Project Management

Taking the Plunge

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In case you actually read this description, the beginning of the blog is about preparing for the PMP exam. It then evolved into maintaining my credential. After taking a break for a few years, I'm back and will be blogging about project management, in general, and probably a bit of agile on a regular basis.

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Categories: Exam Prep, PDU, PMP

I've started a new blog on my own site:

(no longer active)

I'll be posting about life in general and project management themes, including events related to my new role as VP of Education in the PMI Northern Utah Chapter, on my new site.  I'll still post about things PDU related here but, if you haven't noticed, it is slowing down.  I'm a little over half way through my certification renewal cycle and have about 5 PDUs to go, which I will get on the Professional Development Day in October.  If I should happen to miss the PDD, for some reason, I'll be getting 5 just for doing my job this year, and a few for volunteering in my local chapter.

My next step is to figure out how to get 20 PDUs next year that I can roll over into the following renewal cycle.

I haven't asked about it yet, but I just realized that I should check to see if I will be able to claim PDUs for the book I am co-authoring.  I am only contributing a couple of chapters, but it is still exciting to get published.  You can expect to hear about it from me and other Ganttheads, soon.

Once the book is published, it will be time to get back to work on my own book. 

Back to my new role.  I am brainstorming ideas for service opportunities for voulnteers in the chapter.  I am thinking about a couple of different programs.  One is a mentoring program (one to one), where non-PMPs are assigned a PMP to help them prepare for the exam.  The other is for PMPs to lead study groups (one to many) to help non-PMPs prepare for the exam.  What do you think?  Feedback is appreciated.

Posted on: August 02, 2010 03:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Five Bucks a PDU,What?

Categories: Exam Prep, PDU, PMP

I was reminded of a good reason to participate in local PMI chapters today - sometimes they have relationships with training companies that have great offers.

I'm going to hold to my practice of not giving free advertising, but I will give the URL and name of the provider to anyone who sends me a message.  I will also tell you that the company is an REP with PMI, and here are the online PDU courses they currently offer:

* Ethics in Business and Life
* The Work Breakdown Structure
* Team Leadership
* Increasing Personal Productivity

Sure, 3 of the 4 don't scream Project Management, but they really do relate, and they are $5 PDUs.  Unless you can be selective or can't handle one more course on Ethics (I had to take 3 between my BS and MBA), they all cover material beneficial to current and future PMPs.

Once you purchase a course you have 90 days to complete it. I went ahead and purchased all 4. Even if I only spend 2 hours a week on the classes I will be done in plenty of time.

My account has not been set up yet, so I can't tell you what I think about the training.  However, I confirmed with the vendor that the pricing is their new, permanent pricing, so if you're not in a hurry I'll be posting my opinion about the training as I work through it.

Posted on: January 27, 2010 10:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Maintaining My Credential - Planning Ahead

Categories: Exam Prep, PDU, PMP

It's almost ironic.  I work for a smaller company than I have in years, and they have more commitment to my personal and professional development than any corporate entity I have worked for.  My last employer only talked about what my new employer is doing.

What am I talking about?  In this case, I am talking about sending me to the Professional Development Day for our local PMI chapter, coming up in September.  Here come a few more PDUs!

Okay, that is the wrong attitude.  It will also be a great opportunity to possibly learn something new and network with other PM professionals in the area - believe it or not, contributing to the profession is important to me.  I feel like I have to mention the PDUs here because that is what I am blogging about.  After the event, I will post some info about the experience.

As I sit here thinking about ways to plan how I am going to obtain 50 more PDUs in the next 2 1/2 years, I am looking at an ad for the Microsoft Project Conference 2009.  A free copy of Project Professional 2010, free certification testing, and 32.25 PDUs is really tempting, but if you are like me, you don't have the budget.  Honestly, if I had worked where I work now, last year, I could have requested funding for this event for me and a couple of my teammates, and gotten approval. (I wouldn't mention the ad, except it is here, on GanttHead.)

No, I am not a sponsor for the conference.  This does lead to my point about planning ahead.  Pay attention to conferences and seminars that are next year, or the year after.  Plant the seed with your boss now.  My real intent in talking about planning ahead, though, is to encourage deliberate planning of what you will do, each year, to maintain your credential.

With what is left of 2009 I will be attending 3 more 1 PDU webinars (already scheduled) that I found through my local PMI chapter's website, and at least one 1 PDU webinar offered here on GanttHead - I just received an email re: a project portfolio management webinar and know what I will be doing after I post this blog...  That gives me 6 so far, this year.  I'm still bummed that I lost out on the opportunity to earn at least 20 PDUs, for free with a time commitment, this year because we moved, and more in subsequent years, but you can't plan for everything.  Whew.  That was a mouthful.

I need to doublecheck, but I think the Professional Development Day will give me another 8 PDUs, and I am sure to pick up a couple more 1 PDU webinars and another local chapter luncheon (they seem to do them quarterly, here), so that will be at least 17 PDUs my first year.  On a side note, if you care, make sure that any webinars you take are from registered education providers (REPs).  That way you don't waste your self directed learning PDUs.

I believe that I have mentioned, before, that I don't like to give free advertising to companies and promote their products.  With that in mind, I am going to mention a company's product, but not the company name.  If you want the name, send me an email and I will send you the company name and website.

I plan on almost doubling the amount of PDUs I have mentioned, so far, just by watching some videos.  I have purchased, ON SALE, video training for Project Management and MS Project - 1 set for each topic.  I need to doublecheck, but I am fairly certain that I can meet my 15 PDU quota for self directed learning with these 2 sets.  It won't be all fun and games, though.  I also need to takes notes and record the dates (and I think hours) that I view the training.  A small price to pay, but that puts me over 30 PDUs my first year.  Remember, if you email me for the company name, ONLY BUY THEIR VIDEOS ON SALE.  They go on sale often, even though the sales people won't tell you that.  Yes, I found out the hard way, with the expensive training.

