What is Project Management?

In business, the role of a project manager is an important one. However, many people do not understand what the role entails. The role of a project manager can be employed across a variety of industries and is not specific to one type of business. Typically, a project manager will have specific skills in an industry and have a vast knowledge of many aspects of that business.

A project manager role can seem a little unclear if you don’t know what the person in that role does, however, anyone with a great skillset and some heavy knowledge in their field can become a project manager. The role can span different levels of industry and can involve everyone from entry-level to senior corporate management.

So, what is project management?

To first understand what ‘project management’ is, you must first be able to understand what the term ‘project’ means.


What is a Project?

Depending on the type of industry you work in, a project could range from building a new IT department in an office situation to the construction of a high-rise building or resort. There are no limitations to what type of project you could work on except by the industry itself. Projects range in size, and each business will have projects unique to its business model and industry.

Each unique project will feature some key attributes that will not be industry specific, but project specific. These include the scope, schedule, and budget; all of which are vital for project managers to be in full control. The scope is what defines the product, including the services and deliverables of the project. The schedule defines the time frame in which the project begins and ends. The basis of the budget includes every cost required to complete the project.

The combination of these three things is known as the ‘triple constraint’ of a project manager’s role. These three things rely on each other for the project to be managed effectively, and you cannot change them. So, to be put simply, the project manager’s role is to manage these three things efficiently and effectively to ensure the project runs smoothly.

These elements of the role may sound quite simple, but in each of these three categories, there could be hundreds of different processes required to make them run smoothly.


What is a Project Manager?

Now that we have reached a clear definition of the ‘project,’ it is a little easier to understand what the role of project manager necessitates. A project manager will be involved in a project from the very beginning and will be involved in the initiation, planning, execution, control, and close of the project. They will oversee the team that works to achieve the project goal and meets the budget, time and criteria specifics of the project.

The biggest challenge for a project manager is achieving all the project goals within the time and budget restraints of the project. There are usually many elements of a project that you need to achieve at specific points of the project, based on end quality, time and budget. On top of this, a project manager will also try to optimize the project results as it evolves, as well as allocate necessary inputs, like external sources and the application of them to the specific needs of the project.

The client who needs the project carried out will usually have a specific set of requirements or objectives for the project in which a project manager will need to follow. The client objectives once established should play a key role in all decisions made by anyone involved in the project.


How do you get hired as a Project Manager?

A project manager can gain employment in a range of ways. The client can directly contract a project manager to manage their project. The role could also be internal through the company who hires you. You could also be part of a project management consulting firm offering specialist project management consulting services in specific industries, or construction project management services.


Who else is involved in Project Management apart from Project Managers?

Project managers will need to be able to deal well with people on all levels of business and during a project could deal with everyone from other project managers, contractors, designers, sub-contractors, accounting departments, marketing departments, as well a range of other people in different areas of expertise. Being able to communicate well with people at all levels of business is essential for a project manager role.

Basics of Project Management

The basics of project management involve the key focus on the planning and organization of a project and its resources, which involves the identification and management of the project cycle to be used. Once identified, the project cycle will be applied to create a design process, build a project team, and guide them through the phases of the project until its completion.

The value of great project management for business is priceless. For any sized business, a project that needs completion within the earlier mentioned constraints needs the focus of a qualified project manager to ensure the project goals maintained and that quality assurance guaranteed throughout the lifespan of the project. Project managers also ensure that any risks during the project are avoided, including physical, financial and time-sensitivity risks.

One of the most important roles of the project manager is to ensure that all members of the project team, including contractors, sub-contractors, from other project managers, designers, accounting departments, marketing departments, and anyone else who is involved in the project understand their specific role. Project managers also need to make it clear that each person involved knows their responsibilities, as well as the expected project deliverables and the schedule in which the project needs to run on.


Specific Areas within Project Management

Most project management training companies teach a range of Project Management areas of expertise including the below. All the below areas are of vital importance to every project in any sized business.

  • Scope Management
  • Integration Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Cost Management
  • Communication Management
  • Time Management
  • Procurement Management
  • Risk Management
  • Quality Management

Fundamentals of Project Management

The fundamentals of project management rely on set phases for each project. The project manager should be involved in every aspect of every phase of the project process from start to finish and should know how each phase is running throughout the project. Great project managers will easily be able to see any issues that may compromise the project completion constraints, and problem solve to assure the client the project will be completed on time, and on budget. The five phases below are an integral part of every project, large or small and the process will be the same for every project, no matter the scope, budget or time constraints it features.

  1. Project Concept

The concept of the project will be discussed to determine whether the project is a viable option for the business, considering the benefits and whether it can complete within the constraints.

  1. Project Definition and Planning

The second phase will usually involve the scope or plan of the project put into writing, outlining what needs is needed. This phase usually includes initial budget and schedule creation, as well as working out what resources will be required to complete the project.

  1. Project Execution

This phase involves the building of teams and resources for the project.

  1. Project Control

Phase four is set out to establish whether the status of the project is progressing to the plan. This phase will be carried out regularly throughout the project. Project control phase is where the role of the project manager can become difficult, as problem-solving becomes a big part of the role, fixing any issues that are holding the project back.

  1. Project Close

Once the project is complete, a project manager will evaluate the project, and assess whether the project was successful, and note any issues that you can learn from throughout the project’s history.

How Do You Become A Project Manager?

Basic Project Management Course Outline

The best way to become a project manager is through a course. You can find courses for project management at university, online or at other registered training organizations. A basic project management course will teach you the skills required to plan, manage, control costs, reduce risks, for a project while providing clarity and value to the business during a project. Learning the fundamentals of project management are essential elements of the Basic Project Management Course Outline. Using hands-on exercises the basic courses in project management will make sure you can offer value to a business by learning to assess a project’s business case. You will also lean to capture product requirements, identify stakeholders and recognize their specific relationship to your project. Not only this but project management training online courses will help you to establish quality metrics that will allow you to control the development of your project and review business case specifics.

Courses that offer project management training online also help you to be able to define the project scope to deliver projects on time. They train you to manage the project within budget and time constraints, teach you the best methods for managing change, risk identification and management, as well as training you in the best methods of business value delivery tracking and how to close out projects successfully.

Online project management training should give you a competent understanding of the core capabilities of a successful project manager.

Trying to select the best PMP Training course can be a challenge. We have simplified this process for you so that the selection process is easy. If you are looking for the best way to train to be a project manager, contact us today.

CAPM vs PMP: Which Certification is Better?

CAPM vs PMP: Which is Better?Deciding which project management certification works best for your career can be a difficult choice. There are many options available depending on the industry you intend to enter.

Two that are especially hard to pick between are CAPM certification and PMP certification. After all, each represents a different level of education and experience. A Certified Associate in Project Management is viewed by many as easier to obtain, whereas the Project Management Professional distinguishes the holder as a professional experienced in the field.

So which one is right for you?

We’ve assembled a guide that will help you decide whether CAPM or PMP certification is right for you and your career goals. We’ll compare and contrast the two in terms of time, experience, salary, and more!

Why Get Project Management Certification in the First Place?

Why should you consider certification geared towards this industry in the first place? Mark. A Langley, President and CEO of the Project Management Institute (PMI) said it best:

“Project leaders are becoming even more essential as organizations recognize that strategy is implemented through projects and programs, and as disruptive technology frees them from mundane routines, providing more opportunity to innovate. ” – Mark A. Langley

As the workforce moves toward a culture of specialized projects, proving that you have the knowledge and skills necessary for effective management of a project is vital. One of the ways you can quickly show potential employers that you have the education and training that they’re looking for is with certification. And the most common choices for both students and employers is CAPM or PMP certification.

We’ll go over the differences between the two below:


CAPM vs PMP: Eligibility Requirements

One of the major differences between these two credentials is their eligibility requirements.

The CAPM is easier to obtain than the PMP, requiring fewer hours and less education than the latter.

For this reason, the CAPM is a better option for individuals with limited project management experience and education, who are looking to get their foot in the door and stand out to potential employers.

Here’s a list of the CAPM requirements:

  • A high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent
  • 1500 hours of project work experience OR
  • 23 hours of formal project management education

The CAPM makes certification in project management possible even for high school graduates with no four-year degree. They can simply take a Project Management course, either online or in-person, to satisfy the requirement and sit for the CAPM exam. In fact, the PMI offers a Project Management Basics course that satisfies the 23-hour requirement; you can even take this course at your own pace, which is useful for distance learning or nontraditional students.

In contrast, the eligibility requirements to take the PMP exam are a little more rigorous. Like the CAPM, there are two avenues to obtaining your PMP.

The first set of eligibility requirements for the PMP exam are:

  • High school diploma, secondary degree or global equivalent
  • Minimum of five years/ 60 months project work experience, with 7500 of those hours spent leading/ directing a project
  • 35 hours of formal project management training

The second set of eligibility requirements for the PMP exam are:

  • Bachelor’s degree or global equivalent
  • Minimum of three years/ 36 months project work experience, with at least 4,500 of those hours being spent leading/ directing a project
  • 35 hours of formal project management training

Because of the years required in both avenues of earning eligibility for the PMP exam, the PMP certification is recommended for professionals who have been practicing project management for a while and have gained plenty of experience. On the other hand, the CAPM certification is a great way to get your foot in the door to get on project teams and help you earn the hours needed to take the PMP exam.

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CAPM vs. PMP: Cost

Another key difference between the CAPM and PMP credential is the certification exam cost. The PMP is nearly double the cost of the CAPM examination in terms of pricing. To sit for the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam, the fees are as follows:

  • Project Management Institute Membership Fee (For PMI Exam):$405
  • Non-Member PMI Exam Fee: $555

The fees for renewal are heftier, as well. For the recertification exam, here’s the pricing breakdown:

  • Re-examination Fee for PMI Members- $275
  • Re-examination Fee for Non PMI Members- $375

In contrast, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification costs are lower. Here are the fees set out by the PMI for the CAPM exam:

  • CAPM Exam Fee for PMI Members: $225
  • CAPM Exam Fee for Non PMI Members: $300

In the event that you don’t pass the first time, the re-examination fee won’t break the bank quite like the PMP’s will:

  • CAPM Re-Examination Fee for PMI Members: $150
  • CAPM Re-Examination Fee for Non-PMI Members: $200

Although at first glance the CAPM may seem by far the better deal with it’s lower price point, there is another factor that makes the more expensive price tag of the PMP certification worth it.

That incentive is the prospective salary difference between CAPM and PMP designation holders.


CAPM vs. PMP: Potential Salary

As we mentioned before, the potential earnings of someone with PMP certification can more than make up for the fees associated with testing.

The average salary for a PMP is $103,000 annually. This is a significant lead over the average annual salary for a CAPM, which is $65,000. Potential earnings also tend to go up on projects in more specialized industries such as IT.

Although the average salary of a CAPM is nothing to sneeze at, the PMP is more desirable in terms of money-making potential. In fact, the Project Management Institute (PMI) reported that PMP credential holders earn 20% more on average than non-certified project managers in the 2018 Earning Power Survey.

CAPM vs. PMP: The Exam

There are some pretty marked differences between the exams for the CAPM and the PMP.

For one, the PMP exam is much larger. It contains 50 more questions than those that appear on the CAPM.

Here’s the test breakdown for the PMP exam:

  • A total of 200 questions
  • Number of scored questions: 175
  • Number of pretest (unscored) questions: 25
  • Allotted time: 4 hours

The exam covers different portions of the project management process. The percentage breakdown of questions on the test according to the PMP Exam Content Outline is:

  1. People 42%
  2. Process 50%
  3. Business Environment 8%

Even the most experienced project management professionals are encouraged to study for the exam at length, as well as brush up on the most recent edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide, or PMBOK®.

Because re-examination fees are so costly, is it highly recommended that you look into some test taking tips. You can start by studying at length, using refresher courses, and enrolling in training sessions offered by Registered Education Providers (R.E.Ps) in your area.

In contrast, the CAPM exam is used to prove knowledge of skills and terminology. Instead of testing on the various phases of project management, this examination has a more general breakdown of topics.

According to the CAPM Exam Content Outline, the percentage breakdown of the 150 exam questions is as follows:

  1. Introduction to Project Management 6%
  2. Project Environment 6%
  3. Role of the Project Manager 7%
  4. Project Integration 9%
  5. Project Scope 9%
  6. Project Schedule 9%
  7. Project Cost 8%
  8. Project Quality 7%
  9. Project Resource 8%
  10. Project Communication 10%
  11. Project Risk 8%
  12. Project Procurement 4%
  13. Project Stakeholder 9%

The main difference between the two exams is that the CAPM displays a general understanding of the terminology and practices found in the PMBOK, while the PMP exam demonstrates a precise working knowledge of project management in each of its phases.


CAPM vs. PMP: Continuing Certification Requirements

The last main difference between earning either of these credentials is their maintenance through Continuing Professional Education (CPE).

Unlike most of the topics previously covered in this article, PMP holders must maintain their status with Continuing Certification Requirements (CCRs.) These requirements are in place to ensure that PMP holders are continually experiencing educational and professional development. This helps make sure PMPs are equipped to handle changing needs in the workforce, technology, and methodologies of the industry.

Each Project Management Professional must earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) during each cycle, including two types of PDUs.

Each PMP must earn:

  • 35 Educational PDUs- These are learning opportunities that expand your skill-set
  • 25 Giving Back PDU’s- Activities that allow you to share and use your project management skills to give back to the profession as a whole.

Not only must a PMP credential holder commit to educational and professional growth opportunities as a part of their recertification application, they also have a shorter window until they must take this exam.

Project Management Professionals must sit for the recertification exam every three years. When they pass, the certification is good for another three years, and they must earn another 60 PDU’s before their next cycle is up.

For CAPMs, the renewal process is a lot simpler:

Certified Associates must sit for a recertification exam every 5 years. As soon as the end of their fourth year comes around, they must pay the recertification exam fee and schedule their test in order to keep their credential current. If for any reason they let it lapse, they’ll have to take the initial CAPM exam over again. However, no PDU’s are required with the CAPM.

