How I became PMP and how best to not do it

I have long realized that sharing experience is good. But only recently I realized that they can be shared not only with friends and relatives, but with everyone.

Therefore, I want to tell you how I went to certification, why I did it and how it ended.

My experience will be divided into sections:

  1. Why PMP ?
  2. Preparation - Planning
  3. Start of preparation
  4. The audit s
  5. Completion of preparation
  6. Exam
  7. Life after

Since I love holistic stories and background, the first section can not be read to those in a hurry.

1. Why PMP?

I learned about PMI a long time ago - before the certification took place more than 7 years. And my first acquaintance happened in 2011, when a friend told me about PMBoK during a simple walk. Then we did not discuss work or business - we just chatted about everything in a row.

Since I am a rather curious person, I try to learn new things as soon as possible (and even useless at first glance). Therefore, when I got home, I downloaded the 4th edition of the code in Russian and quickly read it.

How would I comment on this book then? Tricky, sometimes incomprehensible, sometimes too obvious and hard to perceive.

And in 2012, I came across obvious projects, coming to a new job. I speak with the explicit - because I have encountered them before, but did not realize it. Therefore, I begin my experience in project management from 2012 onwards.

And despite the fact that they were the first for me - they were complex and complex, of a federal scale. These were projects to automate the activities of the entire structure of the federal body, and also - to interact with the regions.

And I did not immediately become the project manager, and indeed I didn’t really want to become. But here where I was initially - it was in the project management team.

Was everything done and worked right? Absolutely not. But I always tried to do everything well. Most often, the timing and effect of the implementation suffered. Not much, no - but still, something was completed another two or four weeks after the formal project was closed.

And the most interesting thing is that when I did everything right, I almost always remembered PMBoK.
He came to the same conclusions. Not always obvious, but still.

In 2014, I already had more than one project of this magnitude on my account, and I have already been the manager of these projects more than once. Not of my own free will - but they told me that this must be done, and I did. Not everything was great, but I can’t say that at least one of the projects was a failure (and for this special thanks to all the participants, from users to contractors). And at that time I began to study the body of knowledge more consciously, and this was the 5th edition.

And it was then that I learned about certification. Learned and wanted to become a PMP. But counting and reading, I realized that experience is still not enough, but I am not very confident in knowledge and put off the question.

In 2015, I was RP from the contractor. It was a frankly different experience for me. It was then that I realized how everything is not perfect - but by everything, I mean the work of people (after all, the whole project essentially depends on them). When specialists estimate errors in terms of terms not by interest, but by orders of magnitude, when they promise you a resource, but in fact they don’t. And there were a lot of things. But despite this, we managed and the projects were completed.

By 2017, several surprises happened to me:

  1. I was not sent to the training of project managers from the department, although I think everyone was sent there.
  2. I was sent to a client to develop a project management methodology and implement it, despite step 1.
  3. I was invited to an international project to the position of head of the project office, which was to be created from scratch.

I changed my work and it turned out that I spent almost a year and a half of my life embracing the vault, not studying it, but introducing different processes and documents. Special thanks to Yuri, the head of our client’s department, who tried very hard to get more from the project office than was possible due to a number of political and organizational factors.

And in 2018, when the question arose of a personal development plan for the year, it included a point for obtaining a PMP certificate. Until December (inclusive) I had to become one.

2. Preparation - planning

So, the end of February and the task was set for me. I spend a couple of days reading reviews on the exam, various training programs and make my plan.

It was simple and clear, I planned to specify it in fact:

  1. Join PMI
  2. Get the latest PMBoK
  3. Order Rita Mulcahy PMP exam prep
  4. By the end of the summer, finish reading both books (the deadline was set taking into account the work and possible delivery dates of Rita's paper book from the USA)
  5. In September, find courses for obtaining PDUs (at that time, due to the confusion of concepts and a number of factors, I did not know that PDUs are not required for this). As a good option - see courses in the Specialist
  6. After the course, read Rita again
  7. Decide on the date of the exam (planned - late November or early December)
  8. Reread Rita again
  9. Pass the exam

Not everything went according to plan.

