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9 Steps To Becoming a PMP® Certified Professional

The growing complexity of industrial challenges has led to a crisis of human resources who can meet the demands of projects across the globe. PMP® certification offered by PMI is designed on rigorous standards and ongoing research to enable you to meet the real-world challenges of organisations.Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is the gold standard of project management certification which is developed by practitioners for practitioners. If you are getting curious about how can a certification help you to be in demand for various organisations across all industries, then you have picked the right spot to clear your doubts.Become a PMP® Certified Professional in 9 stepsIf you are planning to take up the PMP® certification exam soon then the following 9 steps will surely help you to plan your schedules to clear the exam at the first attempt: Step 1 - Begin with the PMP® Handbook The PMP® Handbook is a guide to all your queries about the procedures for applying and taking the exam. It consists of all the information that you need about the process of taking the PMP Exam and become a PMP® certified project manager. Step 2 - Fulfill the prerequisites to become a PMI certified project managerYou must fulfill the following educational and experience requirements in order to take the PMP® exam:If you have a high school diploma, an associate degree, or the global equivalent of these, then you must hold a minimum of 60 months of unique, non-overlapping project management experience. Moreover, you should have spent at least 7,500 hours of these 60 months in leading and directing project tasks.If you have a bachelors or its equivalent in your country then you must possess a minimum of 36 months of non-overlapping and unique project management experience of which you must have spent 4,500 hours in directing and leading project tasks.You must also show 35 contact hours of project management training in both cases.Step 3 - Become a Member of your local PMI Chapter Once you get a PMI membership, you realise that the discount is bigger than the membership fee. Apart from the free PDF version of PMBOK® Guide and discount on PMP® Exam, you stay updated with information related to PMP Prep Workshops once you become a PMI member.Moreover, you also get an opportunity to network and interact with the new and seasoned PMPs which increases your chance to clear your exam at the first go.Step 4 - It’s time to sign up for your PMP ExamI am sure, you will agree that exam preparations work better when there’s a deadline. Start with your PMP application procedure by visiting project management institute to register and then filling up your PMP Credential Application. You need to submit the same to PMI for approval. Once you receive your confirmation number, you can schedule your exam on the Prometric website.Step 5 - Study the PMBOK® GuideOnce you start preparing for your PMP® certification exam, you can use PMBOK® Guide as your primary reference. According to most trainers, one can find the correct answer for around 75% of the PMP® exam questions in the PMBOK® Guide. So, you must treat it as a resource and read it thoroughly.Step 6 - Get study materials for self-studyAs mentioned above, PMBOK® guide will give you a rough knowledge about the answers for your PMP® certification exam. So, apparently, you will have to use other study materials to cover up the gap. You can download the same from the internetYou can also try the self-study courses like PM PrepCast which will also help you to earn a certificate for the PMI-required 35 contact hours which you can’t earn by reading books.Step 7 - Attend a PMP® WorkshopPMP® workshops for 2 to 6 days are conducted by PMI Chapters, universities, and training companies around the world. These workshops give you an opportunity to interact with the instructors and other students to help you clear your queries about the PMP® certification exam.Step 8 - Answer Sample PMP® Exam questionsThere are numerous free sample questions which are available on the internet and you can use the same to check your learning curve. You should also keep a track of your scores to see where you are.Step 9 - Take the examAfter all the hard work, it’s time for you to appear for your PMP® certification exam. Don’t skip the short tutorial on how to use the computer and the software at the beginning of the exam to avoid a blunder.PMP®  Certification: Why should you get one?‘Professionals with a PMP® certification garner a higher salary (20% higher on average) than those without a PMP® certification’; Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey Ninth Edition. Well, this statement might have answered one of your major queries. Having this PMI certification under your belt helps you to land up in any industry, anywhere in the world, and enable you to work with any project management methodology.    