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  99-Point PMP Exam Success Formula by Alok Sharma

Alok Sharma passed his PMP exam on April 12, 2010 with good grades. He has compiled a very useful list of study notes for PMP certification, and has been kind enough to share it with us. I hope you find it useful.

Alok Sharma, PMP
Study Notes

1. Communication is more complex in Matrix Org., since it involves people from across the organisation
2. Project Manager (PM) should always be pro-active and not reactive
3. Identify the tense of the question
4. Risk assessments means risk identification through Qualitative Risk Analysis
5. Project is not complete when customer accepts the deliverables. It completes when all other project mgmt deliverables like lessons learnt etc are complete
6. Historical information is key to improve estimates
7. Quality Assurance:
    a. is when you are looking at way the process affects the quality.
    b. When you perform root cause analysis on process problem
8. Even if confronting sounds negative…still do it
9. Whenever 7 tools used for inspection, its Quality Control
10. If you come across a person who is not a PMP, but still claims, then immediately contact PMI
11. Key to a good bonus system:
    a. Must be achievable
    b. Should not reward only one or a group
    c. Goal should not be too aggressive
12. In n(n-1)/2 type of problems, don’t forget to add 1 ie the PM
13. PM is responsible for creating & executing Proj Mgt Plan, even though the entire team does it
14. Controlling unnecessary changes is one of the important part of PM’s role
15. Main role of Functional Manager is to control resources
16. Work authorization systems helps in minimizing Gold Plating
17. There is nothing called as Time Management Plan
18. Completing product requirements addresses customer satisfaction
19. AON does not use dummies in network diagram
20. Sunk costs should not be considered while deciding whether to continue the project or not
21. Earned Value deals with:
    a. EV – Scope
    b. PV – Time
    c. AC – Cost
22. Portfolios are organized around business goals.
23. Take stern action against discrimination.
24. Seller audit reviews products being created and Procurement Audit is used to examine successes & failures and gather lessons learnt
25. Written communication is best for complex problems
26. Major results of communication blockers is Conflict
27. Understand in the question that whether Risk has actually “occurred” or its just “identified”
28. If seller completes the work in SOW, then the contract is complete…..however this does not mean that contract is closed
29. One of the objectives of negotiation is to protect the relationships
30. Negotiation is done after the seller is selected
31. Cost of team training is Direct Cost
32. EV Analysis is a great reporting tool
33. If PM wants to decrease costs, he should look at Direct & Variable costs
34. Ground rules apply to Stakeholders also apart from Project team members
35. Constructive changes are contract changes which are construed from actions taken by either party, not from a change document. Also they are frequent cause of disputes and claims
36. Categories of cultures that Managers should master:
    a. National Culture
    b. Organizational Culture
    c. Functional Culture
37. Project Management Team is responsible to obtain stakeholder’s formal acceptance
38. SOW prepared by customer. Scope Statement by Proj Mgt Team
39. Quality policy to be created when there are multiple organisations working
40. Outliers in Control charts are the singular movements outside the bandwidth between the upper and lower control limit
41. Close project or phase should take place at end of each phase
42. Project charter is effectively a contract or agreement about a project between a Project Manager & Sponsor/PMO/Portfolio Steering committee
43. Contract is in place if there is an offer & acceptance… need not be signed
44. Unit price contract is used when Quality & type of work can be defined, but not the quantity
45. Weakness of Monte Carlo Simulation is it considers those schedule risks for tasks which are in schedule network
46. EMV Analysis assumes Risk Neutrality
47. Purpose of Resource Smoothing is to flatten the peaks and valleys of resource allocation. Its less rigorous than resource leveling
48. Weak Matrix is also called Project Co-ordinator Structure
49. NPV in a long term project measures the excess or shortfall of the cash flows through the project and to some time horizon during the life of the project result, after accounting for cost of financing
50. IRR is a capital budgeting method – the annualized effective compounded return which can be earned on the invested capital
51. Discount rate is generally the appropriate cost of capital expressed as a percentage rate. It incorporates a judgement of uncertainty (riskiness) of the future cash flows
52. Percent complete can be determined by finding the achieved milestones within the work packages Formula is EV/BAC
53. Resource leveling is a Schedule Network Analysis Tool and NOT Schedule Compression Tool
54. Project scope completion is measured against Proj Mgt Plan
55. Product Scope completion is measured against Product Requirements
56. Influence Diagrams:
    a. Graphical representation
    b. Shows causal influences
    c. Time ordering of events
    d. Other relation among variables and outcomes
57. No. of communication channels increases exponentially with each increase of stakeholders
58. NPV = (PV of all cash inflows) – (PV of all cash outflows)
59. PV is Future value of payment discounted at a discount rate for delay in payment
60. QFD is used to determine critical characteristics for new product development
61. Laissez Faire – Manager does not interfere with subordinates. They are largely un-supervised. Leads to anarchy
62. Duration is length of critical path and NOT sum of duration of all tasks
63. Benefit Measurements & Constraint Opt methods are Decision Models and NOT Selection tools
64. Elapsed time includes non-working days
65. Individual levels of authority should match with their individual responsibilities and NOT competency to get best performance
66. Configuration mgt system is also used to apply technical & administrative directions and surveillance to support the audit of products or components to verify conformance to requirements
67. It is WBS and NOT Scope statement that represents the project & product work including project management work
68. Spending more on conformance costs will reduce the expenditure on non-conformance costs
69. Project Notebook – device which houses the project plan
70. Project Objectives – includes measurable success criteria of the project
71. Project Requirements – Translated form of stakeholders needs, wants & expectations
72. Approved change requests leads to Scope baseline updates
73. PM also acts as an interface between customer and functional managers
74. Templates can be used to identify typical schedule milestones and it also has standard activity list
75. Standard deviation is used to determine the probability of getting results
76. Original duration of an activity is the activity duration that was assigned and not updated as the progress of the activity is reported
77. Risk urgency combined with risk ranking determined from Prob Impact Matrix to give a final risk severity rating
78. Uniform, Normal, Lognormal distribution of risk analysis:
    a. X axis shows possible values of time & cost
    b. Y axis shows relative likelihood
79. Procurement Audit covers from Plan Procurements to Administer Procurements to identify success & failures
80. Project Management team should have a working knowledge of statistical quality control, especially sampling and probability to evaluate output of quality control
81. Verify scope includes reviewing deliverables with customer or sponsor
82. Initial communication about team member performance should preferably be informal oral
83. Frequent changes to project scope may not impact the project charter
84. Process configuration is a graphical description of processes with identified interfaces to facilitate analysis
85. Mgt by objectives aligns:
    a. Project goals with org goals
    b. Project goals with individual goals
    c. Project goals with goals of other sub units of Org
86. Salience Model describes classes of stakeholders based on:
    a. Power
    b. Urgency
    c. Legtimacy
87. Additional funding is always provided by Sponsor and NOT customer
88. PM need not be a subject matter expert
89. Estimate Activity Resources is closely coordinated with Estimate Costs process
90. Facilitated workshops:
    a. Builds trust
    b. Fosters relationships
    c. Reconcile stakeholders differences
    d. Improve communications in participants
91. Schedule data contains:
    a. Resource Histograms
    b. Cash flow projections
    c. Order & delivery schedules
92. David Mc Cleland theory called Achievement Motivation theory says that managers are motivated by:
    a. Need for Achievement
    b. Need for Power
    c. Need for Affiliation

