Anyone taken the PMP exam?

I'm wondering about the eligibility requirements.

They ask for a bachelor's degree: Check
Five years of project management experience: Depends on how they determine that.
And 35 hours of PMI classes: Sounds like rent seeking behavior, but I'll bite if it means better marketability.

How big a deal is this?
How do they determine whether or not my job experience qualifies as "project management"?

I've been an active PMP for almost 5 years now. It's not incredibly useful at my current employer (going on 4 years), but I have seen it gain people promotions, as well as seeing PMP Preferred on many job reqs across the country - particularly in construction, network operations, and most anyplace hiring PMs where there are a lot of compliance regulations.

PMI is well regarded across the world, and they've helped create the ISO standards around project management. They do have a bad rap in the software development community. PMI has recently opened up an Agile PM cert as well to attend that sector better (but "Agile" is on notice as an umbrella concept for many leading tech companies).

5 years of experience isn't too hard to build if you've done any work even remotely linked to project management. The real question is whether they audit your application (the majority aren't audited). If you are audited, they will consult your referenced employers.

When I applied for the cert, I had to describe each project (2-4 sentences) including my role in the overall delivery. Then I had to break the total project areas across the core process groups:
Initiating
Planning
Executing
Monitoring and Controlling
Closing

They want to see project hours across each of those groups, but not all necessarily on one project. So perhaps you were involved in the Initiating process of a project - that would be one project. Perhaps on another with 200 project hours, you spent 80 in Planning and 120 in Executing. For each group they'll want to know what your role was and how you delivered/managed in that group. I suspect that using the PMI - project buzzwords is helpful in these descriptions.

Project truly can be anything where you coordinated the work, preferably across a team, but I've helped others gain their exam wherein their resume had several solo projects in them.

The exam can be quite tough, and I've seen failure rates in the 70%. Granted, my experience is dated and YMMV. Hope that helps.

I have no experience with PMP, however a good friend of mine recently went through PMP and wrote up a memoir of the experience, so here's that:

http://avitria.com/

If you do decide to go through with it, good luck!

AnimeJ wrote:

I have no experience with PMP, however a good friend of mine recently went through PMP and wrote up a memoir of the experience, so here's that:

http://avitria.com/

If you do decide to go through with it, good luck!

Wow. Tell your buddy he's a credit to humanity for writing that.

I did the exam a while back, so maybe things have changed a bit. It really doesn't have a lot to do with how good a PM you'll be, but instead whether or not you can regurgitate the PMBOK. I've seen excellent realworld PMs fail the exam & lousy ones pass, all based on understanding that the exam is about parroting back what it says in the PMBOK, not real world solutions. That said, it seems to have become the standard qualification to slap on a resume that says "I do PM" and I've seen plenty of job requirements listing PMP.

The training hours are pretty easy to get. I use online training a lot for my continuing PDU requirements.

Cod wrote:

I did the exam a while back, so maybe things have changed a bit. It really doesn't have a lot to do with how good a PM you'll be, but instead whether or not you can regurgitate the PMBOK. I've seen excellent realworld PMs fail the exam & lousy ones pass, all based on understanding that the exam is about parroting back what it says in the PMBOK, not real world solutions. That said, it seems to have become the standard qualification to slap on a resume that says "I do PM" and I've seen plenty of job requirements listing PMP.

The training hours are pretty easy to get. I use online training a lot for my continuing PDU requirements.

Cool.

My local community college is offering the whole PMI stack (42 hours) in a night course (three hours a night on Tuesdays/Thursdays) for two months. I think they're asking $2700. This might be the way to go for me since that sort of gets things out of the way in a manner that provides urgency and discipline. I'm not sure I could do it in my own time online.

Does that sound reasonable?

Paleocon wrote:

My local community college is offering the whole PMI stack (42 hours) in a night course (three hours a night on Tuesdays/Thursdays) for two months. I think they're asking $2700. This might be the way to go for me since that sort of gets things out of the way in a manner that provides urgency and discipline. I'm not sure I could do it in my own time online.

