Transcender pros have published the perfect stocking stuffer

December 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Posted in CISSP, Study hints, Transcender news | Leave a comment
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Transcender developers Robin Abernathy and Troy McMillan have written the latest CISSP Cert Guide published by Pearson IT Certification, a leading publisher in the IT textbook and study guide field. This book is now available in print and electonic format through Amazon, Safari Books Online, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers, as well as directly from Pearson IT.

CISSP guide

This book was released at the end of November. Purchasing the print copy also grants you a 45-day free trial of the e-edition through Safari Books Online. The print and electronic versions include two practice exams. The Premium Edition eBook includes additional practice exams and a more detailed answer key.

The authors were kind enough (a.k.a – they’re sitting right next to me so they don’t really have a choice) to provide a brief Q&A regarding the content.

Q. Would you say this book is exam-focused, or more of a general learning tool?

A: Definitely exam focused. It skips all of the intro fluff, and goes right to the meat of the exam topics.

Q. Who is the intended audience for this book?

A.  The (ISC)2 CISSP exam itself requires that you have four to five years of hands-on experience in information systems security before trying to pass the test. This book contains what any EXPERIENCED security professional needs to review to pass the exam. It’s not designed for beginners.

Q. Do you need to own any particular equipment to use this book effectively?

A. The more devices and hardware you can use to practice the various security techniques, the better. For the book itself you’ll need a Windows desktop or VM to run the practice test engine.

PMBOK 5th Edition: Changes to the Executing Process Group (7/9)

December 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Posted in PMI, Study hints | 2 Comments
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This is the seventh installment of my PMBOK 5th Edition overview (and we’re finally finished with the Planning Process Group):

The Executing Process Group has quite a few changes, including a (sorta) new process and changes to the names of two processes. This post will cover the following processes:

  • Direct and Manage Project Work
  • Perform Quality Assurance
  • Acquire Project Team
  • Develop Project Team
  • Manage Project Team
  • Manage Communications
  • Conduct Procurements
  • Manage Stakeholder Engagement

So now let’s get to the Executing Process Group changes!

Changes to the Direct and Manage Project Work process

In this PMBOK 4th Edition, this process was referred to as Direct and Manage Project Execution.

The Direct and Management Project Work process has no changes to its inputs. However, the introductory explanation for this process has been expanded and includes a great explanation of the three types of changes that will affect this process: corrective actions, preventive actions, and defect repair.

One new tool has been added to this process: meetings.

One output of this process has a slight name change: work performance information has been changed to work performance data. Note that both of these concepts (data and information) have been retained in PMBOK 5th Edition; they were simply rearranged among the processes. Work performance data is raw data from the project. Work performance information is the work performance data combined with some technique or tool to produce usable conclusions or metrics.

Changes to the Perform Quality Assurance process

The Perform Quality Assurance process now has five inputs:

  • The quality management plan – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • The process improvement plan – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • Quality metrics
  • Quality control measurements
  • Project documents - new to this process the PMBOK 5th Edition

While this process still lists three tools and techniques, the Plan Quality and Perform Quality Control  tools and techniques was renamed Quality Management and Control Tools. For all of you project management professionals out there, just keep in mind that any quality management or control tool can basically be used throughout the Project Quality Management Knowledge Area. In the 8.2.2.1 section of the PMBOK 5th Edition, the following tools are specifically listed:

  • Affinity diagrams
  • Process decision program charts (PDPC)
  • Interrelationship digraphs
  • Tree diagram

But while these four tools are specifically listed, the seven basic quality tools from the Plan Quality Management process (which are included in the Planning Process Group Part 3) and the tools and techniques from the Control Quality process (which will be covered in the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group post next week) can also be used in this process.

Exam pro tip!

I, for one, think that this can make some of those questions asked on the exam quite tricky. Project managers will have to analyze HOW the tool is being used to determine which process is actually being performed. For example, if you are using the tool to create performance baselines, you are probably working in the Plan Quality Management process. If you use the tool to measure actual performance for comparison against the baselines, you are probably working in the Perform Quality Assurance process. Finally, if you take the results from using the tool and adjust certain work areas to eliminate poor work, you are probably working in the Control Quality process.

The outputs of the Perform Quality Assurance process have not changed.

Changes to the Acquire Project Team process

The Acquire Project Team process still has three inputs. However, the project management plan input from the PMBOK 4th Edition has been changed to the human resource management plan to more properly reflect the subsidiary plan that is actually used by this process. This process also has a new tool: multi-criteria decision analysis, which selects criteria on which the prospective team members should be analyzed. The criteria usually include availability, cost, experience, ability, knowledge, skills, attitude, and international factors.

The outputs of this process have not changed.

Changes to the Develop Project Team process

Like the Acquire Project Team process, the Develop Project Team has only a single change to its inputs list: the project management plan input from the PMBOK 4th Edition has been changed to the human resource management plan to more properly reflect the subsidiary plan that is actually used by this process.

The new tool listed for this process is personal assessment tools, which includes surveys, assessments, interviews, and focus groups.

The outputs of this process have not changed.

Changes to the Manage Project Team process

The Manage Project Team process has several major changes to its inputs and one minor change. The inputs to this process are as follows:

  • The human resource management plan – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition. This input replaces the project management plan that was listed in the PMBOK 4th Edition.
  • Project staff assignments
  • Team performance assessments
  • Issue log – listed as a tool for this process in the PMBOK 4th Edition
  • Work performance reports – referred to as simply performance reports in the PMBOK 4th Edition
  • Organizational process assets

This process has the same tools and techniques. However, the conflict  management techniques have been edited a bit to expand the explanation of each technique. In addition, each technique now has two names. For example, the compromise technique is also referred to as the reconcile technique, and the force technique is also referred to as the direct technique. Finally the collaborate technique was combined with the problem solving technique.

One new output was added to this process: project management plan updates. It includes updates to the issue log, roles description, and project staff assignments.

