Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year End Post: Approach to All PMP Preparation Programs Now Changed

Mid last year, I changed the coaching approach to PMP preparation. It is outlined here

Looking back, it has been a big success. There has not been a single instance in any workshop (many since the last one where I changed the approach), where the team could not remember all the 5 process groups, all the 10 knowledge areas and all the 47 process areas. 

Also, it has been a remarkable revelation what a team can collectively accomplish. In fact, in all the programs, the team members are themselves surprised that it is possible to remember them all - 62 in total.

Still, some issues were playing out in my mind when I coach the PMP aspirants. There are quite a few, but top of them are:
  1. How a person without any formal knowledge of Project Management can grasp the PM fundamentals easily?
  2. How to understand and remember the ITTOs? 
  3. How quickly one can become a Certified PMP?

1. Making a Layperson understand PMBOK:

There are many materials and/or books in the market to prepare for PMP Exam. But my emphasis has always on Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide. I always say to the aspirants that in case of any conflict among your reference materials or books, PMBOK Guide is the final one. It must be your final reference source.

However, PMBOK Guide, as written, is in a Specification Format, which does not make an exciting read. Also, the coverage area of PMBOK is immense. For a first time learner on project management - even for an experienced project manager - the area of coverage is overwhelming. Very few read PMBOK end to end and those who do, are lost in the immense depth provided by PMBOK.

The new approach completely simplifies the process of learning PMBOK. When any participant asks what s/he should read before coming to the program - I say:"Do not read any material or book. No beforehand knowledge is needed. You need not read anything at all.Many of them are taken back with this statement - but I ask them to come with a completely free mind. 

So, if you want to learn PMP, you need not know anything at all about PMBOK - absolutely nothing at all.

2. Remembering Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs (ITTOs):

How many ITTOs are there in PMBOK Guide? Well, there are some 600+ ITTOs.  Below is a list across all the knowledge areas (Link - View Directly)

Now, that is quite a long list. Can you remember all of them? No! In fact, not needed.

The PMP exam rarely asks a direct ITTO question. It does not test your memorizing ability of ITTOs. Rather, it does test - what you as a project manager would do in a specific situation and which specific Tool and Technique you can apply? You need to know why these are taken as Inputs and why some of them are outputs? You need to now - how a Tool or Technique is helping to get a particular output?

However, you have to remember some of the key ones like various baselines, various estimation techniques, various quality tools so on. Also some of the processes are not very easy to remember - like "Direct and Manage Project Work" or "Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis" or "Perform Integrated Change Control".  Why they are named so? How to remember them?

In both the above aspects, the approach has been significantly changed.

3. Being a Certified PMP:

One can say "He (or she) has gone through 35 PDU Program for PMP" or can say "A Certified PMP". Which one sounds good? You know. It is like saying - "Have prepared for the Engineering Entrance Exam" Vs "An Engineer". You know which one sounds appropriate. Is not it?

Your success will be measured being a Certified PMP. That is the bottom-line. I have not come across a single candidate who went for the exam with the preparation that I asked him/her to do and have failed in the exam. It has NEVER happened. With the new approach, I believe the time to get certified becomes shorter.


Considering all above three,  I have applied the changed approach in last few sessions - for "PMP Prep" and "Practical PMP with MS Project". It also will be applicable for "Agile PMP - PMBOK and AgileBOK" where PMBOK is taught as in "Practical PMP" and candidates are prepared for the PMP Exam. 

The good news is - the new approach is working quite well. Hence decided to write this post. If you want to know PMBOK in a very simple way; to understand its intricacies, the needed ITTOs, the flow of ITTOs across the 47 processes, and want to get quickly certified on PMP - welcome to a new way of learning.

To All My Readers - Wish You a Very Happy New Year 2015.

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