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CAPM vs. PMP: Which One is Better?

The main takeaway from this article is that the CAPM and the PMP certifications have an array of differences. It is not a matter of one being better than the other, but rather a matter of one being better for you and your career goals.

The PMP certificate is a worthwhile investment for individuals who have been practicing in the project management field for a while and have racked up quite a bit of experience. The PMP exam is longer, more intensive, and costs more. Finally, the certification has a shorter shelf life of only 3 years and requires continuing education during that time.

However, PMP certification earns almost $40,000 more on average than a CAPM holder might, which makes the investment of time and money worth it!

The CAPM, on the other hand, makes the most sense for beginners who are just starting out in project management. It’s a great career stepping stone for professionals and even those who want further education. Having the CAPM will make your resume stand out to potential employers and open the door towards participating in this fast-paced career. The five year certification also makes it easy to pursue your PMP after earning your CAPM.

Either option is guaranteed to open doors that will further your project management career. Depending on your industry and future goals, having either the CAPM or PMP will serve you well.

Popular Project Management Interview Questions & Answers

Popular Project Management Interview Questions & AnswersIn recent years we’re seeing more and more openings for project management positions. Although they sometimes look the same, there may be an infinite number of differences between them; understanding these differences can help you succeed and make a really good impression during the interview process when looking for a job of your own.

My name is Thaisa Fernandes, I’m a Product Manager certified by PMI and Scrum.org, and for the past five years, I’ve been collecting project management related interview questions that I’ve been asked and that I’ve even asked myself.

It doesn’t matter if the interview is onsite or over the phone; you need to be prepared. I don’t believe that there’s always a right or wrong answer to many of these questions, since it’s more about how you approach the situation associated with each one.

I also believe you can have different reactions depending on the specific project or team involved. For example, if you work with a remote team, your approach and the project management tools you use may be completely different. It’s really important to take into account the specifics of the situation and explain your rationale for your approach to the particular scenario.

So without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned through my exhaustive research!

Phone Interview

I truly recommend you reserve a quiet space before any phone interview. In these situations, you should try to convey enthusiasm and confidence, your environment should be calm, and all communication should be clear.

If you have a video chat interview using Google Hangouts or Zoom, for example, you should definitely prepare a little bit more. You should consider more than just your internet connection and having a quiet space to talk. You might also want to consider the environment.

What does your space look like?

How much noise does it have?

Keep in mind that you don’t want to distract the interviewer, so you should choose a minimalist environment. You can look for a clean, uncluttered corner in your living space or a conference room in a public building, such as a co-working space.

You can also take a different approach and use the background in your favor. For example, you can choose a corner in a room where you display your Project Management certifications or books. Think strategically during this process to make the most of your resources and environment!

Additional Phone Interview Tips

  • Check your internet connection.
  • Select a quiet space.
  • Choose what you want to display in the background during on-screen interviews.
  • Dress appropriately, whether the interview is over the phone or video chat; show that you care even if it’s only for your own sake!
  • Smile, sit up straight, and convey positivity. When you smile, your mood shifts.

On-site Interviews

Conducting an interview on-site and in person is definitely more challenging. But at the same time, on-site interviews provide an opportunity for you to be more than just a voice over the phone. You can use body language in your favor, and you can also read the interviewer’s body language, which can give you a significant advantage in the interviewing process that simply isn’t possible in other settings.

In my opinion, nothing substitutes for the eye contact you can make during a face-to-face interview; you can definitely make an excellent impression during this process. It’s also a great opportunity to see the company facilities and the employees and get a better sense of the company’s work culture.

Additional On-site Interview Tips

  • Be yourself and show your best self
  • Dress appropriately
  • Smile and show positivity
  • Meditate before the interview
  • Try a superhero pose before the interview to give you extra confidence

Now to discuss the most common project management interview questions! This first one is famous for its popularity and importance:

“Tell me a little about yourself and your background.”

I believe you should definitely take advantage of this question to make a good impression from the beginning of the interview. I always try to tailor my answer based on the job for which I’m applying. Try to summarize your experience and highlight your qualities, experience, accomplishments, and strengths based on what they’re looking for.

Basically, you should walk them through your resume, the highlights of your experience, accomplishments, education, and what attracted you to the position. It’s important to link your experience to the job description and demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the position. You should also show a little bit of your personality, because it’s your personality that separates you from other candidates and makes you, well, you!

For example, if the company highlighted in their job description that they’re looking for someone to work in an Agile environment, and your deliverable is going to be a website redesign, mention your experience working with an Agile team. If you have a Scrum Master or Product Owner certification, this would also be the perfect time to mention that.

If you don’t have Agile experience, show that you’re interested in learning and applying this methodology. Study Agile and try to show you know what they’re looking for. You can also mention that you understand the Scrum events and apply some of them, even if you work in a Waterfall environment.

If you have experience working with website redesigns, you should definitely highlight that. If you don’t, you can think about a similar prior experience that could be beneficial to the work you’ll be doing there. That’s three different strategies for approaching this question based on one scenario; see if you can come up with some extra ones!

Common Tips

  • Engage the interviewer.
  • Don’t over-communicate; give just the right amount of detail.
  • Try to be concise. If they have follow-up questions, they’ll ask!
  • Show enthusiasm and positivity.
  • Be confident and highlight your experience based on what they’re looking for.

“What does success mean to you?”

I think this is my favorite question out of the bunch. Success can mean different things to different people and to different organizations. With this question, the interviewer basically wants to know more about your ambitions in order to see if your personality and goals are aligned to the company’s.

Of course, you’re not going to say that success means working for yourself or someone else, even if that’s what you’re thinking. They want to see if you’re a good fit, culturally, for the long term. Try to think about something that makes you happy and can also benefit the employer and answer with that in mind.

Common Tips

  • Be true to yourself
  • Show you can be a good fit for the long term
  • Make sure you’re culturally aligned to the company
  • Smile and show positivity

“Things are changing very quickly in our industry. How do you keep yourself up to date?”

I personally love to ask this question because I can learn a lot about the candidate from it. Since our role and market evolves and changes so fast. I’m personally really interested to know how interviewees take advantage of that because it shows how ambitious they are.

I definitely want to know if they’re curious, if they like to test new tools and software, if they have personal projects, what (if any) additional courses they like to take, and an infinite range of other things. It’s important to show your passion and interest in the market and your profession; this is definitely a game changer for PMs.

Common Tips

  • Show your passion
  • Describe your process for staying up to date with the market
  • Demonstrate an interest in the field

“What are your strengths?”

This is another classic chestnut that you should be prepared for. You want to be sincere and tailor your answer to the job requirements. For example, you shouldn’t mention that you’re a great swimmer if this is not relevant to the job you applied for! Talk briefly about your strong suits, and when you have the opportunity, you should provide examples of how you managed that strength.

Strengths Finder by Tom Rath is a book I like a lot. I love when he talks about leveraging the skills we already have instead of focusing so much on our weaknesses. You can mention how you took advantage of a skill you have and used that to become an expert in that particular field if you want to have more success when answering this question.

Common Tips

  • Be true to yourself
  • Mention a skill you can apply to that particular job
  • Show how interested you are in improving your strengths

“What are your weaknesses?”

I know, this is a difficult one. It’s hard to talk about our flaws in a job interview. I think you should always be true to yourself, but at the same time think about the potential consequences of what you’re saying.

The best strategy in this situation is to mention a weakness and show how you’re overcoming that. The aim is to demonstrate that you’re working to fix your flaws. You can say, for example, you’re not a good public speaker and that you’re taking improv classes in order to improve on this.

Common Tips

  • Be true to yourself
  • Briefly explain your weakness
  • Show how you’re trying to overcome it
  • Be positive!

These next interview questions are more specifically geared towards project management jobs. Although the previous questions are common in nearly any job interview, these are more relevant to your chosen profession:

“Tell me a little bit more about your experience managing teams.”

The interviewer wants to know more about your experience and how you collaborate with your team if they ask you this question. It’s important here to show examples and demonstrate your experience working with cross-functional teams. Mention a project you worked on and how you and your team collaborated together.

The employer basically wants to know your leadership style and how you collaborate. When I ask this question personally, I want to know if you’re truly a leader. I say that because Project Management is not a management position; you’re not the direct boss of most of your project team, so you should manage by leadership. You should be a true leader and facilitator to your cross-functional team.

Common Tips

  • Prove that you manage by example
  • Show leadership skills
  • Show you can collaborate
  • Mention examples of how you and your team worked together

“How do you help your team to stay focused on deadlines?”

This means that the interviewer wants to know about your process: if you’re organized, if you can get things done, and if you can prioritize what is really important. You can definitively answer this question with an example where you highlight your process. It’s important to show you understand the business objectives and can think strategically.

Organizational skills can definitely help a PM to succeed. Show how you think and organize your projects, how you remove your team’s roadblocks, how you stay focused, and how you engage them. You might consider mentioning specific tactics you use to achieve these goals.

It’s a good strategy to show how increasing transparency helps your teams stay focused, for example. You can also mention a process you developed. An example from my work: we have Thursday no-meeting day which helps the team stay focused on the deadlines and what is important.

Common Tips

  • Show that you understand the business objective
  • Think strategically
  • Demonstrate your organization skills
  • Show your tactics and your secret weapons

“Can you give me an example of process improvement?”

When he or she asks this question, the interviewer wants to see if you have initiative and if you can make a significant impact. It doesn’t matter how much seniority you have; if you know what you’re doing and if you can gain management support, you can definitely make a huge impact in any organization.

The process doesn’t need to be grandiose to result in a significant impact. Try to show examples, give them details, and present results. If you have numbers to talk about or even feedback to share, do it! Don’t be shy: this is your moment to shine.

Common Tips

  • Don’t be shy
  • Show actionable examples
  • Consider showing numbers or any kind of ‘hard’ feedback

“Have you ever experienced project failure?”

If you’ve had enough PM experience, you’ve definitely had a project that failed. Don’t be afraid to talk about it! This is the perfect opportunity to show how you can handle difficult situations and how you can engage your team to fix a problem.

I believe part of the PM’s job is to engage the team and be a positive influence. We should be the sane mind in the midst of the chaos. The team should see you as a problem solver, not a problem seeker or a complainer.

Consider showing the interviewer what you and your team learned, how you validated the problems, and how you made sure the same problem/failure wouldn’t happen again. Show the interviewer your great attitude, your creativity, and most importantly, that you’re not afraid of problems because you fix them!

Common Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about it
  • Show what you learned from failure
  • Demonstrate how you overcame the situation
  • Show that you’re a team player
  • The interviewer wants to know how you handle stressful situations
  • Be brief

“What are the tools and resources you’ve used to develop your team?”

As Project Managers, we typically don’t get to choose the tools we’ll be using, especially if you work in a large corporation. Prospective employers want to know what you know about popular PM tools in the market right now when they ask this question. They also want to know how attached you are to the tools you use.

For example, I have been working with Google Suite for at least 5 years; when I started to work with Microsoft software again, I was shocked. I couldn’t overcome the fact that I liked Google tools better and that I couldn’t even see the benefits of some Microsoft software – which was clearly wrong.

There are hundreds of different Project Management software tools in the market right now. Sometimes we’re not able to test them all, but you might consider showing that you know most tools and resources available in the market and that you’re able to adapt and find creative solutions to the roadblocks you encounter.

Common Tips

  • Be open-minded
  • Show you know most of the PM tools and resources in the market right now
  • Demonstrate that you’re willing to test new tools
  • Show how curious and tech savvy you are

Additional Behavioral Questions

I don’t want to make this part too long but I do want to mention the behavioral questions employers may ask you. They’re basically questions about your past work experience so the interviewer can learn more about you and, more importantly, if you have the ‘soft skills’ needed for a particular job.

Behavioral questions focus on how you handle work situations; your responses will show the interviewer your personality, experience, and skills. Read the questions below and try to formulate the answers in your mind. And remember, you should over-prepare for job interviews because it can only help your chances!

  1. How do you feel about repetitive work?
  2. How do you motivate yourself?
  3. Describe a time you went above and beyond your duties to resolve a problem.
  4. What kind of work environment do you enjoy the most: stressful, deadline-driven, independent, or team-oriented?
  5. Tell me about a time you persuaded someone successfully so that they saw your perspective on an issue.
  6. Tell me about a time when you faced a situation that was stressful and required you to practice coping skills.
  7. Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete.
  8. Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Questions to ask the interviewer

I know sometimes we’re too nervous to think of something smart and interesting when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” I know, it’s tough: the only way to overcome that is to prepare and have some possible questions in mind.

Asking smart questions can impress your interviewer and you can learn more about the company in the process. Here are some questions you can ask and use in almost all situations:

  1. What do you enjoy most about working here?
  2. What’s the most important thing I can accomplish in the first 60 days?
  3. How does this company define and measure success?
  4. Am I going to be a mentor or will I be mentored?
  5. What is the next step in the hiring process?
  6. How many people do you have executing the same role?
  7. What problems are we going to encounter in a year?
  8. What kinds of people do you like to work with?
  9. Which Project Management tools do you use?
  10. What’s your favorite project and why?

Quick Reminder: Don’t Forget To…

  • Make eye contact
  • Be calm and confident
  • Drink some water and try to breathe if you’re nervous
  • Ask questions to get a better sense of the company culture and job duties
  • Never over-communicate but give the right amount of information
  • Be positive and show enthusiasm
  • Provide examples to illustrate your points
  • Smile, even during phone interviews
  • Send a thank you note afterwards

I hope you enjoyed these tips and that you find your dream PM job shipping awesome projects. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any feedback or questions!

– Thaisa Fernandes

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How To Get Your PMP Certification

How to Get Your PMP CertificationProfessionals in the Project Management field consider PMP Certification to be one of the most prestigious certifications available for project managers globally. Most professional managers have considered earning this PMP credential as it is not only a show of dedication to a company, but it also furthers their career and demonstrates their commitment to the methodology.

