Hello, I am Vidhya Harish Iyer, a passionate digital strategist, and business transformation professional with 20 years of experience and a track record of successfully designing and implementing large transformation programs leveraging multiple implementations of Cloud SaaS – Ivalua, Coupa, Zycus, Agiloft, & on-prem – SAP, Lawson, Intentia, BaaN within large Enterprise B2B ecosystems.
Deep experience with full system implementation life cycles – built new POCs, use cases, consulting offerings, service catalogs etc. Experience collaborating with channel partners, systems integrators, and third-party solution providers to deliver high-impact solutions to customers.
The Idea of PMP® Certification:
PMP® certification was on my aspiration list for a long time. At the beginning of 2022, I decided to embark on a learning spree, wherein my first step was to take up the PMP® certification. PMP is well respected and recognized in the IT ecosystem and it is a formal qualifier of one’s project and program management knowledge. I decided to take up PMP with a couple of other certifications such as PSM (Professional Scrum Master) and PSPO (Professional Scrum Product Owner). I was already SAFe certified earlier and therefore also decided to take up the ITIL foundation exam in this period. The body of knowledge in a sense is common to all these exams as PMP® today is a mix of both Agile as well as the on-prem, primarily hybrid methodology of Project Management.
Mandatory 35 PDU Training for PMP®:
To attempt the examination, one must demonstrate knowledge of all the areas in the PMBOK (Book of knowledge) so a professional course that would earn the candidate 35 PDU (Professional Development Units) is a must. I chose ProThoughts for this training and their content and educators are top-notch and helped to navigate this step of the PMP® journey. The instructors (Vidyesh Alve) are quite knowledgeable, patient, and willing to help the candidate traverse the challenging path of PMP® certification.
PMP® Application and Preparation:
The application process for PMP® is simple and described in detail on the PMI portal. Once again, ProThoughts instructors will guide candidates through the steps. It is important to understand the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ while submitting one’s PMP® application on the PMI portal. Very rarely, a candidate’s application is submitted for audit with further reconciliation and might require an endorsement from one’s previous boss or manager. PMP®, mind you, is not for the faint-hearted. It really requires long hours of preparation. Even after 22 years of experience in Project and Program management, I prepared close to 3-4 hours every day for a period of 2 months before the exam. ProThoughts provides very good content with great value for money. They also have 5-6 mock tests which are helpful in terms of understanding the difficulty level of the questions on the actual PMP® exam and help one to prepare well. Solving mock tests is important. Please also go through the PMBOK latest edition and Agile Practice Guide provided by PMI after member registration. I also referred to some Agile videos on YouTube which had numerous Agile practice questions.
Fixing Exam Date and The Day Before the Exam:
Well, for all associates, who are very serious about their PMP®, I recommend fixing the exam date on the PMI portal and then working backward on the preparation. One important thing is that as we delay the exam date, often the key concepts and formulas that are memorized can slip into the background and would need to be refreshed again. The day before the exam, just relax, have good sleep, and revise your notes summary. It is important to have adequate rest as it is a 4-hour long exam, and one needs to be on one’s toes to think through the complex maze of questions that are presented to the candidate during the exam. The PMP® exam is comprised of:
- 180 questions (the previous exam was 200), but the same number of questions will be scored
- 230 minutes to complete the exam
- One additional break for a total of two 10-minute breaks for computer-based tests
- Questions will be a combination of multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hot area, and limited fill-in-the-blank.
I took my exam in a Pearson Vue Test center (was worried about sudden outages in the internet at home) and it was a smooth but very hectic 4 hours. You can take a maximum of 10 min break after the first two sections (there are three sections) for water and bio break. I would recommend using this break as it is not counted in the exam timing. It really helps one to refresh. It was a grueling four hours, but in the end, I cleared the PMP® with flying colors and an ‘Above Target’ score in all three sections!
Some of My Personal Tips:
- Read through the PMBOK latest edition and Agile Practice Guide at least twice
- Solve as many mock tests and question series as possible – this is a critical success factor
- Note down the areas where you tend to make mistakes and understand the concepts better
- Time management is critical, always solve mock tests with timer clock
- Prepare a summary of key notes, formulae, and important concepts to refer to frequently
- Solve questions by elimination of the multiple choices and always read the question slowly to understand what is being asked. Evaluate each option and be on the lookout for the word ‘NOT’ in the question which would change the entire perspective of the question being asked.
Obtaining your PMP certification can be the best move you can make in terms of your career.
Discovering the ideal training partner is the first step in beginning the