Wednesday, October 12, 2016

PMP Success Story: Don't Memorize the ITTOs, Rather Focus on Concepts and Definitions

Vivek Vardhan, I remember, few days before the exam asked - “Am I prepared to sit?” I asked him a few questions and told him – “You are ready and you will clear the Exam.” And he did.  Today he is a proud and successful Project Management Professional (PMP®). Vivek gave the PMP exam on 22nd September, 2016 – late afternoon. He called me that evening, post his exam success and I could feel his happiness on cracking the exam.

Vivek was part of my class in March this year. Few weeks before his exam, he personally met me and wanted to gain more confidence for the exam. 

My timeline was constrained. But such was his desire and determination, I agreed to guide him fully. He used to meet me on holidays or off-days early morning and I’ll sit with him to clarify his doubts and questions.

I am happy that Vivek has cracked the PMP exam. Go on and read his experience, which is unique in many aspects.


Why to be a PMP and How I decided?
I have been working for more than 11 years as a consultant, and now wanted to move ahead in the corporate ladder. Once I decided to take my steps forward towards project management in my carrier, I realized PMP could help me to do so. To avail PMP credentials, I started searching on internet and went for face to face weekend classroom training. 

I joined the 4-day face-to-face PMP program, where I came in contact with the coach – Satya Narayan Dash. I had done a little research on Satya to check his credentials and after reading his Blog, I had decided that it is the best place to start with my training.  

PMP Coaching Experience
The coaching experience was excellent as it provided an overview and summary of PMP study material topics and helped to co-relate with day to day working, which facilitated to memorise concepts of project management. 

The coaching also helped me to understand various Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs (ITTO)concepts. It also helped to distinguish between process falling into different knowledge areas of a process groups and reasons for them. 

Own Study
After finishing four-days of weekend training, I started my own study. I started with the PMBOK guide and then followed by Rita’s book. I prepared my notes to summarize main concepts, definitions and ITTO of each process. 

I had taken help of notes shared by Satya, which was useful to clarify my concepts, and also had taken three sets of Questions from Satya, which was also very helpful in preparing for exam. 

The most challenging part for taking PMP was striking balance in my professional and personal life. My job profile demands 10 hours in a day. Now managing work, studies and family was quite challenging, as I had to sacrifice on my family time and family priorities because couldn’t take the risk of messing up with the job. There were umpteen occasions that I had to ignore family because of tight schedule of work and studies. I have also spent many sleepless nights in the process.

PMP Exam Experience
Once I started scoring 60% in the sample question sets, I scheduled exam with grace period of two weeks (with target to achieve desired level of 80% with-in two-week period) at Bangalore centre. I got the date of exam on Thursday afternoon slot, which was good as I was able to sleep properly last night. It gave time to revisit my notes before appearing for exam.

As one exam strategy, I had decided to complete all 200 questions before any schedule break, also read through each question very carefully so that no need of marking to revisit again, this helped me to give more time for tricky and situational questions. 

Around 20 questions based on mathematical topics, but these were easy to answer, not found difficult as such. Satya’s provided multiple slides and videos on Earned Value Management (EVM) and these helped me to clarify concepts well on EVM. 

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Understand the concepts and definitions of each process, correlate the Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs (ITTOs) with practical experience.
  • Prepare your notes, and read the PMBOK® guide at least twice. This is your main book, and you can choose a reference book depending on individual interest. I liked Rita’s reference book most, as found clarification in text format and with live examples. 
  • Practice as much as sets of questions, this will take you inside to understand exam pattern and understand how to deal with tricky questions. 
  • Don’t memorize the ITTOs, as it will create confusion. 

I want to pursue my career into the next level, in the role of a project manager for a high-end project. 

Brief Profile
Vivek Vardhan, currently designated as Sr. Advisory Consultant/Team Lead for an IT project, and associated with IBM India Private limited and have overall 17 years of work experience.


Vivek’s PMP credential is available at PMI’s online credential registry. 

I am thankful to Vivek for sharing his experience and believe it will guide the readers of this blog who are aspiring to be PMPs. 

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