Head First PMP®

A Brain-Friendly Guide

Jennifer Greene, Andrew Stellman

Publisher: O'Reilly, 2007, 658 pages

ISBN: 978-0-596-10234-0

Keywords: Project Management

Last modified: June 13, 2010, 3:41 p.m.

A PMP certification is more than just passing a test. It means that you have the knowledge to solve most common project problems, and proves that you know your stuff. Once you're certified, your projects are more likely to succeed because you have the skills and knowledge to make them successful. Not only that, it can mean a better job, more money, and greater respect from your peers.

But studying for a difficult four-hour exam on project management isn't easy, even for experienced project managers. You want to remember everything that you're learning about project management, but your brain is working against you! Your brain craves novelty, and most PMP certification prep books are anything but novel. When you keep putting down a boring book instead of studying, it's because your brain doesn't think the information in it is worth learning. Your brain has more important stuff to think about, like how to keep you alive and out of danger-and it doesn't think that failing the PMP exam qualifies as life-threatening!

So how do you trick your brain into thinking that your life does depend on learning everything you need to know to pass the PMP Exam? Head First PMP is the answer! Using the latest research in neurobiology, cognitive science and learning theory, Head First PMP has a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works-a multi-sensory experience that helps the material stick, not a text-heavy approach that puts you to sleep.

Head First PMP offers 100% coverage of The PMBOK® Guide principles and certification objectives in a way that's engaging, not tedious. This book helps you prepare for the PMP certification exam with a unique method that goes beyond answers to specific questions and makes you think about the big picture of project management. By putting project management concepts into context, you will be able to understand, remember, and apply them-not just on the exam, but also on the job.

With Head First PMP, you get the best of both worlds: a thorough and effective preparation guide for the PMP certification exam with hundreds of practice questions and exam strategies, along with puzzles, games, problems, exercises and the unique Head First approach that makes learning easy and entertaining. When you're done with Head First PMP, you'll know your stuff, you'll pass the exam, and you'll be able to bring everything you've learned to your job.

