[From the sandbox] How I became PMP and how not to do it better

[From the sandbox] How I became PMP and how not to do it better

I realized a long time ago that sharing experience is useful. But only recently I realized that they can be shared not only with friends and relatives, but also with everyone.

Therefore, I want to tell you how I went to certification, why I did it and how it ended.

My experience will be divided into sections:

  1. Why PMP ?
  2. Preparation - Planning
  3. Getting started
  4. Audit s
  5. Completion preparation
  6. Exam
  7. Life after

Since I love holistic stories and prehistory, the first section can not be read by those in a hurry.

1. Why PMP?

I learned about PMI a long time ago - more than 7 years happened before the certification. And my first acquaintance happened in 2011, when a friend told me about PMBoK during a simple walk. We didn’t discuss work or business then - we just chatted about everything.

Since I am quite a curious person, I try to learn something new at the first opportunity (and even useless at first glance). Therefore, having come home, I downloaded 4 editions of the code in Russian and quickly read it.

How would I comment on this book then? Perplexed, incomprehensible in places, in places too obvious and difficult to understand.

And in 2012 I was faced with obvious projects, having come to a new job. I speak with obvious ones - because I have come across them before, but did not realize this. Therefore, I begin my countdown of experience in project management since 2012.

And despite the fact that they were the first for me - they were complex and complex, of a federal scale. These were projects to automate the activities of the entire structure of the federal body, and also to interact with the regions.

And I didn’t immediately become the project manager, and in general I didn’t really want to become one. But that's where I was originally - this is in the project management team.

Has everything been done and worked out right? Absolutely not. But I always tried to do everything well. Most often suffered time and the effect of the introduction. Not much, no - but still, something has been done for another two or four weeks after the closure of the formal project.

And the most interesting thing is that when I did everything right, I almost always remembered PMBoK.
I came to the same conclusions. Not always explicit, but still.

In 2014, I had more than one project of this magnitude in my account and I was already more than once the leader of these projects. Not by choice - but they told me that it had to be done and I did. Not everything was great, but I can not say that at least one of the projects was failed (and for this special thanks to all participants, from users to contractors). And at that time I began to study the body of knowledge more consciously, and this was the 5th edition.

And it was then that I learned about certification. I learned and wanted to become a PMP. But having counted and read, I realized that experience was still not enough, but I am not very confident in knowledge and put the question aside.

In 2015, I was a RP on the part of the contractor. It was a completely different experience for me. It was then that I realized how everything is not perfect - but by everything, I mean the work of people (after all, the whole project depends on them). When in terms of assessments, specialists make mistakes not on percentages, but on orders of magnitude, when they promise you a resource, but in fact they don’t. Yes, and a lot of things happened. But despite this - we coped and the projects were completed.

By 2017, several surprises happened to me:

  1. I wasn’t sent to the training of project managers from the department, although in my opinion they sent everyone there.
  2. I was sent to a client to develop a project management methodology and implement it, despite clause 1.
  3. I was invited to an international project to the position of the head of the project office, which was to be created from scratch.

I changed my job and it turned out that for almost a year and a half I spent my life embracing the vault, not studying it, but introducing various processes and documents. Special thanks to Yuri, the head of the department of our client, who was trying very hard to get more from the project office than was possible due to a number of political and organizational factors.

And in 2018, when a question arose with a personal development plan for a year, it included an item for obtaining a PMP certificate. Until December (inclusive) I was supposed to be.

2. Preparation - Planning

So, the end of February and I have a task. I spend a couple of days reading reviews of the exam, various training programs and making my own plan.

It was simple and clear, I planned to clarify it after the fact:

  1. Join PMI
  2. Get the current PMBoK
  3. Order Rita Mulcahy PMP exam prep
  4. By the end of the summer to finish reading both books (the deadline was set taking into account the work and the possible delivery times of the paper book by Rita from the USA)
  5. As of September, finding courses to receive PDUs (at that time, due to the confusion of concepts and several other factors, I did not know that PDUs are not necessary for this). As a good option - see courses in Specialist
  6. After the courses, read Rita again
  7. Decide on the date of the exam (planned - late November or early December)
  8. Reread Rita again
  9. Pass the exam

Not everything went according to plan.

