Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Number of PMPs: India Vs China–Why Does China Score So High?

I get these questions frequently.

How many PMPs are there in India? 

Aren’t there too many of them in India?

This is primarily with respect to the sectors, which are export driven, though over years I’ve seen many other organizations have the same impression. 

Adding to the growing claims that many managers are PMPs in India, there are also quite a few I’ve come across who say their friends are PMPs. Hence, they know this certification has no value as such. 

Notice the catch – they themselves are not PMPs, but have “friends”, who are PMPs! 

The most suprising part is every provider in India claims to be creating thousands of PMPs or at least in hundreds. In reality, this is not the case. Let's see how.

We will start with a simple analysis on the number of PMPs in India.

Analysis: Number of PMPs in India
Consider India has just 100 PMP providers (ones who conduct PMP training or provide PMP preparatory courses) - a very conservative estimate. In Bangalore itself, where I currently reside, there are at least a dozen registered education providers (REP). 

Important Note: It’s not needed to be a REP to provide PMP training, there are many other avenues such as employer sponsored programs, training companies, consultants, distance learning companies etc. (check this link)

So, considering various cities and towns across India, you can say there are around 100 providers (at least). I'm just taking the least possible one. In reality, the number will be much more.

It’s also pertinent to note that many business schools from India provide these 35 contact hours PMP training - on-demand, online, or otherwise. Here is a snippet from IIM-Ahmedabad. (link)

A Calculation of PMPs in India
Let's say each provider created 1,000 PMPs in 5 years. 

Read the previous line again - not one year, but in five years! This is also a conservative one, because the providers claim to have created a number of PMPs. 

Now, considering just 1,000 PMPs by 100 providers in 5 years, the numbers will be: 

Number of providers * PMPs by each provider * Number of years

= (100 providers) * (1,000 PMPs) * 5 years 

= (100) * (1,000) * 5

= (1,00,000) * 5

= 500,000. 

So, we get 500,000 PMPs or 0.5 million PMPs only in India, going by the providers' claims of creating thousands of PMPs. 

But, is it really the case?

No. In fact, it’s impossible. Let’s see how.

Total number of PMPs worldwide = 1,000,000+ 

=> 500,000 PMPs in PMP in India = around 50% of worldwide PMPs

This snapshot is from PMI and it shows as of February, 2020, there are around 1.04 million PMPs.

So, the entire world has around 1,000,000 (1M) PMPs. And based on the simple calculation that we just had, India has 500,000 or 50% of the PMPs!

Does India really have 50% of world's PMPs?

Forget 50%, India doesn’t have 25% of worldwide PMPs, not even 10%. Not even 5%! 

To give you a perspective, China with an almost equal population number and economic history and growth (till recently) has over 30% PMPs, worldwide.

This leads to the next question.

How Many PMPs are there in India?
Again, let’s go by data. Who can provide better data than PMI itself?

As per PMI, India has around 40,000 (total) as of 2018. The link is below. 

I’ve quoted this snippet below. You can read the details in the above link.

I expect little growth in two years (in 2019 and 2020). Possibly, few thousands would have been added. Data doesn't lie, though can be manipulated. However, in this case, there is nothing to change – it’s just raw data.  

So, overall, India will be having around 45,000 to 47,000 PMPs as of February 2020.  I really doubt it will be more than 50,000.

Remember we calculated, based on the “strong claims” of the providers, there are 500,000 PMPs, which is 10 times more! The fact is India has around 4 to 4.5% PMPs worldwide. (40,000/880,000 in percentage terms). As of mid-2018, there were around 880,000 PMPs around the world. And India has around 40,000 PMPs. 

So, why providers are saying they have created thousands of PMPs in India?

I find these possible reasons.
  • A lot of money is flowing into marketing, advertisements, social media posts where everyone claims to be a PMP (in turn, fooling the prospective customers), but very little effort into creating genuine PMPs.

    Creating real PMPs requires a lot of hard work, involvement and sincerity - not easy things to do. It's the exact opposite of endless marketing,  poor quality courses and gimmicky.
  • The providers are lying through their teeth. I've not seen many genuine success stories at any provider's portal! If there are a few, very likely because of bribes – but told as “prizes” to win in terms of iPad or a smartphone or something like that! You can make a search and see how such “prizes” are given.
  • The trainers themselves are not PMPs and even though one, they don’t understand the content well! I've seen such cases personally at two providers in Bangalore. You can compensate if you are keen on project management. But, it's obviously not the case when you lie being a PMP.

