Wednesday, March 21, 2018

PMP Success Story: If There Is A Will, There Is A Way

By Koyel Mukherjee, PMP

Market demand, scope of work and skillsets inspired me to take up PMP® certification. I was not ready for it due to my work life balance but thought of taking it as a challenge and a project off course.

One thing I learnt that thought process without action is just nothing, and people around me helped me to put my thoughts into actions for this challenge.

Coaching Experience
I have decided first to understand PMP and concept through experienced classroom trainers.

Virtual classroom sessions were not an option for me as I believe in interactive communication. After lot of review study and recommendations I opt for Satya’s Classroom training.

My inspiration to become a PMP got stronger after I attended Satya’s classes, where he proved project execution is important and strategy works if you know the basics and ground rules very well. I followed all his instructions religiously and his book: I Want To Be A PMP, was my base study material.

I have religiously noted his points in the class which I referred 1 day prior to my exam as my revision points.

Own Study
Last day of our Class, we have attended a short mock test, and Satya told me that I need 3-4 months preparation. 

My exam preparation path was as follows.
  • Everyday study minimum 4-5hrs.
  • Sent my application to PMI®, no audit luckily in my case.
  • I first finished Satya’s book. Then as referred Rita for other readings.
  • Then next round was Rita and PMBOK® and Satya’s book together for each process.
  • I have attempted 4000+ questions to train my brain and understanding my knowledge.
  • My score was always between 75 – 85% and it was consistent.

My core references mock exams were: 
  • Satya’s Mock sets.
  • Rita’s questions.
  • Pmzest, pmstudy and Scrodo’s PMP Greenbook questions.

Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP
The base of my study was “I Want To Be A PMP”, which I finished in 5days.

This book follows the PMBOK guide chapter organization and thus it was easier for me to read the guide.

The KEY ITTOs and Yogic Vision Tips were the most helpful sections. Also, the chapter end questions helped me to understand my initial gaps.

The videos are really important and helped me to visualize the concepts, especially Earned Value Management (EVM), Risk Response Strategies, Network diagram analysis.

PMP Exam Experience
I scheduled my Exam for Bangalore Centre by December for March, when my first-round reading of all the 3 books/guides were done. Next, I attempted few mocks and I was scoring nearly 75%.

I had already trained my brain enough to sit for 4 hours. My strategy was to find keywords and eliminate the given options.

PMP question standard is excellent. It is all about language and also the sequence of the situations. 
Questions types I got are as follows. I have got mathematical questions which I did without using calculator.

There are were about 2 questions on Communication channel.
  • 7 questions on Earned Value Management (EVM).
  • 4 questions on Network Diagram.
  • One question on type of contracts and also very tricky two-liner questions.
  • ITTO and Dataflow based questions and few direct questions from Human Resource Management, Quality Management, Risk Management and Communications Management. 
I completed 200 questions in 3 hours and 20 mins. I reviewed my answers in the remaining time, but I have not changed my first answer. I only re-read and reconfirmed with my own knowledge.

My target was 70 questions in first one hour and continue with that. I always prepared myself to read questions carefully in first go and select keywords and not to repeat the same. So, my pace was pretty fast. No breaks taken and no result expectations I kept when I started my 4 hours journey.

I clicked END button and took the survey and was praying helplessly when screen appeared with Congratulations and with Above Target score.

That feeling is really very special and I informed everyone who was part of my PMP journey, specially Satya who built the foundation of my PMP knowledge, to whom I owe my success credit as well.

Centre facilitators were very nice and helpful, whole environment was peaceful for me.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Strategy is the key to pass PMP. I would suggest you to plan your complete Study journey with target dates.
  • Give mocks with only one intention, i.e., to train your brain but don’t expect same questions in the exam ;-).
  • Daily study is must and revision before exam for 2 weeks should be part of your strategy. Before exam only refer PMBOK for the language and content.
  • Don’t refer too many materials and take your coach’s suggestions.
  • Don’t panic, don’t take too many suggestions and stick to your own plan.

PMP is what I need for my current role and also, I want to get involve in PMI chapters soon to share my knowledge.