Does that sound reasonable?

Sorry, no idea. My training this year for renewing my PMP cost me $0, since my employer has a subscription to an online service giving us as many courses as we want.

Cod wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

My local community college is offering the whole PMI stack (42 hours) in a night course (three hours a night on Tuesdays/Thursdays) for two months. I think they're asking $2700. This might be the way to go for me since that sort of gets things out of the way in a manner that provides urgency and discipline. I'm not sure I could do it in my own time online.

Does that sound reasonable?

Sorry, no idea. My training this year for renewing my PMP cost me $0, since my employer has a subscription to an online service giving us as many courses as we want.

Wow. $0 is less than $2700, right?

I need to find a job that pays for training.

I'm PMP certified and echo the comments above. Go into the exam and answer 'by the book' - the real world answer is unlikely to help. But also note that the real world answer is usually based on expediency and internal politics which is not necessarily a best answer in the long run. PMI doesn't deal with bullsh*t very well.

Locally it is a pretty good networking group. Monthly sessions, some of which have helpful presentations and other events throughout the year for catching up with others of your kind.

Bruce wrote:

...note that the real world answer is usually based on expediency and internal politics which is not necessarily a best answer in the long run. PMI doesn't deal with bullsh*t very well.

This. I wish it acknowledged that the BS/politics exists a bit more & went in the direction of best practices in dealing with those issues.

Thinking about it, might be worth checking the local PMI group for training too.

Cod wrote:
Bruce wrote:

...note that the real world answer is usually based on expediency and internal politics which is not necessarily a best answer in the long run. PMI doesn't deal with bullsh*t very well.

This. I wish it acknowledged that the BS/politics exists a bit more & went in the direction of best practices in dealing with those issues.

Thinking about it, might be worth checking the local PMI group for training too.

Totally true. The PMI exam is all about memorizing the terms and processes.

I have found the Stanford Advanced Project Management to be excellent at sharing real-world scenarios. Granted, all of my class time has been in-person so I can't speak to the online courses, but they really foster a lot of discussion useful for address real world situations.

PMI gives you some advice on dealing with bullsh*t - but it is untestable in an exam.

Imagine questions like this.

Q - You are working within a weak matrix environment where you hold neither carrot nor stick to motivate your virtual team members. One key person, Susan, has missed a deliverable because another PM is better at nagging than you are and got their project to the top of her priority list. Susan's manager is completely ineffectual so escalating there is as useful as telling the cat. All contingency was removed from your project before you even started as part of an efficiency incentive.
How do you resolve this situation?

HedgeWizard's post is fun for the whole family if you replace "PMP" with "pimp."

Bruce wrote:

PMI gives you some advice on dealing with bullsh*t - but it is untestable in an exam.

Imagine questions like this.

Q - You are working within a weak matrix environment where you hold neither carrot nor stick to motivate your virtual team members. One key person, Susan, has missed a deliverable because another PM is better at nagging than you are and got their project to the top of her priority list. Susan's manager is completely ineffectual so escalating there is as useful as telling the cat. All contingency was removed from your project before you even started as part of an efficiency incentive.
How do you resolve this situation?

Multiple choice....
A. Persuade the customer they didn't need the deliverable anyway.
B. Implement lengthy daily status meetings with Susan and her manager. Make her prepare progress charts.
C. Distract the other PM by volunteering their project for a process improvement initiative & get your deliverable to the top of Susan's priority list while they are distracted.
D. Blame your predecessor for failing to implement good scope control and rebaseline the project.

LobsterMobster wrote:

HedgeWizard's post is fun for the whole family if you replace "PMP" with "pimp."

I have a weekly, frequently canceled meeting for PMP training, in which our deparmental PMP shares her wisdom. It quickly descends into me IMing friends with pimp jokes.

HedgeWizard wrote:

I've been an active PiMP for almost 5 years now. It's not incredibly useful at my current employer (going on 4 years), but I have seen it gain people promotions, as well as seeing PiMP Preferred on many job reqs across the country - particularly in human trafficking, racketeering, and most anyplace hiring PiMPs where there are a lot of compliance violations.