    On the other hand, being a PMP doesn’t mean you really know project management. That takes years of real world practice, writings, publications, hands-on involvement and other contributions. These are also not easy things to do.
  • Very few have genuine interest in your success.  It’s all about making money quickly by saying all kinds of things, not about your success in any way. Of course, to be a PMP, you have to put in the needed effort (it's a demanding and high-quality certification), but the material/course has to be good and the provider should have interest in your success. 

With this let’s see how many PMPs are in China. 

How Many PMPs in China? 
China has nearly 3o% of the PMPs now in the world. I’m taking this snippet from PMI’s executives, where the PMI informed this about China. (Check this link)

In fact, it has gone further as per a recent PMI publication in December 2019. Below is the quote:
"From 1999 to 2019, the number of Project Management Professional (PMP) certification holders in China skyrocketed from zero to nearly 330,000, accounting for one-third of the globe, said Bob Chen, managing director of PMI China at the opening ceremony. He also shared valuable statistics from a recently conducted survey with a sample size of nearly 1,000 PMP certification holders in China."

Three things stand out here.
  • China introduced the PMBOK guide and PMP exam in 1999. Just 20 years ago. 
  • China as of 1999, didn’t have a single PMP. India then had quite a few. 
  • In fact, in 2016, China had just 150,000 PMPs whereas India had 30,000. In last few years Chin has more than doubled it number of PMPs to 300,000+. (link)

Why Does China Score High?
In my classes I’ve had Chinese students. As I interacted with them, I came to know on few areas and reasons why China scores so high. 
Reason – 1: Critical Thinking 
I believe this is the most important part of the PMP exam. You have to think critically on the questions and from all possible angles. The questions are predominantly situational and the coverage area is vast. Critical thinking helps you answer these questions. I find PMP aspirants from China quite good in this aspect. 

When you prepare, critical thinking also helps you to understand the content in a better way. You self-evaluate your learning and understanding as you proceed with a high quality preparatory course, along with the PMBOK Guide. 
Reason – 2: Mathematical Proficiency
I’ve noticed participants from China can quickly solve some of the most difficult mathematical questions, whenever I asked. In fact, their turn-around time is in seconds.

It is NOT that the PMP exam is always dominated by mathematical questions. In many instances, I've seen there are just a few mathematical questions (one recent success story informs so) and sometimes there may be none! But, when you can answer such questions quickly, then the time saved can be applied in other questions. 
Reason – 3: Analytical and Logical Reasoning
These are the other critical areas in the PMP exam. The exam coverage area as I had earlier mentioned is vast. It's very easy to get lost with a huge coverage area: 5 process groups, 10 knowledge areas, 49 processes, and 100s of inputs, tools and techniques and outputs (ITTOs). There are nearly 1,500 ITTOs.
However, if you can correlate your understanding in one area with another (there is a lot of interlinks and interplay among the processes), you can quickly focus on the important ones.
Analytical thinking and logical reasoning helps you further to pin-point on a choice. This is important where in many questions more two choices will be left out for you and both the choices look to be correct! I found participants from China to be very quick on this aspect.

Reason – 4: Language
The PMP exam in China is available in Chinese languages. The exam can actually be given in 15 languages. As shown below, other than English, there are options for Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional). 

When you read the content and can give the exam in your own language, you have advantages. But, it's not a major one. Hence, I've moved it down the order. With basic English proficiency, I've seen many clearing the exam. 

As noted earlier, data doesn’t lie. In reality, India doesn’t have the PMPs matching the outlandish claims by various providers. We have a long way to go and a lot to learn. 

As there are a lot of claims, advertisements, and media reports that there are many PMPs, I intended to put this in an article. This was also requested by the subscribers of my courses, who wanted to tell the real picture of PMPs in India, in their respective circles. I believe this article will put an end to these false stories and will tell the real number of PMPs in India as of 2019/2020.

    You may also like:

      Saturday, August 15, 2020

      PMP Live Lessons Success Story: A Sense of Victory After Passing One of The Toughest Certification Exams in The World

      By Prasad Ramamurthy Kadambi, PMP

      I came to know about PMP® certification way back in 2007, as my manager was preparing for this credential. I finally decided to pursue it and attended Satya’s classes during weekends in February 2018. The classes were based on the 5th edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

      In the class, I came to know that exams will be based on PMBOK® Guide 6th edition from March 26th, 2018.  So, one thing was very clear that it will be impossible for me to prepare in that one plus month gap. Irrespective of that, I gave one attempt on February 14th, 2019, but I could not clear the exam. I found it to be very tough. Next, I didn’t do much on this front for quite some-time. 