I also will be mentoring people during weekends as suggested by my Organization for sixth edition PMBOK.

Brief Profile: 
Koyel Mukherjee, PMP
9+years working as Global Lead with Accenture. Experience includes Program Control Service Management/ Revenue Management/ Leadership and Client Reporting and Business Operations. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

PMP Success Story: PMP Certified – A Dream Come True

By Vikas Shankar, PMP

I have been involved in managing and leading teams for multiple projects for a few years now. I wanted to understand Project management in detail and get certified from globally acclaimed institute. So, I decided to go ahead with PMI-PMP. 

PMP Coaching Experience
When I was doing my research as to where I can get the PMP training, I came across multiple institutions in Bangalore and several coaching programs online. However, I was clear that I needed a classroom training. I am glad I chose Knowledgehut as it was a REP for PMP. Also, the best part was having Satya as the coach. 

Satya set the tone for training right from Day 1. That’s when I understood that this certification will take serious preparation and dedication. I made sure that I clearly listened to Satya during the class and gather all the tips and insights required for the exam.

The coaching clearly emphasized the important areas for the exam. I really appreciate the seriousness Satya brought regarding knowing the 47 processes on the finger tips. It was really helpful. Also, Satya emphasized more on understanding all the concepts. The last day of the coaching gave a sneak preview of what kind of questions we will face in the exam. And, I got an idea of how much preparation time is needed.

Own Study
I finished the PMP classroom training by 16th September, 2017.  I purchased Satya’s “I Want To Be A PMP” book. Along with that I read PMBOK Guide. I referred Rita Mulachy’s PMP Exam Prep book only for the Tips and questions. 

I wanted to complete the certification within 6 months. I decided this timeframe based on other people’s success stories and the general time it takes to prepare for this exam.  

I submitted my application in October. The PMBOK guide 5th edition was getting changed to 6th edition and the exam format would change on March 26th, which became the deadline for me. During other commitments, I started off my preparation in November and scheduled my exam in 1st week of March.  

I had the below roadmap for my preparation. 

Until Feb 1st week, I could do only normal preparation. This meant I could spend an hour every day and about 3-4 hours on weekends. 

I started with Satya’s book and completed it. Then I read PMBOK guide. This reading was initial reading and was not focussed on each detail.

I also covered Satya’s 4 sets of question banks and few questions from Rita’s book. I also referred some mobile apps for questions like PMPro, PocketPrep, PMP Exam Mentor. 

During the later phase of my preparation, I was spending 4 hours every day and 15 hours on weekends. I started reading PMBOK guide again in detail on every aspect and made my own notes. I referred additional websites and blogs to clarify my understanding of the concepts. Satya’s blog, flow diagrams and videos were very helpful. 

I never liked Maths from the beginning ;-). So, I knew this was one area I had to correct. I practiced hard on all the math concepts like EVM, Float calculations, Probability calculations etc. by referring additional online materials. This gave me confidence. I took Satya’s 3rd Question set on March 1st morning. I finished within 4 hours’ time and scored 79%. This gave me confidence that I can do well in the real exam.

I had two weeks left before the exam and by now I had to start taking mock exams. I practiced Oliver Lehmann’s two sets of questions and scored decently. This gave me confidence. 
I also completed Rita’s end chapter questions.

Doing preparation along with personal and professional commitments was tough. But what kept me motivated was to “Never Give Up” and I visualized how I would celebrate if I successfully passed the exam. I had promised myself few treats :-). These things got me going. 

The last 3 days before the exam I read Satya’s book again and referred my notes for revision. I slept early on the day before exam.

Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP
During the classroom training, I had started reading PMBOK guide and I knew an additional supporting book would be needed. 

I decided to buy Satya’s book as it communicates the concepts in an easy to understand format. It has flow diagrams, presentations, videos and mock question sets.

The explanation on float calculation was excellent with forward pass and backward pass techniques. I also liked the videos on conflict management, EVM and interpersonal skills.

The flow diagrams on change requests, deliverables and inter process communication are excellent. The mock tests are good and helps you to understand the knowledge gaps.

PMP Exam Experience
I scheduled my exam on March 5th 8:00 AM at Prometric center, Whitefield, Bangalore.

