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Episode 455: Ten Steps to Earning Your PDUs (Free)

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If you have a Project Management Institute (PMI)® certification like the Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, or even the Certified Associate in Project management (CAPM)® then your certification is only good for three years. During these three years you have to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) through training or other approved activities. And once you have those 60 PDUs, then you can renew the certification for another three years. And this cycle of earning PDUs and renewing continues for as long as you want to keep your PMP status.

There are many ways in which you can earn PDUs. Taking a training, reading a book or giving a presentation are just three options you have. So you could simply jump head in first and sign up for whatever training comes across your path. But having a plan and a process for doing this is a much better idea.

And that's what this episode is all about. I'm going to give you a 10-step process that you can follow in order to earn your PDUs with purpose and make your life easier. It's a recording of a live streaming event that I gave a few days ago. It was a very lively event with quite a few questions coming in.

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Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Webinar Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, I’ll introduce you to my 10-step best practice approach on how to earn your 60 PDUs for Project Management Professional (PMP)® renewal easily and with purpose.

Hello and welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at This is Episode [355], and I'm Cornelius Fichtner. Thank you very much for once again joining me.

If you are PMI certified, then you know that your certification is only good for 3 years. During those 3 years, you have to earn up to 60 PDUs and then at the end of the cycle, you have to renew your certification after which it is good again for another 3 years, and you’ll have to earn your next PDUs. And this cycle continues for as long as you want to keep your certification status.

Now, there are many ways in which you can earn those PDUs. You can go to a training. You can read a book. You can give a presentation. So you could simply just go ahead and sign up for the first training that comes your way or pick up any book and go for it.

But it’s not such a good idea. How about a process? How about a plan? How about an approach instead? And this is what this episode is all about. I’m going to give you a 10-step process or 10-step approach that will allow you to earn your PDUs with purpose and make your life easier. It is a recording of a live streaming event that I did a few days ago. It was quite a lively event with lots of questions coming in. So I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy it and learn a lot about PDUs. Here we go!

Webinar Presentation

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello everyone, and welcome to our live event. Today, everything is going to be around PDUs, about Professional Development Units. Let me bring that up for you here. What are we going to be talking about? We are going to be talking about the “Ten Steps to earning PDUs and renewing your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification.” That’s what we will be talking about.

So and just to make it absolutely clear from the very start, PDUs are only needed after you pass your PMI exam. So if you are currently studying for any of the PMI’s exams, then you don’t need to worry about PDUs yet. But don’t just hit that “end” button and go away because this is going to be vital for you once you have passed your exam.

Alright! My name is Cornelius Fichtner and I will be taking you through these 10 steps her today. I have been a PMP trainer since about 2005. So I have developed The PM PrepCast™ and also The PM Exam Simulator™. But I want to welcome especially my listeners of The Project Management Podcast™ today because The Project Management Podcast™ and also The PDU Podcast™ here on the right-hand side, this is where I offer a, I want to say a ton of PDUs because the PDUs that we offer over there, my best guess is that with The Project Management Podcast™, I’ve helped about a million PDUs to be submitted over the past few years. So I want to make sure that you know how to approach using your PDUs.

So what are we going to be talking about today? I have two learning objectives for you. First of all, you will be able to list the recommended steps in renewing your certification. Okay, that’s the main goal of this. But in just a few minutes, you will be able to also describe the key to success. These two together at the end, you’ll see, they will make you understand how to really successfully and strategically approach earning your PDUs and renewing your certification every 3 years.

Here is our agenda. Let me make that full screen for you here. There we go, alright! So first of all, we are going to be doing a quick introduction. Don’t worry! Just a minute in duration here. Then we go straight in that first takeaway there. What is the key to success? And that is followed by the main part of the webinar where we will spend about two to three minutes on each of these 10 steps. And after that, we’ll go back to the key to success that we learned about earlier. And I’ll show you what you need to do to actually achieve that key to success. And of course, we will close the webinars with a few links to remember. Actually, it’s going to be four. I just added a slide yesterday. So it’s going to be four links there. Oh wait! I just noticed, there’s another error on this slide here because even though the webinar is called 10 steps, it’s actually 11. I have an 11-step for you right there.

