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To RAID or not to RAID — Project Management

Oct 25, 2014 . A few weeks ago I was assisting a project manager with a troubled project. We reviewed the documentation from the beginning, starting with .

Avoid vs Transfer vs Mitigate — PMP Exam Concepts

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PMI’s PDU Secrets

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Dear Visitor, I am a PMP (Project Management Professional), certified by the Project Management Institute since 2004. I have been managing dozens of projects .

The toolbox for faster projects and awesome products — PMI

It also overviews the process of using three tools—RAID, FAME, and SWIFT. It then outlines the process of applying a framework—known as 3Fs (function, form, .

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RAID Log —

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PMBOK Guide and Standards — PMI

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What the heck happened to my resources— the multiple project .

Project success is often included in managers’/directors’/project managers’ appraisals, so they will raid resources from other projects if they have to—their pay .

Who moved my project? A streamlined approach to project .

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Project interdependency management — PMI

Introduction. Management hates surprises. How often is senior management required to make a project decision without the complete picture or an .

Raiding for newbies

Raiding for newbies is basic guide for those considering starting raiding. «Raiding» in this article means «running instances with 20 or more people». Technically a group of 10 constitutes a raid too, but needs much less organization, devotion and discipline than the bigger raids. For this reason, 10 player raids can be mastered by pickup groups with «normal» gear, while pickup groups in larger instances usually need a few highly skilled and over-geared members.

A sample career Edit

At start, new players usually spend a lot of time playing alone or questing in small groups of fewer than five players. Sooner or later, the next step is to run small instances with groups of five (the Instance grouping guide helps mastering this style of play). Upon reaching the maximum level, many choices are open. The world of PvP can be explored, it’s possible to continue playing solo, and there are many options available for group PvE. For small groups there are the heroic five-man instances, and groups of 10 can enter the world of raids.

The culmination of the PvE endgame is the 25 player raids. Prior to WLK, only a few players got there; for example, only about half the number of players who killed a boss in Karazhan ever killed a 25 player boss, and less than 5% defeated the final boss of the expansion (Kil’Jaeden). In vanilla WoW, less than 2% of all players ever entered Naxxramas (the original version).

With the changes in WLK, hardmodes now are the pinnacle of raiding. All other content has become very accessible and is regularly cleared by pickup groups. Due to this development raiding has become much more commonplace, and the following rules have lost much of their exclusivity and some of their importance.

During vanilla and TBC, successful raiding depended on a dedicated player base, because progress was only possible with well-practised tactics and a good organized raid. Since WLK, raids rather face problems like gear elitism (» minimum gearscore xx, link achievement»), which basically amounts to beating the encounters by outgearing them, not by proper tactics.

The following text is about progress raiding, that is with a group which does not outgear the instance. In effect, this means 25 player hard modes, or 25 player normal modes for raids which really strive for progress.

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Golden Rule Edit

Progress raiding is a long term team effort. Have patience, and be a good team player.

Motivation Edit

Very good gear can be obtained with comparative ease by completing the daily badge quest, farming the 10 player versions and the occasional 25 player run. Gear obtained this way is just one tier below the best stuff available, and (compared to vanilla/TBC) with rather low effort.

The remaining PvE challenge are the 25 player hardmodes. The motivation for trying this is not gear, but rather the wish to master something really difficult. It’s about building and maintaining a team, a close-knit group of players who progress together. The most happy raid members are those who join a run because they like the challenge of the encounters, no matter whether it’s a wipe night, a first kill or a farm run.

People with selfish goals, especially when it comes to loot, usually don’t find much pleasure in raids. If some kind of formalized loot distribution system (like DKP) is not used, epic loot is normally distributed on the basis of what’s best for the raid’s future success, and not what’s optimal for an individual player.

There is a fine line between personal goals («I want to have fun») and group goals («We want to kill that boss»), but (as in many real life group environments), these goals don’t need to be at odds. If it’s good for the group’s success, even yielding some item (or another advantage) to somebody else can be fun. So be polite and don’t put personal goals over those of the whole raid (see the golden rule above).

