Solidifying Your Project Procurement Management Plan

Not all projects require procurement of goods and services. However, projects requiring procurement need an additional level of planning to avoid the common failures and pitfalls of determining, awarding, and managing procurement activities. By carefully planning and developing a Procurement Management Plan, project managers can ensure that all procurement activities are appropriately managed throughout the project lifecycle. The following considerations can help solidify your approach to developing your Procurement Management Plan:

1. Identify Procurement Risks

Risk management is an integral part of successfully managing a project. It is also a key component of understanding and managing procurement activities associated with a project. When an organization makes the decision to procure goods or services it opens the door to a whole new set of risks which must be carefully identified and managed. These procurement risks must be identified, documented, analyzed, and managed in the same manner as other project risks and included in all project risk management documentation.

2. Develop and Utilize Standard Procurement Documentation

Procurement management, like other project management knowledge areas, is extremely dynamic and complex. Because of this, there is great benefit in simplifying and standardizing these activities wherever we can. Many organizations develop and use standard procurement forms, formats, and templates for creating their procurement documentation. Some examples of standardized documents include:

  • Statement of Work
  • Non-disclosure Agreement
  • Request for Proposal
  • Letter of Intent
  • Source Selection Evaluation Forms
  • Lessons Learned Forms

By standardizing these documents, an organization can simplify its procurement activities and focus more on detailed planning and procurement management activities

3. Developing Clear Decision Criteria

Before convening a contract review board and reviewing proposals, an organization should ensure that it has developed and documented clear decision criteria to evaluate proposals and award a contract. These criteria are heavily dependent on the type of procurement required by the project, however, failure to determine these criteria ahead of time can result in a lengthy and inefficient selection process.

4. Establishing Procurement Roles and Responsibilities

In many situations there may be gaps or overlap in who manages procurement activities. Often times, an organization may have a contracts department which is involved in procurement activities along with the project manager and team. In situations like this there can be confusion and blurred areas of responsibility. It is extremely important that these boundaries are established and documented as part of the Procurement Management Plan and that the organization’s management approves.

5. Procurement Performance Metrics

Any procurement of goods or services requires the project team to develop metrics against which they measure performance. Like decision criteria, these metrics are dependent on the type of procurement that was conducted. Also, while the project team may have project metrics against which performance is measured, the contracting or purchasing departments may have different performance metrics. Careful consideration must be given to the development of these metrics as they may help determine various impacts to the project. Additionally, once the project is completed, these performance metrics may be used to select vendors or service providers for future procurements through a past performance database or evaluations.

Why start from scratch when you can use our Procurement Management Plan template and tailor it to your own project? See this and my other project management templates and plans at my website www.projectmanagementdocs.com.

How to Ease the Transition Between Project Managers

Losing the project manager on a vital project is not only stressful, it can cost your company significant time and resources to get your next project manager up to speed. Here are some tips to help you ease the transition as much as possible.

In this industry, we know that projects involve risks of all sorts. One in particular is a dreaded event for any team – a change in project manager mid-project. Yet, when complex projects can take several months – even a year or more – to complete, the scenario is a realistic one across all industries. An integral part of project management is mitigating risk and successfully leading your team through choppy waters. Here are some tips to help your team successfully transition between project managers.

Put Time Into a Great Kick-Off Presentation

Developing a well-organized project kick-off presentation will help your new project manager become acquainted with all of the project’s critical information, such as the goals, timeline, deliverables, and other major requirements. A presentation will make the project details easier to understand and digest than handing the new project manager an exhaustive scope statement or other dry material. Don’t allow looming deadlines to prevent you from taking some time to start out on the right foot.

Review the Project Schedule

After the kick-off presentation, the next most vital task is reviewing the details of the project schedule with the new project manager. A detailed review is required in order to clearly and effectively convey the path, significant milestones, and core sections of the project schedule. Reviewing the schedule is also important because it will shape how the project manager maintains the schedule, rectifies late tasks, and communicates with the new team. The better the new project manager understands the specifics of the project timeline, the better they will be able to modify their approach for increased success.

