I'm frequently asked about the effectiveness of different
PMP Exam Preparation training products. I always tell my questioner to avail
themselves of a classroom course whenever possible. These courses are taught by
trainers who are experienced project managers and also experienced trainers.
Instructors on PMP Exam Preparation courses offered by R.E.P. certified
training service providers are also PMP certified project managers. These folks
have a lot to offer the trainee. Candidates who have an employer willing to pay
for a classroom course should take advantage of the offer.
Some employers may send their project managers on a PMP Exam
Preparation course simply to meet some HR or customer criteria. Most will have
other objectives to meet that will solve project problems the organization is
encountering. The primary objective for any PMP Exam Preparation course should
be to prepare the student for passing the exam but many will also meet project
management objectives as well (ours does). The instructor of these courses will
elicit students project management objectives at the beginning of the course
and attempt to meet them during the course. They will survey the students at
the conclusion of the course to ensure that all objectives have been met. You
should ensure that you understand all your organization's objectives for the
course before leaving for the classroom. You probably won't be given these
explicitly so you'll have to do some investigating. Find out what problems your
organization's projects have been encountering and formulate your learning
objectives to solve those problems. Articulating the problem and solution as a learning
objective will help the instructor to meet the objective.
The project managers you meet in the class are also a
valuable learning source. It is very likely that you will encounter a PM with
the experience and knowledge necessary to mentor or coach you, in the class.
Even PMs with 20+ years of experience managing projects are being asked to get
certified! Some of this experience may rub off on you when students engage in
class discussions of topics related to the course, or even topics which are not
directly related. Pursue the solutions to your project problems when discussion
turns to a topic that is closely related.
Group exercises are also a great
learning opportunity (our course includes these). These exercises will provide participants with the
opportunity to put the theory they have learned in the class into practice to
solve a problem. Look for an exercise that covers a project management area
where your projects struggle and then broaden the discussion to address your
problems. You can still pick your coach or mentor's brain if none of the
exercises suits your purpose. Buy your coach a coffee and ask for them to apply
their knowledge and experience to the solution of your problem. Most seasoned
project managers will be more than happy to help you.
Preparing students to pass the certification exam is a 2
step process: the first step is to teach the processes, inputs, outputs, tools,
and techniques in the PMBOK and the second is to teach students how to pass the
exam. All courses will get you passed the first step. Look for courses that
provide a component that address the second step. The second step is important
because over 40% of the questions on the exam are "situational".
These questions require you to apply your project management knowledge to solve
a real life problem. Your course should provide you with some experience in
answering these questions successfully. They may also test your ability to
memorize the processes, inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques. "Boot
camp" type courses are typically good at this, particularly those that
include the exam. Look for a software or CBT product to augment your class if
it does not include this component. Do not attempt to pass the exam straight
from the classroom if you haven't practiced answering exam questions. You'll
know you are ready to pass the exam when you can consistently exceed the
passing score for the PMP Exam.