Thursday, 14 September 2017

Completing the Online PMP® Application Form

The most important rule here is to be honest. This is expressly spelt out in the PMI conducts requirements. If PMI finds out that you have provided misleading or wrong information on purpose, it would ban you from applying for all of their certifications forever.

As you are allowed to print out a copy of your application for your record, do take advantage of this function and ask others to help you to check your information in the printed copy. Double check the information you have entered.

Read the PMBOK® Guide at least once or attend PMP® exam prep courses before completing the PMP® application form. This will help you understand, what the most important information from PMI’s perspectives are.

You will be required to agree to the Project Management Institute’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct before the form can be submitted. Don’t skip this step, do read the code and learn it by heart. (The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct will be tested on the PMP® exam in the form of situational questions, i.e. asking what you would do in a particular situation).

Filling the PMP® Project Management Experiences

The start date of the first project and the end date of the last project should at least cover a period of 3 years  (degree holders) or 5 years (secondary degree holders) as required by the PMI.

In order to prepare well for an audit, you are highly advised to contact your project supervisors and notify them on the hours you will claim for each project. Their help is vital in case you are selected for an audit. Some PMP® aspirants failed the audit because they could not find their supervisors or their supervisors refused to sign the experience verification forms.

It is not required nor advised to mention each and every project you have handled. Include only enough number of projects to reach required minimum number of hours (i.e. 4,500 hours for degree holders / 7,500 hours for secondary degree holders). Include large projects first as this would save you considerable time in case of an audit.

When adding details of project management experiences to the application form, you will need to:

Give a title to each project (usually the project title)

Give your project role (not your job title) – you can use PMI terms like project leader, project manager, project coordinator, etc.

Insert your supervisor‘s name and contact methods (note that you need not fill in the name of the CEO of your company, but someone who work closely with you and you have gained the consent from). Calculate and add the time (in number of hours) spent on each project management process groups (you might need to refer to the PMBOK® Guide if you don’t know what these exactly mean):

*    Initiating the Project
*    Planning the Project
*    Executing the Project
*    Controlling and Monitoring the Project
*    Closing the Project

PMI advocates work-life balance and will only allow 40 hours for each work week, don’t fill in more than 40 hours for each week of work or PMI will ask you to amend.

Try to estimate your project hour’s first offline (e.g. using Excel or a notebook) and insert the hours once finalized. Though PMI has not mentioned it, to amend and save the project hours repeatedly on the web server might trigger the need for an audit.

Write the project description of the project (in around 500 characters) including the following:

*    A brief description of the project
*    Objectives
*    Key deliverable
*    Project outcome
*    Your personal role

When composing the project descriptions for each project, make good use of PMI terms to demonstrate that you understand what project management is. Include terms found in the PMBOK® Guide like project charter, sponsor, scope, project deliverables, stakeholders, schedule, acceptance of deliverable, quality management, etc. at least 5 times in your description. PMI has the right to require you to rewrite the project description should they found it inadequate.

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

PMP-Certification Road-map

Post training several PMP Aspirants, it was found that the most pressing question they had is “don’t know where to begin the journey”. Do we begin with a complete study of the PMBOK® Guide or to get the 35 contact hours of Project Management or to fill in the online application form?

The below outlines recommended the sequence leading to certification:

  • Don’t read the PMBOK® Guide on your own, get the 35 Contact Hours of Project Management from a course that help you prepare for the exam (referred as exam prep course), there are lots of choice ranging from face-to-face classroom lecture and online courses.
  • Purchase/borrow all the required study materials including the PMBOK® Guide, at least one reference book and some practice/mock exams.
  • Apply online for the exam. You will need to describe your working experience in PMI’s terms and the prep course you have taken will help you finish the application form easily.
  • Fix a date for your exam after you have received confirmation from PMI or passed the audit, if applicable.
  • Study hard for the exam with your study materials. Working on as many as practice exams as possible.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Begin earning PDUs for your 3-year re-certification cycle.
  • Following the above sequence will allow you to go through the certification process in the most logical and easiest way.
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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Benefits of CAPM Certification

CAPM® certification provides you with a globally recognised project management credential. CAPM® will automatically indicate to prospective employers that you are well versed in global project management processes and terminology.

It doesn’t matter, if you're new to project management, changing careers, or already serving as a subject matter expert on project teams, the CAPM® can get your career on the right path or take it to the next level.

The knowledge a practitioner gains from earning the CAPM® certification can be applied to on-the-job experiences which help develop growing levels of competence in the practice of project management. As per PMI, there are huge benefits by gaining CAPM Certification. Some of them are mentioned below:
  1. Professionals will gain skills to initiate a project.
  1. CAPM® certification will enable professionals to monitor, execute, control and complete a project efficiently.
  1. Proficiency in Project preparation and planning.
  1. Estimating activity costs
  1. Proficiency in hiring, leading and managing a project team
  1. You can motivate your project team by foreseeing and planning for the unexpected.
  1. It helps in maintaining the Quality of the product at every stage of the project and also helps with performing quality assurance.
  1. If you are new to the Project Management, CAPM® certification help you to grow your career and take you in the right path.
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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

PMP certification is expensive but worth throwing on it ...

