Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My PMP Journey - Acknowledgement

My PMP Journey. I have so much to write that I don't think I can fit all into one blog post for you guys to read in one sitting.

I had passed my PMP exam on 16th August 2017. So, I believe congratulations is in order. Ok you can stop clapping. Thanks.

I will subsequently post my PMP journey in more details for the benefit of other PMP aspirants. But for now, this is the acknowledgement page for everyone who has influenced me in one way or another to get this certification.

I can't really tell who have bigger, stronger, more effective influence, so I will list them chronologically. If your name appear later, doesn't mean you are less important, you just came to my PMP life later rather than sooner. No hard feelings, ok?

Mr HC Poh - He was my project manager for the company I worked with for several years. He's the type of the project manager who has very strong values of project managers. The three competencies of project manager are Knowledge (he knows about the project management), Performance (bagging experience of multiple projects completed flawlessly applying his knowledge), and Personal (his behaviour in general throughout the project. The third skill (Personal) is what makes him a leader, not a boss. This, his attitude and empathy, is what makes us remain friends even after we have pursued different career path.

Mr HP Tan - He was my direct supervisor for a project. A big, tough project which required us attention to details. He was the Senior Project Manager and I was a Assistant Project Manager at that time. I learned a great deal of project management skills under a lot of pressure. The project constraints are conflicting and equally important, but he managed to balance it. He showed me the importance of knowing Planning, Accounting, Logistics and tackled the issues with cool head. He is a real problem solver. Together we wanted to find something that can solidify our Project management skills. We came across PMP bootcamp. We registered but subsequently withdraw because the project was too demanding and we don't have the time to commit for studying. That was 2011, I had to check my email for the registration cancellation to find out when was that. It was long time ago.

Ms Leni Sagita - She was a classmate for one of my courses in National University of Singapore. She knew I was a practicing project manager. She asked me one question that bugged me. "What makes you qualify as a Project Manager?". We know there's a Professional Engineer for engineering field, we also have certain certifications for other professions like Doctors, Pilots, etc. I was practicing project management skills as a project manager without any paper documents to tell people that I am qualified. Worse, I can't even tell myself that I'm qualified. I was a project manager by virtue of my Expertise. I had done what I am doing countless times in previous projects and that makes the company think that I'm good enough to be project manager. I don't want this to be halo effect or to prove my failure according to Peter principle. I need something to benchmark myself.

Mr Bayu Aditya - He was the first PMP I knew. Ms Leni introduced me to him. We chatted over Yahoo! messenger. I'm not even sure it still exists now. He told me his preparation works for the exam, about this exam preparation book from Rita Mulcahy. He is a very helpful guy, considering I'm only a second degree friend. But the YM conversation with him is the one really sets things in motion. Slow motion. But it's okay, guys. If you're reading this and pursuing PMP. It's Okay to go slow, as long as you don't go backward. Don't stop. Move. Push yourself.

Things happened after my conversation with Bayu. Life gets in away. Suddenly I'm getting married, had a new responsibility as a husband, changed job, advanced career, and in a blink I became a father of a very cute daughter. Suddenly PMP was not there on the to-do-list.

This may not seemed relevant to you. But to some of the readers who experience this, I tell you. It's OK. PMP is not the world. It is a benchmark. To prove to others that you are capable to earn this, and most importantly, to prove to yourself. At some points of life, you will have other things (constraints) that requires your attention. It may seems you pushed PMP Exam preparation aside, but no. You didn't. You just prioritize. Because that's what Project managers do. We balance constraints. We prioritize stakeholder's requirements. And for those years, the most powerful stakeholders were my family.

Edward Chung - I don't know him personally. I stumbled upon his website from some Facebook shares. His website is very catchy. The reason I wrote and resurrect this blog from the dead might be because of him. He documents his PMP journey in details. And his journey is the road less travelled. He has a full time job (well, which PMP aspirant doesn't), and three kids. Being a father of one daughter. I can't imagine the craziness of having three kids and studying for the exam in the chaos. Everytime I read his articles, this thing always sets me back. This guy, this guy, this guy can do this and become PMP. And my natural competitiveness will strike my cerebral cortex to push me to earn my PMP certification.

Udemy. Wonderful place to learn new things. I've heard a lot about this online learning. I took few lesson from Lifehacker University. I have real life friends who took courses in Coursera and Udacity. This Udemy one day slipped into my Facebook fimeline. I searched and came across this popular course by Joseph Phillips.

Joseph Phillips - the instructor for the Udemy course. The link for the course is here. I don't take any money from Joseph for promoting this. This is my way of thanking him and also to increase your chance of success. Go join his course. I will do further details on this Udemy course on separate blog post. Few points from Jo that mould my PMP journey is:
  • know what to study
  • treat this PMP exam preparation as project
  • PMP aspirant facebook group
People from the Facebook group. So many of you have positive influence. Since the day I joined, I saw many of you share your experience, difficulties, and the happy announcements what you've been bestowed PMP. I couldn't possibly name every single one of you because I don't know you personally, but there are several names I need to put here.
  • Lori Kessler - for being in the same boat randomly audited by PMI. We are indeed the rare ones.
  • Dean Crockett - for very comprehensive list of things he prepared prior taking the exam
  • Sandeep Kumar - for the summary of the list of free exam simulation and published your score so I can gauge how ready I am prior taking my exam
  • Andriani Hutabarat Chaudhry - your single post encouraged me on my last spur of exam preparation. Life threw curveball at me at the last moment too. I crashed my study for the final week before exam and pulling doubles to follow the plan.
  • Maja Mitic - for sharing the exam simulation websites
  • Stefan A Kooistra - for sharing your practice test results
  • Vladimir Rodic - he is no longer the member of this facebook group, but his experience on this exam preparation is the most enjoyable to read. He shared how he manage his biological clock, his exercise (swimming!), and the exam experience itself (the light clothings, jacket, snacks, etc). He is truly the PMP ninja.

Colleagues of current company - especially Mr Sennet, Mr MF Ku. For covering my duties during my exam day.

Colleagues of previous company -  For giving me the experience to work in a team managing a project. And especially Mr Jeffrey for verifying my experience for the PMI audit.

At the beginning of this blog post I mentioned that there is no way I can gauge the influence others have on my PMP journey. I was wrong. There were people who directly affect my ability to perform this PMP journey effectively. My family. I was not a strong man like Edward Chung who can have a full time job and handle three kids. During this exam preparation I realized that I needed my wife. She had sacrificed a lot to make our house home sweet home. And for our daughter Evangeline to be a good girl during daddy's exam preparation. I will not be who I am today without your support. Those late night study will not be effective if I can't let my mind at ease knowing my wife will handle my baby daughter sleep training. Those uninterrupted exam simulation I took will not be clinical experience without my wife handling the potty training.

I have so many people to thank for this PMP. But if this award is for one person, my wife gets it.