Through dedication to your line of business and a Project Management Certification on your CV, you will quickly advance your rank in the corporate or construction world. Studies show that certified Project Managers earn 20% higher than those who are not certified.  (Source: PMI)

The PMP certification has a significant role to play for professionals in certain industries who are looking for promotions or advancement through their organization.

The course material is very in-depth, and many people will find it very difficult to even approach this exam. However, approaching it like a project that you would be the manager of is the best way to pass it successfully.

This article outlines several steps for successfully tackling the Project Management Professional Certification Exam. Read more below:

Step One: Read the PMP Credentials Handbook

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the body mandated with authority to give PMP certifications. They published a manual that explains every aspect of the PMP exam taking process as well as guidelines for obtaining certification as a project manager. It describes in detail the process of applying and sitting the PMP exam from start to finish. Additionally, it sheds light on the benefits of becoming a member of your local PMI chapter.

Interested in some of the perks of PMI membership? See below:

A PMI member will receive a free PDF version of the guide as well as a discount on the exam fee. This discount is more significant than the price of membership, making it a viable option and a net positive on your bank account. You will also have access to workshops as well as the opportunity to network with other like-minded Project Management Professionals.


Step Two: Check Eligibility

Just like any other certification test, there are eligibility requirements for the PMP exam. The process of checking whether you are qualified to take the PMP exam is quite simple and is comprised of two key conditions:

  1. If you possess an associate degree, a high school diploma or the universal equivalent, you must have a minimum of 60 months field experience in project management with 7,500 hours of them spent directing a project team.
  2. If you possess a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent, you must have a minimum of 36 months of professional project management experience, with 4500 hours of them spent on directing and leading projects tasks.

An additional 35 contact hours during your training for Project Management Professional Certification is required. However, if you have more than eight years’ experience, it is not essential.

Step Three: Prepare a Study Plan

Studying can become quite difficult to manage, especially if you are working or have a family to take care of. Balancing between work, study and family requires serious planning. For working professionals, it is recommended that you dedicate five to six hours every week to studying.

Keep reading to find out why this needs to be a top priority:

Over the course of many months, there are likely to be many things that stop you from achieving the recommended amount of study time. However, averaged out across the period of time before you sit for the exam, that’s the study length you should aim for.

If you are holding down a job, this should obviously remain your primary focus. However, when work and study schedules inevitably clash, allocate an extra few hours where you can as you get closer to the exam date to catch up. This can balance out any lost study time.

If you know you are going on vacation between the time you begin study and the time you sit for the exam, you need to plan ahead to make sure extra studying is conducted before you go away or as soon as you return.

The body of knowledge for project management contains a total of 3 domains that cover 35 separate tasks. The majority of the exam gauges your competence in managing people and processes, but there’s also a small section covering business environments. Ultimately, it’s recommended that you create an in-depth study plan over the course of time before the exam and stick to it. Treat your home study time as a class for the preparation for the PMP exam: don’t allow any interruptions and remain focused to ensure the highest possibility of success.


Step Four: Get 35 Hours of Training in Project Management

The practical training element is the most crucial factor that will affect the success of the PMP certification exam. You can achieve the practical element of your PMP training by attending a physical classroom near where you live or a virtual classroom for remote access.

Candidates can also earn their 35 hours of contact through a faster boot camp-style prep course. These boot camps reinforce essential concepts and train candidates on how to think in the manner that PMI exam makers believe. These PMP boot camps expose candidates to numerous practice questions for proper preparations, reducing the cost of classroom training. These can generally cost $500 to $2000 depending on your location.

However, web-based education may the best study method for you. Here’s why:

Since 2010, online education has shown rapid growth thanks to the increase in the technology sector and advancement in the internet. This increase has propelled the growth of Online Certification Trainings since 2012, which has consequently lowered the costs of PMP training in general. Online training is beneficial because you can pace the training, fit it into your schedule, and revisit the lectures as many times as you want before the date of the exam.

 

Step Five: Take Notes

In preparation for the PMP exam, taking notes while studying will help you to grasp the concepts faster and more efficiently. It’s common to forget things that were taught at the beginning of a course; however, taking notes that are understandable is something you should constantly do throughout the course of your training.

Having quality course notes means you can revisit the points to recap what you may have forgotten. Taking notes will also help to summarize formulas and other relevant information. Create a study sheet that can be used to stimulate your memory over the points before the exam to ensure they remember every aspect.

Step Six: Practice Sufficiently

When you are comfortable with your level of knowledge of the exam content, you should take some practice exams. You can find many practice PMP Exams online that will allow you to work out where your weak points are and help you to improve on those areas. Doing this will improve your confidence and strengthen your readiness for the actual exam.

Step Seven: Apply for the PMP Certification Exam

Once you’ve completed PMP exam preparation, you need to apply for the exam. The best way to do so is online because it is quick and convenient. After submitting the profile for approval, the PMI may take around five days to check it. Once it is picked up for audit, the candidate will be required to provide any necessary materials to the PMI for exam authorization

Step Eight: Schedule the PMP Exam

After you are approved, the PMI will issue a confirmation code that you can use to schedule your exam online. Depending on your location, you may be expected to travel in order to sit for the exam; you will be given time to organize your schedule around your exam sitting date.

Step Nine: Take the Exam

At the time of your exam sitting, you should have committed to months of training, gained years of experience, and crammed as much information as possible into your brain.

Of all your previous experiences, this exam is all that matters now. Here’s how to make it count:

There are a few aspects that you must consider in order to ensure a positive and successful experience. On the day before, consider taking some time out to relax and get a good night’s sleep so you are fresh for the day of the exam. Just before the exam, take note of the short tutorial that is given explaining how to use the software and the computer.

The exam will take 4 hours with a total of 200 questions. You should spend roughly a minute on each question to ensure the answer is correct. However, it is recommended that you answer all the questions you are confident with first, and spend extra time on the ones you are not.

Some questions may offer a clue to the previous or following questions, so don’t rush if you do not know the answer. Take your time to answer what you know, and link any of the questions you know the answer to, to any other questions you may not be certain of. Review each question and answer carefully, and you will have the best possible chance at success.

Remember: If you need advice on passing the PMP exam, we’re here to help! Get in touch with our team today and we can provide guidance into the exam structure and assist you in to taking the first steps toward certification.

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PMP Exam Study Plan: 7 Steps For Success

If you have chosen the path of becoming a Project Management Professional, you need to understand the concepts tested on the PMP Exam and have a solid study strategy in order to get your certification. The exam is quite in-depth and there is a lot to learn, and we’re here to help!

The good news is that we have come up with a great PMP Exam Study Plan to help you succeed, keep reading to find out more:

The Project Management Professional certification exam consists of 200 multiple choice options. 25 of the multiple-choice questions are based on quality control and monitoring. These specific questions, however, are placed randomly throughout the exam. They are not marked as part of the results, but you need to answer each question of your PMP exam carefully.

Project Management Professional exam questions are derived from three domains:

  • People
  • Process
  • Business Environment

Are You Ready For The PMP Exam?

Project Management Professional certification exam prep takes a serious amount of time. If you are already working in an industry and pursuing certification in your spare time, you need a quality PMP study plan to ensure you are using your valuable time effectively.

Read more below to see our seven-step process for your PMP certification exam study plan:

Step 1: Choose Your PMP Exam Test Date

Evaluate your workload and schedule for the months leading up to the exam date and set specific amounts of time that you can dedicate to your PMP studies.

To get an idea of how long it should take you to study, 70-85 hours will be needed on average. Depending on your background and skill set, you might need more time.

If you can dedicate around 6-8 hours of study a week for PMP study then you should be able to achieve your study goals across the period of 3 months. Setting an exam date around four months ahead is a reasonable for most people, but if you have a busier than regular schedule or have holidays in that time, you may want to either dedicate more time to study each week or choose a date further in the future.

Step 2: Create A Study Schedule

Once you have set your PMP target date, you need to establish a detailed program for your study schedule. To get into a good routine, you should attempt to put aside a specific day or two every week as consecutive study periods. It only takes a few weeks to set this method and if you are dedicated to achieving your goal on your set date, you’ll quickly make it into a habit.

Here are some additional tips for making a great study schedule plan:

Each knowledge section features different content and you should aim to finish at least one chapter per week. Keep in mind that all these parts are not the same size; some will take longer or shorter amounts of time to finish.

Some weeks you won’t be able to commit to a full module due to work or other commitments, but on other days you might be able to dedicate double the time to your PMP exam preparation. The best strategy is to work these events into your schedule and cater for ups and downs. Averaging out your workload to one section per week is just a baseline.

Step 3: Take Notes

During your studies, you will likely see plenty of terms you don’t quite understand, including concepts you will need to remember and essential formulas that will be a part of the exam. Because the preparation for the exam takes months, you should start a book from the beginning with all the essential notes you mark down for the duration of your preparation schedule.

When studying any subject for a substantial length of time you will almost inevitably forget some things from the beginning. However, if you take notes you are more likely to be able to go back and find them if it’s all in the one place, which will allow you to easily refresh your memory.

Step 4: Take PMP Practice Exams

Regularly take PMP practice exams to see what level of preparedness you are at and find what elements you need to improve on. You will be in the best possible position to go forward if you do this. Finding and taking PMP practice exams online is a simple process and it won’t hurt you if you get the answers wrong. All you have to do is take notes to ensure you know your weak points and then study hard in order to make them stronger.

Step 5: Fix Your Wrong Answers

After you take notes about any answers that you get wrong, devote some of your study time toward working out the correct answers. If you know your mistakes, you should know how to fix them so they won’t come back to haunt you on the actual exam. If you have more wrong answers in one section than others, you may need to revisit that chapter.

Step 6: Revise Your Notes

The PMP exam will take months to prepare for, and if you want to be ready then you’ll need to revise your notes at least once a week. This will reinforce your memory of key concepts and will adequately prepare you for what’s in store when you finally sit for the PMP certification exam. If you can dedicate around half an hour a week to revising your notes, maybe while you are eating dinner or before bed, your chances of remembering all the important things will be significantly higher.

Step 7: Sit For The Exam

Once you are confident that you have studied thoroughly, you remember all your notes, and you have taken a few practice exams and achieved consistent scores over 70 percent, it’s time to sit the PMP certification exam. Finalize your PMP certification exam date, make all proper logistical arrangements, and go into preparation mode. It’s a good idea to not cram too much for the exam in the last week but you should ensure that you remember all your notes and revise any weaker areas of your knowledge.

This next step is very important. Read carefully:

Like any test, it’s vital to go into the PMP exam focused. To maintain a razor-sharp focus for this exam, you need to relax and get enough sleep before the exam day. When it comes down to the day of the exam, you want to aim to arrive at least an hour before you sit the exam in case there is traffic or other unanticipated circumstances that occur.

The Best Way to Study for The PMP Exam

Studying for your PMP certification exam can be done in three different ways. Depending on the time you have on your hands and your specific situation, one method might be better than the others. The most important thing to note is that you need to be able to commit to your study plan in order to succeed, so if your circumstances make it difficult to study in one way, consider an alternative method.

The three ways to attend PMP training are:

  • Classroom Training
  • Live Online Classroom Training
  • Self-Paced Online Training

PMP Classroom Training

PMP classroom training is the traditional method of learning and can be very effective. However, as many people who attend PMP training courses are already working full-time positions, it can be challenging to find the time to complete this type of training. PMP training providers in your city offer classroom training, making this your best option if you prefer face-to-face education.

PMP classroom training is typically organized for evenings or on the weekends and if you are working full-time this can be stressful and draining both mentally and physically. As some training sessions can be very intense, this option does not suit a lot of people. However, its time-tested effectiveness can’t be denied and it is an excellent choice for those who can manage it.

Online Self-Paced PMP Training

Online self-paced PMP training is a convenient option for the modern student, with online courses proving to be very popular in almost every industry. The flexibility of an online course means you can choose when you study and when you view a class; you can fit it in around your already busy schedule. You will be able to watch and re-watch lectures whenever you want, ensuring that you understand the information properly.

The only real disadvantage to online sessions like this is that you don’t have immediate access to a lecturer to answer questions during the sessions. Although most lecturers will be just an email or phone call away, your study momentum can easily be lost if you don’t completely understand. Additionally, online courses are typically more affordable than in-classroom style courses and they are far more convenient.

PMP Live Online Classroom Training

PMP live online training is very similar to standard or traditional methods of PMP training. However, the point of difference is that the classrooms are broadcast online instead of taking place in a physical location. Usually, in a webinar or teleconference scenario, these types of training sessions suit a larger group of people who cannot attend classes because of their remote location or due to time constraints. Although most types of webinars or teleconference type training classes are live, and you must be watching on your home computer or mobile device, some are also available offline if there is no other way to access the live class. However, the live courses are recommended since they allow for real-time communication with the instructor.

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PMP Certification Requirements

PMP Certification RequirementsEarning the PMP certification means you must qualify for the requirements in addition to studying for and passing the PMP exam. Although the PMP is not the right certification for every project manager, the following information will help you determine if it’s in your best interest to get certified in this field.

This article can also help you prepare for the application, give you an idea about what you will have to study, and ultimately help you decide if you should pursue the PMP.

What is the PMP Certification?

The PMP or Project Management Professional certification is the industry standard for Project Managers worldwide. Established in 1984 by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the PMP has since become the de facto standard in the field. Today, more than 500,000 project managers hold this certification and many companies look for the PMP when hiring project managers.

The exam has also earned the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 Accreditation from the International Organization for Standardization, making it universally relevant. PMP qualified instructors oversee the exam, and examinations are built around roles that employ both knowledge and task-driven guidelines that test your proficiency in every area.

PMP Requirements

Candidates must meet several requirements to obtain PMP certification and sit for the exam. The education requirements are relatively flexible: you will need either a secondary or primary degree, or a diploma with the right training and work experience. Your main options include the following:

Secondary Degree – You can qualify for the PMP with a secondary degree, including a high school diploma or associates degree, or the global equivalent of 35 hours of certified or accredited project management education, five years of project management experience, and a minimum of 7,500 hours of experience.

