Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Difference between "Contact Hours & PDU’s"?

Are you working towards a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification? Then, you might have wondered about – 

The difference between Contact Hours & Professional Development Units (PDU’s)?

The main difference between Contact Hours & PDU’s is that before the exam you need 35 Contact Hours. After you become a certified PMP, you will need to accumulate 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 years to keep your certification current. However the content of the training can be identical.

Requirement - Contact Hours ...

To apply for the PMP Certificate, you will need only 35 Contact Hours. One Contact Hour is equivalent to 60 minutes of relevant project management instruction. You must complete all 35 hours before submitting your PMP Certification application. In order to be relevant, the training must cover one or more of the following…

Project Quality
Project Scope
Project Schedule
Project Budget
Project Communications
Project Risk
Project Procurement
Project Integration Management

Accumulating and Tracking Your Contact Hours

Contact Hours are earned by attending Project Management relevant instruction. Unlike the Project Management Experience hours, there is no specified time period prior to your PMP application in which you need to complete your 35 Contact Hours. Any class you took at any time could be counted as Contact Hours so long as it had some project management practices.

It is easier to track Contact Hours accumulated from <Project Management focused instruction>. Any course that includes some project management instruction and the time spent specifically on project management concepts and practices, is eligible. Even if it was not the main theme of the course.

Remember that anything on your PMP Exam Application is subject to “audit”. So, it is always a good practice to only include training for which you are prepared to submit proof. As you accumulate training…. document the training’s relevance by retaining copies of the course syllabus, class catalog page and other materials. Also document your successful completion by retaining copies of certificates, exam results, and/or class transcripts for each course claimed.

Contact Hours Education Providers

Training is available in many formats. The course work might be presented in live classes, workshops or webinars. They might also include pre-recorded podcasts or video.

In the PMP Handbook, the Project Management Institute (PMI) suggests that Contact Hours be obtained from one of the following types of education providers:

• PMI Registered Education Providers (R.E.P’s)
• PMI component organizations 
• Employer/company-sponsored programs
• Training companies or consultants (ex: training schools)
• Distance-learning companies which include end-of-course assessments
• University/college academic and continuing education programs

PMP Contact Hours Pre-approved Sources

Contact Hour eligible training courses are pre-approved when they are provided by PMI R.E.P’s, PMI components organizations. Ex: local PMI chapters, specific interest groups or PMI itself.

However, there are caveats. For example, PMI chapter meetings are not Contact Hours. Only the portion of the meeting that conducts a learning activity can be counted toward Contact Hours.

Basically, any resource offering relevant subject matter qualifies so long as it’s not “self-directed learning.” For example: reading books, watching instructional videos or sessions with coaches or mentors are not eligible as Contact Hours.

Contact Hour programs

PMP Prep Workshops are offered in a mix of timelines, media and sources. Most PMI Chapters and many training companies offer instructor-led PMP Exam workshops. There is a variety of self-study programs which are delivered online, DVD and Podcast. What most of these courses have in common is that they are specifically designed to give you the best preparation for your PMP Exam as well as your 35 Contact Hours in one offering.

Online PMP Exam Prep Classes with Contact Hours

Here is probably the most important tip for you when it comes to earning your pre-exam Contact Hours online….. If you take an online class, live or pre-recorded, the provider must give you an "End of course assessment" exam before they give you the certificate for the hours. If they don't test you, then any certificate or other proof of completion is worthless for your PMP Exam.

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Monday, 27 February 2017

PMP Exam – Understanding the 10 knowledge Areas

Preparing for the PMP exam is an arduous task. However like any other project you come across, it is made of sectional parts that can be processed individually. One of the big areas of study to focus on when prepping for the exam is the 10 PMP knowledge areas.

Come exam time and knowing these 10 areas and how they apply to the five PMP process groups and 47 processes will be a huge benefit. The knowledge areas, process groups and processes work together to form the foundation for Project Management Methodologies. These are organized in the PMP Knowledge Areas Mapping Matrix: Found in table 3.1 of the PMBOK Fifth Edition.

Let’s take a look at the 10 PMP Knowledge Areas

1. Integration:

The processes involved in this knowledge area is all about “coordination and cooperation”. Integration combines all of the needs, expectations and project plans for all involved and creates one cohesive document. Managing changes to the project also falls into integration.

2. Scope:

This knowledge area defines “what is included and what is not” in any given project, giving clear boundaries and statement of work. Scope gives clear parameters to all members of the project team.

3. Time:

This knowledge area involves “developing a realistic timeline for the project and the activities needed to complete the project”. Each deliverable, department and activity has a unique timetable so that the project can proceed on a reasonable schedule.

4. Cost:

For most clients, this is a very important step in a project. This is to ensure that a “project is delivered within budget”, is a trait of a successful Project Manager. The processes in this knowledge area involve establishing a budget and estimating costs for labour and equipment etc. Controlling costs is an ongoing process in every project.

5. Quality (QA):

Delivering a project is not enough. You are required to ensure that it “functions according to expectations and has been thoroughly tested”. Quality Assurance (QA) is an important process of this knowledge area and involves weighing the finished product against the features, performance and values promised at the start of the project.