PiMPinIT is well regarded across the world, and they've helped create the standards around prostitute management. They do have a bad rap in the law enforcement community. PiMPinIT has recently opened up an Bottom Bitch cert as well to attend that sector better (but "Bottom Bitch" is on notice as an umbrella concept for many leading service companies).

5 years of experience isn't too hard to build if you've done any work even remotely linked to prostitution. The real question is whether they audit your application (the majority aren't audited). If you are audited, they will consult your referenced employers.

When I applied for the cert, I had to describe each project (2-4 sentences) including my role in the overall delivery. Then I had to break the total project areas across the core process groups:
Soliciting
Price Negotiating
Servicing
Monitoring and Controlling
Closing

They want to see project hours across each of those groups, but not all necessarily on one project. So perhaps you were involved in the Soliciting process of a project - that would be one project. Perhaps on another with 200 project hours, you spent 80 in Negotiating and 120 in Servicing. For each group they'll want to know what your role was and how you delivered/managed in that group. I suspect that using the PiMPinIT- project buzzwords is helpful in these descriptions.

Project truly can be anything where you coordinated the work, preferably across a team, but I've helped others gain their exam wherein their resume had several solo projects in them.

The exam can be quite tough, and I've seen failure rates in the 70%. Granted, my experience is dated and YMMV. Hope that helps.

Fixed for Lobster hilarity.

LobsterMobster wrote:

HedgeWizard's post is fun for the whole family if you replace "PMP" with "pimp."

I have had HUGE amount of difficulty not making pimp jokes as long as this thread has been up. Mostly I wondered if Snoop Dogg proctored these tests.

I'm looking into this right now, as I suspect I may lose my 19 year job soon due to reorganization and cost cutting. This at a large financial institution.

I've been meaning to look into this for awhile, but there's always real deadlines on live production stuff that gets priority. Well, until it doesn't matter any more.

I've always been a good test taker, so the book knowledge is no concern. I'm more concerned about documenting projects that I've worked on.

My background has always been in regional or operational management of small to large parts of projects, and less on whole project management. For instance, I might be the operational subject matter expert that organizes operational groups, takes a team and designs and documents processes, and delivers the communication to the actual production side of the company where client interaction happens. Many times I'll get at the horizon phase where requirements are written and architecture laid out, but I've never really managed that part. Prior to that, I was responsible for a region of a delivery system that had a lot of individual parts (ATMs) for a multi-state part of the company, and I did in effect manage lots of small projects that included everything from lease negotiation, organizing contractors and vendors for construction and installation, to ongoing server vendor management, to dealing with retail training at the sites where we had employees actually dealing with the machines on a weekly basis.

I would think this stuff would be "project management", but I'm concerned that my part of the organization was rarely in charge of things such as resource assignments and budgets from the top down. We had our parts, and had parts that we would direct once they'd been assigned, but I generally am not the top PM.

My strengths are in implementation much more than the accounting piece, both due to job roles and personal strengths.

Is the stuff I've done going to qualify for the 4500 hours? 4500 project hours over the past 15+ years are there, I'm just not sure they necessarily are exactly what qualifies.

Second question: is the CAPM even worth it for someone like me as a step?

My wife is a nurse, and looking at the job market in Nashville, health care might be a nice transition from the financial industry right now, as I think that might offer more long term opportunity and there are several large health care companies based in Nashville.

I'm also thinking about just going back to school and doing a complete pivot into some form of Engineering, but financially that's a bit more scary for my family as a 41 year old guy with a wife and 10 year old step-child. That would mean dropping more than half the family income for a period of time, and I hate to ask the rest of the family to tighten up for that kind of time. Then once I'd get out of school, I'd end up having to work my way back up again, but hopefully with more knowledge at the outset.

The good thing is that I've always been pretty conservative financially, so have options. I'm just in that period after hearing some rumblings that I'm a bit off balance until I can figure out a plan for me and my family.