New players should ask themselves the following questions before joining a progress raid group:

  • Can I regularly spend at least two evenings per week raiding?
  • Do I want to regularly pay a repair bill of around 350 plus up to around 1000 for consumables per night without receiving any compensation?
  • Is it all right when somebody else gets the item I’d love to have, even if that decision comes down to politics?
  • Can I balance my need for individuality with the need to conform to the expectations and dictates of a group?
  • Do I truly love my chosen class and role, and am I willing to push it to the limit?

Only people willing to answer each of these questions with a loud and clear «yes» should seriously consider raiding. It takes a lot of effort, and the rewards are scarce.

Finding a raid Edit

The most common and easiest method to start raiding is to find a raiding guild with an open spot. It’s actually quite frequent that raiding guilds are looking for new members, because they lost some old hand. Blizzards realm forums are a very good starting point. If no guilds are currently recruiting, it can’t hurt to write a general application there, and all guilds also consider serious applications even when they’re not actively looking for new members. The alternative would be to try and start a new raiding guild.

In order to have a good chance to get an invite to a raiding guild, the following technical aspects can help:

  • Have decent gear. With the group finder, it’s become rather easy to get at least a full set of epics. Try to gem and enchant everything at least minimally — nothing says ‘lazy’ like empty gem slots.
  • The Application should be well written and thought out
  • Try to find a matching guild

The last point is really important and works both ways. A dedicated, reliable and serious player should look for a serious raiding guild, while casual or fun oriented future raiders should look for a more casual guild. Matching player and guild character is actually not so much a question of gear, the more progressed guilds are usually aware that it’s hard to gear up beyond a certain level without an opportunity to raid.

A somewhat related aspect is that of chosen role and spec. Progress oriented guilds used to have rather tight «job descriptions», when they wanted a healing druid, they were usually not interested in a holy paladin. Similarly, serious raid groups usually had only a limited number of «Off-spec» spots (like elemental shaman, retribution paladin), some spec might not have been accepted at all. These rules were rather strict in vanilla (where each class usually had exactly one raid-capable spec), became softer in TBC (when most classes had 2 or 3 raid specs), and have all but vanished with WLK. Since 3.0.1, it’s even desirable to have many different combinations of class and spec in a raid, because nearly every such combination can contribute some unique ability to the raid.

Only the best of the top guilds, those competing for first kills, are still concerned about class and spec. The only challenge which remains when composing a raid is to find the appropriate numbers of tanks, healers and damage dealers (the «default» being 2-3 tanks, 5-6 healers and 16-18 damage dealers). Individual players’ capabilities are nowadays much more important than class or spec. Knowledge of boss fights is paramount, as is the players’ ability to get the maximum threat, healing, or DPS possible with their current equipment for tanks, healers, and DPS respectively. This is particularly important in fights where one player’s ignorance can easily lead to a wipe — encounters such as Thaddius or Kel’Thuzad are particularly notable examples of this.

Hierarchy Edit

In 5- or 10-man groups, a single leader can do all the management necessary — one person can organize healing, tanking and target assignment without there being much danger that something is forgotten or out of sync. In a raid the tasks are much more complicated and specialized, and sometimes require detailed knowledge of class (or build) capabilities, so that actually quite a lot of the management tasks get delegated to «officers», and the raid leader himself mainly focuses on keeping things synchronized. As all hierarchies, this structure can either be maintained out of necessity, because it makes things easier and better organized, or it can be used as a means of suppression. For beginning raiders it’s sometimes hard to distinguish these two forms.

Normally there are a few extra chat channels set up, for example one channel for healers, one for warlocks and mages, another for hunters, and one for all melee classes. Each of these channels should have one leader, and these leaders join the officer channel where they discuss (together with the raid leader) overall strategy and synchronization.

Behavior Edit

Unless the task at hand is totally routine (e.g., the 20th MC run before the lava packs), chat should be kept to a minimum. Raids are not a good place to get to know the other members. There are too many people, and there’s too little time. When it comes to tactics, beginners should really be careful and first try to understand how this particular raid works. Although on many bosses there are widely accepted «standard» strategies, some raids may do things differently and still have success. It is not a good idea to try to teach things to long term raid members, justified as it may be. Discussions should not take place during a raid. If there are any issues they should be discussed later with the relevant officer in /w or in some forum, not during the raid.

