PMP (project Management Professional) Cheat Sheet


PMP (project Management Professional) Cheat Sheet

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a globally recognized certification that shows you understand all about project management. PMP is ranked as the top management certification, and those with a PMP earn up to 25% more than those without the certification. This makes the PMP certification appealing to a wide audience.

However, earning a certification takes time, money, effort, a four-year degree, 36 months leading projects, and project management training of 35 hours. That’s why QuickStart offers to fulfill the last requirement of 35 hours of project management training. There are more than one million PMP certified individuals worldwide. Earning a PMP certificate is a big commitment though worthwhile. It shows credibility and proves you can lead. Being PMP certified is how many have landed their dream job. If you want training or just a PMP cheat sheet, follow the cheat sheet below.

Terms and Formulas

Although it’s recommended to study 200 hours to be sure you’ll pass the PMP exam, the following list of terms and formulas is a good start before reading the PMBOK Guide or any other resource you choose. It’s not an exhaustive list, but many of the terms you see are important and expanded upon in the PMBOK Guide (which is about 600 pages long).

  • The project management plan describes how the project will be executed, monitored, controlled and completed. It collects all subsidiary management plans and baselines, and any other information needed for project management.
  • The configuration management plan defines how information about the project items will be recorded and updated so the product, service or result of the project remains intact and functioning as planned. It tracks changes to the configuration items to keep docs and information about the items current.
  • Configuration control relates to the specification of deliverables and the processes.
  • Performance measurement baseline is a scope-schedule-cost plan for the project that’s measured against the project initiation to manage performance.
  • Project life cycle is the phases a project goes through from initiation to closure.
  • Development approach involves the product, service or result development approach, such as predictive, iterative, agile or hybrid model.
  • Management reviews find places in the project where the project manager and relevant stakeholders will review the project progress to determine if performance is going well and if something should be corrected.
  • The change log shows changes that happen while working on a project. It includes all relevant information and the status of change requests.
  • The change management plan is a plan for managing the change control process. It also includes the roles and responsibilities of the change control board (CCB).
  • Change control involves tracking changes and include identifying, documenting, approving or rejecting changes to the project documents, deliverables or baselines.
  • The assumption log records all assumptions and constraints throughout the project life cycle.
  • The business case details the business’ needs and the cost-benefit analysis that justifies the project. It lists the goals and reasons for project initiation. The business case analysis involves the following criteria: required, desired, and optional. Identifying options for addressing the problem or opportunity are as follows:

- Do nothing. This “business as usual” option results in the project not being authorized.

- Do the minimum amount of work required to address the problem or opportunity. The minimum amount of work is found by identifying the set of criteria that are key in addressing the problem or opportunity.

- Do more than the minimum amount of work needed to address the problem or opportunity. This option meets the minimum set of criteria and some or most of the remaining documented criteria.

The benefits management plan summaries the target benefits of the project, which are below:

  • Target benefits
  • Strategic alignment
  • Timeframe for realizing benefits
  • Benefits owner
  • Metrics
  • Assumptions
  • Risks

The issue log is a project document detailing all the issues that occur during the project, which are recorded and tracked, including the type of issue, who raised the issue, when did the issue happen, description, priority, who is assigned to the issue, target resolution date, status, and the final solution. Having an issue log doesn’t guarantee the issue will be fixed or won’t happen again.  

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The lessons learned register might include the category and description of the situation, the impact, recommendations, and recommended actions pertaining to the situation. The lessons learned register could record challenges, problems, realized risks and opportunities, or other relevant information. The register is created as a direct project knowledge output. Then it’s used as an input and updated as an output in many processes during the project.  At the end of a project, the information is transferred to an organizational process asset called a lessons learned repository.  The final lessons learned register is completed during the closing phase.

A milestone is a significant point in a project. A milestone list describes all the project milestones and shows whether the milestone is mandatory, such as ones required by contract, or optional—those based on historical information. Milestones have zero duration, as they embody a significant point or event.