Primary Degree – If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, you can qualify for the PMP certification with three years of work experience, a minimum of 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of certified or accredited project management education.

PMP Exam

Beginning in January 2021, the PMP Exam covers 3 different domains testing candidates’ competence in more than 20 skill areas. The exam also tests your ability, understanding, and knowledge of each of the skills that are required of industry standard project managers. Consult the PMI’s Content Outline to see more information about each domain and task covered on the exam.

Because exam questions are frequently reviewed and revised, the content is highly relevant to actual project management and undergoes frequent changes. For example, the most recent change to the exam heavily incorporates Agile and Hybrid methodologies since they’re commonly used in modern project management.

The exam contains 175 scored questions and 25 unscored questions. Unanswered questions are scored as incorrect, so you should try to answer all questions.

How Hard is the PMP Exam?

The fail rate for the PMP exam is actually quite high at an estimated 40-50% for first-time test-takers. There is no specific number of questions that must be answered correctly in order to pass the PMP exam. Each question is graded based on its relative difficulty, meaning that if you get all of the easy questions right but get all of the hard ones wrong, you could still fail the exam.

There is no way to distinguish the questions that are scored from those that are not, which means you will have to do your best to answer all questions correctly. The best plan to prepare yourself for success is to study as much as possible with quality materials, make sure that you’re familiar with the type of content and questions that are likely to appear on the exam, and take several practice exams.

A PMP Certification Training Course is a good idea if you need additional guidance of what to study and to keep you on track and increase the odds that you will pass the exam on your first try.  Many prep courses offer  practice questions and explanations, one-on-one time with live tutors or instructors, and multiple full-length exams. Experts suggest scoring a minimum of 80% on practice exams, because the minimum pass rate on the actual exam hovers around 65%.

You can also look for a prep course that offers a money back guarantee or “pass or re-enroll” plan, so that if you fail the exam, you will have access to additional help. If you fail the exam, you can take it again, up to three times in one year. If you fail three times within a year, you must wait for a year to re-take your exam.

PMP Exam Sections

The three sections or domains of the PMP exam include a selection of tasks and questions aimed at gauging your skill and knowledge of more than 20 different areas. These include:

People – 42% of the test involves this domain, which is made up of 14 tasks. For this domain, you’ll be tested on your ability to build, train, and lead a team. More specifically, this includes questions that gauge your ability to manage conflict, empower individual team members, identify and remove obstacles, and negotiate with shareholders.

Process – 50% of the test involves this domain of 17 tasks. This section will determine how knowledgeable you are in various project management methodologies, including Agile and Hybrid, and their ideal applications. It also covers planning and managing schedule, scope, and quality of your projects, managing changes, issues, and/or artifacts, and effectively handling closures or transitions.

Business Environment – This domain comprises the smallest percentage of the PMP exam: 8% with only 4 tasks. These tasks are planning/managing project compliance, evaluating/delivering project benefits and value, addressing external changes to the business environment, and organizational change.

PMP Exam Length

In previous years, the PMP exam took an average of 7 hours to complete; today, the test is much shorter and typically takes about 4 hours to finish.

Scheduling the PMP Exam

You can schedule the PMP online or by phone. It is offered in various locations throughout the year. Depending on your qualifications, you might have to take a paper or a computer test. There is a $70 fee for rescheduling your PMP exam within 30 days of the exam, but you can reschedule the exam for free if you do so more than 30 days before your originally scheduled exam date. If you want to reschedule your exam within two days, you will have to cancel and forfeit the entire exam fee.

Test Day

On the day of the exam, you must arrive at least 30 minutes before the exam is scheduled to begin, and preferably earlier in case there is a line. You must sign in, present your identification, and provide your PMI code a minimum of 30 minutes in advance of the exam. In some cases, you might also be asked for your confirmation notice. Your ID should be in English or have an English translation, and feature your signature and your photograph.

You will have access to a built-in calculator on the exam, but you may ask for a handheld calculator, and either scratch paper or a marker board to make notes. You will also be asked to take an optional 15-minute survey and questionnaire before the exam. The exam is four hours long, and there is no scheduled break.

You may take short breaks when you choose, although you will have to sign in and out again, and the exam clock will not stop (if you take a 10 minute break, this time will be subtracted from the time you have to complete the test). You will only have just over one minute to answer each question, so breaks are not advisable unless you are a quick worker and you are ahead on the test. For this reason, you should plan ahead, bring water, and try to limit any bathroom breaks.

PMP Exam Scoring

Until 2005, in order to pass the PMP a minimum of 61% correct answers was required. However, this is no longer the case. Unfortunately, PMI no longer publishes their minimum required passing score. Instead, questions are graded and scored based on their difficulty, which makes it difficult to pass simply by answering a certain number of questions correctly. In addition, only 87.5% of questions are actually scored.

PMI states on their website that passing scores on the exam are determined based on a psychometric analysis of candidates’ answers that show their ability to perform well in their job. This means that one person might pass with 60% while another might fail with 65%. In other words, each exam is scored individually based on the difficulty of the questions that are answered correctly.

PMP Costs

The PMP exam costs $555 for non-PMI members or $405 for PMI members. PMI membership costs $129 a year plus a $10 yearly renewal fee. You will also need to purchase the PMBOK Guide in order to study for the test, which costs $65.95 for non-members and $49.50 for members. Should you choose to take a preparatory class or program, you should factor that into the costs as well and consider that some prep courses include the PMBOK Guide in their study materials.

PMP Benefits

The PMP is one of the most well-recognized project management certifications in the world, and is certainly one of the most valuable. Some companies do not consider applicants without a PMP certification for specific positions, so having the certification can help you in the hiring process for higher paying jobs.

Best PMP Careers

PMP certification demonstrates that you have specific experience and dedication to your field, which makes you eligible for more senior positions, often with better pay. However, the following types of positions may be held with or without PMP certification:

Program Manager

Salary Range: $71,000-$144,000. Program Managers typically manage short, consecutive projects, hiring and outsourcing tasks and work as needed, manage quality control, budgets and timelines. Most program managers interact with all individuals involved in a project, including stakeholders, and may create plans and schedules, and often make plans for distribution, revenue, and visibility.

Project Manager in Engineering

Salary Range: $71,000-$139,000. These managers oversee engineering projects on and off the field. Tasks typically include ensuring safety compliance, promoting a culture of best practices, preparing cost proposals, maintaining financial records, creating product strategies, and creating product development plans.

IT Project Manager

Salary Range: $66,000-$124,000. IT Project Managers oversee technical teams in design, development, and maintenance/repair tasks. Tasks usually include coordinating deliverables, quality assurance, resource allocation, project plans, and schedules.

IT Program Manager

Salary Range: $91,000-$152,000. IT Program Managers typically have technical IT skills. Their tasks often include working with developers and testers to ensure product viability, planning projects, assigning duties, outsourcing or finding skilled labor as needed, as well as developing and maintaining long-term plans and strategies.

Senior Project Manager

Salary Range: $88,000-$135,000. This job may include overseeing large teams in a large industry or company, usually with the help of other managers. Tasks typically include budgeting, project planning, customer relations, conducting meetings with stakeholders, and creating detailed project plans.

Global Recognition

The most significant benefit of PMP certification is that it is globally recognized and internationally accredited. This means that as long as you maintain your certification by completing a minimum of 60 hours of continuing education every three years and continue working in the field, you can use your certification to find work anywhere in the world.

Preparing for and taking the PMP is a challenging process, but earning your certification will open up job opportunities around the world. We hope the above information was useful in helping you determine whether to pursue PMP certification to advance in your industry.

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Why Conflict is Essential to Good Project Management

I know what you’re probably thinking—how can conflict ever be good? Of course there are plenty of problems that come up when people or ideas clash that can impact productivity and workplace satisfaction. But, almost every consequence can be avoided if the conflict is handled correctly. In fact, if dealt with properly, conflict can be incredibly effective for team cohesion.

Project Managers need conflict in order to find inefficiencies that need to be changed, understand worries and concerns behind arguments, generate new ideas, improve relationships, relieve stress, and much more. Let’s look into how you can change the way you approach conflict in order to become the best project manager.

Conflict Is Inevitable

When multiple people are working toward a common goal together, there is going to be disagreements on how to get there. It’s natural for conflict to arise when people communicate and share diverging viewpoints. It would be worrisome if there weren’t any conflicts because that would mean you have created a team with one viewpoint, which doesn’t allow for any growth or change.

If you try to avoid the inevitable conflict, your productivity will be significantly reduced. Let’s think of team strength like individual physical strength. If you want to become stronger and more in shape, you have to go through strenuous workouts. In the moment, the hard work is painful. But once it’s over, you have built resilience and put yourself closer to your goal. If you’re not sore, you should have done more, or whatever those fitness people say! This is also why well-trained project managers are essential to teams. With all of the studying and preparation required to obtain a Project Manager certification these managers will be ready to guide team members through conflict.

Conflict only works as a team builder if you condition your team to trust one another so that everyone can feel safe when vulnerable. It’s also important to make sure that, in the heat of an argument, the goal is still to pursue the truth, not to win the debate. Conflict is uncomfortable for those in the actual disagreement and for everyone who has to watch. This doesn’t mean you should prevent conflict from happening. Instead, you need to embrace it and handle it strategically.

Embrace the Conflict

If you want a team that is more productive and can trust one another, you and those you manage need to be able to embrace positive conflict. But how exactly does one do that?

Your first step as a good project manager is to differentiate personal and professional conflicts. Personal conflicts comes from clashing personalities and values while professional conflicts are work related. These two can get mixed up when an argument arises, but the root of the conflict will always be either personal or professional. When professional conflict is free of personal conflict, it has the opportunity to be positive.

It’s up to you, the project manager, to intervene when you see a tense argument between two difficult coworkers. You will need to identify the conflict and then set expectations. If needed, you must address the issue head on and make a plan that will help avoid this specific negative conflict again. It also crucial to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and harassment. If an argument hasn’t reached this level of intensity, you can embrace it as a positive conflict.

With positive conflict, you will need to focus on a way to get all team members to “win.” As project manager, it’s easy to assign a winner and a loser to an argument, but the goal here is take the personal emotions out of winning or losing and have the focus be on the company, not the individual. In order to do so, you need to create goals from shared group interests. You need to tie performance goals to team goals instead of individual goals. Also, welcome constructive criticism while also privately commenting on unhelpful comments.

This will generate a team that isn’t intimidated by conflict and will see it as a way to become a better team—a team that fosters a safe environment for everyone’s different ideas that work towards a common goal.

Now that you are more familiar with the benefits of healthy conflict, take what you have learned here and implement it in your role.  If you are just beginning your journey to becoming a project manager, make sure you choose a top PMP prep course that understands and reinforces this idea of positive conflict. I recommend PM PrepCast because they have a unique, one-on-one coaching approach that helps drive home these project management principles.

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Best Project Management Careers

By: Amanda Harley, certified Project Manager and Process Engineer

Roughly a third of your life, if not more, will be spent at work. The job you have and the career you forge can largely impact your quality of life. But where do you begin when you’re in pursuit of your dream job? There’s a lot of strategy that goes with mapping out your project management career. If you don’t have a unique skill or passion that supplements your project management skills, trying to navigate the multitude of industries and jobs can get overwhelming very quickly.

The career path for a project manager is highly adaptive. Project management requires a core skillset that’s applicable in many professions. Consequently, this career choice can include job titles like Project Scheduler, Consultant, Operations Manager, Social Media Manager, Brand Manager, etc. However, the traditional career path aligns more closely with:

PM Career Path

In this profession, your options aren’t limited. Every company executes projects aiming to expand and improve their operations. Therefore, those critical skills needed to be a successful project manager are valuable across any industry. In fact, the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap report found that between 2017 and 2027, there will be 22 million additional project-oriented jobs created with 87.7 million people working in the field by 2027. 

This article will outline the best careers within project management. To clarify, I perceive the word “best” to mean a career that offers competitive compensation and has ample opportunity for growth and development. To start off, we’ll need to throw some statistics around about the current and future job market.

Let’s Talk Money – Project Management Salaries by Industry

Lets Talk Money

While pay isn’t the primary reason employees stay at jobs, it can be effective at getting talent in the door. According to Glassdoor, the national average for a project manager sits at $75,945 a year with an additional cash compensation average of $6,309. This poll considered 101,677 project manager salaries and showed that the leading industries in terms of annual pay for project managers were:

  1. Energy & Utility: $84,307
  2. Accounting & Legal: $82,203 
  3. Aerospace & Defense: $81,340 
  4. Biotech & Pharmaceuticals: $80,251
  5. Construction: $79,689
$75945

Average Salary For Project Manager

Glassdoor Average Project Manager Salary

The graph above specifies current average pay. Essentially, this is important because your starting salary can affect your subsequent pay throughout your career. However, when choosing an industry to set roots down in, you should also consider the growth and stability of that industry over time.

PayScale has put together a great analysis of compensation trends in the US. The top rising and declining industries when it comes to yearly wage growth are seen below:

  • Agencies & Consultancies
  • Finance & Insurance
  • Technology
  • Engineering & Science
  • Retail & Customer Service
  • Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation & Warehousing
  • Manufacturing
  • Energy & Utilities
  • Construction
  • Accommodation & Food Services
  • 2.0%
  • 1.9%
  • 1.7%
  • 1.2%
  • 0.6%
  • 0.6%
  • 0.3%
  • -0.1%
  • -0.4%
  • -0.5%
  • -0.7%
  • -1.1%

Help Wanted

Help WantedSo now you know what each industry pays on average and which ones offer the most (or least) growth from year to year. That’s all great information, but who’s actually out there hiring? 

The PMI’s 2018 Jobs Report surveyed 11 countries to gather information regarding the demand for project management professionals in the global economy. Through their research, they found an increasing demand for project-oriented help. Additionally, PMI identified seven sectors that show the most promise in growth and need for innovation over the next decade, meaning there will be plenty of project management positions to go around.

Project Management Careers in Telecommunications

Mobile devices replaced landlines long ago. With such high consumer expectations for better connectivity, more functionality, and more data for these devices, telecom companies need talent that will provide innovative solutions to stay relevant. 

