PMP and CAPM Exam Prep Simplified!

BrainBOK - PMP and CAPM Exams, ITTOs, Flashcards, Formulas, Quizzes, Contact Hours
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 4 comments

  BrainBOK ITTO Explorer is even better now

One of the things, which you might have noticed about BrainBOK is that it’s developed from the perspective of a PMP aspirant. Many of the frustrations that I had as a PMP aspirant and as someone who still breathes the subject everyday, are being addressed with BrainBOK. The heart of BrainBOK is the ITTO Explorer. It all started with it and the rest just spawned from there.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 37 comments

  BrainBOK - PMP and CAPM Certification Prep Simplified!

BrainBOK is an application designed to help project managers achieve PMP®­ and CAPM­® certification. It integrates a variety of tools such as exam simulators, flashcards, and quizzes, and can be called the swiss-army knife of PMP®­ and CAPM­® exam preparation. It aims to transform the way people prepare for these certifications.

BrainBOK introduces some unique features such as the ITTO Explorer, which render hundreds of online PMP®­ and CAPM­® resources, and gazillion spreadsheets, obsolete. It has a minimalistic, intuitive and user-friendly interface. Though it's not a mobile application, many of the features are designed with mobile devices (such as iPhone and iPad) in mind. Above all, it's free and virtually ad-free. Let’s take a quick tour of the features of BrainBOK.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 9 comments

  Product & Project - Life Cycles, Phases, and PM Process Groups

Recently a reader, Imran, posted a comment asking for clarification on concepts such as project life cycle, project phases and project management process groups. After reading his comments, I realized that many others might be having similar doubts and it would be more appropriate to address his questions through a separate blog post rather than responding through comments. In this article, I’m trying to explain these concepts by drawing an analogy between products and human beings. I hope you’ll find it interesting and useful.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 14 comments

  Turning a Dream into Reality

During the days of my PMP exam preparation, I wanted to have a tool (set) that would help me master certain aspects of the exam. It wasn't necessarily your usual exam simulator or a flashcard set. However, development of such a tool was clearly "out of scope" for the project at hand, which was PMP Certification. I passed the exam in reasonably good time, but thought that the process could have been more efficient had I got some simple tools. I moved on to other things and the idea didn’t take off. The tool remained a dream. A year and a half later, when I started this blog, the need to have that tool became stronger. This time we were talking about thousands of people who could benefit from it. I spent weeks searching for “free” tools that would allow me to do what I thought would be useful for PMP aspirants. I inquired with several companies in the field about features, license, cost, and other terms and conditions of their applications. In one way or the other, none of the applications met my requirements. So, the quest continued ...

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 9 comments

  Deep Fried Brain is Alive Again :)

I’m finally back after a good 11 week break. I cannot believe that I spent nearly 3 months away from my baby (Deep Fried Brain), whom you could not separate from me for more than 3 hours. Did you think that I dropped my baby and walked away? Well if you did, you couldn’t be blamed because I neglected my beloved baby so badly. Neither did I feed it nor did I tuck it into the blanket and kiss it good night everyday, like I used to do earlier. I haven’t published a new blog post since Sep 3. On top of that, I wasn’t keeping up with the comments and emails. So why such apathy toward something I'm so passionate about?

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 20 comments

  Project Schedule vs Schedule Baseline

Project Schedule vs Schedule Baseline in PMP What's the difference between Project Schedule and Schedule Baseline? I've answered this question numerous times in emails, forums and blog comments. But it keeps coming back to me. It is high time I address it in a separate post, and settle it once and for all. If you have managed projects, it shouldn't be hard for you to understand. The difference is similar to that between you and your photograph. Puzzled? Read on.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 11 comments

  Quality Assurance vs Quality Control Quiz - Answers

Accordingly to the PMBOK Guide, Fourth Edition, Perform Quality Assurance is the process of auditing the quality requirements and the results from quality control measurements to ensure appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are used. Whereas, Perform Quality Control is the process of monitoring and recording results of executing the quality activities to assess performance and recommend necessary changes.