Good methods to annoy other raid members (and the leader in particular) are to predict doom and failure before the pull even begins or to declare «wipe» when just a few people are dead. It is important for the success of the raid to stay positive, especially when learning new content. A good mantra is «Wiping is fun» (meditate about that — it really helps). So whenever anger about a bad run wells up, just think of how fun wiping is!

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Raid Gear Edit

Raids are the only environment where damage dealers really need a lot of +hit gear. The raid bosses are 3 levels higher than the level cap, and thus in order to maximize damage output +hit rating is a viable stat. Until the hit cap is reached, hit is the most efficient way of increasing damage output; still, it’s not infinitely more valuable than other stats (see Hit / Spell hit). For mana users, endurance may be important, particularly for healers. Every mana user must be able to sustain a 10 minute fight. Tanks (and to a lesser extent everybody else) may need many different sets of armor to adapt to different situations (e.g. high resistance, high avoidance or high threat).

Wiping and wipe recovery Edit

A Wipe happens when all members of the raid are dead. Part of the challenge of raiding is to recover from this and get moving again quickly. Quick and efficient wipe recovery helps to increase the raids success. While learning a new encounter, wipes usually happen every 15–20 minutes, thus in a 3-hour raid (assuming 15 minutes) a raid that takes only 5 minutes to recover gets 9 tries at the encounter, whereas a raid that needs 15 minutes only gets 6 tries. For this reason, new members should quickly find out under which circumstances they are supposed to release, when they should self-rez, and when not. If capable of self or combat rez, new players should always ask the raid leader whether to use it.

Loot Edit

The drops are usually distributed by a loot master during a raid. The loot rules are normally agreed on beforehand. Most raiding groups use some kind of formalized loot system (with varying degrees of freedom, politics and bureaucracy involved). Drops which are of no immediate use (like Crystals from disenchanted epics, other crafting materials or BOE items which nobody currently wants) usually go to the guild bank. Newbies need to be prudent once more, but there’s no reason to despair — even if things look like it’s impossible to ever get anything, it’s actually quite common that there are many items which nobody else wants, so newbies usually gear up quite fast. Of course, getting the top of the line drops takes much more patience.

Following WotLK’s release, raiding content has become far more accessible to pickup groups, and the most common strategy to distribute loot in PUGs is to set the loot rules to loot master, and have the leader call for rolls in a priority order. If no one is eligible or wants to roll in one priority order, next priority order is called. Rolls are done by typing «/roll 100» in the chat box. This is a slightly finer-grained variation of the need/greed system.

Typically, roll order is as follows:

  • Main-spec roll: Only roll if the item is an upgrade over the currently equipped piece.
  • Off-spec roll: If no one’s main spec can use the item, then players with a secondary role can go ahead and roll.
  • Disenchant/Greed: If, by some misfortune, no one can use the loot or the loot is bind on equip, everyone can roll on the item or, if at all possible, the result of disenchanting for BoP items. Some groups also stipulate that only people who have not won any loot in the current raid should roll by this point(particularly if a piece of loot is useful to every player or 25-man runs)

How to Get Rid of Roaches, Rats And Other Pests

We hate to say it to you, but there are all kinds of ugly, hairy little beasts running around in your home. And we don;t mean your sisters: Rather, these are pests that you’re legally allowed to hit with a shoe.

In case you forgot to eat your Wheaties and have no clue what we’re talking about, the beasts we are referring to are ants, roaches, mice and any other pests that occupy your home. Most people, whether they realize it or not, have some kind of pest infestation problem. We often don’t care because we don’t see the bugs. But if your pest control has gotten out of control, we have tons of great advice for some simple ways to get rid of the four major household pests: rodents, cockroaches, fleas and ants.

We know what you’re thinking: «What about termites?» Our response: If you have termites, you have to hire a termite exterminator. It’s as simple as that. But for the other crawlies, we can help. Read on.