For the exam, my strategy was to follow the same approach I took during my mock test. I took time to answer each question first time correctly. I took first break after 70 questions. Second break at 150 questions. I remembered Satya’s tips for the exam day. I was smiling and taking deep breaths every now and then. Some of the answer choices for the questions made me smile ;-). This made me relax. 

When I came back from second break, I had to complete 50 questions in 60 minutes! I finished 200 questions with 6 minutes to spare. I reviewed 4 marked questions and made corrections. I finally submitted and waited for the result with my heart pounding fast. When I saw the “Congratulations” message, it was an emotional moment for me. It was a dream come true.

The questions I faced were mostly situational. 
  • I had a couple of mathematical questions on CPI, SPI. 
  • I got situational questions on Project manager interpersonal skills, conflict management, risk response strategies. 
  • I got lot of situational questions on ITTO. My understanding of all the ITTO’s helped me to answer these questions.

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Understand all the concepts well. No concepts can be ignored.
  • Take care of your health.
  • Know the Process table of 47 processes on your fingertips.
  • Every little effort counts. Even if you can prepare only 15 minutes on a busy day. It matters.
  • Schedule the exam date early and have a road map. You can do it. 

  • Schedule an exam date and stick to it no matter what. Do not postpone. 

I will leverage my learnings from PMP in my professional and personal life to become a better leader.
I would like to thank my family for their support during my PMP journey. 

A big thank you to Satya for his coaching and mentoring during my PMP journey. I have read success stories on this very blog that have inspired me and today I am privileged to write one. 

Brief Profile
Name: Vikas Shankar, PMP
I am currently working as a Technology Specialist in a large Cyber Industrial company.
I have 11+ years of experience in IT industry. 

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    Thursday, March 15, 2018

    PMP Success Story: Strong Foundation in Basics, Hard Work and Determination Will Help You Pass The Exam

    By Srikanth SubbaRao, PMP

    Hi, Everyone. This is Srikanth SubbaRao from Bangalore. I currently work as a Scrum Master for Adobe Systems and recently got PMP certified on 5th March, 2018 and I’m absolutely thrilled in using this forum and platform to share my experience hoping that it can help others.

    Coaching Experience
    I had my PMP boot camp sessions in December, 2017 and I was blessed to be a part of Satya Sir’s PMP Training. Satya Sir’s immense knowledge and expertise in project management and his superior skills and knowledge in the areas of PMP really helped me to grasp the complex concepts very easily. 

    Sessions on CPM, EVM which are considered to be the toughest in PMP exam was modelled in a very nice way. There were real examples of how you can relate PMP concepts. Areas of stakeholder engagement, conflict management concepts and risk response strategies were very well explained.  This interactive session especially for charting out all 47 Project management processes were of great help. 

    Overall it was an exciting experience to be a part of Satya Sir’s class which gives you the foundation for further studies. Let me be clear here and even Satya Sir stresses this in his classes, it is impossible for someone to acquire knowledge of PMP concepts in 4 days (2 weekend) classes. What you would get in these classes is a solid foundation of concepts which is extremely crucial for further studies.

    Own Study
    Alright. Now this is the most important thing that everyone needs to understand. You need to sacrifice a lot in your personal life. Be ready for that. 

    The real challenge is how would you start building your knowledge on that foundation is the key. Why don’t you start recollecting the concepts of “Initating”, “Planning”, “Executing”, “Monitoring and Controlling” and “Closing”? 

    That you would have extensively studied for 4 days in Satys Sir’s class and I used these concepts to plan for my PMP exam. 

    This is how I proceeded.

    Project: Pass the PMP Exam
    Duration: 3 months 
    Planning: 3 hours of studies every day and 10 to 12 hours of study in weekends. Parallelly, I submitted my PMP exam application online and it was approved. I wanted to study every day this way: two chapters from “I Want To Be PMP” book and one chapter from the PMBOK guide.

    Executing: Find a quiet place to study. I’ve gone to my office in the weekends, visited the Central Library at Cubbon Park to do so. This really helped me a lot in getting my concepts right.

