Ladies & Gentlemen, please be warned that I just passed the PMP Certification.
I have been studying the topic during about 6 months and I am quite pleased with the result.
Now, why on earth would an Enterprise 2.0 evangelist and Agile Methodologies practitioner would want to become PMP certified and how did he do it ?
Read on if you have some spare clicks …
7 reasons why I prepared for PMP :
1. The main reason : I love projects. I think this is what makes us move forwards. Whenever you prepare, organise and carry out a unique set of actions in order to achieve a tangible result, you’re doing a project. I personally have hundreds of projects, all the time : I’d better make sure I know how to deal with them.
2. I am passionate about management. So project management is kind of my thing, you see.
3. I have been working in the IT industry for more than 20 years and just about anybody pretends to be a project manager. A good programmer ? a project manager. A business expert ? a project manager. A functional manager ? a project manager. The Halo effect is very well spread in our hyper technological and quite immaterial environment. As if just being around for enough time is good enough to pretend to be a project manager. I just wanted to make sure I don’t fall in the same trap and know what I talk about when I talk about project management. This is a discipline with a proper body of knowledge. Using expressions such as critical path or benefit cost ratio in all the meetings you’re invited to doesn’t make you a project manager.
4. In the knowledge economy, I strongly believe that you have to learn on a permanent basis. Preparing for a certification is a great way to set an objective while learning on a topic.
5. As Peter Drucker said Management is making the things right (while leadership is making the right thing). I like to make the things right. If we stick with the standard Taylorian organisation, at least lets make the things right within that context. Actually this is the main weakness of this standard organization. It has so much structure and hierarchy that it requires a very prescriptive and bloated system (such as PMP) to make things work. And we all now that the more prescriptive a system is, the less chances it has to be properly adopted and the more chances it has to fail. One of the reasons Agile and Lean and more successful is because they are less prescriptive and adoption by the operational units is easier as it is simpler and it makes more sense. To say things differently I’d rather be in a project in a standard organization with an excellent PMP such as the dearly missed Rita Mulcahy than with a crap Agile leader. The problem is : most of the time we have to suffer the blow of a terrible project manager in a standard organization.
6. You can be an Agile authority and reference such as the excellent Mike Cottmeyer and still be a PMP.
7. Last reason : in the troubled times ahead of us, one is better off with a professional certification than without.
I started studying last year with the PMP version of O’Reilly great series Head First. Then I had a 5 day training and I worked another 6 weeks using Rita Mulcahy excellent PMP Exam Prep. Lord knows I love O’Reilly Head First Series (created by Kathy Sierra one of my first idols of the blogosphere) but I have to admit that Rita’s exam prep books are second to none.
I strongly recommend to prepare using both books as opposed to only one as they are quite complementary. Head First PMP does a great job in introducing in a very fun ways all the concepts, so this is the one I would recommend to start with.
Rita’s PMP Exam Prep is excellent to actually prepare the exam with many trick of the trade etc … so I will recommend this one as a second book. Don’t be discouraged by the PMP Process second chapter, skip it and go through the other sections. Read it once you’ve read all knowledge areas chapter.
So thanks to my employer for paying for the training (on my DIF), thanks to Rita Mulcahy and Head First Series for their great exam preparation books and thanks to my friend Robert Lavigne for his support and hints : we’re now PMP buddies.