Knowledge management tools assist in connecting people so they can work together to create new knowledge, which includes:

  • Networking
  • Communities of practice (also called communities of interest or simply communities) and special interest groups
  • Meetings (online and in-person, traditional meetings)
  • Work shadowing and reverse shadowing
  • Discussion forums
  • Knowledge-sharing events (seminars and conferences)
  • Workshops
  • Storytelling
  • Creativity and ideas management techniques
  • Knowledge fairs and cafés
  • Training that involves interaction between learners

Information management tools and techniques are used to connect people to information. They are useful for sharing basic information, including:

  • Methods for codifying explicit knowledge
  • Learned register
  • Lessons learned register
  • Library services
  • Information gatherings, such as through web searches and reading published articles
  • Project management information system (PMIS)

Alternatives analysis is used to choose the corrective actions or a mixture of corrective and preventive actions to apply when a deviation occurs. In other words, it involves reviewing options.

Multicriteria decision analysis (or prioritization matrix) is used to find the key issues and relevant alternatives that’ll be prioritized for implementation. The criteria are weighted and then the alternatives are ranked by score. This helps to decide what should be prioritized.

The scope management plan is part of the project management plan that explains how the scope will be defined, developed, monitored, controlled, and validated.

 The requirements management plan describes how the requirements will be managed, documented, and analyzed, and includes how to process requirements, deal with missed requirements, configuration management, prioritize requirements, metrics for defining the product, define the traceability structure and the authorization level for approving new requirements. The requirement management plan is the main way to understand and manage stakeholder expectations.

Product scope involves the features and functions that distinguish a product, service, or result. Project scope sometimes includes product scope.

The project scope involves work completed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified qualities and functions.

The project scope statement is the description of the project scope, major deliverables, assumptions, and constraints. It details the entire scope, including project and product scope, product scope description, acceptance criteria, deliverables, and project exclusions.

Requirements documentation explains how individual requirements meet the business’ needs for the project. The requirements in the document could involves areas such as the business, stakeholders, solutions, project, quality, transitions and readiness. 

The requirements traceability matrix links product requirements from their origin to the deliverables that satisfy them and shows who requested the requirement(s).

Product analysis defines products and services. It includes questions and discussions about a product. The techniques are as follows: 

  • Product breakdown
  • Requirements analysis
  • Systems analysis
  • Systems engineering
  • Value analysis
  • Value engineering

Iterative scheduling with a backlog is a type of rolling wave planning based on adaptive life cycles, such as the agile approach for product development.  This approach is often used to deliver incremental value to the customer or when multiple teams can concurrently develop a large number of features that have few interconnected dependencies. The benefit of this approach is that it welcomes changes throughout the development life cycle.

Agile release planning provides a high-level summary timeline of the release schedule (usually three to six months) based on the product roadmap and the product vision for the product’s evolution. Agile release planning determines the number of iterations or sprints in the release and enables the product owner and team to decide how much needs to be developed and how long it will take to have a releasable product based on business goals, dependencies, and obstacles.

Release 1 > Release plan > Iteration 1 > Iteration plan > Feature 1 based on user story > Task 1 and its duration.

On-demand scheduling is used in a Kanban system and is based on the theory of constraints and pull-based scheduling concepts from lean manufacturing to limit a team’s work in progress to balance demand against the team’s delivery output. 

The schedule management plan creates the criteria and the activities for developing, monitoring and controlling the schedule.

Mandatory dependencies are legally or contractually required or inherent in the nature of the work (also known as hard logic or hard dependencies).

Discretionary dependencies are sometimes referred to as preferred logic, preferential logic or soft logic. Discretionary dependencies are founded based on knowledge of best practices within a particular application area.

The cost management plan describes how the project costs will be planned, structured and controlled. It includes variances and thresholds estimates.

Bottom-up estimating is a method of estimating a component of work. The cost of individual work packages/activities is estimated to exact details.

Cost estimates involve quantitative assessments of the costs required to complete project work, contingency reserves to account for identified risks, and management reserve to cover unplanned work and unidentified risks.

