Cost-volume-profit analysis

I spoke to a lecturer the other day who said her learners struggle with this topic. It is a little technical, but I like to think that clarifying technical material is a strength of Profex. So I’ve decided to share our coverage of the topic from the Profex L4M5 text (though it crops up in other modules too). Any queries, feel free to ask me.
Of course the numbers are not the whole story. You need to understand the implications for procurement professionals. Stay tuned to this page: in the coming weeks, we’ll be posting some implications and limitations of the technique.
You can download a PDF of the above resource here.

L5M8: improved Gantt charts and baselines

As promised in my most recent blog post, I am now posting improved coverage of Gantt charts and baselines. If you have purchased the Profex Study Text for this module you should print out these pages and use them instead of page 187 of the May 2020 edition.

L5M8 Project and Change Management

Some harsh words have appeared on Twitter in relation to the CIPS Study Guide for this module:

I would not disagree with this at all. But by a nice irony a Profex customer has criticised our own Study Text for the same module. He complains that the coverage of a syllabus topic on Gantt charts and baselines is too skimpy. And I agree with him – it just shows that publishing is not an easy discipline, and definitely not for amateurs!

If you have purchased the Profex text for this module, keep an eye on this space during the next few days. As always when I receive a justified criticism of the content of the books I plan to post an improved version for anyone to view free of charge. I will be posting new coverage of that specific syllabus topic very soon. Oh, and good luck to you if you have purchased the official Study Guide and are expecting a similar response from CIPS!

I’ll be back!

Apologies for the long silence everyone. It’s been very hectic finalising the Level 5 books and launching into work on Level 6, not to mention keeping up with the return of football and test cricket. Bear with me for a few more days and I’ll post some more MCQs or news items or maths teasers or technical explanations … or whatever you ask me for. In the meantime, good luck to all of you who have been sitting exams in recent weeks. I’m getting feedback about questions that were set despite not being covered by the syllabus or the official Study Guides. Feel free to contact me in private if you have anything of that kind to report: Ynherapr.abbar@cebsrk.pb.hx. I will then take a view about whether to cover the ‘rogue’ questions in later editions of the Profex books.

Free book(s)!

I like puzzles, so I’ve decided to include an occasional teaser in this blog. This first one was presented at school to my daughter’s eight year old niece but caused widespread bafflement among older readers.

I’m looking for a fraction where the numerator differs from the denominator by 19. The fraction must be greater than ⅛ but less than ¼.

The first person to post a correct answer as a comment on this post is entitled to a Profex book of their choice, delivered free of charge anywhere in the world.

You can get two Profex books of your choice if you give me the complete list (not a very long list) of possible answers.

This is much easier than many of the questions you will meet in your exam. At least there is a definite answer!

We Feel Your Pain

We had a message this morning from a student about to begin studying Level 6. ‘I really don’t want to use the CIPS textbooks. Using them for Level 5 has scarred me for life. When will your Level 6 books be published?’

We wish our Level 6 books were already available. (They would have been if CIPS had not kept the syllabus secret from the whole world so as to give their preferred publisher an 18 month start. CIPS are strongly in favour of fair competition.) But the good news is that our books are coming soon. L6M1, M2 and M3 are scheduled for end August to end September. For the mysterious L6M4 – no publication coming from CIPS on this one – we will be sending an aid for lecturers to selected Study Centres in the next week or two. And we will be launching as many of the elective modules as we possibly can by the end of 2020. In the meantime, we have undertaken medical research on behalf of all students and lecturers worldwide and the advice is simple: keep taking the painkillers.

Syllabuses at Levels 5 and 6

Some good news for everyone studying the CIPS qualification at Levels 5 and 6.

  • The L6M4 syllabus (Future Strategic Challenges for the Profession) is fiendishly difficult. We are required to assess future challenges for the profession – but no crystal balls are allowed in the exam room. Whoever wrote the syllabus does not appear to have foreseen the impact of, say, a global pandemic, which seems ironic at a time when we have thought of nothing else for the past few months. (Oh, and if anyone from Easton House is reading this, please could you amend the blunder in Assessment Criterion 1.1? Legality is clearly meant to be leagility.) These difficulties are aggravated by the fact that CIPS apparently do not intend to publish a Study Guide for this module. (We have some ideas about a Profex resource for lecturers that may fill the gap, but it’s too early for details.) So what’s the good news? Simply that yesterday CIPS circulated an email to all members with details of relevant research carried out by academics at Aston University and the University of Liverpool. If you are studying this module, be sure you access this research.
  • We’re working on our Profex book for L6M2 Global Commercial Strategy. Picture our delight when we noticed that Learning Outcome 4.0 is word for word identical (two command words excepted) to Learning Outcome 3.0 from the L5M4 module, Advanced Contract and Financial Management. You may be wondering why there is such a substantial amount of duplication (and so are we). But look on the bright side: if you’ve already passed L5M4 you’ve done 25% of the work you need to do for L6M2.

Critical path analysis

We have had a query (a slightly panicky query) from a learner studying the L5M8 module Project and Change Management. Her concern relates to Assessment Criterion 3.4 and specifically to the topic ‘critical path method’ or CPM. She has not been able to find study material that makes this topic understandable.

CPM is indeed somewhat more technical and computational than most syllabus topics. However, this should not cause panic.

  • For one thing, it is most unlikely (and perhaps impossible) that an exam question would ask you to construct a critical path network. More likely is that you might be asked a question involving the interpretation of a given network.
  • And for another, there is help on the way. Our Study Pack for L5M8 is currently being printed. And we have decided to make our coverage of CPM available now, ahead of publication: download it as a PDF here.

Please let us know if you have difficulties understanding any topics on the syllabus for this or other modules: choyvfuvat@cebsrk.pb.hx. If enough learners are struggling with a particular topic we will consider publishing explanatory material on this forum.