Showing posts with label PMI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PMI. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 May 2015

PMP exam 2015 update - here are your new tasks

By Sarah Morgan

On 1 November 2015 your PMP exam will be changing to align with the current status of the project management profession.

If you’re taking your exam after November 1, you’ll need to prepare for 8 entirely new tasks found across domains 1-to-4. To save you from searching the PMP Examination Content Outline, here they are…

Domain 1 – Initiating the Project

  • Task 2
    • Identify key deliverables based on the business requirements, in order to manage customer expectations and direct the achievement of project goals.
  • Task 7
    • Conduct benefit analysis with stakeholders (including sponsor, customer, subject matter experts), in order to validate project alignment with organisational strategy and expected business value.
  • Task 8
    • Inform stakeholders of the approved project charter, in order to ensure common understanding of the key deliverables, milestones, and their roles and responsibilities.

Domain 2 – Planning the Project

  • Task 13
    • Develop the stakeholder management plan by analysing needs, interests, and potential impact, in order to effectively manage stakeholders' expectations and engage them in project decisions.

Domain 3 – Executing the Project

  • Task 6
    • Manage the flow of information by following the communications plan, in order to keep stakeholders engaged and informed.
  • Task 7
    • Maintain stakeholder relationships by following the stakeholder management plan, in order to receive continued support and manage expectations.

Domain 4 – Monitoring and Controlling the Project

  • Task 6
    • Capture, analyse, and manage lessons learned using lessons learned management techniques, in order to enable continuous improvement.
  • Task 7
    • Monitor procurement activities according to the procurement plan, in order to verify compliance with project objectives.

Domain 5 – Closing the Project

There are no new tasks in Domain 5.

Please note: this is not the finalised version of the PMP examination content outline. The proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the exam has not as yet been determined.

The knowledge and skills associated with these domains and tasks will be forthcoming. PMI state that this information will be available no later than 15 June 2015.

For more information on the 2015 PMP update, and for frequently asked questions, take a look at this blog.

Related articles:

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

PRINCE2 vs. PMP - which certification should you choose?


PRINCE2 and PMP are both well-known and respected project management certifications. But it’s not always easy to know which one to achieve. And whilst they’ll both give your project management skills a boost, what’s the use if you can’t apply your new knowledge in the workplace?

Let’s pit these two certifications against each other and take a look at what they can do to boost your career.

Introducing PRINCE2 & PMP

PRINCE2 - Projects in Controlled Environments

Originally developed by the UK’s Office of Government Commerce, it is now regarded as the de-facto standard for project management in the country. It also exerts a visible influence across Europe and Australia.

With over a million total PRINCE2 exams taken, it’s also the most popular project management methodology in the world.

According to arras People’s 2013 UK Project Management Benchmark, the PRINCE2 is held by 63% of all project management professionals.

PMP Project Management Professional

PMP is built around PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK). Administered and created in the USA, the PMP has become the primary project management certification for North America.

Despite being less known in Europe than PRINCE2, it’s certainly not unknown and is increasingly gaining in popularity.

According to arras People’s 2013 UK Project Management Benchmark, the PMP is held by 9% of all project management professionals.

What do these certs cover?


There are two levels of certification within the PRINCE2: Foundation and Practitioner. You’ll have to pass both to become a registered PRINCE2 practitioner.

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology that covers the management, control and organisation of a project. You’ll learn a flexible and adaptable framework that suits a wide variety of different projects.

This certification follows a sophisticated and clearly defined methodology that outlines detailed steps and processes that your project needs to achieve success in a controlled environment.

The well-laid out and standard approach that PRINCE2 uses is designed to be as generic as possible. As a result, the PRINCE2 processes are recommended for just about any kind of project.

PRINCE2 also helps to eliminate ambiguity by laying out clear roles and responsibilities of the team including: project executive, project manager, senior supplier, financier and senior user.

You don’t need previous project management experience to achieve this qualification and even experienced professionals can benefit from the PRINCE2.


Unlike the PRINCE2, the PMP is structured around the PMBoK and is a project management standard. You’ll become familiar with PMBoK processes and accepted project management techniques to enable you to evaluate your own projects.