Basis of estimate is the amount and type of additional details supporting the cost estimate which vary by application area, including direct and indirect costs and the confidence level in these estimates. 

Cost baseline is the accepted version of cost that does not include management reserves.

Project funding requirements involve total funding and periodic funding requirements (e.g., quarterly, annually) and are derived from the cost baseline. This is only an estimate.

Value analysis or value engineering involve finding the lowest cost method to complete the work without affecting the scope.

Cost forecast is either a calculated EAC or a new EAC.

Historical information review is performing parametric analysis by comparing the current project with previous ones using current project numbers.

Funding limits reconciliation is keeping the project expenses within the project determined budget. 

Representation of uncertainty is used as an input for Monte Carlo analysis when certain risks or other sources of uncertainty are unclear or unknown when the PM wants to run the simulation.

Quality management plan describes how policies, procedures and guidelines will be implemented to achieve the quality objectives. It explains the activities and resources necessary for the project management team to achieve the quality objectives set for the project.

A quality metric describes a project or product attribute and how the control quality process will verify compliance to it. Examples of quality metrics: percentage of tasks completed on time, cost performance measured by CPI, failure rate, number of defects identified per day, total downtime per month, errors found per line of code, customer satisfaction scores and percentage of requirements covered by the test plan as a measure of test coverage.

Manage quality is quality assurance—the process of translating the quality management plan into executable quality activities that incorporate the organization’s quality policies into the project.

Quality reports can be graphical, numerical or qualitative. The information provided can be used by other processes and departments to make corrective actions to complete the project quality expectations.

Test and evaluation documents are used to evaluate the achievement of quality objectives. These may include checklists and detailed requirements traceability matrices.

Attribute sampling: The result either conforms or does not conform.

Variable sampling: The result is rated on a continuous scale that measures the degree of conformity.

Statistical sampling is choosing part of a population of interest for inspection.

Resource requirements (also known as resource requirements documentation) is used to identify the types and quantities of resources required for each work package or activity in a work package.

The requirements traceability matrix is a grid that links product requirements to the deliverables that fulfill them.

Text oriented format is a description of team member responsibilities in details (details of the task, authority of the team member, qualifications, etc.).

The physical resource assignments describe the expected physical resource utilization along with details such as type, amount, location, and whether the resource is internal or outsourced.  

A resource calendar identifies the working days, shifts, start and end of normal business hours, weekends and public holidays when each resource is available.

Project communications reports on all aspects of the project, such as performance reports, deliverable status, schedule progress, cost incurred, presentations and other information stakeholders require.

Project reporting is the act of collecting and distributing project information. Project information is distributed to many groups of stakeholders and should be adapted to provide information at an appropriate level, format and detail for each type of stakeholder.

Communication requirements analysis determines the information needs of the project stakeholders. These requirements are defined by combining the type and format of information needed.

Sample basic sender/receiver communication model involves ensuring that the message is delivered instead of understood.

Risk workshop is part of qualitative risk analysis. The project team may conduct a specialized meeting dedicated to the discussion of identified individual project risks. The goals of this meeting include reviewing previously identified risks, assessment of probability and impacts (and possibly other risk parameters), categorization and prioritization.

A risk owner is responsible for planning an appropriate risk response and for reporting progress on managing the risk, which will be allocated to each individual project risk as part of performing the qualitative risk analysis process.

Individual project risk is an uncertain event or condition that has a positive or negative effect on one or more project objectives.

Overall project risk is the effect of uncertainty on the project as a whole, arising from all sources of uncertainty.

Variability risks like weather, market changes and more can be addressed using Monte Carlo analysis.

Market research includes examination of industry and specific seller capabilities. Procurement teams may leverage information gained at conferences, online reviews and other sources to identify market capabilities.