    I’ve studied the PMBOK Guide at least 2 times word by word along with Satya Sir’s “I want to be a PMP” which is the most simplified version of PMBOK guide. It has a number of Yogic vision tips and tricks for each concept. I also referred Rita’s book. 

    Change Management: As PMBOK guide teaches you – what you plan, rarely happens in real life.  I had created a project plan for covering specific chapters every day. Well, I didn’t create a WBS by decomposing the entire syllabus, but there are times when you need to accommodate changes. You can go sick where you can go behind schedule (SPI <1!) and the plan has gone awry. You unfortunately cannot crash or fast track your activities here. But you need to make up for it. 

    Monitoring and Controlling: I would call this mode as “test taking mode”. This would allow you to monitor your progress and gauge your level of understanding on PMP concepts. I got into this mode 3 weeks before the exam. I took questions from various sources.

    I tried Knowledgehut questions, Oliver Lehmans set of 175 questions, along with Christopher Socrodo’s 1000 PMP questions and every chapter end question from Rita’s book.

    The book “I Want To Be A PMP” has 3 set of full length Questions. The level of difficulty gradually raises from one set to another and 3rd being the toughest. I would highly recommend this book for super high quality situational questions

    With all of the above resources, I started feeling better as my brain and body was all set to handle the pressure for 4 hours on the actual exam day.

    Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP
    This book can be called as the simpler version of PMBOK guide almost covering each and every concept in a very simple way with a lot of “yogic vision tips”, “diagrams”, “formulas” and “concepts” which has been drafted in a very nice way.

    The way Satya Sir has explained steps in each process is very important for some-one to get the concepts right. 

    The high-quality videos that Satya Sir has provided for areas in “Change Management”, “Conflict Management”, “CPM and CCM” and lot more areas would be a boon for someone to learn those concepts on go.

    I would highly recommend to get this book to sharpen your concepts and skills.

    PMP Exam Experience
    This, I’ll refer as the Closing process group for my project. I had prepared for it – by taking simulation tests exactly in 4 hours. My appointment was at 8 AM on 05th March 2018, but was scheduled a bit earlier as requested by the Prometric center. 

    My first question was on Earned Value Management (EVM)! My heart started pounding but I took control of the situation and started the exam. I did not face many lengthy questions, but all the medium paragraph questions. But the questions were very tricky. 

    As Satya Sir had mentioned, the exam is also a psychometric analysis test. With solid concepts in mind, I was able to use different techniques to select the right answers. I submitted 5 minutes before and finally saw those beautiful words “Congratulations, you have passed the exam!” 

    It took few minutes for me to digest the fact that I had passed the exam. This was a heavenly feeling for quite some time and I felt every single minute of my hard-work has been paid off. By God’s grace, I cleared the exam with “Above Target” in all the areas and was successfully able to “Close the Project” with HUGE SUCCESS.

    What you are reading now is my documentation of “Lessons learnt” and will be historical information for you at ManagementYogi’s blog ;-) ;-)

    Hope this article was useful and All the Best to everyone attempting PMP!!

    Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
    • Solid 3 month of effort (minimum) required with dedicated time of studies every-day.
    • More time and dedication on weekends.
    • Scan PMBOK at least 2 times (every word); Satya Sir’s book “I Want To Be A PMP” is also amazing.
    • Take loads and loads of test at least 3000 questions to get that mental and physical endurance and confidence in attempting the exam.
    • It’s not easy to pass this exam without dedication and HARD WORK. 

    • Don’t Panic. Believe in yourself that you can do it. 
    • Don’t underestimate this certification like any other exams or certifications. 
    • Please avoid “brain dumping” methods that people use for other certifications.  You cannot 100% pass this exam in that method as every question is uniquely crafted by experts who don't want “brain dumpers” to get through this exam.

    I have already started applying lot of concepts especially in areas such as conflict management, because I manage a small team at Adobe. Various concepts of Planning, Risk management are really crucial for my job and I’m finding the skills that I have acquired from the exam is really helping me in managing our Sprints better.

    Brief Profile: 
    Srikanth SubbaRao. Working as a Scrum Master at Adobe Systems Pvt Ltd, Bangalore.