It is therefore more of a theoretical and referential guide to assist you in the management of projects.
This certification evaluates your advanced knowledge of project management. As such you are expected to have existing project management experience.

To even apply for the PMP you’ll need at least 5 years of project management experience with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects. You’ll also need 35 hours of project management education (which can actually be gained by completing a PRINCE2 course).

How long will your certification last?


As a Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner you must be be re-registered within 3-5 calendar years of your original certification. Failure to pass the Re-Registration examination after five calendar years as a Registered Practitioner will result in withdrawal of your registered status.


After achieving your PMP qualification you must participate in PMI’s Continuiing Certification Requirements (CCR) program to maintain your active certification status.

During the three-year cycle, you must attain 60 professional development units (PDUs). Once your three-year cycle is up, it starts all over again.

You’ll be obtaining PDUs by engaging in project management activities related to your PMP certification. PDUs are split into two categories: Education PDU and Giving Back to the Profession PDU. For more information on how you obtain PDUs, take a look at PMI’s official PMP handbook.

Industry needs and cultural differences

We recommend you thoroughly research your project management certification choices depending on the industry you work, or want to work in. Every industry will treat these certifications differently - you don’t want to achieve a cert which might prove to be less valuable than its counterpart.

When job-hunting in the UK and the EU as a whole, we recommend first taking the PRINCE2. As we mentioned earlier the PRINCE2 is immensely popular - especially in the UK where it is favoured by government.

Benefits – the bottom line


1. Possibly the best introduction to project management

With its lack of prerequisites, PRINCE2 provides the ideal entry-level qualification for a career in project management. With a clear methodology, the PRINCE2 can take beginners and quickly transform them into educated project managers.

2. Improved career and employment prospects (in the UK and EU)

The PRINCE2 can improve your career prospects across the UK and EU. Due to its popularity in Europe and strong government ties, it is viewed favourably by employers.

 3. A standardised and complete methodology

The PRINCE2 provides a clear methodology that you can continually apply to almost any project. Plus, by using the same approach across every project, you’ll eliminate confusion through the use of common procedures, documents and processes.


1. Improved salary prospects

The PMP demands tougher prerequisites. It’s harder to achieve and as a result it commands higher salaries.

PMI Project Management Professional jobs display an average advertised salary of £60,000 according to data from

2. You’ll have up-to-date skills

Unlike PRINCE2, PMP demands commitment to your project management career. As a result of the Continuing Certification Requirements, you’ll need to stay active within the project management community. This means, whether you want to or not, you’ll be continually sharpening your skills. Make no mistake; employers will be aware of this factor.

3. PMI Membership

When you obtain your PMP certification, you can gain PMI Membership. As a PMI member you’ll get exclusive access to publications, networking opportunities and professional development opportunities. You’ll be able to easily connect with peers, grow your career using an expansive collection of knowledge resources and get access to a premium job board for project management.

So who won?

The smoke has cleared and incredibly, both project management certifications are still standing.

This guy just loves project management
morguefile / Ambro
Our project management instructor argues that, in a perfect world, you would have both certifications.  PRINCE2 provides a tried-and-true methodology whilst PMP provides the skills and knowledge required by the Project Manager to carry a project through to completion.

Achieve both and you’ll possess an encompassing and rounded approach to project management.

We recommend you thoroughly research both certifications, depending on what your long-term goals are, which side of the world you’ll be working from and in what industry.

Find out more about PMP and PRINCE2 here.

Related Articles:

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

See what happened when we asked our Project Management instructor your burning PMP questions


We sat down with Pash Lal, resident Project Management expert and Firebrand instructor, to answer your burning PMP questions. Pash is a qualified trainer in PRINCE2, PMP and Polychor Integrated Change.

Q. As a Project Manager, is PMP certification really necessary?

A. Yes. The PMP is an internationally recognised verification of your existing skills, knowledge and experience. 

Improve your project management skills and lead better projects
Image courtesy of  Renjith Krishnan / morgueFIle

The exam is based on 200 multiple choice questions, each having varying degrees of difficulty. 