3. Getting started

I completed the first two points perfectly. On my birthday I paid for my membership in PMI, downloaded PMBoK 6 editions in Russian and English. Point number 3 of the plan was somewhat clarified - the wife, having learned about Rita and about her simulator, persuaded to order a full set - a book + cards + a simulator.

About membership bonuses
By joining PMI you get the right to download materials and standards. You receive these documents with a note that they belong only to you and with a password, without the right to print. However, this is a great savings. And yes, from the point of view of PMI, downloading materials from third-party resources is a violation of the code of ethics.

I ordered the Rita through the Banderolka. Why? The first promise was for the sake of economy, the more I did not burn. But when I began to study the question in more detail, I realized that even if it were on, I would have ordered it as well. DHL delivers all parcels worth more than $ 200 through customs, and there, no matter what, you spent your limit or not (I mean that citizens of the Russian Federation have the right to order goods for $ 1,000 a month without paying taxes. By the way, now this limit has become $ 500 ). And formally, despite the fact that there is no program in the package - the license code is sent by mail, the entire amount is written on the invoice. And that's over $ 300.

Saving is not direct delivery
As a result, the saving for delivery was not very strong. The difference was about $ 5, since I did not correctly calculate the weight of the package. However, due to the lack of tax - I saved about $ 100, which was later confirmed by colleagues who ordered Rita through DHL with a full set.

And this is where my work on the plan is over. First, all of a sudden, colleagues from another department told me that we are planning on project management training. And nobody said that to me and did not file me on the list. Despite the fact that we agreed that I am certified. In general, I tortured my leadership and just in case asked the director of a friendly department to include me in the list for training.

I got into training and it was awesome. The training was conducted by VP MO PMI A.A. Zubritsky. It was useful not only in terms of preparation, but also allowed me to talk live with PMP, learn some subtleties (yes, I did not see live PMP before that moment.For me these were some legends). In general, I prepare, read, go to classes once a week, discuss something incomprehensible during breaks.

And here comes the second. I was offered another job. I must say that by the time I did not hold on to the place for several reasons. And the new version was quite interesting for development and I agreed. Just coincided that I quit by the end of the course.

While working on the due date, Rita comes and I start to read it. One of the first tips is to apply as early as possible. I estimate, agree with this and start looking for courses online - to dial hours of study. Without them, you cannot submit an application, and the certificate for a corporate course is not a fact that they will give me - I’ll quit, and if they do, they don’t immediately. And I find Udemy. And there is a $ 9.99 PMP preparation course with Joseph Phillips PDU accruals. So - he is not bad.

About PDU
By that time, I already know that PDUs are not needed and there will be enough hours of any training in project management . In the absence of a certificate after training, it is enough to attach a training program and a letter (paper, electronic) that you were invited there. If there is no letter - contract, application.

For a week and a half, not having left work, I take a course and apply for PMP.

4. Audits

Probably, I would have remembered that day for a long time, if further everything had turned out differently. 04/26/2018, by submitting an application, I got an audit. And it is very unpleasant moral - because rarely any review about the exam contains information about the audit.

Okay, work. When I submitted the application, I rather prudently discussed it with all contact persons. I told them that I indicated them, on what projects, and what it is, for fear of forgetting people or unwillingness to communicate with strangers - because I believed that PMI could check without an audit by a phone call. I did not think about the audit then, but it was useful.

It was useful, but as it turned out - I was flawed. With experience in commerce everything went fine. I caught the State Duma of the group of companies, signed the documents, signed the envelope. So, like at that job I was in good standing - everything went quickly and painlessly.

I didn’t even record my experience from the last job - I had enough of it already.

But that part of the experience that was in the civil service - has become a problem. The review form indicates the PMI address - USA. And there is indicated the position of the person who signed the review. And we actually have a tense situation, sanctions. And those officials (deputies of the directorates) with whom I discussed it - refuse to see me the address.

About errors
I thought a lot how it happened that I said everything, warned and refused me post-factum , initially expressing consent. I told you that the headquarters of the organization in the United States. And he came to the conclusion that he was guilty. Because I also said that the organization is international and it has an office in Moscow.

