Thursday, March 15, 2018

PMP Success Story: Strong Foundation in Basics, Hard Work and Determination Will Help You Pass The Exam

By Srikanth SubbaRao, PMP

Hi, Everyone. This is Srikanth SubbaRao from Bangalore. I currently work as a Scrum Master for Adobe Systems and recently got PMP certified on 5th March, 2018 and I’m absolutely thrilled in using this forum and platform to share my experience hoping that it can help others.

PMP 35 Contact Hours Experience
I had my PMP boot camp sessions in December, 2017 and I was blessed to be a part of Satya Sir’s PMP Training. Satya Sir’s immense knowledge and expertise in project management and his superior skills and knowledge in the areas of PMP really helped me to grasp the complex concepts very easily. 

Sessions on CPM, EVM which are considered to be the toughest in PMP exam was modelled in a very nice way. There were real examples of how you can relate PMP concepts. Areas of stakeholder engagement, conflict management concepts and risk response strategies were very well explained.  This interactive session especially for charting out all 47 Project management processes were of great help. 

Overall it was an exciting experience to be a part of Satya Sir’s class which gives you the foundation for further studies. Let me be clear here and even Satya Sir stresses this in his classes, it is impossible for someone to acquire knowledge of PMP concepts in 4 days (2 weekend) classes. What you would get in these classes is a solid foundation of concepts which is extremely crucial for further studies.

Own Study
Alright. Now this is the most important thing that everyone needs to understand. You need to sacrifice a lot in your personal life. Be ready for that. 

The real challenge is how would you start building your knowledge on that foundation is the key. Why don’t you start recollecting the concepts of “Initating”, “Planning”, “Executing”, “Monitoring and Controlling” and “Closing”? 

That you would have extensively studied for 4 days in Satys Sir’s class and I used these concepts to plan for my PMP exam. 

This is how I proceeded.

Project: Pass the PMP Exam
Duration: 3 months 
Planning: 3 hours of studies every day and 10 to 12 hours of study in weekends. Parallelly, I submitted my PMP exam application online and it was approved. I wanted to study every day this way: two chapters from “I Want To Be PMP” book and one chapter from the PMBOK guide.

Executing: Find a quiet place to study. I’ve gone to my office in the weekends, visited the Central Library at Cubbon Park to do so. This really helped me a lot in getting my concepts right.

I’ve studied the PMBOK Guide at least 2 times word by word along with Satya Sir’s “I want to be a PMP” which is the most simplified version of PMBOK guide. It has a number of Yogic vision tips and tricks for each concept. I also referred Rita’s book. 

Change Management: As PMBOK guide teaches you – what you plan, rarely happens in real life.  I had created a project plan for covering specific chapters every day. Well, I didn’t create a WBS by decomposing the entire syllabus, but there are times when you need to accommodate changes. You can go sick where you can go behind schedule (SPI <1!) and the plan has gone awry. You unfortunately cannot crash or fast track your activities here. But you need to make up for it. 

Monitoring and Controlling: I would call this mode as “test taking mode”. This would allow you to monitor your progress and gauge your level of understanding on PMP concepts. I got into this mode 3 weeks before the exam. I took questions from various sources.

I tried many questions, including Oliver Lehmans set of 175 questions, along with Christopher Socrodo’s 1000 PMP questions and every chapter end question from Rita’s book.

The book “I Want To Be A PMP” has 3 set of full length Questions. The level of difficulty gradually raises from one set to another and 3rd being the toughest. I would highly recommend this book for super high quality situational questions

With all of the above resources, I started feeling better as my brain and body was all set to handle the pressure for 4 hours on the actual exam day.

Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP
This book can be called as the simpler version of PMBOK guide almost covering each and every concept in a very simple way with a lot of “yogic vision tips”, “diagrams”, “formulas” and “concepts” which has been drafted in a very nice way.

The way Satya Sir has explained steps in each process is very important for some-one to get the concepts right. 

The high-quality videos that Satya Sir has provided for areas in “Change Management”, “Conflict Management”, “CPM and CCM” and lot more areas would be a boon for someone to learn those concepts on go.

I would highly recommend to get this book to sharpen your concepts and skills.

PMP Exam Experience
This, I’ll refer as the Closing process group for my project. I had prepared for it – by taking simulation tests exactly in 4 hours. My appointment was at 8 AM on 05th March 2018, but was scheduled a bit earlier as requested by the Prometric center. 

My first question was on Earned Value Management (EVM)! My heart started pounding but I took control of the situation and started the exam. I did not face many lengthy questions, but all the medium paragraph questions. But the questions were very tricky. 

As Satya Sir had mentioned, the exam is also a psychometric analysis test. With solid concepts in mind, I was able to use different techniques to select the right answers. I submitted 5 minutes before and finally saw those beautiful words “Congratulations, you have passed the exam!” 

It took few minutes for me to digest the fact that I had passed the exam. This was a heavenly feeling for quite some time and I felt every single minute of my hard-work has been paid off. By God’s grace, I cleared the exam with “Above Target” in all the areas and was successfully able to “Close the Project” with HUGE SUCCESS.

What you are reading now is my documentation of “Lessons learnt” and will be historical information for you at ManagementYogi’s blog ;-) ;-)

Hope this article was useful and All the Best to everyone attempting PMP!!

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Solid 3 month of effort (minimum) required with dedicated time of studies every-day.
  • More time and dedication on weekends.
  • Scan PMBOK at least 2 times (every word); Satya Sir’s book “I Want To Be A PMP” is also amazing.
  • Take loads and loads of test at least 3000 questions to get that mental and physical endurance and confidence in attempting the exam.
  • It’s not easy to pass this exam without dedication and HARD WORK. 

  • Don’t Panic. Believe in yourself that you can do it. 
  • Don’t underestimate this certification like any other exams or certifications. 
  • Please avoid “brain dumping” methods that people use for other certifications.  You cannot 100% pass this exam in that method as every question is uniquely crafted by experts who don't want “brain dumpers” to get through this exam.

I have already started applying lot of concepts especially in areas such as conflict management, because I manage a small team at Adobe. Various concepts of Planning, Risk management are really crucial for my job and I’m finding the skills that I have acquired from the exam is really helping me in managing our Sprints better.

Brief Profile: 
Srikanth SubbaRao. Working as a Scrum Master at Adobe Systems Pvt Ltd, Bangalore.

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