Put it All Out There

After the details and timeline have been effectively hashed out, it’s important for the new project manager to hear the real story. They will need to understand the different personalities of their team members in order to properly motivate and allow room for everyone to do their best work in their own unique way. The project culture is at least as important as the project schedule, as the success or failure of the project will be the culmination of each individual’s work.

Have the Right Software

Having the right project management software at your disposal will make life easier for the entire team. Microsoft Project Viewer is one of the most widely used project management software solutions available. Finding a high-quality Project viewer, however, can also help save your company in licensing fees and protect the schedule from unauthorized changes in addition to keeping the team on the right track. By using effective software, you can keep the new project manager as well as the whole team informed of key status updates and milestones.

Changing project managers halfway through a project is something that no one looks forward to, and for good reason. Along with it comes the increased risk that details will be overlooked, deadlines will be missed, or personalities will clash. While these are certainly possibilities, the overall risk can be mitigated by taking time to hand the project off well. That means giving the new project manager all of the tools they need to effectively direct  their team: a great kick-off presentation, a detailed walk through the project timeline, an explanation of the project culture, and effective software.

Searching for the Elusive Digital Unicorn

The Emergence of the Elusive Digital Unicorn — How Digital Disruption is breeding new roles within the project and business landscape, are you ready for it?

Disruptive Technologies are changing existing landscapes

Technology has had a profound impact on the business world. Simply walk into any business, no matter the size, and you will see the prolific adoption of technology. Digital project boards, virtual teams scattered across the globe; are all indicators of business reliance on this “fourth industrial revolution.” From industry data and anecdotal evidence, this tech utilization is on an exponential increase.

In 2016, Fujitsu conducted a survey of 1,180 C-suite executives. The survey stated that 98 % of them were experiencing the effects of “Digital Disruption.” (1) Of the executives interviewed, 54 % believed that the most significant changes were still to come.

New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning (ML) are impacting established industries such as the automotive and agriculture sectors. Mercedes Benz is using these technologies to drive their supply chains and ferry their customers in luxury. (2)

European farmers are using AI to better monitor their cattle. Devices with sophisticated sensors will track the cow’s movement. This data gathered will be tabulated and displayed to the farmer. Farmers are provided with data to their cows’ grazing, lying down, and other activities. This information leads to a better prediction of breeding times and helps lead preventative initiatives around general health care of the animal. (3)

Technology leading to the emergence of Digital Unicorns

Within all organizations, new roles are emerging to accommodate and exploit these new opportunities.  The Project Management Office, as the chief driver of change within the business, is feeling these effects as well. This can be seen in a greater demand for projects, as well as the emergence of new roles within its own domain.

These new roles have emerged like the fabled unicorn of myth and legend. Like the unicorn, they resemble traditional project roles. In the same way, unicorns resemble the average horse. They are a hybrid of established positions which have been re-packaged and defined to better fulfill their original mandates.

The horn of the unicorn, in the case of this article and these new project roles, is the technology that helps these roles flourish. The more these new roles utilize emerging technologies, the more they will be able to grow and succeed in their new callings.  This article is the start of a series of articles on the emergence of these new roles and characteristics and the real-life application of technology that is forcing them to change.

The Roles we will be reviewing

The hands-on project owner or sponsor, now product owner, is surfacing as a new role in the project landscape. No longer are project owners able to burden project teams, especially the project manager. The project manager has the sole responsibility for ensuring the project is a success. Using digital technology, they are expected to ensure that they make accurate predictions of the markets readiness to receive features they are calling their teams to focus on.

The Agile Project Manager versus the traditional Project Manager.

What are the skills and competencies that project managers need to develop that will prevent this role from being replaced by a machine? How is the project manager going to use Artificial intelligence to help deliver a better quality of service and leverage their unique human ability of emotional intelligence and unique leadership skills to guide their teams to greater heights of delivery?

The UX designer vs the traditional graphic or front-end designer.

Companies no longer just want a pretty design. They now want to see a design that has been driven by data and intensive research. A design that has been evolved, quickly and incrementally through continuous interaction with customers and future users over the lifecycle of the project.

