I lost touch with reality in the month of August while preparing to take the PMP exam, but it was worth the effort because I passed with flying colors!
Action Plan Progress:
DONE – Completed the Agile PMP training seminar
DONE – Read Critical Chain by Eliyahu Goldratt
DONE – Completed the RMC PMP Exam Prep course
DONE – Read the PMP Handbook
DONE – Completed the PMP application
DONE – Passed the PMP exam
The Agile PMP
The Agile PMP course was a part of the Project Management Institute’s SeminarsWorld event. Karl Muenchow led us through 2-days of great content. His presentations have helped me to reconcile the gap between old-world-PMP and new-world-agile frameworks. They are not as far apart as some would have you believe, and this new perspective has helped me a lot at work.
This book was recommended to me by a colleague. It is supposed to do for project management what The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement did for production. I don’t think it is as good as The Goal. The sections about how padding estimates creates more problems than it solves was very well done, and it has helped to solidify my understanding of estimating. I would recommend this book as light reading for project managers.
The rest of my action plan was geared toward the PMP exam. Submitting the application was a stressful process, but most exam prep classes give you some tips and tools related to completing the application. I also attended a PMI workshop that walked me through the process. I probably could have figured it out on my own, but was glad for the extra support.
I do not think I could have passed the test without taking a prep class. RMC Learning Solutions came highly recommended and I took their 2-Day PMP Exam Prep Course. It is an intense course that comes complete with homework! They helped me to identify the gaps in my knowledge base and tailor a study plan for my needs. In the 2.5 weeks between the course and my exam date I studied for 37 hours and took 2 practice exams. And when I was done I saw the most beautiful email header I have ever seen…
And with that I have achieved my project management goals for the year! Now I am going to focus on other areas of personal development.
Please share any goals you have achieved this year in the comments below. We should all take time to celebrate the wins!
The PMI-MN dinner this month offered a PMP Application Writing workshop. Excellent timing since I just signed up for an exam prep course. This my take on the evening.
PMP Application Writing
I’ve been told that the PMP application process is difficult. This workshop was helpful because the presentation was short and practical which left plenty of time for questions and specific scenarios. These were my key takeaways:
“There is no cum laude on the PMP exam”
Professional Development Units (PDUs) and PM Education are not always the same thing
Only enter the number of hours they request under experience, there is no extra credit for more experience
List projects in order of size, not by date
The more detail you provide on your application the better and you’ll be less likely to get audited
Study to get 80% on the exam
Three Critical Success Factors for Project Managers
The main presentation wasn’t bad, but I was not a huge fan of Bill Johnson’s style. He told us early on that he ascribes to the “Socratean style of teaching”, and I should have left then. I spent most of my time taking notes on his style and the other people in the room than I did on his content. It was fun to practice Gutkind’s immersion technique.
His presentation revolved around the idea that if we took the time to align our projects to the company/leadership’s strategic vision; understood our own leadership style better; and increased our knowledge in the project management methodology we would have more successful projects. A good message, but one that could have been much more direct. I heard one person in the audience speak almost as much as Bill.
Overall, I would say this was an evening well spent. I got exactly what I was hoping for out of the workshop, more confidence in pursuing my PMP!
Tonight I attended my first Project Management Institute – Minneapolis Chapter event. Their February dinner included a number of short presentations prior to the main event. Want to know what you can get out of a 4 hour PMI-MN event?
The first hour was a networking presentation provided by a recruiter who gave us some great tips on growing your network through references from existing contacts. The best advice he gave was to try and make yourself useful to the people you want to connect with. That might sound counter-intuitive, but you are trying to build a communication path, and it has to be a 2-way street.
Practitioner Communities (PrCs)
There were different options for next 45 minutes and I choose to attend the PrCs presentation called “Can SCRUM Flip a House?” It was a great talk about how to apply SCRUM principles outside of IT. I’m excited to apply the agile principles to a non-work project.
New Member Orientation
Next they offered a 30 minute new member orientation. There was a short overview of what PMI-MN provides its members but most of the time was spent with the n00bz discussing their goals. It was a great lead into the dinner.
How to be a Chameleon: A Key to Enterprise Project Success
The main presentation was 50 minutes, and focused on the soft skills of project management. By this point I was getting pretty tired, and it wasn’t the most riveting presentation. I did take away a tip on making sure that not only do you identify all your key stakeholders, but know everyone that will have an impact on your project. Never forget the admins! I also loved that he described himself as a gun-slinging chameleon (he used a different picture).
That was $32 well spent. I made two networking connections and got some great practical tips on pursuing my PMP certification. The dinner was pretty good too, and fit my 8WW diet! I look forward to attending future events.
How do you make the most of these professional events? Please share your thoughts in the comments!