pmp / pmbok guide faq 1

Recently, I received the following questions regarding the PMBOK® Guide / PMP® Exam which may be useful for fellow PMP® aspirants. The questions and answers are published in full here with a view to helping fellow PMP® students with similar queries. If you have any questions on PMBOK® Guide and PMP® Exam, don’t hesitate to drop me an email at [email protected].

PMP® Questions from Gopeenath Galagali

Dear Edward,

Thanks for the valuable info on your website. I am studying for PMP® exam.

I have the following questions,appreciate your prompt response.

Question 1 – Project Charter

PMBOK® Guide page 123, table 5-1 with title ‘elements of Project charter and Project scope statement’ has omitted ‘Assumptions and constraints’ in Charter elements list , listed them only in scope statement. Integration chapter,on page 71,while listing components of charter (title : Develop charter : outputs) PMBOK® Guide does list ‘Assumptions and Constraints’, as 4th in the list.

Are assumptions and constraints part of Charter or not ?

Question 2 – Knowledge Area and Process Group

In the chart that maps processes with Knowledge areas, we are suppose to memorize processes vertically..Develop Project charter,Identify stake holders,then move to Planning etc. PMBOK® Guide while defining those processes, follows a different order, Horizontal, for example, PMBOK® Guide first defines ‘Develop Project charter’ and then moves on to ‘Develop Project management plan’ not ‘identify stake holders’ .

Although processes are iterative, there is a general order in following these processes,that order I believe is vertical not horizontal.

In other words, in the exam if we are asked, ‘you are the assigned project manager for a new project, you have been given charter that officially authorizes you as PM for this project. What is the next thing you do?’
If both ‘ Develop Project plan’ and ‘Identify stake holders’ are listed among 4 choices, I should choose ‘Identify stake holders’ as the answer, right?

That means Project manager is expected to follow vertical order from the ‘processes/Knowledge areas mapping’ chart.

Why then,PMBOK® Guide follows horizontal order while defining these processes? is it not confusing? If the purpose is to let us know,what all processes come under one knowledge area,we already know that through ‘KA/Processes mapping chart’. What could be the objective of PMBOK® Guide in defining them in horizontal order?

Also, in closing phase, there are 2 processes, close project/phase and close procurement. They can not be performed in vertical order,for ‘close project/phase’ is the final process of all the processes,’close procurement’ has to be prior to ‘close project/phase’ right? In that case how do we understand stages of ‘close project/phase’? I heard in the exam questions will be on the sequence of closing processes..what is first and what is next etc.If you have a list of closing processes with sequence, including ‘Close procurement’, please let me know.

Question 3 – PMP® Formulas

The following quotes are from PMBOK® Guide page -224, Table 7-1, (my questions are on formulas,specifically on EAC and ETC).

A. If the initial plan is no longer valid use – AC+bottom up ETC.
B. (The most common formula) For EAC : ‘If CPI is expected to be same for the remainder of the project use BAC/CPI.
On your website item#17,you included ‘ i.e. the original estimation is not accurate’ for this formula. what is base for it when PMBOK® Guide does not say so ?

I don’t see a difference between A and B,for they both indicate ‘original estimation is flawed, for some reason.

Further,PMBOK® Guide states, ‘If the future work will be accomplished at the planned rate use’ – AC+(BAC-EV), you added ‘the variance is caused by a one-time event and is not likely to happen again’.

IF what you said is true then,what is the formula to calculate EAC when the original estimation is accurate ?

ETC: you have given only one formula for ETC: EAC-AC but PMBOK® Guide says ‘ETC= Re estimate from bottom up,how to relate them both?

Thanks for your time and attention.

Regards, Gopi

Answers to PMBOK® Guide / PMP® Exam Questions

Hi Goppenath,

Thanks a lot for your email. I will try my best to explain your queries.

Answer 1 – Project Charter

Yes, “assumptions and constraints” can be part of the project charter. But, just as other project management processes, you as the project manager can decide whether to include it or not.

Answer 2 – Knowledge Area and Process Group

PMI nor the PMBOK® Guide does not mandate the exact order (except some of them, e.g. close project at the very end of the project). The “vertically” or “horizontally” grouping is just two ways to group and categorize the processes. And, broadly speaking, the “process groups” indicates a logical sequence of the processes from initiating to closing.

Yes, you are correct that normally after getting the project charter, the project manager would usually try to identify the stakeholders. In my experience, the PMP® exam would only ask the obvious sequence e.g. close procurement -> close project.

Answer 3 – PMP® Formulas

Since the PMP® exam tests only basic understanding of EV formulas, you will just need to choose a formula for EAC based on the data available. It can be said that for any variance to occur, the original estimation must be flawed. But you as a project manager must decide which formula best suits your current situation. For your information, there are over a dozen more EV formulas than what are required for the PMP® exam.

For A and B, you can put it in this way:
A => the amount of actual work to be done is NOT accurate
B => the amount of actual work is somewhat accurate but the unit cost is not accurate

If there is no variance (i.e. estimation accurate), then EAC = BAC

“ETC= Re estimate from bottom up” is not actually a formula, it is just another possible way to find out the ETC (not through simple calculation based on available data). The reason is the same as A. Therefore I do not include it.

Hope this can shred some light on your PMP® study. Wish you PMP® success!

[Please note that the answers provided here are based on how to correct answer the questions in the PMP® Exam and may not necessarily apply to real work scenarios.]

Edward Chung

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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