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CBAP Certification Thoughts from the Field: To Certify or Not to Certify

CBAP Certification Thoughts from the Field: To Certify or Not to Certify
By Andrea Brockmeier

Once again, I’ve been on the trail catching up with people who have earned their certification in either business analysis or project management to see what impact it has had on their professional development or practice.

Previously, I talked with a couple of PMPs. My most recent interview was with Cristian, who lives in Sweden and achieved his CBAP certification in December of 2014.

Andrea: Why did you decide to get your CBAP?

Cristian: I was working for an organization that works with consultants. Everyone has their own ideas, and preconceived notions about how to do things. People mix terms or take for granted what people mean by something.

Andrea: So you were looking for communications consistency?

Cristian: Yes, you could put it that way. There was also a CMMI [Capability Maturity Model Integration] initiative going on and I wanted to make sure I was using correct terminology in my work. Read the Complete Article

PMP Exam Changes: What’s New

PMP Exam Changes: What’s New
By Andrea Brockmeier

The PMP exam changes are approaching this fall. Below is a Question & Answer segment discussing these changes.

Q: Why is the PMI changing the PMP Exam?

A: In general, PMI periodically updates their certification exams as a result of two things: the Role Delineation Study (RDS) and the Examination Content Outline (ECO), which is based on the RDS.

Refinements around the role and responsibilities are documented in a RDS, which the certification addresses and updates to a body of knowledge, like the PMBOK® Guide, that catalogs best practices in the discipline the certification addresses. The blueprint for the PMP exam is the ECO document. PMI recently completed an update to the RDS resulting in an update to the ECO. Check this FAQ for a very helpful explanation of these documents as well as the specifics regarding the ECO changes.

Q: What is changing? Read the Complete Article

PMI Certification Changes: What You Need to Know

PMI Certification Changes: What You Need to Know
By Andrea Brockmeier

There is no grass growing under the feet of folks at PMI. And that’s going to have most of us hopping this summer and into fall as we work to make sense of what’s happening in the PMI certification world and the implications for each of us.

First, PMI recently completed the first Role Delineation Study (RDS) for agilists, resulting in modifications to the Examination Content Outline (ECO), which is the exam blueprint. Most notably, six tasks have been added as well as a new domain, Agile Principles and Mindset. Currently, the exam questions are categorized as either Tools and Techniques, or Knowledge and Skills. The new exam will be organized principally around the seven domains and related tasks.

The new exam pilot period begins July 15 (meaning the last day to take the current version of the PMI-ACP exam is July 14) and runs through October 14. Read the Complete Article

What’s Wrong with Lessons Learned Sessions?

What’s Wrong with Lessons Learned Sessions?
By Andrea Brockmeier

What’s wrong with lessons learned sessions done at the end of a project? If the sentiments of my project management training students are any indication, plenty.

The complaints are many and varied:

“They take too long and we don’t have time.”
“At that point, the project is over so people don’t really care anymore.”
“By the time we get to it, the people who worked on the project are no longer around.”

And, by far the most common compliant:

“We don’t have a good way to go back and look at previous project lessons learned to apply to future projects, so why bother?”

On the whole, my students don’t find lessons learned to be time well spent.

In many ways, I agree. Consider that you may stand more to gain by looking at what you should be doing more or less of within the project you’re currently working on than you do trying to capture ideas for the next project – whenever and whatever that is. Read the Complete Article

To Certify or Not To Certify, That Is the Question.

To Certify or Not To Certify, That Is the Question.
By Andrea Brockmeier

I certainly have my own perspectives on the topic, but I thought I’d take the question on the road to see what others have to say about their certification pursuits and how it has or hasn’t helped them.

I interviewed two PMPs, Paul and Jon, both of whom earned their PMP certification within the last four years. Paul recently entered into the world of consulting after having spent over 15 years working as a project manager in large organizations. Jon has worked as a project manager both as an internal employee and a consultant for large organizations for over 10 years.

