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Head First PMP vs PMBOK

Brian E Smith

Joined: Mar 29, 2002
Posts: 11
How would you compare the book to the information in the PMBOK Guide?

[ December 04, 2007: Message edited by: Brian E Smith ]
Paul Michael
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2001
Posts: 697
Can you also compare this book with Rita Mulcahy's study guide in terms of exam coverage?

My friend borrowed a copy of Rita's book from our boss and we compared the sample chapter from HFPMP with the corresponding chapter from Rita's book.

We noticed additional Risk info there like "Enhance" and others. But Rita's book looked more like a manual and to be honest I think I'd be able to learn more using this HFPMP book.

I'm assuming the rest of the book is as easy to read as the sample chapter.

SCJP 1.2 (89%), SCWCD 1.3 (94%), IBM 486 (90%), SCJA Beta (96%), SCEA (91% / 77%), SCEA 5 P1 (77%), SCBCD 5 (85%)
B Davis

Joined: Dec 04, 2007
Posts: 12
I'm extremely familiar with the Head First PMP, the PMBOK, and Rita's book.

If you are looking to prepare for the PMP Certification test, or just understand project maangement best practices in general, the Head First book really helps you get your mind around the whole process and have it make sense. It also uses the most advanced adult learning theory to help you retain the information without a lot of rote memorization.

Then, you will need to move to the PMBOK (A Guide to the Project Manager's Body of Knowledge) for the nitty, gritty of details that could be on the test. But without the Head First PMP knowledge, the PBMOK can be very confusing.

Rita's book is a more traditional approach to project management.

B. Davis
Andrew Stellman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 28, 2007
Posts: 60
First of all, thanks for posting such nice things about "Head First PMP". We're really proud of it, so it's really great to see that others appreciate it too.

Our technical review team for "Head First PMP" actually included two of the people who wrote the PMBOK(r) Guide, including the person who was the project manager for creating the PMBOK(r) Guide 3rd. Edition. I actually spent some time talking with him about how people use the PMBOK(r) Guide. One thing that he pointed out was that it was not written as a teaching tool or learning aid. It was written as a framework to help project managers choose a project management methodology.

A lot of people ask us why there's material on the PMP exam that is not in the PMBOK(r) Guide. For example, if you do a text search through the PMBOK(r) Guide PDF (which you get with your PMI membership), you won't find any mention of "Referent Power" or "Legitimate Power" -- part of the five forms of power that you'll be tested on as part of Human Resource Management. But they definitely appear on the exam. That's because they're an important part of the modern understanding of leadership skills, so they're included as part of the PMP exam specification.

And there are other things on the PMP exam that are either absent from or not fully explained in the PMBOK(r) Guide. For example, it doesn't actually tell you how to do critical path calculations, but those are definitely on the PMP exam, and are also mentioned in the PMP exam specification.

So when we wrote "Head First PMP", we had to consult the PMP exam specification as well as the PMBOK(r) Guide to make sure that we covered all of the material that you might encounter on the PMP exam. And while the goal of the people who wrote the PMBOK(r) Guide was to create a guide, a framework, and a reference -- which, in my opinion, they did extremely well -- our goal was to create a learning tool that teaches you what you need to know in order to pass the PMP exam and become a better project manager.

Andrew Stellman
Author of Learning Agile, Beautiful Teams, Head First C#, and Head First PMP (O'Reilly)
Hong Anderson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 05, 2005
Posts: 1936
As Andrew said, PMBOK 3rd. ed. is not for learning.

For me, PMBOK is a boring book . But surely, it wasn't written to be an interesting, funny to read one.

SCJA 1.0, SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4, SCBCD 1.3, SCJP 5.0, SCEA 5, SCBCD 5; OCUP - Fundamental, Intermediate and Advanced; IBM Certified Solution Designer - OOAD, vUML 2; SpringSource Certified Spring Professional
Don Kim, PMP

Joined: Dec 07, 2007
Posts: 3
First of all, I highly recommend "Head First PMP", as I used that book in addition to reading 4 other PMP prep books to pass easily on September 6, 2007.

Think of HFPMP in relation to the PMBOK like this:

In my development days, I would learn to program using a tutorial book such as "Introduction to C++", but later when I became more advanced and wanted to get the ultimate answer to my question, then I'd refer to the ANSI/ISO C++ Standard.

Likewise, HFPMP is a user friendly tutorial, and the PMBOK is the ultimate reference. In fact, this is one-to-one with the above analogy, since the PMBOK is an ANSI standard, and just received an ISO standard.

Below is a link to some extensive reviews of PMP prep books I used:

PMP Preparation - Part 3: PMP Prep Book Reviews[/url.]

Good luck in your studies!

Don Kim, PMP

Don Kim<br /><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a>
Don Kim, PMP

Joined: Dec 07, 2007
Posts: 3
Sorry, I screwed up the links in the previous post. Here's the link to the book reviews:

PMP Preparation - Part 3: PMP Prep Book Reviews

It would be nice if this forum had preview button.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Head First PMP vs PMBOK
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