3. Start of preparation

The first two points I performed perfectly. On my birthday I paid for membership in PMI, downloaded PMBoK 6 editions in Russian and English. Item number 3 of the plan was somewhat clarified - the wife, having learned about Rita and about her simulator, persuaded to order a complete set - a book + cards + simulator.

About Membership Bonuses
By joining the PMI you get the right to download materials and standards. You receive these documents with a note that they belong only to you and with a password, without the right to print. However, this is a great savings. And yes, from the point of view of PMI, downloading materials from third-party resources is a violation of the code of ethics.

I ordered Rita through the Parcel. Why? The first message was for the sake of economy, the more I did not burn. But when I began to study the issue in more detail, I realized that even if it burned, I would also order it. DHL sends all parcels worth more than $ 200 through customs, and there you have no difference in spending your limit or not (I mean that Russian citizens have the right to order goods for $ 1000 per month without paying taxes. By the way, now this limit has become $ 500 ) And formally, despite the fact that there is no program in the package - the license code is sent by mail, the entire amount is indicated in the invoice. And this is more than $ 300.

Savings Not Direct Shipping
As a result, savings for shipping did not work out well. The difference was about $ 5, since I did not correctly calculate the weight of the package. However, due to the lack of tax - I saved about $ 100, which was later confirmed by colleagues who ordered Rita through DHL with a full set.

And on this my work on the plan ended. Firstly, all of a sudden, colleagues from another department told me that we are planning project management training. But no one told me and didn’t give me on the list. Despite the fact that we agreed that I am certified. In general, I tortured my leadership and, just in case, asked the director of the friendly department to include me in the list for training.

I got to study and it was cool. The training was conducted by VP MO PMI A.A. Zubritsky. It was useful not only in terms of preparation, but also allowed me to chat live with PMP, to learn some subtleties (yes, I hadn’t seen any live PMPs before. It was some kind of legend for me). In general, I prepare, read, go to classes once a week, discuss something incomprehensible during breaks.

And then comes the second. I was offered another job. I must say that by the time I did not hold on to the place very much for a number of reasons. A new option was interesting enough for development, and I agreed. It just coincided that I quit by the end of the course.

While I work out the due date, Rita comes and I begin to read it. One of the first tips is to submit your application as early as possible. I wonder, agree with this and start looking for courses online - to gain hours of training. Without them, you can’t apply, and a certificate for a corporate course is not a fact that they will give me - I quit, but if they do, then not right away. And I find Udemy. And there is a $ 9.99 PMP preparation course with accrued PDUs from Joseph Phillips. So - he is not bad.

About PDU
By that time, I already know that PDUs are not needed and there will be enough hours of any project management training. In the absence of a certificate after training, it is enough to attach a training program and a letter (paper, electronic) that you were invited there. If there is no letter - an agreement, an application.

For a week and a half, not yet leaving work, I take a course and apply for PMP.

4. Audits

Probably, I would have remembered that day for a long time, if everything had turned out differently further. 04/26/2018, having submitted an application, I got an audit. And this is very unpleasant morally - because rarely what kind of review about the exam contains information about the audit.

Okay, we’re working. When I applied, I prudently discussed it with all the contact persons. I told them that I was pointing them out on what projects, and what it was, for fear of people's forgetfulness or unwillingness to communicate with strangers - because I thought that the PMI could check without a phone call audit. I did not think about an audit then, but it came in handy.

It came in handy, but as it turned out - I was underworked. With experience in commerce, everything went fine. I caught the State Duma of the group of companies, signed the documents, signed the envelope. So, as at that work I was in good standing - everything went quickly and painlessly.

I didn’t even record experience from the last work - it was enough for me even so.

But the part of the experience that was in the civil service became a problem. On the review form, the PMI address is indicated - USA. And also the position of the person who signed the review is indicated there. And we actually have a tense situation, sanctions. And those officials (deputies of departments) with whom I discussed this - refuse me when they see the address.

About bugs
I thought a lot about how it turned out that I said everything, warned, and they refused me a post-factum, initially expressing my consent. I said that the organization’s headquarters in the United States. And he came to the conclusion that he was to blame. Because I also said that the organization is international and it has an office in Moscow.

I panicked for a couple of days. He panicked so much that he had already begun to arrange a meeting with the top officials of the service, so that they either signed the reviews themselves or agreed to those employees with whom I discussed this.