The Quality Engineer vs the Tester.

No longer just required to test and pick up bugs, these roles have evolved into highly skilled engineers. These engineers often have as much technical ability as the developers who produce the code in the first place. Automation and regression pack testing is the norm and no longer the exception.

The Future

Yes, these new roles are dotting the landscape like never before. I encourage you to join us in this journey, over the next couple of articles, as we start to learn to believe again in unicorns because we are going to start to see a lot more of them in our future, some of us may even find us transitioning into these roles. These articles will help to prepare you for that change.
References

  1. Fujitsu. Fujitsu. Fit for Digital Report. [Online] 2016.
  2. Forbes.com. [Online] 
  3. CBC News. [Online] 
  4. MacBan, Ryan. Cisco Blogs. [Online] 

How to Inspire and Manage a Team with a Simple Concept

Project management can be tricky at the best of times, but when your team is up against something bigger than them, it can make things even more difficult. There is one woman in Kenya who is using a straight-forward concept to inspire not just her team, but numerous women in Kenya and beyond.

Life for women in Kenya is not without its challenges. Restrictive access to education, limited property rights, and underrepresentation in the workplace are just some of the problems woman continue to encounter on a daily basis in 2018.

This is not say there have not been concerted efforts from Kenyan authorities to address the gender imbalance. The unveiling of an ambitious and inclusive constitution in 2010 marked the beginning of a new era of gender equality in Kenya. But nearly 8 years on, progress has been slow, with the government falling short of their own minimum requirements and quotas in the National Assembly and Senate.

But rather than feel disenfranchised and disengaged with the political process, Kenyans are standing up to be counted as they actively look to redefine gender relations within their country.

Catalyst for Change

One such torchbearer for the movement is the businesswoman turned “leadership influencer and change catalyst” Patricia Murugami. Identifying major obstacles women face in their careers was the focus of her doctoral research. Her ground-breaking research concluded that some of the largest impediments facing women was their institutionalized exclusion and she considered whether these obstacles could be successfully turned into potential catalysts for positive change. To achieve this change, Patricia devised a formula which she believes simplifies the complexities of life into actionable and straight-forward steps which will enable women make small but consistent positive changes.

Patricia’s introduction to these obstacles began when early in her career she was working as an auditor in the male-dominated finance sector. It was here she became all too aware that the female members of staff were routinely being overlooked for progression and were largely underappreciated.

Beginning at the University of Nairobi, Patricia earned an MBA in Strategy and Marketing before completing a DBA at the International School of Management in Paris. She then went for another DBA at Strathmore Business School, juggling her studies with positions as Advisor to the Dean, Certified Transformational Executive Coach, and a member of the faculty.

It was that early experience working in finance in 2009 which drove her to the decision to single-handedly launch 15 leadership programs designed to inspire and elevate women in their professional and personal lives. Together with the support of her able team, she sought collaborations and customized programs with globally accredited business schools and large corporates including the telecoms company Safaricom and Strathmore Business School. The most noted of which is the Women in Leadership program, which is held in 4 locations annually; twice in Nairobi and once each in Kampala, Kigali and Dar Es Salaam.

Helping Disadvantaged Men and Women

Murugami focuses on helping disadvantaged women especially, through support and mentoring, instilling the lesson that progression can be sought through “lifting each other up.” Whilst Patricia is focused on the empowerment of professional women in the professional arena, it is not uncommon for her to throw open the doors of her programs to men, having welcomed male leaders onto her Board Readiness program for the first time this year. This was an important step as Patricia explains “we opened it up to male leaders as we want to be more inclusive and enable more boards to be constituted with a diverse range of directors. This will lead to more proactive and progressively sustainable organizations.”

Unlike similar research that preceded her own, Murugami’s stands out because of the formulaic framework she devised, which effectively simplifies all the complexities of life into actionable and straightforward steps. Once such step is to conquer and manage fear by accepting it as part of human experience. Upon acknowledgment of this Patricia revealed that they are then asked “what would you do if you were not afraid? Then do it proactively and without question.”