So, if you meet the following eligibility requirements as an experienced project manager then you should go ahead with adding this certification to your collar:Responsible for all aspects of the project for the life of the project and perform duties under general supervision.Deliver projects within the constraints of resources, schedule, and budgets by leading and directing cross-functional teams.Demonstrate sufficient experience and knowledge to appropriately apply a methodology to projects that have reasonably well-defined project deliverables and requirements.The PMP® certification enables you to understand and speak the global language of project management and connects you to a community of experts, organisations, and professionals worldwide to become a project hero.The Misconception About PMP® Certification Cost A common misconception prevails among all the PMP® aspirants about the PMP® Certification cost that it only consists of the exam fee. But least does anybody thinks about the other costs involved in it. The PMP® exam fee for the members and non-members of PMI are $405 and $555 respectively. Then other factors responsible for the cost of PMP® Certification are as follows:Online training cost for PMP® certificationPMP® classroom trainingPMI membership fee and joining feePMI membership renewal feePMP® Certification Exam feePMBOK Handbook cost for non-membersCost of study guides and resourcesCost of practice testsRenewal cost of PMP® certificationOnline and classroom training for PMP® certification: It gets very tricky when it comes to clearing your PMP certification exam at the first attempt. So, to be at a safer side you can choose between online or classroom PMP® training from any leading training provider in the market.The features and costs of these training might vary for every training provider. Also, this gives you the opportunity to meet the 35 hours of training requirement which you need to qualify for your PMP® certification exam.PMI Membership fee and joining fee: You need to pay a processing fee of $10 along with a membership fee to the PMI chapter to avail the PMI membership. Now, did you know that you can bring down your fee for PMP® certification exam, Re-examination, and CCR certification renewal by becoming a PMI member?Other than this, you can get free access to PMBOK® Guide, save money on globally recognized certifications and more, master new skills through free events and webinars, stay ahead of deadlines using 1,000+ free tools and templates, and make local as well as global connections.Cost of learning resources and PMBOK®: As soon as you get a PMI membership, you get access to a free version of the latest version of PMBOK® which a foundation standard for project management developed by Project Management Institute. Other than that, you require additional materials to prepare for your PMP® certification exam which costs you between $40 to $100.You can also buy practice tests for $60 to $100 which will give you a fair idea about the test format for PMP® certification.Renewal cost of PMP® certification:Once you get a PMP® certification, that’s not the end. Your credentials are valid for only three years and you need to renew it after that. You can renew your certification by paying $150 which can be brought down to $60 by getting a PMI membership.Maintain your PMP® certification with 60 PDUsGetting PMP® certified is not the end of your journey, as it is only valid for 3 years. You need to maintain your PMP® certification by earning 60 PDUs to fulfill the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR).You can earn these PDUs by engaging yourself with various professional development activities which center around the areas of Education and Giving back to the Profession. You can also earn your 60 PDUs at one go by signing up for a 60 PDU bundle online training program offered by an established Registered Educational Provider.The way beyond PMP® CertificationGetting a PMP® certification opens your door towards a promising career. A PMP certified professional earns 20% more than a non-PMP certified professional. The following list consists of the country-wise industries along with the average salary earned by the Project Managers:CountryIndustryAverage PMP SalaryAustraliaAgriculture/Mining$166,000AustraliaFinancial services and Consulting industry$150,000United StatesPharmaceuticals$125,000United StatesAgriculture/Mining, Consulting$120,000CanadaAgriculture/Mining$115,000CanadaUtilities$110,000IndiaAgriculture/Mining, Healthcare$25,278IndiaTelecommunication, Engineering$23,874Salary of a Project Manager: Certified Vs Non-CertifiedGetting a PMP® certification apparently contributes towards increasing your annual earning. A non-certified Project Manager may earn up to $91,000 whereas, this figure can go up to $111,000 by adding a PMP® certification to your collar. However, even work experience contributes to an increase in salary for a PMP® certified professional but this growth is not uniform across the globe. Singapore tops the list where the difference between a three-year experienced and a twenty-year experienced PMP® certified professional is 177%.Your salary can also vary based on the type of job you are in. The salary of a PMP® certified professional is higher in IT. The following figures show the salary of  PMP® certified professionals by job in the United States:JobSalary RangeProject Manager  (Information Technology)$65,161 to $125,836ProjectManager (General)$57,877 to $122,485Program Manager$68,150 to $139,552Further, the size of the company also plays a key role in determining the salary of a PMP® certified professional. The following table will give you a clear idea of how the salary figures increase with the company size:Company SizeSalary Range1-9$94,72450-199$93,614600-1999$103,697>5000$111,620ConclusionIf you wish to grow in the field of Project Management, then getting a PMP® Certification is the best way to do that. Also, you can avail a lot of discounts and networking opportunities by becoming a PMI member. Further, it gives you access to the free PDF version of the latest PMBOK® Guide.  To conclude, this blog gives you a clear idea of how to begin your PMP® certification journey. Moreover, you also get a glimpse of the professional future which lies ahead of PMP® certification.

