By Vinai Prakash
Recently, one of our PMChamp online coaching students asked me about a mock PMP question. I thought of sharing it with you, so that all of our PMP aspirants can also benefit from the analysis, and use this kind of thinking in your PMP exam.
QUESTION: In your project, as part of Distribute Information process, you have created an information retrieval system, which helps team members and stakeholders to share information. What will you do next?
A. Create a communications management plan
B. Perform stakeholder analysis to develop a methodical and logical view of information needs
C. Determine methods of accessing information for scheduled communications
D. Conduct regular status review meetings to exchange information on the project
First of all, make your own choice of the answer. Go ahead, don’t be shy. Choose only ONE answer – A, B, C or D.
Good. Now let’s analyze this question…
If you look at the question – you have done something in the “Distribute Information” process.
The first step is to find where you are – in which process group and in knowledge area. Now try to think about the Processes as listed in the PMBOK guide. In which process group and knowledge area is this process of Distribute Information usually done?
This process is done during the “Executing” process group. Therefore it is clear that you are in project execution phase. Secondly, this belongs to the “Communication Management” Knowledge Area. This tells you clearly where you are in terms of the Processes.
Answer Analysis by Elimination:
Now, let’s look at the given choices to begin the elimination process.
Choice A is to create the Communication Management Plan – creation of plans is usually done in Planning process group. This should have already been done in “Planning”, as we are now in the Executing process group. Therefore, this choice is ruled out pretty easily.
Choice B – Perform stakeholder analysis to understand their needs and come out with a systematic and methodical view of their needs is done in the early part of the project life cycle , as part of Collect Requirements, Identify Stakeholders, and Define Scope. These process are done during Initiating or Planning process groups, and are therefore, ruled out.
Choice C – Determining methods of accessing information for scheduled communication – should be done early on in the project life cycle – clearly part of “planning” as this is for “scheduled communications”. Remember that a Project Manager is proactive, and plans for things “before hand”. Since regular communication is part of the project, it should be planned before hand, not when problems arise. Therefore, this option is also ruled out.
Choice D – Conduct regular status review meetings to exchange information about the project – is done as part of Report Performance (done during Monitoring & Controlling process group). This seems the most logical choice as it is an activity you do once execution has begun. This seems the most logical choice to do.
Anyway, we have already ruled out the first 3 planning related activities, so this is the best and most logical answer.
Choice D is the Best answer.
Now, someone may argue that “stakeholder analysis is something which is conducted thoroughout the project, thus it cant be just termed as part of planning only”.
So, take note, here the choice says “Perform stakeholder analysis to develop a methodical and logical view of information needs”.
This developing of a methodical and logical view of their info needs should be done once, initially. There are can minor changes, but you do not do a complete review of their needs in the middle of the project, unless there is an issue or they request for it… Since nothing specific is given, it is not logical to jump to conclusion that Stakeholder Analysis should be the next activity.
Conclusion: What did we learn about answering PMP questions?
The most important thing is to identify which process group and knowledge area is the question referring to. This will give you an anchor point, from where it becomes easier to answer PMP questions, and eliminate wrong choices.
Secondly, use the information given in the question carefully. Do not jump to conclusions unnecessarily. Don’t think of unnamed exceptions, and get distracted with the choices.
If you would like to learn more, check out these resources:
- 10 Important Points for the PMP Exam
- Answering PMP questions – Choosing Hard or Soft answers
- 4 Tips for PMP Exam [Video Post]
- How to Answer the PMP Questions when all 4 choices are Correct? [Video Blog]
You can always join the Online PMChamp Coaching workshop at any time. Classes begin on Monday.
And don’t be shy. Post a comment below.
Let me know if this was helpful. What else is bugging you? What’s the issue you are facing with the PMP exam preparations. Perhaps I can help you…
All the Best!