Another key step is for participants to raise at least 10 other young women and men to leadership in their companies and community through their example, mentoring, coaching and story-telling. The idea of this Patricia explains is “to increase the leadership circle, break silo effects and enable others to learn from their own experiences and personal wisdom’. The results of which enable women, and men for that matter, make small but significant steps forward in making positive changes in their lives. Notably, mentorship circles like the one at Breakthrough Consulting Solutions have created “ripple effects” that have resonated with this generation’s leaders through the development of a safe and high impact leadership atmosphere, changing the culture of their organizations.

Chloe Hashemi is part of the marketing team at ISM. She enjoys writing about everything from women in business, project management and leadership, to technology in business. 

How to Increase Online Sales – 3 Tips for Business Owners

The most common challenge that most of the entrepreneurs face is how to increase sales online. Well, accomplishing sales goals faster can be a daunting job especially if you are not confident about your DIY marketing skills. You will need a proper strategy to attract potential customers in order to achieve sales goals faster. Continue reading to know about the top three tips that you can follow to increase online sales.

    • Make Sure Your Business Has a Future-proof SEO Plan

Whenever it comes to boost sell online, search engine optimization (SEO) plays a key role in it. SEO is a result-driven digital marketing process that helps websites to get found easily. Businesses that opt for SEO services get the opportunity to avail qualified traffic on their website through organic search. As a result, achieving conversion goals becomes easier for them. So overall, it is fair to conclude that availing professional SEO services will help you to increase sales for sure.

    • Opt for Commercial Intent Keywords for Writing Content

SEO and content writing walk hand in hand. So, if you want to make the most of your SEO strategy then you also have to ensure the content quality of your website is up to the mark. When, it comes to commercial writing, you have to keep your potential customers in mind to achieve conversion goals. In addition, you also have to write content in a conversational way. It will help you to generate leads faster. But above all, you have to focus on commercial intent keywords when writing content. It will help you to achieve sales goals for sure. Commercial intent keywords mainly contain the following terms:

      • Best
      • Buy
      • Cheap
      • Buy + in your location
      • Off
      • Brand names
      • Discount
      • Sale
      • Buy online etc.

If you find any of the terms mentioned above in your keyword then you have to take it as a commercial intent keyword. Once you find such a keyword in the next stage you have to focus on their using. Place the keyword in your content strategically. You can also use commercially intent keywords in headings, subheadings and CTA button.

    • Focus on Business Reputation

If your business does not have an excellent brand reputation then it will become really harder for you to achieve your sales gaols regardless of online or offline. If people are not talking good things about your businesses then your potential customers will never buy products from you or book your services. In this age of digitalization controlling what others are talking about your business can be an overwhelming job. Now anyone can affect the image of your business by using different social media channels.

There are many companies that offer services like online reputation management in India as well as in the other countries in the world. You can hire one of them to build and manage the reputation of your business. If you manage to maintain the reputation of your business then your sales will automatically start increasing.

So, these are the three main tips that you should follow in order to increase online sales of your business.

The Connected, Inspired, Hands-on Project Sponsor – Leading the Digital Charge

Previously we opened this series explaining how technology is leading to the emergence of digital unicorns.  Following on, we now look at the role of the hands on project owner or sponsor.

Digital disruption is shaking up the corporate world. There are more and more initiatives, ideas, projects, and products being launched than ever before. App Annie reported in 2016 that more than 25 billion IOS apps were downloaded, and Android beat it with 90 billion downloads. (1)

To say that companies need to be investing in software is an understatement. Look at Airbnb, Uber, Amazon, and Netflix. The fact that the top three richest people in the world are all in charge of technology focused companies proves this point. (2)

A project starts with an idea in someone’s head. That idea is then formulated, checked, reviewed, motivated, and finally initiated in the form of a mandate or business case. The business case is essential for the creation and the maintenance of the viability of your project.

So, who is to lead the charge or create the business case? The traditional project sponsor.

Now while most people believe that to have a successful project you need a great project manager. Any seasoned project manager will tell you that if the reason for starting your project is not sound, you are off to an incredibly bad start. Not the experience of your team, nor the project manager’s vast skillset is going to persuade the stakeholders and the market that a successful product was built. So a strong project sponsor with a solid business case is vital.

