PMP Certification

I passed my PMP exam this month.

I read the PMBoK, I did the virtual led training courses offered by the company I work and I did a lot of exams, reviewing concepts and learning the details of the exam reviewing answers and explanations.

There is a good bunch of exams on the internet, and the more similar ones I found to the exam I did were:

PMP Exam Prep Questions, Answers, & Explanations: 1000+ PMP Practice Questions with Detailed Solutions by Christopher Scordo (4-Nov-2009)– 1600 questions by Christopher Scordo.

Now thinking about the next certification or training course to take. Any suggestion?

From mess to an organized environment

The work on organizations can be sometimes a completely mess.

I’m working on an initiative to turn this “mess” into a more organized and efficient delivery.

The basic approach we are following is:

  1. To have a clear, complete and detailed organizational chart.
  2. Understand what are the governance rules defined by contract with the customer.
  3. Define role and responsibilities for the different players (using a RACI).
  4. Communicate the roles, expectations and a defined reporting templates.
  5. Promote escalations on specific conflicts that could arise, work on these aspects and refine the RACI.
  6. Prioritize the focus on the major, critical hurdles.
  7. Work always on practical scenarios, avoid just to define theory.
  8. Lead by example.
  9. Promote ITIL, PMI, Six Sigma best practices.
  10. Repeat the process again and again.

After 1 month of work, results start to show green signals, but we are still RED 🙁

SWAT or Rapid Response Team

I’m engaged on a team where rapid interventions are required to fulfill a specific goal.

Basically these interventions are set when an escalation comes from senior customer stakeholder or there are signals of contract breach.

The typical cycle of these interventions are composed by a 12 weeks interventions, with weekly reports to the project sponsor and escalation points with different relevant people of the organization. After the 12 weeks the intervention is evaluated and if extra time is required other period of intervention is prepared with new goals.

Project charter is the formal vehicle used to obtain the formal approval and authorization to work on these activities. If not, I continue working on my account delivery activities of my formal customer.

The initial stage is to analyze the situation (2 weeks), determine short term and medium term goals. Once done, chase the completion of these goals during the next 10 weeks.

Chase, escalate and get the things done is the more time consuming tasks. They are also the ones that consumes more energy: from the existing team, and from myself.

During the analysis is important to gather as much relevant data as possible, contrast the data and turn these facts into indications or root causes of a detected issue. It’s important to contrast the findings and get a common consensus of what happens.

I’m using a mind map tool to enable a visual representation of the root cause vs the proposed short term actions. This helps to senior managers to quickly understand the situation.

Conflicts will arise as soon as special pain points of relevant decisions are touched. In any case, the only goal is to fix the short term action and forget about what happened in the past. The goal of the SWAT team is not to perform a forensic analysis, it’s to fix the issues.

15 minutes call, rules

You organize daily calls and you try to make them effective and efficient. Define the purpose and clear ground rules help to complete them on these 15 minutes.

Objective: What did we do yesterday/today, What will we do today/tomorrow, what is blocking us?

Agenda: We will use the action list to drive our agenda.


  • All feedback and comments are welcome.
  • We must not go off topic.
  • We must not discuss at length these actions, but focus on the 3 questions.
  • We will confirm support and awareness of the action list.
  • We will attend all the calls, or as many as possible.
  • If we cannot attend a call we will send a short update.
  • We will be sensitive to other priorities.
  • We will hold the call at a mutually agreeable time of day.
  • Please accept my apologies if I missed a key contributor from the list.

Attendees: limited to people who has to work on the action list or are directly involved on the project.


POLDAT contains the basic aspects of a contract, independently of the nature, environment or magnitude.

It’s an useful tool to enable everybody to work on all aspects of the initiative. For major initiatives, all is included and nobody forgets any of these aspects. For small initiatives, the use of POLDAT as guidance for the definition of an initiative force the person writing it to think about all aspects of the customer needs.

By this reason and others, I would add “E” from experience to the POLDAT. This will enable to have on the first level of requirements the need to understand the “experience” expected by the user or by any stakeholder. These questions need to be done in the beginning of all these processes. This is key value in the Digital Transformation shift we are working on. And “E” should be always in our minds.

You probably will argue that “experience” should be defined as part of the “P” process. But to me, right now this is a limitation that does not give the importance of the experience for the customer.

We should be asking things as:

  • When a customer reach you, how should s/he interact with you?
  • How is the experience today? how should it be tomorrow?
  • Do you know when your customer needs you? How can we make you to be there?

P3M3, what is the priority

This maturity model is very well known by the project/program/portfolio community and one of the questions I would like to ask, is: once we have done an assessment of the situation we have in our project, program or portfolio, where should I start with? We all have limited resources and we cannot fix all.

The classical view of the assessment summarizes the situation with this view:

P3M3-classic-assessmentThe immediate answer that comes to my mind is to start with the less matured aspects. But is this the right criteria? Am I taking into account all relevant aspects?

If we organize the report taking into account the value for the cutomer (which could be a customer, the steering committee or the PMO) we could have a situation as this:


Our goal is to increase the maturity of the execution of these areas, so the black lines just mark the desired trend we want to give to it. We have limited resources, and to set the right priority is key to maximize the improvement.

  • The vertical position of each area represents the priority of our customer.
  • The horizontal position represents the level of maturity of each area.
  • The blue lines represents the latest desired trends or “urgent” priorities marked by the customer.
  • I have highlighted in red, yellow, green the initial priorities we should take into account for the actions to be done.
  • Special attention of risk management, that, even do that it is more mature of others, it has a high relevance on the benefits management of the program. The improvement on this area will improve the benefits management and the stakeholder engagement.
  • Special attention to Financial Management: initially it’s not a high relevance topic, but the fact that we are closing a fiscal year, makes it important to understand how we are.

Now the difficult side of our real life: Define the actions by area to be launched, performed, measured and communicated.

The importance of projects delivered on time for future sales

You can repeat and repeat to your teams:

Good delivery and good project performance is the most important thing to retain our customer to continue working with us!

But in some cases they will not understand you, some other times they are so focused on their stuff and some others they just don’t care…

So well, IDC in one of the their analysis they highlight that the factor with more contribution to the customer to buy your consulting services again is the projects delivered on time.

Factors-impacting-repeating-buys-Nice! now I can tell them: It’s not me, it’s IDC saying it.