Changes to the Manage Communications process (formerly the Distribute Information process)

According to PMI, a name change occurred in the PMBOK 5th Edition for this process: Distribute Information was changed to Manage Communications. However, there were so many changes to this process that I feel we need to totally review all of this process.

The Manage Communications process has four inputs:

  • The communications management plan (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • Work performance reports  – referred to as work performance information and work performance measurements in the PMBOK 4th Edition
  • Enterprise environmental factors (EEFs) (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • Organizational process assets (OPAs)

The Manage Communications process has five tools and techniques:

  • Communications technology (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • Communication models (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • Communication methods
  • Information management systems (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • Performance reporting – referred to as reporting systems in the PMBOK 4th Edition

The outputs of this process are as follows:

  • Project communicationsnew in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • Project management plan updates (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • Project document updates (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • Organizational process assets updates
Changes to the Conduct Procurements process

The Manage Project Team process has one revised input and one new input. The project management plan listed as an input in the PMBOK 4th Edition has been changed to the procurement management plan, which is the subsidiary plan that actually affects this process. Procurement statement of work is a new input to this process.

The qualified seller list and teaming agreements inputs were removed from this process.

The Internet search technique for this process was changed to analytical techniques, which broadens the types of analytics that can be performed to obtain possible vendors.

The procurement contract award output is now referred to as agreements in the PMBOK 5th Edition. All other outputs are the same.

Changes to the Manage Stakeholder Engagement process

In this PMBOK 4th Edition, this process was referred to as Manage Stakeholder Expectations and was part of the Project Communications Management Knowledge Area. The Manage Stakeholder Engagement process is now part of the new Project Stakeholder Engagement Knowledge Area.

In the PMBOK 5th Edition, this process now has four inputs:

  • The stakeholder management plan (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • The communications management plan (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • The change log
  • Organizational process assets

No changes were made to the tools and techniques used by this process.

This process has one new output: the issue log.

That covers all the processes in the Executing Process Group.

We’d love your feedback…

With the popularity of our project management blog posts, we are considering following  up with a few more PMBOK 5th Edition posts (after we finish this series, of course.) Some of the possible subjects include: 1) using the critical path method in the Develop Schedule process, 2) using earned value management in the Control Schedule process, 3) using earned value management in the Control Costs process, 4) using forecasting in the Control Costs process, and 5) measuring the to-complete performance index (TCPI) in the Control Costs process.

Are any of these of interest to you? Please feel free to comment on this post and let us know, or suggest your own topic. In the meanwhile, watch in the coming days for the posts covering the changes to the Monitoring and Controlling and Closing Process Groups.

Drop  me a line if you have any questions! I would love to hear from you….

-Robin

Why is there a New Question Type in my MCSD Practice Test?

November 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Study hints | 2 Comments
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I know it’s been a while since my last post. But since I’ve finally come up for some air  after writing our practice tests for the Microsoft Developer track, I thought I’d fill you in on a bit of what I’ve been doing in my top-secret hacker lair. (Spoilers: it definitely contains some sharks with frickin’ lasers)*.

Fly in my Soup?

“Is that a new question type in my soup?”

Seriously though, we have been busy re-creating our practice test engine to mimic the new Microsoft question types. We’ve known about the advent of color-coding and these new question types since last summer, but with the onslaught of new exam titles that needed corresponding practice tests added to our inventory, dropping everything to emulate the live exam experience seemed a far-off goal. But with the releases of our Cert-70-480 and Cert-70-481 products, we decided to go for broke.

Without further ado, here’s a quick overview of the short answer, list-and-reorder, and code-based case study item types.

Short Answer

If you bought our Cert-70-461 practice test (Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012), you probably saw some of this type of question already. What makes this item type different is that the questions are very specific, and thanks to color-coding, very readable!

Short Answer w/Color Coding

Much better than the colorized version of It’s A Wonderful Life!

This type of question is all about writing the code, not just knowing the concepts behind the code. The next item type also addresses “the code and only the code” mantra.

List and Reorder

We’ve always had this type of question in our practice tests. With the advent of the updated MCSD certification track, we added color formatting to our previously monochrome items, and made the questions even more code-centric.  This raises the difficulty bar somewhat for newbies, but is a real treat for the die-hard developers that have long awaited the exams that test you only on how to write code. Simple request, really.

List and Reorder question

Just the code, ma’am.

Code-Based Case Studies

That’s right. Here comes the pain (and realism) of developing applications in real life: inserting code at the right place. Rarely will you have the pleasure of designing an application on your own. More often than not, you will be required to plug the hole left by another developer who got a cushy job as a business analyst at a local startup company. It’s up to you to get the code working without help, and no one cares what you have to do to get it working. The new case study item type tests your skills at knowing both what code to add and where to add it.

Code-Based Case Study

“Now it’s getting REAL up in here!”

Whew…!  And that didn’t even cover the new simulation items we added.

Let me know what you think of these new tricks in the Transcender toolbox.

*Hey, it makes for better imagery than my beige office cubicle!

Until next time,

Josh aka Codeguru

PMBOK 5th Edition: Changes to the Planning Process Group (Part 4 of 4) 6/9

October 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Posted in PMI, Study hints | Leave a comment
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This is the sixth installment of my PMBOK 5th Edition overview (and we’re still on the second Process Group):

Because the Planning Process Group contains 24 processes, I broke this overview into four posts to cover all of its processes in smaller, more easily digestible chunks.

Part 4 (this post) will cover the following processes:

  • Plan Risk Management
  • Identify Risks
  • Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis
  • Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
  • Plan Risk Responses
  • Plan Procurement Management
  • Plan Stakeholder Management

The rest of the processes are broken down as follows:

  • Part 1 covered Develop Project Management Plan, Plan Scope Management, Collect Requirements, Define Scope, and Create WBS
  • Part 2 covered Plan Schedule Management, Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Activity Resources, Estimate Activity Durations, and Develop Schedule
  • Part 3 covered Plan Cost Management, Estimate Costs, Determine Budget, Plan Quality Management, Plan Human Resource Management, and Plan Communications Management.

