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)

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 (60)

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 (62)

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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