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

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 (49)

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)
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