Let’s launch into the final seven processes of the Planning Process Group!

Changes to the Plan Risk Management process

The Plan Risk Management process now has five inputs:

  • the project management plan – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • the project charter – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • the stakeholder register – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

In the PMBOK 4th Edition, the Plan Risk Management process included the cost management plan, schedule management plan, and communications management plan as inputs. In the PMBOK 5th Edition, these plans are all subsidiary plans of the project management plan, so they are no longer considered separate inputs.

This process has three tools and techniques:

  • Analytical techniquesnew to the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • Expert judgment – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • Meetings – renamed in the PMBOK 5th Edition. It was referred to as planning meetings and analysis in the PMBOK 4th Edition.

The output of this process is the risk management plan.

Changes to the Identify Risks process

The Identify Risks process now has 13 inputs:

  • the risk management plan
  • the cost management plan
  • the schedule management plan
  • the quality management plan
  • the human resource management plan - new to the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • the scope baseline
  • activity cost estimates
  • activity duration estimates
  • the stakeholder register
  • project documents
  • procurement documentsnew to the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

There are no changes to the tools and techniques used by this process. In addition, this process still has a single output: the risk register.

Changes to the Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis process

The Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis process has two new inputs. The five inputs to this process are:

  • the risk management plan
  • the scope baseline - new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • the risk register
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs) – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The project scope statement is no longer listed as an input because it is part of the scope baseline.

The tools and techniques used by this process have not changed.

The output of this process is project document updates. Risk register updates are no longer outputs of this process because the risk register is part of the project documents.

Changes to the Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis process

The Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis process now has six inputs:

  • the risk management plan
  • the cost management plan
  • the schedule management plan
  • the risk register
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs) – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The tools and techniques used by this process have not changed.

The outputs of this process are project document updates. Like in the Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis process, risk register updates are no longer listed as outputs of the process because the risk register is part of the project documents that can be updated during this process.

Changes to the Plan Risk Responses process

The Plan Risk Responses process was not changed very much. The inputs, tools/techniques, and outputs of this process are the same. The only changes I see in this section of the PMBOK is an expanded explanation of the strategies for negative and positive risks.

Changes to the Plan Procurement Management process (formerly the Plan Procurements process)

For this process, there was a name change in the PMBOK 5th Edition: Plan Procurements was changed to Plan Procurement Management.

The Plan Procurement Management process now has nine inputs:

  • the project management plan - new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • the requirements documentation
  • the risk register
  • activity resource requirements
  • the project schedule
  • activity cost estimates
  • the stakeholder register – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

There are two new tools used in this process. The tools and techniques used by this process are as follows:

  • make-or-buy analysis
  • expert judgment
  • market research – new to the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • meetings – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition

Contract types, which was a tool listed in the PMBOK 4th Edition, is now discussed in Section 12.1.1.9: Organizational Process Assets.

This process has one new output. The seven outputs of this process are as follows:

  • the procurement management plan
  • the procurement statement of work
  • procurement documents
  • source selection criteria
  • make-or-buy decisions
  • change requests
  • project document updates – new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition
Introducing the Plan Stakeholder Management process - NEW IN PMBOK 5th EDITION

The Plan Stakeholder Management process is a new process to the Planning Process Group and the Project Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area. This process creates the stakeholder management plan that is used to develop the management strategies to effectively engage stakeholders in the project.

The Plan Stakeholder Management process has four inputs:

  • the project management plan
  • the stakeholder register
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

This process has three tools/techniques: expert judgment, analytical techniques,  and meetings. The analytical techniques include stakeholder engagement assessment matrix and other techniques.

This process has two outputs: the stakeholder management plan and project document updates.

That covers all the processes for this post and completes the Planning Process Group. Watch in the coming days for the posts covering the changes to the Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing Process Groups.

Drop  me a line if you have any questions! I would love to hear from you….

-Robin

PMBOK 5th Edition: Changes to the Planning Process Group (Part 3 of 4) 5/9

October 25, 2013 at 9:29 am | Posted in PMI, Study hints | Leave a comment
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This is the fifth installment of my PMBOK 5th Edition overview (and we’re still on the second Process Group):

Because the Planning Process Group contains 24 processes, I will be breaking this overview into four posts to cover all of its processes in smaller, more easily digestible chunks.

Part 3 (this post) will cover the following processes:

  • Plan Cost Management
  • Estimate Costs
  • Determine Budget
  • Plan Quality Management
  • Plan Human Resource Management
  • Plan Communications Management

The rest of the processes are broken down as follows:

  • Part 1 covered Develop Project Management Plan, Plan Scope Management, Collect Requirements, Define Scope, and Create WBS
  • Part 2 covered Plan Schedule Management, Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Activity Resources, Estimate Activity Durations, and Develop Schedule
  • Part 4 will cover Plan Risk Management, Identify Risks, Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis, Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis, Plan Risk Responses, Plan Procurement Management, and Plan Stakeholder Management.

Without further ado, here are the six processes of the Planning Process Group that I am covering in this post.

Introducing the Plan Cost Management process - NEW IN PMBOK 5th EDITION

The Plan Cost Management process is a new process to the Planning Process Group and the Project Cost Management Knowledge Area. This process creates the cost management plan that is used to define, validate, and control project costs.

The Plan Cost Management process has four inputs:

  • the project management plan
  • the project charter
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

This process has three tools/techniques: expert judgment, analytical techniques,  and meetings. The analytical techniques include payback period, return on investment, internal rate of return, discounted cash flow, and net present value.

This process produces one output: logically enough, it is the cost management plan. The cost management plan is an input to the Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Identify Risks, and Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis processes.

Changes to the Estimate Costs process

The Estimate Costs process now has seven inputs:

  • the cost management plan - new to the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • the human resource management plan – called the human resource plan in the PMBOK 4th Edition
  • the risk register
  • the scope baseline
  • the project schedule
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

This process has one new technique: group decision-making techniques. This is actually a group of techniques that include brainstorming and Delphi or nominal group techniques.

