Thursday, July 7, 2016

PMI-ACP Exam Prep with Mike Griffiths – Mind Map

For anyone studying for their PMI-ACP exam, Mike have created a mind-map of the PMI’s Exam Content Outline and my book contents. So here it is, on a single (large) page all the topics within the exam and the second edition of his book.
Mind-maps show relationships between topics and provide hierarchy and structure. It could be used as a study check list – print a copy and cross off topics you are comfortable with leaving the topics to study. Or an everything-on-one-page view of the content in the exam – like a packing list for a trip, you can refer back to it and reassure yourself you “have” everything.
Anyway, if you find it useful you are free to use it for you own personal study. I hope it is helpful in an: “OK, I have got this” kind of way and not scary as in an: “Oh no, look at all the stuff in the exam!” kind of way.
Mike think it is interesting to understand why laying things out spatially helps with comprehension and recall from memory. It allows us to tap into our spatial awareness and engages the right hemisphere of the brain and that makes us less likely to forget them. (Assigning things we want to remember to a location is a memory aid that many memory-improvement techniques use. Probably using skills developed back in our hunter-gatherer days when our survival relied upon remembering where to find food and water, we have better recall of things assigned a physical location.) This is the reason today’s military still use visual tokens to represented enemy forces, despite having access to the world’s most sophisticated tools. The impacts of forgetting about them can be fatal; fortunately, exams are less critical, but we can still benefit from tapping into our spatial recall circuits.
Use the link below for the high resolution version.

Why making mistakes can help your career development by Mark M-G

Referred Link -

We all make mistakes, pretty much every day in pretty much every aspect of our lives. And it's no big deal - it's the way we're made (we're 'human' and therefore imperfect) and everyone understands that. That is, they understand it unless it's affecting them personally, at which point objectivity is all too often lost.

And as you go through the different stages of your career, one of the most critical things you're going to have to learn is how to handle that loss of objectivity in others when YOU make a mistake. Handle it poorly and you'll slow your career down, handle it well and more often than not what started out as a negative against you can become a big plus point in your favour.

Here are three things to think about doing when you make a mistake of any size, big or small.

1     Own the mistake

If the fault is yours, or mostly yours, don't even think about doing anything less than saying it was you. Don't try and drag in any mitigating factors and certainly don't try and spread the blame onto other individuals even a little bit. You're the one who has to carry the can, and rightly so.

With this in mind, tell whoever needs to be told that you got it wrong, this is why you got it wrong, this is what you're going to do to recover the situation and this is how you're going to stop it happening again.

What you'll find is (a) you'll feel good about having stepped up (b) people - whether you know it or not - will admire your honesty and your not dragging in others and (c) people will see someone who is confident enough to admit mistakes and able to rectify them, both things that they can respect.

2     Provide the solution

I mentioned this point in 1 above and it's a concept the value of which - in my experience - is understood by far too few people.

In most people's experience, mistakes at work often involve a number of people, and many times you'll find yourself as one of several who've contributed to  a situation going wrong.

In these circumstances, I'd advise - once again - that you own the problem for that part of the mistake which is yours. And I'd advise, once again, that as far as possible - and there are often limits to this when senior management is thrashing around looking for scapegoats to spare their own blushes - you don't drag others in by name wherever possible.

But most importantly, in these types of 'inter-disciplinary' mistakes, be the one who is the catalyst for developing a solution. Get the right people together in the room to address the situation, or make sure that the right people are got together in the room. Be the one who calls in for some advice from a more friendly senior management mentor. Be the one who thinks of a new idea or resource that can help the solution be developed.

You don't, however, need to be the most senior person in the group developing the solution, you don't need to be the project leader and you don't need to be the one who's seen delivering the solution. It's nice if one or more of these is the case but often it won't work out that way. 

It may take a lot of patience and trust on your part but believe me, even if credit goes to where it isn't due a lot of people are going to notice your behaviours - your owning of the problem, your not throwing other people under the bus and your being the person who got people back off of the defensive and onto finding an answer. 

