The Big Time

by
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.

About this Blog

RSS

Recent Posts

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)®

Agile Project Management (AgilePM®)

Happy New Year 2019

Networking & Building Relationships

Project Management for Development Professionals

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)®

I am glad to announce that I passed the PMI-PBA Exam on March 23, 2019 with Above Target rating. It was a journey full of challenges and knowledge gain which finally paid off with a huge success. 

STUDY PLAN

PMI Resources: PMI Guide to Business Analysis & Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide. Those two resources are more than enough. I did not have much guidance as to how to approach the exam so I went through the Practitioner Guide first then went through the PMI Guide which confused me a lot so the First Lesson Learned is to go through the PMI Guide first then fill in the blanks by referring to the Practitioners Guide. Those two resources are more than enough. 

Exam Content Outline: Very Important to go through it in details as it might help you get some clues in the exam. 

PBA Course: I purchased a course on Udemy by John Sipin and it was great. Upon completion of the course and all assignments, they sent me a CoC and I was able to claim 35 Educational PDU's. 

PMI Application: This is my fifth certificate with PMI and it was the first time I get randomly audited but, guess what, I was already prepared so I mailed all required documents to PMI the next day and then 3 days later, I contacted PMI to check if the package was received which they confirmed it was and shortly after they approved my application. The staff was very friendly and accommodating so the Second Lesson Learned is not to worry about the audit if you have all your documentation in order as per your submitted application. 

Study Time: It took me a bit less than a month to study and go through some simulation exams. One month might seem light but I used to study 4 hours a day and 6 hours on weekends in addition to that to took the last week off work to study extensively so it was more of a Bootcamp Personal Plan. At a normal pace, I would say 2 - 3 months (2 - 4 Hours / Day) should be enough considering you are already a PMP & ACP (Both helps a lot). 

Simulation Exams: One great resource for simulation exams was iZenbridge. They have a great questions bank and although the exam questions are very different, still, iZenbridge's simulation exams provides you with great ideas and explanations. It is worth also noting that their fees were reasonable as well (It was about $99 USD for 2 months access). I heard from others about another good resource for simulation exams which is Watermark Learning but I personally never used it. 

EXAM EXPERIENCE

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

Level of Difficulty: The level of difficulty could be easily comparable with PMP. Out of the 5 exams I took with PMI, this was the most challenging after the PMP. Although the exam was very tough but PMI did a great job putting this pool of questions together.

Exam Questions (General): All the exam questions were scenario based  some of which were short, others were very lengthy (At least 50%). Even the shortest 1 line questions were not straight forward.

Exam Depth: The exam tests your understanding of Business Analysis very deeply beyond any text book. You need to ensure you fully understand all principles, processes, models and so on. Third Lesson Learned: Do not spend time memorizing things but make sure you fully understand everything. 

Exam Language: The language of the questions and answers was not easy at all. You might end up reading the question and answers 3 times. I am fluent in English and yet, I recall having to read lots of questions 3 times so the Fourth Lesson Learned: Read all questions and answers very thoroughly. 

Exam Time: I thought my ACP exam experience in terms of timing was the most challenging but it turned out not, compared to the PBA. It is literally the first time I completely run out of time. I finished the last question 1 minute before the end of the 4 hours and did not have time to review any marked questions so the Fifth Lesson Learned is to Watch your time - Some would think that 4 Hours is a lot but trust me, it is not. Make sure you target around 50 Questions per hour.

Elimination Strategy: You will find it easy to eliminate two answers but very difficult to chose between the remaining two. You need to deeply think of every word in the questions and answers to properly get to a conclusion in terms of which choice is the best. 

Good Luck to all future Aspirants !

Posted on: March 24, 2019 10:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (39)

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 (12)

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)
ADVERTISEMENTS

"All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income."

- Samuel Butler

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors