DAY #1 — Starting with CAPM

In day #1 I finished the 1+2 nuggets of the series. Here are my notes on them.

Certified Associate in Project Management

If you’re looking for a certification in Project Management (PM from now on) with an entry level, like you’ve never worked in Management (M. from now on) the best choice for you is CAPM=Certified Associate in Project Management.

It’s a cert you get from PMI=Project Management Institute. Which is an international non-profit institute that advocate and promote best practices in PM.

What other certs you can have?

CAMP: (PMI cert) is the most entry level cert. It shows your boss that you have the basic PM knowledge.

PMP: (PM Professional) is the advanced cert in PM from PMI. You need to have 4000 hours of experience in PM. It’s the next logical step after having CAPM and working in PM for some years.

Project+: Alson entry level but for PM in IT (information Technology field).

Prince2: More common in Europe.

All above are traditional PM approaches. But there is non-traditional approaches certs like;

Agile: (PMI alos) and,


And there are other certs from PMI like: Risk M. and Program M.

What is PMI?

It’s a non-profit institute that promote and advocate best practices in PM. And of course it’s the most recognized PM certification body in the world.

What is CAPM?

As mentioned above it’s PMI entry level cert in PM.

CAPM Eligibility:

  1. High school grade.
  2. (1500) hours of experience in project environment (not necessary PM, but being in a team that report to project manager is enough), or (23) hours of training (like CBT Nuggets series).
  3. Re-certification in (5) years, but the typical progress is not to retake the exam but to progress to PMP.

The Exam:

You need to take your eligibility letter with you to the exam center.

  • 3 Hours.
  • Computer based.
  • 150 question, 15 of them is not marked but they are for evaluating the question to be used or not in next exams. i.e. PMI put some question and sees how people will answer them, if a lot answer them correctly then they’ll use these questions in future exams, if not they will not use them. And as you see they are not prat of your pass grade.
  • Passing grade is 65%.
  • All Multiple choice question: (select the best answer)
    • Fill in blanks.
    • Solve a problem (and choose the best solution from the choices).
    • Answer a direct question.
    • Complete a definition.
  • Always look for the best answer.
  • Your are expected to do simple math (there is simple calculator and scratch pad).
  • Be prepared for question in:
    • Earned Value.
    • Network Analysis. Both will be studied in details later.

Prepare for the Exam:

  • Make notes on the things that you need to remember the most before you start reading the question. (you’ll know what you need to remember the most after finishing the course).
  • Do the easy questions first and gain some confidence, then go back to the hard questions. The exam format allow you to mark question to come back to them later.
  • Always put the question in context, i.e. if I am the PM, what will I do?
  • Always look for the best answer and eliminate the wrong ones to choose correctly.
  • Use the material provided (scratch pad and calculator).
  • Answers are the Proactive, Ethical ones. (that what PMI concentrate on).
  • Relax.

Day of Exam:

  • Bring Eligibility letter.
  • 2 photo ID, name must match with Eligibility letter.
  • Bring snack and water, so you can eat and drink when taking a break. Your break will be part of the 3 hours, so 5 minute break not 30!.
  • Dress in layers.
  • Arrive early.

Introduction to PM and Project Life Cycle

This cover the first 2 chapters of the PMBOK guide.

What is a Project?

Project=a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or a result.

The two key words here are: temporary which means the project has a start and an end (can be in years of course) and unique which means the product is never done (exactly like this) before.

That means our project is a success when the product or service is achieved by the end date, i.e. we focus on satisfying the requirement to allow the project to end.

PMI Principles:

You should put these principles in mind to choose the best answer, i.e. if one answer gives you more of there principles than another correct answer, then choose the first one.

  1. Triple Constraint:
    1. Scope: the magnitude of what we need to deliver.
    2. Time: we expected to deliver at.
    3. Cost: $$ the project is expected to cost.
      Notice that all three above are connected and one can’t be changed without affecting the others. i.e. If you need to end the project in less time you have to either have more money or achieve less of what you need to.
  2. Professionalism and Social Responsibility: choose the answer the gives you more of them, because PMI concentrate on them.
  3. Project Charters are KEY: Kick off documents to start the project. (will be studied in more details later).
  4. Do minimal work to satisfy the results (scope of the project).
  5. WBS= work, break down, structure define the work.
  6. Quality is integrated to every aspect of the project.
  7. Phase Gate Reviews: which means we review each phase before starting the next one.

PMI Knowledge Areas:

That is covered by the PMBOK.

  1. Scope: what is the project to accomplish.
  2. Time: required to complete the project.
  3. Cost: required to complete the project.
  4. Quality: insurance and control to insure quality is built in.
  5. Human Resources: the preparation of the team required for the project (includes the training for example).
  6. Communication: to ensure all project stackholders are fully aware of all project information.
  7. Risk Management: to ensure that risks are proactively dealt with.
  8. Procurement: items needed for the our project to be ready and purchased for the project.
  9. Full Integration of all eight areas, into a full integration approach.

PMI Project Life Cycle:

Which works in harmony with the delivery life cycle.

  1. Initiating: kick off the project. Remember that Project Charter= kick off the project (official start).
  2. Planning: very important and key to success, it’s what define the scope, time, cost, quality, HR… (all nine of knowledge are planned here). At this phase we produce PM Plan, that define all areas above.
  3. Executing; after the official approval.
  4. Monitoring, and
  5. Controlling; to ensure the project is on the track.
  6. Closing: and documenting what we’ve learned.

All above works in harmony with Delivery Methodology:

  • Analysis.
  • Design.
  • Construct.

which happens in the executing phase.

Project vs Program vs Portfolios vs Operational Management:

Project (previously defined) is what we focus on in CAPM.

Program is accumulative of projects, and Portfolios is accumulative of Programs.

Operational Management is the management of ongoing, day to day, routine activity of a business. So it’s not like PM which is the management of a project from its start to its end.

Project Management Offices (PMOs):

It’s centralized group responsible for PM. It’s different from organization to another, so it can be:

  • Pools of PMs.
  • Project Oversight (at program level, gives couching and support to PMs).
  • PMs tools and training.
  • Report Consolidation (at program level).

Organizational Influences:

Organizational characteristics influences your management, for example:

  • Does the org (organization) like to take risks.
  • Is it regulated industry (which means you have to pay attention to every thing you do).
  • Private (focus on profit) vs Public (focus on service).

and the same way is the Org Structure;

  • Hierarchical/Functional structure: which means you have less control on your team.
  • Matrix structure.
  • Projectized structure: which means you have all the authority and control on your team.

Project Stackholders:

Any one who cares about the project (even negatively=Adversaries).

  • Sponsors.
  • Owner/Acceptor.
  • Senior Management.
  • Adversaries.





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