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.

 

An In-depth Look into PMP Certification and why it Matters?

A publication from Project Management Institution alludes to a study by Economist Intelligence Report shows that at least 80% of global executives and professionals believe that having project management as a core competency helps them to remain competitive during recession.

In another report by McKinsey, nearly 60% of senior executives reveal that a strong project management discipline is one of the top-three priorities for their companies in the future.

The relentless need for efficient and streamlined project management isn’t surprising. Companies of all sizes, across industries, have been steadily embracing project management. Efficient project management helps control their budgets, get work done efficiently, streamline business processes with scientific granularity, reduce risks, and enhance their success rates.

Project managers with established credibility – such as experience, and PMP certification – lend themselves invaluable to organizations looking to succeed with projects they take up. They help reduce the incidence of failed projects and lead business processes with confidence. That brings us to the certification process itself.

Let’s do a deep dive into PMP certification and why it matters:

PMP certification gets you prepped up

The whole world of business now grows one project at a time.

Project managers with professional certification such as PMP certification are introduced to the challenging world of managing projects locally and globally. The pathway to gain PMP certification is a first look for managers looking to gain competency in project management. PMP, for instance, is a PMI certification that’s globally recognized, in-demand, and highly-valued.

According to PMI Project Management Salary survey, a PMP certification is one of those deal making trump cards leading to faster growth and better salaries.

The PMI certification course demands intellect, experience, education, and competency. It helps project managers take on real-world problems hands on.

PMI takes a lot and hence gives a lot

To apply for a PMP certification, you’ll need a secondary degree such as a high school diploma or an associate’s degree. A global equivalent of such a degree also holds valid.

Further, you’ll need at least 5 years of project management experience racking up 7,500 hours of leading and directing projects to success. You’ll also need at least 35 hours of pure project management education.

Alternatively, a 4-year bachelor’s degree with 4,500 hours of real experience on managing projects along with the mandatory 35 years of project management education.

The Project Management Institute also publishes a PMP Handbook that you’d do well to download and refer to.

Application for the PMP certification exam is also subjected to an audit that you’ll agree as a condition. You receive PMP credentials after passing the examination but the certification itself isn’t a one-time shot, though. Successful PMP certificate benefactors have to earn 60 PDUs (professional Development Units) every three years as a part of PMI’s continuing certification requirements program.

PMP is just one certification. If you want to attain more than PMP certification such as a PgMP credential, you very well do so if you are eligible.

With PMP You Become an Insider, Jargon and all

Armed with a PMP certification, you get to take on clients directly. You’ll be able to manage teams with clarity, focus, and with workflows designed to fetch results.

Achieving a PMP certificate is also testimony to the fact that you’d pick up jargon that resonates well with other project managers, colleagues, and senior executives.

For a change, everyone stays on the same page and talks the same language. You’d still be able to manage projects without a certification but it’s just that a PMP certificate gives you a lot more credibility when you start taking initiative, engage in communication, and lead projects.

It’s a certification that lets people take notice. Give you the ear when you speak, follow when you give instructions, and respect your decisions.

PMP is a cash maker

We noted earlier in a post on PMP certificate that by the end of 2011, there are about 466,000 registered, PMP certified project managers.  There’s a reason so many aspiring managers work towards PHP certification: it makes money.

An Anderson economic group report reveals that an average of about 1.2 million project management positions will surface each year, all the way through 2016, owing to a shift in demographics in countries like the U.S and Europe and also due to a spurt in overall growth in projects globally.

Further, a Computer World Survey lists Project management at number two and also cites that 40% of recruiters plan to hire for Project Management Skill in the next 12 months.  Leadership and execution, of course, are of primary importance apart from background, experience, education, and certification.

PMP gets you the edge

It’s the trust economy we are in and qualifications and credentials such as certification courses are in big demand because they are trust tools.

While these courses and certifications certainly teach you a lot and take you deep into the subject along with practical application, they are designed to give you an edge. All things being equal, a PMP certificate helps you to score against a non-PMP. If you wish to get into consulting, it’s almost a pre-requisite when you go looking for clients or to win their trust to have you manage their projects for them.

If it’s not mandatory for the job you are applying to or for the company you are working with, PMP is a matter of choice.

In education and credibility, we believe. From that standpoint, a PMP certification can be a jewel in the crown; a feather in your camp; and a reason that you succeed in your career

Do you have PMP certification? Do you aspire to achieve one? What do you think about the apparent benefits of a PMP certification and how do you think it enhances your career? Please share your thoughts with us.

 

PMP Certificate: How Effective Is It to Become a Successful Project Manager?

Successful project managers must simultaneously strive to manage the four basic elements pertaining to any project: scope, money, time, and quality. All these four elements are correlated and should be managed effectively to guarantee the success of your project. The real question business owners should ask themselves is: when should they assign a PMP certified manager to their project? At times, it is excessive to demand that your project manager be PMP certified. However, in other cases it may wise to insist on it. Where do you draw the line? How do you decide that your project requires a PMP certified project manager?

A PMP designation is not an indication of how successful a prospective project manager will be in executing your project. Having PMP certification simply means the individual has the proper training and experience required to sit the exam, and then proceeded to answer 61% of the exam questions correctly!

A lot of employers place a great deal of value in PMP certification when looking for project managers. For many organizations, it is a straight forward screening mechanism used by the HR department. However, such an approach may be counterproductive and may end up screening out project managers with relevant experience in handling similar projects, leaving the organization with a less experienced yet well trained PMP certified project manager. This raises the question: when does relevant experience trump PMP certification in the selection of project managers? Well, that’s a discussion for another day. Today, however, we discuss the importance of obtaining PMP certification and its impact to your career as a project manager.

For project management consultants, professional certification has become almost a necessity. In addition to great interpersonal, organizational, communication, and problem-solving skills, it is worthwhile for both freelancers and consultants to invest in becoming PMI accredited. Becoming a PMP certified project manager offers four important benefits to your career:

1. Increases Your Billing Rate
Both education and experience determine your billing rate as a project manager. Adding a PMP certification to your credentials will increase the dollar value of your service. Why? There is currently an increased interest by both mid-sized and large corporations in hiring PMP certified project managers. More and more companies are willing to pay big bucks for higher levels of expertise, and a pay rise or a jump to a new job may cover the cost of obtaining your PMP certification in just a few months.

2. Brings In New Clients
In 2011, the number of registered PMP certified project managers stood at 466,000. Over the years, these numbers have continued to rise and so have the number of organizations who recognize the value of hiring PMP certified project managers. Sometimes, PMP certification for a project manager could be the difference between getting hired or not; it could tilt the scale in your favor when your potential client is deciding whether to hire you over another freelancer or consultant. As a project manager, it also broadens your prospective employer list to include those that automatically filter candidates using PMP certification as a selection criterion.

3. Provides International Recognition
Working with international companies and organizations who have a strong global presence will get your skills noticed on a global platform. PMP certification is an ISO certified credential, meaning that it is recognized and endorsed in more than 85 countries. ISO certification is considered an important benchmark; hence global organizations are now finding it beneficial to hire PMP certified project managers because they can reference the ISO certification.

4. Builds Credibility
Obtaining a PMP certification requires that you strictly meet the specific and stringent guidelines that gauge your education, experience, and professional knowledge. In addition to meeting these qualifications, you are required to have at least five years of experience in a project management position before sitting for the exam. You should have accumulated at least 4,500 hours managing and leading projects. PMP certified professionals must agree to abide by the strict industry-accepted code of ethics. So, becoming PMP certified is no simple task; however, the designation represents a high degree of experience and professionalism which almost instantaneously boosts your credibility as a project manager.