Project: pass the exam

Temporary and short term: two characteristics of a project. But what makes it a project compared to a part of general business operations?

Joseph Phillips, in his book, PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004, $104.95), lays out in chapter 1 the definition of a project and the difference between everyday operations and projects. One of the outstanding differences between the two, but common attributes of projects is that they have an end, even though the outcome of the project might then move into a general business task.

The guide, which also includes a CD-ROM, has been compiled to assist in preparing for the Project Management Institute's exam and the author calls it "a guide to the guide". The introduction sets out an "exam readiness checklist" detailing subjects and relevant chapters and the guide contains some 700 practice questions.

Phillips lists nine knowledge areas of a project as management of integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, communications, risk and procurement, and cross-references these with the five process of projects: initiating, planning, executing, controlling, closing (IPECC).

He quotes from the Project Management Institute's book, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) which defines a project as "a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product or service".

The guide is divided into two sections - the first for newer inductees to the world of PM, the second covering exam essentials. The book's 13 chapters can be studied in any order.

Each chapter covers in detail the steps involved in each of the nine knowledge areas and each of the subsections is listed in the contents. Chapter 13 covers the PMP Code of Professional Conduct. An addendum presents "critical exam information" of test-passing tips, the 39 project management processes, magic formulas and quick PMP facts.

An accompanying CD contains an electronic version of the guide, exam questions and preparatory exercises like EZFlashCards study software and an Excel spreadsheet that illustrates important management formulas. The software can be installed on any Windows 98NT/2000/XP computer. The e-guide and spreadsheet can be browsed without installation.

The 588-page manual - including glossary and index - has a lengthy self-test section, with answers - following each chapter.

Chapters are also liberally sprinkled with 'exam watch' pointers such as: "If you want to pass the PMP exam, learn and love the project management knowledge areas. . . ", and gives page numbers of relevant sections in the PMBOK Guide.

PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004 $104.95 including CD-ROM)

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