Sunday, March 24, 2019

CAPM Success Story: A Journey Towards The Crux Of Project Management

By Mahesh Venkatachalam, CAPM




Introduction
I passed my Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) examination on 16th March, 2019. I completed my PMP/CAPM training in the month of November 2018. Going for CAPM certification was an act of official profile augmentation.

Training Experience
The classes for PMP/CAPM were led by Satya Narayan Dash in November 2018. He is a veteran in the turf of project management. At the end of the session, an evaluation was done and based on it, I was asked to appear for the CAPM exam in March, 2019. I was apprised by Satya to clinch the exam date and then prepare for the exam.

As per the directions given, I scheduled my exam on 16th March, 2019.
Post training, I planned to go through the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition to comprehend the concepts before D-Day!

Own Preparation
PMBOK 6th edition is not so subterranean to describe all the project management theories. Hence, I began researching online, studying numerous websites to congregate an in-depth knowledge of the portions corresponds to PMBOK guide concepts. 


These are the websites which I used for reference.

Following are the books I referred.
  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Sixth Edition 
  • PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy, 9th Edition 

My preparation started with the CAPM Handbook. It furnishes a definite frame of the examination.
Initially, I read the book and then proceeded with the PMBOK guide for the same chapter. A mix and match approach assisted me to understand the concept. “The Standards for Project Management” renders a framework about the "Process group".

  • ITTOs (inputs, tools& techniques, and outputs) performs a significant role to grasp the project management fundamental. Above said artifacts encouraged me to work on the ITTOs and the process flow.
  • Designed a mind map for all the knowledge area and the processes.
  • Every day I consumed around 2 hours for the preparation. 
  • Satya bestowed a few essential files which explain critical path, earned value management (EVM) calculations and other concepts.

Exam excitement made me be on sabbatical for a few days to revise and accommodate myself into the exam mode. I scanned all of my training notes. These were the decisive last moments. I have travelled through all the possible hard-hitting prep questions which I had compiled, exercised all my brain-dumps, and started going through the PMBOK glossary.

CAPM Exam Experience
The exam was pretty multifaceted but had very crafty questions. Fortuitously, I received 2 questions associated with EVM and critical path. I finished the exam in 2hours and 40 minutes. I utilized the remaining 20 minutes to analyze the questions. The inspection was considerably fruitful. I snubbed the exam survey due to anxiety. 

The moment of truth then dawned when I clicked submit, the moment I’d been waiting for, these past few months was here at last. “Congratulations on Passing the PMI Examination” appeared on my screen. It was an exalted feeling to see that and I gasped a deep sigh of relief. I marched out with a big smile on my face, returned all the scratch material to the facilitators and collected my results. 

As I drove out and away from the building I shared the moment of delight with my family and friends. It was an awe-inspiring feeling, a wondrous journey and I’m very glad I made it this far. This experience provided me with immense self-confidence and encourages to streamline my goals.

I would like to take this moment to personally thank Mr. Satya Narayan Dash. 

I hope my experience helps you to prepare yourself to endure the exam.

All the to everyone preparing for the CAPM exam, and wish you good luck!

Brief Profile
Name: Mahesh Venkatachalam
Current Role: Working as a Solution Consultant for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, India. I've over 12 years of work experience.


Monday, March 18, 2019

Project Charter - The Birth Certificate Of A Project!



In my interactions with project managers, sometimes I ask: "How many of you know or have seen a project charter"? Some of the responses are noted below.

  • What's that? Never heard of it. 
  • Is there any value in that documentation? Why so much documentation?
  • We have project charters, but we never use it. It's only for compliance need.

While interacting, I found that above 90% of project managers have never seen a project charter! In fact, in one instance, around 5 to 7 people in leadership and management roles said they have never used a charter. And one C-level executive stepped-in to show a template of project charter in a laptop - it's seen for the first time by others and the executive said it's only there to show the prospective customers.

Is there any value in project charter at all? Should you as a project manager ask for it? What weight does it carry for your project?

Before we get into these questions, let's understand what it is. The Project Management Institute (PMI®), defines project charter as:

"A document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to project activities."

Breaking it down, you can say:
  • It's issued by the project initiator or sponsor. The initiator the program manager or portfolio manager because a project can be part of a program or portfolio. The initiator can also be an authorized person because a project can exist independently. It also can be issued by the sponsor(s), who is (are) primarily providing resources for the project.
  • It formally authorizes the existence of the project. In other words, without a charter, the project has no proper existence at all in the organization.
  • It authorizes the project manager to apply organizational resources to the project and its activities. In other words, you can formally ask other managers in your organization to have resources for your project. 

A project charter also:
  • Links the project to the strategic objectives of the organization.
  • Creates a formal record for the project in the organization.
  • Shows that the organization is committed to this project.