The outputs of this process are also unchanged from the PMBOK 4th Edition, and include the activity cost estimates, basis of estimates, and project document updates.

One section of this process that has been expanded a bit is the reserve analysis section. This section now contains a more comprehensive explanation of reserves, including contingency reserves (known-unknowns) and management reserves (unknown-unknowns.)

Changes to the Determine Budget process

The Determine Budget process has three new inputs. The nine inputs to this process are:

  • the cost management plan (a new input, and an output of the Plan Cost Management process)
  • the scope baseline
  • the activity cost estimates
  • basis of estimates
  • the project schedule
  • resource calendars
  • the risk register (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • agreements (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The tools and techniques used by this process have not changed.

The outputs of this process have one very small change: the cost performance baseline output from the PMBOK 4th Edition was renamed the cost baseline in the PMBOK 5th Edition.

The Cost Baseline section of this process has been expanded quite a bit to include the contingency and management reserves. A new figure (Figure 7-8) named Project Budget Components was also added to show how the budget components make up the project budget.

Changes to the Plan Quality Management process (formerly the Plan Quality process)

For this process, there was a name change in the PMBOK 5th Edition: Plan Quality was changed to Plan Quality Management.

The Plan Quality Management has two new inputs. The six inputs to this process are:

  • the project management plan (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • the stakeholder register
  • the risk register
  • the requirements documentation (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

There are two new tools used in this process. One new tool is meetings. The other new tool, called seven basic quality tools, actually contains (as its name implies) seven tools, one of which was previously listed in the PMBOK 4th Edition:

  • Cause-and-effect diagram
  • Flowcharts
  • Checksheets
  • Pareto diagrams
  • Histograms
  • Control charts – included in PMBOK 4th Edition
  • Scatter diagrams

The section on the seven basic quality tools includes an illustration (Figure 8-7) that gives examples of the seven tools.

There are no changes to the outputs from this process.

Changes to the Plan Human Resource Management process (formerly the Develop Human Resource Plan process)

For this process, there was a name change in the PMBOK 5th Edition: Develop Human Resource Plan was changed to Plan Human Resource Management.

The Plan Human Resource Management process has one new input. The four inputs to this process are:

  • the project management plan (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • activity resource requirements
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The Plan Human Resource Management process has two tools/techniques: expert judgment and meetings.

While the output of this process is the same, its name has changed from human resource plan to human resource management plan.

Changes to the Plan Communications Management process (formerly the Plan Communications process)

For this process, there was a name change in the PMBOK 5th Edition: Plan Communications was changed to Plan Communications Management.

The Plan Communications Management process has one new input. The four inputs to this process are:

  • the project management plan (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • activity resource requirements
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The Plan Communications Management process has one new tool/technique: meetings. However, two of the existing tools, communication technology and communication models, have undergone some fairly extensive edits/additions. So an experienced project manager may want to read this section just to get familiar with the new content and terminology. The complete list of tools for this process is:

  • communications requirements analysis
  • communication methods
  • communication technology
  • communication models
  • meetings (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)

The outputs of this process have not changed, and remain the communications management plan and project document updates.

That covers all the processes for this post. Watch for Part 4 of the Planning Process Group in the coming days.

Drop  me a line if you have any questions! I would love to hear from you….

-Robin

PMBOK 5th Edition: changes to the Planning Process Group (Part 2 of 4) 4/9

October 23, 2013 at 11:20 am | Posted in PMI, Study hints | Leave a comment
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It’s me again. For those of you just tuning in, I have already released three blog posts:

Because the Planning Process Group contains 24 processes, I will be breaking this overview into four posts to cover all of its processes in smaller, more easily digestible chunks.

Part 2 (this post) will cover the following processes:

  • Plan Schedule Management
  • Define Activities
  • Sequence Activities
  • Estimate Activity Resources
  • Estimate Activity Durations
  • Develop Schedule

The rest of the processes are broken down as follows:

  • Part 1 covered Develop Project Management Plan, Plan Scope Management, Collect Requirements, Define Scope, and Create WBS
  • Part 3 will cover Plan Cost Management, Estimate Costs, Determine Budget, Plan Quality Management, Plan Human Resource Management, and Plan Communications Management.
  • Part 4 will cover Plan Risk Management, Identify Risks, Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis, Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis, Plan Risk Responses, Plan Procurement Management, and Plan Stakeholder Management.

Without further ado, here are the six processes of the Planning Process Group that belong in the Project Time Management Knowledge Area. Let’s get to it!

Introducing the Plan Schedule Management process - NEW IN PMBOK 5th EDITION

The Plan Schedule Management process is a new process to the Planning Process Group and the Project Time Management Knowledge Area. This process creates the schedule management plan that is used to define, validate, and control project time.

The Plan Schedule Management process has four inputs:

  • the project management plan
  • the project charter
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

This process has three tools/techniques: expert judgment, analytical techniques,  and meetings. The analytical techniques include rolling wave planning, leads and lags, alternatives analysis, and methods for reviewing schedule performance.

This process produces one output: the schedule management plan. The schedule management plan is an input to the Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Activity Resources, Estimate Activity Durations, Develop Schedule, Identify Risks, and Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis processes.

Changes to the Define Activities process

The Define Activities process now has four inputs:

  • the schedule management plan - new to the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • the scope baseline
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The tools and techniques used during this process have not changed and are as follows: decomposition, rolling wave planning, and expert judgement.

The outputs of this process are also unchanged from the PMBOK 4th Edition, and include the activity list, activity attributes, and milestone list. All of these outputs are inputs to the other Project Time Management processes in the Planning Process Group.

Changes to the Sequence Activities process

The Sequence Activities process has two new inputs. The seven inputs to this process are:

  • the schedule management plan (a new input, and an output of the Plan Schedule Management process)
  • the activity list
  • activity attributes
  • the milestone list
  • the project scope statement
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs) (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The Sequence Activities process has two small changes to its tools/techniques: applying leads and lags has been renamed to leads and lags, and schedule network templates have been removed.

