The Big Time

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Managing any project successfully is all about Team Work combined with years of Accrued Expertise. It is an asset to have an educational background that compliments your field of expertise but "education" without "experience" is like an "arrow" without a "bow." You can never make a perfect shot with a temporary arrow unless you have a permanent bow called: "Life's Experience." Remember, you can never teach experience but you can always teach from experience.

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Agile Project Management (AgilePM®)

Happy New Year 2019

Networking & Building Relationships

Project Management for Development Professionals

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®

Agile Project Management (AgilePM®)

 

First Professional Development Achievement in 2019 - and it's just the start !

I am re-writing this blog because I made a spontaneous decision right after obtaining my AgilePM Foundation certificate to sit for the Practitioners Level exam and I passed the exam so I thought of sharing my experience in one combined blog hoping that it will help others who are thinking about sitting for the exam.

My spontaneous decision probably stemmed from confidence in my experience and Agile knowledge. 

My interest in the DSDM Framework came from the fact that it works best alongside the traditional approach in construction projects because it is a complete framework that looks at the whole lifecycle of the project rather than just the iterative development part. The combination of both under Traditional-DSDM Hybrid Model works very well ! 

Those certifications are offered by the Agile Business Consortium and the exam is administered by APMG International. The DSDM AgilePM handbook is very well detailed and written in a very comprehensive manner.  

AgilePM Foundation Exam

  • Purely Knowledge-based 
  • Closed book
  • Online proctored exam.
  • You get 50 Multiple Choice questions that you have to complete within a 40 Min time frame
  • Exam Fees are around $260 USD
  • References: DSDM Handbook 2014 & APMG Sample Exam

AgilePM Practitioner Exam

  • Purely scenario-based 
  • Open book but you are only allowed to use the DSDM Handbook
  • Online proctored exam.
  • You get 80 Multiple Choice questions that you have to complete within a 2 Hrs 40 Min:
    • The exam is unique as you get a full project scenario on the first page that you will use to answer all 80 questions.
    • Questions are divided into 4 Sections, with 20 Questions per section.
    • Each section tests you understanding and experience in the application of certain parts of Agile & DSDM. 
    • In each section, they add more events to the original scenario so it builds up.  
  • The exam was tough. It is comparable in difficulty to PMI exams. 
  • Exam Fees are around $380 USD
  • References: DSDM Handbook 2014 & APMG Sample Exam

The practitioners exam is a good example of an online, open book, proctored test that tests your knowledge & experience beyond any handbook. I did not even need or have time to open the handbook because to answer every question you have to tie many loose ends from different chapters and sections to resolve a problem or handle an issue so even though you are allowed to use the book, do not take the exam lightly or count on the fact that it is an open book. 

General Facts

A few facts about this journey: 

  • It was my first experience doing a proctored test from home and it was a great experience - Less pressure for sure. 
  • The exams were pricey but definitely worth it. It is a very reputable certification. 
  • Upon passing any exams offered by the Agile Business Consortium, you will receive one year free membership but it is limited once per person per lifetime. 
  • I did not buy the exams directly from APMG. Instead, I bought a training (Which covers the exam fees) from Cupe International. Great organization and great customer service. 
  • I can't disclose any exam details for confidentiality reasons but funny enough, the project scenario I got in the exam was a Construction Project and my expertise is in the construction industry. I am not sure if it was intentional but either way, I thought it is a funny coincidence to disclose. 

 

Good Luck to all New Aspirants ! 

Posted on: February 13, 2019 04:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Happy New Year 2019

In this special occasion, I would like to wish you and your families Happy New Year 2019 in advance. May 2019 and all the coming years be full of Happiness, Health and Success to you and your loved ones. 

Another year passed while being part of this great community. It was full of challenges, learning opportunities and contributions just like the previous years but this year was full of success and achievements as well.

I look forward for another year full of Giving, Learning, achieving and Building Relationships. 

Happy Holidays Everyone ! 

Posted on: December 18, 2018 07:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

Networking & Building Relationships

Recently, I've seen so many discussions about how increasing your network adds value. Some think its a waste of time, others see it the other way around. In this blog, I will be sharing my personal experience and point of view.

Increasing your Network Connection base is very beneficial in so many ways so for those who are wondering what the purpose is or what's the added value, I would like to give you a brief of how I personally found it useful: 

  1. Mentoring / Assistance: In many cases, I connect with people and they send me a thank you message for connecting with them and say that they are new on this platform and wonder how they can start on so I help them out get started here. Some people feel shy or not comfortable taking a first step so why not we take the first step. 
  2. Enhancing the Community Engagement: Item 1, leads to enhanced member engagement within this community as soon as they get their head around it and understand how much of an amazing platform and community it is. I feel that everyone of us should have a sense of ownership towards this community.
  3. Connecting on other Platforms: In many occasions when I connect with people here, they send me a thank you message and tell me that they are not very active here and ask to connect on LinkedIn and share expertise. I did benefit a lot from so many people.
  4. Connecting in Person: In many occasions, I connected with people on person via connecting through this platform and some of them (To be specific 2), we became friends although they are not very active here. 