Get Rid of Rodents

Detecting if you have rodents

If you have rats or mice (which are basically small rats), you should try to get rid of them ASAP. Rodents have a notorious history of coexisting with their human hosts—and then spreading disease, pestilence and the Black Plague. Rodents carry harmful bacteria into your house, especially in their hair, urine and little poops that you might unknowingly breathe in or eat. This step will help you empty your house of them. Oh, and in case you’re a member of PETA, don’t start writing that angry letter yet; we’ll teach you how to banish rodents without hurting them too much.

You can usually tell if you have rodents if:

Getting rid of rodents

Rodent-killing chemicals are dangerous for anyone but a pest-control professional to use. If your infestation is intense enough to warrant a mass poisoning, call an exterminator. We must reiterate, it’s a bad idea to try to use rat poison on your own; a pet could eat the poison (or the dead poisoned rat). However, there are some ways to get rid of rodents without resorting to rat poison:

Keep all your food sealed. This is a rule that you’ll see a lot of in this article; most pests are simply looking for a meal. So don’t be a slob, clean up spills, and try not to keep foods (such as bananas) just sitting on the countertop.

Cruelly trap the rodents. There are many kinds to choose from here: snap traps, multicatch traps, single-catch live traps and glue-board traps.

Get some predators. Cats, dogs and ferrets can be used to control a home infestation. Cats will instinctively attack rodents (and possibly bring their severed heads to your pillow), and they’re fun to pet, too (the cats, not the severed mouse heads).

Don’t get ultrasonic-sound devices. These machines produce an irritating, high-pitched sound (audible only to the rodents) that will supposedly keep them away (and may in the short term), but the pests will eventually become accustomed to the noise and invade a shelter that’s rich in food anyway. So don’t waste your money.

When you do catch a mouse or a rat, be sure to let it go while wearing gloves, or from a distance (tie a string to the gate). Finally, be super-cautious if the rodent looks to be sick or diseased; in such a case, immediately call Animal Control and let them deal with it. It’s their job.

To read about some other non-chemical (but not necessarily humane) ways to kill and trap rodents, check out the CDC’s tips. (See Resources.)

Get Rid of Roaches

The most common pest in the world is the German cockroach, or Blatela Germanica. There are other species (e.g., American cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches), but regardless of the species, they’re all pretty gross.

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Detecting if you have roaches

What makes cockroaches so unhealthy is that they secrete a fluid that «has an offensive and sickening odor that may ruin food,» and «this odor may also be imparted to dishes that are apparently clean» (at least, according to P.G. Koehler of the National Food Database). Besides that, a roach infestation indicates that your home is generally dirty and unsanitary. After all, what’s the first impression you have of a restaurant that is crawling with cockroaches?

You can usually tell if you have roaches if:

Getting rid of roaches

According to the National Food Safety Database, there are four effective and inexpensive ways in which you can chemically kill the roaches that are infesting your home:

Sprays. You can choose between residual sprays and total-release sprays:

You have to be very careful using sprays: They can be toxic, and you won’t feel particularly healthy after ingesting roach spray. So remove all food, eating utensils and pets before spraying.

Insecticides. You can buy powders or other concentrated insecticides to mix with water and deliver in a compressed-air sprayer. (It’s kind of like a water gun.) A bonus to this method is that outdoor species of roaches won’t enter through treated doorways or cracks. If you choose this route, you must absolutely consult a professional exterminator.

Baits (a.k.a. roach motels) are readily available, and are highly effective killers of the German cockroach. Products such as Combat and Raid MAX can be placed in the kitchen, the bathroom and other infested areas. Baits are nice because they attract roaches and trick them into taking poison into the walls to the other roaches, and then it kills them all at once. Baits are usually effective for three to twelve months.

Boric acid is applied as a dust in wall voids, paths along which the roaches travel, and other hangouts. It’s organic, generally safe and should be used if the rest of your home has already been thoroughly treated for maximum effectiveness. A benefit of boric acid is that cockroaches will transfer dust from roach to roach, reducing a hidden roach metropolis into a ghost town. If you want to know the grizzly details, boric acid eats through cockroach shells gradually, taking anywhere from a few hours to a few days to kill the suckers.

