I think there is some confusion regarding preparing for the PMP Exam and Project Management Training. Let’s try to get some clarity to understand what to expect and why.
These are the requirements to apply to write the PMP exam; you must have either:
- A 4 year degree (bachelor’s or global equivalent), 3 years of project management experience (accumulated at least 4500 hours leading and directing projects) and 35 hours of project management training.
- A secondary diploma (high school or global equivalent), 5 years project management experience (accumulated at least 7500 hours leading and directing projects) and 35 hours of project management training.
PMP Exam Prep
PMP Exam prep classes are just that, Exam Prep. The focus is on mastering a passing grade on the exam. The exam is 200 multiple choice questions that you are provided 4 hours to complete. There are 25 pre-test questions on the test so to pass you must get 106 out of 175 questions (61%) correct to pass.
The classes should actually be called PMP Exam Taking Approach and Practice. Why? Because that is what you will be doing. Discussing exam taking tactics to ensure you have enough time to answer all 200 questions and completing practice tests to validate the approach.
The 200 questions are based on key concepts, inputs, outputs, tools and techniques used in managing projects as laid out in the PMBOK 4th Edition (Project Management Body of Knowledge). You will need to know how the 5 process groups (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing) and the 42 logically grouped processes are integrated and applied in a project situation.
The class facilitator assumes the students have the requisite amount of project management experience and therefore, the knowledge to answer the test questions. This is NOT project management training, even though the number of hours of ‘training’ received for the exam prep can be used to meet the 35 hours of training requirement.
Project Management Training
Project Management Training concentrates on gaining knowledge about project management best practices and processes as detailed in the PMBOK. Project Management training can focus on one knowledge area such as Scope, Communications, or Quality. Each knowledge area’s processes are discussed in detail as well as how they interact with the processes of the other knowledge areas.
Key terms, concepts, formulas, tools and techniques, inputs and outputs are covered through practical exercises meant to assist the student in acquiring, developing and applying the essential knowledge in a simulated project environment. Although the knowledge areas are studied as discrete components, training addresses where the overlap and integration points occur with the other areas.
This training delivers a well rounded approach to understanding all the nuances of the 42 processes and how all can be used within the 5 high level process groups. By the end of this type project management training program, you will know ‘everything you ever wanted to know about project management but were afraid to ask’.
There are other project management training programs that focus on some of the higher level functions of project management, such as programs, portfolios and PMO’s and developing soft skills such as leadership, conflict management and team building to name a few. Some training programs concentrate on one of the 5 high level process groups like Project Planning. This high level process group (planning) can make or break your project if not done correctly, or not done at all. Definitely one to put on your list for a future training opportunity.
Do you see the difference?
© 2011 Gwen Miller, PMP