And then I remembered that the experience can also be confirmed by a non-project employee, a team member, or even an executor. Another week went to get all the signatures.

Gathering the documents, I wrote the translation of the diploma itself, as well as an explanatory explanation of why the feedback was not given by the people indicated in the application.

About execution of documents for audit
Remember that the documents for each project, or for each confirming your experience should be sealed in separate envelopes, with the signature of these persons on the envelope. This is done in order to avoid falsification.

And yet - people can send documents directly to the PMI. But this is a difficult way.

So, the documents are sent, and I continue to prepare. And this preparation is much harder. Reading Rita is not convenient. Not convenient for everyday reasons - this is a healthy book of A4 format, which is difficult to read on the subway, difficult to read in the park or at work. Therefore, it took me a week or two per chapter. And only at home - on weekends.

May 17, I see on the track that the letter has been received. I immediately write to the commission, worrying about what I get the answer to - the documents are received.

And on the same day I receive a letter stating that the audit failed.

That day I did not read the letter to the end, I was so upset. I was very upset. Despite the change of work, I wanted to certify, just for myself, to know if I was good.

And so, the next day I read the letter and the mood rose. Yes, the audit failed, but failed for technical reasons and without the fault of the candidate. And this means that I do not have a fine for a year. It’s just that my role is not clear from the documents and the projects are not clear.

And I agree with this - I tried to fit a maximum of details into a limited number of characters. And it is difficult to describe projects of this level in such a small volume of signs. And I didn’t split the cases from the civil service quite correctly - sometimes stuffing the annual amount of work into one project (communication with the Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications affected).

Until May 22, I actively correspond with PMI, clarifying the wording so that there are no questions about them. Along the way, I warn everyone that I will again ask for their signature. And 05/22/2018 I again apply, immediately getting to the audit.

About Application
It is important to describe your projects - to describe them as formalized as possible in terms of the standard and the terms of PMBoK. Otherwise, they may not understand you.

So, the documents are quickly collected and sent and I can only wait. May at a new job was calm, but in June it became hot. Therefore, when the answer comes on June 19, 2018 that I passed the audit, I am not very happy. I just take it for granted and immediately pay for the exam. I have exactly one year.

But everything is not going according to plan.

5. Completion of preparation

A new job, especially when there is a lot from scratch requires a lot of time. Therefore, by the end of November, my preparation situation does not look very good. I read only half of Rita. I really hope for December (here I have no connection to the fact that this is the end of the year) and for the holidays.
And in December I get to the hospital. Let me out for the new year, after the operation. At the end of January - we must lie down again. And alas, in this state I am not up to the preparations. All the holidays, I come to my senses, and then - it’s hard for me to just pull the job, not to get ready.

In mid-February, I finally came to my senses (well, almost, on trifles - I still leave). And I remember the exam. Deciding not to pull, 02/19/2019 I submit an application for 03/23/2019.

Why such a deadline? There are several reasons for this:

  • We must read Rita to the end.
  • Rita simulator paid until 03/28.
  • Membership in PMI paid until 03/31.

And either I will give up - and then I’m PMP, I’ll note it and please myself, or I just won’t renew my membership, I’ll leave the chat rooms and return to this issue in a couple of years. Or I won’t return.

And in the first week I go through 2 chapters of Rita, and I also open the Super-PMP mode in the simulator, having passed 150 questions. But this is my only clear success. Because then work rolls over - yet almost a quarter of the work half the strength affects the volume of what still needs to be done.

On the date of March 16, I still had not read 3 more chapters of Rita. And I almost did not solve the tests from the moment I opened Super-PMP. Therefore, the week is shock. I spend all my free time reading, simulating, and also applications. By the way, most of the applications openly took questions from Rita's simulator. In a week I send 2 letters to application developers - about errors. I also read Rita and in the simulator I solved about 700 questions.

So, March 22, Friday evening. Rita was read once, the results of my tests are from 60 to 75%. Despite the wife’s request to sleep, I sit until night, flipping through Rita and remembering everything (if only because I read the beginning almost a year ago).