Thanks for the overwhelming response to the Quality Assurance vs Quality Control Quiz and the awesome suggestions for blog topics. Till date it has received double Nelson (222) responses. I really appreciate all the feedback. Let's review the answers to the questions. Feel free to question the answers!
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 5 comments

  10 Articles which every PMP Aspirant must Read

When I started this blog last year, the articles were focused on the PMP certification process like how to become a PMP, FAQs, audits etc. As time went on, I started focusing more on exam preparation, tips and study notes. The older posts got buried. For regular visitors, it's not an issue as they know their way around the site well. But for new visitors, who are still finding their feet in the PMP universe, those older posts are more relevant. This article is an attempt to bring those stalwart posts of this blog back on top once again.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 12 comments

  Standard Deviation and Project Duration Estimates

Project Estimation and PERT (Part 9): Standard deviation is a statistical concept that gives a measure of the 'spread' of the values of a random variable around the mean of a distribution. It shows how much variation there is from the average or the mean value. The more the variation, the more the uncertainty or risk in the process. In the article Probability and Statistics in Projects, we learned that PERT assumes that the expected duration of the project follows the normal distribution. By calculating the PERT estimate (mean) and standard deviation of the project duration estimate, we can calculate the probability of completing the project within a given duration. How that works is explained in this article.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 1 comments

  Quality Assurance vs Quality Control Quiz

The difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control is one of the most frequently asked questions and among the most commonly confused concepts for the PMP exam. Going by the emails and comments I receive, I'm sure many of you are interested in this topic. But before I do an article, I thought it would be interesting to let you assess your current knowledge on the subject. So, I've got a simple quiz for you. All you need to do is to match a given term with the process it's most closely associated with. To reward those who do well on the quiz, I've got some prizes too.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 16 comments

  PMP Quiz Contest - Activity Duration Estimates

Activity Duration Estimate Free Sample Questions for PMP Certification Project Estimation and PERT (Part 8): The expected duration of your project is 48 days and standard deviation is 4 days. Your management wants to know the project duration estimate with a 95% confidence level. What estimate would you give them? I’m not going to answer this question just yet. In fact, I’m going to challenge you to solve it. We have gone through the theory and now is the time for some exam practice. Today we are going to try something new - sample questions - which we haven’t done before on this site. Yes, sample questions in the form of a quiz. You can even win cool PM Prep Flashcards and other prizes for doing well on the quiz.

Are you ready for the challenge?

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 10 comments

  PERT and CPM get Cozy

PERT vs Critical Path Method (CPM) for PMP Certification Project Estimation and PERT (Part 7): If you have been following the series on PERT, then you have developed a good understanding of probability and statistical concepts as applied to projects. In this post, we are going to see how Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Method (CPM) come together in estimating the total project duration. PERT is a probabilistic method, whereas CPM is deterministic. PERT estimates the activity durations based on probability, whereas CPM assumes that the activity durations are fixed. We’ll take a sample project and work through it to understand the concepts.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 1 comments

  Probability and Statistics in Project Management

Probability and Statistics in Project Time and Cost Management Project Estimation and PERT (Part 6): So far we have learned about the basics of PERT, how PERT is used to estimate activity completion time, and how the PERT formula was derived. We know that a project manager has to wear several hats. In this article, we are going to wear the probabilist and statistician hats and review the basic concepts of probability and statistics relevant to project estimation. It is certainly “out of scope” as far as the PMP exam is concerned. But if you ever wanted to learn the basics of random variables, distributions, mean, variance, standard deviation etc., without sacrificing a lot of precious time, then this article is just for you. I think it will give you the necessary foundation for understanding the concepts of project estimation and bring you one step closer to implementing theory into practice.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 4 comments

  The Magical Formula of PERT

Formulas for PERT Formula, Beta Distribution, Mean, Standard Deviation, and Variance Project Estimation and PERT (Part 5): We saw the formulas for PERT estimate, variance and standard deviation of an activity duration in study guides, and accepted them like Newton’s three laws of motion. Did we try to figure out how those formulas were derived? Do we know the underlying assumptions? Is there a magic in these formulas that allows them to predict the outcome of something as unique as a project? Can these formulas predict the project outcomes accurately? Are these formulas actually being applied in the real world? We’ll find some answers in this article and remaining in the upcoming ones. But please be forewarned - if you are math-averse, this stuff may divide your head by zero!
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Say Hello to PERT

PERT or Expected Activity Duration (EAD) Formula - convert 3-Point estimate into a single estimate Project Estimation and PERT (Part 4): In the previous article, we learned about the advantages of 3-point estimation. In this post, we’ll carry the concept forward and talk about a special type of 3-point estimation technique called Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). PERT was developed jointly by the U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin, and the consulting firm of Booz, Allen and Hamilton working on the Polaris nuclear submarine project, in the 1950s. PERT is one of the most commonly used techniques used along with Critical Path Method (CPM) to estimate the minimum time needed to complete a project. Let’s learn more about PERT in this post.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 2 comments

