Hello everyone! My name’s Arthur and for more than three years I have been fiddling with the Analyst and Project Manager responsibilities. I was lucky enough to start in this position in the translation industry — one of the most relevant fields to me, and then slowly but steadily I made my way to the IT sector.
I haven't been the most ambitious Padawan since my school days, but if I get engaged with something, I tend to immerse myself in it as deeply and fast as possible. The first example of such a goal was learning English, followed by other foreign languages, and when it came to the professional sphere, I turned my attention to state-of-art frameworks and methodologies.
Honestly speaking, when I assumed the position of a PM, I often used to realize projects in a random way, lots of things went wrong, colleagues kept rubbing my nose in my mistakes and most of the time was spent on sealing up those “leaking holes”.
As the time was passing by, the projects changed and I gained more experience with each new project. In most cases, the entire experience was directly related to fairly basic rational rules: “speak up if you don’t know where to go”, “don’t lie about the result”, “try to be honest and straightforward”, etc. Sometimes I managed to pick up something useful from my colleagues’ experience, at other times I was taught by different involved people (thank you!), so all of this contributed to my knowledge and expertise.
Because of switching to larger projects and meeting new teams, I had to adapt to the pre-existing rhythm, study various books on Scrum, Agile, just to stand the pace. I also accumulated the experience, which I tried to structure and adapt in projects, but at some point, I realized that everything I knew required a better systematization. I'm not the biggest fan of systems or some kind of rusty processes for the sake of processes, but still I had to somehow consolidate the gained experience and skills.
My colleagues introduced me to pmclub and at first I watched webinars on YouTube (thanks for them!), which turned out to be quite convenient to adapt in real life, later I got familiar with p3express and it appealed to me due to 3 factors:
- Quite convenient and easy-to-understand framework
- Chance to systematize my experience at a proper pace and required manner.
When we concern p3express itself as a framework, it is based on a minimum of complex steps, and the emphasis is made on transparency and the ability to understand the very project management process from its launch to completion. It is adaptable enough for agile and waterfall, so p3express can be put to good use by most project teams.
The framework has its own benefits and drawbacks compared to PRINCE2 or PMBOK, but there is no point in comparing them, because broadly speaking all these practices can be compared with a tool. Its presence is only a part of the success, as each project will always be headed by the Coordinator / Project / Manager, who will skillfully apply the knowledge and experience gained in practice and lead the project to the desired result.
Revising for certification
A small digression: while I was preparing for the certification, I was doing the course from pmclub. Their theoretical material combined with plenty of useful information made it much easier to pass the exam.
So, let’s get to the preparation itself!
The p3express itself, especially its lectures did not cause any problems. I’m keen on self-tuition, so I narrowed down the preparation process to the simplest and most basic rules:
- Print lectures or theory (if possible) and always take notes by hand. Human memory really works better in this case.
- Revise the material bit by bit day after day. This is rather boring and trivial advice, which I ignored for 4 years at university, but it actually works.
- Do your homework or go beyond the scope of the course and try to pick up more than you have. Thanks to pmclub, the guys did this work for me and I didn’t have to search for additional materials.
On average, I tried to find at least 3-5 hours a week for revising the theory, attending the course and doing my homework. Sometimes I managed to do more, and by the end of the course it all came down just to studying the notes.
As soon as I realized that I needed practice, I decided to do trial tests. When the fourth test was passed with 100%, I stopped as I saw no point in keeping doing it.
Once I realized it was pointless to do practice tests, and revision became more boring than before, I started steeling myself for the real exam.
Sitting for the exam
A month after purchasing the course, I decided to set a deadline for passing the exam: 30 days from the moment I started studying p3express.
Just before the test, I went through the following steps:
— put off the exam for one week, because I was afraid of failure and focused on cramming too much;
— 3 days before the exam, I looked through all the suggested learning materials
1) NUPP (Nearly Universal Principles of Projects)
2) Code of Ethics
4) Practice Test Answers
5) Project Simulator
— I read the articles of those who had already passed the test and shared their experience;
When it became clear that there was no time to spare, and I could easily burn out because of the revision, I took a break for one day and proceeded to the test only the next day.
During the exam, I acted as before:
- Distanced myself from all possible irritants (deliveries, pets or annoying neighbors);
- Put the notes and learning materials used during the course in front of me;
- Used all the time allocated within the exam (don’t overestimate your knowledge and review your answers while you still have time);
- Refused to keep track of each second and returned to the timer every 20 minutes.
The experience of preparing for the certification and taking the test itself turned out to be very useful. The knowledge gained helped to regulate some business processes, and the certificate gave me some inner peace.
Certainly, my revision method may seem a little boring and everyone can optimize it in their own way, the main thing is not to be led by fear and at the same time not to overestimate your efforts, that's what accounts for success.