The outputs of this process have not changed.

I would like to highlight some great new information that is included in this section in the PMBOK 5th Edition. The Precedence Diagramming Method section (6.3.2.1) has been expanded to better explain the different relationships. Also, a new figure (Figure 6-9) has been added to demonstrate how the relationships are displayed in a diagram. In the Dependency Determination section (6.3.2.2), a new dependency type, internal dependencies, has been added. In the Leads and Lags section (6.3.2.3), a new figure (Figure 6-10) named Examples of Lead and Lag is given. Finally the Project Schedule Network Diagrams section (6.3.3.1) includes a new project schedule network diagram figure (Figure 6-11).

Changes to the Estimate Activity Resources process

The Estimate Activity Resources has three new inputs. That means the complete set of inputs to this process is:

  • the schedule management plan (a new input, and an output of the Plan Schedule Management process)
  • the activity list
  • activity attributes
  • resource calendars
  • risk register (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • activity cost estimates (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

There are no changes to the tools/techniques used in this process or to the outputs from this process.

Changes to the Estimate Activity Durations process

The Estimate Activity Durations process has three new inputs. The ten inputs to this process are:

  • the schedule management plan (a new input, and an output of the Plan Schedule Management process)
  • the activity list
  • activity attributes
  • activity resource requirements
  • resource calendars
  • the project scope statement
  • risk register (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • resource breakdown structure (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The Estimate Activity Durations process has one new tool/technique: group decision-making techniques. This includes brainstorming and Delphi or nominal group technique. The complete list of tools/techniques for this process is:

  • expert judgment
  • analogous estimating
  • parametric estimating
  • three-point estimating
  • group decision-making techniques (new)
  • reserve analysis

The outputs of this process have not changed. The outputs are still activity duration estimates and project document updates.

Changes to the Develop Schedule process

The Develop Schedule process has four new inputs. The thirteen inputs to this process are:

  • the schedule management plan (a new input, and an output of the Plan Schedule Management process)
  • the activity list
  • activity attributes
  • project schedule network diagrams
  • activity resource requirements
  • resource calendars
  • activity duration estimates
  • the project scope statement
  • risk register (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • project staff assignments (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • resource breakdown structure (new to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition)
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The Develop Schedule process has two new tools/techniques: resource optimization techniques (which includes the resource leveling technique from the PMBOK 4th Edition and resource smoothing, a new technique) and modeling techniques (which includes what-if schedule analysis technique from the PMBOK 4th Edition and simulation, a new technique). Also, the applying leads and lags technique has been renamed to leads and lags.

Two new outputs have been added to this process: project calendars and project management plan updates. The complete list of outputs is schedule baseline, project schedule, schedule data, project calendars, project management plan updates, and project document updates.

Again, the PMBOK 5th Edition has added some very useful information to this section. The description of the Critical Path Method (6.6.2.2) has been expanded to better explain the method, and a new figure (Figure 6-18) has been added to demonstrate the critical path method. All activity boxes in the diagram have been expanded to include the ES, EF, LS, LF, duration, and slack of the activity. If you are unfamiliar with this method, I would strongly suggest that you look over section 6.6.2.2 and seek out other learning tools to familiarize yourself with this technique. I can guarantee this will be on the live exam in some manner!

The Critical Chain Method section (6.6.2.3) has also been expanded and includes a new figure (Figure 6-19) that is useful. Resource leveling is also demonstrated in Figure 6-20, another new figure.

That covers all the processes for this post. Watch for Part 3 of the Planning Process Group in the coming days.

Drop  me a line if you have any questions! I would love to hear from you….

-Robin

PMBOK 5th Edition: changes to the Planning Process Group (Part 1 of 4) 3/9

October 22, 2013 at 8:49 am | Posted in PMI, Study hints | Leave a comment

It’s that time again – time to give you another update on the PMBOK 5th Edition changes. For those of you just tuning in, I have already released two blog posts: a post that discusses the Knowledge Area and Process Group changes and a post that discussed the Initiating Process Group changes. My next topic is the Planning Process Group.

Because the Planning Process Group contains 24 processes, I will be breaking this overview into four posts to cover all of its processes in smaller, more easily digestible chunks.

Part 1 (this post) will cover the following processes:

  • Develop Project Management Plan
  • Plan Scope Management
  • Collect Requirements
  • Define Scope
  • Create WBS

Once that’s finished, I’ll break the rest of the processes down as follows:

  • Part 2 will cover Plan Schedule Management, Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Activity Resources, Estimate Activity Durations, and Develop Schedule.
  • Part 3 will cover Plan Cost Management, Estimate Costs, Determine Budget, Plan Quality Management, Plan Human Resource Management, and Plan Communications Management.
  • Part 4 will cover Plan Risk Management, Identify Risks, Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis, Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis, Plan Risk Responses, Plan Procurement Management, and Plan Stakeholder Management.

Without further ado, here are the first five processes of the Planning Process Group. Let’s get to it!

Changes to the Develop Project Management Plan process

The Develop Project Management Plan process still has four inputs:

  • project charter
  • outputs from other processes
  • enterprise environmental factors
  • organizational process assets

The only change is to the outputs from other processes input, which was defined as the outputs from other planning processes input in the PMBOK 4th Edition. This change better reflects the reality that updates to the project management plan can come from processes outside the Planning Process Group.

The other three Develop Project Management Plan process inputs are unchanged.

The Develop Project Management Plan process now has two tools. Facilitation techniques has been added as a tool for this process. Facilitation techniques include brainstorming, conflict resolution, problem solving, and meeting management. The other tool in this process is expert judgment.

The Develop Project Management Plan still only has a single output: the project management plan. However, there is one great graphic I want to mention: Table 4-1. (You knew this was coming – I love charts, figures, and graphics!) This table lists the components of the project management plan versus project documents. This table really helps clarify where the different components go.

