Toggle Menu

Insights > Professional Development > So You Want To Be a Certified Project Management Professional®?

So You Want To Be a Certified Project Management Professional®?

We’ve all seen those three letters at the end of someone’s email signature. “PMP”. But what do they mean? No, it’s not some text slang that only hipsters know. The PMP certification, officially known as The Project Management Institute’s (PMI)® most widely recognized certification, is the Project Management Professional® certification. Critical in Federal project management, the […]

By

February 18, 2015

We’ve all seen those three letters at the end of someone’s email signature. “PMP”. But what do they mean? No, it’s not some text slang that only hipsters know. The PMP certification, officially known as The Project Management Institute’s (PMI)® most widely recognized certification, is the Project Management Professional® certification. Critical in Federal project management, the PMP® certification helps make you a more marketable (and promotable!) employee and provides you with a toolkit and resources for the critical components of project management.

Attaining your PMP certification is no small task! You aren’t a kid anymore, staying up late cramming for your next algebra exam. If you’re anything like me, you have been putting the PMP certification off – listing as a goal for “next year” over and over again. Being intimidated by the level of work is understandable. But – believe it or not – you are more ready than you think. Here are a few tips for achieving that goal.

Step 1: Figure out your timeline – and stick to it!
Step 2: Find a good Prep Course

A critical step. What class should you take? Do some research!

Tip #1: PMI isn’t testing you on what you think is the best way to manage a project. They are testing you on what PMI thinks is the best way to manage. You might disagree with some of the concepts but ultimately, you are taking the prep course to learn how to pass the exam. Argue the merits of Bottom-up Estimating after you pass. For now? Accept what your instructor teaches as fact and move on.

Step 3: Sign-up for the exam

Most likely, you’ll need to complete your prep course to attain the required PDU hours before you can submit your application. Your prep course instructor should have some good tips for you here. Once your application is submitted and accepted, you can schedule your exam through a testing center. This is when it is critical that you stick to your timeline! Don’t put it off – take the test while everything is fresh in your mind. The PMP certification exam is boatloads of memorization. Just remember that you might not be able to schedule the exam whenever you please because testing centers are used by many different organizations. The testing center will provide you various testing options based on their availability – it’s up to you to make it work with your schedule.

Tip #2: Tell anyone and everyone when you are taking your exam. Put it on Facebook & Twitter. Tell the world to check back in to see how you did. Fear of public failure can be a great motivator!

Step 4: Study

Take advantage of all of the tools provided in your class. It’s amazing how much “extra” time you can find in your day to study. Repurpose your lunch break and commutes and suddenly you are spending a few hours every day preparing.

Step 5: Study some more.

Seriously. And did I mention take practice exams?

Just remember…. you aren’t perfect.

If you’re a rock star with decision trees but struggle with communication channels, that’s ok. No one will remember it all. With 5 exam sections (currently), there are lots of different combinations for success. Not that I encourage failure but let’s face it, you’ve got 200 questions, 3 hours, and a HUGE amount of vocab, equations, and processes you need to tap into. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you pass – only IF you pass! (And yes, you can always take the test again.)

You passed. Now what?

Do you want to avoid ever having to go through that ever again? You better make sure you take (and LOG!) your 60 PDU hours every 3 years to maintain your active PMP certification.

Have you been putting off your PMP certifications? What is holding you back? If you’ve taken it, what’s the best advice you can give someone who is thinking about taking the next step?

PMI, PMP and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute

You Might Also Like

Agile Training

What are ICP-TST and ICP-ATA? An Interview with Sean Killeen and Noura Saad on Agile Testing

Sean Killeen and Noura Saad, both Senior Consultants at Excella Consulting, are ICAgile authorized trainers...

Professional Development

Do Business Analysts Need Another Certification?

The Project Management Institute (PMI)® announced its newest credential, the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® certification...

Professional Development

Is The PMP® Certification Still Relevant In An Agile World?

Oh, the PMP® Certification:  a credential to be respected and revered…and sometimes mocked and/or smeared. If...