PMINJ March 2014 Newsletter 

March 2014

Welcome Chapter Announcements Event Reports Project Management Articles New Certificate Holders

Article Submission & Publication Information

New Member Service Center to Launch in 2014


Mark Barash, PMP, VP - Membership

I am excited to have taken on the Membership function this program year, and the excellent team of volunteers in our area is here for you, the PMINJ member!  We want to make sure you get the most value out of your membership. Here are some of the upcoming changes we are making to assist you as a PMINJ member:

Member Service Center
One of the big changes we are making this year is the launch of the Member Service Center.  It will be the key point of contact - a “one-stop shopping” location for all member inquiries.

Cathy Bruce, who currently leads our online registration teams, will also lead our Member Service Center.  We are in the midst of building up the team with “front-line’ volunteers who will answer your questions and concerns quickly, or route them to the appropriate part of PMINJ to get your questions quickly resolved.

What can you ask at the Member Service Center? Here are just a few examples of what we will be able to handle:

  • Help with registration issues
  • Finding webinars and other items on the website
  • Information about upcoming workshops and events
Once the Member Service Center is launched, you will be able to go right to the website and contact us. We will confirm your question within a day in most cases, and keep you posted if the question isn’t immediately answerable.  We will also be developing a one-stop FAQ for self-service on many items.  Of course, our Board members remain accessible, but the Member Service Center will be an additional resource for you to find answers and not worry about contacting the right person. Keep an eye out for our launch this Spring!!

Member Survey
We appreciate the enthusiastic response to the recent Member Survey.  We are looking at the results and are quite interested in the many useful suggestions and comments made.  We will be seeking volunteers soon to look at segments of our membership to be sure that we have the appropriate focus on their needs.  Stay tuned for more information!

Member Service and Membership Retention
We continue to reach out to members with renewals coming up, and to make it easy for you to renew both your PMI and PMINJ membership. We are also interested in hearing any thoughts you have on the Chapter, as we always seek to improve it every day.

Please feel free to share your thoughts through our new Member Service Center and, of course, reach out to me anytime at

Chapter Announcements

Volunteer of the Quarter – 1Q14 – Michael Vitale

By Pamela Eden

MikeMichael Vitale joined PMI in 2011 and began working as a volunteer in December 2012, when he was directed to Barbara Fuller. In early 2013, he began work on the school outreach program which involved bringing PM knowledge into schools [k-12]. He immediately started researching PMIEF [PMI Education Foundation] to learn what other chapters were doing and what materials were available. He developed a small team and began putting together a PMINJ custom presentation. They adopted the concept of working with students that were tasked to lead a project. This led to the connection with the Boy Scouts of America, and, in particular; the Gold and Eagle Scout program and to schools involved in the FIRST Robotics competition. In November 2013, the team presented to 35 Eagle Scout candidates from across northern New Jersey at the Patriot's Path Merit Badge Workshop in Parsippany and followed up with a presentation in December 2013 to the Piscataway High School Robotics Team. To assist after the PM presentation, Mike’s team designated a mentor to work with the team. The team is also working with the Hillsborough High School Robotics team on an ongoing basis.

Certification Exam Preparation Opportunities

By John Tse, PMP, CSM – Director, Professional Development

In today’s competitive job market, having a PMP certification is an important differentiator for a project manager candidate. When you have a PMP, you let potential employers know that you have at least a certain level of knowledge and experience in project management and, just as important, that you are committed to future training.

We started offering a PMP Exam Preparation (PMP Prep) course more than a decade ago to meet the growing need from our members for quality, affordable and convenient training to help them successfully pass the PMP exam. In the early days, classes were taught using an overhead projector and the students were only provided with two binders containing a copy of the slides. Now, with our partnership with Velociteach, classes are taught using an LCD projector and our students are provided with a variety of resources: bound copy of the presentation, textbook, flashcards, quick-reference card, six months of on-line training, and five CDs on exam content and test-taking tips. However, one important thing that has not changed is that each topic is still taught by an experienced PMP from our chapter who is not only adept at explaining and highlighting important PMBOK concepts but can also share lessons learned from their personal PMP exam experience.