My final observation is that the Develop Project Management Plan Data Flow Diagram (Figure 4-5) in the PMBOK 5th Edition has been greatly de-cluttered. (Is that even a word?) But if you compare the version in the PMBOK 4th Edition with the version in PMBOK 5th Edition, you will see that the figure has been simplified to make it easier to read. I think that you will agree with me that the new version is a great improvement. (All those arrows and bullets all over the place in the previous version made me wonder if I was coming or going!)

Introducing the Plan Scope Management process - NEW IN PMBOK 5th EDITION

The Plan Scope Management process is a new process to the Planning Process Group and Project Scope Management Knowledge Area. This process creates the scope management plan that is used to define, validate, and control project scope.

The Plan Scope Management process has four inputs:

  • the project management plan
  • the project charter
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

This process has two tools/techniques: expert judgment and meetings. It produces two outputs: the scope management plan and requirements management plan. The scope management plan is an input to the Collect Requirements, Define Scope, and Create WBS processes. The requirements management plan is an input to the Collect Requirements process.

(Note that in the PMBOK 4th Edition, the requirements management plan was an output of  the Collect Requirements process.)

Changes to the Collect Requirements process

The Collect Requirements process now has five inputs:

  • the scope management plannew to the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • the requirements management plan – formerly an output of this process
  • the stakeholder management plan – new to the PMBOK 5th Edition
  • the project charter
  • the stakeholder register

This section of the PMBOK 5th Edition includes an added explanation about categorizing requirements into different categories, such as business requirements, stakeholder requirements, solution requirements, transition requirements, project requirements, and quality requirements. This is great information, particularly if you are new to project management.

The Collect Requirements process has three new tools/techniques: benchmarking, context diagrams, and document analysis.  The other eight tools/techniques that this process uses are the same:

  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Facilitated workshops
  • Group creativity techniques
  • Group decision-making techniques
  • Questionnaires and surveys
  • Observations
  • Prototypes

The Collect Requirements process retained two of the outputs listed in the PMBOK 4th Edition: requirements documentation and requirements traceability matrix.  In the PMBOK 4th Edition, the requirements management plan was also an output of this process. However, this plan is now an output of the Plan Scope Management process and an input to this process.

Changes to the Define Scope process

The Define Scope process has one new input, which is the scope management plan. The other three inputs are the same. The four inputs are:

  • the scope management plan (a new input, and an output of the Plan Scope Management process)
  • the project charter
  • requirements documentation
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

The Define Scope process has one small change to its tools/techniques: alternatives identification has been renamed to alternatives generation.

One final addition to this process in the PMBOK 5th Edition that I thought was great is . . . you got it! . . . another table: Table 5-1. This tables lists the elements of the project charter and project scope statement so that project managers can better differentiate between the two.

Changes to the Create WBS process

The Create Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) process now has five inputs, instead of three. Two new inputs have been added: the scope management plan (which is output from the Plan Scope Management process) and enterprise environmental factors. That means the complete set of inputs to this process is:

  • the scope management plan
  • the project scope statement
  • requirements documentation
  • enterprise environmental factors (EEFs)
  • organizational process assets (OPAs)

One new tool has been added to this process: expert judgment.  The other existing tool, decomposition, remains unchanged.

The outputs to the Create WBS process have been revised as follows: the WBS and WBS dictionary are no longer listed as separate outputs of this process because these documents are technically considered to be part of the scope baseline. So the scope baseline is still an output of this process (along with project document updates), and the scope baseline contains the project scope statement, WBS, and WBS dictionary. In bullet form, those outputs are:

  • Scope baseline (which now includes the project scope statement, the WBS, and the WBS dictionary)
  • Product documents updates

That covers all the processes for this post. Watch for Part 2 of the Planning Process Group in the coming days.

Drop  me a line if you have any questions! I would love to hear from you….

-Robin

PMBOK 5th Edition: changes to the Initiating Process Group 2/9

October 1, 2013 at 11:41 am | Posted in PMI, Study hints, Transcender news | Leave a comment
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If you read my previous post on the Knowledge Area and Process Group changes from PMBOK 4th Edition, you already know that PMI has made quite a few changes in the PMBOK 5th Edition. As promised in that earlier blog post, this is the first in a series to discuss the differences for each of the Process Groups and processes. In this post, I will cover the Initiating Process Group in full.

The Initiating Process Group is the first Process Group for projects, so it seemed like the logical place to start. This Process Group includes the Develop Project Charter and Identify Stakeholders processes.  There are just a few changes to these two processes.

Develop Project Charter process changes

The Develop Project Charter process still has five inputs. However, the contracts input in the PMBOK 4th Edition was changed to the agreements input in the PMBOK 5th Edition. This change more properly reflects the actual types of documents that can be included – such as contacts, memorandums of understanding (MOUs), service level agreements (SLAs), letters of agreement, letters of intent, verbal agreements, e-mail, or other written agreements.

The other four Develop Project Charter process inputs are the same: project statement of work, the business case, enterprise environmental factors, and organizational process assets.

One new technique has been added to the Develop Project Charter process: facilitation techniques. These techniques include, but are not limited to, brainstorming, problem solving, conflict resolution, and meeting management.

The project charter is still the output of the Develop Project Charter. However, the processes for which the project charter is an input have changed. The project charter is now considered an input to the Develop Project Management Plan, Plan Scope Management, Collect Requirements, Define Scope, Plan Schedule Management, Plan Cost Management, Plan Risk Management, and Identify Stakeholders processes. Last note on project charters, the PMBOK 5th Edition now requires that all project assumptions and constraints, the stakeholder list, and project high-level boundaries be documented in the project charter.

Identify Stakeholders Process changes

While the Identify Stakeholders process is still part of the Initiating Process Group, it has been moved to a new Knowledge Area: Project Stakeholder Management.

