Apply PMBOK Processes to a Sample Project: Mohammed Ajaz, PMP

pmbok processesDear folks,

I got PMP certification in Jan 2016, it was a nice experience. Preparation for exam is a journey that helped me bring my project management skills and knowledge to next level. When I started preparation for exam, I asked this question to myself – Why do I need PMP certification?

pmbok process mohammed ajazThe answer was personal growth. So if this certification is for personal growth then I will have to learn and expend my knowledge to become better project manager.

I am in project management profession for eight years now and have completed dozens of successful projects; my mind was trained to perform project management activities based on my experience. However I knew that basing experience to prepare for PMP wasn’t going to cut it. Training my mind to think like a “PMI project manager” was a challenge.

People who are in project management domain know there are several ways to perform project management activities. All of them may be right, but how do I choose the best course of action? This is why I needed to study PMBOK thoroughly.

Since then I have found that weather you have 20 years of project management experience or 3 years PMI will test your skills and knowledge, and it will not be an easy exam to prepare.

After my training classes I started studying PMBOK 5 guide. It was a good experience to know the details of project management processes and knowledge areas, however it was difficult to memories all process and ITTOs. Therefore I took a test project and started planning activities exactly as mentioned in PMBOK guide. After completion of the this test project PMBOK guide seemed much easier as compared to the first time.

The second book that I referred to was PMP® Exam Prep 8th Edition by Rita Mulcahy. This book solidified my project management concepts. For me the first chapter of this book is true guide for passing the exam.

Rita’s book helped me think like “PMI’s project manager” or what Rita calls PMIisms. As I mentioned earlier there are several ways to perform project management activates, and it is important to understand the standards and methodology set by the PMI.

Personally I felt bit confused about Rita’s process charts and games so I skipped that part and focused more on PMBOK guide and PMESN.

I frequently visited Shiv’s (‘PMESN’) and downloaded all content offered free of cost. PMESN is best source for clearing PM concept and guide to pass the exam.

For mock tests, I used and also downloaded 175 sample questions from

I used these resources for my preparation and passed it. I’d suggest don’t go for every resource found on the Internet – avoid information overload. This will not help pass the exam, in fact it will make your mind cloudy and may affect your exam results.

Also Read: PMP: Once Bitten, Second Time Successful – By Sita Sharma, PMP

My suggestions for passing PMP exam

  1. Do not over-study. PMBOK 5, Rita and PMESN were enough for my preparation and to pass the exam.
  2. Try perform PM activities in your professional life, this will help avoid memorizing tons of concepts. Much of project management concepts are easily understood actually doing project management activates. You can create a test/sample project and try to apply each of the processes as you study them, like I did.
  3. Since most of the questions are situational, do not memories the answers during preparation or mock tests – focus more on understanding the concepts.
  4. Memorizing ITTOs is difficult. If you focus more on understanding the natural flow of ITTOs between processes across KAs and PGs it will help answering situational questions on the exam.
  5. If possible try to plan and execute at least one project as per PMI’s guidelines during exam preparation phase. This will help you understand the justification of ITTOs and project management processes without memorization.
  6. It is better not to attempt any mock tests early during the study. Focus more on study material and later you can test your knowledge by mock tests. This helps you discover your weak areas.
  7. Always go through answers after each mock test, and write down the reasons for choosing wrong answer instead of only memorizing the correct answer.
  8. When reading exam question, try to find which process group and knowledge area that the question is referring, this will help choose the correct answer.
  9. If you straight away don’t know the right answer for a question, try to eliminate wrong answers.
  10. For wordy questions, read last couple of sentences first and then read the answers. This might help you choose the best answer without reading the whole wordy question, and save time. In most of the wordy questions actual question is asked in last few sentences while other details provided in questions are unnecessary.

Good luck!
Mohammed Ajaz, PMP

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