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:
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 !
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:
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
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 ?
I am proud to share with you another recent accomplishment. I passed my Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS) Certification with a score of 95%.
I would like to share my journey towards achieving the SPS:
1- Read the Nexus & Scrum Guides and understood everything in details.
2- Read a lot of additional documents and case studies.
3- Completed some simulation exams such as Open Scrum & Open Nexus which are available for free on the scrum.org website.
1- The exam is 1 Hour and consists of 40 Multiple Choice Questions.
2- It tests your experience & knowledge beyond the Scrum Guide & Nexus Guides.
3- Lots of questions were scenario based questions.
4- I found this exam the most difficult out of all the Scrum Certifications that I've completed so far.
I am planning on doing my GPM-b and PMI-RMP Certifications this year if all goes smooth.
I am proud to share with you another accomplishment. I passed my Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I) Certification with a score of 92.5%.
I would like to share my journey towards achieving the PSPO I:
1- Read the Scrum Guide and understood everything in details.
2- Read some additional documents and articles like the Evidence Based Management (EBM) Guide and a very interesting article called: The New New Product Owner. Both are available online for free.
3- Completed some simulation exams such as Open Scrum & Open Product Owner which are available for free on the scrum.org website.
4- Total study time was 3 days (Average 3 Hours / Day) because more or less it is the same concepts and material I used for the PSM I Exam but with lots of additional material and articles.
1- The exam is 1 Hour and consists of 80 Multiple Choice Questions.
2- It tests your experience & knowledge beyond the Scrum Guide.
3- Majority of the questions were of moderate difficulty. A lot of questions were situational questions, others were straight forward.
If you are applying for the PSM I Certification, and willing to purse this road, I would definitely advise you to apply for the PSPO I shortly afterwards because as I mentioned earlier, more or less, the study material is the same and combined with your work experience, it should not take a lot of time to prepare.