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PMP® - The Foundation for a Career in Project Management

The role of a project manager is to navigate the ‘vehicle’ called project along the ‘road’ called solution roadmap navigating through its ‘bumpy hills and valleys’ called constraints and risks with all project stakeholders on board in order to achieve the end goal with respect to a unique product, service or result. The foundation to project management is the ‘Guide to the Project Management Body Of Knowledge’, better known as the ‘PMBOK®’ or the ‘PM Body Of Knowledge’. Project management entails both an art and a science. The science of project management is defined in the PMBOK® through the concepts, tools and techniques discussed in the ten knowledge areas. Professionals master the art of project management when they work in projects and put these learning into practice.  A project manager who is PMP® certified is considered as someone who has mastered the science of project management and is thorough about the concepts and is capable in properly managing a project through its lifetime. Hence, it is first important to understand one’s purpose to pursue the PMP credential. The primary reason should be not just to pass the exam or to get the credential against one’s name but also to master the concepts in project management, learn about the best practices so that those can be applied to real life projects.  How does PMP® lay the foundation? The PMBOK® guide is structured in a way that it takes the credential aspirant through a journey.  The PMBOK® first of all gives an introduction to the core concepts in project management such as what a project, program and portfolio is, what are project approaches, what is a project life cycle and on how organizations structure themselves to execute projects.  The core of the PMBOK® is dedicated to taking the participant through ten knowledge areas. Each knowledge area discusses tasks, concepts, tools and techniques relevant to each topic.   The material on stakeholder management equips the project manager with key knowledge on stakeholders and on how to identify and manage them. The scope management knowledge area discusses ways to define the scope boundary for the project, methods in decomposing the project along with other key concepts in managing scope creep. Project time management examines the activities involved in estimating project effort, defining a project schedule and aspects related to managing project time so that it would not overrun. Project cost management is about identifying cost components for the project, so that the total project cost can be determined. Project quality management discusses concepts related to quality assurance and quality control, verification of project process and validation of product. The human resource management knowledge area debates about the stages in developing project teams, concepts in motivation, leadership and team building and concepts on allocating resources as well as balancing load on resources.  Project communications management knowledge area lists concepts related to identifying, planning for and managing communication among all stakeholders interested and impacted by the project. Projects don’t always run smoothly but are prone to risks and issues. The risk management knowledge area lays the foundation to the key responsibility of a project manager in terms of identifying and managing uncertain events that may affect the project. Most of the elements in a project is bound to change and are known as configurable items. The integration management knowledge area prepares PMP® aspirants with concepts related to identifying and managing changes. Finally, the procurement management knowledge area deliberates about different ways in which contracts can be created and managed and how it may impact project execution. Conclusion The PMP® credential has become a yardstick when evaluating and selecting a professional for a project management job. The certified candidates can be differentiated from others as to be an individual who is knowledgeable and is capable of applying concepts in practice. Hence, a pertinent question at project management interviews is to check whether candidates have the PMP® credential.  So, why wait to get the PMP® credential? Devise a plan to work towards the credential today itself. Identify a training provider and attend sessions to obtain the required contact hours. Then fill in the application form, do your self-studies of reading the PMBOK® guide at least thrice and by attempting at least a thousand sample questions. Good Luck and hope to see you all as part of the community!!  
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PMP® - The Foundation for a Career in Project Management

131
PMP® - The Foundation for a Career in Project Management

The role of a project manager is to navigate the ‘vehicle’ called project along the ‘road’ called solution roadmap navigating through its ‘bumpy hills and valleys’ called constraints and risks with all project stakeholders on board in order to achieve the end goal with respect to a unique product, service or result.

The foundation to project management is the ‘Guide to the Project Management Body Of Knowledge’, better known as the ‘PMBOK®’ or the ‘PM Body Of Knowledge’. Project management entails both an art and a science. The science of project management is defined in the PMBOK® through the concepts, tools and techniques discussed in the ten knowledge areas. Professionals master the art of project management when they work in projects and put these learning into practice. 

A project manager who is PMP® certified is considered as someone who has mastered the science of project management and is thorough about the concepts and is capable in properly managing a project through its lifetime. Hence, it is first important to understand one’s purpose to pursue the PMP credential. The primary reason should be not just to pass the exam or to get the credential against one’s name but also to master the concepts in project management, learn about the best practices so that those can be applied to real life projects. 

