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Course Technology, a part of Cengage Learning

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This book was published in the year 2010 by Massachusetts: Course Technology, a part of Cengage Learning, ISBN 978-1435455344. This book is a preparation guide for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). The author has keenly concentrated on the disciplines of project management as of PMBOK Guide; nine knowledge areas and five process groups. The author has started with the basics of project management and then travelled into the knowledge areas taking a chapter for each knowledge area. The author was confident on feeding right amount of knowledge at each stage of this book.

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All the topics are covered with adequate depth and comprehensive in the first read itself supported by illustrations. The contents are presented in a perfect logical learning sequence, and there is no hopping from topic to topic. The book was written in a notable style that makes it perfect choice for the certification material. Every chapter starts with a big picture about the topics to be encountered and thus help the reader to get prepared for the detailed study.

To review the important concepts, a summary section is provided at the end of each chapter. To help he readers test their understanding, the author has framed check point exercises involving crucial topics and provided solution for them. To provide additional real-world insight into the topic, the author has provided notes and tips in between. There are also caution sections to alert the reader about chances of additional problems in a concept. Above all these, to highlight the important points from exam perspective, the author has provided exam’s eye view section. Also, a set of review questions at the end of the chapters helps the reader to test his/her ability to answer the CAPM exam questions.

In the introductory chapter, the author has started with what project management is and the terms involved in project management discipline. He has explained project management in terms of projects, processes that constitute the nine knowledge areas and project lifecycle: initiating, planning, monitoring and controlling, executing and closing. This chapter carries some introduction towards stakeholders and their importance. The author has also explained about the organizational environment factors like organizational culture, organizational structure, process assets etc. that affects the project management.

Some PMI oriented additional details are also provided like the golden triplet is what PMI expects as the addition skills required for effective project manager: Knowledge, Performance and Personal. An illustration of the big picture of the project summarizes the entire chapter. Second chapter takes the knowledge area Project Integration Management. The author has explained the processes and activities involved in the project management. It mainly talks about the five project lifecycle processes. A table briefing the processes involved in project lifecycle and their major outputs has been provided.

This kind of table containing processes and outputs are presented in all the future chapters also. Also every chapter is mentioned with a set of tools and techniques to perform the activities. The author has specified that project charter document initiates and formally authorizes the project. This goes as an input to the planning stage. Then the project would start its performance and goes to the closing stage. Monitoring and controlling stage is said to involve in all the stages. I was able to correlate almost all the concepts of project lifecycle with my experience in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as a software engineer.

Author’s project charter discussion involves the role of stakeholders and some project documents like business case and contracts. I was working in a small team of 15 under the client Experian, a global credit information group. The stakeholder’s relationship in the project was banks to Experian and Experian to TCS. The banks request list of people having certain credit scores. Experian outsource that work to TCS to create program that generates the list required by banks. Since this business between TCS and Experian goes in contract, it is Experian that decides whether to take a bank’s request and TCS takes all the requests of Experian.

A start of any solution will be initiated by a business case document as mentioned in this book. Whenever a new solution needs to be developed, first I received a business document containing the purpose of the document, high-level design, low-level design, project objectives, project approval, assigned project manager and project sponsor. As I was only a developer, the budget information would be stripped from the document. And regarding scheduling, I had the independence to design my own schedule. Change request will also be sent through the same business case document with the changes highlighter.

Once the development was over, the project goes to a reviewer. After his approval, it will go to the testing team and then to quality assurance team. After everything was passed, the program will be submitted to the client Experian. For every project that exceeds 40 hours of schedule needs to undergo TCS audit process. Even without this audit process, all the completed projects will be updated in the TCS assets. The author has also discussed about the assumptions and constraints that could be allowed during the initiating stage.

In the scope of the project discussion, the author has explained about the project scope and product scope. The author mentioned that here, the assumptions and constrained could be revisited. The author introduces Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in this knowledge area. This is one common activity existing in any kind of projects. As mentioned in this book, there is a program called “Joint Application Development” in TCS which I have attended to work with clients in enhancing the existing processes. In the time management knowledge area, the author has explained scheduling as deciding on the activities and their sequence.

One of the methods that author mentioned for timesaver is use of templates. In TCS, almost for every documentation requirements, we were having templates. In some situations, I have thought of the components that could not be decomposed during WBS. In this book, the author has given a solution to use the rolling wave planning technique. The author has neatly explained on how to design the dependent activities through precedence diagramming method. He has also explained the network diagramming for project scheduling and finding the critical path.

I found this calculation of critical path method as effective and very useful for a course project in Operations Management involving glass manufacturing company. In the cost management knowledge area, the author has described on the factors that constitute to the calculation of estimated cost for a project. Based on methods like monitoring, cost controlling processes are also examined in this chapter. For measuring the performance of the cost control methods and cost variance, a common technique called earned value management (EVM) is considered.

This discussion leads to how the EVM helps in budget forecasting. An interesting theory on scope, schedule and cost: the triple constraint is presented in this chapter. The most important resources of the organization, the human resources is one the knowledge areas. The author has explained on how to develop plan for acquiring human resources taking into account of the budget and developing them into team. He has mentioned a number of human factor theories in this chapter like Tuckman’s refined stages of group development theory, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory for team motivation etc.

The author has also mentioned about the organizational environmental factors in human resource planning. I’ve experienced this influence of organizational factors in TCS and differ between companies. I got any offer to work from onsite location Dallas for BoA but it got rejected since I was not having min 8 months of work experience in that project. After serving a year with BoA, I was offered to lead the team for which I again attended interviews internally. The author has discussed about the important factor of human resource management, conflict management.

His high priority for team motivation goes to awarding and rewarding. TCS awards the best performers for each fiscal quarter with points called TCS Gems reward points. Under the communication management knowledge area, the author has discussed mainly about planning project communication and management strategy with the stakeholders. He has neatly differentiated positive and negative stakeholders. The next knowledge area is about quality. The author has discussed the seven basic tools of quality control: flowchart, run chart, scatter diagram, histogram, Pareto diagram, control chart, Cause and effect diagram.

Every project I worked in TCS had a Testing team and Quality Assurance team which would not have any association with development team. These teams follow documentations based on organization standards and of client standards. Risk and procurement management are the last two knowledge areas explained in this book. Identifying, analysing, responding, monitoring and controlling of risks are some of the key discussion in these sections. The author has provided a very useful illustration of risk impact on four project objectives: cost, time, scope and quality.

In the procuring project resources, the author has discussed about the roles and components involved in project management. When reading about the contract types sections, I remembered the billing procedures in TCS. In TCS, there are two types of billing for human resources especially. Both are discussed in this book. One is Fixed Price and Time and Material billing. With Fixed Price billing, the client will pay a lump-sum amount and it is TCS’s decision to have enough team members to run the project. But in Time and Material billing, the client pays for hours worked by team members.

So, TCS will tend to add more people to make more billing. Though this book is particularly designed for CAPM exam, it gives a good learning experience for project managers who want a quick reference to the disciple of project management. Even beginners who want to start the project management career can take this book. To produce healthy minds for future organizations, this book could be considered as textbook at academics. I can associate the knowledge I gained from my career to their theoretical knowledge. Truly I am glad that I am ready for the CAPM exam now. I would rate 10/10 for this book in all aspects.

Cite this Course Technology, a part of Cengage Learning

Course Technology, a part of Cengage Learning. (2019, May 02). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/course-technology-a-part-of-cengage-learning/

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