Velopi Experience Calculator
Students must convince the Project Management Institute that they have the necessary project management experience before they can apply for an exam.
Over the years, Velopi has developed its “Experience Calculator” tool based on which applications have been successful and which have not.
This tool allows students to enter their project hours and to describe the projects they have worked on within the constraints they will encounter in the actual online application form.
A Velopi consultant will review the student’s details and advise if what is these will be acceptable. This step alone has dramatically increased the number of applications that have gone through first time.
The First Obstacle: Applying for the PMP® Exam
While there is quite a bit of work involved preparing for and sitting the four-hour, PMP® exam, many interested candidates never get beyond the online application form.
The main reason for this relates to the section where you must fill out your previous project management experience. There are many restrictions here. For instance, you may only consider projects that you have managed in the past eight years. Projects cannot overlap and they must total a certain number of hours and months!
Velopi noticed that its early students struggled with this and developed its PMP® Experience Calculator to assist. Divided into three sections, the calculator prompts the candidate for all the relevant information.
Section 1: Project Dates
The candidate is asked to fill in a little table for each of the projects they managed:
Section 2: Hours Breakdown per Process Group
It is this aspect of the application that causes most problems. First off, people unfamiliar with the Project Management Institute’s terminology might not be clear about what constitutes a process group. Because process groups look similar to project phases, there is a tendency to attribute project management time incorrectly.
To assist the candidate, Velopi provides clear descriptions for each process group. For instance, the “planning” group is given as:
Section 3: Project Descriptions
Finally, there are the 550 character project descriptions. Yes, you read this correctly – the descriptions are only 550 characters long, not 550 words. We provide a box for your descriptions, along with a character count to help you on the way.
The Velopi Review
Probably the most useful assistance Velopi provides is a review of your finished Experience Calculator. An experienced Velopi trainer will examine your project details and point out any problems. For example, you cannot claim to be working 100% on two projects, if those projects overlap.
We also review the project descriptions, highlighting issues such as using the passive voice. The Project Management Institute is interested in what you did in your project management role specifically, so using the passive voice or “we” instead of “I” creates the impression that someone else carried out the work.
We will only recommend that a Velopi student proceeds with the online submission when we are confident that the application has a good chance of being accepted.