Now, these are formal project management aspects of the charter. But we all live in the real world where politics, blame-game and finger-pointing arise. The real world will have, many times, deviations when compared with formal project management. In the real world, the project charter has value for the following reasons:

1. It defines the project objectives and related success criteria. 
How many times it happened that when a project or phase is complete, many stakeholders are saying it's not a successful project or can only be considered to be a "success" based on these "conditions"? I believe many of you would have heard or faced these situations. Project charter clearly shows the measurable project objectives and associated success criteria. These are approved by your key stakeholders, including the initiator or sponsor. Hence, the earlier questions mentioned, are less likely arise.

2. It defines the project exit criteria, i.e., when to close or terminate a project or phase.
Projects have to be terminated if they are not going to meet the project objectives or not in alignment with the business goals of the organization. Project charter helps in this regard.

3. Informs clearly who is the project manager and who is/are the project sponsor(s).
The project manager derives his or her authority, responsibilities from the project charter. It is clearly documented there.  

The Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification, hence, puts strong emphasis on this project document. It flows across many processes across various knowledge areas/process groups of a project during the life cycle. 

To understand where it flows, you can refer the below videos. 

Part 1: Flow of Project Charter (2m 45s)



Part 2: Flow of Project Charter (3m 26s)



As you can see, the project charter flows across nearly 30% of the processes (total 49 project management processes) across the process groups - including the processes in Initiating Process Group, i.e., Identify Stakeholders process and Closing Process Group, i.e., Close Project or Phase process.  


The title of the article says - project charter is the birth certificate of the project. Why? Because, without a project charter, a project is an orphan project, i.e., without a father or a mother. It is just floating around in the organization as it is an orphan one. Nobody really cares about it formally. 

On the other hand, when you have a project charter, it becomes the birth certificate of the project. Because with the project charter, a formal record is created for the project in the organization. The organization and key stakeholders recognize the formal existence of the project.

It's possible that a project can be executed without a project charter at all...In the beginning, I said - 90% of the project managers have not seen a project charter. In these cases, blame games or finger pointing starts when the project is about to be closed. On the other hand, with the project charter a project is officially authorized, success criteria are clearly defined (and approved by the key stakeholders) and it also makes your life as a project manager somewhat easier. 


References:
  1. PMP Live Lessons - Guaranteed Pass or Your Money Back, by Satya Narayan Dash
  2. Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, 6th Edition, by Project Management Institute (PMI)

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – ManagementYogi’s PMP 35 Contact Hours Online Course






This is in continuation of the following post:

There are many questions which came on ManagementYogi’s PMP 35 Contact Hours Online Course. Here, I’ve tried to address as many questions as I can. 


Question - 1: What are the applicability and validity of this course?
Answer: This course is based on PMBOK® Guide, 6th edition. This course will be valid for 6 months, from the date of purchase. The price of the course is Rs 8,849 (or $130 USD). I believe it is one of the lowest priced PMP® courses in the world. But it comes with high quality. This course will enable you to achieve the 35 mandatory contact hours needed for the PMP exam. It's a reflection of my classroom training, which has created 100s of genuinely successful PMPs. 
Few have written their success stories: PMP Success Stories.


Question - 2: What is full money back guarantee for this course?
Answer: This course comes with full money back guarantee with respect to your 35 contact hours of learning. There are no tricky terms and conditions. 
Please watch this video for more details. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WcZUtFLtKU



Question - 3: Why I should opt for it instead of classroom training?
Answer: Because, this training is:
  • Convenient - you can learn at your own time with your own speed. You can watch the content as many times as you want. 
  • Longer duration - 6 months of duration (not just 2 or 4-days of training)
  • Low cost - much lower than classroom training
Also, if you are going for a classroom training, but the training is useless because you understood little to nothing, then where is the value? I've seen many such cases where aspiring PMPs suffer. Any form of training you take (classroom or online or any other form) should put you on a solid track towards your PMP exam success.


Question - 4: How will I be eligible to have 35 contact hours?
Answer: It's simple. You complete the entire course, primarily from “Lesson - 2: Introduction” to “Lesson – 14: Project Stakeholder Management”. Next, you will be assessed with 100 questions. It is a comprehensive evaluation. 
After that, you will get the “35 Contact Hour Course Completion Certificate” from Management Yogi. 


Question - 5: What is ManagementYogi’s PMP 35 Contact Hour Certificate?
Answer: ManagementYogi’s contact hour certificate acts as a proof to claim the 35 Contact Hours. These contact hours are mandatory for you to appear for the PMP examination. The certificate testifies that you have completed the 35 contact hours of learning.


Question - 6: Is there a plan of action on how to complete this course?
Answer: Yes, you will receive a plan of action which illustrates the course structure, hours per individual lessons, number of videos, and number of questions – both lesson end practice questions and full-length questions. Based on it, you have to follow a simple a plan on completing this course and take your PMP exam.  