If the project manager is the general manager of the project, the traditional project sponsor is the CEO. But what, in theory, does a project sponsor do? The PMBOK 6th edition states that some of the responsibilities of the project sponsor are that they are accountable for the development and maintenance of the project business case with a focus on the benefits.

In Prince2, it places even more responsibility on the sponsor, known as the Executive. The Executive holds the decision-making power on the project and is ultimately responsible for the success of the project.

In reality, the project sponsor is often totally disconnected from what the market wants and their team. They are often more focused on what certain stakeholders, normally their immediate superiors, want. Also they have the team focussed on requirements that will add little to no value to customers.

Forces from the Market Place

The market has responded with a resounding no to this type of leader. Corporates are wanting the sponsors of their large programmes and projects, sometimes the very CEO themselves, to have their ears to the ground and their eyes on the horizon.

They want the owners to be driving aggressive value to the market place. This is with just enough functionality to implement sales and wow customers. MVP (Minimum Viable Product), is the buzz word on a number of C-suite executives’ lips. But how is the MVP determined? How are project sponsors to know they are on the right track?

The answer is: technology.

Technology is forcing companies and project sponsors to change. It forces them to become connected to the market and connected to their team. Technology is also providing them with the tools to do so. Advanced business intelligence, data lakes, and intelligent analytic solutions are providing companies with the information they need to gain superior insights into customer’s behaviours.

Online shopping, cloud-based platforms, social media and search engines show the power of customer data and the advantages that this offers to companies.

Sponsors are analysing user reviews and product returns all to get a better understanding of their customers. Project sponsors are now more than ever able to take ownership and the responsibility for the success of their projects.

Connected to their teams.

Agile has come and changed the way we develop and manage technology-based projects. It has also provided us with a new role. That of the product owner. The product owner not only epitomizes the characteristics we were looking for in our project sponsors, agile ensures that the product owner is connected to their teams at all times.

Digital product backlogs found in Jira and TFS, articulate the key visionary values of the product owner and the status of their projects.

Product owners can meet with their teams virtually via electronic meeting rooms in Stride and Microsoft Teams to remain updated and keep their teams inspired.

Automated deployments allow the product owners to deploy and demo to their stakeholders every two weeks (some companies can do it weekly). This is while the product owner speaks on behalf of their project team and sometimes demos alongside them.

No longer are teams limited to one location. Virtual teams can have developers in Germany, designers in the UK, the sponsor in America and the project manager in South Africa. The digital platforms keep them connected all the time.

Statista has projected that by 2021 the total app downloads will soar to 352 billion. (1) As a project manager, I am excited about these new project sponsors that are emerging and the technology that is supporting them to deliver even more projects and products.

With these new product owners emerging, and the tech to support them, roll on the projects I say.

References

  1. Dogtiev, Artyom. App download and usage statistics. Business of Apps. [Online] July 2018. 
  2. Sandler, Rachel. Business Insider| Business. Business Insider. [Online] July 2018. 

Do you have the Corporate Edge? The Benefits of Supplementary APMP Courses

For your corporate business to be at the very top of its game project management is one of the essential processes of an organisation. Not only will project management add order to your company the company but it will highlight your businesses strengths and weaknesses.

With this in mind, project management training is vital to ensure that your employees have the right skills and knowledge when it comes to handling a project.  Project management training will not only develop your team but will give your business a sense of their resources and what they need to improve on.

The Benefits of Project Management Training

Project management is vital to getting the most important tasks completed and 97% think it is critical to business performance and success. Project management training will aid your company and it will benefit your staff. Giving your staff a chance to develop will only be another positive to add to your business’ list.

By supplying your employees with project management training it will teach your staff the importance of time and setting of goals and objectives. Once your staff has completed a project management course, your business will run more efficiently as they will be able to prioritise these goals, making better use of their working day.

