PM Podcast Episode 281: Leadership, Happiness and Project Success

Thomas JuliThis week's episode of The Project Management Podcast:

What makes you happy in your work? To some it’s a promotion, a big salary or being able to telecommute and work from home.

Thomas Juli ( - who has been on the podcast before talking about project leadership identified that there is a way to combine leadership, happiness and project success. He puts this under the heading of focus, strategy and alignment.

In this interview, we are going to see why happiness is important in this equation, how it fuels success, how to get WOW projects, what the MVP is, and we get his tips on how all of us can apply this right away on our projects.

"Please go to The PM Podcast to find this and all previous episodes..."



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Freebie Friday: The PM PrepCast Insider Secrets For The PMP Exam

Discover the insider secrets for the PMP Exam with these free three-minute videos provided by PM Prepcast. Discussed by Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, these videos are meant to help you achieve your PMP certification.


 Watch it Now!

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PMP Exam Tip: What is the difference between Workaround and Contingency Plan?

Depositphotos 7881622 XSAlthough many people use the terms “contingency plan” interchangeably with “workaround”, they are not the same. The difference between the two terms is related to whether the problems being handled were identified ahead of time or not. Contingency plans are made based on potential risks that are identified that could derail a project. Workarounds are responses to problems that develop while the project is being worked that were never identified.

When a project plan is first put together, potential risks are identified that could pose a significant threat to the project if they occur. Contingency plans are developed around those possible issues and they are completed before the threat takes place. These contingency plans should address the objective of the plan, the criteria for activating the contingency plan, the people and responsibilities involved, and the additional details required for implementation.

Here is an example of a contingency plan. A company that produces skis has a project to stock its retail stores with the latest models for the winter season. While the project was being planned, a risk was identified regarding a potential strike. The project continued, but a contingency plan was developed in case the strike lasted longer than anticipated. In the case that the strike was not over by a pre-identified date, the company decided to reassign the work that was to be done by the factory on strike to alternative factories.  Potential costs were reviewed and it was determined that this contingency plan would be beneficial.

A workaround is not a planned response because the problems being addressed were not anticipated ahead of time.  Per the name, a “workaround” let’s you “work around” the problem. As soon as it is determined that there is an unanticipated problem, it needs to be addressed, researched and incorporated into the documentation of the project plan.

A corrective action must be taken occasionally to make sure the project stays in line with the projected results.  Examples of corrective action include the implementation of both contingency plans as well as workarounds. Most projects will require the implementation of a contingency plan or will require a workaround to be created.  Since larger projects tend to be more complex, these are common fixtures as the size of the project increases.
The PMBOK Guide discusses both Workaround and Contingency Plans. Contingency Plans are described in the Tools & Techniques and Outputs section of the Plan Risk Responses process. Both Contingency Plans and Workarounds are described as part of the Control Risk process.

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Featured PMP Exam Lessons Learned from Chanpreet Singh, PMP

LL newThis week's featured lessons learned comes to us courtesy of Chanpreet Singh.

I am very glad to inform that I have passed PMP exam on 1st August 2014.
It all started 5 months back with a discussion over a beer with a colleague of mine about the PMP certification. He completed his PMP certification in February this year. He advised me to go give a thought. The discussion was done and dusted and one fine day somewhere in April I decided to go for it.

Here's some advice to all PMP aspirants:

- Do all the exercises in RITA apart from Q&A.
- I ordered the PM Prepcast and started with it. I used to listen to one chapter from prepcast and then reading the same from RITA. This technique helped me lot in understanding the fundamentals.
- I used to do brain dump occasionally, but I don’t see the need for it. If you practice enough and understand concepts, I don’t think you need to do any brain dump...

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Free PMP Exam Sample Question


You are managing a construction project. You have just finished a project deliverable and you are now planning to have your customer and your sponsor inspect the deliverable for acceptance. Which PMBOK Guide process facilitates this activity?

A. Validate Scope
B. Control Scope
C. Perform Quality Assurance
D. Perform Quality Control


Hint: You have completed the deliverable and are now seeking its approval from the customer and project sponsor."


All our questions are updated to the latest PMBOK® Guide standard. Stop by at and try the PMP Exam Simulator free for 3 days. We also offer 110 free questions at We are a PMI Registered Education Provider.

Answer and Explanation:

The Correct Answer is A.

Validate Scope is the process of formalizing acceptance of the completed project deliverables. Validating scope includes reviewing deliverables with the customer or sponsor to ensure that they are completed satisfactorily, and obtaining formal acceptance of deliverables by the customer or sponsor.


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Cornelius Fichtner, PMP

Project manager, PMP trainer, host of The PM Podcast, public speaker and gummi bear connaisseur.

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