and play, which are priced lower than the price of books is the number one culprit. Think of the frustration, re-preparation effort and the re-registration fees after failing in the first attempt. Passing PMP in the first go is very important. Do not decide based on the direct costs alone, consider the indirect costs (especially the cost of failure) as well, before deciding on the training program.
  5. Try to finish it off at the earliest, preferably within 30 days of the course completion, else other priorities may take precedence.

pmpinjust5weeks

Chekutty from Kerala

Hats off to social entrepreneurs Gopi and Lakshmi for implementing the brilliant idea of creating chekutty dolls from the handloom sarees and clothes destroyed by the Kerala floods 2018. They could raise considerable amount of money to help the weavers who lost their looms and stock. True story of grit and big hearts. Gopi is one person who visited us in person during Kerala floods 2018, just to say Hello to us,…which I can never forget. Wish him great success. I have a chekutty in my car. Since I know the origins of chekutty, and understand the trauma of the floods because we experienced it first hand, and the unity and the fighting spirit we demonstrated as a community during the flood, I have a special bonding to the chekutty doll and the project.

 

Forget Nostradamus – Here’s Tony O’Dowd’s IT Predictions for 2019

A quick update on the emerging trends.

https://wp.me/p3cjZq-3ac

Application of theory U, in agile coaching

Right now I am in the middle of a consulting assignment of transitioning a large team from ‘scrum buts’ to right scrum. When I say right scrum, I refer to the scrum guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland which can be downloaded from Scrum.org

This team from a very large multi national product company came with the baggage of ‘I know scrum, and now you teach me scrum’ attitude, because they have been practicing some sort of scrum, and this was not new for me, as I have seen the same attitude in several other teams. Since agile is value based, like religion, once the faith is lost,  it is very difficult to restore it. No amount of persuasion would have convinced them. At least that is my judgment, based on experience with similar teams with some experience in scrum (scrum but teams). In the normal course, I would have proceeded with that judgment.

As a coincidence, this is the time I came across the theory ‘U’ which was advocating the postponement of the three fears of;

  • Fear of judgment
  • Fear of cynicism
  • Fear of change

for effective change management.

I decided to implement the concept of ‘postponement of these fears’ at every stakeholder level, me being the first one. All the coaching sessions started with the request to postpone these fears till the completion of the first sprint, and the results are very positive. After experiencing the right scrum, most of these fears are automatically addressed and eliminated.

Loosing the job at 50. A crisis or opportunity to pivot?

I am inspired by the book ‘pivot‘ by Jenny Blake with the sub title ‘the only move that matters is your next move’. Pivot is all about leveraging the current strengths and planning for the next phase of career. I am grateful to all those who inspired me throughout my career which helped me to land in the best job which could leverage all my strengths, at the age of 59. I see this as the beginning of the best part of my career. This blog post says the same story again.

Click the link below to the blog post.

https://whenwomeninspire.com/2019/02/13/job-loss-at-50-career-change/

Pivot by Jenny Blake 

At XIME – Xavier’s institute of management and entrepreneurship

Lessons from a crowdfunding social service project

We started a crowdfunding project to construct a home for a family whose house got washed away during the Kerala floods 2018. This was our first experience in a crowdfunding project. Here are the lessons we learnt out of this project. 

Credibility of the idea and the promoters are the key success factors for every crowdfunding project.

Credibility of the promoters is the most difficult to achieve. It has to be built over a long period of credible track record.

During execution phase of the project, trust of all the stakeholders have to be built by bringing in absolute transparency of the project (funding, expenses, project progress, project risks, forecasts of time and cost). This is achieved through continuous communication. We used whats-app group, facebook page and the wordpress blog for this purpose.

Probability of scope creep is much higher in crowd funding projects, as the expectations of the beneficiaries escalate during the project execution, when they understand that it is funded by multiple people , hence the illusion that there is plenty of money.

There has to be a key project manager, who owns the entire project, and accountable to the sponsors.

For one of our projects, we started raising funds from people. Then another sponsor who was willing to sponsor the entire project turned up, scuttling our initiative to generate public interest in the project. In fact we started receiving donations for this project and we had to get the permission from the donors to use the funds for another similar project. Getting a single sponsor is good for the beneficiary and at the same time it is a risk for crowd funding.

Ensure that the beneficiary have not sought / applied or is eligible for any alternative funding, before going for crowd funding. Other wise it will lead to point 6. Sometimes we will be preventing a better opportunity (funding) by linking them to your crowdfunding project. There are many larger sponsors out there. So please check whether the project under consideration is eligible for any other source of funding.

Funds have to be distributed against the milestone completion only. Pay it directly to the vendors and service providers. Do not entrust money to the project beneficiary, as it can be misused.

If we are constructing a new house, the risk is very low compared to demolishing an existing house, as the ownership of raising sufficient finding to complete construction falls on the project manager. In such cases, do not even start without sufficient funding required to complete the project.

In new constructions, we have the freedom to start developing and show progress as soon as funds start coming in. This in turn will generate more interest among the sponsors, resulting in better funding.

We started with one project (home for a person whose house was washed away during the floods) based on impulse and intuition. That gave us more confidence to venture into the second project, and the funnel is growing. It would have been better if we had managed it as a program, with a standard design, bill of material, budgeting and funding for the program, than for individual projects. In this case we could have raised funds against the program, instead of individual projects.

Hope to come out with more lessons learned as we progress further.

Visit the crowdfunding project web site 

Congratulations Shashi PMP

Hi Abrachan,

Yesterday I took my PMP exam and I cleared it. Thanks a lot for all the support you have provided through out.
Your method of teaching made the entire curriculum look easy. I was able to understand every bit of it. The face to face interaction with you makes it more easy.Thank you for making yourself available as and when I needed to go over be it same topics or new topics or just to answer my questions on the already covered topics. In your method i dint have to by-heart any aspect of the PMBOK. One good thing about your method is we will be going over the
entire PMBOK at least once.
The vast curriculum of PMBOK makes it very difficult to even start the study. With so many reference books available we can easily get lost in picking the right path for the certification. But your method clearly defines a path and if we just follow it we can easily not only get certified but also gain and improve on our Project Management knowledge.
With your class and using Rita’s book as reference and answering all the question in the Rita’s book was more than sufficient to give the exam and clear it.
Thanks a lot of all the help you provided.
Thanks & Regards,

Shashi