Question - 7: How can you provide the 35 Contact Hours when not a REP?
Answer: This is one of the biggest misconceptions that only Registered Education Providers (REPs) can give PMP training. It is just not true. As per PMI-PMP Handbook (link to check - page number 9 of the handbook), there are many providers who can provide the 35 mandatory contact hours. They are:
  • PMI Registered Education Providers (R.E.P.s)
  • PMI chapters
  • Employer/company-sponsored programs
  • Training companies or consultants (e.g., training schools)
  • Distance-learning companies, including an end-of-course assessment
  • University/college academic and continuing education programs
Hence, it is not needed to be a R.E.P to provide the 35 contact hours training and the certificate. 

Important Notes: Always focus on what you learn and how best you can learn.
This is 100% dependent on:

  • The content of learning, and 
  • How well the content is explained to you. 
    (Not a machine reading the content or a person just going through slide by slide. You get absolutely no value out of it, especially in exams like PMP.)

Question - 8: Why should I go with Management Yogi, compared to others?
Answer: Indeed, there are many providers who provide PMP training. Possibly, hundreds of them! But, many do not have any real-world project management experiences, work on an aggregator model and have no real contribution of their own with respect to project management domain. They are primarily focused on high profit.

I’m engaged in project management, continuously write on it, contribute towards it. The courses are continuously upgraded based on the feedback from successful PMPs. There have been many PMP success stories. I’m primarily focused on your success.

So, you decide – whom to choose:  Aggregator model with no real project management passion or from someone who is continuously engaged in project management and have created 100s of successful PMPs? 

Simply speaking, decide whom would you choose – their high profit (and many times useless training) or your probable success? 

You can also compare this course with courses provided by any other provider on these aspects:
  • Price
  • Quality
  • Content
  • Coverage


Question - 9: What happens when my application is selected for audit? What will be needed?
Answer: Many candidates take online course to fulfil 35 contact hours requirements. As per Project Management Institute (PMI®), in the event of an audit, the candidate would need to supply proof of the education in the form of a transcript, and/ or a certificate of completion.


Question - 10: Will you help if my application is selected for audit with respect to 35 contact hours?
Answer: Yes, absolutely. After all, this course is primarily about that.  You will get full help in case proof is needed for your 35 contact hours. I’ll provide all details needed by Project Management Institute (PMI).


Question - 11: Will you help in filling up the PMP application form?
Answer: Yes, absolutely. You will get these:
 1) A step-by-step guide to fill-up the PMP application form
 2) What to do in case of an audit
  3) Application forms from successful PMPs – there are many such application forms which will be shared with you. 


Question - 12: Will there be any support if any questions arise during the learning of 35 contact hours? 
Answer: Yes, definitely. Please send an email to managementyogi@gmail.com and your questions will be answered within 3 working days or 72 hours. 


Question - 13: What is your success rate for PMP exam, who have taken the courses or classes?
Answer: I’ve taken numerous classroom and virtual sessions on PMP exam preparation, worldwide.  The success rate of people who have sincerely prepared with the plan of action I've shared, is high. 

This Online Course has been launched for the first time. This is a reflection of my classroom course. It has also much more details, e.g., 
  • 200+ additional exercises in video format (one of its kind) 
  • 6 full-length practice question sets 
  • 450+ lesson end practice questions 
  • 100 questions for end course assessment 
I believe it will give you deeper learning, practice for your exam and prepare you well for the PMP exam. I also believe if you sincerely do this course, your chance of success in the exam is high. 

Notes: 
  • You can evaluate 25 videos before paying any money.
  • The course comes with full money back guarantee. Hence, you can evaluate the complete course content for 15 days, after you have purchased. 


Question - 14: Is there is a guarantee for PMP Exam Success with this course?
Answer: This course’s primary goal: “Get the 35 contact hours with full satisfaction”. The guarantee for this course is on the content and learning aspects, where you have full money back guarantee. You can see the entire course for 15 days and if you don’t like, I’ll refund your money. 

This course does not come with guarantee for passing the PMP exam. The money back guarantee has been explained in Question – 2. 

If you want to pursue the course for Guaranteed PMP Pass, please check the details for this course:
PMP Live Lessons – Guaranteed Pass Or Your Money Back 


Question - 15: How many full-length practice tests does this the course have?
Answer: You will get 6 full length practice tests, i.e., 1200 question with detailed answers. In addition, you have 30 to 35 lesson end practice questions (in total 450+), 200+ questions explained in video format, which is one of its kind in the world. There is also an end-course assessment of 100 questions. 

For more details: PMP 35 Contact Hours Online Course - Full Money Back Guarantee


Question - 16: What is the duration of this course?
Answer: The course is of 30 hours of duration. The entire course is in video format. It has been divided into 16 individual lessons. In total, there are 480+ videos which you help you prepare for the PMP exam. 

For more details: PMP 35 Contact Hours Online Course - Full Money Back Guarantee



If you have any other questions or clarifications, please send a mail to managementyogi@gmail.com. If this course has those features, I’ll inform with all the details. If it does not, then also, you will be clearly informed.  There won't be any round about answers.




PMP LIVE LESSONS - Guaranteed Pass:
PMP Success Stories: