Assessment Instrument For Level

Completion of Level 1 is based upon gaining a knowledge of the fundamental principles of project management and its associated terminology. The requirements for completing Level 1 can be fulfilled through a good understanding of the guide to the PMBOK™ prepared by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Testing on the PMBOK is a good indicator of where you stand in relation to Level 1. The testing can be accomplished on an individual basis or by taking the average score from a group of individuals.

Below are 80 questions covering PMBOK and the basic principles of project management. There are five answers for each question. Although some of the answers may appear quite similar, you must select one and only one answer. After you finish Question 80, you will be provided with written instructions on how to grade the exercise.


1. A comprehensive definition of scope management would be:

A. Managing a project in terms of its objectives through all life cycle phases and processes

B. Approval of the scope baseline

C. Approval of the detailed project charter

D. Configuration control

E. Approved detailed planning including budgets, resource allocation, linear responsibility charts, and management sponsorship

2. The most common types of schedules are Gantt charts, milestone charts, line of balance, and:

A. Networks

B. Time phased events

C. Calendar integrated activities

3. The main player in project communications is the:

A. Sponsor

B. Project manager

C. Functional manager

D. Functional team

E. All of the above

4. The most effective means of determining the cost of a project is to price out the:

A. Work breakdown structure (WBS)

B. Linear responsibility chart

C. Project charter

D. Scope statement

E. Management plan

5. Employee unions would most likely satisfy which level in Maslow's hierarchy of needs?

A. Belonging

B. Self-actualization

C. Esteem

D. Safety

E. Empowerment

6. A written or pictorial document that describes, defines, or specifies the services or items to be procured is:

A. A specification document

B. A Gantt chart

C. A blueprint

D. A risk analysis

E. None of the above

7. Future events or outcomes that are favorable are called:

A. Risks

B. Opportunities

C. Surprises

D. Contingencies

E. None of the above

8. The costs of nonconformance include:

A. Prevention costs

B. Internal failure costs

C. External failure costs

9. Perhaps the biggest problem facing the project manager during integration activities within a matrix structure is:

A. Coping with employees who report to multiple bosses

B. Too much sponsorship involvement

C. Unclear functional understanding of the technical requirements

D. Escalating project costs

E. All of the above

10. A variance envelope has been established on a project. The envelope goes from ±30 percent in R&D to ±5 percent during manufacturing. The most common reason for the change in the "thickness" of the envelope is because:

A. The management reserve has been used up

B. The accuracy of the estimates in manufacturing is worse than the accuracy of the estimates in R&D

C. Tighter controls are always needed as a project begins to wind down

D. The personal desires of the project sponsor are an issue

E. None of the above

11. An informal communication network on a project and within an organization is called:

A. A free upward flow

B. A free horizontal flow

C. An unrestricted communication flow

D. A grapevine

E. An open network

12. Which of the following methods is/are best suited to identifying the "vital few"?

A. Pareto analysis

B. Cause-and-effect analysis

C. Trend analysis

D. Process control charts

E. All of the above

13. The "Order of Precedence" is:

A. The document that specifies the order (priority) in which project documents will be used when it becomes necessary to resolve inconsistencies between project documents

B. The order in which project tasks should be completed

C. The relationship that project tasks have to one another

D. The ordered list (by quality) of the screened vendors for a project deliverable

E. None of the above

14. Future risk events or outcomes that are unfavorable are called:

A. Risks

B. Opportunities

C. Surprises

D. Contingencies

E. None of the above

15. In small companies, project managers and line managers are:

A. Never the same person

B. Always the same person

C. Sometimes the same person

D. Always in disagreement with each other

E. Forced to act as their own sponsors

16. Project life cycles are very useful for_and_.

A. Configuration management; termination

B. Objective setting; information gathering

C. Standardization; control

D. Configuration management; weekly status updates

E. Approval; termination

17. Smoothing out resource requirements from period to period is called:

A. Resource allocation

B. Resource partitioning

C. Resource leveling

D. Resource quantification

E. None of the above

18. The difference between the BCWS (Budgeted Cost for Work Scheduled) and the BCWP (Budgeted Cost for Work Performed) is referred to as:

A. The schedule variance

B. The cost variance

C. The estimate of completion

D. The actual cost of the work performed

E. None of the above

19. R&D project managers in high-tech companies most often motivate using _power.

A. Expert

B. Reward

C. Referent

D. Identification

E. None of the above

2 . A recurring communication pattern within the project organization or company is called:

A. A free-form matrix

B. A structured matrix

C. A network

D. A rigid channel

E. None of the above

21. A task-oriented or product-oriented family tree of activities is:

A. A detailed plan

B. A linear responsibility chart

C. A work breakdown structure (WBS)

D. A cost account coding system

E. A work package description

22. Quality may be defined as:

A. Conformance to requirements

B. Fitness for use

C. Continuous improvement of products and services

D. Appeal to the customer

E. All of the above except D

23. In which of the following circumstance(s) would you be most likely to buy goods or services instead of producing them in-house?

A. Your company has excess capacity and your company can produce the goods or services

B. Your company has no excess capacity and cannot produce the goods or services

C. There are many reliable vendors for the goods or services that you are attempting to procure but the vendors cannot achieve your level of quality

24. The major disadvantage of a bar chart is:

A. Lack of time-phasing

B. Cannot be related to calendar dates

C. Does not show activity interrelationships

D. Cannot be related to manpower planning

E. Cannot be related to cost estimates

25. Project risk is typically defined as a function consisting of reducing:

A. Uncertainty

B. Damage

C. Time

D. Cost

26. Typically, during which phase in a project life cycle are most of the project expenses incurred?

A. Concept phase

B. Development or design phase

C. Execution phase

D. Termination phase

E. None of the above

27. Going from Level 3 to Level 4 in the work breakdown structure (WBS) will result in:

A. Less estimating accuracy

B. Better control of the project

C. Lower status reporting costs

D. A greater likelihood that something will fall through the cracks

E. None of the above

28. Conflict management requires problem solving. Which of the following is often referred to as a problem-solving technique and used extensively in conflict resolution?

A. Confrontation

B. Compromise

C. Smoothing

D. Forcing

E. Withdrawal

29. Estimating the effect of the change of one project variable upon the overall project is known as:

A. The project manager's risk aversion quotient

B. The total project risk

C. The expected value of the project

D. Sensitivity analysis

E. None of the above

30. Power games, withholding information, and hidden agendas are examples of:

A. Feedback

B. Communication barriers

C. Indirect communication

D. Mixed messages

E. All of the above

31. The basic terminology for networks includes:

A. Activities, events, manpower, skill levels, and slack

B. Activities, documentation, events, manpower, and skill levels

C. Slack, activities, events, and time estimates

D. Time estimates, slack, sponsorship involvement, and activities

E. Time estimates, slack time, report writing, life cycle phases, and crashing times

32. The "control points" in the work breakdown structure (WBS) used for isolated assignments to work centers are referred to as:

A. Work packages

B. Subtasks

C. Tasks

D. Code of accounts

E. Integration points

33. A project element that lies between two events is called:

A. An activity

B. A critical path node

C. A slack milestone

D. A timing slot

E. A calendar completion point

34. The make or buy decision is made at which stage of the contracting cycle?

A. Requirement

B. Requisition

C. Solicitation

D. Award

E. Contractual

35. The basic elements of a communication model include:

A. Listening, talking, and sign language

B. Communicator, encoding, message, medium, decoding, receiver, and feedback

C. Clarity of speech and good listening habits

D. Reading, writing, and listening

E. All of the above

36. Which of the following is not part of the generally accepted view of quality today?

A. Defects should be highlighted and brought to the surface

B. We can inspect in quality

C. Improved quality saves money and increases business

D. People want to produce quality products

E. Quality is customer-focused

37. The three most common types of project cost estimates are:

A. Order of magnitude, parametric, and budget

B. Parametric, definitive, and top down

C. Order of magnitude, definitive, and bottom up

D. Order of magnitude, budget, and definitive

E. Analogy, parametric, and top down

38. Good project objectives must be:

A. General rather than specific

B. Established without considering resource constraints

C. Realistic and attainable

D. Overly complex

E. Measurable, intangible, and verifiable

39. The process of examining a situation and identifying and classifying areas of potential risk is known as:

A. Risk identification

B. Risk response

C. Lessons learned or control

D. Risk quantification

E. None of the above

40. In which type of contract arrangement is the contractor most likely to control costs?

A. Cost plus percentage of cost

B. Firm-fixed price

C. Time and materials

D. Firm-fixed price with economic price adjustment

E. Fixed-price incentive firm target

41. A project can best be defined as:

A. A series of nonrelated activities designed to accomplish single or multiple objectives

B. A coordinated effort of related activities designed to accomplish a goal without a well-established end point

C. Cradle-to-grave activities that must be accomplished in less than one year and consume human and nonhuman resources

D. Any undertaking with a definable time frame and well-defined objectives that consumes both human and nonhuman resources with certain constraints

E. All of the above

42. Risk management decision-making falls into three broad categories:

A. Certainty, risk, and uncertainty

B. Probability, risk, and uncertainty

C. Probability, risk event, and uncertainty

D. Hazard, risk event, and uncertainty

43. If there is a run of_consecutive data points (minimum) on either side of the mean on a control chart, the process is said to be out of control.

44. The work breakdown structure (WBS), the work packages, and the company's accounting system are tied together through:

A. The code of accounts

B. The overhead rates

C. The budgeting system

D. The capital budgeting process

E. All of the above

45. A program can best be described as:

A. A grouping of related activities that last two years or more

B. The first major subdivision of a project

C. A grouping of projects, similar in nature, that support a product or product line

D. A product line

E. Another name for a project

46. Which of the following types of power comes through the organizational hierarchy?

A. Coercive, legitimate, referent

B. Reward, coercive, expert

C. Referent, expert, legitimate

D. Legitimate, coercive, reward

E. Expert, coercive, referent

47. The most common definition of project success is:

A. Within time

B. Within time and cost

C. Within time, cost, and technical performance requirements

D. Within time, cost, performance, and acceptance by the customer/user

E. None of the above

48. Activities with zero time duration are referred to as:

A. Critical path activities

B. Non-critical path activities

C. Slack time activities

D. Dummies

E. None of the above

49. Which of the following is the correct order for the steps in the contracting process?

A. Requisition cycle, requirement cycle, solicitation cycle, award cycle, contractual cycle

B. Requirement cycle, requisition cycle, solicitation cycle, award cycle, contractual cycle

C. Requirement cycle, requisition cycle, award cycle, solicitation cycle, contractual cycle

D. Requisition cycle, requirement cycle, award cycle, solicitation cycle, contractual cycle

E. Requirement cycle, requisition cycle, award cycle, contractual cycle, solicitation cycle

50. Project cash reserves are often used for adjustments in escalation factors, which may be beyond the control of the project manager. Other than possible financing (interest) costs and taxes, the three most common escalation factors involve changes in:

A. Overhead rates, labor rates, and material costs

B. Overhead rates, schedule slippages, rework

C. Rework, cost-of-living adjustments, overtime

D. Material costs, shipping cost, and scope changes

E. Labor rates, material costs, and cost reporting

51. The critical path in a network is the path that:

A. Has the greatest degree of risk

B. Will elongate the project if the activities on this path take longer than anticipated

C. Must be completed before all other paths

D. All of the above

52. The major difference between project and line management is that the project manager may not have any control over which basic management function?

