Mock APMP Exam For All Those Who Have Exam Dates Coming Up

Paul Naybour


Several people in this study group have exams coming up over the next few weeks. So to help with last minute revision here are some sample questions to try.  Post your answers below and we will give you feedback.

1) Describe five key components of a procurement strategy?

2) List and describe the five stages in the risk mangement process?

3) Explain in five paragraphs a known team development model and its relevance to project mangement?

4) Explain in five paragraphs the management of cost in a project?

5) Explain in five paragraphs project scope mangement?


10 thoughts on “Mock APMP Exam For All Those Who Have Exam Dates Coming Up”

  1. Q1 The 5 key components of a Procurement Strategy are:

    1) The make or buy decision – In this part of the strategy we are looking at whether its is best to use inhouse resources to produce the solution or to outsource from a supplier. Before the decision is made the project will need to consider certain factors such as:
    – costs
    -availability of resource
    -control (quality/schedule)
    – reliability of supply
    Once this has been decided we need to consider the contractual relationships

    2) Contractual Relationships – in the part we need to consider how we will work with the supplier. For example do we want to have one main single supplier (Prime contract) where we manage with one main supplier to perform the work (this is the simplest form of contact or have a Prime Contract with the main supplier sub contracting the work out and managing the sub contractor to name a few. Each has there benefits and disbenefits though control and management of the three project context need to be kept in check (Time ,Cost and Quality). The selection of contract will be aligned to the objectives and context of the project.

    3) Supplier Selection – This process involves the preparation for formal tender and proposal documents for the subsequent bids by potential suppliers. The selection will based on selection criteria such as:
    – Costs
    – Reliability
    – Capacity
    During this process suppliers will be able to ask for points of clarification on he questions asked in the tender which may be shared with other potential bidders providing it does not break any commercial confidences.

    4) Supplier Reimbursement – In this stage the decision on how we are best to pay the supplier for the work is taken which will consider the following factors such as:
    – The ability of the supplier to start the work ASAP
    – Who owns the risk
    – what level of management of the suppler is required
    – The ability to include further scope changes
    – How will quality be impacted with specific payment terms.
    This will influence the type of reimbursement meths which will range from Firm Fixed Price where the price is set at the start of the project and not subject to change or Time and Materials where the amount of work performed is payable at a daily rate eg man-days

    5) Contract – Once the supplier has been selected the drawing up of legal document which are binding are drafted. This covers the area of work, payments duration of the contract exit strategy as well as warranties guarantees and intellectual property rights. Once this process has been completed a feedback of the process and any lessons learned are documented and fed into continuous improvements for other future projects.

    Question 2 The 5 stages of risk management are:

    1 Initiate
    2 Identify
    3 Asses
    4 Plan Responses
    5 Implement Responses

    1 Initiate.
    This first step of risk management looks at starting the risk management process. This will look at developing the Risk Management Plan, what tools are to be used and the roles and responsibilities within the risk management process. This is important as it provides a foundation and understanding of how the risks within the project will be managed and controlled and provides consistency for all those involved in identifying and managing risks in the project.

    2. Identify
    This next step looks at identifying the risks. This may take the form of brainstorming,checklists, prompt lists (PESTLE), interviews or previous projects risk logs. This important as stakeholders, users have different view points of the project so risks can be captured at an early point, though some methods or identification can be subjective.

    3. Asses
    Now the risks have been identified they can now be classified and ranked. This is best performed on a Probability and Impact Grid (PIG). The risks can ve graded for v high to v low based on the impact and probability scores of each individual risks. They can now be prioritized in order allowing focus to the more serious high scored risks.