According to a 2017 PwC study, there has been as much as a 30% decline in SMS messaging use due to alternative messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. coming into the market. Consequently, this sector has an abundance of opportunities for project managers as technology continues to improve and as consumer tastes and expectations change.

Finance Industry Careers for Project Managers

Project managers are desperately needed in this industry to not only track budgets and schedules, but to also manage risk as companies navigate new digital technologies. This is especially important with regulations continuously changing. PMI projects that 4.6 million project manager jobs will be created within the financial industry by 2027.

Project Management Careers in The Construction Industry

Skilled labor is declining as the baby boomer generation retires and the following generations turn to college degrees instead. The construction industry has particularly suffered from this shortage. Project managers are needed to add structure to projects, control budgets, and use project management software to increase the efficiency of the work done. 9.7 million positions need to be filled by 2027 to keep up with the demand, according to PMI’s Jobs Report.

Information Technology Project Management Jobs and Careers

Information TechnologyIT is consistently a safe bet when it comes to choosing a career. With endless data breaches threatening company brands and reputations and a need for more intuitive technology across all sectors, this industry is quite lucrative. 

As everything becomes digital, the urgency for data protection grows every day. Additionally, as companies add software programs to improve customer satisfaction and work efficiency, high-functioning programs that are easy to learn and use are in constant demand.

Project Management Careers in Healthcare

In the US specifically, healthcare is a broken system. Costs are unbelievably high and there’s no price transparency with consumers. Ultimately, healthcare primarily operates as a fee-for-service model. However, with a large aging population and costs increasing relentlessly, the industry is in dire need of a radical transformation. 

That’s where project managers come in!

Healthcare needs project-oriented talent to help lead the way to better technological resources, better practice models to improve quality and lower costs (value-based care), and innovative solutions to all of healthcare’s other challenges (cost transparency, emergency room utilization, access to care, etc.). PMI predicts a 17% growth in open positions within healthcare.

Defense and Aerospace Project Management Jobs

Project managers can easily earn a living in this industry with an increasing demand for military products due to rising global tensions. If that’s not your cup of tea, there’s also plenty of opportunity in the drone market. This technology can be useful across multiple industries, both government and consumer-driven (i.e. Amazon). Basically, drones are becoming more prevalent as technology continues to evolve and expand and consumer expectations for instant gratification rises. According to Goldman Sachs, the drone market is predicted to reach $100 billion by 2021.

PM Careers in The Energy Industry

EnergyRenewable energy projects are on the rise in recent years with a focus on replacing fossil fuels. Even still, PMI projects 49,000 jobs will open in the oil and gas industry and 279,000 jobs in the utilities industry by 2027.

Additional global leading sectors identified by PMI include Information Services and Publishing and Management and Professional Services with each creating 5.5 million and 1.7 million global jobs, respectively.


To scale it down a bit, within the United States specifically, the top five industries (with average annual salaries provided by Glassdoor) that are currently hiring project managers are:

  1. Engineering and Construction $79,689
  2. Healthcare: $71,433
  3. Financial Services: $73,885
  4. Law: $82,203
  5. Technology: $72,600

Now What?

I’ve just laid a lot of information on you. So, let me break it down:

The construction, healthcare, finance, and technology industries are leading hiring initiatives for project managers both globally and within the US. Instead of looking solely at what’s relevant in the United States, it’s important to understand on a global scale what the top industries are. Ultimately, this will help ensure opportunities for growth and longevity of your career.

Regarding pay, construction has the highest average salary but has historically declined by 0.7% each year. Based on this research, finance would be the best industry to enter at an average salary of $73,885 with a 1.9% wage increase year to year. However, it’s important to note that technology plays a role in every single area. Companies are constantly investing in new technology to remain competitive, and we all know that technology has a solid place in our future.

In addition to these statistics, you should consider your background; experience typically rules over education and certifications when looking to get hired. If you don’t have a lot of experience to back you, keeping up with project management job trends would be helpful. Also, keep in mind that retention rates are highest when people feel like they add value and make an impact. Therefore, knowing your passions and your career goals are also critical when you’re not just looking for a job, but for somewhere to stay and grow.

Environment Is Key

In recent years, there’s been a focus and effort from companies to create an amazing culture through unique benefits, positive traditions, and transparency with their employees. It’s been shown to increase retention rates, improve productivity and engagement, and do a lot of good for their brand as social media and review sites have become mainstream. Company environment can have a great impact on success and overall happiness throughout your career. Just as important, if not more, as choosing your industry, is taking the time to research companies that match your values, needs, and wants. 

To help you get started, we’ll take a quick look at Glassdoor’s top 100 companies to work for. Employees review their companies based on several aspects: work-life balance, benefits package, growth opportunities, etc. Below, I’ve pulled a few of the most well-known brands from the list.

Glassdoors Top 100 Companies

From the diagram above, you can see there several large technology companies (Apple, SAP, Adobe, Cisco Systems, T-Mobile etc.) representing the telecom industry, with stellar employer reputations. On the full list, finance, healthcare, and consulting are all well-represented. However, very few construction-related companies were recognized for their environment by their employees.

Wrapping It up

Whether you’re just starting your career or looking to make a change, it’s hard to know where to start when making such a life-impacting decision. With millions of jobs across several industries, how do you know which one will lead to a fulfilling and lucrative career? It’s not something to take lightly, but with a bit of soul-searching coupled with a pragmatic approach, you can land a meaningful career. 

Apply the information outlined in this article to make your dream a reality!

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How Six Sigma and Project Management Professionals Benefit Top Companies

By Amanda Harley, Certified project manager and process engineer

Benefits of Six Sigma and Project Management Professionals

When researching certifications to boost your career, it makes sense to pick something that works for you. After all, You’ll be the one investing the time and energy (and possibly money) to earn that accreditation.

However, it should also be equally important to understand if and how your chosen certification would help your company. For starters, if you put together a strong enough business case for the benefits of project management within your organization, they may just front the cost for the certification (or reimburse you). 

More importantly, understanding the value a certification brings to the workplace not only shows your interest in helping the company succeed. Additionally, it also helps you learn how to market yourself. This can come in handy when negotiating for a promotion or a salary at a new gig. 

Two of the most commonly sought-after certifications are for Six Sigma (typically, the green or black belts) and the Project Management Professional (PMP) offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Many Fortune 500 companies such as Ford Motor Company, Amazon, and Boeing are known for successfully incorporating project management and Six Sigma into their operations. 

These companies and many more now require applicants to have these accreditations when applying for project management, quality, or process engineering positions. 

Keep reading to find out why!

Benefits of Six Sigma for Top Companies

Benefits of Six Sigma Within An Organization: Focus on Quality and Quantity

Benefits of Six Sigma Focusing on Quality and QuantitySix Sigma practices have been adopted by many organizations due to its ability to improve quality, increase productivity, and help find gaps in operational processes. 

All of these improvements add up to drastic savings. In fact, a study was conducted regarding how much money was saved at Motorola ($15 billion in 11 years), General Electric ($12 billion over 5 years), HoneyWell ($800 million) and Ford ($300 million) saved when Six Sigma was implemented. Furthermore, the U.S Army even reported a $2 billion in savings by 2007 simply through better meal scheduling. 

Because Six Sigma is based around reducing defects to 3.4 defective units per million units, these companies easily boosted their revenues and reduced costs due to inefficient processes, unnecessary labor, and wasted material.

According to the American Society for Quality (ASQ), Six Sigma is practiced in 82% of Fortune 100 companies and has saved Fortune 500 companies $427 billion over the last twenty years. What’s even more impressive about these statistics is that they’re so high even when 47% of companies still haven’t adopted the practices. Additionally, ASQ also found that Fortune 500 companies’ revenues grew by 450%, starting at $1.9 trillion in 1987 and ending with $9.1 trillion in 2005. 

Now you might be thinking: What’s the catch?

Some skeptics say Six Sigma costs too much money to start up in terms of training and hiring new employees. However, these published findings quickly show the return on investment more than justifies these costs. Ultimately, with these facts and figures, it’s no wonder why 53% of the Fortune 500 companies are actively using Six Sigma in their operations. 

A senior business lecturer at the University of Canterbury conducted an empirical study on the true cost savings of several companies:

Organizational Savings - Benefits of Six Sigma

In terms of the cost savings versus the investment, the study also concluded that a company could expect a 1.7% return on average. 1.7% might seem like a small number, but it can amount to millions when you evaluate large companies with billions in revenue.

While money is the backbone of most corporate decisions and investments, one of the most valuable benefits of Six Sigma is the organizational cultural change. Through training, employees become empowered to act if they notice a problem rather than be a passive bystander. According to Villanova University, the Six Sigma approach helps teach team members how to look at the big picture of a process across the company instead of by isolated departments. Employees are expected to come up with potential solutions and be active participants in the continuous improvement culture. 

Ultimately, that’s why the success of adopting Six Sigma is dependent on employees accepting the change. Continuous improvement will only work if team members are given the power and confidence to handle problems at all levels of the organization. 

Hence, if you choose to pursue a Six Sigma certification, you’re offering your current or future employer the skill set necessary to make a better product in a more efficient way. Most of these large companies only employed and trained a small fraction of their employees in this way; it was those few who managed to initiate the most significant positive change across the organization.

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Benefits of Project Management: Making Dreams a Reality

Project Management: Making Dreams a RealityWhile Six Sigma receives most of the recognition, implementing the methodology requires project managers. Six Sigma and Project Management Professionals complement each other. While Six Sigma focuses on improving quality during operations and looking at empirical data to exceed key performance indicators (KPIs), project management ensures there’s a clear objective or solution identified and works to execute that goal successfully.

There have been several studies done to prove the value of project management. It’s been shown that most companies can have project failure rates of up to 70%. Furthermore, the Harvard Business Review identified several large companies like Kmart, Levi Strauss, Hershey’s, and Airbus who have all attempted to execute IT projects, but ended up costing the economy several millions, if not billions, due to poor project management. This study concluded that there was a cost overrun of 200% in one of six IT projects with a schedule overrun of 70%. Ultimately, failed IT projects cost the United States $50 to $150 billion annually.

Another study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers evaluated 10,640 projects across 200 companies. Surprisingly, it found that only 2.5% companies completed 100% of their projects successfully. To make matters worse, money isn’t always the cost. In one case, seven deaths were attributed to organizational and safety problems when attempting to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere on the Columbia space shuttle by NASA. The project missed several safety and quality checks and fell apart. 

In an effort to mitigate these numerous issues, the PMI created a global survey titled Pulse of the Profession. It found that 9.9% of every dollar invested in a project is wasted due to mismanagement. Because there is so much opportunity for failure within projects, there’s a great need for certified PMPs who have a thorough understanding of project management best practices. 

In this same report, it’s noted that 72% of PMO leaders find a certification very important. Additionally, PMI also evaluated whether projects consistently met goals, budgets, and schedules with formal project management applied. Companies reported that objectives were met 73% of the time while staying in budget 63% of the time and sticking to the planned schedule 59% of the time.

Just like Six Sigma, there’s a lot of room for improvement within project management. Several large companies have seen the value of hiring certified project managers who can apply a formal structure. This study shows that project manager performance accounts for at least 44.9% of the variance associated with the success of a project. Hence, a company can save millions and promote an accountable and active workplace environment by utilizing proper project management. 

In terms of growth, PMI also released the Job Growth and Talent Gap report, which provides a positive outlook for project managers and illustrates the importance of the profession. They project that 22 million jobs will be added by 2027 in eleven countries, with the leading sectors being:

  • Manufacturing and Construction: 9.7 million jobs added
  • Information Services and Publishing: 5.5 million jobs added
  • Finance and Insurance: 4.6 million jobs added
  • Management and Professional Services: 1.7 million jobs added
  • Utilities: 279,000 jobs added
  • Oil and Gas: 49,000 jobs added

Project Management Jobs 2017 and 2027

Filling these positions over the next eight years is highly critical since project managers were found to directly affect a nation’s productivity. That productivity in turn supports a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and helps determine the nation’s standard of living.

Alternatively, if the positions aren’t filled, there could potentially be $208 billion GDP at risk. However, if we avoid a shortage of project-oriented roles, the projected GDP contributions by 2027 is $20.2 trillion.

Over the last six years, PMI suggests that the amount of money wasted due to poor project management has decreased by 27%. Furthermore, this percentage continues to shrink as more organizations realize the value of project management and adopt formal methods to manage projects. 

Ultimately, becoming a PMP will enable you to represent a growing profession that is able to affect the global economy. You’ll be able to positively impact the environment by reducing wasted materials and help a company succeed. Talk about a win-win scenario!


Key Takeaways

Truthfully, it’s always a great idea to invest in yourself. However, it’s even better when you consider how this new investment will make you more marketable and help your company. Pursuing PMP or Six Sigma certification is a very relevant way to boost your appeal as a candidate or employee and add a ton of value. 

As seen in many Fortune 500 companies over the last couple of decades, the work of select project managers and Six Sigma green/black belts has drastically overturned organizations by saving billions, improving the culture, and promoting a better brand with higher quality products. 

While many companies accrued most of their savings with “low-hanging fruit” when the methodologies were first implemented, there’s still plenty of opportunities for improvement as the world continues to grow. There’s still 47% of Fortune 500 companies without active Six Sigma practices in their operations. 

Ultimately, these accreditations could simply be an additional item to add to your resume. However, they also provide you with the skillset to change things for the better. It’s up to you!

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PRINCE2 vs. PMP Certification – Complete Comparison

Prince2 vs PMP

Over the last several years, project management has become more in-demand. The PMI Jobs Report shows the industry will only continue to expand with an increasing need for experienced project managers.

With several project management certifications on the market, it can be difficult to differentiate which ones are worth the effort. Fortunately, achieving one or more of these credentials can help further your career and add validity to your skillset with potential employers. According to the 2018 Pulse of the Profession PMI Report, 72% of PMO leaders feel a certification is very relevant for mid-career project managers.

