Project Management Articles
New Certificate Holders
Article Submission & Publication
Welcome – New Member Service Center to Launch in 2014
By 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:
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!!
- Help with registration
- Finding webinars
and other items on the website
- Information about
upcoming workshops and events
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 vp-membership(:@:)pminj.org
of the Quarter – 1Q14 – Michael Vitale
By Pamela Eden
Michael 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.
Exam Preparation Opportunities
By John Tse, PMP, CSM – Director, Professional
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
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,
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.
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
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 d-Mentors(:@:)pminj.org
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.
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.
Return to top
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
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
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
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
Return to top
PMINJ February 2014 Chapter Meeting - The PM Side of Agile
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
Project Management Articles
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)®
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
2. Net Present Value
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 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
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 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
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):
Favor St. Matthew Daniel
& Publication Information
Editor Kristine Clark
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