But wait, there's more...

Because I spent a few months out of work, I will be cutting it close, but if I put in some overtime I am pretty sure I can hit the 1500 hours of PM experience that I will need to claim 5 more PDUs, this year.  That will put me at 35+ for the first year, and then 10 more over the next 2 years (total 45+), leaving me with only 15 PDUs left to plan.  I figure there will be at least 8 more 1 PDU luncheons over the next 2 years, but there is no guarantee I will be able to make all of them.  There will also likely be 2 more 8 PDU professional development days.  If I can get approval for them, I'll be set.

Of course, I will be sure to squeeze in a few more 1 PDU webinars, from REPs.  I also hope to publish an article, or two.  I am going to wait until year three to publish, though.  I am involved with a couple of unique projects that could prove interesting to write about, and worth reading.  I will need time to research and organize my thoughts.  More importantly, I want to make sure that I pass the 60 PDU mark during my third year so that I can roll over the extra PDUs.

This is another reason I am completing the self directed learning PDUs my first year - I don't think they can roll over.  But you can roll over up to 20 PDUs, of certain kinds as identified in the PMP handbook.  If I can get 80 PDUs and roll over 20 of them, I'll only need 40 new PDUs during the next 3 year cycle, although I'll probably try for 50-60 so that I can roll 10-20 over, next time.

You see, I am not just planning ahead for this 3 year cycle.  I could take the approach of "work hard this cycle and then take it easy the next cycle," but I have a limited training budget for training classes and can't keep buying training videos every three years.  Once I start writing, I hope to get published more than once every two years, but there is no guarantee that it will be easy to get more than 40 in coming years - too much depends on external factors, like employers having the funds to send me to conferences.  

I think that, in addition to getting published regularly, I am going to work on getting myself into the position where I can teach PM classes, again.  I am currently a COMPTIA Certified Classroom Trainer (CTT+).  If I can pass the Microsoft Project exam(s) I can qualify to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer.  With my MBA, PMP, and PM experience, I am also qualified to teach as an adjunct professor at several technical schools, both brick-and-mortar, and online.

To be honest, I have been planning ahead to maintain my credential for several years.  The 1 PDU webinars and conferences are great ways to get PDUs, but it is the teaching and publishing that will be my long term source for maintaining my credential.

My point?  When you think ahead about maintaining your credential, don't just think about the next three years.  Think about how you are going to contribute to the profession over the course of your career.  Things that you want to do simply because you enjoy them could end up earning you a significant amount of PDUs.

Good luck in your efforts, and feel free to leave comments regarding how you maintain your credential and contribute to the profession.
Posted on: August 15, 2009 01:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Follow Up

Categories: Exam Prep, PMP

Instead of starting another blog discussing the differences in the results of my job search both before and after achieving PMP status, I have started a blog on another site that focuses on job hunting irrespective of profession.  I may still write about my efforts to maintain my credential, but I thought I would add one last discussion to this post about the impact of the PMP on my job search.

A friend recently asked me if, given the current state of the economy and job market, getting the PMP was worth it.  My response was that if he intends to look for a job as a PM, the majority of the people he would be competing with would either be PMPs or preparing for the exam, making it worth it now more than ever.

The PMP credential is not the only factor, though.

While I was preparing for the exam I had the opportunity to meet with one of the principal's of a consulting firm.  Based on our discussion and my resume I was asked to meet with one of the other principal's and from there met with the lead PM on a project they were hiring another PM for.  If California had been able to get its budget worked out I would have had a new job.  The PMP was a factor, even though I did not have it yet, but it wasn't what would have gotten me hired.

A month after passing the exam the company I was working went through a few rounds of layoffs.  The PMP did not save me.  One of my co-workers, who did not have his PMP, was not laid off, but my boss and her boss both knew I was looking for a new job and better pay which influenced their decision to let me go.  It didn't make sense to keep me and let my co-worker go if I was going to be leaving the company, soon, anway.

It wasn't long after that when I was contacted by a recruiter and began interviewing for a contract-to-hire position.  It was the combination of the PMP, education, and experience that got the recruiters attention, initially.  Having a friend at the company helped, too.  I don't like blowing my own horn, but in both circumstances it was connecting with the interviewers and having good interviews that made the difference.

I would have had the second job, but my wife and I decided to relocate.  I have since been hired as a PM, and the PMP is probably one of the factors that got me the initial interview, but the PMP by itself wasn't enough.

So, back to my original point - the PMP can help get you in the door, but the rest is up to you.

My final advice:  get your PMP, understand project management (that can be 2 different things), understand the industry you want to work in, demonstrate that you are able to work well with and relate to others, and get any other education and experience you need.  Doing this will help you both get a job as a PM and grow in your profession.

Good luck!

Posted on: July 30, 2009 10:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Week 26 - Post Exam Update

Categories: Exam Prep, PMP

It's almost anti-climactic, but I passed!!!

I think I must have smiled for at least 10 minutes straight after getting the results.  My face still hurts, a little.

Next on my list is a well-deserved vacation and spending time with my family.

Time to wrap up this blog.  I have a couple of different ideas for what to do next.  The top 2 I am debating on are 1) maintaining the credential, and 2) job hunting, with some discussion about the differences in the result in my searching both before and after achieving PMP status.

Thanks for following my journey.  I hope it helps you on yours.

Happy Holidays!
Posted on: December 22, 2008 04:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
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