      My actual preparations started on December 5th, 2019 and I personally met Satya. I informed him that I want to give a second try and purchased PMP Live Lessons.

      Need for A Success Story 
      During my preparation, I used to read the PMP success stories and that used to increase my energy levels to put in all the efforts for the preparation needed. Whenever I feel outweighed by enormity of this challenging exam, I would read a success story. 

      Today at the end of PMP journey, I am writing my experience. I have primarily two purposes here:
      • To thank Satya because he has put in a lot of effort to make me understand the concepts.
      • To tell PMP® aspirants that it is possible to earn the credential and all you need is an honest effort from your end. 

      Own Study
      For my preparation, I referred the below ones. There are many books, courses or material in the market, but I referred ONLY the below three, nothing else at all. 

      I have read PMBOK® Guide thrice, though my plan was to only read once. PMBOK guide is not an easy guide to understand, and I hardly could make out anything from it, initially. 

      Review – PMP Live Lessons
      The PMP Live Lessons course comes with a set of ‘Smart Card’ questions at the end of every lesson, which compelled me to read the PMBOK more than once. I would get a perception which I would I have missed in the earlier go. 

      I really liked it as it made me read more from the PMBOK® Guide and made it more understandable along with the videos. There are days I have spent more than 6 hours on reading PMBOK® guide because of ‘Smart Card’ references per lesson or chapter. I have read once the e-Book of I Want To Be PMP.

      Coming to the videos of the Live Lesson, I have at the least seen each video 4 times and never went to the next one unless I was very sure of the current video. I realized for every 1-minute video I took 5 minutes to internalize the concept and made my own notes.

      I did not get any opportunity to look for PMP® contents outside as I found that Satya’s material is vast. I could do only 4 full length questions out of 6. However, I was consistently scoring 80% to 90% in the questions, which Satya informed to be good score to clear the exam.

      I had prepared for more than 400 hours, with 2 hours daily and 6 to 7 hours on the weekends. During the weekdays I used to get time only after 11:30 PM and I was comfortable with the schedule as there were no disturbances.

      Satya’s support was exceptional as he used to call me to clarify my doubts and, he constantly monitored my preparation. Also, throughout my preparation, I have asked him many questions, which he answered. I am grateful to him for that.

      PMP Exam Experience
      I gave my exam on August 12th, 2020 and I took it directly at the PearsonVUE centre. This is because I did not have backup power and network at home. 

      Satya always says that it is good to visit the test centre before the exam day, so I exactly did that to realize:
      • There is no parking facility and we need to find a private parking space!
      This also ensured that I have no hassles on the exam day.

      I was very calm both before and during the exam, the formalities went smooth and I started to write down all the 49 processes spread across the 5 process groups (PGs) and 10 knowledge areas (KAs). I also wrote down all the formulae related to the PMP Exam. In total, it took me around 14 minutes. This you should do ONLY do after the exam has started.  

      The exam comes with an optional break of 10minutes, which is outside the exam duration. However, before the break, I could complete only 89 questions. It matches with the break, which typically happens on 89th or 90th question. 

      I did not take the break, but continued with the questions as I felt it will break my concentration and focus. I was able to complete all the questions before the stipulated duration.  Just before the 5 minutes reminder (your exam completes at the end of fourth hour), I was in the 200th question, which was a numerical one.

      When I was left with only 3 plus minutes, I submitted and instantly I saw ‘Congratulations’ message. I could not believe that at all! It took me few moments to realize and sink-in that I am a PMP now.  

      As the title of the success story tells, it’s one of the toughest exams you will ever face in your professional career, if you want to pursue a career in management. 

      Types of PMP Questions Faced
      • 95% of the questions did not exceed one and a half lines in length. However, almost all of them were situational questions. 
      • Not only the questions are situational, the choices in the answers are also situational in nature. 
      • I had only one numerical question, which is based on PERT estimation and it was a direct one. 
      • Mostly questions were on the below areas:
        • Change Requests and Change Management,
        • Risk Management,
        • Communications Management,
        • Stakeholder Management.

      My Whole PMP journey
      I have learnt a lot of lessons as I complete my PMP certification. 

      This is the first such exam what I have written and cleared after my engineering way back in 2002. I had a perception that management is not similar to engineering in concepts, but I was wrong. Management concepts and application of those concepts are very logical, thoughtful and many-times driven by analysis, modelling and calculations. 

      I loved all the efforts that went in, my sacrifices and the whole journey. 