9 Steps To Becoming a PMP® Certified Professional

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9 Steps To Becoming a PMP® Certified Professional

The growing complexity of industrial challenges has led to a crisis of human resources who can meet the demands of projects across the globe. PMP® certification offered by PMI is designed on rigorous standards and ongoing research to enable you to meet the real-world challenges of organisations.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is the gold standard of project management certification which is developed by practitioners for practitioners. If you are getting curious about how can a certification help you to be in demand for various organisations across all industries, then you have picked the right spot to clear your doubts.

Become a PMP® Certified Professional in 9 steps

Become a PMP® Certified Professional

If you are planning to take up the PMP® certification exam soon then the following 9 steps will surely help you to plan your schedules to clear the exam at the first attempt: 

Step 1 - Begin with the PMP® Handbook 

The PMP® Handbook is a guide to all your queries about the procedures for applying and taking the exam. It consists of all the information that you need about the process of taking the PMP Exam and become a PMP® certified project manager. 

Step 2 - Fulfill the prerequisites to become a PMI certified project manager

You must fulfill the following educational and experience requirements in order to take the PMP® exam:

  • If you have a high school diploma, an associate degree, or the global equivalent of these, then you must hold a minimum of 60 months of unique, non-overlapping project management experience. Moreover, you should have spent at least 7,500 hours of these 60 months in leading and directing project tasks.
  • If you have a bachelors or its equivalent in your country then you must possess a minimum of 36 months of non-overlapping and unique project management experience of which you must have spent 4,500 hours in directing and leading project tasks.
  • You must also show 35 contact hours of project management training in both cases.

Step 3 - Become a Member of your local PMI Chapter 

Once you get a PMI membership, you realise that the discount is bigger than the membership fee. Apart from the free PDF version of PMBOK® Guide and discount on PMP® Exam, you stay updated with information related to PMP Prep Workshops once you become a PMI member.

Moreover, you also get an opportunity to network and interact with the new and seasoned PMPs which increases your chance to clear your exam at the first go.

Step 4 - It’s time to sign up for your PMP Exam

I am sure, you will agree that exam preparations work better when there’s a deadline. Start with your PMP application procedure by visiting project management institute to register and then filling up your PMP Credential Application. You need to submit the same to PMI for approval. Once you receive your confirmation number, you can schedule your exam on the Prometric website.

Step 5 - Study the PMBOK® Guide

Once you start preparing for your PMP® certification exam, you can use PMBOK® Guide as your primary reference. According to most trainers, one can find the correct answer for around 75% of the PMP® exam questions in the PMBOK® Guide. So, you must treat it as a resource and read it thoroughly.

Step 6 - Get study materials for self-study

As mentioned above, PMBOK® guide will give you a rough knowledge about the answers for your PMP® certification exam. So, apparently, you will have to use other study materials to cover up the gap. You can download the same from the internet

You can also try the self-study courses like PM PrepCast which will also help you to earn a certificate for the PMI-required 35 contact hours which you can’t earn by reading books.

Step 7 - Attend a PMP® Workshop

PMP® workshops for 2 to 6 days are conducted by PMI Chapters, universities, and training companies around the world. These workshops give you an opportunity to interact with the instructors and other students to help you clear your queries about the PMP® certification exam.

Step 8 - Answer Sample PMP® Exam questions

There are numerous free sample questions which are available on the internet and you can use the same to check your learning curve. You should also keep a track of your scores to see where you are.

Step 9 - Take the exam

After all the hard work, it’s time for you to appear for your PMP® certification exam. Don’t skip the short tutorial on how to use the computer and the software at the beginning of the exam to avoid a blunder.

PMP®  Certification: Why should you get one?