Source selection analysis includes:

  • Least cost: appropriate for procurements of a standard or routine nature
  • Qualifications only for small procurements.
  • Quality-based/highest technical proposal score evaluated first based on the quality of the technical solution offered.
  • Quality and cost-based quality should be key elements when compared to cost.
  • Sole source technical and financial specialty.
  • Fixed budget requires disclosing the available budget to the invited sellers in the RFP and selecting the highest-ranking technical proposal within the budget.

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Source selection criteria describes how bidder proposals will be evaluated, including evaluation criteria and weights. The buyer seeks to ensure that the proposal selected will offer the best quality for the services required.

Procurement documentations bid documents (RFI, RFQ, RFP), SOW, independent cost estimate, source selection criteria.

Stakeholder register is a document detailing the outcome of identify stakeholders process and perform stakeholder analysis.

Stakeholder analysis results in stakeholder register—a list of stakeholders and relevant information, such as their positions in the organization, roles on the project, stakes expectations, attitudes and their interest in information about the project.

Salience model describes classes of stakeholders based on assessments of their power, urgency (need for immediate attention), legitimacy (their involvement) good for a large number of stakeholders.

Stakeholder engagement plan is a component of the project management plan that identifies the strategies and actions required to promote productive involvement of stakeholders in decision making and execution. It is updated regularly to reflect changes to the stakeholder community.


The following includes a list of common formulas:

  • Future value (FV) = PV (1 + i) n
  • Present value (PV) = FV/ (1 + i) n
  • Target price = target cost + target fee
  • Point of Total Assumption (PTA) = [(Ceiling price – target price) / buyer’s share ratio] + target cost]
  • Communication channel = n (n -1) / 2
  • Earned value (EV) = % complete x budget at completion (BAC)
  • Cost variance (CV) = Earned value (EV) – actual cost (AC)
  • Schedule variance = Earned value (EV) – planned value (PV)
  • Cost performance index (CPI) = EV / AC
  • Schedule performance index (SPI) = Earned value (EV) / Planned value (PV)
  • Estimate at Completion (EAC) = BAC / CPI
  • EAC = AC + Bottom-up ETC
  • EAC = AC + (BAC – EV)
  • EAC = AC + [(BAC – EV) / (CPI x SPI)]
  • Variance at completion (VAC) = BAC – EAC
  • Estimate to complete = EAC – AC
  • To complete performance index (TCPI) = (BAC – EV) / (EAC – AC)
  • Standard deviation (SD) = Pessimistic – Optimistic / 6
  • Pert Formula Beta = (P + 4M + O) / 6
  • Expected monetary value (EMV) = Probability * Impact
  • Risk Priority Number (RPN) = Detection * Occurrence * Severity
  • Cost Plus Percentage of Cost (CPPC) Contract = Cost + % of cost as a fee
  • Cost Plus Fixed Fee Contract = Cost + fee of fixed amount
  • Cost Plus Award Fee Contract = Cost + award fee
  • Cost Plus Incentive Fee Contract = Cost + incentive fee
  • Return on Investment (ROI) = (Net profit / cost of investment) * 100
  • Payback period = initial investment / periodic cash flow
  • Cost-Benefit Ratio (CBR) = Net present value of investment / initial investment cost

Last Advice

There is a lot of information to take in, but if you study for up to 200 hours you should earn the PMP certification. This information is based on those that passed the exam, so you’re in good hands. Here are a few tips to make sure you pass:

  1. Study far in advance. About 45% fail the PMP exam on the first try. It’s important to study ahead of time so you don’t cram everything in one month. Spreading it out over several months will keep you from stressing out over studying while at the same time keeping all the information fresh in your mind.
  2. Don’t take too much time to answer a question. Since the exam takes four hours to complete, it’s best to save the questions you’re unsure about for later by marking them. You only have about one minute per question.
  3. Study the PMBOK Guide. It includes all the terms and guidelines involving project management. Not everyone will need the guide; some choose sources that summarize the PMBOK Guide in an easy-to-read manner. But the information from other sources stems from this guide.

QuickStart has over 30 years of experience in the eLearning industry. Take advantage of QuickStart to fulfill the 35 hours of training needed to become a PMP certified professional. 

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