“PMBOK guide isn’t necessary for PMP prep, I did not use it”, said Jiteen, when asked about his study resources.
Jiteen Khera is a seasoned Manager, leader, consultant, and strategist.
An expert in communications, team and project management, UX design and process design, he has been managing complex projects for close to a decade now.
I found that Jiteen’s strategies to study PMP content are pretty practical and effective. Especially, his 3-step top-down approach with a practical twist.
They’ll make you actually enjoy your preparation without stressing yourself about the enormity of this goal.
Try them, I’m sure you will enjoy as well.
Let’s get started.
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First question first, why PMP?
Just like for any mountaineer the most important summit is Mt Everest, I consider that for Project Managers it is PMP.
I did consider and clear other certifications like PRINCE2 and CSM. But then nothing comes close to PMP in terms of value we get in our career, efforts required to get through it, and the recognition it brings.
One of the aspects I liked about PMP is that it covers pretty much every aspect of a project manager’s job, right from:
- Pre-project-initiation activities (business case, opportunity assessment etc)
- Vendor & contract management,
- People (Stakeholders),
- Risk, and of course,
- top-3 constraints of Scope, Schedule, and Cost.
- Yes, even the project closure and post-closure insights.
PMP is a complete package required for every project manager’s growth.
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What was the core benefit you expected from PMP certification?
The primary benefit from PMP is the knowledge we get that helps us become better project managers.
A sense of achievement you get that you’re one of the best in the breed, since you have nailed the top most bar in the PM industry.
Everything else is secondary for me: whether it’s hike in salary, respect from peers, enhanced knowledge, developed ethics etc. Most important is the self-derived sense of achievement.
As I got certified, the immediate impact I saw were boosted self-confidence and sudden respect you get from peers.
And eventually, you will get more preference for promotions. Not to mention, this is indeed a great deal-maker for negotiating on salary as well during appraisal or when you go for an interview.
Which study resources did you use?
I casually viewed the Udemy tutorials by Kory Pierman.
I also took classes & material from SimpliLearn.
You might be surprised that I never read the PMBOK guide.
What, no PMBOK Guide? How did you approach the exam then?
I used a not-so-popular approach.
I didn’t target anything like “2 months study plan and read for 2 hours daily” – nothing like that.
- First, I went through the Udemy course completely,
- Next, I read one chapter from Rita & same chapter again from HeadFirst book.
- I tried to apply in my project literally everything I studied – processes, tools & techniques whether it is Ishikava, Delphi or EVM etc.
It took me 8 months to complete my study this way and take the exam.
But my approach gave me such a deep understanding that I literally feel how much PMP preparation has helped me into becoming a better project manager.
Did you face any challenges?
That is, you keep going at your goal without feeling tired.
This is something I could not maintain well.
I highly recommend that if you are serious about PMP, be consistent and dedicate time to study every day – even if it is just 30 minutes.
DO NOT lose touch. Once you take a break from study, it gets very difficult to get back on tract.
Take it as a challenge, find ways to motivate yourself, and find ways to make your study interesting (like applying concepts to your project, or debating with a friend, etc).
The week before the exam is crucial. What was your approach to study during this week?
7 DAYS BEFORE EXAM: I took simulator mock tests.
I wrote the questions that I didn’t know the answers of, I also wrote name of the keywords that were in the options, that I had no idea about, and I study those concepts.
3 DAYS BEFORE EXAM: Then 3 days before exam, I went through the study notes for 2 days in a row.
1 DAY BEFORE EXAM: I enjoyed my time, ate my favorite food and relaxed. I did not study at all.
What was your exam experience like?
The experience was very smooth at the test center.
I reached 30 min ahead of time, did formalities like biometric, registration, understood the instructions.
I had to give away my phone, pen, paper etc including my bracelet. I was allowed to enter the exam hall ONLY with my passport as ID card.
Then I sat for exam in a room with small cabins. I got one of the closed cabins.
There was pin-drop silence there. Hence, no distractions.
I was not allowed to speak, so if I needed any help, I simply had to raise my hand and the person in-charge would come for assistance.
What strategy did you follow to manage time on the exam?
The timer on the screen did NOT show the remaining time HH:mm format, rather in minutes.
If any question took me more than 25 sec, I would simply mark it and move on – no emotions or thinking.
Overall, I might have marked about 80 questions for review.
During the break I left the room and walked a little, went to washroom, watched outside the window for few minutes to clear my mind.
Occasionally I stretched a bit in my chair.
Any tips would you have for PMP students?
- My humble request is to study consistently. There is no substitute for that as far as making PMP prep easier.
- While giving the exam, do not get “emotionally attached” to the question. Take a look at the question, if you do not understand it, SKIP it by marking for later review.
- Irrespective of how many questions you mark for later, just do not sit & think too much. You get about 76 seconds per question, and then you need to make time for review as well. So don’t waste time if you find a question difficult.
- And finally, remember this: if you aren’t comfortable with PMBOK guide, know that you can do PMP without it too. 🙂