By investing in project management other operational questions within your business will be answered as you will know the remaining resources and needs of the company. Whether it is time, money or manpower, once your business has a proper planning strategy in motion the potential cracks in your business will start to show up more clearly. This is a positive thing as the sooner you set up a strategy the sooner you can mend whatever needs to be fixed making your business healthier in the long term.

supplementary project management

The Future of Project Management

Knowing how to work IT and applications within the work place may worry some of your employees. The rise in digital has meant that project management is not done manually. Some of your staff may feel confused working new systems as they may not be trained in it.

Project management has moved online and there are several applications and programs that can track important mile stones and progress of your projects. Two-thirds of companies are also now communicating with clients using project management software. Paper based training is outdated and is hard to manage and this is the reason why many businesses are choosing to do corporate training online.

An APMP certification in project management can be done online at home or in the work place. This will not only develop your professional skills but will impress future employers.  This course is recognised globally as project management is a role you can take almost anywhere. To be a successful project manager you must strong skills in delegation and management.

Should My Business Invest In Online Project Management Training?

Being realistic and time effective is important in corporate business. By supplying your staff with project management tools they will ill learn how to produce documents for review. Whatever business you are in reviewing is an important element and will help your business reflect and grow.

Each step of planning and project management should be accounted for as this will provide your business with a solid record that you can refer to or verify during review. Project management training will provide your team with the correct information about how to develop well documented project completion proofs.

question online skills

Your team can learn important project management skills online. Online learning appears to be increasing as a whole as last year there were 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course in 2011.

There are lots of benefits of completing an online course and the skills that you learn from it will be specific to your working environment. An online project management course gives students the opportunity to plan their study time to suit them, making their studies more productive and manageable.

Shattering 5 Common Myths – Moving Towards Better Project Management

If you’ve got a project on your hands, you will need to plan its development by organizing the resources at your disposal. You will also need to motivate these resources and control them, to develop the project successfully. What you basically need is successful project management from the ground up to complete it successfully and as per your expectations.

Back in the old days, a person’s experience and expertise in most activities that are a part of the development process ensured he was in charge of the project. Today, this role is taken up by individuals who have undergone PMP training who are placed in charge of enterprise project management. But, this article is neither about enterprise project managers nor is it about PMP certifications; it is about the myths that surround project management. These are the myths that impact project development to such an extent that project development can go haywire because of it. These are the myths that actually give budding project manager sleepless nights; if only they knew better!

So let’s take a look at some of the myths doing the rounds around the world of project management.

1. Just do it, Risks be Damned

I am sure you’ve heard of this one. The origins of this myth are unclear, but one origin could be the innate belief that the knowledge and qualifications of a project management team can take care of any eventuality. But, there are plenty of disruptions that a project is prone to and if you don’t have a contingency plan in place, these disruptions might be difficult to sort out. For example, there is a chance that a few of the team members fall sick through the course of project development; if you’ve not identified the resource who can take their place in such case, it’s just going to eat your project timeline.

Astute project managers are well aware of having a contingency plan in place if things go wrong. They are able to manage a project well because they have all the pieces of the puzzle sorted out. They conduct a thorough risk assessment of the project and know what to do if and when things go wrong.

2. Facts Matter more than the Emotions

Yes, facts and figures are the life and blood of project management and facilitate informed decision making. But it must be remembered that a project consists of human stakeholders and they have emotions. Project management is also about how you’re able to manage the emotions of the different people working in the project. It’s about managing their egos, inter-personal relationships and their sense of camaraderie. You can’t deliver a successful project without the right mix of emotions.

 3. The Right PMP Certification is Everything

Yes, certification is important but not the be all and end all for judging the skills of a project manager. From the perspective of a business hiring a project manager, a certification is the first selection parameter. But, through the course of the interview they must also be able to judge the project manager’s people skills, nature and ability to work under pressure. If they are hiring an experienced person, past projects handled and the person’s performance on these projects must be scrutinized.

From the project manager’s perspective, just because you have a PMP certificate in your hands doesn’t make you a good manager. You’ll need to earn your stripes.