I've seen it time and again, and people who behave like this get noticed - with approval - at higher and higher levels as they consistently behave in this way.

3     What do you do when other people's mistakes affect you?

Even at the very early stages of your career, you'll find yourself being affected by mistakes that other people have made. How you respond to these situations can be every bit as important as how you manage your own mistakes.

In my view, there are three things to focus on.

Firstly, and this applies to whatever level you've risen to in the organization, approach the situation in the way in which you'd like to have someone approach it if it were your error. No witch-hunts etc.

Secondly, try and encourage the behaviours described in 1 and 2 above in the people you're working with. So, for example, to the extent possible and appropriate encourage ownership of the problem or encourage someone to be the catalyst to finding the solution (of be it yourself)

Thirdly, keep away from blame and retribution and turn it into 'what can we learn from this'.

If you can put the ideas in the above 3 ideas into practice, consistently over time so that they become part of who you are then I think three things will happen.

Firstly, you'll become a more effective worker, team-member and leader

Secondly, you'll find a great deal of personal satisfaction from doing things the right way.

Thirdly, over time, the growing understanding of and respect for the way you handle mistakes will become very evident to more senior management, and will do nothing but enhance your career prospects.

5 Top Reasons Why Working Late is Bullsh*t by James Kennedy

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Almost one-fifth of the UK's workforce, regularly work overtime and receive no extra pay, according to recent studies. While these millions of people's' unpaid work hours can help to boost the economy, they will not see any that £30 billion themselves.

Working late is one of the top factors in the ongoing work-life balance conflict. Whether it's a heavy workload, a busy schedule or employer expectations, many workers are finding it difficult, even when they love their job. There are many reasons why you should leave work on time. Here are the top 5 reasons why working late is bullsh*t.

You Need to Recharge Your Batteries

Just because you're working late, does not mean you're working hard, despite what people believe. Working long hours does not necessarily mean you're getting more done. Often, a short work day can allow a worker to focus on the tasks they need to complete, by avoiding distractions. Long, laborious work days can actually decrease your attention span, which would make it difficult to concentrate and reduces your overall productivity.

It's not hard to fall into a cycle of late night work. If you work late, then you'll be tired the next day which would make you less productive. Then you have to stay late again in order to catch up on incomplete work tasks. This can become a dangerous routine. Even if you love your job, you need to be able to leave at a sensible hour so that you can have a life outside of work.

Staying Late Is Bad for Your Health

A recent study showed that people who work late in the office are at an increased risk for strokes and heart attacks. By leaving early you can rest. Feeling well-rested can improve your mental health, reduce your risk of diabetes, and boost your immune system. Now you can honestly tell your boss that staying late is very bad for your overall health.

Being well rested can also help to boost your productivity during regular, shorter, work hours. While leaving on time can help your mental health and productivity, working late can make you feel resentful towards your job.

You Should Be Able to Complete Your Tasks During Your Working Hours

Your set hours are your work hours for a reason. If you are not able to complete your workload in time, forcing you to stay late again and again, you may need to speak you your boss, manager or colleagues about the work distribution and responsibilities.

You should be able to complete your work within your set hours. If the current system of work distribution does not work for you, find a way to change it.

Staying Late Will Not Help You Reach Your Long-Term Goals

What are your priorities? What are the major goals you're working towards? Is  your overtime helping  you reach your goals? Most likely your overtime is putting a halt to your other plans. That's why it's time to stop.

Your priorities may lie with your work or personal life. Working overtime will not help develop your goals in either of those areas.

Extended Hours Don't Mean Extended Productivity

To see the relationship between work hours and productivity we need to take a look at a country that shows the benefits of shorter work days: Sweden. Swedes are well known for their take on education, their meatballs and their easy going approach to work. In Sweden, there is a mutual respect between employees and employers.

The average Swede has 25 vacation days, but those working for large companies have more. Around 1 percent of the Swedish workforce, work more than 50 hours per week and it's rare for people to be in the office after 5pm. Despite their short hours and long holidays, productivity remains high. The Swedes get the extended productivity without the extended hours.