  • Intro
    • Who is this book for?
    • We know what you're thinking
    • Metacognition
    • Bend your brain into submission
    • Read me
    • The technical review team
    • Acknowledgments
  1. Introduction: Why Get Certified?
    • Do these problems seem familiar?
    • Projects don't have to be this way
    • Your problems… already solved
    • Let's start with the areas of responsibility
    • A PMP certification is more than just passing a test
    • Here's what happens to a certified PM
  2. Organizations,Processes and Projects: (Keeping) In Good Company
    • A day in Kate's life
    • Kate wants a new job
    • Three types of organizations
    • Kate takes a new job
    • What a project IS…
    • Back to Kate's maintenance nightmare
    • Managing cost, quality, scope, and schedule
    • Kate makes some changes…
  3. The Process Framework: It All Fits Together
    • Cooking up a project
    • Projects are like recipes
    • Break it down
    • Anatomy of a process
    • Combine processes to complete your project
    • Knowledge areas organize the processes
    • The benefits of successful project management
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  4. Integration Management: Getting the Job Done
    • Time to book a trip
    • These clients are definitely not satisfied
    • The day-to-day work of a project manager
    • The seven Integration Management processes
    • Start your project with the Initiating processes
    • Integration management and the process groups
    • The Develop Project Charter process
    • Choose your project with project selection methods
    • A closer look at the project charter
    • Enterprise Environmental Factors and Organizational Process Assets
    • The "Develop Preliminary Scope Statement" process
    • The preliminary scope statement: a closer look
    • Question clinic: The "Just-The-Facts-Ma'am" Question
    • The Develop Project Management Plan process
    • The project management plan lets you plan ahead for problems
    • A quick look at all those subsidiary plans
    • Executing the project includes repairing defects
    • Sometimes you need to change your plans
    • Look for changes and deal with them
    • Make only the changes that are right for your project
    • Changes, defects, and corrections
    • How the processes interact with each other
    • Control your changes: use change control
    • Preventing or correcting problems
    • The Close Project process
    • So why INTEGRATION management?
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  5. Scope Management: Doing the Right Stuff
    • Out of the frying pan…
    • It looks like we have a scope problem
    • The five Scope Management processes
    • The Scope Planning process
    • Inside the scope management plan
    • Define the scope of the project
    • Build on the preliminary scope
    • How do you define the scope?
    • The scope isn't preliminary anymore
    • Question Clinic: The "Which-is-BEST" Question
    • The Create WBS process
    • Breaking down the work
    • Decompose deliverables into work packages
    • Templates are a useful shortcut
    • Inside the work package
    • The baseline is a snapshot of the plan
    • The outputs of the Create WBS process
    • Why scope changes
    • The Scope Control process
    • Anatomy of a change
    • A closer look at the Change Control System
    • More Scope Control tools & techniques
    • The Scope Verification process
    • The stakeholders decide when the project is done
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  6. Time Management: Getting it Done on Time
    • Reality sets in for the happy couple
    • Time management helps with aggressive time lines
    • The Time Management processes [time magnets solution]
    • The Activity Definition process
    • Rolling wave planning lets you plan as you go
    • Activity Definition Outputs
    • The Activity Sequencing process
    • Diagram the relationship between activities
    • More tools for sequencing
    • Leads and lags
    • Create the network diagram
    • Rob and Rebecca have resource problems
    • The Activity Resource Estimation process
    • Estimating the resources
    • Figuring out how long the project will take
    • Estimation tools and techiques
    • The Activity Duration Estimating process
    • The Schedule Development process
    • Question Clinic: The "Which-Comes-Next" Question
    • Use the Critical Path method to avoid big problems
    • How to find the critical path: Using the Critical Path Method
    • Crash the schedule
    • Fast-tracking the project
    • Influence the factors that cause change
    • The Schedule Control process
    • Measuring and Reporting Performance
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  7. Cost Management: Watching the Bottom Line
    • Time to expand the Head First Lounge
    • Introducing the Cost Management processes
    • The Cost Estimation process
    • Tools and techniques used only in Cost Estimation
    • Let's talk numbers
    • The Cost Budgeting process
    • What you need to build your budget
    • Cost Budgeting: How to build a budget
    • The Cost Control process
    • A few new tools and techniques
    • Question Clinic: The Red Herring
    • Earned value tells you how you're doing
    • Look at your schedule to figure out your budget
    • How to calculate planned value (PV)
    • How to calculate earned value (EV)
    • Put yourself in someone else's shoes
    • Is your project behind or ahead of schedule? (SV and SPI)
    • Are you over budget? (CV and CPI)
    • The Performance Measurement Analysis formulas
    • Interpret CPI and SPI numbers to gauge your project
    • Forecast what your project will look like when it's done
    • Once you've got an estimate, you can calculate a variance! (EAC, ETC and VAC)
    • Finding Missing Information
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  8. Quality Management: Getting it Right
    • What is quality?
    • You need more than just tests to figure out quality
    • Once you know what the product is supposed to do, it's easy to tell which tests pass and which fail
    • Quality up close
    • "An ounce of prevention…"
    • The Quality Planning process
    • How to plan for quality
    • The quality management plan gives you what you need to manage quality
    • The Perform Quality Control process
    • Use the planning outputs for Perform Quality Control
    • The seven basic tools of quality
    • Pareto charts, flowcharts and histograms
    • Run charts and scatter charts
    • Question Clinic: The "Which-One" Question
    • Quality control means finding and correcting defects
    • Trouble at the Black Box 3000 factory
    • The Perform Quality Assurance process
    • A closer look at some tools and techniques
    • More ideas behind quality assurance
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  9. Human Resource Management: Getting the Team Together
    • Mike needs a new team
    • The Human Resource Management processes
    • The Human Resoucre Planning process
    • The staffing management plan
    • The Acquire Project Team process
    • The Develop Project Team process
    • Develop the team with your management skills
    • Lead the team with your management skills
    • Motivate your team [theories of motivation]
    • How's the team doing?
    • The Manage Project Team process
    • Conflict management up close
    • How to resolve a conflict
    • Question Clinic: The "Have-a-Meeting" Question
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  10. Communications Management: Getting the Word Out
    • Party at the Head First Lounge!
    • Anatomy of a phone call
    • The Communications Management processes
    • The Communications Planning process [exercise solutions]
    • The Information Distribution process
    • Get the message?
    • More information distribution tools
    • The Performance Reporting process
    • Take a close look at the work being done
    • Now you can get the word out
    • People aren't talking
    • The Manage Stakeholders process [exercise solutions]
    • Count the lines of communication
    • Question Clinic: The Calculation Question
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  11. Risk Management: Planning for the Unknown
    • What's a risk?
    • How you deal with risk
    • The Risk Management Planning process
    • Use a risk breakdown structure to categorize risks
    • Anatomy of a Risk [the Risk Management processes]
    • The Risk Identification process
    • Information gathering techniques for Risk Identification
    • More risk identification techniques
    • Where to look for risks
    • Now put it in the risk register
    • The Qualitative Risk Analysis process
    • Examine each risk in the risk register
    • Qualitative vs. quantitative analysis
    • The Quantitative Risk Analysis process
    • First gather the data… then analyze it
    • Calculate the Expected Monetary Value of your risks (EMV)
    • Decsion tree analysis uses EMV to help you make choices
    • Update the risk register based on your quantitative analysis results
    • The Risk Response Planning process
    • You can't plan for every risk at the start of the project
    • The Risk Monitoring and Controlling process
    • Question Clinic" The "Which-os-NOT" Question
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  12. Procurement Management: Getting Some Help
    • Victim of her own success
    • Calling in the cavalry
    • The Procurement Management processes
    • The Plan Purchases and Acquisitions process
    • The decision is made
    • Types of contracts
    • More about contracts
    • The Plan Contracting process
    • Figure out how you'll sort out potential sellers
    • The Request Seller Responses process
    • The Select Sellers process
    • Two months later…
    • The Contract Administration process
    • Stay on top of the seller
    • Close the contract when the work is done
    • Question Clinic: BYO Questions
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  13. Professional Responsibility: Making Good Choices
    • Doing the right thing
    • Keep the cash?
    • Fly business?
    • New software
    • Shortcuts
    • A good price or a clean river?
    • We're not all angels
    • Exam Questions
    • Exam Answers
  14. A Little Last-Minute Review: Check Your Knowledge
    • Process Magnets
    • Processcross
    • Exercise
    • Sharpen Your Pencil
    • Great job! It looks like you're almost ready.


Head First PMP

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Good ******* (7 out of 10)

Last modified: June 13, 2010, 3:42 p.m.

I do like it! To my own surprise, it was enjoyable, funny, witty, and interesting at the same time. Granted, they manage to miss some subjects and glance over a few others, but it is something as unusual as a book that is fun to read and learn something from.

You probably need a bit of a scrambled brain to fully enjoy it (like mine!) but I can then guarantee you a nice learning experience. But please read the PMBOK and one or two other preparotory books before an exam, to ensure you have it all covered.


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