Newsletter: October Edition Print

Across the Board

Volunteering: Is It A Risk or Opportunity?

Project management skills are something you can use in every aspect of your life; we can sometimes do so without realizing we are weighing options.  Risk is an item we deal with on a routine basis but it can keep us searching endlessly for threats, or things we need to guard against.  If we are always looking at negative items it can seem like the glass is always half empty and we will never be satisfied.   If we can consider it to be half full, your perspective may change.  

The same can be said for risk – if we can find a positive aspect to it, we may be able to approach the problem differently and create an opportunity. An example could be a project where you’re doing construction and find out more demolition is needed than you planned. You may have identified it as a potential risk, but now that it is happening, what do you do?  A reasonable solution would be to look for what can be salvaged, and negotiate for the cheapest price.  A different perspective would be to look for what could be changed, with the demolition opening up new possibilities.  The possibilities could include making the space more energy efficient, planning better for the amount of space, or rethinking items that may have been restricted when working within the original constraints.  

Since we are a volunteer organization, how can the idea of looking for an opportunity idea possibly apply to our chapter?  You can think of volunteering as a risk, or as an opportunity. We belong to an active chapter that holds numerous events to facilitate networking with each other and gain new skills.  Each event has countless member volunteers behind the scenes who are taking advantage of an opportunity to improve their skills, or simply give back to the project management community at large.  

The task itself may be a risk in the sense you may do things you’ve never done before, but it is an opportunity in the sense you have a trusted network who will not let you fail.  You’ll get to learn a new skill in a safe environment.  Some of these opportunities include trying your skills at finance, event planning, or being a CEO.  Each position has unique challenges and will improve your project management skills.  As a new board member, I’m still learning what the risks are, but have stepped out to grab hold of the opportunity.  I encourage you to do the same, and look forward to meeting you at one of our events.   

Frank Murphy is Director At Large of PMI San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. 

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PMP ITTO Slam Dunks!

Getting ready for the PMP before the new PMBOK comes out in January 2018? The 47 “ITTOs” (Inputs - Tools and Techniques - Outputs) of the current PMP framework can be overwhelming! Flashcards and apps like PMP Game help build knowledge through repetition, but this approach by itself is so granular that you can get lost in the details.

The bad news is that ITTOs are, well, granular. The good news is we can find some order in the framework of processes with patterns. Patterns help us reduce guessing and replace uncertainty with slam dunks. Let’s start by looking at where Change Requests fall in PM processes ...

Only Two Process Groups Have Change Requests

Change Requests come up often as process outputs, but when we look at exactly where they happen, it simplifies things. It makes sense that Change Requests only happen in the Executing and Monitoring and Controlling process groups. It’s when we need to correct/prevent problems found after nailing down our Project Plan that Change Requests come into play.                                                  


All Processes in Monitoring and Controlling Process Group Have Change Request Outputs

Now here is some ITTO gold - all Monitoring and Controlling processes have Change Requests as outputs. Easy!

We’ll talk about Approved Change Requests soon, but first ...

Most Processes in Executing Group Have Change Request Outputs, Except ...

Next, five out of eight Executing group processes have Change Requests as outputs.


Only One Process Takes Change Requests as Input, and Outputs Approved Change Requests

This is where all those Change Requests go, in hopes of getting approved, just like you going to take your PMP ...


Approved Change Requests Are Inputs For Three Processes

Once Approved Change Requests are complete, they need to get back into the framework somewhere …


Review It!

OK, time to slam dunk your review. Fill in the blanks. 

3 _________________ accept Approved Change Requests as inputs.

3 processes in the _________________  group do not have Change Requests as outputs.

2 ____________ have Change Requests as outputs.

1 process has Change Requests as inputs and  _____________________ as outputs.


Michael McMorrow, PMP

Thanks to Athens Kolias, MPM, PMP, PGP, PMI-ACP


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Why People Fail The PMPĀ® Exam

Failing the PMP® Exam is a negative experience, which I would not wish upon anyone.

After teaching PMP® Prep for nearly 10 years, there is nothing more rewarding than receiving an email from a student, saying, “thank you; I passed the exam”. Unfortunately, occasionally a learner will reach out to say that they didn’t pass the exam.

Fortunately, this is a very rare occurrence. However, when this does happen, it is as devastating for me as it is for the learner, and a part of me says, “what did I do wrong? Is it the material I used? Was my instruction method flawed?”.