    4. Plan Responses
    Now the risks have been assessed responses to treat the risks can be applied these are:

    – Avoid ( do something different)
    – Accept ( accept that the risk will happen)
    – Reduce ( take mitigation action to reduce impact or probability or both)
    -Transfer ( Pass the work on to a supplier thus them accepting the risk or in financial world provide insurance against risk)
    – Fall back ( Plan contingencies)

    5. Implement Responses
    Once the responses have been put in place an owner to manage the risk action needs to be identified. The risk log is updated and the risk action is tracked an potentially reassessed again to see if the risks inherent impact has been reduced. Progress is monitored,tracked and reviewed and the log and plan are updated accordingly.

    Question 3 Team Development model

    A well renown team development model is the Tuckman model which describes team formation in the following Forming, Storming, Norming and performing Tuckman later added a fifth stage adjourning.

    at this stage individuals have not yet formed a group.Individuals explore each others abilities and capabilities attitudes and backgrounds. They may be suspicious confused guaranteed as well as being tentative. Team members are keen to establish their own individual identities and m,ake a personal impression on others.

    This a conflict stage in the team lifecycle. Team members tend to bargain with each other as they attempt to sort out what the individual wants rather than the teams needs. It is likely in this stage that hostilities will appear as differences in individuals goals emerge and relationships established in the forming stage disappear.

    The groups differences are worked out and develops a way of achieving the projects objectives. working rules are established in terms of behavior and role allocation Cohesion is now achieved recognizing roles and strengths within the team. A framework is created within the team through each team member can relate to others.

    The penultimate stage is concerned with getting the job done. A mature group has been created which can now get on with the work at hand. The team works closely are resourceful and have a sense of accomplishments and direction.

    This stage involves dissolution. With the work complete we look at terminating the roles within the team, the completion of the tasks. There may be a sense of loss and anxiety a this point. There may also be a sense of a feel good factor and satisfaction of a job done well in particular where there has been no infighting or conflict amongst the team members.

  2. Karen Stafeck Your answer is fine. I would just number the points to make sure the examiner can clearly identify your paragraphs,

  3. Paven Sidhu

    In general good answers. Don’t forget to clearly lay out your answers so the examiner can see that you have five different paragraphs. Make sure that each is two or three sentences. For your answer on scope management I would recommend you don’t talk about the CBS and OBS. The CBS is more relevant to cost planning and the OBS refers to the organisation structure. For scope management I would include

    1) Definition of the requirements from the user or customer.
    2) Overall scope definition in a high level scope document or project deliverables.
    3) Definition of the details of how the scope will be delivered using a WBS or PBS
    4) Change control to ensure that new items of scope are identified and controlled.
    5) Scope verification and acceptance checking that all the items of scope have been completed during the closeout phase.

    The question is a bit tricky because it pulls together different parts of the body of knowledge.

  4. Question 1) 5 components of a procurement strategy

    The Procurement strategy is one of the elements of the Project Management Plan the 5 key components are:

    1) The Make or buy decion this part of the strategy a case is out forward on the rationale to outsurcve or keep inhoiuse. This consoders such option as

  5. 1) Describe 5 key components of a procurement strategy
    A procurement strategy is needed to set out how the project will procure and manage the goods and services. The procurement strategy will include the following key components;
    The make or buy decision; the PM alongside the procurement team should assess the cost of making the goods themselves against the cost of buying them from elsewhere. This decision needs to be based on a reasonable assessment of the costs involved in both and will therefore need sufficient specification information. If considering the procurement strategy for a ‘service’, an example may be a decision to procure external cost management services to add depth and external market information to an organisation who may only have cost management knowledge of their own previous projects.
    The choice of contractual relationship – this section will consider the optimum contractual arrangement for a project. This could be a single contract where a client contracts with a single supplier, or a prime contract, where a client contracts with a single main supplier who in turn contracts with multiple subcontractors to deliver the whole service. Alternatively a complete ‘turnkey’ solution may be required where a single supplier undertakes to provide the entire solution for the client. The strategy should consider the cost of various contractual relationships in terms of management and risk (e.g. a turn key solution may require the lowest management resource to deliver however the overall cost may be greater than using a prime contract).
    Reimbursement methods – the payment terms must be agreed by the project and sponsor. These will be selected based on the experience of delivering similar project components and risk. E.g. a unit price payment could be used where the client pays the supplier in units of cost (e.g. time per day). If the project over-runs the client carries the risk of the additional costs. A fixed price payment method may be preferred where the exact requirements are known or where the client has particular experience in delivering a similar project. A cost plus payment method could be used where the actual cost is paid plus a fixed fee or percentage, or a target cost could be used where both parties will work together to achieve a target cost agreed at the start of the project.
    Supplier selection – the process to engage the best supplier for the project. This will include writing the requirements, issuing an Invitation to Tender with clearly defined assessment criteria, responding to supplier queries, receiving and evaluating the returns, and appointing a preferred bidder with whom to contract.
    Contract administration – once a contract is agreed and signed by all parties, it forms a legally binding arrangement. It must be administered to ensure that both parties are delivering their duties. It should be re-inforced if either party does not perform. The procurement strategy should complete with a feedback review and lessons learned to enable improvement on the next project.