Last May, in response to the increasing use of agile project management methods in industry, we began offering a PMI-ACP & CSM Exam Preparation (ACP-CSM Prep) course by partnership with BigVisible Solutions. The ACP-CSM Prep course is presented from a Scrum methodology perspective with the distinctives of the PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) exam highlighted. Lessons are taught using a combination of lectures and group activities where students will iteratively apply Scrum techniques to complete a class project. At the completion of this course, students are not only better prepared for the PMI-ACP certification exam but are also qualified to take the CSM (Certified ScrumMaster) certification exam – an opportunity to earn an additional, sought-after credential.

Going forward, we continue to look for ways to improve our offerings and are currently considering:

  • Holding training in more locations to accommodate our members in different parts of NJ.
  • Increasing the frequency of our PMP Prep course.
  • Offering training classes for other project management-related certificates.
Consult the PMI-NJ website under ‘Training’ for the schedule and details on upcoming classes.

PMINJ Members: Consider Joining the NJ Chapter Mentor-Mentee Program

By Cherekana Feliciano

If you’re a project manager with a minimum of five years experience, consider becoming a mentor in the PMINJ Mentor-Mentee Program. You’ll have the opportunity to share your career insights and ideas with budding project managers seeking to enhance their skills. The Program Director will train you to become an effective mentor. 

Or, are you a PMINJ member looking to receive valuable career guidance and deepen your knowledge of project management to become a more confident project manager? If so, consider becoming a mentee in PMINJ’s Mentor-Mentee program.  The program director will assess your needs and you will be assigned to an appropriate mentor. You will be on your way to receiving one-on-one mentoring from a project management professional in your field! 

All that is needed by either mentor or mentee, is a few hours a month, a willingness to share experiences and learn new things. The program is flexible and allows mentors and mentees determine their own session schedule. 

The Mentor-Mentee program is a free service that is open to all PMINJ members with a duration period of about 6-8 months. This is a great opportunity to network, increase your visibility in PMINJ and obtain or share insightful and valuable information about your project management field.

PMINJ members interested in participating in this program as either a mentor or mentee should contact the program Director, Lystra Haynes, via email at or call 732-801-7491.

*Note, this program is not designed to assist with project management certification training. For PMP certification exam preparation, contact the Professional Development group to sign up for a PMP training class.

Event Reports

PMINJ School Outreach Visits the Hillsborough High School Robotics Team

By Dennis McCarthy

Dean Kamen and company are at it again.  High school teams all over the world are in the “Build Stage” of their six week project to design, fabricate, and program a competition robot for the 2014 USFIRST Robotics Competition (

The USFIRST program was designed to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and to "show students of every age that science, technology and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding, but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future." Along with learning and applying STEM principles, the kids also learn and apply such critical skills as forming strategies, leadership, teamwork, collaboration, and project management.

The School Outreach team has been active in their training events since the program was launched at the end of 2013 for the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scouts candidates in Parsippany, and when Josephine Giaimo and Mike Vitale met with Piscataway High School Team 224 (“The Tribe”) to review project management basics

At the same time, another member of the School Outreach team, Dennis McCarthy, had also been working with the Hillsborough High School Team 75 (“The Roboraiders”) as a project management mentor.  Most of the focus this year is a repeat of last year’s lessons on a basic tenant of project management - organizing one's work through the use of a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). This year will also include how to sequence the work via the use of Network Diagrams.  Deadlines are tight in the competition and it's critical that every team member be as productive as possible, so using Network Diagrams should help the team leaders see dependencies and when tasks can be done in parallel. To read more about how Team 75 is doing, please visit their website.

Volunteer Recognition Dinner

By Lisa A Davis, PMP

On Friday the 7th of March, PMINJ held a recognition dinner for volunteers within the organization. There are 320 volunteers in the chapter and 127 attended the event.  PMINJ volunteers support over 4500 members through a multitude of services. Such services as public relations, marketing, member retention, training programs, networking, symposiums, mentoring, transitional opportunities and the list just goes on and on.