I have taught thousands of students, and after some substantial thought and data analysis I have concluded the following five reasons as to why someone may fail the exam:

1) Lack Of Preparation:

It is strongly recommended that a learner scores at least 85% on a full-size practice PMP exam. Many learners take short pop quizzes composed of 20-50 questions, score well on those, and then determine that they are ready to write the PMP exam; this is not the case.

Solution: Other than the obvious (preparation), do as many questions as it takes to get you to the 85% threshold.

2) Difficult Exam:

PMP® Exams are random; some are easier; others are more difficult. Also, different exams have a different focus. Some exams focus more on change management; others on mathematical calculations or procurement. Depending on your familiarity with a knowledge area this could be one reason for failure.

Solution: Eliminate the possibility of having a “weak” knowledge area by mastering all knowledge areas.

3) Turning The PMP® Exam Into An Earned Value Management (EVM) Exam:

Let’s be honest; math can be challenging for some PMP® candidates. This is quite understandable if you don’t work in a field which requires you to crunch numbers on a regular basis. Some learners devote an unnecessarily large amount of time to memorizing the EVM formulas.

Solution: Don’t spent any more than 10% of your study time on memorizing EVM formulas.

4) Inadequate/No Brain Dump:

Brain dumps usually include EVM formulas, profit forecast calculations, and contract types. Most PMP® trainers recommend that students memorize various formulas and factoids, and write them out in the exam room prior to starting the exam. Writing out the brain dump is essential as it relieves the pressure from focusing on memorization and allows the candidate to focus on the PMP® questions instead.

Solution: Access a well-developed brain dump from a reputable trainer.

5) Second-Guessing Yourself:

Frequent second-guessing of your final answer on the PMP® Exam is either an indication of having insufficient knowledge or sheer hesitation caused by stress. Waddling between two answers is frustrating and a bad use of time.

Solution: If knowledge of exam content is not an issue, choose the answer which strikes you as being the most likely at the first instance. If knowledge is the issue, you are not ready to be writing the PMP® exam, and consider doing more practice questions.


Founder of Tarka Consulting Inc. Tarka Consulting is a Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) with over 10 years of experience providing project management training. Whether you’re looking for individual or corporate training - there is a solution for your needs. Founder of Tarka Consulting Inc. Tarka Consulting is a Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) with over 10 years of experience providing project management training. Whether you’re looking for individual or corporate training - there is a solution for your needs. 


I completed my BA, in International Studies at University of Northern BC in 2002 and continued on to achieve my MA, in European Studies at Jagiellonian University. In 2006, I was the Director Of Programs at Shastri Indo Canadian Institute, and continued on to the a Project Manager at Red Deer College from 2006-2008. After this I headed to Medicine Hat college where I was a Project Management Instructor for two years from 2012-2014 - at the same time I was a Project Management Instructor at Mount Royal University from 2011-2016. 

I was a Project Manager Instructor at Red Deer College from 2011-2016 + at University of Calgary from 2012-2016, as well as a PMP Prep Instructor at SAIT from 2013-2016. Tarka Consulting was founded in August 2010 and continues to thrive daily.


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Calendar of Events

The PMI- SFBAC chapter looks for opportunities for our members to get involved and meet other project managers in the field. Whether you're new to the area or looking to grow your professional network we have something for you. See our calendar of events for new or upcoming events or contact us for additional details.  

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Volunteer Opportunities

The PMI SF Bay Area Chapter is looking for volunteers to help meet the needs of its members. If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in these opportunities then please contact for more information. Currently we are seeking volunteers for a variety of positions including: 

  • Business Development Manager
  • Social Media Manager
  • Events Manager
  • Evening Programs Manager
  • Sponsorship Support
  • Professional Development Support


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Military Roundtable

Military Roundtables are informal gatherings of 5 to 10 Project Managers and military members (young and old) interested in learning about careers in Project Management. Meeting topics include: current topics in the profession or within a particular industry, resources for military personnel for education, certification, and transition assistance, and suggestions from the other attendees.

Anyone can attend the Military Roundtable. Chapter members and non-chapter members, people with military experience and those just want to support veterans, seasoned project managers and people interested in project management careers are all welcome to attend the meeting.

