In all these years I have not been certified in any methodology. Three diplomas from regional universities were more than enough for me to easily pass the pre-selection of recruiters (many were simply interested in seeing and talking to an applicant with three diplomas). The knowledge and skills I had acquired during my education and work were enough. Every time I had difficulties in solving work problems or I got interested in certain areas, I simply took courses or deepened the subject with the help of numerous materials, including the experiences of colleagues.
Three years ago, when I started managing projects in the IT industry, my inner impostor came out. I found that construction projects, projects for the implementation of systematic work with financial documents, organizing telemarketing campaigns and other things in general are not very different. The interesting things are hiding in the details. At the same time, I still felt some inner doubts because my education was not specialized in IT.
Preparation processWhen I received the news that P3.express certification was available, I had no doubt that I would try it. After receiving the necessary code and links, I developed the following plan for preparation: first, review my current knowledge (I have been using the framework for about a year, but started studying when it was still the first version of P3.express), take the PMCLUB course based on the second version, measure the results in a practice exam, and then take the actual exam.
The certification package includes 12 practice exams and one final attempt.
The very first practice exam showed a score below target and that the terminology of the second version of the framework has changed. The test itself is in English, but there is an option to translate it into any other language. I used both options — my native language to meet the timing, English — to understand the essence of the issue and the proposed options more accurately.
I took the PMCLUB course in listener format only, without doing homework and studying reference materials. Although I must admit that I do review them from time to time. And it seems that the course based on the second version was illustrated more with live examples from project management practice. This is very useful and helps the updated information match more organically with your experience and knowledge.
Since I had difficulty understanding some definitions such as Project Description and Deliverables Map during the practice exam, I decided to familiarize myself with the official manual in English. For those who doubt their language skills, I would like to say that you can understand the questions and answer options in English from A2 and higher.
The next attempt of the practice exam already showed 82% of correct answers. It was pointless to keep practicing to avoid burning out.
Certification processThe most important thing I learned for future certifications and what bothered me in this certification:
- registration and authorization in the exam system was not fast, a response e-mail with an access code came only after 10−15 minutes.
- it is worth eliminating all distractions in advance (courier deliveries, pets, neighbors with a puncher, family members, instant messengers, etc.).
Here are a few highlights from exam:
- The format of the exam allows you to use any reference materials. In my opinion, however, this can only make you less stressed, it did not help me much. The questions are formulated in such a way that you can answer them correctly if you really understand the logic of P3.express and are imbued with the spirit of the NUPP.
- During the exam, you can mark questions so you can come back to them later. I used it, but I did not change the answers I selected.
- The timing of the exam is pretty reasonable, almost 1.5 minutes per question. I passed all the tests in 92 minutes and used the rest of the time to review the marked questions.
- I spent most of my time on the first 5 questions — either because of stress or lack of experience passing such certifications, some of the wording of the questions was completely incomprehensible to me. Unfortunately, I did not save the text for analysis, but the meaning of the question and answer options was not available to me in any language.
- The result of the exam is visible immediately after passing, but in the details of the answers there is no information in which questions mistakes were made, only a summary table by knowledge areas. Unlike the practice exams, where at the end of each attempt, you can see both the errors themselves and a detailed explanation of the correct and incorrect options.
ImpressionsThe experience of passing the certification alone proved to be even more useful than I had previously anticipated. Of course, my inner impostor is now silenced, because I have solid proof that I know and practice P3.express.
I have also found that when preparing for certifications for heavyweight approaches like PMP or PRINCE2, it pays to pay particular attention to persistence and focus. Here the certification takes only 100 minutes, but I did not feel very comfortable in these conditions, but for PMP it is 2.5 times longer!
The accompanying article on certification recommended taking it annually, although the certificate does not have an expiration date. Normally, I am skeptical of such advice. But even while preparing for the exam, I was able to take a fresh look at the project management process in my company.
I was preparing for the exam when the world and the external processes changed a lot, so I was once again convinced of the perfect flexibility of the framework. I believe that P3.express can help to manage projects in turbulent conditions with minimal costs.