The event was held at the Imperia on Easton Avenue in Somerset, the food and the venue were delightful. The program started with an introduction of the board members by Nita Parikh, who then gave thanks collectively to the volunteers. This was followed by a slide show highlighting the hard work done by our volunteers in the past year. Individual VP’s and Directors then took the opportunity to step up to the mike, each providing a summary of the work done and then giving recognition to their teams and individual team members.

It was not only nice for volunteers to be recognized but it was also a great opportunity for those volunteers who work remotely to see all the people whom they themselves are involved with but have never met. 

See pictures of past volunteer recognition events.

PMINJ January 2014 Chapter Meeting - Managing Organizational Change - Practical Strategies During Turbulent and Challenging Times

By Lisa Davis, PMP

PMINJ’s speaker for the January meeting was Frank Saladis whose presentation, “Managing Organizational Change – Practical Strategies for Leading During Turbulent and Challenging Times," addressed the impact of change within an organization and focused on strategies and techniques to assist managers and leaders in overcoming the resistance often encountered with change. Frank began by discussing how the destructive impact of change can wreak havoc within an environment, how to positively influence people toward change, and also how to assist organizations and people to live life “change ready.”

Project managers readily acknowledge change has become the norm within today's ever-changing business environment, which makes it imperative to find new methods to handle an environment that is fast becoming the expectation rather than the exception. PMs can create greater vision of the future by looking for common indicators that change may be just around the corner.

Additionally, Frank advised, by performing continual self-assessments, project management professionals will be more prepared and better equipped to handle the future. The results of these self-assessments may point in the direction of the need for a continuing education or self-improvement plan.  Frank's quote from John F. Kennedy most aptly illustrates what is needed to keep projects and careers in the project management profession on track:

“Change in the law of life.  And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Frank advised that prudence be used in how change is embraced, how the lessons learned are interpreted, and to attempt to refrain from skipping steps that could lead to critical mistakes. Additional information about Frank Saladis, the presentation slides, and the webinar are all available on the PMINJ website

PMINJ February 2014 Chapter Meeting - The PM Side of Agile

By Lisa Davis, PMP

John Hudson was the speaker for the February meeting and presented “The PM Side of Agile,” which offered an in-depth look at the activities and resources needed to be successful in an Agile world. The presentation provided exciting real-time information with tools and takeaways used in conjunction with real world experience. Mr. Hudson recently completed a large scale web development project using the SCRUM framework which spanned 18 two-week Sprints over 9 months, 3000+ code components delivered, over 3200 widely disbursed users, and $1.8 Million spent to date.

Mr. Hudson presented a retrospective look at frameworks, the people, planning, execution and monitoring aspects that live in an Agile environment. His presentation provides samples of the tools he used in planning with a copy of proposed release plan, roadmap, and lifecycle map, execution and monitoring with burn down / up chart, senior management dashboard and resources listing of all resources used in his work process.  

Additional information about John Hudson, the presentation slides, and the webinar are all available on the PMINJ website

PM Articles

The Seven Formulas You Need for the PMI-ACP® Exam

By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM - Making the PMBOK® Guide fun

While there are about 50 formulas that you need to know for Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam success, there are only seven that are absolutely necessary to know for the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam.

Even better, for the first three we are going to discuss you don’t even need to know the formula. What you do need to know for them is how to handle the results of the calculations, which is: “The larger value is the better value”. Here they are:

1. Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

    IRR is used as a capital project budgeting metric to determine if an investment should be made. It looks at the present value of the cash flows as compared to the initial investment which results in an IRR value. For example, if as a Project Manager you need to compare two or more projects to determine which one would be the better investment for your organization you can use IRR to do this. If you are given the IRR for three projects; Project A IRR =25%, Project B IRR = 30%, and Project C IRR = 12% you can determine that Project B is the better investment for the organization because it has the largest IRR value.
2. Net Present Value (NPV)
    NPV is used as a capital project financial metric to analyze the profitability of an investment at the time of review. It looks at the present values of cash inflows and the present values of cash outflows resulting in an NPV value. A Project Manager can compare the NPV value of one or more projects to determine which project is a more profitable investment. For example Project A has an NPV of $2.3M, Project B has an NPV of $2M, and Project C has an NPV of $2.1M. Project A has the greater NPV and is the best investment for the organization.
3. Return on Investment (ROI)
    ROI is used to evaluate the money gained or lost in relation to the money invested in a project. ROI is also often referred to as gain / loss, profit / loss, or net income / loss. A Project Manager can use the ROI of one or more projects to determine which project is the better investment. For example if Project A has an ROI of 27%, Project B has an ROI of 25%, and Project C has an ROI of 30%; Project C would be the better investment since it has the largest ROI.
The next four formulas we are going to discuss are true formulas because you will need to know specific information in order to perform each of the calculations discussed below.