How does PMP® lay the foundation?
The PMBOK® guide is structured in a way that it takes the credential aspirant through a journey.  The PMBOK® first of all gives an introduction to the core concepts in project management such as what a project, program and portfolio is, what are project approaches, what is a project life cycle and on how organizations structure themselves to execute projects. 

The core of the PMBOK® is dedicated to taking the participant through ten knowledge areas. Each knowledge area discusses tasks, concepts, tools and techniques relevant to each topic.  

The material on stakeholder management equips the project manager with key knowledge on stakeholders and on how to identify and manage them. The scope management knowledge area discusses ways to define the scope boundary for the project, methods in decomposing the project along with other key concepts in managing scope creep. Project time management examines the activities involved in estimating project effort, defining a project schedule and aspects related to managing project time so that it would not overrun. Project cost management is about identifying cost components for the project, so that the total project cost can be determined. Project quality management discusses concepts related to quality assurance and quality control, verification of project process and validation of product. The human resource management knowledge area debates about the stages in developing project teams, concepts in motivation, leadership and team building and concepts on allocating resources as well as balancing load on resources. 

Project communications management knowledge area lists concepts related to identifying, planning for and managing communication among all stakeholders interested and impacted by the project. Projects don’t always run smoothly but are prone to risks and issues. The risk management knowledge area lays the foundation to the key responsibility of a project manager in terms of identifying and managing uncertain events that may affect the project. Most of the elements in a project is bound to change and are known as configurable items. The integration management knowledge area prepares PMP® aspirants with concepts related to identifying and managing changes. Finally, the procurement management knowledge area deliberates about different ways in which contracts can be created and managed and how it may impact project execution.

Conclusion
The PMP® credential has become a yardstick when evaluating and selecting a professional for a project management job. The certified candidates can be differentiated from others as to be an individual who is knowledgeable and is capable of applying concepts in practice. Hence, a pertinent question at project management interviews is to check whether candidates have the PMP® credential. 

So, why wait to get the PMP® credential? Devise a plan to work towards the credential today itself. Identify a training provider and attend sessions to obtain the required contact hours. Then fill in the application form, do your self-studies of reading the PMBOK® guide at least thrice and by attempting at least a thousand sample questions.

Good Luck and hope to see you all as part of the community!!
 

Rumesh

Rumesh Wijetunge

Chief Innovation Officer - Zaizi Limited, Chief Operating Officer - LearntIn (Pvt) Ltd., Director /

Rumesh is an IT business leader with over 12 years of industry experience as a business analyst and project manager. He is currently the CIO of Zaizi Limited, a UK based data management company heading the operations in Sri Lanka, the COO of LearntIn, a global training institute based in Sri Lanka and is also a lecturer / trainer at multiple private universities on management, IT, business analysis and project management subjects. He is the current president of the IIBA Sri Lanka chapter and is one of the most qualified and sought after trainers in Sri Lanka. Refer his LinkedIn profile for more details and to see more articles he has written on linkedin

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Top 10 Certifications in Project Management