In summary, Networking has so many advantages of which one of them is Building Relationships. You just need to look at the positive side of things and look whats beyond that number. I am not saying I am connecting with all my connections but I certainly connected with a decent number of people. (If you connect closely with 500 people out of the 100,000, this is a great achievement - This maybe a small percentage but it is certainly a big number). 

For me, it is not about adding connections to show off the number. It is about the whole package of me being a member of this community, leading by example, contributing, helping, connecting, learning and the list goes on.

Thank you for everyone who gave me the honor to connect with them. There are lots of great people out there, so connect with people and start building relationships. 

Network and let your Relationship Ship Sail towards Building Relations ! 

Posted on: December 13, 2018 05:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (29)

Project Management for Development Professionals

A while ago, through a colleague of mine, I came across some very interesting certifications that are somehow specific to Project Management for Development Projects. I thought of sharing this with the community as it can add value especially for those who are considering working with NGO's in the future on projects in developing countries or those who would like to gain knowledge about what is unique about managing Development Projects. I personally found some interesting areas such as:

  1. Project Justification Management 
  2. Project Closure or Transition 
  3. How development projects look beyond the outputs of a project moving to the outcomes and then long terms goal. 
  4. The use of some agile concepts blended with the traditional project management approach.

You can find info about those certifications at PM4NGOS - Those certifications are administered through APMG International

There are currently three certifications offered: 

  • Program Management for Development Professionals (PgMD Pro 1) 
  • Project Management for Development Professionals (PMD Pro 1) 
  • Project Management for Development Professionals (PMD Pro 2) 

Some quick tips and facts to consider: 

  1. You can do the exams online - Each exam is 75 Multiple Choice Questions and you have 3 Hours to complete the exam. 
  2. Those certifications do not expire. 
  3. No course is required. Just like the scrum.org, there is a study guide and you can do self-study. The exams are not easy especially the level 2 exams. 
  4. Exams fees are very reasonable.

I connected with PMI with regards to those certifications and they were added to pm.com certification list under APMG International so if you go to Edit Profile then Certifications, you will see those listed there. 

It would be great to see your feedback and thoughts - Good Luck to all Aspirants ! 

 

Posted on: July 24, 2018 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (27)

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®

 

I am glad to announce that I passed the PMI-ACP Exam with Above Target rating. It was an interesting journey and very different than any of the other certifications. I thought to share my journey so that future aspirants can benefit from it. 

Study Plan

  • ACP Exam Prep Book by Mike Griffiths: Excellent reference that will help you fully understand every single detail related to the exam and agile projects. I consider this like the PMBOK, a great reference for Agile so I am positive I will always refer to it in the future. 
  • Agile Practice Guide by PMI: Not very detailed but contains some good information about process tailoring, pain points and their trouble shooting, flow based vs. iteration based agile. 
  • Exam Content Outline: Very Important to go through it in details as it might help you get some clues in the exam. 

Personally, I believe Mike's book is a must to pass the exam. Read Mike's book twice, the agile guide as well and highlight the most important items in addition to the exam outline. 

  • Simulation Exams: Solved simulation exams (Whizlab, PM Prepcast & RMC Fast Track). They were all helpful but the exam is way different so do not rely on those simulation exams. They might help you though with eliminating some wrong answers. 

Exam Experience

I am going to talk about my personal exam experience (Without going into details or specific questions):

  • The level of difficulty could be easily comparable with PMP, if not more difficult. Although the exam was very tough but PMI did a great job putting this pool of questions together. 
  • You do not need to memorize anything at all. All the exam was scenario based questions some of which are short, others were very lengthy (At least 40%). Forget about memorizing - Some might find it hard to believe but it is the truth. 
  • The exam tests your understanding of agile very deeply beyond any text book. You need to ensure you fully understand agile and have an agile mindset. 
  • The language of the questions and answers is not easy at all. You might end up reading the question and answers 3 times. 
  • It is the first time I almost run out of time. I finished the last question 10 minutes before the end of the 3 hours and then went and reviewed some of the questions I marked but could not go through all of them again. Watch your time - Some would think that 3 Hours for 120 Questions is a lot but trust me, it is not. 
  • You will find it easy to eliminate two answers but very difficult to chose between the remaining two. You need to deeply think and adopt the agile mindset to properly get to a conclusion in terms of which choice is the best. 

Good Luck to all future Aspirants ! 

Posted on: July 10, 2018 02:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (51)
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