Two of the most popular, globally-recognized certifications are Projects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) and the Project Management Professional (PMP). This article features a Prince2 vs PMP “head to head”, and will break down each option so you can determine which credential will add more value to your career.

Let’s start off with the basics of each certification.

Prince 2 and PMP Project Management Jobs


Prince2 Logo

PRINCE2 Certification

This certification focuses on a process-based methodology originally established by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in 1989. It offers defined processes and templates to ensure successful project outcomes. While it’s primarily used by the UK government, this project management methodology is commonly used for Information Technology projects around the world. 

Essentially, this method centers around:

  • A focus on meeting the needs of the organization and identifying the business case

  • <p>Defined roles and responsibilities within the project management team</p>

  • Breaking the project down into manageable tasks and removing any ambiguity

  • A standardized approach for successful project outcomes

PRINCE2 is typically associated with IT projects. However, the framework can be applied across various project-oriented roles and project types. Options for PRINCE2 training include:


pmp logoPMP Certification

The PMP certification is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), and it’s considered a standard requirement for many jobs. One of the main resources for this certification is the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which focuses on the ten knowledge areas and the phases of the project. PMI’s approach centers on the inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques available to a project manager, making the certification applicable for any methodology and industry. 

Depending on where you are in your career, PMI offers a variety of certifications ranging from entry-level to experienced project managers. However, the PMP is the most commonly sought after and most well-recognized out of the available options.


Prince2 vs PMP - Dare to comparePrince2 vs. PMP – Dare to Compare

While the two differ in their approaches and terminology regarding project management, both certifications are based on their own body of knowledge (PMBOK for PMP and “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2” for PRINCE2), as well as proven best practices. 

When deciding between the two, you should consider the company/industry you are looking to work for as well as the geographical location. The PMP typically triumphs over PRINCE2 in the USA, Canada, the Middle East, and Australia. However, PRINCE2 is more prevalent in the UK, Europe, and Asia.

According to PayScale, a project manager with PMP certification will make $87,000 a year, while a PRINCE2 certification will earn you slightly less at $84,000 annually.

$ 87000

There are also specific benefits that come with each certification. For the PMP, the salary is typically higher and PMP certification holders receive better pay raises more frequently than non-certified professionals. It’s also to your benefit to become a PMI member if you choose to pursue this certification. With that membership, you have access to job-hunting tools, knowledge resources, and networking opportunities via local chapters and online forums. 

Furthermore, the PMP is also a very well-known and trusted certification by potential employers worldwide. In general, this certification is geared toward providing a project manager with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully execute a project. 

On the other hand, PRINCE2 also offers an extensive body of knowledge focused on analyzing a project from every aspect. You’ll have access to several tools to identify and mitigate risks and ensure that the project is still viable. One of the main driving factors of PRINCE2 is the business case of a project which seeks to ensure the project is carrying out the organization’s strategic initiatives. 

While the PMP is centered around knowledge of project management, PRINCE2 has a very structured framework that standardizes the project approach. One downfall of PMI’s methodology is that there’s a lot of ambiguity when it comes to the application of concepts. However, PRINCE2 removes any question of how to deploy techniques and procedures, file documents, and understand the roles and responsibilities associated with each project. 

With this being said, the two certifications actually complement each other. The PMP provides the knowledge base while PRINCE2 teaches the process and procedures. One may be more relevant to your career, but it’s worth considering a dual certification.


Prince2 and PMP Certification RequirementsLearn It to Earn It –   Prince2 and PMP Certification Requirments

To obtain these certifications, you’ll need to know about the prerequisites and exams. For the PMP, you’ll need either:

  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)
  • 7,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education

OR

  • A four-year degree
  • 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education

If you meet these qualifications, you’ll need to apply through PMI to take the exam by submitting proof of the requirements above.

PRINCE2 offers the Foundation and Practitioner levels for the certification. For the Foundation exam, there are no prerequisites, though they do recommend that you have some experience managing projects. For the Practitioner exam, they’ll ask you for proof that you’ve passed one of the following:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)®
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®
  • IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director)
  • IPMA Level B® (Certified Senior Project Manager)
  • IPMA Level C® (Certified Project Manager)
  • IPMA Level D® (Certified Project Management Associate)

In terms of the exams, you should note that there are upcoming changes to the PMP exam starting December 16, 2019. PMI recently conducted research to identify the current trends and their impact on the profession. The updates seek to better evaluate a candidate’s ability to apply project management principles on the job. 

Learn it to earn it

There will still be a total of 200 questions with four hours allotted to complete the test. Currently, the exam is broken down by the Initiation, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing phases (check out the 2015 Exam Content Outline). As of December 16, 2019, the exam will be structured around People (42% of questions), Process (50% of questions), and Business Environment (8% of questions) instead. 

For more information, you can also take a look at the New Exam Content Outline. There isn’t a specified overall passing rate. Each version of the test is assessed based on its level of difficulty and given a correlating passing rate. 

The PMP exam costs $555 without a PMI membership ($139). If you choose to become a PMI member, you’ll receive a $150 discount on the test, which is more than the cost of the membership.

Once you obtain your PMP certification, it’ll be valid for three years. To keep the certification from expiring, you’ll need to earn 60 PDUs throughout those three years. 

Moving on to PRINCE2:

The PRINCE2 Foundation Exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions that must be answered in 60 minutes. You’ll need to get 33 answers correct to make the 55% needed to pass. This certification doesn’t expire. 

The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam also requires a 55% to pass but is comprised of 68 questions with a 2.5-hour time limit. You’ll need to answer 38 questions correctly. While the Foundation exam covers general knowledge of the methodology, this test is scenario-based. The PRINCE2 Practitioner certification will be valid for three years, but then you’ll have to pass the re-registration exam to keep the certification current.

Both PRINCE2 training and test bundles start at $830 each, depending on whether you choose to do a virtual or online course. You can also bundle the two with the training and both tests starting at $1550 (save $110). These prices are based on PRINCE2.com’s prices. However, there are many other accredited courses available; you also have the option to self-study. For the test alone, the Prince2 certification costs $280 for the Foundations exam, and the Practitioner exam is $365.


Takeaway

Both certifications can add significant value to your career. Both are based on proven methods and best practices. Together, they offer the knowledge set and process and procedure toolkit that project managers need to excel. However, a major deciding factor is determining what’s preferable in your geographic area. If possible, consider a dual certification to make yourself even more valuable globally. 

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Changes to the PMP Exam

By Amanda Harley, Certified project manager and process engineer


Changes to the PMP Exam

If obtaining your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a career goal you’ve set for yourself, the upcoming changes from PMI could put you a little on edge with the uncertainty. Before you go into complete panic mode, read this article to understand the what, when, and why to these updates. That should help you to successfully navigate these PMP exam changes:

First, let’s look at what’s changing. There are two main items:

  1. The exam contents
  2. The testing centers

PMP Exam Changes – Structure, Topics and More

We can start with the exam. Currently, the certification exam is structured to follow the phases of a project (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing). The new version will instead cover People (42% of questions), Process (50% of questions), and Business Environment (8% of questions).

Half of the test will have questions based on a predictive approach, while the other half will focus on Agile and hybrid approaches throughout each of the domains. Hence, this means that Agile project management will have a much bigger presence in the exam.

In the new Exam Content Outline, each domain has associated Tasks (what we do) and Enablers (the steps and actions needed to complete a task). In general, each domain can be broken down as such:

Project Management of Other People – PMP Exam Topic Changes

This domain will test your ability to manage and lead others by:

  • Resolving conflict
  • Removing barriers
  • Offering support and engagement
  • Setting boundaries
  • Negotiating
  • Collaborating
  • Demonstrating emotional intelligence.

PMP Process

Process, Planning, and Budget – PMP Exam Updates

Since the PMBOK Guide is primarily focused on technical project management processes, it’ll be your best friend when it comes to PMP exam prep. Your knowledge will be tested when it comes to:

  • Planning and managing all aspects of a project (budgets, resources, schedule, scope, etc.)
  • Executing projects
  • Identifying and mitigating risks and issues
  • Managing change control
  • Applying best practices and methodologies
  • Handling phase transitions and project closure (including lessons learned)

PMP Exam Changes to Business Environment Section

This domain will assess whether you’re able to align your skills with your organization’s strategic goals and bring value. It includes questions related to the following knowledge areas:

  • Managing project compliance in terms of security, safety, etc.
  • Analyzing and delivering value (business case, return on investment, etc.)
  • Understanding and managing the impact of internal organizational changes and external business environment changes 

One important thing to note is that the PMBOK Guide (6th Edition) won’t be changing. PMI pulls from several sources to create the current PMP exam, with the PMBOK Guide being one of the most heavily relied upon by many students. The seventh edition isn’t expected until 2023. Therefore, regardless of which version of the exam you take, the current PMBOK Guide will still be relevant in your studies.

For comparison, check out the 2015 Exam Content Outline to fully understand the exam updates. Although outdated, this resource can help you identify how the two exams interrelate and where new content might be added in the future.

PMP Exam Testing Center Changes

Project Management Exam Testing Center ChangesNow that we’ve covered the changes with the exam, let’s maove on to the testing centers. PMI has decided to end its partnership with Prometric and go with Pearson VUE instead. There are a few benefits to partnering with Pearson VUE, including:

  • Pearson VUE has a bigger network of testing centers (over 5,000 worldwide).
  • U.S. federal and military employees can also be accommodated with on-campus centers.
  • The company also offers at-home options for the PMI-ACP and CAPM exams.
  • Pearson VUE can assist you with any necessary accommodations. This can include a separate room, a reader/recorder, or additional time. 

To find a test center near you, click here. You can also try out a demo of the test interface to help remove some of the unknowns that come with this change.

The last day to take exams with Prometric was June 30th, 2019. However, you may have already scheduled your test with them. If that’s the case, all you need to do is contact PMI by phone at (610) 356-4600 (GMT -4) or via email at [email protected] to get your test moved over to a Pearson VUE testing center. This applies to both computer-based and paper-based exams.

PMP Exam Updates – Time Frame

Project Management Exam Updates and Changes - Time FrameWhen it comes to a time frame for when these changes will take effect, there’s no need to worry. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, PMI changed some of the dates to accommodate as many candidates as possible. Here are the new dates:

  • December 31st, 2021: You can take the current version of the exam up until this date.
  • January 2nd, 2021: This is the release date of the new version, which will completely replace the current version. There’ll be no overlap of versions.

Why Change the PMP Exam?

As with every change, it’s important to understand the “why” behind it. Simply put, project management is constantly evolving due to emerging trends in the profession. As a proactive response, PMI conducts research every three to five years to understand the full impact the trends may have on project manager responsibilities, culture, technology, etc. These changes are to ensure PMI and its certifications can keep up with the progression of project management and still be a valuable resource to project managers. 

Essentially, these exam updates are intended to connect the technical knowledge of the field with the necessary soft skills (i.e. people management, emotional intelligence), and then to their application within the actual business environment. Ultimately, PMI’s goal is to better equip project managers with the ability to apply these skills in a real-world environment as opposed to memorizing the technical processes, inputs and outputs, and formulas. 

This doesn’t diminish the importance of these processes, methods, and techniques. Rather, it aims to assess a candidate’s ability to execute a project successfully.

The Old PMP Test vs The New

 

The Old vs The NewThe good news is that there’s still time for you to decide between taking the current exam or the new exam. Typically, it will take about three months to properly study for the PMP exam. Consequently, this means you have until the beginning of September to commit to a version and schedule your test without worry. 

When making your decision, consider the impact of the changes. With this new exam you will need to also become familiar with Agile and hybrid methodologies and approaches. The new exam may also be bigger with 70% of the current exam making up the second domain (process). Because of these new sections, exam prep will be more difficult due to the additional information you now need to cover. 

It’s recommended that you attempt to take the current version of the exam. There’s much more information readily available and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect. Additionally, you’ll also want to schedule as early as possible to avoid a potential rush around December. 

If you don’t feel that you’ll be ready to take the exam by December 15th, take comfort in the fact that your current studies align with the process section of the exam. Therefore, your efforts won’t go to waste because the process portion also accounts for 50% of the test. In addition, the benefit to taking the newer version is that once you successfully pass, you’ll have the advantage of more relevant knowledge and skills that comes with the updated certification. 

Start studying for the new version by downloading the Agile Practice Guide from PMI to understand Agile approaches. Remember: the PMBOK Guide (6th Edition) is still relevant and useful for this exam.


Always Prepare for Change

When it comes to change, preparation is always key. You’re putting in a lot of time and money to get the PMP certification, but there’s no reason why this change should affect your chances of passing. 

For the exam, there’s still time to take the current version. If you need to take the new version, the process of studying should be the same, even if the material isn’t. Regarding the testing centers, it’s always a good idea to know where the center is, how long it will take to get there, and what types of ID or documents you need to present upon arrival. 

By knowing the what, when, and why of these changes and acting to alleviate any uncertainties you may have, you’ll be able to continue to focus on your studying and pass your exam. For additional information, keep up with PMI to get to the latest updates regarding the new version of the exam.

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CAPM vs. PMP

By Amanda Harley, Certified project manager and process engineer

CAPM vs. PMP

Entering the project management profession could be a great move for your career. According to the 2018 Jobs Report conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI), project management will continue to become more lucrative as the need for project managers grows. Consequently, there are several project management certifications to help advance your career and add validity to your skills. 

Two of the most common are the Project Management Professional (PMP) and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). 72% of PMO leaders agree that a holding a certification is very relevant to mid-career project managers, according to PMI’s 2018 Pulse of the Profession.

Both of these certifications are offered by PMI. However, because of recent research conducted by PMI, both exams are changing this year (see PMP exam changes here, and CAPM exam changes here). As each credential is broken down, upcoming changes will also be noted. By obtaining one of these certifications, you’re showing potential employers your dedication to the profession and you’ll have the backing of a globally-recognized credential. Each is geared toward building project managers with the ability to lead and execute projects on time, within scope, and within budget.