Whether it is the IT or non-IT industry, a successful project always depends on a highly competent project manager. An adept and proactive project manager helps the teams in becoming consistently productive and accountable for their tasks and responsibilities. Nowadays project management is a highly pursued job title. Any professional aspiring to be a project manager can greatly benefit from working in this role. This is not only because of the lucrative salary but also because a lot of skills can be acquired after being certified as a project manager, like knowing how to plan, schedule, budget, execute, deliver and then report on the business projects. Here are some of the top certifications in project management that companies are looking for, presently:1. PMP®: Project Management Professional Project Management Professional (PMP)® is one of the top-level project management certifications and is globally recognized as the gold standard in project management. By being PMP® certified, you can work in any industry with any methodology irrespective of the situation. This certification includes all the top necessities required to test your knowledge and skills in managing the project "triple constraints", that is time, cost, and scope.Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria:Eligibility RequirementFour-year degree or global equivalentA secondary degree or global equivalentYears of Project Management Experience3 Years (36 months)5 Years (60 months)Hours Leading & Directing Projects4,500 Hours7,500 HoursHours of Project Management Education35 Hours35 Hours2. CAPM®: Certified Associate in Project Management Another certification governed and accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® lays the foundation stone for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. CAPM® is perfect for professionals who want to move steadily into the project management field. Individuals who do not possess a college degree or have no/minimal experience in the field can also apply for this certification. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria:A minimum of 23 hours of project management education before the examination. The minimum educational criterion to go for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification is a high school diploma certificate or any global equivalent form of education.3. CSM®: Certified Scrum MasterEver since agile methodologies have become the standard in most industries, especially the IT sector, Certified Scrum Masters have been in high demand. Despite various Scrum master certifications being available in the market, the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)® from the Scrum Alliance is a great way for aspiring project managers to start as Scrum practitioners. Scrum Alliance® offers this CSM® credential and is a non-profit organization that promotes the concept of adopting Scrum and agile practices. The organization globally has 450,000 plus certified practitioners. Accreditation body: Scrum Alliance® Eligibility criteria: There is no set of eligibility requirements to attend this Scrum Master Certification course and it can be taken by freshers or professionals who want to:Extend their careers in project management.Strengthen their grasp of Scrum.4. PMI-RMP®: Project Management Institute-Risk Management ProfessionalNowadays it is normal for any undergoing project to face risks at every stage, thus affecting its execution, success rate, and the final result. This requires planning the project by detecting potential risks, both threats, and opportunities, taking actions to reduce threats, and increasing opportunities.  The Project Management Institute-Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® credential affirms that Risk Managers know the best way to identify project risks and lessen threats while making the best of available opportunities. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria: Either Secondary degree (high school diploma, an associate degree, or the global equivalent) 4,500 hours of project risk management experience within the last 5 consecutive years 40 hours of project risk management education Or Four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent) 3,000 hours of project risk management experience within the last 5 consecutive years 30 hours of project risk management education5. CompTIA Project+ certificationTraining in the CompTIA Project+ certification will enable professionals to learn and implement common project management principles and important soft skills such as team building, conflict resolution, communication, negotiation, setting, and managing expectations. CompTIA's Project+ serves as a primary-level project management credential.Accreditation body: CompTIAEligibility criteria:There are no strict prerequisites, however, according to CompTIA, a candidate should have at least one year of experience managing, directing, or participating in small- to medium-scale projects.6. PRINCE2® Foundation/PRINCE2 PractitionerAccredited by Axelos, PRINCE2® is a de facto standard that describes project management standards and assists in forming consistency among projects. It began in the UK and then applied it to its government entities. Famous across Europe and now countries in the middle and far east, many industries have adopted these standards and gained impressive results. As a result, PRINCE2® Practitioners are sought-after for their knowledge of applying this framework on projects. There are two key certifications: PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner Certifications. The Foundation certification is an entry-level credential, testing basic project management terminology and methodology. On the other hand, the Practitioner certification tests advanced project managers who have already achieved the PRINCE2® Foundation.Accreditation body: Axelos Eligibility criteria: PRINCE2® Foundation Certification: There are no eligibility criteria for the PRINCE2® Foundation Certification Exam. However, it is recommended to possess basic project management knowledge.PRINCE2® Practitioner Certification: To get certified with PRINCE2® Practitioner Certification, applicants must have one of the below-mentioned certifications:PRINCE2® Foundation Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director) IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager) IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager) IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate)7. PgMP®: Program Management Professional (PgMP)® Certification Training This certification is created and administered by the PMI® and is the next step, after achieving the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification. PgMP® is for professionals who coordinate and manage multiple projects aligned with strategic objectives. This includes directing and managing complicated activities that may extend over functions, organizations, cultures, and geographies.With the PgMP® certification, professionals will strengthen their grasp in the six prime focus areas of program management such as Governance, Prioritization, Escalation, Resource Management, Benefits Realization, and Stakeholder Management. Thus, certified PgMP® professionals will be able to encourage teams to integrate and coordinate multiple projects in a better way. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria: Either:A four-year degree (Bachelor's or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and four years of Program Management experience.OrA secondary diploma (High school or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and seven years of Program Management experience. Candidates not meeting the above criteria can also consider the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. 8. APM™: Associate in Project ManagementThe Associate in Project Management (APM)™ certificate is an entry-level certification in Project Management and is a globally recognized credential. Governed by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)®, the exam covers 50 Multiple Choice Questions out of which the candidate requires to get 70% (35 out of 50 correct) to pass the 60-minute exam. Accreditation body: Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)® Eligibility criteria:No formal education or experience required. 9. MPM®: Master Project Manager The Master Project Manager certification is issued by the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM)® and is ideal for both project managers and professionals with business and technical responsibilities. Accreditation body: American Academy of Project Management (AAPM)®Eligibility criteria: Three years of project management experience and training. 10. PPM™: Professional in Project ManagementProfessional in Project Management (PPM)™ course is organized by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)®. This is a mid-level certification that consists of project management components showing how to plan, execute, control, and complete projects as well as training to perform better.  Accreditation body: Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)® Eligibility criteria:Completion of a mandatory E-Course Candidates should have a certain project management experience. ConclusionAlong with the abovementioned project management certifications, it is recommended that professionals apply principles in their current professions, be on the lookout for newer methodologies and upskill regularly.
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Top 10 Certifications in Project Management

