PMI Kick-Off Course
As a Career Coach and Professional Developement Mentor, I believe growth comes from within so I continiously keep working on myself by exploring new ideas, taking courses and certifications for areas that I feel are valuable.
Agile and Waterfall Kick-Off is a very valuable and interesting initiative by the Project Management Institute that will provide you with the basic concepts, tools and techniques you’ll need to get started managing projects in both Waterfall and Agile environments:
The majority of projects in the working world are managed by informal project managers who struggle to meet organizational goals on time and on budget. Being a free digital learning tool, Kickoff is the fastest and easiest way to for you and your team to get started:
Stay tuned for more blogs on some of the latest PMI Course Offerings !
Certifications Wall of Fame: Joke to Reality !
Business Analysis/Requirements Management,
Earned Value Management,
Categories: Agile, Benefits Realization, Business Analysis, Business Analysis/Requirements Management, Career Development, Communication Management, Communications Management, Construction, Construction Management, Consulting, Cost Management, Earned Value Management, Education, Leadership, Lessons Learned, Management, New Practitioners, PMI Standards, Productivity, Professional Development, Program Management, Project Management, Protfolio Management, Risk Management, Schedule Management, Scope Management, Scrum, Stakeholder Management, Talent Management, Talent Management, Team Work
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 !
Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®)
I am glad to announce that I passed the CBAP Exam on May 05, 2019. It was a journey full of unexpected challenges both on a professional and personal levels.
IIBA Resources: BABOK V3 is the only resource and is more than enough.
Course: IIBA mandate that you take a course that includes a moderator or facilitator, even if it is online.
IIBA Application: It is pretty straight forward (Similar to PMI's Applications) except for the fact that if you were not chosen for audit, your application will be approved immediately. Application Fee = $125 + Exam Fee = $325 for Members plus applicable taxes (Membership is optional and will cost you $125 which you will save on the exam fees).
Study Time: At a normal pace, I would say 2 months (2 - 4 Hours / Day) should be enough. The material is very dense, the language is not easy and there is lots of info to take in so cramming won't help. Compared to other exams, I found this exam material the most difficult to study. One important thing to mention, if you are a PMI-PBA, it won't help much in your CBAP.
Simulation Exams: One great resource for simulation exams was Watermark Learning. They have a great questions bank and although the exam questions are very different, still, Watermark's simulation exams provide you with great ideas and explanations. It is worth also noting that their fees were reasonable as well (It was about $129 USD for 2 months access). There aren't many simulation exam resources for the CBAP but Watermark is certainly one of the good ones. Passing the exam without going through some simulation exams, regardless of the source, would be difficult.
Level of Difficulty: The level of difficulty is comparable with PMI-PBA but the style of questions is totally different.
Exam Questions (General): The exam is 120 Questions and the timing is 3.5 Hours. All the exam questions were scenario based some of which were short, others were very lengthy (At least 35%). The lengthy questions are one page questions that have lots of info and the scenario will cover 3 - 4 exam questions.
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, techniques and so on.
Exam Language: The language of the questions and answers was moderate. You might end up reading the question and answers multiple times.
Exam Time: Time is important to watch. Although you are given 3.5 hours to answer 120 Questions, some might think it's plenty of time but in reality, it is not so watch your time.
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 !
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:
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 !
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:
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 very 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 ?