Showing posts with label PMI certifications. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PMI certifications. Show all posts

New Resources Pt 1- Interview with Jeff Furman

This is a special short and crisp series of posts that promise to help you get prepped up for 2015. And we start with some new available resources that help you get to your goal faster.

We start with Jeff Furman and his second edition of the book "The Project Management Answer Book" (second edition) which is a great resource for anyone getting into project management as well as considering about getting the certification. 

You can read his interview with me when the first edition was out by clicking here.

Please tell us about your book which is a great resource for the upcoming project managers.     
PMP Certification –Getting certified is very important for anyone who wants a career
in project management.  And my book is packed with PMP tips in every chapter, based on my having taught more than 100 PMP Prep classes over the past eight years, as well as teaching many other Basic and Advanced PM classes. So many of these tips are NOT in other books. And I share these throughout my book in very easy-to-find “sidebars.”

Easy-to-Read Q&A Format - My book is the only current PMP book in Q&A format, making it easy-to-read and navigate through. But it’s also highly-detailed – I provide very thorough explanations on difficult topics such as Earned Value and Critical Path, but broken up into short, “bite-size” Q&As. For this reason, many PMs from around the world have “Liked” my book’s Facebook Fan Page – (“Likes” currently from 25 different countries!)

NOT Just PMP! – Most PMP books are mainly “for the test.” My book has a very strong PMP test focus, but also contains a great many templates, figures, diagrams, examples, and case-studies to help PMs with practical, hands-on advice for managing projects efficiently and effectively.

NOT Just Waterfall (Hello, Scrum Agile!)  For the 2nd Edition, I’ve added a robust new chapter on Scrum Agile. Waterfall PM has been the industry standard for many years. But Agile is catching on rapidly, with Scrum by far the most popular type. My book provides 54 new Q&As on Scrum (also making comparisons to Waterfall where helpful). My chapter also provides info on Agile certifications, networking groups and resources for Agilists, and more.

 And where can we find it?
 My 2nd Edition just came out in November, 2014.  It's available in paperbacks and in several

  • Paperback:
  • Paperback from the publisher: Management Concepts Press
  • eBook: from the publisher: Management Concepts Press
  • Paperback: at the NYU Bookstore in Manhattan     

Also coming soon in:

  • Kindle:
  • Google Books

Why do you think this is a must have for new project managers? 
New PMs, as well as job candidates, have a need to quickly be able to show potential customers, stakeholders, and employers that they understand the latest techniques and terminology. My book takes  hundreds of technical terms from the PMI PMBOK Guide and other sources and provides very easy-to-follow explanations, examples, and templates to help PMs very quickly get up-to-speed.

My book also provides a great deal of help toward the certification process. In addition to many PMP test tips, I provide unique content such as a template on how to complete the PMP exam application, a list of “language aids” supported by PMI (Turkish just added!), tips on creating the PMP exam brain dump, and a study sheet / practice grid I created for my PMP students on how to learn the ITTOs (Inputs, Tools, Techniques, and Outputs) PMs need to know for their exams.

 What are the 3 main takeaways from the book?
Top 10 Pitfall Lists – My book offers “Top 10 Pitfalls” on the PMI Knowledge Areas, based on my many years experience managing I.T. projects, as well as many shared by my students in my PM classes.  Looking at pitfalls to watch out (a.k.a. “other people’s mistakes”) is a fun way to learn the PMBOK.

The Triple Constraint –  Many PMs have heard about the classic “Triple Constraint.”
But many don’t know that there are actually several useful variations out in the world of PM. My book provides:

My book provides diagrams of three popular models plus three advanced models:
  • The Talent Management Triple Constraint 
  • The Value Triple Constraint 
  • The Triple Constraint For Ethics. 

Mini Waterfall –  Scrum Agile is an important new area of PM to learn, in addition to Waterfall PM (which is the discipline tested for on the PMP). Good news is that if you have already studied Waterfall, there are some key concepts common to both, so much so that some actually call Scrum “mini-waterfall.”

So my Chapter 14, “Scrum Agile: The New Wave In PM” is designed to help you quickly learn many of the key concepts of Scrum. And to make it fun, my chapter answers questions for you such as: “What are misconceptions Waterfall people have about Agile?” and the other way around:“What are misconceptions agilists have about Waterfall?”

