There are always many, many questions that potential project managers have about getting PMP certified and what it means to be a project manager.
We sat down what “Yada, the PMP Jedi Master “ His real name is Yadagiri Senapathy. He has been a project manager for decades and was part of the team that has spent 20 years developing the global standards that Project Management Professionals adhere to.
Today, he’s here to answer many of the questions that we hear from people who are interested in becoming certified project managers.
For the sake of making it easier to find the answers you’re looking for, we’ve dispensed with conversations in between and we simply jump right to the questions and Yada’s answers.
What is PMP? “PMP stands for Project Management Professional. It’s the official title of anyone who has passed the Project Management examination. Similar to being a “Realtor” versus a real estate agent, this is an official status that you aren’t supposed to use unless you’ve passed the exam administered by Project Management Institute. So, depending on the context, people are talking about the PMP exam or they are talking about someone who has taken the exam and is qualified to use those initials after their name. One important point: The PMP exam and status is the gold standard internationally for project managers.
What is Prince2? For the definition here, I want to refer to the experts online. Prince2.com defines it as: “PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a de facto process-based method for effective project management. Used extensively by the UK Government, PRINCE2 is also widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. The PRINCE2 method is in the public domain, and offers non-proprietorial best practice guidance on project management.” Because Prince2 is in the public domain, the standards are not as rigid as the PMP certification. The exam is easier.
What is the difference and how would it help me in the future as I am planning to do one of the certificates? The question of which is better is answered by who you want to work for and where you want to work. If the firm or government you want to work for accepts Prince2, you can save yourself some studying, but, and this is a big BUT, if you aren’t 100% certain that you will work for that organization forever, it’s better to get the more prestigious certification from PMI.
How difficult is the PMP exam for someone who will be taking the exam soon? That depends on how much time you have. If you have only a couple days, the best thing to do is a review good preparation material on a consistent basis, get a good night’s sleep before the exam, and eat a light, healthy breakfast on the day of the exam. If you have a week, it’s a bit of self-promotion, but I would do the PMTI (Project Management Training Institute) Boot Camp training. My company offers classes in almost every major city in North America. There are also a lot of additional, online training tools and benefits. If you have more than that, you can do a boot camp, or follow a self-study regimen.
Any tips on taking the PMP exam? Can I study for PMP on my own? Can you study on your own? Yes, but it’s a lot easier with help. The tips that I can give you will relate to whether you’re going to try to go it alone or not. Let me say this much: If you take a good training course, you should get all of the information you need to pass the exam. If you don’t then you’ve wasted your time and money.
Here are some tips for you, in general:
- Master the PMBOK® guidelines. There are a lot of them and they are complex, but you need to know everything there is to know there. What’s most important is to really understand these concepts, not simply be able to regurgitate them. The exam has applied principles, not just rote testing.
- Get a good study guide. Again, if you’re getting study help, they should be able to give you one, but otherwise, you need to get a good guide, that is up to date to study from.
- Use trial exams and simulators so you can get a feel for what the test is like.
- Use flashcards. They might seem really old school, but they work.
- Find some study groups. As a member of PMI, you can find lots of resources around the world.
Can I do a PMP certification with 8 years of work experience but not managing a project? No. You can’t. You have to have experience as a project manager first.
If you’re not sure if you qualify, you go to our website and take the PMP Certification Eligibility Calculator. It asks you questions and walks you through all of the possible criteria to answer the question of whether you’re eligible or not.
Is project management a good career choice? Why or why not? Wow! That’s a loaded question. It really depends on who you are and what you want to do.
A project manager isn’t someone who can just sit in an office and push papers. You have to be willing and able to deal with people. That’s usually the biggest surprise that most new project managers realize; you have to actually manage, people and stuff! (Laughs)
If you like working with details and don’t mind working with people, this is a great job. It requires responsibility. That might seem like a strange point, but there are many, many people who don’t really want to be responsible for a lot.
If you have an aversion to working with others or if you’d rather just deal with paperwork, this isn’t the career for you. What I suggest is that you spend a lot of time talking to current project managers. Ask them what their day is like.
And one more thing: You need to be able to deal with difficult people. There are times you have to be hard-nosed to get the job done. You have to be ready for that.
Is the PMP certificate useful for a job search in the USA/Canada?
Yes. Having the PMP after your name is a great asset. Anyone looking for a project manager will be looking for a PMP-certified project manager.
PMP-certified employees most consistently get projects completed and are more likely to come in on budget. Statistically, because they apply the PMP standards to their projects, they simply do a better job.
Why do recruiters request PMP certifications when you have an MBA?
The fact that you can confuse an MBA with a PMP certification is precisely why you need to get a PMP certification.
Project management is a specialty. Like a doctor who is also a pediatrician, being a project manager is a specialization of a general business manager. There are specific things to know that only exist for PMPs. The project management courses you took in college, if any, were likely very general and didn’t use the latest techniques and understanding. That’s also why PMPs have to get continuing education. They stay up on the issue.
An MBA is an accomplishment that you should be proud of. In fact, you might be slightly better prepared for the PMP exam. Nonetheless, a Project Management Professional is a specialization that you need to study, train, and test for.
How does your life change after getting PMP? That depends on how you use it.
Firstly, you’ll get paid more. Here’s an article we wrote recently about the highest paying cities in the US: https://www.4pmti.com/blog/washington-dc-highest-paying-cities/
Secondly, you join a very elite club. There are only about 800,000 certified PMPs in the world. That’s out of an estimated 30 million project managers.
Thirdly, you will have an understanding of how to manage any project, any size, anywhere in the world. This opens up doors for you that most project managers don’t have access to.
Finally, there’s a lot of pride in being a PMP. It means that you know something that most people simply don’t.
About Yada, the PMP Jedi Master
Aside from being a huge fan of Star Wars movies, Yada is one of the most accomplished project managers in the world. After he completed his career as a project manager, he decided he wanted to help the next generation of managers to learn how to do the job right.
He was part of the global group that created the standards that the industry lives by now. As a member of PMI, he is still part of the community and stays up on the latest developments.
Yada is the founder of the Project Management Training Institute (www.4pmti.com). North America’s leading in-class and online PMP exam training firm, PMTI has helped hundreds of people pass the PMP exam. Their pass-or-your-money-back guarantee is one of the few in the business.