6. Human Resource (HR):

Each and every project requires a TEAM. This knowledge area involves “identifying, developing and managing the human element of the project”. Making sure that your human resources are being utilized effectively and have the right skills to contribute to the project.

7. Communications:

Through every step in the project, you have to be able to “manage communications internally and externally” with the project stakeholders, different departments and manage reporting. Clear and concise communication ensures that everyone is on the same page.

8. Risk:

Identifying risks means “identifying uncertainties”, both threats and opportunities that can occur during a project. Collaborating/communicating with as many people as possible means that you will have a broader and more thorough understanding of uncertainties that can occur and plan responses to contest them.

9. Procurement:

This knowledge area identifies “resources that will be required outside of the project team in order to complete deliverables: contractors, freelancers, vendors and suppliers etc”.

10. Stakeholders:

These are the “decision makers”. The project stakeholders are the people within the project who have the power to create change and whose involvement or non-involvement can have negative or positive influence on the completion of the project. Stakeholders also tend to have authority by allocating resources like time, money or expertise to the project.

Every Project Manager must have full command of these 10 PMP knowledge areas which are important ideas when undertaking any/every project. The Knowledge mapping matrix can help you visualize just how necessary these interactions are throughout the process. The knowledge areas work interdependently with the process groups and processes to complete the project lifecycle and understanding how they work together will increase your chances of passing the PMP Certification exam.

For more info/guidance. Please contact us
Phone: +1-214-227-6396
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Friday, 24 February 2017

What are the various challenges faced as a Business Analyst?

A Business Analyst has to be an interface between the users and the technical team and provide regular support. Let’s take a look at some of the major challenges which a Business Analyst faces….

• There are several software methodologies, technologies, documentation standards in the market and they keep on evolving. A Business Analyst has to be on top of such methodologies and trends to be successful in this profile.

• A Business Analyst is regarded as a knowledge house when it comes to domain knowledge and has to keep on updating himself/herself with the industry and company know-how to keep equilibrium.

• Since they lay the foundation of the project, there should be clarity regarding the requirements. In case of any gaps, there could be huge repercussions.

Challenges faced by a Business Analyst @ requirement gathering….

• The Business Analyst could not get requirement because of lack of knowledge among stakeholders.

• Few of the stakeholders are in a comfortable position and don’t want any change.

• Some stakeholders may not want to lose their prominence.

• Conflict of Ideas among the stakeholders.

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Project Managers Vs Business Analysts

More often than not, Project Managers and Business Analysts work together closely on projects. Predominantly, the Project Manager sets the overall direction, solves roadblocks and handles planning issues. On the contrary, the Business Analyst explores in detail the business problem, maps processes and discovers requirements.

In case the Business Analyst fails, the Project Manager will sweat to succeed. It’s the difference between a project plan that states “build a tunnel” and “build a tunnel with 6 lanes, 1000 pedestrians and 2000 cars an hour.” Clear requirements are crucial in delivering a valuable project.

If we take the presumption that the Project Manager plays a role in clearing obstacles and supporting the team, how can the Project Manager better support their Business Analyst? The answer is to look out for these obstacles/hurdles.

1. The Incorrect Approach to Requirements Development –

How many times have Business Analysts been told to “Go collect the requirements from stakeholders”? And how often did the project team get frustrated by results that lack depth/detail?

“What the stakeholders tell you (at the beginning or primarily) may not be the real requirements. Couple of years ago, we had a stakeholder who asked the team to archive data. The word ‘archive’ means different things to different people. Well, it turns out that the stakeholder’s true requirement was ‘I only want to see the most recent dealings/transactions.’ The solution was a display and configuration approach rather than building an entire archive. That’s why it is important to ask good questions in discovering requirements.

The above example shows the importance of critical thinking in requirements. Surface-level requirements may simply be too vague or miss possibilities. Support your Business Analyst’s efforts to challenge superficial requirements/requests from stakeholders.

2. Insufficient Tools –

Scarce tools makes all the difference for a successful Business Analyst. Sadly, some Project Managers fail to realize this point. This results in wastage of valuable time and on top of that, deliverable which are hard-to-use are created. Such actions slow down the rest of the project.

Diagramming and modelling tools are important for a Business Analyst to be successful, some BA’s tend to use the Microsoft Office suite and Visio with good results. A requirements management application is helpful, but it is considered “a nice to have.”

What if your Business Analyst doesn’t have the tools or training they need to be successful? Working with poor tools means that the Project Manager will have to spend additional time interpreting deliverable from the analyst. Secondly, the Business Analyst will have to struggle to revise and adapt their models as more feedback comes in.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Using an industry leading tool such as Microsoft Visio or a mind mapping tool goes a long way toward addressing this barrier. If you expect to work heavily with requirements documents, make sure you have the same application so that you can interact with the files easily.

