Sunday, March 18, 2018

PMP Success Story: PMP Certified – A Dream Come True

By Vikas Shankar, PMP

I have been involved in managing and leading teams for multiple projects for a few years now. I wanted to understand Project management in detail and get certified from globally acclaimed institute. So, I decided to go ahead with PMI-PMP. 

PMP Coaching Experience
When I was doing my research as to where I can get the PMP training, I came across multiple institutions in Bangalore and several coaching programs online. However, I was clear that I needed a classroom training. Also, the best part was having Satya as the coach. 

Satya set the tone for training right from Day 1. That’s when I understood that this certification will take serious preparation and dedication. I made sure that I clearly listened to Satya during the class and gather all the tips and insights required for the exam.

The coaching clearly emphasized the important areas for the exam. I really appreciate the seriousness Satya brought regarding knowing the 47 processes on the finger tips. It was really helpful. Also, Satya emphasized more on understanding all the concepts. The last day of the coaching gave a sneak preview of what kind of questions we will face in the exam. And, I got an idea of how much preparation time is needed.

Own Study
I finished the PMP classroom training by 16th September, 2017.  I purchased Satya’s “I Want To Be A PMP” book. Along with that I read PMBOK Guide. I referred Rita Mulachy’s PMP Exam Prep book only for the Tips and questions. 

I wanted to complete the certification within 6 months. I decided this timeframe based on other people’s success stories and the general time it takes to prepare for this exam.  

I submitted my application in October. The PMBOK guide 5th edition was getting changed to 6th edition and the exam format would change on March 26th, which became the deadline for me. During other commitments, I started off my preparation in November and scheduled my exam in 1st week of March.  

I had the below roadmap for my preparation. 

Until Feb 1st week, I could do only normal preparation. This meant I could spend an hour every day and about 3-4 hours on weekends. 

I started with Satya’s book and completed it. Then I read PMBOK guide. This reading was initial reading and was not focussed on each detail.

I also covered Satya’s 4 sets of question banks and few questions from Rita’s book. I also referred some mobile apps for questions like PMPro, PocketPrep, PMP Exam Mentor. 

During the later phase of my preparation, I was spending 4 hours every day and 15 hours on weekends. I started reading PMBOK guide again in detail on every aspect and made my own notes. I referred additional websites and blogs to clarify my understanding of the concepts. Satya’s blog, flow diagrams and videos were very helpful. 

I never liked Maths from the beginning ;-). So, I knew this was one area I had to correct. I practiced hard on all the math concepts like EVM, Float calculations, Probability calculations etc. by referring additional online materials. This gave me confidence. I took Satya’s 3rd Question set on March 1st morning. I finished within 4 hours’ time and scored 79%. This gave me confidence that I can do well in the real exam.

I had two weeks left before the exam and by now I had to start taking mock exams. I practiced Oliver Lehmann’s two sets of questions and scored decently. This gave me confidence. 
I also completed Rita’s end chapter questions.

Doing preparation along with personal and professional commitments was tough. But what kept me motivated was to “Never Give Up” and I visualized how I would celebrate if I successfully passed the exam. I had promised myself few treats :-). These things got me going. 

The last 3 days before the exam I read Satya’s book again and referred my notes for revision. I slept early on the day before exam.

Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP
During the classroom training, I had started reading PMBOK guide and I knew an additional supporting book would be needed. 

I decided to buy Satya’s book as it communicates the concepts in an easy to understand format. It has flow diagrams, presentations, videos and mock question sets.

The explanation on float calculation was excellent with forward pass and backward pass techniques. I also liked the videos on conflict management, EVM and interpersonal skills.

The flow diagrams on change requests, deliverables and inter process communication are excellent. The mock tests are good and helps you to understand the knowledge gaps.

PMP Exam Experience
I scheduled my exam on March 5th 8:00 AM at Prometric center, Whitefield, Bangalore.

For the exam, my strategy was to follow the same approach I took during my mock test. I took time to answer each question first time correctly. I took first break after 70 questions. Second break at 150 questions. I remembered Satya’s tips for the exam day. I was smiling and taking deep breaths every now and then. Some of the answer choices for the questions made me smile ;-). This made me relax. 

When I came back from second break, I had to complete 50 questions in 60 minutes! I finished 200 questions with 6 minutes to spare. I reviewed 4 marked questions and made corrections. I finally submitted and waited for the result with my heart pounding fast. When I saw the “Congratulations” message, it was an emotional moment for me. It was a dream come true.

The questions I faced were mostly situational. 
  • I had a couple of mathematical questions on CPI, SPI. 
  • I got situational questions on Project manager interpersonal skills, conflict management, risk response strategies. 
  • I got lot of situational questions on ITTO. My understanding of all the ITTO’s helped me to answer these questions.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Understand all the concepts well. No concepts can be ignored.
  • Take care of your health.
  • Know the Process table of 47 processes on your fingertips.
  • Every little effort counts. Even if you can prepare only 15 minutes on a busy day. It matters.
  • Schedule the exam date early and have a road map. You can do it. 

  • Schedule an exam date and stick to it no matter what. Do not postpone. 

I will leverage my learnings from PMP in my professional and personal life to become a better leader.
I would like to thank my family for their support during my PMP journey. 

A big thank you to Satya for his coaching and mentoring during my PMP journey. I have read success stories on this very blog that have inspired me and today I am privileged to write one. 

Brief Profile
Name: Vikas Shankar, PMP
I am currently working as a Technology Specialist in a large Cyber Industrial company.
I have 11+ years of experience in IT industry. 

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