A. Decision-making

B. Staffing

C. Rewarding

D. Tracking/monitoring

E. Reviewing

53. During which phase of a project is the uncertainty the greatest?

A. Design

B. Development/execution

C. Concept

D. Phase-out

E. All of the above

54. In today's view of quality, who defines quality?

A. Senior management

B. Project management

C. Functional management

D. Workers

E. Customers

55. Project managers need exceptionally good communication and negotiation skills primarily because:

A. They may be leading a team over which they have no direct control

B. Procurement activities mandate this

C. They are expected to be technical experts

D. They must provide executive/customer/sponsor briefings

E. All of the above

56. For effective communication, the message should be oriented to:

A. The initiator

B. The receiver

C. The media

D. The management style

E. The corporate culture

57. In the past, most project managers have come from_fields without proper training or education in_skills.

A. Technical; accounting/finance

B. Technical; management

C. Technical; psychological

D. Marketing; technology-oriented

E. Business; manufacturing know-how

58. On a precedence diagram, the arrow between two boxes is called:

A. An activity

B. A constraint

C. An event

D. The critical path

E. None of the above

59. In which type of contract arrangement is the contractor least likely to control costs?

A. Cost plus percentage of cost

B. Firm-fixed price

C. Time and materials

D. Purchase order

E. Fixed-price incentive firm target

60. The financial closeout of a project dictates that:

A. All project funds have been spent

B. No charge numbers have been overrun

C. No follow-on work from this client is possible

D. No further charges can be made against the project

E. All of the above

61. A graphical display of accumulated costs and labor hours for both budgeted and actual costs, plotted against time, is called:

A. A trend line

B. A trend analysis

D. A percent completion report

E. An earned value report

62. The upper and lower control limits are typically set:

A. 3 standard deviations from the mean in each direction

B. 3ct (sigma) from the mean in each direction

C. Inside the upper and lower specification limits

D. To detect and flag when a process may be out of control

E. All of the above

63. The major difference between PERT and CPM networks is:

A. PERT requires three time estimates whereas CPM requires one time estimate

B. PERT is used for construction projects whereas CPM is used for R&D

C. PERT addresses only time whereas CPM also includes costs and resource availability

D. PERT requires computer solutions whereas CPM is a manual technique

E. PERT is measured in days whereas CPM uses weeks or months

64. The most common form of organizational communication is:

A. Upward to management

B. Downward to subordinates

C. Horizontal to peers

D. Horizontal to customers

E. All of the above

65. The ultimate purpose for risk management is:

A. Analysis

B. Mitigation

C. Assessment

D. Contingency planning

E. All of the above

66. The traditional organizational form has the disadvantage of:

A. Complex functional budgeting

B. Poorly established communication channels

C. No single focal point for clients/sponsors

D. Slow reaction capability

E. Inflexible use of manpower

67. Which of the following is not a factor to consider when selecting a contract type?

A. The type/complexity of the requirement

B. The urgency of the requirement

C. The cost/price analysis

D. The extent of price competition

E. All are factors to consider

68. Which of the following is not indicative of today's views of the quality management process?

A. Defects should be highlighted

B. Focus should be on written specifications

C. The responsibility for quality lies primarily with management but everyone should be involved

D. Quality saves money

E. Problem identification leads to cooperative solutions

69. The document that describes the details of the task in terms of physical characteristics and places the risk of performance on the buyer is:

A. A design specification

B. A functional specification

C. A performance specification

D. A project specification

E. All of the above

70. The swiftest and most effective communications take place among people with:

A. Common points of view

B. Dissimilar interests

C. Advanced degrees

D. The ability to reduce perception barriers

E. Good encoding skills

71. Assigning resources in an attempt to find the shortest project schedule consistent with fixed resource limits is called:

A. Resource allocation

B. Resource partitioning:

C. Resource: leveling

D. Resource quantification

E. None of the above

72. The process of conducting an analysis to determine the probability of risk events and the consequences associated with their occurrence is known as:

A. Risk identification

B. Risk response

C. Lessons learned or control

D. Risk quantification

E. None of the above

73. The most common method for pricing out nonburdened labor hours for a three-year project would be:

A. To price out the hours at the actual salary of the people to be assigned

B. To price out the work using a company-wide average labor rate

C. To price out the work using a functional group average labor rate

D. All of the above

74. Which of the following is true of modern quality management?

A. Quality is defined by the customer

B. Quality has become a competitive weapon

C. Quality is now an integral part of strategic planning

D. Quality is linked with profitability on both the market and cost sides

E. All are true

75. A project manager can exchange information with the project team using which media?

A. Tactile

B. Audio

C. Olfactory

D. Visual

E. All of the above

76. The techniques and methods used to reduce or control risk are known as:

A. Risk identification

B. Risk response

C. Lessons learned or control

D. Risk quantification

E. None of the above

77. A written preliminary contractual instrument that authorizes the contractor to immediately begin work is known as:

A. A definitive contract

B. A preliminary contract

C. A letter contract/letter of intent

D. A purchase order

E. A pricing arrangement

78. A company dedicated to quality usually provides training for:

A. Senior management

B. Hourly workers

C. Salaried workers

D. All employees

E. Project managers

79. The most common form of project communication is:

A. Upward to executive sponsor

B. Downward to subordinates

C. Lateral to the team and line organizations

D. Lateral to customers

E. Diagonally to the client's senior management

80. During a project review meeting, we discover that our $250,000 project has a negative (behind) schedule variance of $20,000, which equates to 12 percent of the work scheduled to this point in time. We can therefore conclude that:

A. The project will be completed late

B. The critical path has been lengthened

C. The costs are being overrun

D. Overtime will be required to maintain the original critical path

E. None of the above

An answer key for the 80 questions of the assessment instrument follows. The PMBOK is partitioned into nine broad categories. However, for simplicity's sake in this exercise, scope and integration management have been combined into one category. The 80 questions consist of 10 questions in each of the following categories:

• Scope/Integration Management

• Time Management

• Cost Management

• Human Resource Management

• Procurement Management

• Quality Management

• Risk Management

• Communication Management

Using the answer key, score yourself and fill in the tables in Exhibit 1. Give yourself 10 points for each correct answer and no points for an incorrect answer. After you fill in the tables in Exhibit 1, continue on for an interpretation of your results.

























































































Exhibit 1

Put the points in the space provided by each question and then total each category.

Scope Management Time Management Cost Management


Human Resources Procurement

Management Management Quality Management

52. 59. 62. 55. 67. 68. 57. 69. 74. 66. 77. 78. TOTAL TOTAL TOTAL

Risk Management Communication Management


Category Points

Scope Management: Time Management: Cost Management: Human Resource Management: Procurement Management: Quality Management: Risk Management: Communications Management: Total:


If you received a score of 60 or more points in each of the eight categories, then you have a reasonable knowledge of the basic principles of project management.

If you received a score of 60 or more in all but one or two of the categories, it's possible that you and your organization still possess all the knowledge you need of basic principles but that one or two of the categories do not apply directly to your circumstances. For example, if most of your projects are internal to your organization, procurement management may not be applicable. Also, for internal projects, companies often do not need the rigorous cost control systems that would be found in project-driven organizations. Eventually, however, specialized training in these deficient areas will be needed.

If your score is less than 60 in any category, a deficiency exists. For scores less than 30 in any category, rigorous training programs on basic principles appear necessary. The organization appears highly immature in project management.

A total score on all categories of 600 or more would indicate that the organization appears well positioned to begin work on Level 2 of the PMMM. If your organization as a whole scores less than 600 points, there may exist pockets of project management. Each pocket may be at a different level of knowledge. Project-driven pockets generally possess more project management knowledge than non-project-driven pockets.

This assessment instrument can be used to measure either an individual's knowledge or an organization's knowledge. To assess organizational knowledge accurately, however, care must be taken in determining the proper cross-section of participants to be tested.

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