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Our Experiences with Program Management (PgMP) Certification Trainings

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Program Management Certification (PgMP) workshops have been around for a decade. Prothoughts have been doing PgMP Certification workshops for almost the last 5 years successfully. 

One of the things we observed is that many practitioners are “Unaware” of what exactly Program Management is and therefore, the demand for Program Management certifications have been comparatively much lesser, especially in India and also overall globally. 

At Prothoughts, we are very vocal about Program Management and its benefits. We organize monthly webinars on Program Management. And regularly update content on Program Management. We are fortunate to have participants from many different countries and diverse industries. In such a short span of time, we have trained many in Program Management. The instructor for all our Disciplined Agile courses is Mr. Ashish Sadekar. You can check his details on LinkedIn.

I got an opportunity to talk with Mr. Ashish Sadekar and take his views and facts on his experiences with Program Management Workshops. I think this will benefit a lot of aspirants, practitioners and experts to get insights into Program Management and hopefully, make right choices.

Excerpts from the Interview with Mr. Ashish Sadekar:

1. How is Program Management relevant today for Practitioners? 

Program Management is more relevant today than yesterday. Program management thrives when there is high uncertainty and high ambiguity. Project Management is suitable when there is low ambiguity but high uncertainty. 

The current situation is absolutely the right ground to practice Program Management. The pandemic has accelerated the situation and where Program Management will be beneficial. You need to have the right mindset and tools to realize value and benefits aligned to your strategic goals. Program Management provides you that. Program Management is a Learning based method unlike Project Management which is a performance-based method. Program Management has its components like Projects and Operations. 

In short, Program Management is more relevant today and it will definitely add value to the participant and organization, resulting in a lot of savings in terms of cost and time, and focusing on the right thing – going in the right direction. 

2. The demand for Program Management is lesser as compared to other PMI certifications. Do you think PMI® does not consider this as an important certification worth taking?  

The demand for PgMP certification is for sure lesser as compared to other certifications. And I do wish PMI® can do more for PgMP certification as it has a good potential. 

However, I feel the demand is lesser due to lack of awareness about Program Management and what it can do or how it can benefit your organization. Many organizations use Program and Project interchangeably and that’s not the case unfortunately. 

Program management has Projects as its sub-set and it is not practiced in the way it should be in many organizations. Hence, the application of Program Management is much lesser perhaps than say Project Management. But, looking from another perspective, it is a great opportunity to apply some concepts of Program Management (PgMP) in your workplace. It is like a great opportunity and can give you a cutting edge and help to reap benefits. I did it in my erstwhile organization and it helped the organization and it helped me to move up the ladder. 

The leadership in an organization should be made more aware of the benefits of Program Management and I feel here, PMI® can lead with its huge network. 

3. What kind of participants are taking up Program Management? Are they typically from IT companies? 

All kinds of participants from different geographical locations and many industries are taking the certifications. I did not give any specific thought for some common elements but this is making me think – this is actually a good question. 

As I can see some patterns, 

  1. Participants with more than 10 years’ experience take this training. 
  2. PMI loyalists are the frequent ones to take the certification training. 
  3. Many who want to show proof of achievement and not necessarily apply the techniques. 4. Many who are passionate about acquiring new knowledge 
  4. Who are looking for jobs 

So, I guess there is a kind of universal crowd going for the PgMP certification. My 2 cents is that there would be more active participation for PgMP certification in the coming months and coming years. 

4. How is the Course? How are participants coping up with completely new structures which they perhaps do not practice in their workplaces? 

That’s an excellent question. 

The PgMP Certification course is based on the Program Management Standard Guide – 4th Edition of PMI® – that’s one primary reference book. The course structure is primarily based on that and you can refer to the details on our PgMP course.

I truly believe that our PgMP course is much more than the 4th Edition Guide. When I read that guide the very first time, I could not understand what Program Management is and that’s true with many participants. You need to know a good background of Program Management to understand the guide. 

Our true value-add in the class is to elucidate and break down some heavy concepts into small simple parts which are easy to understand and connect it at the end beautifully. 