‘Professionals with a PMP® certification garner a higher salary (20% higher on average) than those without a PMP® certification’; Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey Ninth Edition. Well, this statement might have answered one of your major queries. Having this PMI certification under your belt helps you to land up in any industry, anywhere in the world, and enable you to work with any project management methodology.    

So, if you meet the following eligibility requirements as an experienced project manager then you should go ahead with adding this certification to your collar:

  • Responsible for all aspects of the project for the life of the project and perform duties under general supervision.
  • Deliver projects within the constraints of resources, schedule, and budgets by leading and directing cross-functional teams.
  • Demonstrate sufficient experience and knowledge to appropriately apply a methodology to projects that have reasonably well-defined project deliverables and requirements.

The PMP® certification enables you to understand and speak the global language of project management and connects you to a community of experts, organisations, and professionals worldwide to become a project hero.

The Misconception About PMP® Certification Cost 

A common misconception prevails among all the PMP® aspirants about the PMP® Certification cost that it only consists of the exam fee. But least does anybody thinks about the other costs involved in it. The PMP® exam fee for the members and non-members of PMI are $405 and $555 respectively. Then other factors responsible for the cost of PMP® Certification are as follows:

  • Online training cost for PMP® certification
  • PMP® classroom training
  • PMI membership fee and joining fee
  • PMI membership renewal fee
  • PMP® Certification Exam fee
  • PMBOK Handbook cost for non-members
  • Cost of study guides and resources
  • Cost of practice tests
  • Renewal cost of PMP® certification

Online and classroom training for PMP® certification: 

It gets very tricky when it comes to clearing your PMP certification exam at the first attempt. So, to be at a safer side you can choose between online or classroom PMP® training from any leading training provider in the market.

The features and costs of these training might vary for every training provider. Also, this gives you the opportunity to meet the 35 hours of training requirement which you need to qualify for your PMP® certification exam.

PMI Membership fee and joining fee: 

You need to pay a processing fee of $10 along with a membership fee to the PMI chapter to avail the PMI membership. Now, did you know that you can bring down your fee for PMP® certification exam, Re-examination, and CCR certification renewal by becoming a PMI member?

Other than this, you can get free access to PMBOK® Guide, save money on globally recognized certifications and more, master new skills through free events and webinars, stay ahead of deadlines using 1,000+ free tools and templates, and make local as well as global connections.

Cost of learning resources and PMBOK®: 

As soon as you get a PMI membership, you get access to a free version of the latest version of PMBOK® which a foundation standard for project management developed by Project Management Institute. Other than that, you require additional materials to prepare for your PMP® certification exam which costs you between $40 to $100.

You can also buy practice tests for $60 to $100 which will give you a fair idea about the test format for PMP® certification.

Renewal cost of PMP® certification:

Once you get a PMP® certification, that’s not the end. Your credentials are valid for only three years and you need to renew it after that. You can renew your certification by paying $150 which can be brought down to $60 by getting a PMI membership.

Maintain your PMP® certification with 60 PDUs

Getting PMP® certified is not the end of your journey, as it is only valid for 3 years. You need to maintain your PMP® certification by earning 60 PDUs to fulfill the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR).

You can earn these PDUs by engaging yourself with various professional development activities which center around the areas of Education and Giving back to the Profession. You can also earn your 60 PDUs at one go by signing up for a 60 PDU bundle online training program offered by an established Registered Educational Provider.

The way beyond PMP® Certification

Getting a PMP® certification opens your door towards a promising career. A PMP certified professional earns 20% more than a non-PMP certified professional. The following list consists of the country-wise industries along with the average salary earned by the Project Managers:

CountryIndustryAverage PMP Salary
AustraliaAgriculture/Mining$166,000
AustraliaFinancial services and Consulting industry$150,000
United StatesPharmaceuticals$125,000
United StatesAgriculture/Mining, Consulting$120,000
CanadaAgriculture/Mining$115,000
CanadaUtilities$110,000
IndiaAgriculture/Mining, Healthcare$25,278
IndiaTelecommunication, Engineering$23,874


Salary of a Project Manager: Certified Vs Non-Certified

Getting a PMP® certification apparently contributes towards increasing your annual earning. A non-certified Project Manager may earn up to $91,000 whereas, this figure can go up to $111,000 by adding a PMP® certification to your collar. However, even work experience contributes to an increase in salary for a PMP® certified professional but this growth is not uniform across the globe. Singapore tops the list where the difference between a three-year experienced and a twenty-year experienced PMP® certified professional is 177%.