Professional Development Units (PDUs): Military Roundtable meetings qualify for 1.0 PDU under Category A. Please be advised that PMPs are required to provide evidence supporting their reported learning project. This may include a log of discussions with notes and dates. The Military Roundtable is held on the Second Wednesday of each month (subject to change during holiday periods – check Calendar to confirm dates).  

Location: Virtual Meeting. Register for the meeting through the calendar page

GoTo Meeting Dial IN:

(upon opening the session, phone dial in info: 866.899.4679 code 361582437)

 Please contact Sean Williams at if you have any questions.

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Did you know?

  • For every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to lacking project performance. (Source:

  •  Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year. 

  • 44% of project managers use no software, even though PWC found that the use of commercially available PM software increases performance and satisfaction. (Source: Pricewaterhouse Coopers)

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Membership Certification

5 Ways to Boost Your Project Management Career

Professional development is all about the long game. But you can get noticed in the short­term with these simple career hacks. Building the skills and experience organizations look for in a project leader takes years of focused effort. But there are also small steps you can take in the short term to position yourself for success. Here are five project management career hacks that can help you showcase your skills — and stand out from the pack come promotion time.

1. Map Out Your Future

Create a personal development plan that lists your career goals and outlines how to achieve them, says Ali Kaabi, PMP, general manager of global practice at MSC Mobility Solutions, a mobile technology company in Sydney, Australia. “Start with your three­ to five­year plan, either creating a list of organizations you’d like to work for or a list of positions you’d like,” Mr. Kaabi says. “Then conduct the necessary research to draw a career map to the top. Recently, I created a similar plan for my team members. I drew up an eight­level plan that started at project coordinator and tracked them all the way up to project management office (PMO) director.” At each level, identify the skills, certifications and individual competencies associated with the position. This will help you pursue the right development opportunities and make strategic career choices along the way.

2. Strategize and Specialize

Having an area of expertise is a great way to stand out from the crowd. And if you can develop a specialty that will stay in demand, that’s even better. For instance, in the United States, the need for project managers in business services and healthcare is expected to increase in the near future, according to PMI’s Project Management Talent Gap Report. “Leveraging the experiences that are gained from taking on a specialty can prove really beneficial,” says Angel Cutruzzula, PMP, manager of implementation operations at HR software company Zenefits in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. “Not only does it allow the project manager to bring unique value to the team, it offers them an area where they can educate others.”

3.) Team Up with a Mentor

If your organization doesn’t have a formal mentoring program, ask someone who has a job on your career map if they’d be willing to take you under their wing. This way, you can better 10/29/2015 MAY 2015 Archive http://www.pmi­­us/newsletter/archives/may­2015­archive/ 3/4 understand what it takes to succeed in a position you’d like to have one day. “I received excellent advice from a vice president who was willing to mentor me, and she really helped me think outside of my particular role to have a bigger vision within the organization,” Ms. Cutruzzula says.

4. Network, Network, Network

Surrounding yourself with passionate project managers is a great way to pick up skills that can help you jump to the next level in your career. “Participate in like­minded groups, such as your local PMI chapter or another specialty interest group,” Mr. Kaabi says. He also recommends setting a networking goal. Whether you aim to reach out to one connection each month or attend two networking events per quarter, this helps make sure you’re constantly expanding your professional reach.

5. Walk Away from Work

Spending all your time in the office can sap your inspiration and lead to stale project plans. Recreational distractions that take your mind off of your project can provide some muchneeded perspective, Mr. Kaabi says. “It’s important to have a release to take your mind off the problem of the day,” Mr. Kaabi says. “I do that by participating in a team sport or listening to my favorite music while I take a walk. It’s necessary to refresh your mind and start the next day on a productive note.” While nothing can take the place of long­term planning and preparation, these simple steps can show your supervisors you have the potential to make a great project leader.

Acknowledging Chapter Members’ Achievement of PMI Certification

by Mark Franks, PMP

As PMI members almost all of us are familiar with the PMP certification — in fact, we try to publish monthly the list of members who have recently achieved their PMP certification.  What has gone under appreciated until very recently is that many of our members are attaining the other PMI certifications.  Due to the membership database structure we cannot easily distill monthly data for these achievements; however, acknowledging the effort and accomplishment of these successes is important. We will strive to recognize our fellow Chapter members’ achievements semiannually by listing all those that attain certification at the newsletter link

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Newsletter Team


Editor-in-Chief: Vacant

Editor: Michael McMorrow

Web Layout Editor: Lola Akanmu

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