Can you imagine valuing a book so much that you send the author a Thank You letter?
Hundreds of thousands of project managers understand why PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy, PMP, is a worldwide best-seller. Is it Rita's years of PMP exam preparation experience? The endless hours of ongoing research? The interviews with project managers who failed the exam, to identify gaps in their knowledge? Or is it the razor-sharp focus on making sure project managers don't waste a single minute of their time studying any more than they absolutely have to? Actually, it's all of the above.
PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition by Rita Mulcahy contains hundreds of updates and improvements from previous editions--including new exercises and sample questions never before in print. Offering hundreds of sample questions, critical time-saving tips plus games and activities available nowhere else, this book will help you pass the PMP exam on your FIRST try.
PMP Exam Prep, Sixth Edition: Rita's Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam Review
THE BOOK for PMP Certification
In short this book is a very good reference for Project Management (not only for PMP Certification).
I was impressed with the overwhelming amount of people praising Rita's book and decided to buy it. Lucky me. It is indeed a very good book.
Besides being a great asset when pursuing the PMP Certification, this book is a great introductory book on Project Management, covering most important subjects.
Do not expect to get as much info as you would reading Kerzner's book, but the balance is good.
Full of illustrative pictures it presents the Project Management processes, along with explanation and examples (a totally different approach than the one used in the PMBoK). I've enjoyed A LOT this approach.
Quick Chapters Overview:
Chapters 1 - 3 cover the introductory material and the PM Framework.
Chapters 4 - 12 cover each of the 9 Knowledge areas.
Chapter 13 covers Professional and Social Responsibility.
It has been written as if Rita were talking to the reader. It is a very nice feature that makes the reading very easy. Also, while she does that, she makes you think what and how well have you been managing your projects. Very nice. (Tell me later about it).
Ok, but what makes this book different?
Some of the items are:
* Tricks of the trade
* Eligibility Checklist
* Study Tips (Rita calls it "critical time-saving tips")
* Games and exercises
* Common Errors and Pitfalls
* Cert Study Plan
* Quick Tests (at the beginning of each chapter)
Very small letters, make it hard to read (Ok, I got the book at the same time I had to get my first glasses, so give Rita some credit).
To summ up:
I recommend it for both the beginner and the seasoned PM alike, since it will be a nice refresher.
If you're looking for a book full of examples and templates, I'd recommend not buying it.
Hope this helps!
My value-add Rita book-usage tips + CAPM / PMP experience...
This review is for the April 2009 6th edition of RMC's PMP Exam Prep. Also see my Amazon "Project Management Journeyman" Booklist.
I'm writing this book review with 5 value-points for the reader in mind:
(1) List of 7 *VALUABLE* tips to get more horsepower out of the book faster
(2) I used the "harder" PMP book for passing the "easier" CAPM exam
(3) use of the RMC learning system with 2 other competitive offerings
(4) thoughts on other RMC offerings
(5) my experience with the PMBOK v4 PMI CAPM exam in light of the above
The PMI PMBOK version 4 was released in 2008, and the CAPM / PMP exams switched over from the now-superseded PMBOK version 3 as of July 2009. Seeking to certify under the latest standard, I looked at 3+ leaders in the field for self-paced PM training (RMC, Kerzner, Heldman) and chose the Rita/RMC book and system as the best overall value hands-down relative to my specific 2-POINT training goal: (a) to be *solid* in the PM basics *well* beyond your typical CAPM candidate -- but without having to read 8 to 12 different PM books over a period of months to get there; (b) do it for as close to the drive-out price of $1000 as possible versus the typical PM training program investment of $2500-5000 elsewhere.
I deliberately used the more difficult, much thicker RMC PMP book instead of RMC's CAPM book to prepare for the CAPM exam, and am pleased with the results. And going forward, I also bought Kerzner and Heldman's PMP books (again, see my PM booklist) and find their different approaches actually complement the RMC program for continued professional development quite well. Kerzner's strength is case studies and color commentary that comes from years of doing PM, teaching PM, and evolving his great book. Heldman's approach is the opposite of RMC: learn thoroughly by doing in the laboratory of the job. Heldman will push you to get good at comprehensive hands-on PM, but unfortunately it will take MUCH longer than RMC's approach for coming up to speed to pass the PMI exam sooner rather than later. *** RMC is about practical actionable knowledge NOW - and RMC delivers. *** I'm not saying anything bad about Heldman's approach; rather, I'm saying that the 3 systems (RMC, Kerzner, Heldman) have different approaches that work well together. My proposed reading order is to go through the RMC book 2x-3x and take the test. Next get through Kerzner -- an easy read to fill out one's worldview after paying the price to get through RMC. Finally, if you're a full-time PM, use Heldman's book to round things out.
On other RMC offerings, first I'll mention the CAPM online 23-hour course - you'll recall that (in addition to a 4-year degree) PMI requires 23 classroom contact hours in lieu of 1500 documented hours working on a project team for eligibility to take the exam. The online RMC CAPM course is pretty much taken straight from the book but interlaced with video vignettes featuring Rita teaching. A heads-up: don't look for fireworks with the online course. You've actually already experienced the show when you read the book; the online course complements with multi-media feedings for the CAPM candidate and thus satisfies the technicality of the PMI 23 hour classroom requirement. That's it. The price is right. Remember the gift-horse parable and your wallet will thank you.
The RMC system also offers an optional 1000+ exam questions database (FASTrack), and a flashcard drill system. If you're taking the harder PMP exam, then I would strongly recommend atleast the FASTrack as the RMC PMP book only offers 200+ questions; this is not enough for the PMP. However, for the easier CAPM exam, I found it enough to just memorize the complete Rita Process Chart and few other small patterns cited in the book. Interestingly, both the Rita chart in the RMC PMP book, AND the Process Group .vs. Knowledge Area matrix found in the PMBOK v4 book -- have the same page # -- page 43 !
