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)®

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 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)

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)
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"More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

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