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Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

Foresighted managers and leaders don’t necessarily follow just one project management methodology. They learn all of them so that they have the awareness to deploy the right methodology for the right project. According to industry experts, project management methodologies are vital to project success. A recent study by PMI confirmed that about 89% of the project professionals believed that their organizations implemented some project management practice or the other.What is a project methodology? It’s a blueprint that shows how tasks and projects can be planned, managed, and executed, right from start to finish. It includes a combination of practices, techniques and procedures followed by project managers. Why choose a project management methodology? A recent survey published by the Harvard Business Review revealed that the lack of time was the major hindrance to collaboration within project teams. Since projects are fast-paced and must adhere to deadlines, collaboration is quintessential. This is where, adopting a project management methodology comes to play. Projects are incredibly fast paced with competing deadlines, hence collaboration is the best way to keep the team engaged, heighten productivity and save time in the long run. Practicing a methodology is a great way to boost collaboration as well as deliver project success. Top 7 project management methodologies Below are the top 7 methodologies in the project management landscape today: 1. Agile According to a KPMG survey, 81% of enterprises had adopted Agile in the past 3 years. The most favorite methodology, Agile is actually a set of principles involved in software development. However, it’s hailed as a project management methodology for its flexibility and capability to build processes. Agile projects have a series of tasks that are initiated, executed and adapted based on ad hoc demands, rather than a pre-planned process. Hence, Agile is apt for dynamic environments where the unpredictability factor is quite high.  2. Scrum Scrum is the project management methodology that enables a small, cross-functional, self-managing team to deliver results quickly.  It helps boost communication, teamwork and speed of the processes. Terms like sprints, scrums, backlogs and burndowns are commonly used in scrum methodology. Scrum is ideal for environments that handle complex products.  It advocates the use of a small, cross-functional teams of upto 9 people who work on items in a backlog that have been clearly defined and prioritized by a Product Owner. Work is categorized into “sprints”, a development cycle of usually 2-4 weeks. During these sprints daily “Scrums” take place where the team report on their daily progress and impediments. At the end of each sprint, work is then reviewed in a sprint review meeting to determine together with the Product Owner if it clears the Definition of Done (DoD). Scrum is further facilitated by a Scrum Master who leads the sprints, demos, reviews and ensures that the team is continually optimizing and improving. 3. LeanLean project management is the methodology that emphasizes the dictum of maximizing value while minimizing waste. In project management, it aims at creating most value with a minimum amount of resources, labour, and space. There are 3 ‘M’s in Lean: Muda refers to wasteful activities that consume resources without value generation, Muri refers to overutilization of equipment or employees and Mura which corresponds to operational inefficiency. Lean project management methodologies when practiced are capable of reducing these 3 Ms within the project process. 4. Kanban Kanban is a project management methodology that’s focused on Lean principles. Its primary focus is to increase efficiency. It’s an evolved version of Scrum. It’s flexible and not focussed on roles. It keeps the team focussed on what actually matters. It’s ideal for environments where priorities are changed frequently. The online tool Trello is based on Kanban. It gives an accurate visual depiction of the progress of work for the team and other stakeholders. It’s ideal in organizations that demand a consistent output. 5. eXtreme Programming methodology (XP)  eXtreme programming (XP) is also a software development project management methodology that focuses solely on development  while ensuring quality. It lays down the processes needed to improve software quality as well as meet customer requirements. It is quite similar to Scrum but differs in certain prescriptive processes. These processes include making compulsory user stories, Test Driven Development (TDD), Pair programming, and Continuous integration. 6. Waterfall  Waterfall methodology, also known as the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) values solid planning and doing everything in one shot unlike Agile. Planning and resource allocation are done in the beginning, work is executed in cascades. Like a waterfall. However, Waterfall is pretty rigid as it offers no scope to make changes to the plan unless absolutely necessary. Because of this approach, upon reaching the testing stage, it’s very difficult to go back and rectify mistakes. That could end up being quite risky. The many shortcomings of Waterfall approach is the reason why Agile methodologies gained acceptance worldwide. 7. PRINCE2   Created by the UK govt in 1996 for IT projects, PRINCE2 methodology is controlled project management practice which divides projects into various stages with their own set of plans and processes to follow. It’s an excellent framework that can be applied mostly in the large projects. It lays down the need for the project, identifies the target audience and whether the project is feasible.  A PRINCE2 Practitioner often oversees the team in these projects and ensures that the team has the right resources and guidelines to conduct the project as well as mitigate risks effectively. Ultimately, choosing the right project management methodology is based on the project and business environment. When chosen appropriately, these methodologies can play a major role in project success. Learn more about project management methodologies like these from our series of immersive workshops.
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Feasibility Study in Project Management and Its Benefits