My brief Q and A sessions with these two professionals yielded some interesting responses for those pondering whether or not to make the investment to get certified. Below are some of the comments they shared with me about their professional journey and how certification has played a part in it. Read the Complete Article

Making Change Control Easy

Making Change Control Easy
By Andrea Brockmeier

If you struggle with a lack of sustained discipline in your project change control practice, one opportunity may be to clarify the distinction between controlling performance and managing change.

As we move through a project, two types of triggers prompt us to reach for that change management plan and tap into our change control process. To effectively respond, we need to be clear as to what type of change are we responding to and what it is we are trying to control.

Why Control Performance?

On the one hand, change control is required as a result of performance variation. In this case, we may discover that our project is not progressing as planned, so we make changes to the schedule, resource allocation, or some other variable. That is, change control is needed in response to how the project or team is performing. Here we are controlling project performance due to variations from plan. Read the Complete Article

PM/BA Certification – A Great Way to ‘Grow’ Your Career

PM/BA Certification—A Great Way to ‘Grow’ Your Career
By Andrea Brockmeier

How is the PM and BA certification landscape evolving?

Spring is the season for renewal and growth—so how about you?

What are you doing for your professional renewal and growth? Certification is a great way to leverage experience and knowledge and demonstrate commitment to your field or profession.

Recent articles by Watermark principals Rich and Elizabeth Larson, and Director of Business Analysis, Vicki James, have shed light on the new Project Management institute (PMI®) certification, Professional Business Analyst (PMI-PBA™). This is a great new opportunity for project managers to channel their business analysis and requirements management experience into professional development and growth.

How else is the certification landscape evolving? Which certifications are growing the most and by how much? Below are the numbers of individuals with various credentials to give you some perspective on certification growth in the last few months. Read the Complete Article

Training for Project Closure

Training for Project Closure
By Andrea Brockmeier

Closing out a calendar year brings to mind the challenges of closing out projects. But unlike a calendar year, the close of a project only happens with intention. All too often, it doesn’t happen at all.

The benefits of conducting some kind of formal project closure are many, including a sense of accomplishment among project participants which improves productivity, organizational recognition of the value of the investment, and contributions to the corporate memory that serve as a resource for future projects. Project closure is not just a good idea, it’s of value to the organization.

My top tips for closing projects came from personal experience training for my first triathlon. My biggest concern going into the race was how I was going to hold up toward the end. Running is the last of the three events, and the one about which I was least confident. Read the Complete Article

Tips for Making Project Tracking Easier

Tips for Making Project Tracking Easier
By Andrea Brockmeier

If You’re Not Tracking, You’re Guessing. Tips for Making Project Tracking Easier

The thrill of tracking is probably not what keeps most of us in the field of project management. Unfortunately for those of us not too fond of tracking, it’s not really an option if we want to be able to answer the question most project stakeholders are asking, that is, “How’s the project going?” We also need a baseline, of course, but that isn’t much use if you don’t have something to compare against it. You are really guessing if you try to answer that question in the absence of either a baseline or tracking.

It’s been my experience that people are often pretty good at tracking in the beginning of a project. Then at some point, just keeping up with the immediate task at hand leaves little time for reporting what has already happened. Read the Complete Article

So You Think You Want to Be a Project Manager?

So You Think You Want to Be a Project Manager?
By Andrea Brockmeier

A question posted on an online discussion group recently asked the question: What would make you quit your job as a project manager? What would make someone not want to be a project manager?

As I considered this, it didn’t take long for things to come to mind. I got to thinking about my students’ and colleagues’ experiences with absent, disinterested, or unsupportive sponsors. I hear this a lot. If you felt like you weren’t supported by a sponsor, that would surely make you want to do something other than project management.

Then I got to thinking about the statistics I had seen reporting on the rates of project success. I couldn’t remember what I had read exactly, but I seemed to remember that they weren’t so good. When I spent a little time digging around for project success rates, I was right. Read the Complete Article

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