To become PMP certified, you would need to toss some dollars. It definitely costs money to take Project Management courses. In order to apply for the PMP exam, you should have taken 35 hours of formal project management education from a training organization. Presently PMP exam costs few hundred dollars (i.e. $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-PMI members) to apply at a formal testing center.
We should note here that majority of PM’s join PMI before applying to take the exam, which costs $129 to join, and $119 to renew every year. PMI membership offers assured benefits, such as access to many PMI resources that could help you formulate for the assessment and access to permitted copies of all of the PMI standards; in precise, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

Courteous update is that if you’re by this phase working as a PM there’s an upright chance that your establishment will pay for you to appear in project management classes and take the PMP exam. Several organizations are starting to see the importance of certifying their PM’s as Project Management Professionals.
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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

How to file your work experience on the PMP application

Though some project manager’s dispute the certification’s worth, it does seem to help project managers land project management jobs or at least get their feet through the door. In general, we feel that if you’re a project manager, and you’re interested in continuing your career in project management, it is worth the go ahead. Finish your PMP prep course, apply, take the PMP examination and pass to become a certified Project Management Professional.

One of the most frequent (if not the most frequent) questions I am asked by potential PMP hopefuls is about the PMP examination application process. In particular, project managers would like to know how they should go about filing their work experience: how to document their hours of project management experience, how to report it to PMI, and how to prepare for the dreaded PMI audit, should it occur.

As suggested by one of our senior instructors…

I followed a process of my own devising to file my own project management work experience in preparation for my application to take the PMP exam that seemed to work pretty well. I’ll share it here in case you would like to try it during your own application process.

Recording your PM work experience

In order to apply for the PMP examination, you need to have amassed 4,500 hours of project management work experience. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, the work experience requirement is greater at 7,500 hours of experience. You need to have completed 36 months (three years) of unique, non-overlapping project management experience, that is to say that if you’ve completed all of your 4,500 hours of project management experience within a 12 month window, that is not sufficient to apply to take the PMP examination.

For each project that you have worked on during your career, you need to document the hours you have spent in each of the five PMI Process Groups listed below:

·      Initiating the Project
·      Planning the Project
·      Executing the Project
·      Monitoring and Controlling the Project
·      Closing the Project

After calculating the hours per Process Group for each project, you will arrive at a total number of project hours for that individual project. Once you have completed tallying your work experience for all of the projects you have worked on, you can then figure out the total hours that you have worked for all of the projects in your career. At this point, if you don’t already know, you will be able to figure out whether or not you have the requirements to apply to take the PMP examination.
To figure this total out, please use an Excel spreadsheet that tally’s up all of your work experience hours per Process Group, per project, that you had worked on in my previous roles. Then use built-in Excel functions to figure out how many hours total that equalled to tally your own project management work experience.

You can download the template here.

Preparation for a possible PMI audit

The next and perhaps most important step you need to take before you submit your PMP application is to prepare yourself in case your application should get audited by the Project Management Institute (PMI). In order to do this, you will want to contact those managers who you have worked for in the past and send them the hours that you have indicated that you worked on projects while under their management in your Excel spreadsheet. You will then ask these managers: Should my application happen to get audited by PMI, would you attest that I worked the hours as indicated on this spreadsheet?

If your managers agree to vouch for the hours you have indicated, then you’re in good shape! Should PMI decide to audit your application, you can simply have your former managers sign off on the hours that you have already passed by them. Any conflicts or disagreements about the hours you have worked while in their employment should have been resolved before you submitted your PMP application.

Some special audit scenarios

There are a few difficult scenarios that you may encounter when preparing for a possible PMI audit. These may include the below:

·      What if your manager no longer works for the company you’ve filed hours for, and nobody at the company can vouch for your hours?
·      What if you worked for your own company and did not report to anyone?
·      What if the projects you worked on were top secret, government or military contracts for which you cannot disclose any information?

In these cases I recommend collecting as much collateral as you can about the projects you’ve worked for in the past – project charters, work breakdown structures, project schedules and the like – to demonstrate to PMI should they ask for it; unless, of course, this information is classified by the companies you’ve worked for. In that case, I should go in armed with the truth – that these hours that you have indicated, you have worked but cannot vouch for, and the reasons that you cannot vouch for them. I am sure that PMI has received many applications from project managers working in military or top-secret organizations who cannot disclose information about the various projects that they have worked on. In that case, I imagine that you can work with PMI to find a way to approve your application without your having to deliver any separate artefacts to prove your experience.

We hope that this article and accompanying spreadsheet will come in handy when it comes time for you or someone you know to file your project management work experience for the PMP application. Good luck with your application, PMP exam preparation, and the exam!

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Monday, 5 June 2017

CAPM – the Certified Associate in Project Management.

If you are considering applying to get CAPM certified, you might be wondering whether or not it is worth the time, cost and effort to do so. Let’s look at a few important things one should know about CAPM.

The CAPM is the Project Management Institute (PMI)’s entry level certification for project managers or people who are interested in entering the field of project management. CAPM does not require the project management work experience that the PMP does. The multiple-choice test that candidates must pass in order to become CAPM certified is not as difficult to pass as the PMP exam.

