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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Project Management for Development Professionals

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®

PMI Schedueling Professional (PMI-SP)®

The Added Value of Certifications

Scrum & Personal Professional Development

PMI Schedueling Professional (PMI-SP)®

I am glad to announce that I passed the PMI-SP® exam on April 16, 2018 from the first attempt with Above Target score and I would like to share with you my  adventure as it might be helpful for new apirants who are preparing to sit for the exam. 

How did I study ? 

1- Study Time: 2 - 4 hours daily (6 Days a week) for 5 Weeks. 
2- References:

  • PMBOK 5th Edition - Detailed and in depth study of the Time Management Knowledge Area in addition to reading through the Scope, Risk, Communication & Stakeholder Management Knowledge Areas.
  • Practice Standard for Schedueling (Second Edition) - Very Important especially chapters 2 & 3. 
  • Exam Outline Domains & Tasks - Very Important 

3- Simulation Exams: Very minimal simulation exams. The aren't much resources available for simulation exams.

How was the Exam ? 

I can only discuss the exam in general without going into details or specifics as it is against the Code of Ethics: 


1- The Exam was tough, not easy at all. 

2- Not too many lengthy questions. Most questions are 2 - 3 lines but the answers are not straight forward. It does test your depth of understanding for the schedueling process and many other processes outside of the scheduling knowledge management area. 

3- The exam definitely tests your knowledge and experience beyond any textbook. 


4- I finished the exam in 3:20 Hrs and I was reasonably fast between reading, analyzing and answering. I had 10 minutes left to review some questions.

What is my advise ? 

Study very well and make sure you understand every single aspect properly and how to do it in real life and in what exact sequence - The sequence is important and how you and what you update in case of changes is very important too. If you are experienced, you should rely 60% on your studying and 40% on your expertise in applying those skills in real life and the EXAM. 

What is my Point of View ? 

Just like the RMP, finding the exam to be difficult is a positive thing that PMI made the exam that way so that it can maintain the value of this certification and only people who really deserve it and have the required skill level can earn it. I believe this is a plus for everyone who is certified as when you mention you are a PMI-SP certified, people will react "Oh Wow, Great" which makes you feel proud and feel the value of this certification if compared to people saying : "Oh everyone can get it, it is easy".


I am glad to have finally earned this certification and join the very elite global group of 1,800 certified schedueling professionals. I wish all the best of luck to all future candidates.

Always Remember: Such Adventures are definitely worth taking ! 

Posted on: April 17, 2018 12:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (50)

The Added Value of Certifications

Over the years, I've heard so many opinions and read so many articles about what people think of certifications so I thought it is about time to share how the different certifications / designations added value to my Professional Development & Career:

Project Management Professional (PMP)

No matter how many years of exeprience we have, there is always more to learn so getting my PMP helped me get in-depth knowledge of all project management processes, tool and techniques in addition to opening my eyes on how to better manage some critical Knowledge Areas / Processes, specially Effective & Efficient Communication & Stakeholder Engagement. 

Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)

After several years working in the Project Management field and performing different levels of Risk Analysis on almost every project, you will be surprised to hear that getting this certification opened my eyes to so many aspects of the Risk Management and made me realize that there are certain things I can do in a different and better way. 

Green Project Manager (GPM-b)

Many countries are adopting green and sustainability initiatives to protect the environment and the world as a whole. Being in the Real Estate Development Industry, I worked for many years on some sustainability initiatives on many projects. Getting the GPM-b reinforced my knowledge about sustainability and how to apply it in Project Management which enhanced my approach on how to incorporate those initiatives on our projects. 

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt (LSSYB)

Being in the Construction Industry, going Lean in many cases when possible could be the right and only right thing to do. The LSSYB Journey enhanced my knowledge about Lean and how to apply it to different parts of any project or even in the office.

Professional Scrum Master (PSM I & II), Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS)

Although I do have experience in those areas and they might not be highly applicable to construction projects but going through this journey enhanced my knowledge and experience in how Inspection, Adaption and Delivering Incrementally helps reduce waste or errors and keep your product up to date and competitive within the market. Besides other areas when I use Scrum, I actually started applying the Scrum on some parts of our Real Estate Development projects to tell how well it would work and/or add value - You will be surprised, but the results were amazing. I might share this experience in details on another post or article. 

The added value of knowledge combined with my background in Structural Engineering and experience helped shape my career path in a great way. Moreover,  being certified boosted my career advancement because as you can see, all of the certifications that I pursued are very much related to my field of expertise and career path. 

Whenever I seek to evaluate any certification, I ask myself three questions:

  • Is this certification or designation related to my career ?
  • How will this certification add value to knowledge ? 
  • How will this certification add value to my career path ? 

Cetifications are not about adding letters after your name but it is about knowledge and personal / professional development so if you have the experience and knowledge then what is stopping you from getting certified. If anything, it will for sure add to your knowledge and make you stand out in this competitive market. Project Management is one of the most competitive jobs in the market. 

What is next for me & Why ? 

Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP): Having more than 10 Years of experience in Estimating, Scheduling & Planning, it would be great to reinforce this knowledge & experience with a certification from a highly reputable organization like PMI. 

Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP):  Being involved in Agile on so many levels n projects recently and having more than 4 Years of experience, I trust that pursuing this certification will enhance and boost my knowledge in terms of how to appy agile concepts in projects. 

Good Luck to All New Aspirants & New Practitioners ! 

Posted on: March 26, 2018 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Scrum & Personal Professional Development

As much as it might sound odd, but I actually find a connection between Scrum & Personal Professional Development:

I always treat Personal Professional Development as a continious Product that is divided into phases where each phase has its own achievements "Increments".

That being said, it is always healthy to run your own personal "Sprint Reterospective" to Inspect your Achievements "Releasable Increment", Compare them to your original Plans "Sprint Backlog" and Adapt as necessary. 

If your progress is going on as planned then you carry on with your next goal "Sprint". If not, then you re-add what was not achieved to your plan "Product Backlog" and re-order your priorities in terms of professional development and plans your next goal "Sprint Planning"

The only difference is with the scrum team itself as you are the whole Self-Organizing & Cross-Functional Team taking the role of Scrum Master, Product Owner & Development Team:

  1. You are the Product Owner who maximizes the value of his professional development by checking what best serves his career, where the market is trending and what employers look for.
  2. You are the Scrum Master who ensures that you are conducting your recaps as necessary and in timely manner. 
  3. You are the Development Team who works hard on studying to achieve the goal as planned. 

How much does this make sense to you ? Can you see the relationship ? 

Scrum On Everyone ! 

Posted on: March 25, 2018 05:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Closed Book - Open Stress Exams

 

Do you believe that closed book exams where you have to go to a center to sit for the exam is the best way to offer and run certification exams ? 

I personally think that it is not practical at all especially that we are now in a era of advanced  technology.

Why Closed Book ? 

In real life, if you encounter an issue or you forgot something, you can google it and/or refer to your library for seeking information. How is this any different for an exam that is based on your experience in a certain domain ? Why does it need to be a closed book ? 

If the exam is experience based, then I suspect that no matter how many references the candidate has open in front of him / her, they won't be able to complete the exam within the given time frame if they do not deeply understand the material and have solid experience in that domain. 

Why the Stress ? 

The stress of taking a day off, reaching to a testing center, get checked as if you are crossing boarders has a negative impact in so many ways. 

Does the Closed Book / In-Person Strategy add credibility to the certification ? 

It might but in my humble opinion it will be very minimal. The credibility of a certificate stems from:

  •     Strict Application Pre-requisites & Audits. 
  •     Education required for Renewal.
  •     Exam Difficulty & Passing Mark.
  •     Exam Fees (In a sense that if fees are high, you wil need to study hard enough to make sure you do not fail)

What made initiate this blog is that yesterday, I sat for my PSM II Exam. It was an online exam (30 Questions - 1.5 Hours) and I passed but I assure you that I barely had enough time to finish the exam and did not have any chance to open any reference book as even if I did, it won't be of any added value if I did not understand the material in depth and had experience in that domain. 

People might say, 30 Questions in 1.5 Hours is veru reasonable. Well, let me tell you something: You can't take the number of questions as a measure for time when you get a question with 4 or 5 choices and you need to analyze each choice in details in order to conclude the best answer - The questions were much more difficult and tough than most of the exams I've ever written as it tested my knowledge & experience beyond any text book. On the other hand, I had the luxury to do the exam on a weekend out of my own place and in my own comfort zone which makes a big difference. 

When the exam is mostly experience based, what would you prefer: 

Closed Book - In Person 200 Questions Exam 

OR 

Online Test with X Number of Question that truly tests your knowledge depth and experience ? 

Many highly reputable organization like scrum.org offer online exams & I think PMI too are heading towards that direction in terms of giving candidates the option of sitting for the proctored exams online from home (With certain rules and regulations). They implemented this on for the CAPM Exam which was a great initiative. 

What is your opinion on this ? 

Posted on: March 19, 2018 07:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (28)

PM Community & Networking

This project management community has proven to be a great community in many ways, not only education & knowledge sharing wise but also in terms of Networking. 

I've met so many people in person through this community, I interacted with a lot virtually and learned a lot from others. One good recent example is the "Haiku for Project Managers" by Robert Prol.

Robert took project management to another level by defining "The Big Picture" in a few words that are full of deep meanings, rich in experience and in many cases are full of humor. This unique balance between all the latter is great. I did not know what Haiku's were until Robert introduced this form of poetry to me. By time, I became a big fan of his Haiku and he in fact guided me how to write them. 

Robert published his first book recently "Haiku for Project Managers" and included words of praise from some of his colleagues in this community on the rear cover page and it was my pleasure to be one of those contributors. 

This is an example of what makes this community a great one. You contribute, you help, you learn, you network, you meet people, they motive you and you motivate them.

Thanks for your efforts Robert and congratulations for your new book. 

Always Remember: You won't understand the abashed power of a community until you're a part of one. 

 

 

Posted on: December 05, 2016 12:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
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