One new tool  has been added to the Identify Stakeholders process: meetings.  These meetings provide a means to develop an understanding of the project stakeholders and should document the roles, interests, knowledge, and position of each stakeholder.

There are no changes to the inputs for the Identity Stakeholders process. There is one change to the outputs: the stakeholder management strategy has been removed as an output of the Identify Stakeholders process, mainly because the stakeholder management plan is now created in the new Plan Stakeholder Management process. The stakeholder register is now the only output of the Identify Stakeholders process.

Additionally, the stakeholder register is now an input to the Collect Requirements, Plan Quality Management, Plan Communications Management, Plan Risk Management, Identify Risks, Plan Procurement Management, and Plan Stakeholder Management processes. The PMBOK 5th Edition has also added instructions regarding updating the stakeholder register on a regular basis as stakeholders change throughout the life of the project.

Summary

Because the Initiating Process Group is not very large, I come to the end of this post. My next post will cover the Planning Process Group. But with a total of 24 processes, I expect that I will need to divide the content into several posts. I expect for the Planning Process Group changes to encompass 3 to 4 posts, with the Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing Process Groups coming after those.

Keep in mind that I am writing and revising content for our practice test as I am keeping y’all posted here on our blog. So feel free to ask any questions you may have. Who knows, some of your comments and questions might make it into our next product update! I’m glad that you took some time to peek into my world and hope you stick around for the next installment in this PMP series.

Until next time,

-Robin

My PMP Journey: Bad News, Good Advice, and the Dire Warnings You Should Heed

January 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Posted in PMI, Study hints | 2 Comments
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While I do manage projects in my daily work, I’d never thought of myself as an actual project manager. Being a take-action, Active Directory kind of guy, I primarily develop Microsoft practice exams and leave products like Project+ and CAPM to the professionals (aka Robin Abernathy). But last year several of my co-workers began suggesting that I take PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) exam. Then my supervisor softly “suggested” that I take the PMP exam. Even my sister, a project manager, got in the game and encouraged me to take the exam. Furthermore, my sister said the exam was easy and did not take a whole lot of work to prepare for.

Well, she was wrong.

Since I am a veteran trainer, exam developer, and test-passer, my initial plan of attack was to fill out the application, take a practice test to identify gaps in my knowledge, do self-study to close those gaps, schedule the exam, take the exam, and pass it. BOOM! PMP-ville.

The Bad News

Not so fast. First, it took forever and a day to detail all of my project work experience for the application. Yes, you have to document 4,500 hours of project management experience (7,500 hours if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree). They also require 35 hours of formal project management training, which I didn’t have. The training materials was not actually a problem, as I was able to take a Skillsoft e-learning course that my company offers, but I did have to stop and find time for 35 hours of training in my schedule.

Once I finished the training and completed the application, back in June 2012, I got the go-ahead from PMI to schedule my exam. Next, I tested my existing knowledge by taking the Transcender PMP practice test. I failed that practice test miserably, and I emphasize: miserably.

I appealed to my friends and Dr. Internet for advice. One friend suggested a book that turned out to be a lifesaver: PMP Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide by Kim Heldman. Meanwhile, Dr. Internet suggested that I read the book chapter by chapter, then go through some practice tests after I’d finished the whole thing.

The More Bad News

Great plan, except for the part where it didn’t work. I would read one chapter, then another chapter, and then life would get in the way. I would put in one week of good study, then put the PMP info down for about 10 days. Unfortunately, a lot of the information that I’d studied seemed to float away. This process continued all the way through fall. By the time September rolled around, I was still not able to pass the practice tests that came with the book. Worse, the actual PMP exam is four hours long, but I had to take lots of breaks to finish each practice test. I just could not sit through all 200 questions. I felt like I was in high school taking the SAT test again. Augh!

I soon figured out what everybody and their mother has already posted on the Internet: you need to know every process, every input for that process, every tool and technique for that process, and every output for that process. By the way, there are a whole lot of processes. I tried to memorize them with repeated reading, but was never successful.

Finally, I tried using the audio CDs that came with Heldman’s book. Since my office recently relocated to East Tumbleweed, I had plenty of driving time to listen to someone else describe each process. Although this sounds like this would be outlawed by the Geneva Convention as torture, it actually helped a lot. I was able to memorize most of the processes and their information in this way. More importantly, I was able to do significantly better on the book’s practice tests, and started to make headway on the Transcender practice test as well.

The very last thing I did to prepare was to actually read the PMBOK guide. Not exactly a page turner, but it had to be done. I wasn’t too far into the PMBOK when I realized that Heldman’s book has done such a great job of explaining the abstract terminology with real-life examples, that I didn’t need to spend a lot of time with the PMBOK itself. I might owe dinner to the buddy that recommended Heldman’s book.

The Dire Warnings

Scheduling, or rather the impossibility of RE-scheduling the PMP exam, was no walk in the park. I strongly suggest that you do not schedule your exam too many months in advance. In fact, you might want to make sure your test date is carved in stone. If you need to reschedule your exam within 30 days of the exam date, you will have to pay a $70 fee.  Worse, if you need to reschedule within 48 hours, you lose the entire testing fee ($405 for PMI members, $555 for non-PMI members). Ouch! Just be mindful, if you schedule the exam months in advance, life might get in the way, and you will risk losing your $70.

MoneyDownTheDrain

All warnings aside, I do recommend you set a goal date. I decided on the date that I wanted to take my exam and scheduled the exam only a few days out from that date.  Set a target date for when you want to take the exam, and then try to schedule the exam two weeks out from the target date.

The test center where I took the exam reminded me of the gulag in the movie “Stripes” where the East Germans held John Candy, Judge Reinhold and the gang, before Bill Murray and Harold Ramis busted them out.

Stripes

The lighting was so bad that I could barely see what I was writing on the scrap paper they gave me. As promised, the exam had 200 questions and blocked out four hours. My sister said that it would only take me two hours, tops. As I may have mentioned before, my sister was wrong. It took nearly the whole four hours for me to finish. It was comprehensive and really a tough exam. After staring at a screen for four hours, I could barely see to drive home.