I panicked for a couple of days. He panicked so much that he had already started making an appointment with the top officials of the service, so that they either signed the reviews themselves or agreed to the employees with whom I had discussed this.

And then I remembered that the experience can also be confirmed by a non-project employee, a team member, or even a performer. Another week went to get all the signatures.

Collecting the documents, I wrote the diploma translation itself, as well as an explanatory why the review was not given by the people indicated in the application.

About the paperwork for an audit
Remember that the documents for each project, or for each confirming your experience should be sealed in separate envelopes, with the signature of these persons on the envelope. This is done in order to prevent fraud.

And also - people can send documents directly to PMI. But it is a difficult path.

So, the documents have been sent, and I continue to prepare. And this preparation goes heavier. Reading Rita is not convenient. Not convenient for domestic reasons - this is a healthy A4 book that is difficult to read in the subway, difficult to read in the park or at work. Therefore, it took me a week or two per chapter. And only at home - on weekends.

May 17, I see on the track that the letter has been received. Immediately I write to the commission, worrying about what I get an answer - the documents were received.

And on the same day I receive a letter that the audit failed.

That day I did not read the letter to the end, I was so upset. I was very upset. Despite the change of work - I wanted to be certified, just for myself, to know if I am good.
And so, the next day I read the letter and the mood was up. Yes, the audit failed, but failed for technical reasons and without the fault of the candidate. This means that I do not have a fine for a year. It’s just that my role is not clear from the documents and the projects are not clear.

And I agree with this - I tried to fit a maximum of details into a limited number of characters. And it is difficult to describe projects of this level in such a small amount of characters. And I didn’t crush cases in the civil service quite correctly - sometimes stuffing the annual workload into one project (communicating with the Ministry of Communications and Communications).

Until May 22, I actively correspond with PMI, clarifying the wording so that there are no questions about them. Along the way, I warn everyone that I will again ask for their signature. And on 22.05.2018 I again apply, immediately getting on an audit.

About the application
It is important when describing your projects - describe them as formally as possible in terms of the standard and PMBoK terms. Otherwise you may not understand.

So, the documents are quickly collected and sent, and I just have to wait. May at the new job was calm, but in June it became hot. Therefore, when the answer arrives on 06/19/2018 that I passed an audit, I am not very happy. I just take it for granted and immediately pay for the exam. I have exactly one year.

But things are not going according to plan.

5. Completion preparation

New work, especially when there is a lot from scratch, it takes a lot of time. Therefore, by the end of November, my preparation situation does not look very good. I read only half of Rita. I really hope for December (I don’t have to do with the fact that this is the end of the year) and for holidays.
And in December, I go to the hospital. They release me for the new year, after the operation. At the end of January - you have to go back. And alas, in such a state I am not in the mood for preparation. All holidays I come to my senses, and then - it’s hard for me to just pull work, not to prepare.

In mid-February, I finally come to my senses (well, almost, on trifles - still departing). And I remember about the exam. Having decided not to pull, 19.02 I am applying for 23.03.2019.

Why such a time? There are several reasons for this:

  • You must read Rita to the end.
  • Rita’s simulator is paid for 28.03.
  • PMI membership paid up to 03/31.

And either I’ll pass - and then I’m PMP, I’ll mark and please myself, or I’m just not going to renew my membership, remove from the chat rooms and come back to this issue in a couple of years. Or not coming back.

And in the first week I go through 2 chapters of Rita, and also open the Super-PMP mode in the simulator, having passed 150 questions. But this is my only clear success. Because then work rolls in - yet almost a quarter of work at half the force affects the volume of what else needs to be done.

On the date of March 16, I still had not read 3 more chapters of Rita. And I almost didn’t solve the tests since I discovered Super-PMP. Therefore, a week of shock. I spend all my free time reading, simulator, and also applications. By the way, most of the applications frankly took questions from the simulator Rita. In a week I send 2 letters to application developers - about errors.I also finish reading Rita and in the simulator I solved about 700 questions.

So, March 22, Friday night. Rita was read once, the results of my tests - from 60 to 75%. Despite his wife's request to sleep, I sit till night, flipping through Rita and remembering everything (if only because I read the beginning almost a year ago).

