Last November I wrote a Post talking about the process of “Qualifying Myself” and what that looked like for me. At that time I had just completed the ScrumMaster Certification and was accepted to the 2018 Cohort for a Masters in Cinema, Religion, and Worldview at Walla Walla University. In the last line of that post I shared that I would spend the next few months studying to become a Certified Project Management Professional… Just a sentence or two to footnote a moment of celebration for the milestones I had made on this journey but yet oh so ignorant and unprepared for the process I was about to go through.
I attended a 4-day PMP Bootcamp in January and scheduled to take the exam one week after the Bootcamp was completed thinking this would be sufficient time to prepare for the test. I should’ve known when they required me to provide a pint of blood, a lock of hair, and my first born son just to get approval from the Project Management Institute to take the test that this was no ordinary Certification. The reason this is such a coveted and revered Professional Designation is because the Institute that confers it and developed the requirements to maintain it have put a lot of time and effort into ensuring there’s tangible meaning behind those 3 little letters P M P.
I studied casually as the Bootcamp approached telling myself I would put the time and effort in when I have those 4 dedicated days to focus. During the Bootcamp we took two 50 question exams everyday, one at mid-day and one in the evening. The class was a fun bunch not afraid to ask questions and we quickly became friends, I collected everyone’s contact information and created a GroupMe Group for the entire class to chat and stay in touch after the Bootcamp was complete. We all came at varying levels of readiness: some having studied on their own for over a year, some completing all the recommended pre-class study, others were scheduled to take the test immediately following the class, and yet still others had done no prep and didn’t know when they would take the exam. We scored ourselves on those 50 question tests every day and had time to review the ones we got wrong and for most of us our numbers improved steadily. The last day we took a 200 question test which simulates the actual PMP Certification Exam, it was my best score of the entire class but still not a score I was comfortable with to ensure I would pass the real test. I figured a few days of study and some further practice exams and i’d get there.
I took that test and Failed Royally! Real talk: it shook me.
I had my kids praying for me, classmates from the Bootcamp who had already passed waiting for feedback, countless friends, family, and coworkers including student techs knew I was studying for and taking the test. I sat in the car after failing the exam looking at the printed results thinking how could this happen. Called my wife and she said come home and rest. I did just that and my family literally rebuilt my confidence in the space of a weekend. I shared the bad news with everyone and that I planned to retest soon, what I didn’t share was that I had already paid for and scheduled the retest for exactly one month later. I put together a pretty stringent study schedule with milestones I had to meet and benchmarks for practice tests: essentially I made it a Project that I needed to Initiate, Plan, Execute, Manage & Control, and ultimately Close: LOL, little PMP joke! The plan also called for lots of prayer keeping the test date to my wife and kids only. Thursday March 1, 2018 I took and passed the Project Management Professional Exam and earned the coveted designation of PMP! Kinda glad I failed the first attempt, learned a lot by going through that experience and the best part is our kids got to see the entire process and learn what it means to fail, get back up, and try again: Priceless.
I know I was only aiming for two Certifications before Grad School but wouldn’t you know they put out an updated Top Certifications for CIOs list and there is one on there that I really feel completes the set for me: Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) guess I’m a glutton for punishment, wish me luck and leave a comment below… Cheers!
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