  The Power of Three in Project Estimation

Formula for Three-Point Activity Duration Estimates using PERT Project Estimation and PERT (Part 2): An estimate by definition is a guess, albeit an educated one. If estimates had to be always accurate, then they wouldn’t be called estimates. Every task involves an element of uncertainty or risk. A good estimate incorporates the uncertainty or risk involved in the task. This article is a prelude to a series on project estimation using PERT. The basis of PERT is 3-point estimation, which we'll review here.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 1 comments

  Get Intimate with PERT

PMP Study Notes series on Project Estimation and Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) Project Estimation and PERT (Part 1): Most PMP study guides and training programs offer very similar and limited information on Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). The information is usually sufficient to pass the PMP exam, but isn't detailed enough to get a good understanding of the topic, nor does it offer much practical value on real projects.

I have received numerous requests from people asking me to explain this topic in more depth. So I've spent past several weeks researching this topic. I won’t say that I’m an expert now, but I hope to share the knowledge and learn something from you in the process. As usual, I'll try to present a detailed yet simplified explanation.

Before I go further, let me warn you that some of these articles may be far-far beyond the scope of the PMP exam. These articles are meant for those inquisitive souls, who not just want to pass the exam, but also learn something useful and practical along the way.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 9 comments

  Common Theme among PMP Exam Lessons Learned Posts

Sharing lessons learned after taking the PMP exam has become a ritual. It's our way of paying back to the community that helped us in achieving the PMP credential. These lessons learned are a great asset for anyone preparing for the exam. I developed the habit of reading every lessons learned post that I came across, during my prep. days and it continues until this day. It helped me pass the exam then and it helps me keep up with the latest developments now. I have literally read more than 100 such posts in the last year itself. As everyone's experience is unique, there's always something unique in each post. However, there's also a common underlying theme in these posts. In this article, I'm going to share that common theme. The purpose is to help you focus your effort on the important aspects of the exam, and not get carried away with everything and anything that you read or hear. Before we get started, a small disclaimer - please use this information at your own discretion (what-worked-for-me-may-not-work-for-you).

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 1 comments

  Is acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material a substitute for obtaining permission from the owner?

If you are a certified PMP or aspire to be one, take this quiz and test your knowledge of Professional and Social Responsibility of project managers.

You are preparing for the PMP exam and using one of the best-selling study guides. The publisher owns the copyright of the guide. You have a doubt regarding a sample question from this guide, and would like to discuss it with your peers and seek their opinion. Which among the following options would be the BEST way to get help?

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 10 comments

  The Four Components of a Configuration Management System

Four components of a Configuration Management System for PMP Exam Prep In a previous article - Configuration Management System - A Quick Refresher - we got an overview of the Configuration Management System. This article is the third in the series on Configuration Management. In this short article, we'll look at the four main activities of a Configuration Management System.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 20 comments

  The Order of Activities in the Closing Process Group

Many people, who are preparing for the PMP exam, have requested me to provide the order of activities in the "Closing" process group. I also came across similar questions in various forums.

First I didn't understand where the confusion was coming from. Then I came across a sample question that specifically asks about the order of activities in the Closing process group. So I believe that's where people were coming from.

In this article, we'll review the activities in the Closing process group and see whether they follow a specific order.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  The PDU Podcast: Your PMP Certification Renewal on Auto-Pilot

The PDU Podcast is a convenient way for PMPs and PgMPs to earn their PDUs. It is as simple as 1-2-3:

1. Receive monthly webinars.
2. Watch them anywhere.
3. Claim your PDUs.

Automatically. Comfortably. Reliably. This article is a "Review-cum-How-to" on The PDU Podcast program where I'll show you what this program is, whom it is for, how it works, what its benefits are, and help you decide whether it's right for you.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  PMP Renewal: How to Report PDUs to PMI?