Going through each question to read, digest, understand and identify what the questioner is really asking for, takes time. In order to select the correct answer, your level of analysis could vary from 30 seconds to five minutes (if you are not careful).

You are not just relying on what you may have learnt during the course and what you have picked up through reading the manual. You’ll also be relying on your own skills, experience and expertise to arrive at the correct answer.

The PMP exam assumes you understand all 42 processes, their inputs, outputs, tools and techniques. Some processes will require you to utilise up to 15 of the tools and techniques.

The employer needs a way of being able to compare between different Project Managers from other PMs and this is one way of doing so.

Q. What are the core principles of PMP?

Q. Is there any way round PMP pre-requisites?

A. No, these are the PMI rules and REPs are not allowed to bend or bypass them.

Q. What is the best book to help me prepare for PMP certification?

A. There is no one book which, on its own, will fully prepare you for the PMP exam. 

I would recommend you have the PMBOK Guide Fifth Edition as a minimum as this is what the exam is based on.  However be aware it does not contain everything required for you to be able answer each of your 200 exam questions correctly.  After all, it is only a guide to a vast Body of Knowledge. 

If you have this book, then look carefully in each section and where it mentions other areas, techniques, theories or specialisms, as you will need to research this yourself. 

The Rita Mulcahy book “PMP Exam Prep Learning Exam” is well thought out and structured and a lot of people rate it highly.  However the authors have added processes which do not map out against the PMBOK Guide® processes and are potentially confusing. 

The Kim Heldman book “PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide” is also well thought out and structured, however its flow is against the 5 domains and the author has not allowed for easy mapping against the PMBOK Guide®’s knowledge areas.  Additionally the question style needs to be brought up to date and maybe this has been or will be done in the move to the 5th edition.

Q. What is the main difference between PRINCE2 and PMP?

A. PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner is the accreditation offered by APMG in the UK, owned by the Cabinet Office and is crown copyright. 

It has a structure of:
  • 7 Processes: that contain many activities
  • 7 Themes: alongside information, guidelines and content to be able to carry out the process activities
  • 7 Principles: bedrock principles which, if not applied, the project is not a PRINCE2 project
  • 3 Procedures
  • 2 Techniques
The techniques are both optional.  It is seen as structured and applicable (read apply-able) to all projects of any size in any industry but it does not give a focus at all to the people skills without which the project will fail. 

Just ask yourself which Project Manager would you rather work with?  Project Manager #1 is in a constant bad mood, takes no interest in his/her team, barks the orders and castigates you publicly if things don’t go according to plan.  Or Project Manager #2, who smiles when he/she walks in, greets you and asks you how you are, shows a genuine interest when they ask you about your project and individual progress, makes you feel valued, etc…

Deciding which Project Management course to study can be a difficult choice
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / morgueFIle

The PMP is an accreditation offered by the PMI (Project Management Institute) and is their copyright.  It is a structured methodology which has 5 process groups with 42 processes (47 in the 5th edition), each of which has inputs, tools and techniques and outputs. 

It includes a focus on:
  • People skills
    • Leadership
    • Motivation
    • Communication
    • Stakeholder management
    • Team building
    • Conflict resolution
  • Scheduling techniques
  • Communication and procurement

All of these focuses are covered to a level not seen in PRINCE2.

Q. How long does the PMP certification last?

A. The certification lasts for life.  You have to demonstrate your continuing professionalism and dedication to maintaining your expertise and knowledge, through recording a minimum of 20 PDUs (professional development units) each year in a 3 year cycle.

Q. Will I need to recertify when PMBoK 6 comes out?

A. You do not need to take the PMP exam again for the rest of your life.  You only have to demonstrate your continuing professionalism and dedication to maintaining your expertise and knowledge, through recording a minimum of 20 PDUs (professional development units) each year in a 3 year cycle.

Q. How do I record and prove 4500 hours for PMP pre-requisites

A. By looking carefully at the work you have done over the last 3 years either working in a project or more preferably, in managing a project.  The character limit is quite small, set at between 300 and 550 characters, so you don’t have much room to describe what you have done.

