Recently, I worked through “Rita Mulcahy’s PMP® Exam Prep (Eighth Edition)” book by Rita Mulcahy, PMP, et al. I used it for two purposes – to prepare for the certification exam and to improve in my practice of project management. I found it helpful on both counts.

It is important to understand the standard set forth by the Project Management Institute. This standard is defined in their PMBOK® (Project Management Book of Knowledge). There is a ton of information in the PMBOK®. There are knowledge areas, process groups, definitions, inputs, outputs, and tools… Oh, my! Most of the concepts are things you may be familiar with. However, everything has a specific name and a rightful place according to this standard. Rita’s book helped me to better understand how all of the knowledge areas, processes, etc. worked together once I got the vocabulary down.

Several things I think Rita Mulcahy’s book does well:

1) It presents the material in a conversational style. It’s not a dull and boring presentation of facts but rather a discussion of the principles set forth in the standard.

2) It provides additional context of the “what” and “why” behind the inputs, outputs, and tools used for each process in the standard.

3) It clarifies the application of the content through helpful exercises and practice questions. It’s easy to take the material at face-value, but the exercises and questions help play out the application of the material.

In addition, I gained helpful insights to improve my skills.

  • It contains nice examples of various documents, such as a WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) dictionary and charter.
  • The discussion on the various procurement contract types and appropriate applications for each provided a good overview.
  • I gained appreciation for the importance of documenting my plan for managing stakeholder engagement ahead of time.

I don’t think that this is the best book to learn how to do project management for anyone who is new to project management. But for those who’ve done it a while, it will help in better understanding the standard.

Happy learning!