DIAGRAMS – FORMULAS – KNOWLEDGE AREA GROUPING
After learning the project management concepts and ITTOs, I started to focus on the diagrams and their relevance to the respective context. Learning diagrams can help in visually remembering information. Diagrams may not show up on the exam, but it’s a great way for you to understand concepts. I spent about a day to quickly go over all the diagrams.
See below a sample diagram from PMBOK 6th Edition that helped me understand the connection between Projects (P1 to P8), Programs (A, B, B1, C) and Portfolio (A, Sample). To elaborate further, it depicts that a portfolio can have another portfolio in it, a program can be a part of a portfolio and/or part of another program, a project can be part of a program and a portfolio or either one of those.
PMBOK has many useful diagrams all throughout that are important to understanding and learning the concepts. Examples of some of the diagrams are:
- Organizational Project Management
- Interconnection between Knowledge Areas, Process Groups and Project Phase
- Project Manager’s Sphere of Influence
- WBS Structure
- Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM)
- Project Schedule Network Diagram
- Cause and Effect Diagram (Fishbone Diagram)
The CAPM Exam and PMBOK has calculations and formulas for Cost and Schedule. I wrote down all the formulas and memorized them during my studying sessions. Below are some important formulas, that are required to know for the CAPM Exam.
Note: Memorizing just the formulas is not sufficient as you need to know the definitions and meaning of each of those terms, and when they need to be applied. For example, Earned Value (EV) is the measure of the work performed expressed in terms of budget authorized. If you don’t know what EV means, you may get confused during the exam whether the value to calculate is EV or PV.
From my experience, EAC is an important value that gets asked in the exam. Know all the formulas for calculating EAC!
Knowledge Area Grouping
I have been emphasizing on the importance of writing down your ideas, concepts, formulas, diagrams, etc. but the one place where it actually made a huge difference in my understanding and cutting down on my time of learning is when I wrote down ALL the Process Groups and the corresponding Project Management Knowledge Areas! I visually looked at it and immediately the process of knowing “what” goes “where” became “lean” and “quick”.
See the image below for how I laid it all out.
Looking at the above image you can tell that I did not follow the usual, Initiating – Planning – Executing – Monitoring & Controlling – Closing, flow for my studying method.
I grouped it based on minimum effort required to know maximum number of things.
- I wrote down Initiating and Closing first as those had the least number of Knowledge Areas to remember.
- Closing – has only one verb – “Close“
- Initiating – has two verbs “Develop” and Identify“
- Monitor and Control – any Knowledge Area that started with verbs “Monitor“, “Control“, “Perform” and “Validate” fell in this process group
- Executing – Any Knowledge Area that started with verbs “Direct“, “Manage“, “Acquire“, “Develop“, “Implement” and “Conduct” fell in this process group
- Planning – EVERYTHING ELSE. I didn’t try hard to remember or memorize this, I just made sure to memorize the other 4 process group, which was much less work
Note: The only verb that falls in three different process groups is “Develop”. It falls in Initiating, Planning and Executing. So remember that!
Before starting my exam, I quickly wrote down from memory on the paper that the exam center provides (no cheating!), the above breakdown and I was good to go. I didn’t spend more than a second to answer questions about knowledge areas and process groups.