4. Project Management is Over Rated

There are some businesses that have project manager on their rolls but do not trust their judgment. These businesses are essentially the ones that are run in a hands-on manner by their owners. But there are also businesses that do not see sense in putting a project manager in charge of a project development process. Their thinking is, a project manager is over rated and not really needed for the successful development of a project. This is erroneous thinking at its best. A project manager is trained to get things done keeping an eye on the expectations from the project. They are adept at handling the people working on the project and they are well versed with the intricacies of development to identify and manage problems that the project will encounter.

5. A Project Manager Ensures Team Members Deliver Value

Just because a particular project has a project manager, doesn’t mean the team members of the project will deliver the results you are looking for. The right team members with the right kind of qualifications are what work best for a project. Think of a project manager as somebody who is able to give direction to all the talent you have put at his disposal. You can hope to get the results you need, if the people who are a part of the project aren’t really all that qualified or talented. Project managers can polish the existing skill sets of the team members but that really isn’t their job at all.

To Conclude

Project management as a profession has come a long way since the time it first made its appearance on the scene. This has seen a consistent evolution over the years and the role of a project manager has become even more entrenched. Today, you can’t think of a project without a manager. But it’s important that you stay away from all the myths related to this profession and the manner in which they harm project management.

If you’re a business, you need to hire a project manager who can separate the wheat from the chaff and stays away from all these myths. As a project manager, you must be well aware of what a myth is and what’s not to take the right decision vis-a-vis your project.

Things to Know About the True Cost of PMP Certification

Becoming a certified PMP is no easy task — and no cheap task. When people think of the cost of PMP certification, they often think of the exam fee, which is hefty in itself. However, that’s only one portion of the full cost of PMP certification. There are many other costs that aspiring PMPs and businesses too often don’t take into consideration.

The Exam Fee

As previously stated, the PMP exam fee is nothing to sneeze at. The exam can be taken as a computer-based test (CBT) or paper-based test (PBT), but the fee is the same. $555. You may take the PMP exam 3 times in total if you don’t pass the first time, but subsequent attempts have a cost of their own: $375 per re-examination.

You can save some money on testing by becoming a PMI member, but that comes with its own costs.

PMI Membership

Becoming a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) can drop your exam fee from $555 to $405. Re-examination attempt fees are also dropped from $375 to $275. However, PMI membership comes at a cost, as well. There’s a membership fee of $129 and a joining fee of $10. This brings your costs back up to $544, not so far from the original $555.

However, PMI members can download the PMBOK handbook for free, whereas those without membership will have to pay upwards of $50 on Amazon.

Training Costs

But let’s back up. Before taking the PMP exam, you’ll first have to complete about 35 hours of training. There are a few ways to do this. Some choose a classroom or instructor-led setting, while others take online courses. There’s also a variety of prices here. Classroom training itself vastly varies, from as little as $200 to as much as $2,500. Instructor-led courses range from about one to two thousand. Online courses are the most affordable, rarely costing more than $500.

Additional Study

The PMBOK is one thing. You may also want to invest in additional study guides and resources. These books will help you focus on what’s important for the PMP exam, and what you’ll need to carry with you into your career. They, too, come at a cost, ranging from $40-100. In addition, there are practice tests available that can strengthen your chances of knowing what to expect from your PMP exam and how to best pass it. These also vary in cost, from about $60-100.

Besides all this, consider your study supplies. This could be flashcards, guides, highlighters, notes…or a software program that offers all the same results. These will be among the most affordable elements of your total cost, but they are a component and one that shouldn’t be forgotten when budgeting for your PMP certification.

Credentials

Passed the PMP exam and got your PMP certification? Great! But that’s not where the expenses end. You also have to have your credentials renewed every three years, and without renewed credentials, your passed PMP exam won’t get you very far. So every three years, you’ll have to pay a $150 renewal fee in order to stay current.

Once again, a PMI membership can reduce the cost here from $150 every three years to $60 every three years. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the annual membership fee for PMI memberships is $129, while credential renewal is only paid every three years.