To apply for the CAPM all you need is a secondary education (high school or the equivalent). This means that people who are currently enrolled in college or university and want to have project management certification before they graduate, and can start applying for jobs can get CAPM certified before graduation. This might help these individuals score entry-level project management jobs upon graduation.

Criteria to take the CAPM,

You must have:
ü  A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent)
ü  At least 1,500 hours experience OR 23 hours of project management education.

If you study PMI’s framework to take the CAPM exam, you will also be studying the same framework that is needed to pass the more difficult PMP exam. In order to study for either exam, you will need to know PMI’s framework according to the PMBOK. This means that time and effort spent on studying for the CAPM will not be wasted if you also eventually want to become PMP certified.

If you already have a way that you can get those 4,500 hours of professional experience leading and directing projects that you need in order to take the PMP exam, you should wait until you have that experience, then go for your PMP. There is no reason to get the CAPM if you can see a clear path toward getting your PMP.

If you do not have the work experience to attain PMP certification, that certainly does not mean “it’s the CAPM or nothing”. There are numerous other options available to you if you are interested in learning about project management. In fact, many people believe PMI’s framework, which is based on the waterfall methodology of project management, is quite dated and not as effective as other current project management frameworks.

One such option is Scrum Master Certification, where you will learn about Agile Development using Scrum. Agile is a very popular methodology where projects are completed in iterations. Agile has an agreed-upon Agile Manifesto to which Agile project management principles are based. I have used this project management methodology myself and found it both effective and scalable.

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of practices for IT Service Management (ITSM) that offers a wide range of certifications. While these certifications are currently more popular for practitioners in the United Kingdom than they are in the United States or other parts of the world, they are also worth investigating if you are interested in a career in information technology.

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Friday, 26 May 2017

10 benefits of Project Management Professional (PMP) certification

Gone are the times when seasoned technicians or senior people were handpicked as project managers. In today’s fast changing business world where only success counts many organizations are reconsidering this approach. Many businesses are now designing standardized project management policies. This has led to a big increase in demand of certified project management experts who have considerable experience and sound knowledge in project management.

And that is where PMP certification comes in handy. Project Management Professional (PMP) is a globally acknowledged professional certification offered by the PMI (Project management Institute) in Pennsylvania. According to the institute the certification is an application of techniques, knowledge and skills so as to ensure various projects are executed efficiently. Still not sure if you should take up the course? Here are more reasons to do the certification:

1. Greater Job Opportunities
Just like any other profession, project management too has some opportunities that are only available to people with Project Management Professional Certification. In fact there are about 30 percent more opportunities than there are qualified professionals available.

2. Gives weight to your resume
Many organizations today are making the certification a per-requisite for any project management opportunity. This typically means that having the skills and the credential will definitely make it easier for you to find a job as a program manager or a project manager.

3. Acquire new skills
You will acquire a wide array of new skills once you are done with the course. You will also know what was wrong with your previous projects and how to avoid such mistakes in future.

4. PMP certified professionals get paid well than non-PMP managers
Project Management Professional Certification is one of the most valued certifications currently because PMP certified managers are one of the best paid project managers. According to a PMI survey conducted in 2010, PMP managers in 6 different countries had a $10,000 remuneration advantage over their non PMP counterparts.

5. Better networking opportunities
According to PMI, there are over 350,000 PMP certified professionals worldwide and the number is growing very fast. The institute usually organizes meetings in metropolitan centres where members earn PDUs (Professional Development Units). Members require the units to renew their certification every 3 years. This meeting is also used as a way of providing members with new career opportunities because they usually have time slots allocated for people to share any opportunities that are available in their organizations.

6. Globally recognized certification
The certification is an accepted credential by many companies and organizations worldwide. This means that when you gain a PMP credential from the Project Management Institute, you will be considered as a skilled and certified professional in the project management field.

7. It enhances the way you work and manage projects
Having the credential basically means that you qualified in the 5 main project management process: Initiating, Planning, executing, monitoring and controlling which are the set standardized skills of project management. Also if an individual spends money and time acquiring a certification, it clearly shows that he or she is committed to Project Management as a profession. In addition, the certification is not just achieved by studying theory, it improves your skills and gives you an edge.

8. Helps you keep up with the sector
The certification continuously gives you the motivation to stay up to date with the current sector standards. In other words, it helps to be a leader in the industry.

9. Clients demand PMP certification
Today many established organizations and companies generally demand and like that their work is done by a PMP certified professional. In such scenarios the credential can give the leverage and the chance to handle projects of prestigious clients.

10. Social Impression
When it comes to social impression this credential also works miracles. People look up to you, you become an idol and the respect that comes with it is totally out of this world!

Closure: It Challenges You
Although getting the Project Management Professional Certification will not be one of the easiest things in your career, it will challenge your skills and knowledge in a positive way. You will gain knowledge, self-confidence and connections you would not otherwise have. Moreover, the PMI credential is valid across all fields and industries. Whether you are in Information Technology, commerce, finance, business processing unit, research or telecom, it is will be very valuable to you.

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