Finally, the Good Advice

The exam was not impossible. Looking back, there are some things that I would have done differently. For starters, former Transcender team member Jennifer Wagner gave some really good advice on the application process in her blog post from 2009. Like she mentions, you should start documenting your project hours as soon as you start thinking about the PMP exam to cut down on the time spent sorting out the application requirements.

After I finished the application process and got the approval to take the exam, I would have tried to take the test within 6 weeks. I would have taken several days off from work and buckled down to go through all the material and practice tests on a continual basis, instead of trying to dedicate 90 minutes to studying five days a week.  PMI uses specific terminology to describe things that seem obvious or intuitive when you’re actually managing a project. If you do not know that terminology backwards and forwards, which I didn’t at first, it will be tough to pass the exam, even if you apply those principles every day at your job.

For me, the best way to get the knowledge about the processes was to go through as many practice test questions as I could to cement the information about the processes in my brain. There are about 800 practice test questions and over 1000 flash questions in the Trancender PMP practice test. I also went through the 400 practice test questions in the Kim Heldman’s book. With my work/life schedule, it took about two weeks to go through all those questions. Going through the questions highlighted my deficiencies. This was the key to the whole process, since after I identified the weak areas, I concentrated on the processes that I was weak on. I got better and better at the flash cards and practice questions until I felt ready to schedule my exam.

The more that you space the studying out, the less you’ll retain. Dedicate some time to the process and knock it out of the park while it’s still fresh. Hope this insight into my experience helps set your expectations & project management goals. Good luck!

Graduate

–George Monsalvatge

Mobile Devices in the new CompTIA A+ exams (Part 1 of 2)

October 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Posted in CompTIA, Study hints | 1 Comment
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Last month, I posted an article about the virtualization topics in the new A+ exams. At that time, I indicated that I would be posting about the new mobile devices topics. I expected to get the two articles out within a few weeks of each other, but as it always seems to happen around here, other things took precedence….and a month later, I am finally sitting down to fulfill my promise.

Mobile devices have increasingly become part of our lives. Because of the popularity of these devices and our dependence on them, the CompTIA A+ certification now includes  mobile device topics to ensure that A+ technicians are proficient in certain aspects of mobile device management. The new A+ 220-802 exam has an entire domain that is dedicated to mobile devices. Domain 3, the Mobile Device domain, makes up 9% of the exam. The objectives from Domain 3 are as follows:

3.1 Explain the basic features of mobile operating systems.
3.2 Establish basic network connectivity and configure email.
3.3 Compare and contrast methods for securing mobile devices.
3.4 Compare and contrast hardware differences in regards to tablets and laptops.
3.5 Execute and configure mobile device synchronization.

There’s a lot to chew on here, so let’s focus on the first two of these objectives. (I will discuss the other three in a coming post.) Please remember that I’m writing based on my experience with mobile devices and on what I’ve read in several reference books. As of this posting, I have not actually taken the new A+ exams. CompTIA released those exams this week, so I’ll hopefully have some time to take them before Part 2 of this blog post! But since I’ve been writing study material for the A+ exams since the 300-level A+,  I am fairly confident that I won’t be too far off the mark.

For Obj 3.1: Explain the basic features of mobile operating systems, you will need to understand the features of the Android and iOS mobile operating systems.

  • Android is an open-source operating system, while the Apple iOS is a vendor-specific OS.
  • Developers for Android have access to the same APIs used by the operating system. Developers for Apple must use the software development kit (SDK) and must be registered as Apple developers.
  • Android apps are purchased from the Google Android market (now called Google Play) or from other Android app sites, while Apple apps can only be purchased from the Apple App store.
  • For screen orientation, mobile devices use an accelerometer and/or a gyroscope. While only one of these is required, many newer mobile devices use both because they work better together.
  • Touch-screen mobile devices require screen calibration. The screen calibration tool will require you to touch the screen in different ways so that the mobile device can learn how you will touch the screen. If the device does not react in an expected manner when you touch the screen, it may need re-calibration.
  • GPS information can be obtained from cell phone towers or from satellites. Keep in mind that keeping the GPS function enabled will cause the battery to be depleted much quicker. Android phones normally use satellites to obtain GPS data, while iPhones use a combination of satellites, cell phone towers, and WiFi towers to obtain GPS data.
  • Geotracking  allows a mobile device to periodically record location information and transmit this information to a centralized server. Consumers have recently raised privacy concerns overs this feature.

For Obj 3.2: Establish basic network connectivity and configure email, you will need to understand how to connect mobile devices to networks and how to configure email on mobile devices. For all of the following points, I would expect this to focus mainly on the two major smart phones (iPhone and Android), but wouldn’t be surprised if you are expected to know how to do this for the iPad and other tablets.

  • Enable/disable the wireless and cellular data network.
  • Understand Bluetooth configuration, including enabling/disabling Bluetooth, enabling device pairing, finding devices for pairing (including entering the PIN code),  and testing Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Configure email. You will need to know the URL of the incoming and outgoing email server, the port numbers used by these servers, and the encryption type (if applicable). You probably will also need to know your account details, including user name, password, and domain name. The process for setting up email will vary slightly based on the mobile device that you are configuring and the type of account. Some of the more popular mail services, such as Exchange and Gmail, are easier to set up because of configuration wizards.

To fully prepare for these objectives, it may be necessary to install a mobile phone emulator on your computer if you do not have access to a physical mobile phone. In many cases, there are free mobile phone emulators available so that you can learn how to perform many of the basic configuration steps. You may want to research the options that are available and install them in a lab environment, particularly if you are an instructor. These emulators can provide a valuable service to students who do not have experience with mobile devices.

Part 2 of this topic will be released in the coming days and will cover the other three Mobile Devices objectives in the 220-802 exam. I also plan to have a post in the coming months on mobile phone emulators, so feel free to send me any information on what you have found in this area.

Until then….

-Robin

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