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TOPIC: Passed 1st Attempt - Lessons learned

Passed 1st Attempt - Lessons learned 3 weeks 13 hours ago #18636

  • Edouard de Mahieu
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Hi everyone,

I passed on first attempt end of July. Everything went smoothly and according to plan thanks to all the previous lessons learned and guides already available here and online.

I'm finally taking the time to share a few lessons learned. I've tried to list only the ones that I feel may be a bit different than the usual ones you have probably read many times already.

In regards to the certification process
=> Nothing special to report. Follow the guides and lessons learned. Follow the PMI instructions. I was audited but the process went exactly as stated. Plan for this, build checklists, follow the process, don't forget anything.

In regards to the study process
=> For Studying, I only worked with the PMBOK, PM PrepCast and the Exam Simulator. This was complemented with various Google searches.

1- "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
=> Understand how you remember and learn. Evaluate your learning style. Adapt your study plan accordingly. Select and apply the lessons learned and recommendations that work for you (or test them if unsure).

The PM Prepcast will tell you about the document or process, sometimes teach you how to build it (ex: stakeholder matrix) but go a step further and get involved in creating your own with your own data.

In my case, I know that I will only remember things if I'm able to understand the logic and by actively using the technique or tool.
Instead of playing ITTO or flashcards games which require pure memory skill which I'm terrible at, I opted to work on finding or creating the various tools and documents mentioned in the PMBOK and Prepcast.

For example, experimenting with a Monte Carlo Simulation tool in excel made the schedule simulation topic clear as I was forced to find the actual inputs for the process, use the tool and understand the results and how to interpret them. It can be more time consuming to learn this way but it's more effective for me, especially for long term (I don't want to forget these new valuable skills).

Consider it a long term investment in upgrading your personal project manager's toolbox. If you worked in a big organization with a PMO and lots of templates, you probably have had access to advanced tools. If you worked in an organization with barely any PM tools (my case), well, start collecting them from external sources.

2. You can find a lot of tools and templates online to accomplish the above
=>Just Google them. You'll find plenty of websites, YouTube videos and excel workbooks available for you to explore and learn. Additionally, they might come in handy next time you need them for your work. The PM community is amazing.

3. Consider the order in which you learn/review the different processes
=> Approach the different processes from the body of knowledge axis (doing all of a BOK such as Scope: 5.1 Plan Scope Management > 5.2 Collect Requirements> ..) AND the process axis (initiation > planning> etc.)
The PMBOK Part 1 is organized per BOK, Part 2 per process.

Using the search function in the PMBOK is also great to do a deep dive on a keyword/topic across the PMBOK (search for 'lessons learned' to get a feel for its web of connections). This is how I 'connected' the web of PM concepts that the PMI has mapped out using the ITTO. After using the tools where you've had to find the inputs, these ITTO links will 'connect' subconsciously in your expertise. It will feel like you 'just know' the answer but this required building up these links through exercise and logic. It's like asking a native speaker why a sentence is correct or not, they can't explain the grammar, they just 'know'. Traveling along all of these logical links is similar to building your mental model of a new city when you realize that 'Oh! This street leads to this area! That's good to know!'

4. Try using the tools/documents on projects/cases that would be different than the ones you are traditionally used to manage or encounter
=> Its a good way to experiment with the tools using different situations and input. I obviously had a project plan to guide my PMP certification project but I use the tools and techniques I found for other side projects. Experiment with a Kanban board if you've never used Agile for example. Be creative, select random projects. This is a great way to learn the 'tailoring' skill as you will be confronted with 'is this useful to do or not' and 'if so, until what level of detail?'

In regards to preparing for the exam
=> Nothing special. Use the PM Prepcast and simulate exam situations at home as best as possible. (I only did full exams)
- I averaged between 80-85% on the PM PrepCast Exam Simulator (full 5 exams done)
- For each exam, follow a PDCA cycle. Maintain a gap analysis of your PMBOK knowledge. The after exam reports are fantastic: use filters to identify wrong questions, review the answer, define an action plan to improve the areas of poor performance, study. Take a new exam. Repeat.

In terms of PMP exams results
=> Actual exam resulted in Above Target in all 5 chapters. :)

Many thanks for everyone's contribution to the lessons learned here and the whole PM PrepCast team. I'm happy I opted for this platform. It paid off :)

Cheers,
Edouard

Passed 1st Attempt - Lessons learned 3 weeks 11 hours ago #18637

  • Cornelius Fichtner
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Congratulations, Edouard!

And thank you for your in-depth lessons learned!

Don't forget that your PMP certification is valid for 3 years and that you have to earn 60 PDUs during this time in order to renew your certification for another 3 years. And that cycle continues "forever".
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC
The following user(s) said Thank You: Edouard de Mahieu

Passed 1st Attempt - Lessons learned 2 weeks 6 days ago #18667

  • Edouard de Mahieu
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Thank you Cornelius!

And yes, you are correct to stress the reminder about the CCR & PDUs.

60 PDU over 36 months is a lot more doable than in a panic filled last 3 months.

I'm currently going through the CCR handbook, building a personal development plan to target which skills to improve in my profile and will begin the PM Podcast soon.

Kind regards,
Edouard
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