It can be challenging to decide which to pursue. So if you’re on the fence about which certification to pursue, keep reading to learn more about the components of each certification. Reading the pertinent info below should help steer you in the right direction!

CAPM Certification Salaries, Requirements, Costs and More

CAPM

If you’re just starting out in the field, this certification may be your best bet. It was designed for entry-level project managers. The requirements to take the exam are currently:

  • A secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent)

AND

  • At least 1,500 hours project management experience 

OR

  • 23 hours of project management education

However, starting on August 28th PMI will be removing the 1500-hour project management experience requirement. This is in order to make the certification more accessible to those without any background in the profession. 

The CAPM exam has 150 multiple choice questions with a time limit of 3 hours. This exam is based off of the Project Management Body of Knowledge, also known as the PMBOK guide. In September 2019, the test will be updated to reflect two new question-types:

Matching questions

This type of question asks you to connect items from one list to another. An example may be matching processes to the appropriate process group. 

 

Multiple choice questions (with multiple correct answers)

Test-takers have only been asked to select one answer per question up until this point. However, this new format will provide a specified number of correct answers and you’ll be asked to select multiple items to answer the question. 

PMI stated that there would only be a small percentage of these questions introduced on the new exam. You can also check out the announcement for the CAPM exam changes.

The cost of the exam in $300 if you’re a non-member of PMI. If you decide to join, the membership will cost you $139 but your exam fee will be reduced to $225.

Once you’ve passed the exam, you aren’t required to complete PDUs to maintain your certification. However, you’ll have to get recertified every 5 years because it will expire in that time period.

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PMP Certification Salaries, Requirements, Costs and More

The PMP certification is one of the most popular and well-known certifications within the project management profession. Many jobs now list this certification as a requirement; this is because PMI’s approach is based off of proven methods and techniques and best practices.

Additionally, this certification exam is heavily influenced by the PMBOK, much like the CAPM. However, PMI also pulls from several other sources to make the test as comprehensive as possible. This certification is general enough to apply across virtually any industry.

PMP

PMP certification requires prior experience managing projects and is more suited for mid-level project managers. The full list of prerequisites is:

  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent)
  • 7,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education

OR

  • A four-year Bachelor’s degree
  • 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education

Currently, the PMP exam is based off the five project phases – Initiation, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing. You can find more details and an exam breakdown by reading the Exam Content Outline.

PMI is updating the test beginning December 16, 2019 (here’s the announcement). These changes are a result of their recent research aimed at understanding the current trends and their impact on the profession. By the end of the year, the exam will feature People (42% of questions), Process (50% of questions), and Business Environment (8% of questions) as the exam content instead of the project phases. This is intended to better gauge whether candidates can apply their project management knowledge to real-life settings. For more information, here’s the New Exam Content Outline. 

Regardless of the content, the exam will still consist of 200 questions that need to be answered within four hours. Additionally, this test only consists of multiple choice questions.

The PMP exam will cost you $555 if you aren’t a PMI member. Alternatively, you’ll receive a $150 discount (making the exam $405) if you chose to purchase a membership ($139). With the membership, you’ll also receive job-hunting resources, access to PMI’s knowledge library, and plenty of networking opportunities.

The certification is valid for three years, but there is some maintenance required. You need to earn 60 PDUs over the course of the three years to remain in good standing with PMI.

It should be noted that these certifications are independent of each other. You don’t need to pass the CAPM to be eligible for the PMP. Additionally, neither have a specified passing rate. Instead, PMI puts together a panel from industry leaders around the world. They assess the different versions of the exams and assign an appropriate passing rate based on the level of difficulty.

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Decisions, Decisions…

$87000

Average PMP Salary

There are a few things to consider when making your final decision. The most important factor is whether or not you meet the prerequisites to sit for the PMP exam. If so, the PMP exam will open more doors than the CAPM. If not, the CAPM is where you should begin. A CAPM certification will still set you apart from other candidates and let employers know you’re invested in this career.

Decisions Decisions

This certification targets people just starting out and gives you a solid understanding of project management processes, terminology, and methodologies. Studying for the CAPM will also serve as a great foundation for the PMP exam when you’re ready to take that on. 

One final change PMI is making for CAPM certification holders is that you no longer have to acquire the 35 project management education credits to sit for the PMP exam. You just need the required working experience to be eligible.

The challenges of the PMP certification are that it has a little more upkeep, it’s more expensive, and the test is harder. However, the PMP is more widely known than the CAPM. Furthermore, it comes with the understanding that you have more working experience than someone with a CAPM certification. Ultimately, many CAPM certification holders have the intent of obtaining a PMP certification once they’re able to meet the eligibility requirements. 

For extra motivation, PayScale says that in terms of salary, a PMP earns about $87,000 on average annually while the average CAPM certification salary is $67,000. 

It may also be worthwhile to see if your employer is willing to reimburse for your expenses, especially if this certification is required for or will benefit your current job.

25 Most Frequently Asked Questions About PMPs

Do you have any nagging questions about Project Management Professional (PMP)  certifications, exams, and uses? Then you’ve come to the right place! Read on for the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about PMP certification.

1. What is PMP certification?

A PMP certification is a professional certification overseen by the Project Management Institute (PMI.) According to PMI’s Project Management Certification Handbook, the PMP certification “demonstrates to employers, clients and colleagues that a project manager possesses project management knowledge, experience and skills to bring projects to successful completion.”

pmp certification faq logo

A PMP certification confirms the ability of the holder to perform in a project manager role while leading and directing projects. The certification is globally recognized with 884,518 active holders in 208 countries. It’s widely considered the gold standard of project management certifications, especially in North America, Asia and the Middle East.

2. What does PMP stand for?

PMP stands for Project Management Professional. The PMP designation applies to an individual who has met all requirements, including passing a four-hour exam administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Institute Logodesigned to test the knowledge and skills of a project manager. With the PMP certification, you are globally recognized as a professional project manager who can lead and direct projects.  

According to PMI, the project management professional (PMP) is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers. 

3. What does a PMP do?

A Project Management Professional (PMP) applies the knowledge, skills, tools and techniques taught and recognized in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) to managing a project in any industry, organization and location.

PMBOK

In this context, the PMI defines a project as being “temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources. And a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal.”

4. How useful is a PMP certification?

How Useful is PMP CertificationA PMP certification is incredibly useful when it comes to displaying your talent and capabilities in the realm of project management. In fact, the PMP certification has become an industry standard, with many project management jobs requiring an active PMP certificate from applicants. 

Therefore, a  PMP certification is useful to obtain a role on choice projects with top companies, as well as earn a higher salary. Furthermore, the 2017 Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey conducted by the PMI found that PMPs earn 23% more on average, across 37 surveyed countries, than non-certified project managers. 

5. What is PMP certification worth?

It’s reasonable for many prospective students to wonder what a PMP certification is worth; after all, the exam fee is more than $500, not including recertification costs and having to retake the exam if you should fail. There are also associated costs with prep courses, boot camps and more, making this a potentially hefty financial investment.

What is a PMP Certification Worth

However, it can be argued that the the PMP certification is worth these costs based solely on that aforementioned 23% salary increase between PMP holders and non-PMP holders. Translated into dollars, this could be $10,000 or more annually that you can earn just by having the certification. Ultimately, it will be up to you whether on not these benefits outweigh the costs of pursuing certification.

6. Why become PMP certified?

PMP certification can be costly and the exam is considered difficult by many who attempt it. However, getting PMP certified has a ton of benefits. For one, it’s the global industry standard for project management. Consequently, the PMP designation is recognized by industries in over 208 countries. Secondly, PMP certification is a requirement for most job listings, which means you could be missing out on the career opportunities of a lifetime if you don’t get your certification.

Additionally, maintaining an active PMP certification connects you to over 800,000 professionals in an active project management community. And finally, PMP professionals are proven to obtain a higher salary on project management jobs than professionals without this certification. 

7. Will PMP certification help my career?

Will PMP Help My CareerEarning your PMP certification is recommended for project management professionals who don’t have the years of experience that top-level PMPs have collected. This isn’t to say the PMP is the right certification for beginners; in fact, if you don’t meet the PMP requirements for the exam, we recommend you start with the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and work your way up from there.

However, many serious industry players looking for qualified project managers are searching for PMPs. In actuality, this is often a requirement of the job! Therefore, passing the exam and earning your certification will get your application in front of hiring managers and onto serious project teams where you can make a difference.

8. What are the requirements for project management certification?

In order to be eligible to take the PMP exam, you’ll have to meet some requirements set Project Management Pro Handbookforth by the Project Management Institute (PMI). A short version can be found on their website, but the complete version listed below is detailed in the Project Management Professional Handbook. 

There are two sets of requirements that can be interchanged depending on your educational background. The first set is as follows:

  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, Associate’s, or global equivalent)
  • 5 years or 60 months of unique non-overlapping project management experience, with 7500 hours spent leading and directing a project
  • 35 contact hours of formal education

However, if you have a Bachelor’s degree, the requirements are a little different:

  • Four-year degree (Bachelor’s or global equivalent)
  • 3 years or 36 months of unique non-overlapping project management experience, with 4500 hours being spent leading or directing a project
  • 35 contact hours of formal education

9. What is a PDU?

What Is A PDU (professional development unit)A PDU is a Professional Development Unit. Essentially, this refers to an ongoing educational credit for Project Management Professionals. After you pass your PMP exam (or other relevant project management-related certification) you’ll need to earn a certain number of PDUs in the following three years in order to maintain your certification. This is to keep you in the habit of continuously developing your project management skills in addition to keeping up with new trends and methodology.

PDUs and continual education requirements are tracked in the Continuing Certification Requirements Program (CCR), which can be found online.

10. How do I earn PDUs?

PDUs are earned through two main methods of professional development: education and giving back to the profession. According to the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Handbook, here’s what these two methods look like:

  • Education PDUs are learning opportunities that allow you to expand and enhance your technical, leadership, or strategic and business management skills. 
  • Giving back to the profession involves activities that enable you to share and implement your knowledge and skills as a means to help build and contribute to the profession.

For the PMP certification, you’ll need to collect 60 PDUs each CCR cycle (three years). A minimum of 35 education PDUs are required, with a maximum of 25 giving back PDUs allowed. Education is further broken down into specific requirements: 8 PDUs in technical project management education, 8 in leadership education, and 8 in strategic and business management skills. The remaining 11 can be collected from any part of the “Talent Triangle” for a total of 35.

As previously mentioned, you can earn a maximum of 25 PDUs giving back to the profession through volunteering, creating knowledge and working as a professional. Furthermore, it’s important to note that you can only collect a maximum of 8 PDUs when seeking PDUs for working as a professional. Volunteering and creating knowledge do not have any such constraints. 

11. Do PDUs expire?

PDUs are acquired and tracked in the same Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program cycle. For PMPs, this cycle is three years after initial certification and every subsequent three years to retake the exam and maintain certification. Because of this, you can’t use activities that you completed before you earn the PMI certification. However, you can rollover a few PDUs into the next cycle, according to the CCR Handbook

Do PDUs Expire?

Confused? Here’s how it works:

If you earn more than the required PDUs in your CCR cycle, you can apply a portion of these to your next cycle. However, this only includes PDUs that you earned in the final year of your cycle. Basically, a few PDUs that you earned in the last 12 months before your recertification can be applied to the next cycle. For several certifications, including the PMP, this has a maximum limit of 20 rollover PDUs allowed. Other certifications that are more skill-specific only allow 10 rollover PDUs. 

12. Where do I take the PMP Exam?

All PMI examinations, including the PMP exam, are administered using Center-Based Testing (CBT) or Online Proctored Testing (OPT). A complete listing of exam locations are available through Prometric: simply select your geographical location and chosen date and time to take the exam. If you’ve qualified for a paper-based exam, then instructions and information on the date and time will be sent to you instead. 

Center Based Testing for PMP ExamYou’ll have four hours to complete the exam, although it may not take you this long. Furthermore, it’s important to know that there are no scheduled breaks. Although you can take a break if you need to, your exam clock will not be paused. 

13. Can I take the PMP exam without experience?

No. You’ll need to meet the exam eligibility requirements, including minimum hours of project management experience, before your application is approved and you’re able to schedule your exam. 

If you have no previous project management experience, it’s recommended that you start by obtaining your Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification. This certification is seen as a step to earning your PMP, and will help you gain experience and exposure to project teams and professional project management experience. 

14. How hard is the PMP exam?

How Hard is the PMP?The PMP is recognized as being extremely difficult. In fact, there’s an estimated 40-50% fail rate among first time test takers. Hence, it’s recommended that you study for the test seriously and answer all the questions to the best of your ability.

The reason for this is that there is no specific number of questions that must be answered to get a passing grade. Each question is graded based on difficulty; therefore, if you get all the hard questions right but blow the easy ones, you can still pass. This means that reverse is also true, so be careful and make sure you understand the most difficult project management concepts!

Not all questions are scored on the PMP exam, since some are pre-test questions. However, there’s no way to know which ones. Because of this, your best bet is to use quality study materials, take several practice exams, and get plenty of rest before the test date. 

15. How many questions are on the PMP exam?

There are 200 exam questions in total on the PMP exam. However, only 175 of these questions are scored, with 25 being considered pre-test questions. Remember: there’s no way to distinguish which is which, so answer every question carefully!

The breakdown of content for questions on the PMP exam looks something like this:

People- 42%

Process- 50%

Business Environment- 8%

16. How often are PMP exams given?

PMP exams are administered daily all around the world. The frequency of PMP exams administered at your local testing center depends on their hours and volume. Once you receive your exam eligibility code (provided your application to sit for the PMP exam is approved), you’ll be able to schedule your test date and time on Prometric.

When are pmp exams offered?

17. When are PMP exams offered?

PMP exams are offered at thousands of test centers around the country; the dates and times that you’re able to take your PMP exam vary with each test center. Once PMI approves your application to sit for the exam, you’ll be sent an eligibility code. Inputting this code and your geographic location on Prometric will show you available dates and times to take the exam at your local testing center. 

