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By Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP – president and founder of Thinktank Consulting

I get asked this question all the time. My consulting engagements start with it. My trainings – whether public or on-site – start with it. Sometimes, I even hear it during casual conversations with my friends. Usually this inquiry is followed by the following statement, “Well, you are the project management expert! Care to share your opinion on the subject?”

In reality the answer to this question is not that simple and exists in a two-dimensional space, so to speak.

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New features and functionality have been added to our chapter website with the goal to increase its value and benefits to our chapter members.

This website upgrade utilizes an updated design for presenting information. Major features include:
— optimized for viewing on your desktop, laptop, or tablet, as well as your smartphone
— improved interfacing for Social Media utilization
— provides a seamless integration with the PMI global web site through a Single Sign-On feature
— links for frequently used services from PMI are provided:

1. myPMI (PMI Profile),
2. VRMS (global volunteering),
3. CCRS (Record your PDUs)
4. LOGOUT (exits you from the chapter website).

The Single Sign-on feature will provide members a tremendous benefit in being able to interact with our chapter website and PMI.org through a single login.

Please note that it introduces a change to your Login ID. The email address you provided PMI will no longer be your Username; it is replaced with the same Username that you currently use to logon to http://www.pmi.org

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Book Review
Jesus in the 9 to 5: Facing the Challenges of Today's Business World
Author: Dennis E. Hensley, PhD

Several months ago, I happened upon a talk radio program and they were discussing a new book with an intriguing title. Although I didn't hear the entire broadcast, what they had to say made me curious for more information. "Speed reading" is not listed in my skill set and with good reason, but in what can be described as a relatively short amount of time, I finished the book.

Jesus in the 9 to 5 is a book that immediately reads differently than a typical self-help book on sharpening your business acumen. Dr. Hensley opens chapter one with the first of many vignettes that follows a cast of characters through various predicaments and business decisions. Between the episodes, the author covers a wide range of topics, including dealing with personnel problems, reaching goals, time and stress management and personal presentation. The thing that really caught my attention was something called, "reconceptualization". I hadn't heard of this word before, and apparently neither has Microsoft. Thankfully, I was able to find it on Wiktionary with the following definition: "The act or process of reconceptualizing, of developing a new concept for something." Some people say that perception is reality. Frankly, I don't agree with that. Just because something looks a certain way to a person doesn't elevate it to the level of truth. But if one can paint a picture in their mind of how they would like to be, can they actually bring about real changes in their life? At the heart of the process is finding your strengths and coming to grips with your weaknesses. You must capitalize on the former and overcome the latter. Simple, right? Well, if being brutally honest with yourself about yourself is one of your strengths, then you are a good ways down the road to accomplishing your goals. I naturally want to hide my faults and even sometimes pretend they aren't there. In the short term, this is much easier than dealing with them head on. The encouraging news is that Dennis Hensley doesn't say to dream about what you want to become and eventually it will happen. Rather, he provides very clear and practical questions and answers on how you can continuously improve and grow. And there is always room for improvement.

I'd like to leave you with one last thought on the book. You may have heard the phrase, "There is joy in the journey." As I read the final pages of the book, I was reminded how fulfilling it is to live a life of joy and contentment. A smile, a hug, a warm greeting and handshake, all of these seem small in comparison to the stressful challenges we face each and every day at work. But it always seems that the toughest day is a little more tolerable when we can talk to a friend or better yet, listen to a friend in need.

Please email Phillip at lichlytp@bellsouth.net if you would like to borrow the book.

Phillip Lichlyter, PMP

InfoSec Institute / Intense School is a national provider of Information Technology and Information Security professional development courses. InfoSec Institute offers 20% off to the Central Alabama PMI community for any currently valid training program. Stay sharp on any of the following subjects: Project Management Professional, Certified Associate Project Management and many other IT and security courses. The discount is applicable for all training modalities; mention the code PMICAC_20% to your enrollment specialist to receive your discount.

Also, check out our free IT training resources, updated daily with tutorials, videos and other free learning materials.

By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
As a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)®, the last thing you want to happen is to have your certification suspended. This happens if you do not earn the required 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) within your three-year recertification cycle. Often, once the stress of taking and passing the PMP® Exam is over, you step back into focusing on projects and other deadlines, and the need to earn PDUs is relegated to the back of your mind or even forgotten all together. You want to avoid a situation in which your recertification cycle is coming up and you have earned only a few, or worse yet, no PDUs. So, let's take the task at hand - "The need to earn 60 PDUs within the three-year recertification cycle" - and break it down as a 6-step plan of attack.

Click  pdf here for the full article.

Click  pdf here for free sample PMP questions.

Your Next PDUs are Free!
Start earning 30 category C PDUs for FREE with no signup required!

Go to The Project Management Podcast at www.pm-podcast.com/pdu and earn 30 category C PDUs in as easy as 1,2,3...

1. Subscribe to the The PM Podcast. It's completely free.
2. Listen to 30 hours of free interviews.
3. Claim 30 Category C PDUs

Want to learn what the PMI Central Alabama Chapter is doing on-line? Find out at the PMI Central Alabama Chapter 2014 Symposium! You'll learn about the beneficial tools on the PMICAC website, be introduced to how PMICAC utilizes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and leave with an understanding on how a # (hashtag) works in addition to finding ways to manage your on-line reputation and personal brand. Below is a taste of some of the resources you will take away from the 'On-line tools to keep you connected' session at the PMI Central Alabama Chapter 2014 Symposium. This year's Symposium will be hosted at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on May 22nd. Learn more by visiting PMICAC.ORG.

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Here are links to articles and techniques for managing your on-line reputation and personal brand.

PMI.org online library, search articles and papers for 'online reputation' and 'personal brand'. *Must be a PMI member to access the PMI Library. http://search.pmi.org/default.aspx?q=online+reputation

4 tips to manage your online reputation from Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/tykiisel/2012/11/20/4-tips-to-manage-your-online-reputation/

3 great examples of personal branding. http://www.careerealism.com/personal-branding-examples/

10 tips to manage your online reputation. http://ezinearticles.com/?10-Tips-to-Effectively-and-Proactively-Manage-Your-Online-Reputation&id=5010646

At the 2014 Symposium, you will learn the terminology for the three socail media tools PMICAC utilizes.  This correlation chart will help.

Social Media Terminology Correlation Chart

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

Page

Group

Account

Post

Discussion 

Tweet

Like

Join

Follow

News Feed

Discussion board

Timeline

Friend

Invite

Follow

Private message

Message

Direct message

By Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM

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 CV calculation would look like: CV= $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: CPI = 1 is good and shows the project is progressing as planned; CPI >1 is also good and shows the project is progressing at a faster rate than planned; and CPI <1 is bad and shows the project tis 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.

About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM is a noted PMP and PMI-ACP trainer. He has helped nearly 600 students prepare for their PMI-ACP Exam with The Agile PrepCast. His interviews with project management experts from around the worlds are available for free on The Project Management Podcast website.

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