One piece of advice that you think is an absolute must for new project managers?
One word: Ethics!
Don’t let the customer (or your management) push you into an unethical decision. There is always the pressure: “The customer is always right,” and to do whatever they ask. But if you say yes to something you shouldn’t, such as cutting corners, or skipping an important test, your project’s quality will suffer. And if your reputation becomes compromised, it will be very difficult to get it back.

My Chapter 10: Ethical Considerations PMs Face On The Job takes you through the PMI Code of Ethics®, as well as PMI’s EDMF® (Ethical Decision-Making Framework), and provides Q&As on many real-world issues around ethics that can help you set a leadership example on your projects.

To know more about the book, you can see the reviews and read another great interview by Elizabeth Harrin  

The series continues in 2015.

(Pic courtesy: MWild Photography)

Week 3- Additional Tools like Graded PMP Simulations

The Villanova course has been going alright so far. I’m still lagging behind but happy that the videos are of shorter duration and can be downloaded so I can move around with them.

The videos though a lot of them are not long intervals of mindless talking.

These pre-recorded sessions display  the time duration, and it helps; so you can squeeze in a few of the lectures before watching your favorite TV show or going out for your run.

Two trainers (as far as I have watched it) have been doing all the talking- Cynthia Stackpole and C. Aron.

Aron lectures on chapters involving mathematical calculation and I personally liked his style and presentation better than Stackpole’s.

Videos include definitions from the PMBOK, however the course is not an alternative of reading the PMBOK, so make sure you still read it.

So, how is it better than other online courses that are being offered on the web?

Honestly, I haven’t taken a lot of them. What I like about this online course is that, it mails you reading materials as well- for you to keep. So, even when your online access is over, you can still use the CD and study materials to prep for your PMP. That’s a nice and thoughtful touch.

Included is also a graded is a PMP and CAPM Test Simulation which is not part of the course requirement or the score doesn’t affect your final grades.

I think it takes a while to get used to the course, its navigation and utilizing the resources completely.

To read Week 1 and 2 and the Disclosure, click here.

Week 2- It’s tailored for busy and fast moving professionals

The best feature of this course is that is tailored for fast moving people.

The course comes with options:
•You have the hard copy- the course material and the 5 CD’s.
•You can access the material via the web, so you don’t have to carry around the reading material if you don’t want to.
•Download the files in either audio or video format (in compressed file format) and you can watch it offline as well now. Or upload it in your ipod and carry around with ease.

The Course
The course is available in chapter wise like structure, so you are not all loaded with too much information.  The course if of 4 weeks which means, each week comes with its lectures.
•Week 1- 15 lectures
•Week 2- 8 lectures
•Week 3- lectures
•Week 4- 12 lectures

The video and the textual material compliment each other and so you can move back and forth drilling down the material or referring to the other when in need. 

The videos are usually of shorter duration, precise and narrate the chapter well and in required details. 

I have been trying to log on to the site and then listen to the videos, but since I have been lagging behind (blame the new job), I decided to download the videos so I can listen to them easily.

So, when readers like you comment or mail and let me know that you are waiting for the review because you are interested in this prep course, it does help me. 

For week 1 click here.

PMP Prep Tools

Whether you are having a long weekend or not, the prep to become a better PM goes on.

Here are some awesome resources I found; if you are plaanning to take the exam or simply learn more:

Good luck.

PM Prepcast- why should you take it?

Its unusual, effective and loaded with information that can be used for and beyond exams.

It’s the PM Prepcast I am talking about and I think the concept is superb. Cornelius has brought in the perfect combination of audio and video to make sure the every single point is communicated.

The prepcast consists of episode lists that can be downloaded to your computer and syched with your ipod. It’s a great resource to understand everything you need to know about exams (both CAPM and PMP by PMI) including what happens if you don’t make it in your first attempt, how you should retest etc.

Each lesson/podcast is around 25 minutes which comes with very clear and to the point graphics done in a way that helps you understand, remember and sort of reaffirms the audio. By using the dual methods you can remember them easily without having to get back to the podcast over and over again.