18. When does the PMP exam change?

The PMP exam is periodically updated when a new version of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is released. The Sixth Edition is the latest version released in September 2017, and the exam was last updated January 2, 2021 as of the time this article was written.

The PMBOK is usually updated every four to five years, with new versions of the exam soon following these changes. 

19. When is the 2021 PMP exam?

Contrary to popular belief, there are no set exam dates for the PMP exam. Once you’ve completed the steps of the application, your packet has been reviewed and approved, and you’ve paid the necessary costs, you’ll be able to schedule your exam either online or at your nearest testing center at your convenience. However, it’s important to note that you must sit for the exam within one year of your application being approved. 

20. Where is the PMP testing location?

There are thousands of PMP testing centers located across the world, and plenty to choose from in each state of the US. Once your application is approved and you receive your eligibility code, you’ll be able to visit Prometric to view your closest testing centers. Prometric is a professional testing center service affiliated with PMI that offers hundreds of convenient locations. 

Frequency of examinations, availability, and hours will vary from test center to test center, so be sure to give yourself a fairly large window of time to schedule your exam, prep for it, and take it. After the date your application is approved, you’ll have 12 months to sit for the exam; if you don’t take the exam within that year, you’ll have to reapply all over again. 

21. How is the PMP exam scored?

One of the elements of the PMP exam that makes it a bit harder than the average test is that there is no set passing score. Instead, the questions are weighted based on difficulty. Hence, if you fail all the hard questions but answer all the easy questions, you will still most likely fail the exam. 

The PMP Handbook explains that the passing score for exam takers is “determined by sound psychometric analysis…. Data that shows how candidates actually performed is cross referenced with the subject matter experts to ensure that the point of difficulty on each examination is healthy.”

At the end of the exam, you will receive a report card indicating in which areas of knowledge you are Proficient, Moderately Proficient and Below Proficient. If you end up receiving a failing grade, this report card will be a useful resource for you when studying to retake the test.

22. Which is better, PMP or Six Sigma?

Both PMP and Six Sigma certifications are highly regarded in the project management community, and they’re also quite similar; this is because both focus on processes. However, the main difference between the two is that PMP methodology focuses on processes that improve the project success rate. In contrast, Six Sigma uses processes to identify and eliminate defects or waste in the production or functioning process.

For this reason, Six Sigma is well-suited to tech, finance and manufacturing spheres, while PMP methods can be broadly applied to many industries.

It’s also important to note that Six Sigma does not have one governing organization that standardizes teaching methods. Consequently, certificate holders from varying programs may have different levels of knowledge and preferences for applying their skills. 

23. Which is better, PMP or CAPM?

PMP vs CAPMA dedicated Project Management Professional (PMP) increases their value to a company and showcases their skill by getting the appropriate certification for project management. The PMP is the gold standard; it is considered a better and more comprehensive certification than the CAPM because it requires more experience and qualifications to earn than a CAPM. However, the CAPM is a valuable stepping stone for new project managers, or those with less experience, in order to distinguish their skills and open the door to further opportunities to collect project management experience before pursuing their PMP.

24. Which is better, PMP or PRINCE2?

Depending on your location and industry, either PMP or PRINCE2 certification may serve PMP vs Prince2your career purposes differently. PMP is a general project management practice standard that encompasses a wide body of knowledge on project management, as well as processes for increasing success rates. It is widely recognized globally, but very specifically emphasized in the United States.

PRINCE2 is more commonly used in Europe and is a narrower methodology for project management than PMP. It is also based upon IT system processes and works best for IT organizations and projects. In contrast, PMP methods can be applied to nearly any industry with ease. 

25. Which is better, PMP or ScrumMaster?

Whether a PMP certification versus a CSM certification will work better for your career depends upon a few factors: 

  1. What industry are you working in?
  2. What is that standard for your chosen industry?
  3. Where are you working?

The reasoning behind this is that CSM is a subset of Agile methodology and is used to simplify complex projects. Therefore, software development, digital technologies, and IT see a huge benefit from Scrum Masters and their chosen methods. In contrast, PMP aims to set a standard for project management across multiple industries and isn’t just applied to tech.

PMP vs Scrum Master

It’s also important to note the standard certification in your chosen industry. If similar project managers working in your field are all getting CSM certifications, you probably don’t want to skip it in favor of the PMP certification. Keeping in mind what your direct competitors are doing will help you become the best fit for the job. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that PMP and CSM certifications are popular in different parts of the globe. For example, PMP is a standard certification recognized in North America, China, and the Middle East. CSM is an industry standard in South America, Europe, Russia and Australia. Depending on where you will work most often, one or the other may work best for you.

Hopefully this article answered any questions that were bugging you in regards to the PMP certification process. Did we miss any important questions? If so, feel free to ask them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

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Six Sigma vs. PMP Certifications

By: Amanda Harley, Certified project manager and process engineer

Six Sigma vs PMP Certification

If you’re looking to challenge yourself and advance your career, obtaining a certification is a surefire way to put yourself ahead of the pack. Two of the most widely-recognized ones are the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and Six Sigma certification (there are multiple). However, you may struggle deciding which one is best for you or if even a dual certification will give you the best advantage. 

Because Six Sigma and project management are known to be tied to a business’ success rate, many employers today list one or both as job requirements. Furthermore, while both certifications are value-added, they can also be costly and require several months of preparation.

Let’s do a full-on, complete, Six Sigma vs. PMP break down on each certification, and expand on the methodologies. By the end, you’ll know which of the two (or both) will complement your career path and which option will give you a better return on your time and financial investment.

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification

Project management uses various tools and resources to efficiently implement projects. A project manager’s goal is to finish projects on time, within scope, and on budget: otherwise known as the triple constraint.

There are multiple methodologies used, including Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Lean, and many more. Each have their pros and cons; whichever one you use largely depends on company culture.

The general phases of a project include:

  1. Initiating: Perform the intake of the current situation, determine the objective, create a charter, and identify the stakeholders and project team.
  2. Planning: Using the tools available, plan for risks, determine communication methods, make a high-level schedule.
  3. Executing: Perform the tasks to achieve the desired objective.
  4. Monitoring and Controlling: Monitor results and implement mechanisms to maintain outcomes.
  5. Closing: Finalize and approve all deliverables with stakeholders and close project.

The PMP is offered through a governing body called the Project Management Institute (PMI). They offer several certifications involving project and program management, with varying degrees of utility depending on where you are in your career.

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Six Sigma Certifcation

Six Sigma vs PMP CertificationOriginally developed by Bill Smith at Motorola in the early 1980s, Six Sigma is now globally acknowledged as the driving force of many competitive companies like General Electric, Ford Motor Company, and Boeing. This approach utilizes Total Quality Management (TQM), Just in Time (JIT), and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) to aid in process-improvement initiatives.

Where project management focuses on executing projects successfully, Six Sigma specializes in eliminating wasteful processes, cutting costs, increasing efficiency and productivity, and reducing mistakes. This methodology pinpoints process variation and its goal is to standardize tasks to reduce the chance of defects. The magical number in Six Sigma is 3.4 defects per million parts.

The common phases for this methodology [referred to as DMAIC (duh-may-ick)], include:

  1. Define: Identify the problem that needs to be solved and determine the objective and scope of the project. 
  2. Measure: Collect data to understand the impact of the issue and current state.
  3. Analyze: Conduct a root-cause analysis with the data collected to understand the true reason the problem is occurring.
  4. Improve: Identify solutions to the issue and implement.
  5. Control: Monitor the impact of solutions and put processes in place to maintain results.

Six Sigma offers a tiered certification system of Yellow, Green, Black and Master Black belts. The Green, Black, and Master Black belts are the most highly sought after, since you’re considered to be an expert once you reach Green belt status.  However, there isn’t a governing body since this is a mathematically-driven methodology. This means you can receive your certification from one of multiple sources.

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Two Peas in a Pod

There are a few similarities between these two certifications. Of course, both have received worldwide recognition due to their strategies focused on the creation of successful processes and giving businesses a competitive edge. Furthermore, these approaches are used globally, meaning there are international and domestic opportunities with either certification. Additionally, these skillsets are applicable across any industry because every company has opportunities for improvement.

Six Sigma initiatives are considered projects as they are unique and have a defined start and stop date. Because of this, both PMP and Six Sigma approaches complement each other. In fact, both methodologies play a key role in a thriving business model. Six Sigma is stronger in achieving better quality outcomes while Project Management Professionals strive to meet a deadline and manage risk. Utilizing a five-phase approach, both Six Sigma and project management primarily center around the end-user or customer.

Two Peas In A Pod? - Six Sigma vs PMP Certification

Projects need Six Sigma to ensure the quality of their new process isn’t subpar and unsustainable over time. Hence, professionals certified in Six Sigma are specifically trained to identify and solve problems with a very analytical, black-and-white framework, which is critical to project success. Project managers face the struggle of managing people, but the proper application of Six Sigma would include absolute budget, hard deadlines, and set quality metrics. 

On the flip side, Six Sigma needs project management to deliver an efficient solution rather than just collect and pore over data for months. Project managers create and adhere to schedules; many are skilled with change management, which comes with modifying a process or routine. 

By using both, a company will have efficient and effective solutions implemented wherever there are opportunities. For individuals, each certification can expand career opportunities and increase earning potential as well as show your commitment to the role and career path to potential employers. Because they complement each other, many professionals choose to go after both certifications. Regardless, employers will find you a more attractive job candidate with either one or both certifications.


Night and Day

Night and Day - Six Sigma vs PMP CertificationWhile Six Sigma and PMP certification complement each other, there are some fundamental differences that set them apart. The core goal of project management is project success and improving effectiveness. However, Six Sigma is a mathematically-driven methodology solely concerned with improving efficiency and eliminating defects.

Those who choose to study Six Sigma learn to use and apply data analysis to create a process that guarantees quality. Professionals look at numbers, facts, and figures to make decisions: a very objective and scientific way to solve a problem.

Project managers, on the other hand, are expected to lead and direct teams of varying levels of leadership and use project management tools and resources to plan and execute projects. The tricky part comes from the stakeholders of each project. Instead of using data, project managers are relying on input from the project team and stakeholders. Consequently, navigating the politics and understanding true motivations of others while sticking to the schedule and budget is the most difficult aspect of the job.

Taking the Leap

Still not sure which career path to pursue? Take a look at these fast facts below:

Leap of Faith

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Statistics

Those who hold a PMP certification earn on 23% more on average than non-certified project managers; additionally, 72% of PMO managers believe a certification is needed. PMP certification is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and verifies that you are an expert with the tools and processes. As mentioned before, there are certifications for all levels of your project management career. However, the PMP is the most common. To be eligible for the exam, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Secondary degree with 7,500 hours leading/directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

OR

  1. Four-year degree with 3,500 hours leading/directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

If you choose to pursue this certification, I recommend purchasing a membership with PMI ($139 for the first year and $129 each year afterward). The cost is offset by the discount you receive on the exam, which is four hours long and consists of 200 questions. 

Six Sigma Certification Statistics

According to GreyCampus, Six Sigma Black Belts earn between $93,000 and $167,000 per year on average. This certification acknowledges your expertise with the methodology and adds validity to your mathematical and analytical skills. While there are no specific governing bodies for these certifications, the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and the International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC) are the most notable.

Ultimately, there are no standard requirements to achieve your certification; all companies can determine their own set of expectations. While IASSC states you only need to get 385 out 500 points on the exam ($295) to be awarded a Green belt status, ASQ lists the following:

“The Six Sigma Green Belt certification requires three years of work experience in one or more areas of the Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge.

Candidates must have worked in a full-time, paid role. Paid intern, co-op or any other course work cannot be applied toward the work experience requirement.

  • Operates in support of or under the supervision of a Six Sigma Black Belt.
  • Analyzes and solves quality problems.
  • Involved in quality improvement projects.
  • Participated in a project but has not led a project.
  • Has at least three years of work experience.
  • Has ability to demonstrate their knowledge of Six Sigma tools and processes”

How About a Project Management Dual Certification? 

If you decide to go for a dual certification, there are a few additional perks, including:

  • Improved hiring potential and eligibility for positions that require both credentials
  • Competitive advantage for positions that require only one of these credentials
  • Expanded professional networking opportunities through membership in PMI and organizations including the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and International Society of Six Sigma Professionals (ISSSP).
  • Greater career flexibility, enabling professionals in process improvement or project management to shift their career in either direction
  • Ability to add even more value to an organization through proficiency in both disciplines
  • Ability to integrate both project management and Six Sigma strategies
  • Ability to train others in either methodology

Which Certification is Right for You?

Which Project Management Certification Should I Choose? - Six Sigma vs PMPDeciding which certification to pursue requires you to do some self-reflection. What are your long-term career goals? Are you happier working with and leading others to implement and pre-determined project, or are you one that loves to find the opportunities and analyze them to find possible solutions? 

Either can supplement the other. When I was at this crossroad, I determined a primary certification based on my career goals. Once you do that, keep the secondary certification in mind to add an extra boost to your resume down the road. Regardless of the path you choose, there will be better opportunities awaiting you on the other side of that exam door.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between PMP and Six Sigma?

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), while Six Sigma certification isn’t administered by a single certification body. Both methodologies are based around project management, but Six Sigma is more specifically focused on improving efficiency while PMP is based on a wider range of project management principles.

Is it worth it to get Six Sigma certification?

Yes! Six Sigma is a popular methodology among large organizations; becoming certified at the Green Belt or Black Belt level can provide you with excellent career opportunities. According to data gathered by Salary.com, Green Belt holders earn an average annual salary of $104,100 and Black Belt holders earn $119,400.

Will Six Sigma increase salary?

If you go from having no certifications to earning a Six Sigma certification, you will gain new career opportunities that will increase your potential salary. The same can be said if you earn a Black Belt after previously having Green Belt certification, but results may vary if you already have other project management certifications.

Is getting a PMP worth it?

Absolutely! Becoming a Project Management Professional will open doors for you that can lead to extremely rewarding career opportunities. These careers can also come with very high annual salaries, with PayScale estimating the average annual PMP salary to be over $100,000.