4. Cost Variance (CV)
    CV is the Earned Value minus the Actual Cost (CV=EV-AC) of a project. This formula measures the cost performance of a project, and looks at whether the project is on budget or not. In order to calculate CV you need two pieces of information, the earned value and the actual cost of the project. If a CV result is a negative number the project is over budget, which is bad. If a CV result is a positive number the project is under budget, which is good. If CV is zero, then the project is exactly on budget. For example project A has an earned value of $75.1M and an actual cost of $75.3M. The CV calculation would look like: CV= $75.1M - $75.3M; resulting in a CV of -$0.2M; this project is over budget. Another example would be Project B has an earned value of $15M and an actual cost of $14.5M. The CV calculation would look like: CV=$15M - $14.5M; resulting in a CV of $0.5M; this project is under budget.
5. Cost Performance Index (CPI)
    CPI is Earned Value divided by Actual Cost (CPI=EV / AC). CPI measures the cost performance of a project; is the project budget being spent as planned? In order to calculate CPI you need two pieces of information, the earned value and the actual cost of the project. There are three possible results when calculating this: CPI = 1 is good and means funds are being used as planned; CPI >1 is also good and means the funds are being used more efficiently than planned; and CPI <1 is bad and means the funds are being over spent.
6. Schedule Variance (SV)
    SV is the Earned Value minus the Planned Value (SV=EV-PV) of a project. This formula measures the schedule performance of a project, and looks at whether the project is behind schedule or ahead of schedule. In order to calculate SV you need two pieces of information, the earned value and the planned value of the project. If an SV result is a negative number then the project is behind schedule, which is bad. If an SV result is a positive number then the project is ahead of schedule, which is good. If SV is zero, then the project is exactly on schedule. For example project A has an earned value of $75.1M and an actual cost of $74.2M. The SV calculation would look like: SV= $75.1M - $74.2M; resulting in a SV of $0.9M; this project is ahead of schedule.
7. Schedule Performance Index (SPI)
    SPI is Earned Value divided by Planned Value (SPI=EV / PV). This formula measures the schedule performance of a project, is the project performing as planned? In order to calculate SPI you need two pieces of information, the earned value and the planned value of the project. There are three possible results when using this formula: SPI = 1 is good and shows the project is progressing as planned; SPI >1 is also good and shows the project is progressing at a faster rate than planned; and SPI <1 is bad and shows the project is progressing at a slower rate than planned.
As you can see, the focus on the PMI-ACP Exam is not really on the mathematics. For this exam it is more important to understand the concepts, methods, tools and techniques as well as the Agile Manifesto in order to pass. However, a good understanding of these seven formulas will go a long way.

New Certificate Holders

The following have received their certifications since the last newsletter (through 28 February 2014):
John Benincasa
Paresh Bhagwatkar
Scott Cleary
Binsy Francis
David Gold
Robert Gruber
Velizar Haralambiev
Gary Harvett
Debra Ialamov
Jeff Johnson
Ramy Kamel
Peter Lease
Ashwani Madhok
Andrea McGrath
Kevin Miller
Lalit Mittal
Lina Mody-Dave
Kris Murali
Cheryl Otrimski
Erran Prigat
Molly Romano
Anthony Rosasco
James Sorhagen
Favor St. Matthew Daniel
Victor Tartaglia
Lisa Tubbs
Jeffrey Walters
Lisa Webb
Yang Yu
Danielle Zonis

Todd Gehling

Michael Ogberuhor
Irfan Ozaltin



William DeStefano
James Moore
Veena Nanavati

Article Submission & Publication Information

DebEditor Kristine Clark

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