Monday, April 05, 2021

PMP Success Story: Smart Hard Work is the Only Shortcut to Success

By Vishwa Deepak Tiwari, PMP, P2P



Introduction

Being in the industry for a long time, as I’ve seen, the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification is the only program in project management studies that is recognized and revered worldwide. I’d say, it’s better than Master of Business Administration (MBA), especially in project management!

This inspired to go for this certification program and pursue this certification. 


PMP Coaching Experience

I started my journey with PMP as I was struggling in my role to deliver projects. My manager recommended to attend a PMP training.

I joined the classroom session at Bangalore, India and I was fortunate to have found Mr. Satya Narayan Dash. I’m thankful that I got to learn from the legend of this domain. His experience as a PMP trainer is unmatched.

The training was like a workshop (very hands-on) where I got to learn and apply the knowledge in most intuitive way possible. Coming from a technical background, it was a make or break situation for me. Thanks to his training approach, I found it quite engaging and decided to go ahead with the PMP credential. 

The process and knowledge chart (all 49 processes interacting with each other in a single chart on the whiteboard) built by Satya was so easy to understand. 

It helped me to remember them in no time.

However, things didn’t quite work out though as I got personal priorities and commitment in hand. It took me quite some time to get back and prepare seriously.  

Own Study

It has been quite some time post my classroom session. Hence, I had to start from scratch. I committed two months to this endeavour and my only resources were all emails from Satya and his book: I Want To Be A PMP.

I was on a crash course due to personal issues and therefore I had to give almost 8 hours a day for my studies. My goal was to read Satya’s book and then study the PMBOK® guide, along with the Agile Practice Guide (APG). But I never got chance to read the PMBOK guide or APG at all.

Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP

When I bought Live Lessons from Satya, he was kind enough to give me his book for free with this purchase. I guess he saw my commitment and zeal to learn, and I’m happy today that he isn’t disappointed!

I couldn’t get the time to go through the video lessons, a thorough one. The course expires in 6 months after its purchase. As noted earlier, I had other personal commitments and hence, could not pursue with it further. But I had the book, I Want To Be A PMP, from him for the lifetime and that came as a great gift.

The book is written in simplest way possible and the best part is the Yogic Tips, which are so helpful while doing revisions. I don’t think any book can be so up to date. Thanks to Satya for keeping it online and always updating it for our help. 

The practice questions written by Satya are amazing. These questions are not only helpful in reviewing the lessons, but I found them also to be the only questions coming close to the analytical challenges posed by the real PMP exam set. 

It may sound like I’m marketing for Satya, but believe me that after scoring ‘Above Target’ in PMP exam and clearing it in first attempt, I don’t have to do it anymore unless I really feel something outstanding that brought me this day.

Other Study Material Used

I tried few other mock questions, brain-dumps and purchased questions with guaranteed pass rates. 

SORRY TO DISAPPOINT YOU, but all of them are fake and nowhere close to the actual PMP exam experience. Be clear on one thing that PMI safeguards their exam bank like anything, the exam bank pool is massive and updated frequently. So, you cannot get real questions leaked, no chance!

I also tried some free online mock questions from PM Prepcast and other sites. But all of them were total waste of time. The worst part is that they have wrong answers to some questions, and they are justifying them as well!

Actually, you don’t need such questions anyways. If your understanding is solid, then you can go for the exam. The time in the exam is very limited and you will have never enough time to read too much to understand what has been asked. I wish to have one mock exam that is accurate from these sources and helps in practicing for the time. 

For those who are interested in giving the exam now, I believe that PMI has taken a leap. Their exam bank has got complete overhaul after 2nd January, 2021. The exam guidelines say that 50% questions will be from predictive and 50% from Hybrid or Agile. But I got almost 70% of Hybrid and Agile questions. 

Remember to read the Earned Value Management (EVM) for Agile projects well. I faced questions on it in the exam.

PMP Exam Experience

I scheduled for Online Proctored Exam due to Covid19 posing new challenges. Due to kids at home, I had to take midnight slot, which I’d discourage people to do unless you have no other option. It was tough to concentrate while feeling sleepy.

I struggled due to the environment factors (using PMI’s language – Enterprise Environmental Factors!) and not having enough mock exam practices. I could only attempt 178 out of 180 questions. 

Here is my experience with the actual PMP exam questions:

  • Questions are analytical and PMI uses psychometric analysis with all answers looking legitimate. In a way it’s good, because if you really understood a concept, then the answer will flash as you go through the question.
  • About 10-12 questions were multiple response questions (different from multiple-choice) with more than two answers to select sometimes.
  • There was hardly any direct question, except one in my case. Most of them were situational.
  • There were about 5-6 drag and drop questions and I found them to be easy comparatively.
  • I got only 3 mathematical questions and they were easy as well. However, it is important to remember all formulas by heart because you don’t know what’s your luck! PMP exam is not a test of your luck – not even from a thousand mile.


Suggestions for PMP Aspirants

Dos 

  • Read the book, I Want To Be A PMP thoroughly and understand the concepts.
  • Memorize the formulas
  • Create your own process chart couple of times to be able to recall the flow of the 49 processes across the 5 process groups and 10 knowledge areas.
  • Focus more on the Agile aspects. Read the Agile Practice Guide, if you can. I only read the book. 
  • Read other resources related to Agile, if possible.

Don’ts

  • Don’t try to memorize everything, except for the formulas.
  • No need to memorize all the ITTOs; except for a few important ones and mostly to be able to answer the “WHYs”.
  • Don’t go online searching for real or even mock-up exams. I didn’t find anything of value. Quality is always better than quantity.

Conclusion

I’d say the journey to achieve the credential has been exciting, exhaustive, but so very satisfying in the end! 

I’d however advise people not go for this exam unless they are really in project management or genuinely interested to move into this domain. 

Brief Profile: 

Vishwa Deepak Tiwari, PMP, P2P

Principal Learning Consultant,
Norton LifeLock (previously known as Symantec Corp.)

 


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