Total according to plan - it is almost a failure. Rita is not read three times. The performance in the simulator is lower than recommended. I am not at all confident in situational issues, but I am confident in mathematics and the critical path. I doubt ITTO's a bit.

And at one in the morning I go to bed.

6. Exam

Of course, since such preparation had begun, I could not help but break the recommendations for a good night's sleep. I wake up at 4 o'clock from knocking on the whole house. Either someone was cleaning the garbage chute, or he was carrying out very heavy furniture. It lasted more than an hour. Realizing that I would not fall asleep - I began to play on the phone.

At 8.50, I got off the subway and started looking for Prometric. It came out fast. At 9.10 I received a pass, and at 9.15 I was already listening about the exam and undergoing an examination. At 9.30 I am already at the computer. In total, 3 people took the PMP that day (although 4 were announced). But in total there were 5 or 6 people in the audience.

Exhale and I decide not to write myself hints. What I know - I know that. And I don’t know what I don’t know, because I won’t write it out in advance. I spend 3 minutes learning the program - I spend them on checking how the selection works, as well as marking the questions.

And the questions went. Was it easy? Not. Not at all.

The first thing I would like to note is that Russian is more in the way than helping. It seems that the translation is machine, moreover, according to algorithms that were outdated 10 years ago.

About translation
Those who become PMP without knowing English - you are heroes. I do not think it is right to pass an international certificate without knowing the language, but this is an achievement. I stopped looking at the translation on question 5. It was useful to me only once, towards the end - when I stumbled on a complex phrase.

Secondly - the questions are not like applications and a simulator! Absolutely! They are not easier, not more complicated, they are different! And I think that saved me. Either the stress stimulated awareness, or the questions were “right”, but on question 10, I realize that the brain was rebuilt. What I had to think about before is now self-aware. I just think in PMBoKa format, but I don’t remember how it would be better.

The simulator did not cause such an effect. I admit that it was just a quantum leap, but not sure.

Well, the third. I was not lucky. I had only 3 questions on the formulas and 2 or 3 on the critical path. Considering that I counted on 20-40 such questions and was sure of them, this did not make me happy.

By the end of the first hour I had resolved 90 questions. I doubted and noted 5 or 6. Having finished up to 100, I paused.

My head started to hurt. I do a neck warm-up, give my eyes a rest and think about how to be. Even if there were pills in things - things are locked. And I know myself, if I don’t drink the pill, it will become very bad. And I decide that I will finish as soon as possible. I am sure that I will either answer the first time or I will not answer questions at all, therefore - no checks.

For the past 20 or 25 questions, I haven’t even read the answer options. If I saw that the first one is good, I marked it. In general, the last 30 questions took me less than 10 minutes. My head hurt a lot.

I quickly went through a survey from Prometric and left.

- Have you decided to rest? - the employee of the center specified.
- No, I’m all - I gave her the form and began to get things.
- Quickly you - checking the computer that I actually finished, she put a mark on the form and began to print the result.

When asked if there are pills from the head, they answered me negatively.
At 11.45 a photo of a paper exam report was sent to the wife from the corridor.
PASS. Above target.

The whole exam took a little more than 2 hours.

7. Life after

At 11.50 I already bought a tablet in a pharmacy on the 1st floor of the building. In the subway, she let her head go. And only when I let go, I realized that everything ended well. That in spite of everything - I'm still a good specialist.

From the subway, I renewed my PMI membership. He invited his wife to a restaurant. And that very day I bought myself a good fountain pen.

I am absolutely sure that the advice to celebrate is true. So moments should be remembered. It's cooler than a birthday or new year.

After 2 days, I appeared in the registry and an email with an electronic certificate came in the mail. I immediately ordered a badge for myself, it came in 5 weeks. Certificate - no.

Am I going to ask for a pay raise at work? Not. I did this for myself and to confirm my competencies and skills. I doubt a lot of myself, but I'm a professional.
I am PMP.
Did this bring me a result? Definitely yes.
Yes, both morally and socially.
Morally - I became more confident in myself.
Socially - I realized that I was part of a community that is trying to do the right thing. And yes, this expanded the circle of acquaintances, even after a month new activities began to appear. And also - among those who know and understand - this is really appreciated.

And it's worth it.

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