Over the last two decades the nature of work has changed significantly. Instead of focusing on long-term goals over a period of years, businesses now focus on achieving more identifiable goals over a shorter span of time. Managing quick paced goals and diverse opportunities requires comprehensive planning and execution which a typical manager would not be familiar with.
Because project managers improve the operational efficiency for companies they are always a valuable asset. .
You can improve your project management skills by obtaining your PMP certification after a course of training. The value of PMP certification is quite high as employers rate project management as one of the top ten skills that they look for in senior level managers.
What Sort of Projects Require a Project Manager
A project is anything that involves completing a series of tasks in order to achieve a specific outcome. Any project that requires an accurate defined start and end date, goal, scope and resource allocation is a project that would be best suited for a project manager.
A project could be something related to work, education or even social events.
As an example, consider the launch of a new product. A business firm would need to design the product features, set up its production, train the labor, plan its marketing and arrange finances for the entire venture. All of these can be considered inputs towards the desired goal i.e. launch of the product.
Arranging a company outing or wedding is another example of something that would benefit from a project managers detailed planning. A wedding requires a lot of planning for inviting guests, booking a caterer, planning the reception and ceremony etc.
Project Management in Business Settings
In business, projects are special operations that are carried out from time to time to achieve specific goals, such as improvement in employee productivity or development of a new software or website.
Starting with managing and overseeing smaller projects is an excellent way to get noticed and advance your career. Employees who volunteer to lead projects regardless of the size and complexity are more likely to be candidates for promotion.
In order to successfully lead and complete projects, a project manager needs certain skills. These include,
- Time Management
- Risk Management
- Budgeting and Resource Allocation
- Technical Knowledge about the Project
- Reporting and Evaluation
These skills can be developed through project management courses and project management training programs. Getting a PMP certification ensures that you are well prepared to lead and complete work projects with ease.
How to Get A PMP Certification
In order to qualify for a PMP certification program you need to have prior experience in project management or education in project management.
You need to present demonstrable experience of leading and directing projects for a number of years. The certifying body will verify your experience by performing a high-level review of your application to ensure that everything is in order.
PMP is a higher level project management certification. You can attain the required level of education and experience through junior project management courses such as Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and recording your project management work.
PMI, the certifying body for PMP expects details of the project work including dates of employment, hours worked on projects, experience summary and references.
Work Qualification in Project Management
PMP certification requirements do not take the job title into account. The experience and time that is considered by the PMI is the time that you spend working on projects.
Even if you work as a junior executive at a firm your experience can be considered as long as you can show that you work was related to creating new products, services, software systems or organizing events.
In order to use your project management work for PMP certificate qualification, make sure that you keep a proper record of all the project related work that you do at you job. Networking is very important as PMI will consider references during their evaluation process, so make sure you build a strong network of references, besides networking will help you out in every stage of life!
If you work at a job where you don’t get assigned projects, you could look into starting your own project. For instance, you can suggest new ways of monitoring employee performance or suggest ways to improve communication with customers.
You should be observant about processes or business operations that are lacking and suggest ways in which they can be improved.
If there are no opportunities at work, you can also look into volunteering as a project coordinator or expeditor. This type of work is mostly unpaid and usually taken up by people who lack experience to get a paid position in project management. It is not the best option but worth considering to get the required work experience.
Take the PMP Exam
In order to become a certified project manager, you will need to pass the PMP exam apart from fulfilling the education and experience requirements.
The PMP exam is a 200 question, multiple-choice test. It is considered very difficult to pass by people who have taken the exam. The results are not published by the Project Management Institute so we don’t know the exact statistics. However, many people believe that the pass-out ratio is less than 50%.
There are a number of institutes which prepare students for the exam. On average, PMP candidates spend at least 40 hours preparing for the test.
Here are a few tips to help improve your chances of passing the test.
- Plan your exam preparation well in advance of the exam date.
- Review the PMP handbook.
- Carefully study the most current PMP exam content outline.
- Enroll in a formal study course from an education provider registered with the Institute such as www.projectvanguards.com/courses.
Take sample tests to familiarize yourself with PMP exam format.
- Review the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide to understand the latest trends in the industry.