Saturday, January 06, 2018

PMP Success Story: Do A Lot of Practice, Understand The Concepts Thoroughly Along With The Flow of Processes and How They Are Interlinked

By Kiran Patil, PMP

Though I’ve been managing projects/programs for past 6 to 7 years, I didn’t have this globally acclaimed credit - PMP® certification, which all project management professionals aspire to have. Hence, I decided to take the plunge and get myself evaluated against the global standards.

PMP Coaching Experience
My classroom training for 4 full days was really worth every penny. The seamless flow of various topics of the course and the teaching methodology gave a lot of crucial insights and inspired me to take up the certification. Course coverage, tips and tricks and Satya’s insight into various topics were all excellent. 

Since I had already been practising many of these processes in my day to day activities as part of my project/program management role, I could certainly absorb, relate and recollect many of the concepts, flow of various processes, key documents, etc. These gave me more confidence to attempt this certification.

Own Study
During the last day of classroom training itself, I bought Satya’s book “I Want To Be A PMP”. I started reading your book to understand the concepts in detail. I spent about an hour or two in weekdays for the first 2 to 3 weeks and about 3 to 4 hours per day on weekends. Once I had finished going through all the processes, I started the practice question sets.

After 3rd week, I couldn’t spend even a minute on any of the weekdays. But I increased my study time over the weekends to about 6 to 7 hours per day. 

In between, I started going through the PMBOK® guide 5th edition to obtain more details on few of the concepts. But I didn’t go through PMBOK guide for all processes in detail. I felt I could get more inside information and the key strategy to answer various situational questions based on the practice questions and their responses. 

When I read through the book or the PMBOK guide, I felt I was able to understand the concepts theoretically, but when I attempted to answer the questions, I was going wrong. 

Hence, I decided to practice more and more questions, understand the responses and the criteria for choosing that 1 option among the 4 options. This strategy started to help me improve my performance. I was gaining more confidence and started to apply the logic better and relate the concepts to the options provided and was able to choose the correct option.

I completed the 6 practice question sets, went through all the questions at the end of each chapter in Rita Mulcahy’s book and the 3 sets of full length practice questions provided in the book “I Want To Be A PMP”.

This exercise took me all of 2 to 3 months and now I was better equipped to tackle the PMP certification. 

Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP
The teaching methodology and the simplified way of depicting the various processes drove me towards buying this book

To be honest I had not gone through any book before attending the classroom training. Since the way of teaching and tips and tricks shared during the classroom training were impressive, I decided to buy this book during the last day of the training itself.

In the book, definitely the questions were very helpful, along with the key tips and tricks, flow of various processes, consolidated flow of all 5 process groups, etc.  The content for the exam is vast and the book covers all topics. 

PMP Exam Experience
There is only one exam center in Bengaluru, the Prometric exam center in Prestige Shantiniketan, Whitefield, Bengaluru. I scheduled my exam on 19th Dec 2017.

I had initially thought of not taking the break until I complete 1 round of answering all 200 questions, because the entire process with security check while coming back takes around 4 to 5 minutes. I had practiced the same at home too during preparation.

But then, not everything goes as per the plan, right? In the actual exam, I could complete only around 150 questions at the end of 3 hours. I took a break for 5 mins and I completed all 200 questions and had 15 mins left to review. I hit the submit button with 50 seconds left and waited with anticipated breath for the final result.

Types of Questions Faced
I received very few mathematical questions, hardly 3 to 4. Almost all the questions were situational. There were no direct questions like definition of quality, definition of project management, definition of program management, tool and technique, key output, etc. There were no questions on VMGSOT, benefits, various motivational theories, critical path method, deriving total float and free float and operations.

I felt I had more questions on execution and closing phases of the project.

I had no issues with respect to infrastructure, exam center, exam software, ambience, exam center staff, etc. Everything was smooth and it was a good experience.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
-    Understand the concepts thoroughly, the flow of various processes and how they are interlinked to each other. All the processes need not be sequential always and will have overlapping.
Practice a lot of questions and understand the approach used to answer them from their responses. Then relate that approach to the concepts and flow of processes.
Choose the sources appropriately and practice those questions only.
- Identify the key words in the questions and their responses to narrow down your options.

-  As mentioned by Satya, don’t dive into internet and try to answer thousands of questions which might sometime be illogical or incorrect with respect to questions and their responses too.
Don’t get too tensed and lose confidence if you get few questions incorrect. 

Real life practices will many times different than the suggested project management standards as per PMI. But I would like to pitch in these concepts wherever possible and try to streamline the project management processes in my day to day activities.

Brief Profile 
Name             : Kiran N Patil
Current Role   : Program Manager – Product Integration
Experience      : I work for Edgeverve Systems Ltd, an Infosys company. I’ve overall 15+ years of IT experience, in which I’ve performed various roles of developer, module lead, team lead, project manager and program manager both in India and USA. I’ve been managing projects/programs for last 6 to 7 years.

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