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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Program Management Professional (PgMP)®

 

I am glad to announce that I passed the Program Management Professional (PgMP®) Exam on November 29, 2021 with Above Target in all domains and very proud to be join this elite group of professionals. 

This credential was on my radar since 2019 but with the pandemic, some priorities changed and I had to postpone it. However, now achieving it marks an important milestone in my professional development journey as I did complete all 8 Main PMI Credentials and 9 Micro-Credentials. 

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 Program Management - 4th Edition. If you are a PMP and/or PfMP, the  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: I can't emphasize the importance of the ECO. You need to deep dive and understand every single task, why and how you do it. 

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 self-study. 

Application: The application was very lengthy and rigorous unlike any other PMI Certifications Applications (Except for PfMP). It took me a while to complete my application (A total of 15 Hours of work). After submitting my application, I got initial approval in 5 days time, I paid the dues ($800) and the application went for Panel Review which took around 3 more weeks before receiving final approval (This was in 2020). 

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 few 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: I purchased a couple of simulation exams available online on Udemy and others for training purposes. They were good in terms of boosting your level of confidence but again, the key is to deeply understand every aspect of the standard. 

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

EXAM EXPERIENCE

I am going to talk about my personal exam experience (Without going into details or specific questions). In general, I found the exam to be somehow easier than other PMI exams. I might have found it easier given how much experience and credentials I have or maybe not. Either way, below was my experience:

Level of Difficulty: The exam was not very difficult. In general, 75% of the questions were short in nature but I have to say that some were tricky so again, you need to have an absolutely excellent grasp of every word in the standard.

Exam Questions (General): Most of the questions were situational (Short Questions). You need to understand which artifact gets updated in every phases or change, what happens when and by whom, and above all you need to have a deep understanding of all tools, techniques and program activities. It is worth mentioning that you will encounter around 10% questions from outside the standard related to PMP. 

Exam Depth: The exam tests your understanding of every single aspect of the standard and the program management in general.

Exam Language: The language of the questions and answers was moderate. You might end up reading some questions twice but for the majority of the questions, it took me 30 seconds on average to read the question and answers and if you have a good grasp of the material, once is enough. 

Exam Time: The timing was  than enough. I finished the exam well ahead of time including the review of the questions I marked. 

Elimination Strategy: Surprisingly, and unlike other PMI exams, I was able to easily eliminate 3 answers for many of the questions. 

Exam Experience with Pearson Vue: Unlike my experience during the PfMP exam which was not very pleasant, this time, it went much smoother and I had no issues at all except for some difficulty in exam booking but this is totally understandable given the current pandemic situation. 

Good Luck to all future Aspirants !

 

Posted on: December 02, 2021 01:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (19)

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 (46)

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 (43)

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 (30)

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 (54)
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