Your salary can also vary based on the type of job you are in. The salary of a PMP® certified professional is higher in IT. The following figures show the salary of  PMP® certified professionals by job in the United States:

JobSalary Range
Project Manager  (Information Technology)$65,161 to $125,836
ProjectManager (General)$57,877 to $122,485
Program Manager$68,150 to $139,552


Further, the size of the company also plays a key role in determining the salary of a PMP® certified professional. The following table will give you a clear idea of how the salary figures increase with the company size:

Company SizeSalary Range
1-9$94,724
50-199$93,614
600-1999$103,697
>5000$111,620

Conclusion

If you wish to grow in the field of Project Management, then getting a PMP® Certification is the best way to do that. Also, you can avail a lot of discounts and networking opportunities by becoming a PMI member. Further, it gives you access to the free PDF version of the latest PMBOK® Guide.  

To conclude, this blog gives you a clear idea of how to begin your PMP® certification journey. Moreover, you also get a glimpse of the professional future which lies ahead of PMP® certification.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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What Is Crashing a Project in Project Management?

Projects come in different shapes and sizes. They may face unique challenges during various stages. A large and complex project is likely to face more problems than a small project that only involves a handful of people.  What are the problems a project may face?  A delay Lack of quality A problem with coordination Mismatch of expectations A poor plan Unforeseen circumstances External factors Change of scope While each of these problems could be discussed in detail, we are more interested in what you should do if your project faces any of these issues. What could be the impact of a project going off track? The completion date is delayed, the project costs go up, or the project gets scrapped. There are ramifications for each of these scenarios.  Depending on the type of project, the decision that you need to take may differ. 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A Project Communication Plan is a document that identifies the communication needs that would arise during a project and aims to address those needs in an organized and timely manner. This is to be created along with the project plan so that the project moves forward smoothly at every stage. The plan considers all the different stakeholders and all types of communication that are needed to establish and maintain healthy channels of communication. Can a document make much difference in improving communications? The document is only the first step in identifying communication needs and planning to stay on top of those needs. The success of the plan will depend on how well it is executed. We will examine how it works in detail. Before that we need to understand what exactly are the things that can go wrong with miscommunication or lack of sufficient communication?Why Does Effective Communication Matter?Communication can create massive problems when it is not optimized. Too little communication hampers alignment where teams are not aware of what another team is working on and what they are expected to do. Too much communication can also slow down work. Long meetings that are not focused or clear about their objective can keep individuals away from their work, delaying projects. When the marketing team receives an update, do they go ahead and inform the sales team, or do they assume that the sales team got the update as well? When one team spots an issue that affects another team, do they flag it or expect the other team to be working on it? When there is a change in the plan who needs to know about it? What stakeholders, both internal and external, will need regular status updates? What can you expect to achieve with a communication plan?Importance of a Project Management Communication PlanA communication plan is about setting up a project that meets the communication requirements of a project. It sets up and coordinates:  Purpose of each piece of communication. Who are the stakeholders that need updates? What kind of meetings are needed? Who will attend meetings?  How or where will the meetings happen? How often will these meetings be held? What reports need to be sent to whom? The mediums of communication to be followed (both scheduled and unscheduled) How can the communication plan be improved? The last point deserves special mention. A communication plan evolves with the project. You can decide to change the frequency of meetings or reports depending on how the project is progressing. You could also add new meetings where you see the need or scrap ones that prove unnecessary. The plan provides details about the purpose of each communication and who the audience should be.  The communication plan is created through a step-by-step process that considers the diverse elements of communication required for the project. Let us see how this process would work if you were to make a Project Communication Plan for your upcoming project. How to Create a Project Management Communication PlanWhat are the steps you should follow to create your own Project Communication Plan? We’ve broken the process down for you!  Define Purpose Before starting with any idea of a communication plan you should understand the scope of this plan and what is to be achieved with this exercise. What are the issues that can be addressed in this plan? Who are the people that need to be included and taken on board for the plan to work? For a plan to work the expectation of it should be known to the stakeholders. That brings us to the question of who are the stakeholders? Identify stakeholders Stakeholders include everyone that is working on the project and everyone the project impacts. All stakeholders need to be a part of the communication plan, but to what degree they are involved will depend on the role they play.  A particular team like sales may only be involved in meetings that have an issue that impacts them. Accounting may be involved in discussions that have to do with budgets or revising expenses. Members of a steering committee will be involved in regular meetings to take stock of the progress. Frequency The third question that needs to be answered is to fix the frequency of communication. Frequent meetings can create a logjam where people talk about things, delay making decisions. Such projects get stuck. If there is a complicated report that takes up time the frequency of it could be reduced. You do not have to have all the answers at the start of the project. You should plan all the things that could make communications easier.  Tools and Medium What tools are to be used to make reports? How are the meetings going to be held? If it is to be done in a meeting room can the room be booked in advance? If the meeting is online, which videoconferencing platform will be used?  