  6. 2) List and describe the 5 stages in the risk management process.
    A risk management process brings a structured approach to identifying and pre-empting risks. The 5 stages in the risk management process are;
    Initiate, identify, assess, plan and implement.
    During the initiation stage, the risk management plan is written to document how risks will be managed throughout the project. This will identify which parts of the project are within and excluded from the scope of the risk management process and the objectives that the process is trying to achieve. It will also set out the roles and responsibilities for managing risks (including who will ‘own’/manage the mitigations) and the processes for reviewing the risks throughout the project (eg at project evaluation reviews). Once initiated, the risk management plan is a live tool for use throughout the project, against which the project plan and associated tools (e.g. budgets and work breakdown structures) are updated as risks either materialise or fall away.
    The identification stage of the process is concerned with using a variety of techniques to identify risks which may affect the project objectives. Brainstorming, interviews, delphis (using a forum of experts to identify specialised risks associated with a particular project or product) or checklists can be used to identify risks which will then be documented in a risk log. An assumptions analysis is also a useful method to review the assumptions which formed the business case, so that these are broken down to understand the consequences of them.
    Once the risks are identified, they can be assessed in terms of the Probability of them occurring and the Impact they will have if they do occur. This can be done using a PIG (Probability and Impact Grid), which uses a subjective assessment (eg very low impact or very high probability) to enable a quantitative assessment to give a ranking of risks using their ‘severity score’. This is useful in identifying the most significant risks and will allow the PM to plan a response to these risks.
    The PM can respond to the risks either by reducing the probability of them maturing or by planning for their materialisation and setting aside appropriate contingencies. Risks can be threats or opportunities. The planned responses to a threat can either be to plan to accept it (do nothing to proactively mitigate), avoid it (requiring a change in scope or of process), reduce it (using the PIG to understand causes and effects and manage these) or transfer it (eg through a contract to transfer the risk of bad weather).
    Finally, having planned the responses to the identified risks, these are documented into the project plan and implemented through updating the relevant project documents eg schedules (eg updated to reflect the plan to accept the risk of adverse weather) and budgets (e.g. updated to include a contingency should underpinning be found to be required). By using the risk management process, the planned response can be documented at the start of a project so that time is not lost in considering the possible responses at the time the risk materialises.

  7. Hi Paul,

    could you provide feedback on the following;

