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How to make a brain dump

Practice this procedure until you can reliably start with a blank piece of paper, and reproduce a brain dump in about 15 minutes.

Upper half: classification of the 44 processes into nine knowledge areas and five process groups...
1. Write ISTCQHCRP (the red letters, below) across the top of the page.  These are initials of the nine knowledge areas.  Think IS, TCQ, Holy CRaP! or make up your own.
2. Write 756334466 (the red numbers) below the letters.  This is the number of processes in each knowledge area.
3. Write "Init", "Planning", etc. along the left column.  Don't box yourself in with any lines yet.  The paper is relatively blank at this point.
4. Make boxes that can hold five planning-group processes in the Time and Risk knowledge areas.  Write the five processes in each of these boxes.
5. What sorts of things can you execute?  Answer: People (H.R.) and contracts (Procurement).  So these are the two knowledge areas with two executing-group processes.  Box these, and write 'em in.
6. Now box the monitoring and controlling-group processes in the knowledge areas with more than three processes that you haven't already boxed.
7. Now, fill in the remaining processes.  You will no doubt remember them in your own way. Two thirds of the planning processes, for example, are named something planning, and the first five knowledge areas have mon & control group procedures called something control.  The anomalies are your friends: QA and QC are perform QA and perform QC.  Why?  No reason is known.
8. There are "S" words for three of the KA's: Time=schedule; H.R.=staffing; Communications=stakeholder.  The management plans (subordinate to the PMP created in Integration) use these "s" words as do some of the proceses.  In addition to the nine something management plans (one for each KA).  Two additional subordinate plans exist, which you can also indicate on the brain dump: Continuous Improvement Plan (in the Quality KA) and Contract M.P. (in the Procurement KA).

Bottom half: lists and formulas.  There's a pattern to them.  The earned value calculations, for example, start with AC, EV, and PV.  There are three "at completion" TLA's, and one thing "to complete".  All the variances are EV minus something, all the indices are EV divided by something.  And each one of these four formulas can be turned around to make a dual formula with the variables in reverse order.  You'll see the patterns, and use them to your advantage when you write this brain dump over and over.

  Integr.
7
Scope
5
(sched)
Time
6
Cost
3
(&contin.
improvmt)
Quality
3
(staffing)
H.R.
4
(stake-
holder)
Comm.
4
Risk
6
(& Contract
Mgmt Plan)
Procur.
6
Init DPC
DPPSS
               
Planning DPMP SP
SDf
CWBS

AD
AS
ARE
ADE
SDv

CE
CB
QP HRP CP

RMP
RI
QUra
QNra
RRP

PPA
PC
Exec-
ution
DMPE       pQA

APT
DPT

ID  

RSR
SS

Mon &
Ctrl

MCPW
ICC

SV
SC

SC CC pQC MPT

PR
MS

RMC CA
Closing CP               CClose
Pert =

P+4M+O
6

SD =

P-O
6

Var=(SD)2

Sigma
1: 68   
2: 95   
3: 99.7 
6: 99.99

Deming
14 steps to TCM

PDM=AON
ADM=AOA

 

McGregor=X,Y
(X is bad, Y is good)
Maslow's Hierarchy
Self-act, Esteem, Social, Safety, Psych
Herzberg=Hygiene
Motivators: responsibility,
self-act, recognition, prof.growth

Conflict Sources
Sched, Prio, Resource,
Tech opinion, cost, personality
Resolution Strategies
Confront (solve), compromise,
withdrawal, smoothing, force

Power sources
expert, reward, referent,
formal (legit), penalty

Contract Types
CPPC - least seller cost risk
CPFF
CPAF
CPIF - best for buyer to get expertise
T&M - fast start, staff augmentation
FPEPA
FPIF
FP - least buyer risk (but know
     exactly what you want!

AC - actual cost
EV - earned value
PV - planned value

BAC - bud @ compl
EAC - est @ compl
VAC - var @ compl
ETC - est to compl.
CV=EV-AC
CPI=EV/AC
SV=EV-PV
SPI=EV/PV
AC=EV-CV
AC=EV/CPI
PV=EV-SV
PV=EV/SPI
EAC=AC+ETC
EAC=BAC-CV
EAC=BAC/CPI
VAC=BAC-EAC
 

Using the brain dump

The brain dump isn't a substitute for understanding what the processes are, and what they mean.  However, there are patterns you can use in conjunction with the brain dump.  As you write the acronyms, repeat the full name of the process in your mind.  For example, the planning processes have a natural flow, with the integration and scope KA's first, ending with CWBS.  (Say "Create Work Breakdown Structure" as you write that.)  Then, the first of the planning processes in each of the remaining seven KAs can begin, but SDv must be the last planning process.  (This is all according to a flowchart in the PMBOK® that depicts the overall sequence of planning processes.)

PMP test questions are mostly situation-oriented.  The situation describes things that have been done, and then the question often asks what to do next.  Knowing this order of planning tasks helps, and then it also helps to get a sense of what process group you're in.  If there are very similar processes in the planning, executing, and mon & ctrl process groups, e.g. QP, pQA, and pQC, then you can use the following method to figure out which process group:

Planning: choosing what processes you will use in this project.
Executing: implementing the chosen processes; applying them to the project.
Monitoring and Controlling: using the implemented process in specific instances.

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