Project Management

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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PMI 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book

Certifications Wall of Fame: Joke to Reality !

Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO II) Certification

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Construction

Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP®)

Certifications Wall of Fame: Joke to Reality !

During a conversation with a friend last week as we were working on a private project, he threw a joke that I should create a Certifcations Wall of Fame given that I earned lots of valuable certifications over the years. The joke turned into a serious conversation and thinking about it later, I concluded it would actually be a good idea so I decided to turn the joke into reality.

As I look at all those badges all consolidated in one view, I feel so proud of those accomplishments. I can’t even express how much each and every one of those journeys added value and helped me grow both personally and professionally. 

It took lots of dedication, commitment and hard work to build this concrete wall and guess what, I am ready for the next one. When there is a Will, there is a Way !

Posted on: November 26, 2019 03:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (44)

Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO II) Certification

I am proud to share that I passed the Professional Scrum Product Owner II Certification exam and glad to add this certification to my Scrm Backpack: 

 

 

 

As usual, I would like to share some tips that may benefit future aspirants: 

Preparation 

1- Follow the same steps (Combined) for PSM ISPS , PSPO I

2- Follow the PSPO II Learning Path - Lots of valuable information there in the blogs and articles. 

3- Do the open assessments on scrum.org website such as Scrum Open, Product Owner Open, Scrum Measurement Open & Open Nexus.

4- Scrum (A Pocket Guide) by Gunther Verheyen is a highly recomended reference.

5- Read the Evidence-Based Management Guide in details. 

Exam

1- Exam is 1 Hour and consists of 40 Multiple Choice / Multiple Answer Questions. 

2- Passing grade is 85%. 

3- The tests your experience and knowledge beyond any guide. It is a very tough exam  so you need to have experience and know Scrum in depth. 

4- Most questions are scenario based or require in depth analysis. 

5- I found this exam comparable to the PSM II Exam in terms of diifficulty so one should be well prepared. 

Knowledge

During this journey, I learned a lot about: 

  1. Evidence-Based Management 
  2. Business stratergy
  3. DiSC Model 
  4. Product Vision
  5. Product Value

Good Luck to all New Aspirants ! 

Posted on: November 23, 2019 07:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (15)

Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP®)

 

I am glad to announce that I passed the Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP®) Exam on July 15, 2019 with Above Target in all domains and very proud to be one of the 713 members of this elite group of professionals.

As usual, I am happy to share my lessons learned with the community members hoping that future candidates will find value in them. 

STUDY PLAN

PMI Resources: PMI Standard for Portfolio Management - 3rd Edition. The 4th Edition was issued last year but there was no announcement that the exam changed to reflect the new edition so I mainly thoroughly studied the 3rd edition and briefly went through the 4th edition - If you are a PMP and/or PgMP, the Portfolio Standard will be more than enough provided that you read it several times in details. You will be surprised, but every time you go through the standard, you will discover something new in between the lines. 

Exam Content Outline: It is important to go through it at least once to have an idea of the exam content and other details. 

Course: There is no course required as a pre-requisite for the application. However, it does not hurt to take a course if you feel the need to do so but I personally did it fully self-study. 

Application: The application was very lengthy and rigorous unlike any other PMI Certifications Applications (Except for PgMP). It took me a while to complete my application (A total of 16 Hours of work) - After submitting my application, I got initial approval in 10 days time, I paid the dues ($800) and the application went for Panel Review which took around 3 more weeks before receiving final approval. 

Study Time: It took me a bit more than a month to study. One month might seem light but I used to study 4 hours a day and 6 hours on weekends in addition to that I took a fews days 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 reasonable. 

Simulation Exams: There aren't many resources out there in terms of simulation exams for PfMP so I only went through Rania Al-Mughrabi Questions Bank. There were useful for review only but not close to the real exam at all. 

Colleagues Advice: I connected with a few PfMP's who gave me solid advice and boosted my confidence a lot and I am very thankful for them. They are a good example of people who shares knowledge without boarders. 

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 compared with PMP. In general, the questions were short in nature but I have to say they were very tricky and the answers were even trickier. I kept hearing that the exam is easy from people posting their personal experience but I assure you, it is not easy at all and you need to have an absolutely excellent and thorough grasp of every word in the standard.

Exam Questions (General): Most of the questions were situational (Short Questions) but very tricky. You need to understand the ITTO's, and which part of the output gets updated in every process and above all you need to have a deep understanding of all tools and techniques. It is worth mentioning that you will encounter around 10% questions from outside the standard related to PfMP, PgMP and PMP. 

Exam Depth: The exam tests your understanding of every single aspect of the standard and the portfolio management in general. It goes above and beyond the text book. 

Exam Language: The language of the questions and answers was moderate, You might end up reading the question and answers 3 times. Again, they were short (1 - 2 lines) but very confusing and the answers were even more confusing so ensure you understand everything, without memorizing and ensure you read every question in details. 

Exam Time: The timing was  than enough. I finished the exam in 3 Hours 10 Minutes and then took 50 Minutes to review all questions I marked for review. 

Elimination Strategy: Unlike other PMI exams, in many questions, it was not easy at all to eliminate answers. 

Exam Experience with Pearson Vue: To be honest, I was not as comfortable  with Pearson Vue as I was with Prometric. They had to take the palm prints of both hands and if you want to take a break, someone has to come log you out of your exam session, you have to give your palm print, go out, then palm print again, then they log you in and this is all time wasted at your expense. I find this a bit extreme considering that candidates who apply for exams like PfMP are professionals in managerial positions. I also find not having at least one break allowed for a 4 hours exam somehow unfair and in a way annoying. The purpose of the exam is to test your knowledge and experience, not to test your self control and stress level so I believe candidates should be allowed a 10 min break at the 2 hours mark. 

Good Luck to all future Aspirants !

Posted on: July 16, 2019 01:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (28)

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 (43)

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 (55)
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