Many students starting a PMP Prep class bring a mind-set that they “just want to learn this stuff ASAP for the test, but never use it.” And this mind-set is unfortunately reinforced by some PMP instructors who tell their students about “Green Sky Versus Blue Sky,” which I think does their students a disservice.
What is Green Sky vs. Blue Sky? This is the attitude that:
“No one really does this in the real world (blue sky world) – but you have to know it for the PMP test (green sky world).”
First of all, I would say this is counter-productive toward passing the PMP Test. I’ve found that students do best who approach the material with an open mind toward learning and using the skills.
Also, for any process, tool, technique, best practice, input or output to wind up in the PMBOK, it must be getting good results somewhere! (or it wouldn’t have made it in).
2 Examples: (1) The Communications Management Plan & (2) RBS
You may have seen outputs in the PMBOK that you never heard of, such as the Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS) or the Communications Management Plan, and thought to yourself:
“I’ve been managing projects for years, and I never used it, or needed to!”
But if you Google them, you’ll get quite a few hits, including some excellent templates for these docs from PMs around the world!
I advise my students to approach the material as though they are shopping for best practices — looking at each tool and ITTO and learning it well enough to:
- Get the questions right on the test.
- Be credible on interviews. (No good manager wants to hire someone who is a PMP “in name only” — meaning they memorized for the test, but didn’t really learn the tools). And
- Make the best decisions about which tools to use on the job.
True Also For Ethics!
Ethics is an area also often talked about in “Green Sky vs. Blue Sky” terms, e.g.,
“For the test, pick A, even though in real life, you’d do B.”
But I would disagree here also, and say from experience that the more you follow the Code:
- The better you’ll do on the scenario-based questions on the test, but also:
- The better your reputation will be.
- In the long run, the more successful your career will be.
For more help on your PMP Test:
- For hundreds of tips, tools, best practices, templates, and diagrams, see my book:
“The Project Management Answer Book” <2nd Ed.>
(Yes, that’s Mavis in the photo!)
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