Monday, October 23, 2017

PMP Success Story: Preparing For PMP Exam Makes A PM Much Better At It and Getting The Certification Is Icing On The Cake

By Satyajit Jena, PMP

I seem to have stumbled into the project management. Once in here, I wanted to get better at it. I used to admire fellow management professionals, who are PMP® certified. Since I came to know about PMP Certification, I always wanted to get certified. Better late than never. Earlier this year, finally made up my mind to go for this coveted certification. 

Irrespective of the end result in the exam, the rigor of going through PMP exam preparation only makes you a better management professional. I learned and understood many subtle things about project management along the way. This course also ensured I understood certain concepts correctly. It brought in lot of self-confidence and self-respect. It’s a special journey and my long-term aspiration has finally been met.

Coaching Experience
I've been wanting to go through PMP certification for long time and was doing some self-study. But it was never enough or consistent. Hence, I decided to get enrolled for a classroom training and get the required 35 contact hours of project management education.

After going through the process with Satya as the coach, it made me think that I should have gone for it few years ago. The structured and highly interactive style of coaching helped getting the best of PMP practices and tricks quickly. The way Satya explained the 47 processes, and how they are intertwined with the 10 knowledge areas and 5 process groups - is even difficult to forget. The best thing is the way he explained how processes with its inputs and outputs flow within the process groups and across knowledge areas.  

Own Preparation
After the classroom coaching, I started going through Satya’s book (I Want To Be A PMP) followed by one full reading of PMBOK® guide. Unfortunately, I had a break in my preparation and it was hard for me to come back to full speed.

When I re-started, I went through the same process of starting from class room notes. After one round of read, I started taking practise tests. That helped me identify areas I need to revisit. The more test you take, the better it is. With time, as my scores started improving, I started feeling confident. 

Book - I Want To Be A PMP
I decided to buy Satya’s book after attending his sessions. After going through some other such books, I must say this is one of the best books out there. This is the perfect bridge between the classroom coaching and the very detailed PMBOK guide. As one goes through the book, it calls out reference to previous chapters/processes, so one is always connected throughout the chapters/processes.

The flow diagrams are the best. It helps one connect how processes flow within and across knowledge areas. The tips shared at every other place bring out the subtle factors that help you remember the concepts.

The full-length tests have a special role to play in my PMP success story. In the exam, I had only got situational and lengthy questions. They are different from many practise test that I had taken from other sources. This book had such set of questions, which are very similar to the type of questions I had faced in the exam.

The Exam Day
I had visited the exam centre few days before and on the exam day reached well before time. With anxiety running high, this was helpful to calm things down. There was initial nervousness when I started off. But it slowly faded away as I went through few questions and took a few deep breaths. 

There were only situational questions of which many were lengthy and tricky. I had marked many questions for review to apply eliminations method while revisiting. I barely managed to answer all the questions in 4 hours. It’s important not to stick with any one question. Time management is very important. 

That day, there were many test takers other than PMP. The place was somewhat noisy. But you can use headphones provided, which definitely helps.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
Taking the PMP exam is not the end of it. Your quest for being a better management professional starts when you decide to go for it. The rigor of going through the process had already helped me a lot professionally. Getting the PMP Certification was icing on the cake. It is important that you spread the knowledge and apply the practices learned. 

In terms of preparation, it’s important to continue the pace and be persistent. I almost burnt my finger, as I had a break. And to restart again wasn’t easy. It won’t be easy to be persistent for a long period of time given other personal and professional commitment. And getting PMP® certified isn’t easy, either. Put an exam milestone date - not too far away after your classroom coaching and prepare accordingly. It's advisable that you don’t stretch it far. 

Brief Profile
Satyajit Jena works as a Program Manager at Sapient Corporation.

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