Alright! So let’s jump in to this. And by the way, by the way, if you have any questions, if you are watching this live on YouTube or on Facebook then please, don’t hesitate to ask any questions about professional development units, about PDUs as we go along and I’ll bring you up and I will answer the questions live here on air.

Alright! Back to the presentation here. So to get started, let me tell you that the reason why I created this webinar is because I regularly receive emails from PMPs about how they could quickly earn their 60 PDUs. It’s quite frustrating for them when they then realize that: ‘Oh my, my renewal is up in, I don’t know, three, four weeks and now I have to spend every free minute that I have in earning those PDUs.’ And so I decided that instead of frustration, you need a roadmap. So I developed the 10 steps that we are going to be looking at in just a moment, and here they are as an overview.

And as you can see from just glancing at these, they are all action items that you can check off one by one on your road to recertification, okay? As you are seeing this, you may probably be saying: ‘Oh God, I go to start taking notes’ right? Don’t worry about taking notes during the webinar here today because I have everything for you in an article and the link to the article will be at the end here.

Alright, a couple of people have already left comments, just welcome here to Qasim and also Hosne is here as well. They are both joining us here on Facebook. Nice to have you both on the live program here today!

Okay! So before we review those 10 steps, however, as promised, here is the number one insight hat I would like you to take away from this webinar. I call this “The Key to Renewal Success” and it is this here: Earn your PDUs regularly. So instead of waiting for two years and even three and a half years to earning your 60 PDUs as a PMP, you know just in the last few weeks before you need to renew, do a little bit every month, okay? So please, there’s really just one thing that you take away from this webinar, it’s this here: Earn, claim, and repeat this next month. Okay? You want to earn your PDUs. You want to then go to the PMI website. You claim your PDUs, and you want to repeat that the next month as well. And frankly, if this is the only thing that you are taking away from this webinar then I think that I have already succeeded because you are now doing something regularly to earn your PDUs and you are not going: ‘Oh my God, I have three weeks left. I need 60 PDUs. How do I quickly do that?’ Okay! Ayodele has also joined us. Thanks for the webinar. You are welcome. I hope you find it informative.

Alright! Now let’s get started with step one. Step one is: Download the CCR Handbook. PMI has published the CCR Handbook, the Continuing Certification Requirements Handbook. You can download it from their website. And don’t forget, you’ll get a link to this. Everything is ready for you there. The handbook explains everything that you will need to know about the process of renewing your certification and this should be only taking you about 20 minutes to read it, right? It will answer most of your questions about PDUs. Like it’s 20 pages long. It contains all the renewal policies and offer all the certifications, and it is however a little bit hidden on the PMI website. PMI has a tendency to change their website quite regularly and they change all the links and all that.

So if you go to this link here: as in CCR Handbook, right, /ccrhb that will take you to that handbook straight away. And if PMI changes it again in half a year of a year from now, I will simply update my redirect link here and you will always find the latest CCR Handbook.

Okay! I got a comment here from Qasim: “I have 35 PDUs PMP.” Okay, let me repeat what I said at the very beginning because if you mention 35, that means you are preparing for the PMP Exam, okay? Now this is a very important distinction, Qasim. Here, we are not talking about contact hours. You need 35 contact hours before you take the PMP exam. Today, we are talking about earning 60 PDUs after you have passed your PMP Exam. So what you have are 35 contact hours before the PMP Exam as you are preparing for the exam.

Alright! Let me continue here. Because we are already at Step two: In order for you to renew your certification, you need to understand the PMI Talent Triangle®. And guess what? It has three sides just like any triangle. We have Technical project management here. We have Leadership here and we have Strategic and Business Management here. And when you earn your PDUs, you must earn PDUs in each of these three categories.

So what exactly are they? Technical project management. This is knowledge, skills, and behaviors that are related to specific domains of project, program, and portfolio management. For example, risk management, scheduling, applying project management processes. Those are the technical skills. Actually managing the project, that’s a technical skill.

Then we have Leadership. This is knowledge, skills, and behaviors that are specific to leadership-oriented activities like setting a vision, acting ethically, decision making. Those are all the type of skills that I would attribute to the leadership domain.

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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