Who can use the podcast?

Certification takers- if you are planning to take your PMP or CAPM its perfect for you. The podcast fits your purse and goal and is a great way to start your preparation. Listen to the tips he has to share on how to use the resource and get through the exam. By the way, he also sends lessons and reminds you through email.

Newbies in project management- A great way to zoom ahead of the other newbies. By listening to these podcast you not only understand project management better but your are aware of the much needed terminology and the intricacies.

Interview preparation for project management- if you are lining for an interview next week or getting ready for a job search, this podcast will make it a little easier for you. You can brush on the PMBOK knowledge along with other skills and stay head in the game by downloading some free flash cards.

Why self- reading for exams is not a clever idea?

Nov 4, 2009 | | 0 comments |

I tried it and it didn’t work.

The fact that I didn’t make it, kinda stuck with me for a long while and took away a chunk of my confidence. I had to face it again.

This time, I wanted to do it differently and make sure I cover all the mistakes that I did last time. So, I ordered prep materials- they are expensive but let me tell you its worth it.

You can order whatever you want to but if you are taking CAPM, there are not a lot of options who cater to this category. Make sure you don’t buy the PMP software. Beware and double check that your material is in sync with the PMBOK fourth edition.

I got mine from Rita Mulcahy, the entire package for CAPM. Apart from the fact that the books comes with a plan on how to prepare for the exam, I like the fact that the materials cross reference the PMBOK along with page numbers. So, you just know which page to go back to instead of flipping through and doing it all in your mind. I think they just take the pressure of your mind on how to go about it and do it all for you.

Last time, I didn’t get a lot of simulated exams and I think that was a huge mistake. So, now the prep material also includes the exam software which think is awesome.

So, while I have been advised to take the PMP directly instead of CAPM, I think the CAPM opens the door for you to get the PMP. You learn more, are better prepared and you prove your genuine interest in the profession.

To know more about the CAPM exam, click here.

Want to review PMBOK through a slide, try this.

(Pic Courtesy)

Resource for project managers

Heres one cool resource to use from pmstudent to know more about getting into project management.

I subscribe to it and the frequently sent personalized emails that Josh sends is a great way to get your hand on amazing tips, resource links and best way to have the awareness that you should do a little more to be in the domain.

Right, you already are certified. So, here's something for you as well Project Managers.

Thank you Josh.

Have you joined PM groups yet?

Have you? If not, you are missing out on a lot of information.

Being part of groups help you find treasure bags, you didnt even know about. Join the project management community where ever possible and of course keep a track of them. Jot the links in a notepad or word document and once in a while go browse.

Here's what I found from the linkedin group today:

Now, you know why you should join groups!

If you are not giving certifications yet and just trying to figure out what the PM stuff is all about, this is a good chance for you to try them out and see. You will get an idea at least.

Why wait? Browse the site and thank the author.

Prepare for PMI certifications with slides

If you are getting ready for your certifications, I thought this slideshow is amazing and will help you out. You can either view the slides or even take a print out and have it by your desk.

CAPM- the exam

I'll get straight to the exam discussion.

You get 15 minutes on your computer to get used to the exam software, if you are already aware you may "end" the session and start the exam directly. I took my 15 minutes to get accustomed to the environment and be more comfortable.

The exam has 150 questions, out of which 15 are for future tests and will not be scored. All you have to do is answer 135 questions in 3 hours. The time limit is not a problem, it's ample time to think, rethink and choose the answer. Questions are all mutiple choice. You also get a calculator on your screen for calculations.

Once you complete your exam, you get to know if you passed or failed along with an analysis sheet which shows the 9 zones you have been tested for and how you flaired in them. It doesn't provide you with any score or percentage to take back home. You either get it or you don't.

The questions tests different arenas -
  • Definitions
  • The input and outputs of terms like say "schedule network diagram"- this tends to get a little confusing and you have to be very sure since 2 choices will look similar and correct. This is the major part of the exam.
  • Analysis of situations and the action which you will take based on your leadership skills
  • Calculations - Formula based and are not too detailed.
  • Difference between terminologies

How you can make your study error-proof: I thought I was smart enough to read the PMBOK and get through the exam. So, the exam prooved- I'm not.