      Suggestions for Aspiring PMPs
      • Internalize the concepts, as I have said before. It was not easy for me. 
      • Read all the related content to the PMP exam, which Satya publishes in sites such as MPUG and the current site.
      • Be very critical while you prepare, manage time and try to relax in between the preparation. I was never frustrated as I gave all the efforts needed during my preparation.
      • Ask questions to Satya then and there, not later. 
      • PMBOK Guide is the Gold Standard for project management, so read it as and when the PMP Live Lessons course mandates.
      • Plan, plan and plan as much as it is practical during the preparation and for the exam day.
      • Unless the concept is clear there is no way to clear the exam as we cannot guess the answers. So, try to get what the videos in the PMP Live Lessons emphasises and do NOT click next video without understanding the concept.
      • The PMP Live Lessons course cannot be taken as just another video course to browse through. You need to involve completely to the get the concept clear and make your own notes.
      • Whenever the PMP Live Lessons course mandates a revision, do revise. Do NOT ignore it. 

      The journey was great and there is a sense on contentment, lots to learn and I loved the whole experience. The PMP certification is not a candy certification. To earn it, you must put in the needed effort. As I write this success story, I believe it is true and as mentioned before, you only must put an honest and sincere effort. 

      Brief Profile:
      Prasad Ramamurthy Kadambi, PMP.
      I have been working in information technology sector and I have around 16 years of experience in this sector.

      Wednesday, August 05, 2020

      PMP Online Proctored Exam – How to Write 49 Processes of PMBOK6 in 7 Minutes on the Online Whiteboard?

      While speaking with aspiring PMPs, one of the big concerns that I came to know recently is the difficulty in writing the 49 processes cutting across the 5 process groups and 10 knowledge areas. 

      The PMP® exam has gone online since April, 2020. You can read the more about online proctored exam in the below two posts.

      Many candidate PMPs write down the 49 processes while giving the exam. But they use the pen/pencil with paper and eraser - usally the case for the traditional center-based exam. Of course, with pen and scratch paper it’s easy to write. Because that’s how we all have learned and practiced throughout our lives. But you can do as easily, if not more, with the online board.

      The 49 processes set the heartbeat of the PMBOK® Guide, 6th edition and an aspiring PMP needs to have a very good understanding of how they interact with each other. While preparing for the PMP exam in a short duration, it’s difficult to remember all of them and becomes more difficult when you try to answer the situational questions by recalling the processes. It’s natural. Hence, many write it down, revisit and recollect these processes, while answering the questions. 

      In this post you will learn how to write down the processes in just 7 minutes. This video is taken from PMP Live Lessons course. Exhaustive set of videos, e.g., how to write down the formulas, how to solve formula based questions on the whiteboard, how to use the calculator, how to solve critical path questions, among many others, are part of this course.

      With more practice, you can do it even in 5 minutes. This video explains how to write down all the following ones in 7 minutes:
      • All 5 process groups,
      • All 10 knowledge areas,
      • All 49 processes.

      Video: How to Write Down the PMBOK 49 Processes in 7 minutes?

      In this video, I’m showing how to draw the 49 processes in 7 minutes. When you do it the first time, it may take you 15 minutes or more. With subsequent practices, it will easily come down to 7 minutes. Of course, you have to know what the processes are! [Video duration - 10m:24s]

      Few Tips and Notes
      Below are some of the tips and notes. Exhaustive sets of tips and notes - all in video format - are part of PMP Live Lessons

      • Don’t use the “Clear” button given in the bottom of the board. This will wipe-out everything you have written on the board. This command button is shown in the below image.
        If mistakenly you have hit this icon/button, then use the “Undo” button, placed just above, to reverse your action.
      • Don’t use the “Undo” and/or “Redo” button if you have a chain of commands used sequentially. In such a case, it will remove all the items you have drawn or written on the board. If it's a single command you have entered, then yes, you can use the commands. You can see both these command buttons in the below image.
      • Be very familiar with all the command buttons. Check each and every icon button on the whiteboard and know what they do. 
      • While using the “Pan” button, have a single strategy and stick to it.  The pan command button is shown in the below image. One of the buttons that you are going to use a lot on the whiteboard is the “Pan” button. While using it – have a strategy on its movement, i.e., either left to right or top to bottom. Whichever you want to pan, stick to that approach. Otherwise, you will be confused in the exam.

      I believe this post, the video and tips, will help you to prepare the PMP Online Proctored Exam. 

      If you are reading this post, wish you all the best for your exam.


      [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)