Let’s explore the 5 Ws of becoming a certified project management professional. Though you may want to do so, it is possible that this path is not necessarily for you…
Who and/or Why?
- If you want to be a full-time project manager of some kind.
- If you intend to manage projects inside of another functional job (i.e. logistics, sales, human resources, information technology) and the CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) is not adequate from a job description or knowledge level.
Otherwise, I would bone up on your project management knowledge through various online and company resources.
The Project Management Professional certification requires completion of the following requirements:
- Certain number of work hours in the 5 process groups of project management as indicated in the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK).
- Certain number of completed hours in project management coursework by a recognized education provider (REP).
- Completion of the PMP Examination
Once you have made a decision to pursue this certification,
- Make a plan that provides time to take coursework and demonstrate work product within the project management discipline.
- Plan to take Exam no longer than 1 month past completion of coursework. At some point, the studying reaches a point of where marginal benefits start to diminsh.
- Start your application process by contacting the Project Management Institute (PMI) at PMI.org
- Select your desired application process and follow the directions.
- The online guide can be downloaded along with the application
- You may also view registered education providers (REPs) where you can pay for education in project management.
If you are not a project manager, but manage projects, here is what I did (I recommend it):
- Go to your local community college and look for an online or onsite project management course.
- After successful completion, I would suggest pursuing something more intense through an REP like ESI International or Cheetah Learning. I completed two classes with ESI as a new project manager. I highly recommend them.
- You will need a copy of the latest edition of the PMBOK as mentioned before.
- Please take a PMP Test Prep Class. There is some crucial material on the test that you would not necessarily get from your everyday work. It will literally get you for the way that the test is written.
- In addition to the classes, look for guides with study materials and sample tests. Examples include Rita Mulcahy or Velociteach.
- Buy some flash cards and drill on the project management processes, process groups, etc.
- Once you have read through the books and materials, make flash cards of all of the processes, process groups, management areas.
- Work through the books and begin to answer the test questions in the reading (not the sample tests).
- Once you are cleared to take the test and schedule it (and have paid for the exam), I would start taking the sample section tests as early as a month out from the test.
- In the last week before the test, complete the sample tests as though you were in a test setting. It is recommended not to take them no more than 4 times.
- After that, you will have hopefully retained and understood the material.
After the test, you will receive immediate notification of pass/failure and an indication of your strengths and weaknesses in a vague manner.
I hope that this information provides some guidance on how to pursue your PMP. However, as always make sure that you really want to pursue this avenue and make a realistic plan to get there.