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Cheat Sheet

PMP Certification All-In-One For Dummies

Looking at a career as a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)? This Cheat Sheet gives you quick, handy PMP certification facts to remember on test day to help you answer exam questions. You can review major project management concepts; key tools, techniques, outputs, and processes; and and some common equations found on the exam. Many key terms are defined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide Glossary.

Understand Scheduling Relationships for the PMP Certification Exam

When you're ready to take the PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification exam, expect to see up to ten questions dealing with network diagrams, precedence diagramming, and scheduling issues. Here are some PMP details you need to know:

  • FS = Finish-to-start

  • FF = Finish-to-finish

  • SS = Start-to-start

  • SF = Start-to-finish

  • Lead = The amount of time an activity can be advanced with respect to a predecessor activity

  • Lag = The amount of time a successor activity is required to be delayed with respect to a predecessor activity

  • A mandatory dependency is based on the nature of the work.

  • A discretionary dependency is based on a best practice or preferred way of doing something.

  • An external dependency is based on relationships outside the project.

  • An internal dependency is based on dependencies inside the project.

PMP Certification: 4 Estimating Techniques for Project Managers

You can apply PMP (project management professional) estimating techniques to resources, effort, duration, and costs. PMPs use different methods of estimating, depending on the situation.

Estimating method Description
Analogous estimating Generally used at the start of the project when not much is known. Compares the current project with past similar projects. A quick and relatively easy method of estimating, although not terribly accurate.
Parametric estimating Used for estimates that are quantitatively based, such as dollars per square foot or number of installations per day. A relatively simple method, but not every activity or cost can be estimated quantitatively.
Three-point estimating Accounts for uncertainty associated with estimating by determining an optimistic (best case, represented by O), most likely (represented by M), and pessimistic (worst case, represented by P) scenario. The most likely estimate is weighted most heavily.

The equation is
(O + 4M + P) / 6
Bottom-up estimating Used when there is significant detail about the activity. A detailed assessment of the resources, capabilities, and amounts are used to determine an accurate duration or cost estimate. This is the most accurate method but also the most time-consuming and expensive form of estimating.

PMP Exam: Statistics for Normal and Cumulative Distributions

PMPs (project management professionals) often apply basic statistics to their projects. For the PMP certification exam, here's what you need to know when dealing with normal and cumulative distributions:

Equations are based on a normal distribution. In a normal distribution, keep the following in mind:

  • 68.3% of the data points fall within one standard deviation.

  • 95.5% of the data points fall within two standard deviations.

  • 99.7% of the data points fall within three standard deviations.

If you're looking at a normal curve and need a cumulative distribution, you should remember these values:

  • 0.15% of the data points fall between 0 and –3 from the mean.

  • 2.25% of the data points fall between 0 and –2 from the mean.

  • 16% of the data points fall between 0 and –1 from the mean.

  • 84% of the data points fall between 0 and +1 from the mean.

  • 97.75% of the data points fall between 0 and +2 from the mean

  • 99.85% of the data points fall between 0 and +3 from the mean.

PMP Certification: 6 Strategies for Conflict Resolution

Experienced project management professionals (PMPs) know that as they plan and execute projects, they'll encounter conflicts and differences of opinion. As you study for your PMP certification exam, become familiar with these six strategies to resolve conflict.

Strategy Description Situation
Confronting / Problem-solving Confronting the conflict as a problem to be solved When you have confidence in the other party's ability to problem solve
When the relationship is important
When you need a win-win solution
Collaborating Win-win through collaboration and meeting to resolve issues When there is time and trust
When the objective is to learn
When you want to incorporate multiple views
When there is time to come to consensus
Compromising When you are looking for some degree of satisfaction for both parties When there is a willingness to give and take
When both parties need to win
When you can't win
When an equal relationship exists between the parties in conflict
When the stakes are moderate
To avoid a fight
Smoothing / Accommodating Emphasize areas of agreement To reach an overarching goal
To maintain harmony
When any solution will be adequate
When you will lose anyway
To create goodwill
Forcing Win-lose; impose the resolution When you are right
In a do-or-die situation
When the stakes are high
To gain power
If the relationship is not important
When time is of the essence
Withdrawal / Avoiding Retreat; cool off When you can't win
When the stakes are low
To preserve neutrality or reputation
If the problem will go away on its own

PMP Earned Value: Variances and Indexes

On the PMP certification exam, you'll see five to ten questions on variances and indexes. Here's fundamental information that project managers need to determine cost and schedule variances and indexes.

  • For variance and indexes, always start with EV.

  • When looking for information on schedule, use PV.

  • When looking for information on cost, use AC.

  • For a variance, subtract.

    • SV = EV – PV

    • CV = EV – AC

    • Negative is bad; positive is good.

  • For an index, divide.

    • SPI = EV / PV

    • CPI = EV / AC

    • Less than 1.0 is bad, greater than 1.0 is good.

8 Quality Control Tools to Know for PMP Certification

There are many ways to assess quality control, and professional project managers (PMPs) make good use of them. When you take the PMP certification exam, you should be able to apply the following quality control tools:

  • Cause and effect diagram. Diagrams that define the inputs to a process or product in order to identify potential causes of defects.

  • Histogram. A bar chart showing a distribution of variables.

  • Run chart. Show trends in the variation of a process over time.

  • Scatter diagram. Shows the relationship between two variables.

  • Control chart. A graphic display of process data over time and against established control limits, and that has a centerline that assists in detecting a trend of plotted values toward either control limit.

  • Flowcharting. The depiction in a diagram format of the inputs, process actions, and outputs of one or more processes within a system.

  • Pareto chart. A histogram, ordered by frequency of occurrence, that shows how many results were generated by each identified cause.

  • Inspection. Examining or measuring to verify whether an activity or a component, product, result, or service conforms to specified requirements.

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