These are a few of the questions that could avoid problems when the project starts. Clarity on how a meeting is held or how a status report is to be sent can make the communication process smoother and ensure that all stakeholders adhere to the communication plan.  Review There is no perfect plan. No amount of foresight can ensure that a plan stays infallible at all levels. There will be unforeseen problems or changes in expectation that require the plan to be flexible. Plans can and should be improved continuously to make them more efficient.  If a meeting is found to be unnecessary, it can be scrapped. Similarly, if there are areas that require more coordination you can introduce new meetings or procedures to address the need for better communication. Communication Plan ExamplesEach project that you will handle will have challenges of their own. All projects will benefit from having a communication plan. A basic communication plan will look like this at a high level.ParticipantsAgenda / TopicMedium / PlatformFrequencyTimingOwnerReviewTeam AItem listFace to face (Conference Room A)WeeklyEvery Monday 3:00 pm (Local Time zone)Team LeaderFeedback formTeam BItem listWeb Conference (Zoom)Bi-weeklyEvery alternate Wednesday starting on 15/12/21 at 11:00 am (Local Time zone)Division HeadOnline surveyCustomersNewsletterMail ReportMonthlyLast Day of the month 5:00 pm (Local Time zone)Marketing HeadOnline surveyAll StakeholdersProgress ReportMail ReportMonthlyFifth of every Month 5:00 pm (Local Time zone)Project ManagerAn email mailbox for feedbackSteering CommitteReview MeetingFace to Face Meeting (Conference Room A)WeeklyEvery Thursday 2:00 pm (Local Time zone)Project Manager1 on 1 discussionsThere would be more detailed plans at lower levels of the project within teams and for specific purposes depending on the scale or complexity of the project. If you look at holding the summer Olympics as a project, there would be thousands of people involved. A team that is tasked with the accommodation of athletes, officials and support staff will have frequent meetings with each other on the specific issues affecting them. The availability of specific accommodation, the proximity to the venues or the routes they need to take may be topics of interest to this team.  When somebody from this team attends a high-level meeting with other members from different functions like telecasting, these issues may not be discussed or brought up unless there is a clear connection between them. A good project communication plan also takes care to streamline the flow of information according to its relevance.6 Best Practices for Using Your Communication PlanHaving a great communication plan does not ensure that it will be followed, and everyone will accept the plan in the right spirit. You need to be vigilant of gaps in communication and fix them wherever they appear. Ensuring that a communication plan stays effective cannot be guaranteed, but there are some practices that can dramatically improve your chances.  Focus only on a few important points It might be tempting to be comprehensive and cover all aspects of a project early on. This might overwhelm or confuse the participants, especially if it is a meeting. Make meetings, emails, and other communication focused and target only a few topics at a time. This way the participants or audience will know what the meeting is about and what was the outcome of it. Establish clarity and context Projects can involve individuals from different teams having distinct functions. The vocabulary used in communication should be simplified or the context should be set so that someone who does not know about the aspect of the project will still be able to make sense of what is being discussed and how it may relate to them.  Be vigilant to signs of confusion One of the biggest risks that you should watch out for in your communication plan is the possibility of the audience missing important facts. An email going into the spam folder or looking too routine to be opened may not communicate what it was supposed to do.  Similarly in large and extended meetings individuals are bound to lose their attention from time to time. Keeping meetings short and small can help make communication more effective. Look for signs of disinterest or confusion from your audience.  Take feedback and involve others If your audience is engaged in communication, they can and will give input. These inputs could be used to make the communication plan more effective and relevant to the stakeholders. If the participants of a particular meeting do not feel like there isn’t value in it then it would make sense to scrap it.   You do not have to bear the entire burden of improving communication across the projects. Individuals in different profiles and roles will have unique inputs. Understand communication needs You should keep looking out for the changing needs in communication throughout the project. Who are the stakeholders not receiving information in a timely manner? Who are the participants that are not contributing to or benefitting from a meeting? Asking such questions would make communications more relevant to the audience.  Build relationships If the participants in a project do not share a good relationship with each other, it would help to account for some time for them to get properly acquainted before getting into the project. Understanding who is responsible for what would increase clarity and improve the quality of communication.Benefits of a Good Project Communication PlanA good project communication plan that is executed in the way it is meant to be can help your project on several levels. All the different stakeholders involved in the project will work in a coordinated manner. There will be clarity for each participant on what is expected from them. Individual teams will have a better idea of dependencies in all directions. They will identify the teams that they depend on and the teams that depend on them. A good communication plan evolves as the project progresses, improving the effectiveness of communication. Stakeholders get accurate updates about how the project is progressing. You can identify and fix issues early before they cause problems. There is greater transparency and cooperation. Why a Communication Plan Is More Important Than Ever There is no need to stress the importance of communication. What needs attention is how the needs are evolving. We are changing the way we communicate. People expect information to be readily available. We are also working on more complex projects that span organizations, continents, and time zones. To keep all stakeholders informed at every stage can appear to be a challenging task. A good project communication plan makes the job of all the stakeholders easier. A thorough, and flexible plan can go a long way in helping you and your organization achieve the desired project outcomes and could be seen as a critical component in your project. 
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What Is a Project Communication Plan?

