So today was the first day of my PMP course, expected to last a week. It's an intensive course aimed at covering the essentials for the PMP exam. Study guide is 500 pages long,
and the PMBOK is equally as long. Registration for PMP is tedious process since you need to detail all the hours spent on past projects and get them reviewed, signed off my your respective managers.
Day one: Monday 28-Feb
Israeli tutor,from RBS Training. Been working with my company for 6 years, and contracted to push through PMP training worldwide, and also to follow through and assist the management teams in developing a PMI process as a company-wide process for project management.
Very lively guy, full of action and confidence - likes humour and other anecdotes
This guy firmly believes that project management is a very real profession, and the PMI/PMP movement is growing stronger year on year, with more and more companies demanding project managers must have PMP certification. Not everyone can be a project manager, so he says. Not everyone can be a very good project manager, there are some skills that one has to be born with, a "PM has to be charismatic...can you go on a training course to be charismatic??" No, says everyone.
I'm not so sure I agree 100%. Yes, management is hard, I firmly believe that. It also relies on skills one wouldn't necessarily have coming from a technical engineering background. But most of the skills can be learnt through on the job training, and sheer perseverance on the the individuals part. It is an opportunity to learn new skills, appreciate and measure in an objective manner the desired skills required from a PM, benchmark against your skills/personality and build in plans for yourself to improve. Yes, it's hard work, but with lots of practice, it'll eventually pay off. Granted, some charisma and on-the-feet thinking can't come naturally to a person who's default position is careful analysis before proceeding, but over time, should you be thrown in the deep end enough number of times, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it....
Anyway, what the guy said did make some sense - and made a few people think. I questioned my own goals because I know I have many interests, and that project management is an interesting role for me to explore the areas I feel I'm competent in, but not given the opportunities to prove them...
The first half of the day was spent discussing the spirit of PMP, the value of the project manager and the responsibilities/accountability's thereof. Practical guidelines into approaching the PMP exam itself, that this one week course isn't enough and one requires at least 50 hours minimum to prepare for the exam. The exam is computer based, 200 multiple choice questions, 4 hours duration, about 70 seconds to answer. It covers the 9 areas of PMBOK and is based not only on theory, but expects people build and rely on their experience in the field. The requirements for PMP exam varies according to one's educational background/experience. Firstly in order to qualify for the exam, you must prove you've got the minimum amount of hours of valid PM experience: 4500 hours if you have a bachelors degree, 7500 hours if you don't have a formal degree. You have to describe in detail how you spent 4500 hours, which should be signed off by appropriate managers, and proof of education. There is a 15% chance of being audited, so you have to keep all your paperwork just in case.
The trainer likes jokes - so as part of his course he's got this rule that at least one of us should tell a joke after lunch.
He also likes riddles. His riddle went something like this:
A father and his son are driving to town. They meet an accident, the father is immediately killed. The son is injured and rushed to hospital. After a while the doctor comes out and says "I can't operate on this boy because this boy is my son"....How can that be??The answer of course being "The doctor is the boy's mother, the wife" - Interested how fixated we become and assume the masculine answer...
His joke went something like this:
A couple was moving house, they were well to do, but wanted to move to a better place. Whilst they were packing, reaching the last stages of packing the bedroom, the husband finds a box under the bed that he couldn't recognise. So he takes the box out, opens it and sees something rather strange. He sees 5 chestnuts and £150000 in cash. Astonished by this, the husband confronts the wife...the wife breaks down and confesses that she'd been unfaithful in the past, and she kept that box to remind her of the times she slept around. Every time she messed up, she'll place a chestnut in the box....So the husband thought, well OK, over the years then, that's 5 instances...i could forgive...but what's the £150000 for?? Well the wife said, every time she accumulated 30 chestnuts, she'll sell them for £50000....He also showed us some video clips that convey the message of project management. The first clip was from a Superbowl ad: A young boy is playing football on his own, realises this isn't too great, he needs company. That was his project. So he arranges a dinner, romantic evening for the parents, and 9 months later baby is born. The boy is proud his plan worked and delivered...
Today we covered Project Integration Management process that included a 15 question multiple choice teaser for the exam ...will update this section when I go through the slides again - see how we remember all the funny parts but not the real content ;-)
We ended the day by watching a clip from Pulp Fiction, the scene where they had to clean up the mess of the dead teenager who was accidentally shot in the car, and needed the Wolf to come and clean up the mess. The scenes have parallels in Project Initiation, Charter, Objectives, etc...
Tomorrow is Scope and Time Management.