Also, I believe that the content we have developed for the Program Management course with our own Program Slide Deck, Flash cards, mind-maps, Games, Case Studies, 4 Mock exams is one of the richer contents among the many providers, to crack the exam. 

I can bet for sure that at the end of the class, many understand the Program Management pretty well and that’s a WoW factor for many participants, check the reviews of PgMP.

The participants find the content comprehensible although very different from the notion they had in the beginning, and to be honest, that’s my job to provide a clear understanding and help them succeed in the PgMP exam. The application perhaps is lacking. Although I have heard some suggesting that they are benefited by some PgMP techniques such as Benefits Breakdown Structure, Or structuring the right governance board etc, in their workplaces and they do practice these techniques for managing the Programs. 

5. What are the benefits of this certification? Does this really help after a high investment?  

Every certification is more or less the same price from PMI®. The PgMP is 20% more expensive than others as it is considered an elite certification. 

The PgMP certification is targeted toward leadership and senior folks in the industry. 

As written in the blog it does depend on your current and future situation – what you wish to have from the certification. 

At the same time, as I have interacted with many participants over the years and including my PgMP experience as well, there are numerous benefits. 

Recently one of the participants called me and told me that he was offered a great job and PgMP certification played a part. Another participant suggested that he is doing Programs in a different way in his organization and that is not only helping him but the organization and that he is getting positive feedback. So, these are great positive benefits that come with the learning and certification. There are others like Proof of Professional Achievement, Academic Knowledge etc. which are quite common. 

6. What is special about Prothoughts that many participants are taking up the courses from Prothoughts, esp. the increased participation from other countries? 

One thing that I safely say about Prothoughts is that we are very passionate about what we do. We love doing this and hence, we are in this business. 

Like I said earlier, Prothoughts works on superior content and excellent delivery. The content right from the slide decks till your mock exams is prepared in-house and helps you not only crack the exam but also to inculcate the learnings in your workplace. We, at Prothoughts, truly believe in using the knowledge in your Programs, in your workplace. 

One other thing which differentiates us in this crowded market is the Support and responsiveness for our participants. We hand-hold our participants till they are PgMP certified. 

For example, one of the toughest things for the PgMP certification is the PgMP application – our experts review it and prepare the application with the student that helps to qualify. 

We believe that it is our achievement when you succeed with your PgMP certification. 

As for the people joining from other parts of the world, I guess they get great value – Excellent Quality at a great price. ☺

7. Agility is catching up in the market. PMP is going to be rock steady. How will PgMP fare and how do you distinguish it from other certifications? Since you take many certifications, is PgMP worth pursuing and why, given this context? 

I see some similarities between Agility and PgMP, as both are focused on “Value”. I am going to write about the same soon. Agility itself has 100’s of practices and methods to achieve the desired “Value”. 

PMP is also getting a spin from the 7th edition and going to a Hybrid model and letting the practitioner choose the right method for his work. However, PMP will focus always on projects and NOT Programs. The Program is much more macro and strategic than Projects – the Projects are components of the Program. The skill sets of Program Manager and Project Manager are distinctly different. 

A lot of Agile certifications will talk about a method and will be more concentrated on a Project. Whereas Programs will bring the strategic and macro flavor, and will entail a different approach to achieve the desired “Value” or Benefits realization for the organization. 

If you are doing PMP in the organization, I would definitely recommend PgMP or Program Management as a step forward. 

8. Your closing thoughts.

With the world changing so rapidly, the uncertainty and ambiguity is going to be very high, and Program Management is certainly going to be more relevant than before. 

The Leadership and the organization need to recognize this critical piece to save millions of dollars and time, and more importantly, focus on the right things to achieve the strategic goals. 

We have written some great literature in the form of blogs and webinars on Program Management. I would recommend you to read and also great information is available on PMI site and internet. 

If you wish to have a direct talk with me, you can book an appointment with us and we would be happy to give more information. 

We trust this small briefing session with Mr. Ashish Sadekar was useful. 

For any further queries, you can always drop a mail to info@prothoughts.co.in and we will be happy to help. 

Your comments are welcome. 

Thanks to Mr. Ashish Sadekar for his valuable insights. 

Happy Reading!! 

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