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Project Management vs Product Management: Key Differences

With businesses getting increasingly competitive, steady and sustainable planning and management is needed to guide business strategies and set you up for success. Project management and product management are critical to this business strategy. These two vital roles are often confused, and while they might sound the same, there are some key differences between them.  In this blog, you’ll learn how project management and product management are two sides of the same coin, how they are complementary and how they differ. Which role is right for you? Find out!Defining Product Management and Project ManagementLet’s first start by defining the terms product and project. A product could refer to a physical product, like a new version of an Apple phone, or a software application, such as a CRM tool, or even a service offered to a group of customers. A project, on the other hand, is the effort involved, from start to finish, to create the product. Product management, therefore, is the function that is responsible for managing the product lifecycle—from the initial conceptualization, through the stages of its development and until it is introduced in the market, grows in acceptance and is eventually retired. There is no fixed timeline as it will be based on the success of the product in the market. A product manager makes sure that a great product is built, and that it meets the expectations of customers and the needs of the market.Project management is the function that is involved with the actual creation and execution of the product or service. It has a fixed timeline and is a one-time endeavour as it is completed when the project is closed, and the product is delivered to the customer. The lifecycle of the project goes through five stages—the initiation, planning, execution, tracking and controlling, and closure. A project manager oversees the project from start to finish, ensuring that all the goals are met.The Role of Product Manager Vs. Project ManagerLet’s now see what makes the role of a product owner different from the role of a project manager. A Product Manager owns the product from start to finish. They create and maintain the product vision, and act as the liaison between the stakeholders, users and the development team. They will understand the stakeholder requirements, translate them into design goals and coordinate with the team to see that the development is aligned with these goals. Quite often, the product manager is called the CEO of the product—probably because this role entails in-depth product knowledge as well as sound business sense. The Project Manager understands the product vision and goals that are laid out by the product manager, creates schedules and plans, and manages the execution of the tasks that are required to achieve the goals. They take care of the nitty gritty of the budget, time and quality, and ensure successful completion of the project. The project manager can be compared to the captain of the ship, steering the project in the right direction. To help make the distinction between the two roles very clear, imagine that you are a product manager. You might be able to answer questions like: What is the product brief? Who are the end users? What are the problems we are trying to address? How will the product look and feel? What does the competition look like, and how can you ensure that this product scores over the others in the market? And these are some of the questions that might land up on your plate if you’re a project manager: How much time do we have to complete the project? What is the budget? How can I manage the timelines? Is the team delivering on the promised quality? How can I optimize resource allocation? Here are some of the differences between the two roles, laid out in the form of a table: Product Manager’s RoleProject Manager’s RoleRole descriptionStrategic and requires product knowledgeTactical and requires planning skillsProduct visionOwns the visionFollows the visionProduct goalsOwns the goalsAchieves the goalsInteractionsInteracts with stakeholders and project managerInteracts with product manager and teamsDeals withThe ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the productThe ‘how’ and the ‘when’ of the projectTimeframeWill focus on the product even after delivery, trying to maximize its marketability and improve sales.The job of the project manager ends when the product is delivered. They are not required to be a part of the marketing and launch.SkillsetMust be good at market research, strategic thinking and business-savvyMust be good at planning, budgeting, organizing