2. Experience Details (PMP Exam)

I have heard many different views on how to interpret Project Management Professional (PMP)âExam Requirements. The experience is second only to how to document your hours. You DO NOT have to have the title project manager for the experience to count. You need to have managed projects. Generally speaking this is leading and directing project related activities. You DO NOT have to have experience across all five process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing), or across all ten knowledge areas (integration, scope, schedule, cost, quality, resource, communications, risk, procurement, and stakeholder). The assumption is that if you are lacking experience in one of these areas that you can still perform well on the exam in those areas.

The experience description is an area that people can really go down the wrong path if you are not careful. I think the biggest advice I can give you here is to not go technical. For example I had a student once who had implemented a data warehouse at a hospital. He was trying to figure out how to abbreviate Microsoft sequel server. STOP! Backup, and go down a different path.

First, was it a waterfall, agile or other approach? That’s a good thing to list first. Second, what was the goal of the project. For example, to implement a new network at building X. Third, what project management (not project) deliverables did you produce?  I would suggest you list items by process group, for example In: I developed the charter & stakeholder register (You might be tempted to type Initiating: I developed the project charter and the project stakeholder register).

The problem is that PMI won’t give you that many characters to describe everything.  I would also suggest that you get prepared for short hand and abbreviations to make everything fit. Also, remember the famous cartoon sailor Popeye He always said I I I….When you are describing your project management deliverables remember I did this, I did that….Be proactive and positive in describing what you did.

The hours of experience are the part where people really get confused in the process. I suggest you use excel or another spreadsheet application. Use this rule of thumb, 2,000 in a year. If you were doing a project for six months then that is 1,000 hours. If you were on that project 50% of your time, then it’s 1,000 X 50% = 500 hours. At that point you can figure out what percentage of your hours went across all five process groups, for example, Initiating=10%, Planning=25%, Executing=30%, Monitoring and Controlling=20%, and Closing=15%. The total project hours are then divided across those percentages for each of the process groups. You can then enter those hours into the online PMP exam application.


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