Preventative control. If there’s nothing to eat in your home, most roaches will just go away. Roaches like open sources of water and standing mess (like crumbs and things rotting at the bottom of a garbage bag). So to get rid of your roach problem, either make sure you don’t leave a mess around, or keep your mess tightly enclosed in thick plastic. Keeping your food wrapped and your dishes clean will probably lead your roaches to look for greener pastures. At the very least, combining this effort with another pest-control method will be highly effective.

Predators. Many people claim to have never seen a roach in their home that their cat or dog wasn’t in the process of killing. While you can’t depend on a cat, dog or ferret to completely eliminate a roach infestation, they can keep the outside populations that you see moving at night under control. Also, the sheer joy of watching a beloved pet get his claws on a nasty bug is pure catharsis.

Get Rid of Ants

Detecting if you have ants

An ant is a relatively harmless pest. However, you will not have one ant; you will have thousands. Ants will eat (and contaminate) your food, get into your walls and bite you (depending on the species). Besides that, they’re annoying—that’s reason enough. The difficulty with ant control is that they’re incredibly hard to get rid of, because there are so many of them.

You can usually tell if you have ants if:

Getting rid of ants

As always, take preventive action. Keep food sealed (especially sweet foods). Also, if you ever spill a liquid (such as juice or soda), clean it up right away. The sugar will attract ants like crazy.

Treat the perimeter of your home with dust or a spray. This will keep ants from invading through any of those pesky cracks.

Interior treatments work well inside the home, because they attack the ants in, on and around sources of food. So boric-acid products (effective on roaches) will kill ants, too. The Pest Products People recommend that you use Delta Dust and Drione Dust, applied with a Crusader Duster. Just make sure that you place the dust directly in the path of the ants, as they won’t be affected by it if they walk around it.

Ant foggers are easy to use, though they might not reach some of the hidden nooks and crannies.

If your ants have burrowed into wood or foam insulation of your home, you can spot-treat with a product called Bora-Care. This should be used in conjunction with another method, such as fogging. Soak all wood surfaces to the point of wetness to destroy ant colonies inside structures, and to keep them from invading other structures.

Baits are highly recommended for getting rid of ants—just place them along paths the ants use.

For more information, check out’s ant tips. (See Resources.)

Get Rid of Fleas

Detecting if you have fleas

Fleas are annoying, because they’ll ride into your home on your cat or dog, bite your pet, bite you (making you itch and giving you ugly rashes), and then lay eggs in your sweatshirt. Yes, there are different kinds of fleas (some only suck pet blood and some only suck people blood), but you shouldn’t take any chances; they may pass disease and are incredibly hard to kill (because they’re so small, so jumpy and so sturdily-built).

You can usually tell if you have fleas if:

Getting rid of fleas

Fleas infestations are kinda iffy: They might be localized, or they might infest your entire house, and this will affect how you get rid of them. To figure out what your flea problem is like, place a pan full of water and a bit of dish detergent 5 to 6 inches below a light bulb. The fleas will jump toward the light at night, fall into the detergent solution and drown. Pretty nifty, huh?

Keep them from attacking your pet. Far and away, this is the easiest way to control your flea population. Here’s how to handle it:

Foggers. You can get pressurized insecticides in «bombs» or «cans» that dissipate well over an open area, like a basement, garage or dance parlor. Foggers aren’t the best solutions for homes, as they tend not to reach under beds and in areas where your pet might deposit fleas.

House sprays deliver directed sprays of insecticide to any area you choose. This kind of product might be dangerous to cats or children, so read labels carefully and talk to your vet and/or doctor.

To find some other information about flea control methods and products, follow the last link in Resources.

So good luck to you. If you get lost or discouraged at any point along this way, maybe you should consider living a Zen lifestyle with your pests. You have enough food and patience for everyone, right? And, if worst comes to worst, you can always move. Wait… pests live everywhere in the world. Drat. Back to square one.

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