PMP Certification is like a marriage. As with a marriage, PMP Certification requires commitment. A commitment to get 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three (3) years for the rest of your professional life, to retain your certification. If you haven't yet figured out where these PDUs will come from, I suggest that you read How to get my 60 PDUs for PMP Re-certification. Even though PMI requires us (certified PMPs) to report PDUs at the end of the certification cycle (3 years), it's in our best interest to report the PDUs as we earn them. PDUs are logged (or reported) into PMI's Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS). In this article, I'm going to walk you through the process of reporting PDUs to PMI, with step-by-step instructions. Note: The same process is also applicable to Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification renewal.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 85 comments

  The Best Kept Secret of the PMP Certification Exam (Passing Score)

PMP Exam Passing Score: Domain-wise proficiency required to pass PMP Exam Passing Score (Part 3): Let me start by asking you a question. How much do you know about the passing score on the PMP exam? So far, we have heard rumors and unconfirmed information about what the passing score is. This is the third article in the series of articles on the PMP Exam Passing Score. In this article, I'm going to share the best kept secret of the PMP exam. In fact, as I was compiling the data for this post, I was surprised looking at the results myself. I'm really excited to share this information with you today. I guarantee that you are going to love this post. Are you curious to know more? Of course you are. So let's get to the point now.

If you have read the previous two articles of this series, you understand that 61% is not the passing score for the PMP exam. You also know that starting Jan 2008, PMI moved to a qualitative scoring system. It means that they no longer provide a numeric score for the exam, and rather give you a "proficiency level" (Proficient, Moderately Proficient or Below Proficient) for each domain. Therefore, many PMP aspirants want to know the proficiency levels that equate to a "pass" result on the PMP exam.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 18 comments

  Configuration Control and Change Control - Similar yet Distinct

PMP: Configuration Control vs. Change Control
Configuration Control and Change Control are often used interchangeably. Both are related activities in the sense that they are concerned with "management of change". Both are subsets of the overall Configuration Management System. However, they are distinct activities with different focus, and one is not a substitute for other. This article is a follow-up to Configuration Management System - A Quick Refresher. In this article, we'll review Configuration Control and Change Control and learn how these two activities are similar, yet distinct.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 14 comments

  Configuration Management System - A Quick Refresher

Configuration Management System Overview for PMP Certification According to the PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition, Configuration Management System is a subsystem of the overall project management system. It is a collection of formal documented procedures used to apply technical and administrative direction and surveillance to: identify and document the functional and physical characteristics of a product, result, service, or component; control any changes to such characteristics; record and report each change and its implementation status; and support the audit of the products, results, or components to verify conformance to requirements. It includes the documentation, tracking systems, and defined approval levels necessary for authorizing and controlling changes.

This definition is self-explanatory, isn't it? Well not quite. Unfortunately, this is a topic which isn't explained well in PMP prep guides. Even though most of us are using Configuration Management is some form or another on our projects, many PMPs and PMP aspirants I have talked to, do not understand this topic well. This article is the first in a series of articles that I'll do Configuration Management System. My aim is to present the information in a clear, concise and practical manner to help you understand this topic well. I may cross the boundaries of the PMP exam curriculum. I hope you will find the information useful.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 22 comments

  Head First PMP vs. Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep

Head First PMP Certification Guide Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep Guide Which is the best PMP exam prep guide? On one side, we have Rita Mulcahy's best-selling PMP Exam Prep, which is favored by almost two-third of all PMP aspirants. On the other, we have books like O'Reilly's Head First PMP, which take a radically different approach to education. Rita tells you that if you don't follow her methodology, you'll fail the PMP exam. Head First authors try to convince you that professional training can be fun too. Selecting one of these study guides is a dilemma that many Project Managers face when they embark on their journey toward PMP certification. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at both the guides and compare them head to head.
Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  Review: iStudy PMP Exam Simulator for the iPhone

There are iPhone apps to train your pets, apps to count your calories, apps to fart, belch and burp, then why not an app to prepare for the PMP exam, which is a much more noble cause after all? So here I am today, reviewing a new PMP Exam Simulator app called iStudy PMP ® Exam, for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. This app is specifically designed to help you pass the PMP exam. Interestingly, the publisher's website says that the questions have been developed by a "PMP Examiner".