My experience with the CAPM exam is that Rita was right: know the Rita Chart (and DO all the work in the book from cover to cover, no half-steppin' !) and you largely don't have to memorize Inputs / Outputs. However I'll throw in 2 warnings: (a) read the formal PMBOK book alongside the RMC book on a per-chapter basis for further subtle but important clarities around Inputs/Outputs anyway (but without memorization); (b) the PMP exam is full of experiential questions (qualitative) .vs. the CAPM exam questions are strictly quantitative. So I very much over-studied for the CAPM exam in using RMC's PMP book; but that's okay as my goal was EDUCATION (change one's mentality) and not just "training" (improve existing mentality).
Here are my 7 value-add observations and nuggets for getting more horsepower out of the RMC PMP 6th ed book:
(1) STUDY ORDER - SAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME: go to a copier and copy the "Difficulty Level" illustration on page 9, then the Knowledge Area bar chart near the bottom of page 99. These 2 drawings should make it clear how you'll want to tackle the book in a way that works uniquely for you. I was then able to alternate back and forth between a "hard" chapter and an "easy" chapter to help sustain my momentum; I also more readily invested more time in the harder chapters.
(2) PM PROCESSES & PM INTEGRATION CHAPTERS: PM Processes is the hardest chapter. Trust me when I say this - pay the price here to memorize the Rita Process Chart and the rest of the book becomes a breeze. Next, just skim the PM Integration chapter the first time and save the more in-depth effort for this chapter after completion of the book.
(3) RISK & QUALITY CHAPTERS: Read the Risk chapter early in your study sequence because it's the most pervasive of the 9 knowledge areas throughout the entire PM effort. Also read the Quality chapter early in the sequence else the Rita Chart can be ambiguous (e.g. Verify Scope .vs. Validate Scope, or what is QP .vs. QA .vs. QC ?).
(4) MY TRICK TO EASILY MEMORIZING THE WHOLE RITA PROCESS CHART AND NOT JUST THE PLANNING COLUMN: I oughta charge $$$ for what I'm about to share here. Rita only advises rote memorization of just the "Planning" group column (because the step-order within the other 4 PM process groups is not strictly fixed, but instead "generally" grouped and "approximately" sequenced). The good news is that "generally" and "approximately" is good enough ! So you can readily memorize all 5 columns for not much more work than memorizing the 1 column - and the results will show on the exam. So I made the following discovery after copying the flashcards pages in the PM Processes chapter (pages 47-57), then cutting them out with scissors and playing the game over several times for 2 hours. RMC does not point this trick out -- so I'm saving you a lot of time and increasing your score with this next secret ! Read carefully: the 5 original PMBOK process group columns (Initiate, Plan, Execute, M&C, Close), using the Rita Process Chart version rather than the PMBOK version, have a total of 10+24+20+17+8 = 79 steps distributed across the 5 columns. Working with the RMC PM Process Chapter flashcards revealed that, with no modifications, these 5 long columns will fragment out cleanly into 17 short columns that can each be thought of as "work-packages". These work-packages in turn can be thought of as self-contained pearls on a string that should be strung together in a self-evident logical order. I gave each of these pearls my own custom name for easy recall. The numbering sequence that emerges is: Initiate 55, Plan 5865, Execute 5573, M&C 5552, Close 332. It's easy to memorize these 5 numbers which together are the 17 digits that in turn are the 17 "pearls", and that collectively contain Rita's 79 steps. Visualize being a PM on the job through each pearl as you build the entire chart out over and over again on paper. You'll have the *entire* chart down cold in 1 to 2 hours:
>> INITIATE formerly 10 steps, now 5+5 steps = 5-step Big Picture, 5-step Make Commitments;
>> PLAN formerly 24 steps, now 5+8+6+5 steps = 5-step Project Scope + Equipment + Team, 8-step WBS + Dictionary, 6-step Other Plans, 5-step Finalize;
>> EXECUTE formerly 20 steps, now 5+5+7+3 = 5-step Product Scope + Request Change, 5-step Make the Donuts + Uphold QA standards, 7-step Manage Team, 3-step Information I/O;
>> MONITOR & CONTROL formerly 17 steps, now 5+5+5+2 = 5-step Measure + Influence, 5-step Change Control, 5-step V&V + Risk + Forecast/Report, 2-step Manage Reserves + Admin Procurements;
>> CLOSE formerly 8 steps, now 3+3+2 = 3-step External Closure, 3-step Internal Closure, 2-step Legal Closure.
(5) ONCE A DAY -- 5-MINUTE BRAIN-DUMP THE RITA CHART TO PAPER: whadya know, Proverbs in the morning, Psalms at night, and the RITA CHART while in the food-line during lunch !
(6) PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT CHAPTER: sorry guys, this chapter needs more clarity and elaboration. It's already the longest chapter in the book but that's okay. The solution is not to argue with the coke machine with 45 cents in the hand and try in vain to buy a 50 cent coke. The solution is to pay the 50 cents and get the coke. Thanks.
(7) LAST CHAPTER - REASONS YOU MIGHT FAIL THE EXAM: *do* the inputs / outputs exercise after the 2nd read-through (and you DID parallel-read the PMBOK book on a chapter by chapter basis, right ?!). The last chapter brings it all home for sure. Make this the partner chapter with your 2nd passage through the PM Integration chapter.
Rita's PMP Exam Prep Review
This is an excellent product. I passed PMP exam (on first try) just by studying from PMBOK and Rita's PMP Exam Prep last May. This edition is slightly more advanced and revised to fit PMBOK 4th edition.