Total for the plan - it is almost failed. Rita is not read thrice. Indicators in the simulator below the recommended. I’m not at all sure about situational issues, but I’m sure about math and critical paths. A little doubt in ITTO’s.

And in the morning I go to bed.

6. Exam

Of course, once such training went, then I could not help but to disturb the recommendations for sleep. I wake up at 4 am from knocking on the whole house. Either someone was cleaning the garbage chute, or carrying out very heavy furniture. It lasted more than an hour. Realizing that I did not fall asleep - I began to play the phone.

At 8.50 I left the subway and started looking for Prometric. It came out quickly. At 9.10, I received a pass, and at 9.15 I was already listening about the exam and was passing through the search. At 9.30 I am at the computer. All in all, PMP was given on this day by 3 people (although 4 were announced). And just in the audience was either 5, or 6 people.

Exhale and I decide not to write my own tips. What I know - I know so. And what I do not know is that it will not help me, because I will not write it out in advance. I spend 3 minutes training the program - I spend them on checking how the selection works, as well as question marks.

And send questions. Was it easy? Not. Not at all.

The first thing I would like to note is that Russian hinders more than helps. It seems that the translation is machine, moreover, the algorithms are obsolete even 10 years ago.

About translation
Those who became PMP without knowing English are you heroes. I do not think that it is right to pass an international certificate without knowing the language, but this is an achievement. I stopped looking at the translation in question 5. He came in handy to me only once, towards the end - when I stumbled upon a difficult phrase.

Secondly - the questions are not similar to the applications and simulator! Totally! They are not easier, not more difficult, they are different! And it seems to me that it saved me. Whether stress stimulated awareness, whether the questions were “correct”, but on question 10 I realize that the work of the brain has been restructured. What I had to think about earlier is now recognized by itself. I just think in PMBoKa format, but I don’t remember - as it were better.

The simulator did not cause such an effect. I admit that it was just a qualitative leap, but not sure.

Well, the third. I was not lucky. I had only 3 questions on the formulas and 2 or 3 on the critical path. Given the fact that I counted on 20-40 such questions and was sure of them, this did not make me happy.

By the end of the first hour I had resolved 90 questions. Doubted and noted 5 or 6. Having finished up to 100, I paused.

My head started to hurt. I do a neck warm-up, let my eyes rest and think how to be. Even if there were pills in things - things are locked up. And I know myself, if I do not drink a pill, it will be very bad. And I decide that I will finish as quickly as possible. I am sure that I will either answer the first time or not answer questions at all, so there are no checks.

The last 20 or 25 questions I did not even read up the answers. If I saw that the first one is good, I marked it. And in general, the last 30 questions took me less than 10 minutes. I really had a headache.

I quickly passed a survey from Prometric and went out.

  - We decided to relax? - clarified employee center.
  - No, I gave her the form and started to get things.
  - Quickly you - checking the computer that I actually finished, she put a mark on the form and began to print the result.

When asked if there are pills from the head, they answered me negatively.
At 11.45 a photo of the exam paper was sent to the wife from the corridor.
PASS. Above target.

The whole exam took a little over 2 hours.

7. Life after

At 11.50, I already bought a tablet in a pharmacy on the 1st floor of the building. In the subway head released. And only when I let go, I realized that everything ended well. No matter what - I am still a good specialist.

From the metro, I extended my PMI membership. He invited his wife to the restaurant. And on the same day I bought myself a good fountain pen.

I am absolutely sure that the advice - to celebrate - is correct. Such moments should be remembered. It's cooler than a birthday or new year.

After 2 days I appeared in the registry and I received an email with an electronic certificate. He immediately ordered a badge, he came in 5 weeks. Certificate is not.

Did I go to ask for pay raises at work? Not. I did this for myself and to confirm my competencies and skills. I may doubt myself a lot, but I am a professional.
I am PMP.
Did this bring me a result? Definitely yes.
Yes, and morally and socially.
Moral - I became more confident.
Socially - I recognized myself as part of a community that tries to do the right thing. And yes, it expanded the circle of acquaintances, even a month later, new activities began to appear. And also - among those who know and understand - this is really appreciated.

And it is worth it.

Source text: [From the sandbox] How I became PMP and how not to do it better