So how does this PMP exam simulator stack up against hundreds of others out there? Is it really outstanding or just one among the crowd? What is its unique selling proposition (USP)? Is it even worth your time? Let's find out.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 14 comments

  Top 5 Reasons People Fail the PMP Exam

According to popular guesstimates, 30-40% people fail the PMP exam on their first attempt. If you thought the exam was too difficult, then you would be surprised to know that most people don't think so. I conducted a poll asking readers what they think is the no. 1 reason why people fail the PMP exam. More than 500 of you responded. The verdict is out now. I'm sure you are anxious to know the result. So, let's run a countdown starting from no. 5.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 3 comments

  Top 5 Reasons to Invest in WBS Coach

Do you know what a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is? Of course you do. But, are you using it appropriately and effectively? Let's do a quick check.

  • Do you understand the process of creating a WBS?
  • Do you know the pre-requisites for creating a WBS?
  • Do you know how to organize your WBS for most optimal definition and control?
  • Do you use your WBS for monitoring and controlling your project?
  • Do you use your WBS as a communication tool?
  • Are you familiar with the tools to create a WBS?
If you answered 'no' to more than one question, then you may want to continue reading this article.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 0 comments

  iPad: 10 Exciting Possibilities for PMP Aspirants

Last week, I watched Steve Jobs' Keynote address (video) at the iPad Launch. As I was watching the video, my mind slipped into a flashback of 2007, when I was preparing for my PMP Certification exam. I could imagine myself leaning back on a couch with my legs crossed, Steve Jobs-style, resting the iPad on my lap and reading my favorite book, the PMBOK Guide. Oh, what a bummer, you might say! I admit that reading the PMBOK Guide is obviously not the most interesting thing you can do with an iPad. But being a gadget lover, I cannot help but marvel this device and how it can change the way we study and learn. It offers the best of both worlds - a smart phone and a notebook. In this post, I will talk about 10 ways the iPad may transform the way we prepare for the PMP exam.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 38 comments

  20 Common Project Risk Management Terms Explained

PMP Blogger Cooling Off on Beach
Image credit: Flickr / sektordua
I need a break from blogging to cool-off my brain, which as you rightly guessed, has got deep fried. I'm planning to go to Bali for vacation. I've heard it's a great place and I have never been there before. But, I need your help in planning my trip, and particularly on Risk Management. Let's first give this project a name. How about we call it "The Deep Fried Brain Project"? As we plan the trip, we are going to identify the risks involved in the project, analyze the risks and plan risk responses. Also during the course of planning, we are going to explore some common Project Risk Management terms and see how they fit into our project. I'm quite excited about this project and looking forward to your support. So, shall we begin?

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 3 comments

  Deep Fried Brain - Just the Way You Like It !

Tell me honestly, do you like Deep Fried Brain? Would you like it to be served on a platter just the way you like it? I'm not talking about the real "Deep Fried Brain" as in a delicacy. Rather I'm referring to this site. Do you enjoy reading the content on this site? Do you wish that you could read the content, without all the clutter staring in your face? With that I mean just pure content, no ads, no links, no distractions. Well I sure do not wish to make this website look like a billboard with scantily clad models distracting the drivers (readers). But let's face it. First, the links help you, the visitors, get to the relevant information easily and quickly. Second, the ads help pay my smaller bills and keep this site going. As with everything else in life, we have to make some compromises.

But hey, what if we find a solution that provides the best of both worlds, a win-win situation? You get the content without all the distractions and I get to keep the site layout. Is that possible? Let's find out.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 12 comments

  Network Diagram with Finish-to-finish Dependency

Most Critical Path problems that PMP aspirants encounter involve Finish-to-start (FS) logical relationship. Last month I challenged you with a slightly unusual Critical Path problem, involving Finish-to-finish dependency. Even though (in my personal opinion), such problems are beyond the scope of PMP exam, they are still quite fun to work with. Four gallant project managers attempted to solve the problem. Though their solutions were not 100% correct, they came pretty close to solving it. It was quite a laborious activity and I really appreciate the effort and time they put into it. I know that you all are pretty eager to know the solution. So, let's dive in.

Deep Fried Brain PMP CAPM PMI-ACP Certification Blog
- 11 comments

  Solving the Estimate At Completion (EAC) Puzzle

In an earlier post, we reviewed four formulas for Estimate At Completion (EAC) mentioned in the PMBOK Guide, Fourth Edition, and when to use each of them. Just when I thought I had it all covered, a keen reader published a question about another EAC formula that I had not mentioned. The formula was EAC = AC + (BAC - EV) / CPI. Sure enough, I didn't have it covered. If this formula isn't mentioned in the latest edition of PMBOK Guide, does it even exist or is it a work of imagination? Read the complete article to find the answer.

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