Before giving the go ahead to launch a project, the first thing on a project manager’s agenda is the feasibility study. While project managers are not required to conduct the feasibility study themselves, they use it as a guideline to drive the project, and to get an end-to-end understanding of project parameters, business goals and risk factors.What is a Feasibility Study?A feasibility study is an analysis done to determine the viability of a project from an economical, legal and technical perspective. Simply put, it gives us an insight into whether a project is doable or worth the investment.A feasibility study that’s well-designed should offer insights on the description of the project, resource allocation, accounting statements, financial data, legal requirements, and tax obligations. It helps to determine whether the project is both possible and profitable for the company to undertake. Hence, this study is mandatorily done before technical development and project execution.Types of Feasibility Studies Basically, there are five types of feasibility studies based on the area that is examined:  1. Technical FeasibilityThis study takes stock of the technical resources available to undertake a project from an organization’s perspective. It includes ensuring that the technical resources are adequate, and the hardware and software requirements are met. 2. Economic FeasibilityThis assessment performs a cost/ benefits analysis of the project before the financial resources are allocated. This type of study gives a clear-cut idea of project credibility as well as the economic benefits to the organization from the project. 3. Legal FeasibilityIn this type of feasibility study, the legal requirements of the proposed project are analysed. A number of parameters, ranging from zonal laws to data protection acts are checked, and compliance mandates are mapped out. 4. Operational FeasibilityThis study will help analyse and determine whether the organization’s goals can be satisfied by completing the project.  5. Scheduling Feasibility This is the most important assessment for project success. It estimates the time span necessary to complete the project after considering the organization’ s capabilities, and determines whether that amount is time is available. Benefits of A Feasibility Study Below are the benefits of doing a feasibility study in project management: Get a clear-cut idea of whether the project is likely to be successful, before allocating budget, manpower and time. Enhances the project teams’ efficiency and focus  Helps detect and capitalize on new opportunities Substantiates with evidence why and how a project should be executed Streamlines the business alternatives Diagnoses errors and aid in troubleshooting them Prevents threats from occurring and helps in risk mitigation Gives valuable insights to both the team and stakeholders associated with the project Steps to conduct a feasibility study The following stages are involved while conducting any feasibility, in general: A preliminary analysis: The is like a pre-screening of the project. It helps discover the viability of the project as well as identify any roadblocks, if any. Scope definition: This step includes outlining the project’s scope as well as its potential impact on the organization. Market research: This is an essential factor, as no project is begun without adequate market research. A thorough analysis of the existing market and competition is done to manage the project accordingly. Financial assessment: In this stage, all the costs related to the project, including equipment, man-hours, the financial risks and the benefits associated with the project are scrutinized. Alternative solutions: Whenever any hiccups arise, the team should be well-prepared to come up with a solution. This is an integral yet dynamic part of a feasibility study. Go/no-go decision: The final stage of a feasibility study is the course of action, in other words whether the project is worth proceeding with or not. The feasibility study is an integral aspect of project management. Well-planned projects are less likely to fail. A detailed, well-defined feasibility study will only increase the likelihood of project success. To explore more concepts in project management like these, sign up for any one of our immersive series of project management workshops here.
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