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I hear you, Hannah. I've had to do the same thing when I applied for each of my certifications. My suggestion is to do it in a spreadsheet and use rules of thumb.
Build the month timeline for all your projects so you can clearly see the overlaps. (Don't go finer than month unless you really want to pull your hair out.) Assign a percentage of your time for each project. You will then also assign a percentage of time to split each project's time by the knowledge areas.
Once you have completed your calculations, do a sanity check with whomever you would use to verify your claim, should you be audited.
Just build it up, one step at a time, and you will get there.
Separate the ideas of months on projects and hours of experience. Think of it like duration and effort. You need at least 36 months unique non-overlapping experience, and within that 36 months+ you need at least 4,500 hours leading and directing projects.
They say non-overlapping hours because they don't want you to count, for example, two projects worked in the same 3 month period as 6 months of experience.
I used a spreadsheet to tally each project's hours separately, and then total them at the end. The application helped with verifying the non-overlapping months, but you can do this on a spreadsheet or Visio, as well. There is probably an easier way, but you can create a roadmap or swimlane of your projects and show the duration for each project. If your cumulative projects span at least 36 months, you should be okay. You just can't count the same month twice.
Does this make sense?
One thing you may consider is looking at the total number of hours worked over the last three years on projects (i.e. 50 weeks x 40 hours = 2000 hours/year). Then you can divide the 2000 by # of projects/year (i.e. 2000/5 = 400 hours on each project). From there you can look at how much time you spent on each project for each of the phases (i.e. initiation, planning, executing/monitoring, closing).
This is a reasonable estimation if you don't have good records on the actual activities performed.
I agree with Aaron and Stephane. I used excel and documented all my projects. Then I went monthly and assigned the percentages I worked on them. I knew my hours at that time and calculated from there, how many hours I worked. It does not have to be an exact match of "literal" hours, but this will help you get pretty close!
I would do as Jon says, but if you are full time as a PM, use 2000 hrs/year but multiply by 0.8 because about 80% (1600) is about as much as people can spend assigned when dedicated to their project(s). The other time is the administrative stuff like team meetings, performance reviews with your manager, etc. That's a pretty standard efficiency factor.
If you have a couple big projects and some smaller ones, I generally assume about 40 to 60% of my time is on the big projects, with the rest divided between the small ones. How you divide the time up between phases is pretty arbitrary. Sometimes you can plan them well and they're easy to manage. Sometimes problems come up and you spend all your time in the execution or closure phases.
You can divide it up with various proportions like front loaded, level loaded, etc. but getting more precise than that is a waste of time. Nobody is going to audit your actual charging.
The PMO handbook (Page 8) gives you tips how to calculate overlapping project hours. Check it out:
To calculate hours, I used excel sheet, total hours, percentage per domain that I believe reflect how I divided my hours in the projects and then everything will calculate itself out.
Hope this helps.
My recoomendation is following which @Rami stated above and just in case you still have doubts contact PMI´s Cutomer Care. Just to comment overlaping counts like one project. I meat if you worked in two simultaneous project it counts like one.
If you are spending days working on this, you're making it harder than it needs to be.
I knew people who spent weeks on the application. From their experiences it seemed unnecessarily difficult.
After I gathered my information, it took 10 minutes to complete the application. I was guided by a man who worked with PMI and knew what they look for. if you are taking, or have taken a course, ask the instructor for help. It's not as difficult as it seems.
So you are experienced in PM but try to calculate hrs in years of experience. Example:- 40 hrs. a week and 40*4=160 hrs. in a Month and so on.
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