They need your submission to be short, sharp and focused, a bit like your behaviour and performance as a Project Manager in real life.

I would recommend a one liner to describe the Project Objective (that’s right, just one or you may have used your entire limit without having described what you actually did) e.g. Objectives: to design a new staffing structure and implement across the 5 functions.

Next should be the deliverables which you produced and handed over e.g. Deliverables: stakeholder analysis completed, requirements gathered, best practice research conducted, new structure designed, stakeholders consulted, board approval obtained, new structure communicated and implemented.

Just to put this in perspective, just these two lines above (Objectives and Deliverables) are 302 characters including the spaces!

Lastly I would suggest you have a finishing line to detail the outcome e.g. Outcome: New staffing structure designed, communicated and implemented successfully; customer satisfied.

The above is 406 characters and there is space for some more words but not too many as you can see.

The next bit is then adding up the hours and apportioning them across the 5 domains.  If you had worked on this project full time for 10 months, and worked an 8 hour day, then 8 hours x 306 days x (6 months x31 days and 4 months x 30 days) = 2,448 hours.  This one project is about half of your total required.  Obviously you will need another project to get to 4,500 hours or more.

For each project you will need to work out how much time you spent on each domain (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Control, Closing) and record them in each box provided.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 21 February 2014

A video tour of Firebrand Learn


As you might know, last September marked the launch of Learn, Firebrand’s self-study platform, where students can access course material, practice tests, exercises and additional resources at no cost.

The first course made available on Learn was PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP). In case you haven’t checked it out yet, you are in luck, because now it's even easier with Mike Greer's fantastic video tour of the platform.

“This video is a quick tour of the free training materials available at the Firebrand website to help you qualify for your PMP (Project Management Professional) certification from PMI (Project Management Institute). We quickly "walk through" the website's collections, including powerful "accelerated" study tools, exercises and answers. If you want to know what's involved in getting that PMP certification, this website is a GREAT place to start!

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 17 January 2014 and join the PMI Family


As of 13 January 2014, leading project management organisations, have been acquired by PMI to deliver expanded access to knowledge and networking for professionals in project management.

“The combination of PMI,, and bring greater opportunities to the 51 million people around the globe who are engaged in the management of projects. Together, we will deliver access to more resources, better tools, larger networks and broader perspectives,” said Mark A. Langley, President and CEO of PMI.

What the parties expect

“We couldn’t be more excited to be part of the PMI family,” said Dave Garrett, CEO of Gantthead, which operates “They recognize the tremendous value that comes from encouraging an open environment for the sharing of knowledge. And now through our combined efforts, we will have many more tools and resources to make that happen.”

Content and points of view on and will remain impartial. Both sites will continue focusing on generating content through use of industry experts and facilitating global networking and knowledge sharing among practitioners at all levels, and across all regions and industries.

About Project Management Institute (PMI)

Project Management Institute is the world's leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project, program and portfolio management profession.  Founded in 1969, PMI delivers value for more than 2.9 million professionals working in nearly every country in the world through global advocacy, collaboration, education and research. PMI advances careers, improves organizational success and further matures the profession of project management through its globally recognized standards, certifications, resources, tools academic research, publications, professional development courses, and networking opportunities. As part of the PMI family, Human Systems International (HSI) provides organizational assessment and benchmarking services to leading businesses and government, while and create online global communities that deliver more resources, better tools, larger networks and broader perspectives.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Learn PMP for Free - 8. Project Quality Management


It's Monday again, which means it's time for the latest module of our free PMP course being delivered on our new self-study platform Learn. Last week we took a look at Cost Managament and how to ensure a project is delivered to budget, through effective planning, budgeting and the controlling of costs.

This week we move into the realm of Project Quality Management......

What is Project Quality Management?                                                                     

When building requirements for a project, the project manager is required to plan beyond when a project/product is delivered (time), and what specifically is being developed (scope). They must also put a plan in place for quality, known as project quality management.

PMI define quality management as the process which "ensures that the project meets its requirements, or does what it is expected to do."

