5 PMP Terms You Need to Know Before Your Test

Parametric estimating, the Delphi Technique, and McGregor’s Theory of X and Y — what does it all mean? If your head is spinning, you’re not alone. The PMBOK Guide has lots of terms like this that you need to know for the exam. If you don’t use them on a daily basis, some of them are easy to forget. Here are a few tricks to remember a few of the lesser-known PMP terms!

5 PMP Terms You Need to Know Before Your Test

1. Parametric Estimating – Parametric estimating occurs when you use statistical measures as well as historical evidence to draw conclusions. Break down the word: “para” (it means “side-by-side”) and metric (think “measurement”) to make sure you remember that parametric estimating requires historical data and statistics to estimate costs.

2. Cause-and-Effect Diagram, or Fishbone Diagram, or Ishikawa Diagram, or Why-Why Diagram – Don’t forget – these terms all mean the same thing. Mr. Ishikawa designed the diagram to show all of the categories of causes that lead to a particular effect – and it looks like a fishbone!

Ishikawa Diagram pmp terms

3. Design of Experiments (DOE) – All you need to know about DOE, is that it is a way of determining which variables are impacting a process. Remember from your high school science days that one experiment requires one variable? Right. So the design of experiments uses multiple variables to determine which variable actually matters.

4. McGregor’s Theories of X and Y – McGregor’s Theory X says that employees dislike work and therefore need managers to actively tell them what to do (and what not to do!), while Theory Y says that most employees like to work, or at least want to work, and should be left alone in order to do their best work. Remember this by imagining that Theory X employees get a big red “X” for poor performance, and Theory Y employees like to say “Yes!” because they’re excited to work.

5. Delphi Technique – The ancient Greek prophet, the Oracle of Delphi, had nothing to do with creating this technique! The Delphi Technique is a group decision making method that allows everyone to submit an anonymous analysis of an issue, which a facilitator then compiles and redistributes for further group refinement. This method allows for everyone to have input without any individuals or groups dominating a discussion. Think of the facilitator as the Oracle of Delphi to remember this technique.

Of course, there are many other terms you need to know for the PMP Exam. Are you struggling with remembering any specific terms? Share in the comments below, and we’ll all work together to come up with a way for you to remember!

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