Read PMI Finland Chapter members experience on certification:
PMI ACP by Clara Forsskåhl:
PMI-ACP certification has given me confidence in my Agile knowledge and ways of working as well as a solid toolkit to lean back at when working in Agile teams and projects. The Agile mindset is very different from traditional waterfall but still you need to be in control and have a clear structure. Agile does not mean that everything is fluffy and no planning or follow up is required. Actually Agile means you are constantly revising your plans and you are following up on daily bases in a very structured way. Agile is the new normal for project management, at least that is what customers say – however the reality is that you need to educate both teams and customers on Agile and with this certification in my backpack I can do that and also run Agile projects with confidence. Agile is fun so go for the certification – it will not only give new insight to project work but also to your private life and day to day tasks and projects.
About the certification process:
The more you have been working within Agile teams the easier it will be to pass the exam and get the certification. However there is good material available on the internet; books, podcasts, sample questions etc. I practiced for the exam for 2 months around 1h a day and then I spent 2 weekends prior to the exam reading. You don’t need to memorize much for the exam but you need to have the “Agile mindset”. The questions are situational and tricky as there are always a few good answers, you need to figure out which answer is according to the Agile mindset, principles or manifesto to get it right.
PMI-SP by Kannan Balaram:
I have chosen to obtain PMI-SP credential because of my professional nature. When I started to search scheduling related credential certificates, I have realized very few professional bodies are providing the scheduling credential certificate. Among those professional bodies, the PMI is one of the best world recognized professional body, and I have decided to appear the exam. Of course, PMI has laid down the preconditions to sit in the exam, and I have met all the requirement due to my professional background, so I had a chance without doing additional preparation to satisfy the PMI’s precondition.
For the exam, I have studied the PMBoK, PMI’s Practice Standard for scheduling, PMI’s Practice standard of EVM, PMI’s Practice standard of WBS and PMI’s Practice standard of Project Estimating, PMI’s Practice Standard for Project Risk Management and PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. I have also given the important of PMBoK’s five process groups and ten knowledge areas and total 47 processes. Few times I had glace with the 47 processes have total 256 inputs, 153 outputs, and 209 Tools & Techniques process. Because of my professional background and more than 15 years’ experience, the above process & knowledge areas were easy to follow.
One of the main critical issue for me, as well as any who has more experiences, may face confession in the PMI’s processes and knowledge areas because different industries and different regions have a different way of approach to handle schedule management. For PMI-SP, I strongly recommend you to follow the PMI recommended approach rather than your industry approach or your region approach.
Project Management Professional by Ania Ciuba
As quoted from Wikipedia, Project Management Professional (PMP) is an internationally recognized professional designation offered by the Project Management Institute.
There are around 800 000 certified project managers around the world at the moment and I joined the troops in March 2017.
Why did I decide to go for it?
I was a part of a great and challenging project in the Autumn 2016 (aren’t they all challenging?) I got a PMI framework recommended by a friend of mine and also hinted by my boss – and decided to dive into it.
What was the preparation process like?
I had a speedy start, because a friend of mine, who is PMP certified, offered to mentor me on a regular basis. We drafted our progress plan and I agreed with my employer to use the working time for our bi- weekly mentoring sessions. I read the PMBOK guide once before the sessions begun. After that, I turned to Rita Mulcahy’s PMP exam prep book, which is a constant source of valuable information for me. I also found audio flashcards quite helpful (they are free and available on Spotify)
Before every prep session I did a knowledge area quiz that is in the book and read the material. Me and my mentor discussed it, using real life examples and most recent challenges; so it felt very relevant to me.
As the exam neared, I needed to put some effort into memorizing the process groups, definitions and formulas – I covered quite a lot of the apartment space with post its; I had an envelope with all process groups mixed together and I’d arrange them into correct project phases from time to time.
I only purchased the PM fast track testing software in the late phase of my studying process; when I needed to speed up and test my knowledge more frequently. I strongly recommend it.
I also had a plan, which included two weeks per knowledge area and 3 long weeks for recap. A couple of full mock tests on the way and time for repetition. Even though the plan did not fully realize, it made me understand the amount of preparation needed.
The overall cost of the exam, which was around 800 EUR, was covered by my company.
I didn’t attend any onsite training offered by PMP. Summing up the hours; I’ve spent about 60 full man-days preparing.
To feel more comfortable, I visited the venue before; read the exam instructions and mentally prepared myself for strict control. I had some food and water with me and also used the provided mufflers to be able to focus. I used the exam prep time to write the formulas down on a piece of paper and took a couple of breaks during the exam.
After the exam
I feel it was a good decision to take the PMP. I decided to steer my career towards Project Management in its pure form. I understand my role better now, and I know what I can expect from others. Moreover, being a PMI member gave me a chance to network with other PM minded people.
On the other hand, while the certification can give us a frame, the vital substance of the project and the industry has to be learned elsewhere. I can’t be a good project manager if I don’t properly understand what I manage.
The theory is easily forgotten if not practiced. PMI requires Project management professionals to develop their skills, and it’s good to know, that to maintain the certificate, you need to earn 60 PDUs (Professional Development Units) within 3 years of passing the exam.