Note: I have made an attempt to be as accurate as possible. However, if there are mistakes, please rectify the same.

Alok Sharma, PMP
Lessons Learned

Here's what Alok said after passing the exam:

Hi all,

Phew !!

I have cleared the PMP exams on 12th April with Proficient in 4 and Moderately Proficient in 2 areas.

Thanks to all members who have been contributing their knowledge for everyone’s benefit. Many people have shared their LLs, hence would not go into much detail, but attaching a list (above) of some finer points which I had collated during my preparations. These are the ones where I made mistakes and hence noted down. Apart from there, here are some points:

1. Books referred:
    a. PMBok – Read 5 times
    b. Rita – Just once
    c. Head First – Tried, but was not comfortable reading it
    d. Glossary – 3 times
2. During the end of the preparation, while going through Glossary, I used to try and describe the word instead of reading it. I noticed that I was able to describe most of them and also the time taken was considerably less, which added to my confidence.
3. I did not have a study group, hence studied all by myself
4. Harwinder’s blogs are excellent resource for clearing concepts
Harwinder, thanks a lot
5. Normally 4 hrs are enough, but however I was going through the marked questions till last minute Probably was bad time management by me as I took more time in the initial 100 questions
6. Took 1 break, had some food
7. PMP tests for analytical skills and depth of knowledge on the core concepts

Thanks to everyone once again.


  1. Hi Alok,

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Regarding point 67 i have a doubt.
    67. It is WBS and NOT Scope statement that represents the project & product work including project management work

    But as per my understanding WBS is describes the deliverables w.r.t to project and product and not the actual work.
    Please correct me if i am wrong.


  2. Hello Vivek,

    I agree with you. Thanks for your comment.

    You can refer to - Product Scope, Project Scope and Requirements - for related info.


  3. Hi

    From the above notes shared by Alok Sharma and in the line no 12(In n(n-1)/2 type of problems, don’t forget to add 1 ie the PM
    ), i have one doubt where i'm trying to get the answer from many sources, but i couldn't.
    My query is:
    In few sources, they say to add PM while calculating communication channel, in few they just calculate what are the number given in the question without adding PM
    Could you please clarify me the same, with an example.

    Appreciate your efforts for clarifying the doubts with example which is understood to anybody.
    Your blogs are excellent.


  4. Hello JK,

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Normally you'll find some clues in the question that should help you determine whether to include the PM in the 'n'.

    For example:

    1. You are a project manager and you have a team of 5 people. 2 more members are added to your team. How many new communication channels are added?

    In this case, I'll assume that PM is not included in the 5 members. So, n would be 6 initially and then increased to 8.

    2. A team has 6 members. Two more members are added. How many more communication channels are added?

    In this case, it's simple. n is 6 initially (PM included) and 8 later.

    You can also perform your calculations both ways. 1) Assuming PM is included and 2) PM is "not" included. If only one of the answer is included in the four choices, then you are safe. If both are given as choices, then pray to God and select the one you think is best :)

    Hope that helps.

  5. Hi I am doing my PMP exam in March 2014 would like some study tips