Getting PMP® Certification: Bridging the Gap

15 May, 2014

According to John Lennon, “life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” and this sums up neatly the problems faced by practicing project managers when they attempt to earn the Project Management Professional (PMP) accreditation. It is an obvious step for a project manager to take, but obtaining the PMP certification is not without effort and, unfortunately, requires a decent amount of time invested in the process.

Although there are few companies out there these days with the foresight to invest in their people, how many of us have had to miss out on in-house training because of what Harold Macmillan described as “events, dear boy, events”? Even if you decide to take time off and fund a PMP exam preparation course yourself, there is still a study overhead and this has seen many a project manager fall down before even taking the PMP exam.

This is not surprising. Project management can be a very demanding occupation. All projects are unique and many have a high degree of uncertainty attached to them. That is why project risk management is such a concern and why the PMP training courses place such emphasis on it. So, when a stressed out project manager arrives home in the evening, after a hard day juggling with the triple constraints, the last thing s/he wants to do is pick up a project management text and relive the crises that blighted that particular day.

Even if you are enthusiastic, family commitments rarely allow time to reflect. As soon as you arrive home, you magically transform into a partner, parent, DIY expert, cook, entertainer and dog walker. Even if you can cope with all this and can still cram in some study time, there are always those “events” that put paid to your carefully planned study time. Pregnancies, sick children, house moves and repairing storm or flood damage all conspire to put PMP exam preparation on the back burner. Sadly, as the time since your PMP course stretches out, your initial enthusiasm for the goal of PMP certification begins to wear thin.

Last year, this problem really came to a head, because the Project Management Institute, in its wisdom, decided to update its Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)®. For anyone who had taken a PMP course based on the old edition, this was frankly the last straw and the dream of being a Project Management Professional faded away.

Velopi played its part in trying to get these people over the line. We flagged a warning prior to the changeover – see “PMP Exam: Hurry Up or Wait?” This caused some people who had never sat the PMP exam to get in touch again and we were able to get them back up and running on our exam simulator and several got through the PMP exam just before the changeover happened. However, once the new PMBOK Guide was rolled out and the exam content changed, Velopi sought to assure people who had been trained on the old version that the changes were not the end of the world. Not only did we publish “Don’t Give Up Hope - PMP exam content change for PMBOK 5th edition”, we also developed a two-day PMP exam preparation course that focused in on the differences between the old and the new.

Now, nearly a year since the changeover, anyone who has been encouraged to make good on their original investment has done so. However, the problem of putting in the required study between the PMP course and the PMP exam remains. We have given advice on a study plan – “Studying for the PMP” - to support our students, but we are finding that domestic crises are still affecting the numbers.

So we have decided to retain the Bridging Course. However, now the goal is to refresh the knowledge acquired in your original PMP training, rather than update it. We are also finding people who have been trained by other providers who do not have our Blended Learning Solution and supportive philosophy. They are proving extremely keen on the idea of getting an extra push to get ready for the PMP exam.

For your convenience, we run our bridging courses in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. Find out more by visiting our web page or by contacting us directly.

By Velopi Seamus Collins

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