If you have worked in project management for years and have been part of all the process executions, you can perhaps get through the exam by just reading the PMBOK. It wasn't true for me, first, I haven't been in this arena for long enough to gain experience in all the processes. Second, I haven't seen half of them being implemented. So, my idea is based on the theoritical aspect by reading of the book.

I think one flaw I had in my preparation is while studying is that we tend to develop a pattern for it and rarely try other things. So, while I was sure I was studying it the right way and had my hand written flash cards to help me I wasn't perhaps thinking about breaking the pattern. Thats what got me.

I have to be honest and tell all of you who would like to prepare for the exam that I was confident giving the exam and though I was very close to getting it, the truth is I didnt. However, that should not deter anyone , use the process of elimination to figure out your answer and read well. Using prep materials is good, since it guides you on the your thinking process and I will be using it for my next attempt.

I remember looking at my computer screen for my result and not being able to read the entire paragraph. I read that I didn't make it and all I could think was waking up everyday at 5.30 to study and that I had to do it again. It's hard taking the load at work and coming back home late and studying.

The entire process has taught me something more worthwhile, the credentials are hard to get and I have tremendous respect for all who have made it.

CAPM- I didnt make it

I didn't make it.
As much as i'm dissapointed, I'm glad I took the exam (CAPM). Here are few things I thought everyone should know to avoid the disaster:
  • Read between the lines of the PMBOK book
  • You should know the inputs and outputs of all processes and terminologies.
  • You do get some basic calculations (I got 5 of them), read your formulas
  • Questions come from all processes.
  • When you think you are ready for the exam, give yourself a month more.
  • Try taking the test through softwares available in the market and prep materials (I didn't do it), it will help

Thats all for now, CAPM exam analysis and more will be coming up soon. Thanks for all your support, emails and encouragement.

CAPM and Life Thereafter

The Ambition
If you need reasons why you need to qualify the exam, take your pick:
*People (read team, your boss and future employers) will take you seriously and your ambition to become a PM
*Talk about getting the right opportunity
*You will be motivated to reach out for the next goal, no matter how tough it seems
*Career gets a boost
*You look forward to advance your stand as project management subject matter expert.
*A tad bit easier to get into entry level project management job profile.

The Preparation
You register for the exam through PMI and you get hold of the PMBOK. Is that enough? Ok, so now you start reading blogs, you are well informed but you have to get through the exam.

Tricks anyone?
*You have to think very clearly, so keep your mind fresh and ready.
* The questions are not as simple as they look. There will be a trick word or underlying meaning which affects the answers. Look out for the words.
*Out of the 4 multiple choice answers, chances are 2 will be wrong. The other 2 will be almost the same; the decision you make will have to be exclusively by re-reading the question (based on 1-2 words in the question).
*Understand the concepts and why a process is executed.
*The roles of the individuals and how it affects the projects

Don’t assume you will get the PMBOK right in your first reading, you won’t. Read the book without understanding the details. Once you have finished with your first reading, try it again- more you read better you understand the picture.

Reading the PMBOK is essential no matter what other books or prep materials you follow. Try starting as early as possible. Divide your time, to read through the material at your pace, re-read it and understand. Then take a break to think over the concepts. Resume with the reading of the book and the prep materials. If you know peers who have appeared for the exam it’s a great help. Unfortunately, I am not lucky here and relying more on my guts.

The Thereafter
Ok you have guessed it- I haven’t seen the thereafter.
Remember, my exam’s on September 15! How confident am I? Not much actually I’m completely blank at this point. I don’t want to take the pressure to pass the exam. Do I want to? Desperately. I have never taken an exam so publicly in my life as this one, my results will be somehow part of the blog for the entire world to read and of course my team at work will know it as well. Embarrassing I say (if I don't make it).

Never mind is what I say to myself- its part of the journey. Whether I get it or not the fact that I took up the challenge is a boost enough. I’ll get it.

To all dreamy eyed to-be PM’s- don’t give up your dream and there’s no shame in pursuing it. Take up the challenge and once you are in it and part of it- you will get it.

(Picture: Google Images)