Episode 238: How to Pass your PMP® Exam AND become a better project manager, too (Free)
This episode is sponsored by The PM PrepCast for The PMP Exam:
Go ahead... ask a few people whether they think that preparing for and passing the PMP exam will actually make someone a better project manager. Most of them will tell you that they think not.
I’ve been a PMP trainer for the past 9 years and in all my online classes I have always tried to instill a sense of betterment in my students. Simply because I believe that if you take the approach that you are not just studying for the exam, but studying to improve your project management skills, then you will improve your skills.
And guess what? I’ve interviewed Peter Dakessian who recently passed his PMP exam and his approach was exactly that. Surprise.
So, if you are preparing for your PMP exam and you would like to follow my school of thought, and use your exam prep to both pass the exam and improve your skills, then Peter is the man for you.
Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #238. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.project-management-podcast.com and I am Cornelius Fichtner. Nice to have you with us.
Go ahead. Ask a few people whether they think that preparing for and passing the PMP® exam will actually make someone a better project manager and most of them will tell you that they think not.
I have been a PMP trainer for the past 9 years and in all my online classes, I have always tried to instill a sense of betterment in my students. Simply because I believe that if you take the approach that you are not just studying for the exam but studying to improve your project management skills. Well, then you will improve your skills.
Guess what? I have interviewed Peter Dakessian who recently passed his PMP® exam and his approach was exactly that. Surprise!
So if you are preparing for your PMP® exam and you would like to follow my school of thought and use your exam prep to both pass the exam and improve your skills, well, then Peter is the man for you.
And now, let’s get two for one.
Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Peter Dakessian, IT Project Management Consultant.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Peter and welcome to the program!
Peter Dakessian: Hi, Cornelius. Thank you for having me.
Cornelius Fichtner: Oh, you’re more than welcome and of course, congratulations on getting your PMP!
Peter Dakessian: Thank you! It was a tough climb but well worth it.
Cornelius Fichtner: When exactly did you pass?
Peter Dakessian: I passed early this year actually, in February.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay.
Peter Dakessian: Fairly recently.
Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! That means you passed the exam based on PMBOK® Guide 4, is that right?
Peter Dakessian: Yes, that is correct.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay, good. Before we go any further, let’s throw a disclaimer in here. Since then, I contacted you and you are currently on the team that is updating our PM PrepCast from version 4 to version 5 of the PMBOK® Guide. So question for you: You’ve now seen PMBOK® Guide 5 already, PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition. Is there anything that you would say: Oh, because the PMBOK® Guide changes, you have to change your study approach?
Peter Dakessian: I don’t think I would really change anything. Even though there has been changes in the PMBOK® Guide between version 4 and version 5, the method is the same. It’s consistent study. It’s not cramming. You know, doing a little bit each day but doing it every day. Learning, learning, studying as much as possible. So I wouldn’t really say my method would change, just, I have different things to study.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. If you had to do this again, is there anything you would do differently just because now that you’ve gone through it, you learn something and you say: I need to change this approach and I would do this differently?
Peter Dakessian: I would have studied the formulas a little bit earlier. I’ve waited to study the formulas until a few months right before I took my exam and come to find out that was the major area of my exam. I was focusing more on process, these process groups thinking: “Oh, well, it’s going to be more of a repetition.” But the more I learned about the exam, the more I thought: “No, this is more of an application test and I need to learn how to apply these formulas.” So I started studying for that. So if I would do it differently, I would study the formulas a lot sooner.
Cornelius Fichtner: And why did you choose to become a PMP? What was the driving force behind it?
Peter Dakessian: I’ve been interested in project management for a while ever since it was pressed on me back in my military days.
Cornelius Fichtner: Pressed on you?
Peter Dakessian: Yes.
Cornelius Fichtner: So you’re like me an accidental project manager?
Peter Dakessian: Yes, I think there’s a lot more of us out there than we know.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. Sorry I interrupted you. So project manager was pressed on you?
Peter Dakessian: Yes. You know how it is. You’re working somewhere. It may be in a management position, maybe otherwise and all of a sudden, somebody leaves or you get a new responsibility. They say: “Here is this project and I want you to get it done.” That was what happened to me. It’s completely fill in to the roles. I had to learn as I go. I thought, you know there’s got to be a better way to do this. I started studying and then through the years, I’ve been studying various types of project management that after I finish my masters, I thought: “You know what? It’s time to get my PMP.” So that was the main driving force.
Cornelius Fichtner: Why not a masters in project management?
Peter Dakessian: I wanted to go for Masters in Business in general. I was really interested in the entire field. I come from an IT background. I really wanted to get the business side as well. Because a lot of times, business IT don’t really match as well. It’s really hard for a lot of business people to understand IT and really hard for a lot of IT people to understand business. So I wanted to be that bridge. So I thought: “You know, once I get that done, I can get my PMP and I’ll have the best of both worlds.”
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. And how long had you worked as a project manager before you decided: Okay, I’m going to get my PMP?
Peter Dakessian: Oh about, 7 or 8 years.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! So you had no problems whatsoever understanding the eligibility criteria and meeting them as well, right?
Peter Dakessian: Oh no, there wasn’t really a problem at all.
Cornelius Fichtner: And were you designated on your project as project manager or did you had any designation on the projects?
Peter Dakessian: I had a lot of different management titles. I didn’t really have a project manager title on my business card but with the management titles that I had is that “You are the project manager for this project. You are the project manager for this project.” So even though your business card doesn’t say it, you’re designated the project manager and you’re running the project, you’re it. So that was experience.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. And there was no issue with explaining that on your PMP application either?
Peter Dakessian: Oh no! I just went through my experience and I said: “I managed this project. I manage that project. This was what I was given. These are the results. This is the process I went through.” And it was pretty simple.
Cornelius Fichtner: Did you get audited?
Peter Dakessian: No, I didn’t get audited. I didn’t really expect to be considering how much experience I put on the application. But I would imagine if you were very vague or you didn’t fill out the application in full, you would get audited.
The process is very, very big. The application is long and a lot of people I think get frustrated and so they tend to be like one-sentence answers or something like that. But it’s important to be thorough. So no, I wasn’t audited probably because of the amount of detail that I put in the application.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. Let me just jump in here and give a small correction. If you are vague and only give little information on the application, the application will be rejected by PMI during the completeness control. So PMI, there is actually somebody there who reads the application first and verifies that what you have on the application is sufficient. Then they tell you: “Yeah, it’s complete. You can apply.” And from that moment on, the audit process is 100% random chance. You have 50% chance of being audited or not being audited. It does not matter at all what your roles were, where you worked, how much or how little you worked, the audit is purely by chance. But they will get back to you saying: “This is not sufficient. We need more on your application.” Alright!
Peter Dakessian: Good to know, good to know!
Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah! Moving on, how did you prepare for the exam?
Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.