    1) Describe five key components of a procurement strategy?
    a)A Procurement Management Plan is key to outlining the strategy required to obtain the goods and services. The Procurement Management Plan will often form part of the PMP and will advise on the supplier/contractor selection process, contractual forms, the reimbursement methods and award process.
    b)Make in house or buy – a decision needs to be made whether the product is made in house or if it can be bought from a supplier for a cheaper cost or better quality.
    c)Selection of the type of contractual relationship to be implemented is a key component of a procurement strategy. A few different types of contractual arrangements are;
    i.Single contracts – where a single client procures from a single source
    ii.Parallel contracts – where a client has several single contracts with different suppliers to provide the same product
    iii.Sequential contracts – where one element of work cannot commence without the output of the preceding supplier, e.g separate design and build contracts
    iv.Prime and sub-contracts – where a client engages a main supplier, who then sub-contracts to others
    d)Reimbursement Methods – the project and Sponsoring organisation is required to make a decision on how they will pay selected supplier. There are a number of methods that can be used and they are all based on the amount of risk the client/supplier are willing to accept, some examples are;
    i.Cost Plus payments
    ii.Fixed Price payments
    iii.Unit Price/Time & Materials payments
    iv.Target price payments
    e) Supplier selection – a key component of the procurement strategy is how an organisation selects a supplier. Some typical steps in the selection process consist of the following;
    i.Definition of scope and requirements
    ii.Issuance of ITT or RFP
    iii.Answering of bidder queries
    iv.Examination and analyse of tenders
    v.Award of the contract
    vi.Discussion of other areas such as termination, penalties, duration, intellectual property, warranties, indemnities, guarantees, etc

    2) List and describe the five stages in the risk management process?
    i.the first phase of the risk management process is to compile the risk management plan, which consists of such things as the scope, objectives, roles, processes, tools, reporting cycles and applicable legislative and industry standards.
    i.Use various means and methods to identify risks, such as those stated below. Once the risks have been identified, log them in a risk register with pertinent information (ID number, description, category, potential impact and mitigation, owner, etc):
    •Brainstorming – through the use of workshops this method provokes blue sky thinking, however could be costly exercise
    •Experience – based on robust lessons learnt process, can be dangerous if too subjective or information is out of date
    •Interviewing – subject matter experts are interviewed, although subjective it can yield detailed information and insights
    •Others such as Delphi, prompt lists, mind mapping, check lists, assumptions analysis
    i.Risks are assessed using the Probability Impact Grid (PIG). The two axes of the PIG are probability and impact, thus each risk can be assessed accordingly and a quantitative assessment can be made using the numbered scale. After assessing each risk, each risk’s severity can be derived and thus the most significant risks will be clearly recognisable.
    d)Plan Response
    i.Upon assessing the severity of each risk, one has to determine both a response to reduce the risk and the other is to setup contingency measures in case the risk does occur.
    ii.Risk responses can be divided into both threats (accept, avoid, transfer, reduce) and opportunities (reject, enhance, exploit, share),
    iii.Careful consideration has to be given to the actions implemented as there is potential to generate other secondary risks
    e)Implement the Responses
    i.Upon completion of the above stage, the responses are then incorporated into the project plan, work breakdown structures, schedules, budgets, etc.
    ii.Further to the above, risk reviews should be done at regular intervals, proper records kept, the team should be engaged and the information should be available for all.

    3) Explain in five paragraphs a known of team development and its relevance to project management?
    According to Tuckman’s model of team development and behaviour, when a team is evolving it goes through four phases; ‘Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing’ (…and eventually adjourning when the team is dissolved). Tuckman’s model describes that as a team develops maturity and ability, relationships are established and the leader changes leaderhship styles; from directing, coaching, participating to finally delegating.
    The ‘Forming’ phase is the initial phase, where individuals are feeling guarded and are beginning to understand the task ahead of them and maybe dis-trustful of their managers and co-workers. They are largely un-informed about team goals and may make incorrect assumptions about what is coming up. An example of this could be when a construction project first starts, there are a number of different consultants, designers, contractors, etc, all with quite differing roles but the same end product. The individuals are coming to terms with the task that lies ahead and generally tend to act independently of each other at first.
    During the next stage, ‘Storming’, the team will be inter-operate more openly however co-workers are still feeling their boundaries thus there will be confrontation and conflict arising. Conflict resolution will be a key project management requirement during this stage. Some of the more experienced members of the group maybe able to coax and persuade others in the team to step up to the more productive Norming stage, thus helping put some structure into the team.
    The Norming phase, sees a team that is more trusting of each other, adhering to a more organised structure. The team is more accepting of its co-workers, operates as a unit and begins to deliver. The team will generally engage more often in fun and social activities during this stage. It is important for a team not to get caught up with ‘groupthink’ and focus on the job at hand. The Leader of the team will need to be effective in maximising the team’s potential and avoid complacency amongst the team
    The Performing stage is one in which the team is working autonomously with little direction from the Leader. The team is able to deal with conflict in a positive manner, are open to new ideas and make necessary changes to processes in place. The approach from the team is one of open communication, working together for a common purpose and is an optimum state for the team to achieve.