3. Business Analyst Lacks Tactical Goal

Put yourself in the shoes of a Business Analyst who is asked to “gather requirements” from 10 stakeholders. In that circumstance, you schedule a week of meetings, ask questions and take plenty of notes. By the end of the week, you sit down with a large amount of data and the objective to organize this data into a meaningful document. As you review the materials, you notice that stakeholders may have contradictory or incompatible requirements. Without clarity on the project’s ultimate goals, it will be difficult to synthesize requirements.

The solution to this barrier lies in giving the Business Analyst guidance on the project’s strategic goal. For example, if the project is ultimately designed to create capacity for future expansion, then that goal will drive optimization decisions. The business analyst can also use this principle to organize and classify requirements by priority. This strategic view will also help the analyst think at a higher level and support their career growth.

4. Misunderstanding the Business Analyst’s Value

Most Project Managers feel overwhelmed with their workload. Given that reality, it should come as no surprise when they seek support from anyone they can find. “Unfortunately, we have seen some Project Managers treat Business Analysts as note takers or administrators. That’s not their role. Where does this misunderstanding come from?

The most significant barrier to BA’s becoming successful exists in organizations where there is no recognition of the role or the organization does not value Business Analysis. BA’s need to be involved in pre-project activities as well as in post-project activities to continue to monitor the solution on an ongoing basis to ensure the intended business value continues to be delivered.

Sometimes this barrier comes from misunderstanding a key word “documentation”. When “civilians” hear that Business Analysts work on documentation, they presume it means any and all types of documentation. While that may be true in some cases, that approach misuses the analyst’s talents and skills. Instead, the Business Analyst’s skills are best suited for high-value tasks such as documenting end-to-end processes (remember: few people in a large organization will actually know the entire process).

Bridging the partnership between Project Manager/Business Analyst

Compared to a couple of years ago, Business Analysis has come a long way in recognition and appreciation. The Project Management Institute now offers the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) ® credential. As of October 2016, there are hundreds of people who have listed the certification on their qualifications. Further, the Institute is currently developing a Business Analysis standard that will build on earlier work including the Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide.

Projects are more successful and run more efficiently when the PM and BA are partners and collaborate. Both roles are critical to the success of the project - therefore, it is imperative that both roles are tightly aligned and support one another. In some areas, stakeholder management risks, planning and collaboration is important to ensure work is not duplicated or conflicting.

Ultimately, an effective Business Analyst helps you to define scope and achieve customer satisfaction. A Business Analyst can make the difference between happy stakeholders and frustrated stakeholders who did not get their needs addressed.

For more info/guidance. Please contact us

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

PMP Training schedule

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Phone: +1-214-227-6396

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Considering PMP Certification? Know the many benefits….

You must have visited PMI’s website and checked out the info on the different Project Management Professional (PMP) credential requirements. You would have made a note that the exam process is lengthy and that the fee for the exam can be high for an entry level team member. If we put that to one side, you must have heard that obtaining a PMP credential can benefit your career. What are these benefits? Let’s look at 10 of them briefly, once again…

PMP Credentials Set’s You Apart - 

Once you've completed the process of obtaining PMP Certification. You now have a regulated knowledge set and the credentials to prove it. When applying for a job, having the credentials next to your name will put you ahead competition.

Benefit Your Company with Exclusive Expertise - 

Because you will have gone through the certification process, you will have learned a graded set of Project Management best practices to apply in your own company projects.

Command Higher Pay - 

PMP certified project managers receive an average starting salary of $90,000 a year. Furthermore, PMP credentials will gain you a 20% increase in salary over uncertified Project Managers with similar qualifications.

Networking Potential - 

Once you have earned your PMP credential, you will be in touch with new PMP aspirants, helping them with your expertise to pass the PMP exam. Likewise, you will be in contact with those already holding PMP certifications sharing their experiences. The more you connect/network, the easier it will be when it's time to move on. You never know who might help you obtain your next job.

Helps You to Evaluate Potential Employees and Team Members - 

To be honest, we've all had teams that for whatever reason did not work together as a cohesive group. By obtaining a PMP certification, you will learn valuable skills that will in turn help you to evaluate whether or not that potential team member will be able to work well with everyone.

Provides you with Greater Job Opportunities - 

Like every profession, project management is a field with some job opportunities only available to those with PMP certification. In fact, there are about 20% more openings than certified employees available. Now, that sounds like great odds to me.

You Will Have More Efficient Projects - 

Because having a PMP certification hands you a set of tools to utilize in building efficient projects, you can improve the efficiency and productivity in all your project experiences.

Gain Invaluable Experience - 

Because you must work through various situations you may not be familiar with in your own work environment, you will gain experience on how to solve complex and diverse project problems.

Make a Career Switch - 

If you've been looking to make a career switch, PMP credentials can help you to do that. By gaining a credential where you might lack years of experience, you can start at the gates with a higher position and salary than otherwise you would be capable of.

Challenges You - 

Finally, getting that PMP certification will not be the easiest thing you will do in your career. However, it will challenge you in a good way. You will gain self-confidence, knowledge and connections you wouldn't otherwise have.

For more info/guidance. Please contact us

Email: info@global-teq.com
Phone: +1-214-227-6396

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