Monday, October 28, 2019

PMP Success Story: Apply Your Learnings to Be a Good Project Manager In Real Life

By Ram Babu, PMP

I am working as a Project Manager for Delivery in my organization. However, I was lacking certain standard processes and procedures in applying the project management concepts and fundamentals. Hence, I found Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential as the right certification for me. With this certification, I believe I can excel, provide the needed expertise to my organization and also add value to our profile.

PMP 35 Contact Hours Experience
First, I joined a classroom session to take the mandatory 35 contact hours learning. Satya Sir was our trainer and he led the classes for 4 days. His teaching style was impressive. He guided us to not only focus on key concepts, but also relate our understanding of project management in context.

The formulae and numerous examples he provided were very helpful. In 4-days, he covered most of the topics needed for the exam. 

However, for me, the focus on Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Schedule Network Diagram Analysis such as forward pass, backward pass, free float and total float calculation, critical path analysis etc. were really helpful. 

Own Study
My situation was completely different from other aspiring candidates for the PMP credential. I am from Arts background and hence, didn’t have the environment to think about PMP like others do, who are mostly from engineering backgrounds. It was really challenging to overcome this situation and concentrate on self-study more.

I used to study 2 to 3 hours every-day for more than eight months. It took sufficient preparation from my side to clear the exam. 

In fact, at the end of the final day, Satya Sir took an evaluation test. I scored only 10 out of 30 questions. Satya Sir told me – “Ram Babu, you will need 1 year to prepare and clear the exam. You have to really work on it.” And it took me nearly 1 year to crack it. You can understand how much hard work was required.

I studied the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Guide, 6th edition 2 to 3 times along with another reference book. I also used the material given in the PMP 35 contact hours sessions and attempted 8 mock tests overall. These were helpful for me to clear the concepts.

I would say as the exam questions are mostly situational in nature, you may find it problematic in the beginning. But with sufficient mock tests, we can overcome this problem.

PMP Exam Experience
I scheduled my exam at Pearson VUE, Shivaji Nagar, Bangalore because it was close to my locality. I followed no specific strategy while going through the 4 hours of the exam. This is primarily due to the fact that I have had the practice of mock tests with 4-hours sitting. 

From the perspectives of exam questions, I faced the following types:
  • Most of the questions were situational in nature. Hence be ready for them.
  • I received a few mathematical questions – around five to six questions, including Earned Value Management (EVM). However, they were quite straight.
  • I face a few Input, Tools and Techniques (ITTO) questions from the PMBOK Guide. Again, they were quite straight-forward.
  • A number of questions were from change requests, change management, and risk management. 

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Improve reading speed and read the PMBOK Guide’s glossary. You must read the glossary. 
  • Ensure to have good time management. The 4-hours exam is also a test of your endurance. 
  • Always keep your calmness intact. It will help you during the test.

  • Do not just read the PMBOK Guide, but read in the context of project management, your own management experience and how you can relate to it. 
  • Do not memorize the ITTOs, which we will not be a proper usage of your time.  Instead, apply their meanings and use them to understand the way project management gets done in the real world.

I’ve been working as a project management for quite sometime and with this new knowledge gain, I hope I can apply and improve on the practices. I also hope these learnings will help me to be a good manager in real life.

Brief Profile:
Ram Babu, PMP: I’ve been working as a Project Manager for 10 years.

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