Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Free PMP Exam Question

The following PMP® exam sample question is taken from the Free PMP Exam Simulator at - The answer is at the very bottom:


What is risk tolerance?

A.) Risks created by tolerating customer behavior.
B.) Willingness to accept varying degrees of risk.
C.) Risks created by zero tolerance.
D.) Being tolerant if stakeholders are willing to accept risks.

Hint: Look for the “least strange” answer.

All our questions are updated to the latest PMBOK® Guide standard. Stop by at and try the PMP Exam Simulator free for 3 days. We also offer 110 free questions at We are a PMI Registered Education Provider.

Until next time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
President, OSP International LLC
The Project Management PrepCast™ -
The Project Management Podcast™ -

The correct answer is B
Explanation: Do you feel that A, C and D are odd? Correct, they are and they were included intentionally. Sometimes you can expect to find some “funny” answer choices.
Risk tolerance is the stakeholders' willingness to accept varying degrees of risk. Choice B is the only correct answer to this question.
Reference: PMBOK4 - pg:276

Friday, August 19, 2011

Critical Path Mapping: A Basis for Agile Project Management

As certified project management professionals, we are intimately familiar with the processes necessary to define the critical path of a project.  How does that apply when managing an Agile project?  One of the best approaches I have seen is a two phased approach to critical path definition.  Phase 1 – Define the High Level Critical Path for the overall project.  Phase 2 – Define the critical paths within each sprint as you initiate each sprint.  This approach allows you to define the steps necessary to complete the overall project as well as have more control over each sprint by defining the critical path within each sprint.  Whether you define a single overall PERT chart for the project, or separate PERT charts for each sprint is your choice.  Let’s take a look at a simplistic example:

Project Goal:  To build an information management system that will allow the user to communicate with other users, schedule events, manage registration for events and post comments related to the events.

Overall Project Tasks

Task ID
Task Name
Construct Test Environment (Architecture)
Construct Production Environment (Architecture)
Construct Test Environment (Software)
Construct Registration Module
Construct Scheduling Module
Construct Communications Module
Test Registration Module
Test Scheduling Module
Test Communications Module
Migrate to Production
Announce Launch

Project PERT Network Chart
This network diagram demonstrates the project as 13 weeks in length. Tasks 2, 3 and 5 create the critical path.

Sprint 1 – PERT Network Chart:
This network diagram demonstrates this sprint as 4 weeks in length. Tasks 3b and 3e are the critical path.
Sprint 2 – PERT Network Chart:
This network diagram demonstrates this sprint as 4 weeks in length. Tasks 3a and 4 are the critical path.

This simple example helps demonstrate how the scrum master can define the critical path of the overall project as well as for each sprint.  By defining each sprints critical path, the scrum master can ensure that the appropriate resources are working each task.  Focusing on those critical path tasks allows the scrum master to prioritize impediment management, scope changes, issues and risks impacting critical path tasks on a sprint by sprint basis.

Conclusion:  If a project has many tasks with dependencies on other tasks, understanding the critical path affords the scrum master the ability to focus resources on those tasks that will impact the schedule this most and therefore improve each sprints success which leads to improved overall project success.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Free PMP Exam Sample Question

The following PMP® exam sample question is taken from - The answer is at the very bottom: 

PMBOK Section: Estimate Costs                              
Process Group:     Planning Process Group                                        
Question Type:     Calculation                                   
Knowledge Area: Cost Management                                    
Difficulty Level:   Easy                                                                                                         

Question: You are managing an amusement park development project. You have received the following estimates for site excavation and area development activity that is critical to the success of your project. The most likely estimate is $100,000, the optimistic estimate is $90,000, and the pessimistic estimate is $120,000. What is the expected activity cost?                                                                                                                      
            A. $101666                                                                                                         
            B. $100000                                                                                                         
            C. $120000                                                                                                         
            D. $90000                                                                                                           
Hint:    Use the PERT formula.   

Reference: PMBOK4 - pg:173

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Great Divide - Project Management vs. Systems Development

The Project Management Life Cycle addresses specific project related activities such as Project Initiation, Planning, Schedule and Scope Management, Risk/Issue/Change Management, etc…  This life cycle can be applied to several disparate project goals whether building a house or a software application.  The same principles and disciplines apply.

The System Development Life Cycle addresses specific product related activities such as discovery, analysis, architectural design, development, testing, etc….  This life cycle can be applied to several disparate product goals whether building a server farm or planning a new system. These same engineering type principles and disciplines apply.

The clear delineation of these life cycles becomes critical when an organization is thinking about maturity certifications such as CMMI. When considering maturity certification the organization is focusing on repeatability and continuous improvement in order to improve quality.   Providing the Project Management professionals within an enterprise the chance to focus on project activities, artifacts and project process improvement, you afford them the opportunity to develop processes and procedures that best provide the results for the project.  Alternatively, providing the engineering professionals within the enterprise the ability to focus on product development activities affords them the ability to refine engineering aspects for the product so they produce processes that support repeatability, process improvements and a higher quality product.

Additionally, this separation of duties provides increased ability for education, mentor-ship and personal growth.  In turn, resources can focus their talents, passions and ultimately their career on the path they desire to travel.  This leads to an increase in specialty and productivity the project team and enterprise will benefit from.

Here is an example of how you can demonstrate "The Great Divide".
The Great Divide - Project Management Life Cycle vs. Systems Development Life Cycle

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Importance of an Agile Team’s Rhythm

The Importance of an Agile Team’s Rhythm

Setting up a new agile team?  Where do you start?
When setting up a new agile team it is important to immediately get that team into a rhythm.  Begin with the daily stand up meetings.  Schedule these meetings for the same time and place everyday.  This will help form the team’s basis of rhythm.  Once this rhythm basis is set, extend that rhythm to other project related meetings.  Depending on your team’s release plan, schedule the sprint planning meetings and sprint review and retrospective meetings to occur on the same day and place on a regularly scheduled basis.  If you have other required organizational meetings, verify these are also rhythmic and remember to keep the team from getting bogged down in approvals.  Also, help the Product Owner to not get tied to organizational deadlines by scheduling releases around those from the start of the project.  This simple strategy will keep the team moving and focused on the overall goal of product delivery.  As the team matures, their velocity will increase and hopefully you will need to adjust the rhythm to keep up.

Below is a sample schedule that could be useful:

Meeting Name
Next Occurrence
Stand Up
Room B
Sprint Planning-Part A
Every 20 days
Room A
Sprint Planning-Part B
Every 20 days
Room A
Release Approval
Every 20 Days
Board Room
Sprint Review and Retrospective
Every 20 Days
Room D

Other areas of impact:  Maintaining this chart in the conference room where the daily stand up meetings will occur will keep the team focused on the next step and all team members will know what is next and when it will happen.  This will also help the Scrum Master in scheduling the conference rooms with recurring events and help the team’s stick-to-itiveness (Sticking to the schedule).

Remember:  In the event something disrupts the team’s defined rhythm, Stop, Reassess and Start Over.
Happy Scrumming…..


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