What is covered in Project Quality Management?                                                   

When working through the module you will cover the following knowledge areas:

8.1 - Plan Quality Management

Uncover the process through which you identify the quality standards which relate to your project and how they might be met. This will cover PMI's quality principles and a range of other quality philosophies, as well as learning all the tools and techniques to help you plan quality.

8.2 - Perform Quality Assurance

Get to grips with the process of auditing quality requirements and associated results from quality control measurements. Doing so will ensure that the correct operational definitions and quality standards were used throughout the project.

8.3 - Control Quality 

Learn all about the how to monitor specific project results ensuring they comply with relevant quality standards whilst also identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory performance that may occur during the project.

What next?                                                                                                          

Head to our Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter profiles and follow us to get all the updates on the latest PMP content to be uploaded to Learn.

Here are some important dates to put in your diary and check back on Learn.

9. Project HR Management - Monday 21st October

10. Project Communications Management - Monday 28th October

11. Project Risk Management - Monday 4th November

12. Procurement Management - Monday 11th November

13. Stakeholder Management - Monday 18th November

About the Author                                                                                                

Edward is a member of the Marketing team focussing on Technical writing and Community Engagement for Firebrand. Working in the Industry for over 2 years, Edward has experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchnage Server. Edward writes for a variety of Blogs and Publications on all things Technology

Monday, 22 April 2013

What is PMI and how can it help you save £169 million?


If you read the Times this morning, then you may have come across a rather stark and terrifying advert from PMI, the headline:

"UK organisations risk on average £169 million for every £1 billion spent on projects."

Imagine having that conversation with your Boss, 'Ed, would you care to explain how you wasted £169 million worth of the companies money?' Something tells me you are not going to get that Christmas bonus you've been waiting for.

So how true are these figures, and should you really be worried? Follow Firebrand as we talk you through PMI, the 2013 Pulse of the Profession report and how to mitigate project risk.

What is PMI?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the World's leading not-for-profit, professional association for Project Management. PMI currently offers six Project Management certifications including the Globally recognized Project Management Professional (PMP) certification held by more than 520,00 practitioners worldwide.

Where do these figures come from?

The deeply concerning figures form part of PMI's 2013 Pulse of the Profession report, an annual global survey of project managers. The report takes market research from insights on projects fed back by project, portfolio and programme managers to chart existing and future trends within the industry. The current report takes feedback from more than 800 project management leaders across North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and Latin America and Caribbean regions. 

Should I be worried?

According to PMI, yes. The report suggests that project success rates are on the decline, with more than a third of projects failing to meet business goals since 2010. Scope creep; uncontrolled changes or continuous growth in a project's scope, has also seen an increase from 2010 to the present day with a movement from 41 percent to 45 percent of projects affected. 

Can I prevent this from happening?

Risk is an inherent part of any project, however, implementing proven success measures and a robust project plan are strongly linked with mitigating risk. PMI's report shows that High performing organisations practising such measures see a reduced risk; 14 times that of their Low performing counterparts, and experience greater success rates with 90 percent of organisations achieving original project goals.

PMI also outlined that organisations achieving project success have the following practices in common:
  • 76 % have embrace portfolio management a foundation and framework that guides the implementation and development of specific practices.
  • 74% have active sponsors on 80% or more of projects
  • 71% have a defined career path for project managers
  • 70% use standardised project management practices such as PMI's PMBOK® Guide
  • 69% have over 35% of project managers certified with the PMP®

So what now?

Avoid those awkward " I lost £169 million" conversations by getting to grips with project management practices. Book yourself on Firebrand's 4 day PMP course, and start planning for project management success today.

About the Author:
Edward is a member of the Marketing team overseeing the Content Strategy for Firebrand. Working in the Industry for 2 years, Edward has experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint 2007 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Edward writes for a variety of Blogs and Publications on all things Technology. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Firebrand launches 5-day PMI CAPM

Firebrand has launched a 5-day PMI Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) course.

CAPM is an entry level certification, which proves that you have the knowledge and understanding of the terminology and processes of effective project management. The course will improve your competency to manage larger projects and gain additional responsibilities.


To gain the certification, you’ll need to pass the CAPM exam. The exam is a three-hour multiple choice exam, with 150 questions.