Strategic Planning and Preparation for the PMP Exam

It is important in preparing for the PMP exam to discuss the inputs, tools, methods and outputs of estimating activity resources and associated durations, including:

– Staffing policies and procedures: For example, how much time an operational manager can use doing project work, etc

– Policies and procedures related to equipment/supply rental and purchasing. For example, an organization may use a particular vendor for their supplies and equipment

– Information on types of resources used in similar projects in the past. For example, a lesson learned that a particular resource was not adequate.

Tools & Resources for Estimating Activity Resources

At this point, the project manager should have a high-level list of the resources needed for the project and the related activities. The following tools and techniques are ways to validate the chosen resources and calculate their cost.

Expert judgment

– Experts on the related resources could give insight that will help the project manager make a better estimation. For example, getting a licensed plumber to calculate how much material is needed for a construction job. The PMP exam may ask questions regarding expert judgment.

Alternatives examination

– Comparing different methods and characteristics to accomplishing a particular activity helps to determine the best method and resources to use. Items to consider are the kind of machinery to use, the level of skill required and tools to use. For example, using a prefabricated fence may not be an option when installing on a plot of land with varying ground characteristics. Perhaps it is better to build the fence piece by piece. However, this option requires more skilled labor and different tools.

Published Estimating Data

– Industry publications and reports could help to determine the cost of resources from a generic point of view. This is helpful when managing a project located at different regions in addition as foreign locations. PMP preparation should include familiarization with this kind of data.

Bottom-up estimating

– This method is used to calculate activities that present challenges related to product uniqueness or never-done-before projects. The technique involves decomposing the activity into more detail so that specific elements may be estimated. Once this is done, the individual estimates are summed up from the bottom. The PMP exam may have questions related to bottom-up estimating.

Project management software

– Software could help ease estimating because of its capability to apply cost rates and other project data with ease. PMP preparation should include understanding types of software.

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