Professional Development Units

In order to maintain your certification, you also have to attend 60 professional development units (PDU) every three years. A PDU amounts to about one hour, whether at a lecture at a PMI conference, in a classroom, or using an online training program. The more affordable options are podcasts, webinars, and the like, which can range from about $25-100 per PDU. All told, you could pay about $3,000 per year in order to maintain your PMP certification.

None of this is to say that a PMP certification isn’t worth it. While there is some discussion of whether or not a PMP certification is right for everyone, there’s no denying that it can give you a boost on the job market, and ensure that you’re paid competitively. A PMP certification easily makes you a desirable candidate to businesses in need of project managers. PMI membership, for its costs, also offers invaluable resources that set PMPs up for success. Rather, in conclusion, you should know the full cost of the endeavor for a PMP certification before you move forward. This way, you can budget properly and won’t be surprised.

Bio

Christine is an assistant for EdWel Programs, a leading provider for PMP Exam Prep and risk management training since 2002.

5 Crucial Concepts to Obtain Your PMP

When studying for the PMP exam, the PMBOK Guide may seem daunting. Unfortunately, there’s no cheat sheet or shortcut around it. If you want to know what parts of the PMBOK Guide are crucial to your exam, the answer is every section. However, if you want an elaboration on some of the most crucial concepts to understand before going into your PMP exam, you’ve come to the right place. Study these concepts meticulously before taking your PMP exam, and you’ll stand a good chance of passing on the first try.

Input, Tools, Technology, and Outputs (ITTO)

As a PMP, this is your process and your resources. It’s no wonder that ITTO takes up the bulk of the questions in the PMP exam…and that it can cause a hefty sense of intimidation. Simply put, ITTO is the process from which you turn your knowledge, technology, and tools into a finished project. Input is your plan for the project. Your budget, time constraints, your deadlines, and the skills you and your team bring to the project. Your tools and technology are the resources you use to execute this project: a good project management team, efficient technology, project tracking, etc. The output is the end goal for the project: how should the finished project look?

Integration Management

Integration management is the ability to manage each step in a project as one, unified project. It is the most essential part of your job as a PMP. It requires big picture vision and the ability to multitask and delegate deftly. Poor integration management will lead to sloppy, painful projects and more frequent project failure. Most importantly in the integration management world is change management.

Most projects will bring about at least one major change to an enterprise. That’s the point of starting a project. But it can be difficult to adjust to these changes, unless you’re skilled at change management. With change management, you apply your resources and knowledge to the organization in which you work in order to bring about successful, smooth change that improves the way that organization does business.

Quality Management

In the midst of a project, it’s the job of everyone on the team to ensure the quality before putting it out there in the world. However, the bulk of quality planning and control falls under the purview of the project manager. If quality is below par, it’s the project manager who will be held responsible. A big part of quality management is making sure your team is fully aware of the standards of quality to be expected in your project. Training the team to do quality checks and using prevention over inspection is just part of quality management. As this is a crucial part of a PMP’s career, it will be a crucial part of the test and should be studied thoroughly.

Cost Management

Nothing makes stakeholders lose confidence in a project like losing money. A project manager has to focus on the whole project, but stakeholders are focused on that bottom line. Thus cost management is crucial to PMPs and it’s crucial to the PMP exam. The ability to forecast costs of a project, create an appropriate budget, and stick to that budget or adjust it in the most discerning way possible, may be your most important skill as a PMP. Pay close attention to the cost management resources and tips in the PMBOK and carry them with you not just to the PMP exam but into your new career.

Human Resources

Sure, you’re not taking this exam to become a human resources manager, but you still need to have a strong understanding of how human resources works. Why? Because of conflict resolution. Interpersonal conflicts can get in the way of your team’s efficiency and diligence and can cause setbacks to your project. It’s also important to know how to network successfully as a PMP, especially if you’re a newly certified PMP without a long resume.

To fully prepare for the PMP exam, it’s important to read the PMBOK thoroughly. The PMBOK glossary will help acquaint you with the terminology you need to ace the PMP exam and may clarify points in the PMBOK. The RITA exercises will help you put this new information into context and try your practical knowledge of it, giving you a fuller understanding when it comes to test time. By the time you take the exam, you should not only have read about these concepts but should fully understand them.