and time management.Responsibilities of Product Managers Vs Project ManagersAlong with the difference in the two roles, comes the differences in the responsibilities as well. Essentially, the product manager has external responsibilities; those of dealing with stakeholders, management and end users, and understanding the technical aspects of the product. The project managers have internal responsibilities, which involve issues that have to do with functionalities, planning and execution, and they look inward toward the development team. The responsibilities of a product manager might involve (among others):  Understanding the product and doing some market research Gathering the user requirements and collating them Working on a business analysis, and identifying risks and opportunities Defining the product features that can maximize value Technical trouble-shooting Chalking out the product roadmap Managing tasks and deciding the priority Strategizing product launches to gain competitive advantage Retiring the product when it is no longer viable The responsibilities of a project manager are quite different, and could be along these lines: Planning doable timelines, based on the development team’s capabilities Identifying potential risks and mitigating them Managing any issues that arise during development Planning tasks Ironing out any conflicts or roadblocks to progress Allocating the right resources to the right tasks Daily management of task lists, materials, schedules, finances and so on Managing the project scope by balancing timelines, budgets and quality Is There Any Overlap Between Product and Project Managers?There is certainly quite a bit of overlap between the two roles of Product Manager and Project Manager. Both roles have the product in focus, and work to maximize product value, enhance customer satisfaction and deliver quality products on time and within budget. They are both required to be excellent communicators and should have great organizational skills and leadership capabilities. For both roles, experience and the right training are very important. However, product managers drive product development, while project managers drive project execution. There are certainly instances, usually in smaller companies, where one person could wear both hats. This does not always work out well, however, and there could be several issues that could arise as a result. These issues could include the following: As we have seen, product managers have more focus on the product itself, and not on the process of creating it—which comes under the purview of the project manager. If one person plays both roles, either of the two responsibilities will suffer as a result. Product managers usually take part in many external activities, such as attending trade fairs to keep an eye on the competition, interacting with stakeholders and so on. If they spend all their time in looking after the daily work, these activities will languish. Project managers might not have sufficient knowledge about the product itself and may not be able to define and prioritize the features adequately, as they will not have sufficient knowledge about the market. Whereas, for the product manager, it’s all about the product, and their primary work revolves around product strategy, product vision, product goals and maximizing product value. Product managers, when tasked with managing the project, might not have adequate expertise in balancing and juggling scope, quality, financial outlays and time schedules. When one person is weighed down with too many responsibilities, it’s a given that something will have to fall short. Quite often, and understandably so, quality is what gives way first. As projects grow increasingly complex, having a product manager focus on the strategy, while the project manager takes care of the tactical aspects will lead to more successful outcomes. Wrapping Up: Final Thoughts  As we have seen, the two roles are complementary, and both are equally important for successful outcomes. If you’re trying to decide on which role might suit you best, take a look at your skill sets, understand the responsibilities that come with each role and then make your decision! Rest assured, both roles will continue to be in demand in the foreseeable future, and either way you can’t really go wrong!  To equip yourself with industry best practices and start your career on the right foot, explore these sought-after project management certifications. 
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Project Management vs Product Management: Key Diff...

With businesses getting increasingly competitive, ... Read More

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