    4) Explain in five paragraphs the management of cost in a project?
    The business case will contain an initial cost estimate and through the project lifecycle this cost estimate will be refined in line with scope, schedule and resource requirements of the project. An allowance for risks and contingency is added, along with any other requirements of the business case and a final cost estimate is agreed with the sponsor. This becomes the project budget.
    The PM will then establish a cost baseline through the use of a CBS. This will allow a PM to record costs against a known baseline, spot early deviations and make alternative arrangements before things deviate too far from the planned baseline.
    Costs management is the monitoring and controlling of costs against a known budget thus it will be imperative to monitor and record the following;
    -Commitments – costs that we know will be incurred and have been agreed
    -Accruals – costs have occurred but have not been paid for
    -Actual expenditure – money that has been paid
    -Forecast costs – costs that we are likely to occur at a future date, until the end of the project
    -Cashflow – the amount of money in and out for a given period
    Costs will need to be monitored regularly. The project must have regular reviews of the project budget/costs, at pre-determined intervals (i.e. weekly and monthly). This will also aid in the review of variations and any required corrective actions that may be required.
    Reporting of costs to the Sponsor and stakeholders is a key issue, as the project has to have the ability to describe the need for funding and associated expenditure, in turn underpinning the costs within the business case. During the lifecycle of the project, the project must be able to provide certainty of the costs during the various phase gate reviews. Any deviations in the costs must be reported to the sponsor and stakeholders with corrective measures, where possible.
    Introduction of an effective change control procedure is paramount to any project (and conversely cost management), so that any changes made to a project’s scope, time, quality objectives can be identified, assessed, approved, deferred or rejected. Changes to projects are inevitable, and can range from being unavoidable/highly desirable to not useful and unnecessary, however they must be formally controlled, assessed, recorded, communicated and approved by the sponsor.

    5) Explain in five paragraphs scope management?
    The scope of a project is what the project is going to deliver, when and to what degree of quality. A high level conceptual statement of the scope is found within the business case and throughout the concept phase of a project life cycle, via requirements management, the scope is developed further. As the definition phase of the project continues the scope and its associated deliverables are further refined with the issuance of the PMP.
    The scope in the PMP is refined using both the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Product Breakdown Structure (PBS). The PBS describes the products that will be produced as a result of the work and the WBS depicts the work required to produce the products. Each level of the PBS and WBS is clearly identifiable and organised in a hierarchical structure, where responsibilities and costs can be assigned to each level of the structure/work package.
    In a WBS, the work packages are the smallest indivisible unit of work for which a budget is estimated and reported. They can be allocated to an ‘owner’, they do not overlap with another work package, they have a discrete budget, should have some form of consistent numbering associated to them and be relatively short in duration. The PBS is very similar to the WBS, however the PBS is about the product whereas the WBS is about the work required.
    An Organisational Breakdown Structure (OBS) is created to manage and handover the project. Similar to the WBS and PBS, it is a hierarchical structure that shows both organisational and reporting links. WBS and OBS can be combined to create a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) chart, where each of the work packages in the WBS is assigned to an owner from the OBS.
    The Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS) follows the same structure as mentioned for the other structures above, where higher levels get decomposed to smaller sub levels; such as labour, materials and overheads. The CBS shows costs assigned to work packages in the WBS, and eventually helps with the scheduling, estimating and realisation of a baseline for the project.

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