Why Is Considering the Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) So Stressful?
By Magaline Harvey
Projects themselves can be stressful juggling all the many demands with constraints. Going after the project management professional (PMP) certification can be just as stressful if not more. The reason being is because projects obtain high visibility usually and failure sometimes results in loss of employment or a demotion. In the reality TV show, “The Apprentice” a picture is painted to the world that project management is difficult and quick. In the T.V. show; Donald Trump fires the project manager on a losing project team in a competitive environment. Usually real world is not like that because project teams do not compete except to obtain resources to help with project objectives. Oftentimes, TV can be misconstrued with reality, hence the word reality TV. Maybe the show has somewhat influenced the corporate world, in a sense that project managers may gain tactics or practices from watching the shows. Back to real world reality when taking on an adventure professionally one wants to be successful. As a matter of fact success in the professional environment confirms the Maslow’s theory of self actualization which the practice of project management embraces.
Project managers gaining success in managing projects find little time to prove it through certification. Usually taking the time to prepare for such an intense exam becomes a nuisance in itself. The intricate details of the exam does not test ones experience instead it tests theories of managing projects. The correct answer choice when answering the objective test questions are based on the standard practice and theory and not experience, although one must have experience in order to take the credentialing exam. Accomplishing success working a project usually is achieved by any means necessary and theory goes out the mind, body and soul in desperate times. However the caveat to it all is the theory is based on a proactive approach to the art and science of Project Management. If project managers embrace the theory that can be proactive with improved skills. Successful practitioners are usually stressed due to monitoring and tight controls on their projects to eliminate huge problems. Assertiveness is a true personality trait that PM’s must possess to influence others to do their jobs well. Juggling stakeholders expectations, identifying and analyzing risks and gathering requirements takes skill and time.
More than anything the stress endured or undertaken when considering PMP® certification is self-imposed. Typically the mind is overwhelmed with thoughts of taking the PMP® as being irrelevant. Thinking about taking the exam must be weighed against a measurement of how much formal reading of the PMI® methodology encountered. Also understanding the correct version of materials developed to help prepare, taking the exam within the deadlines of material expiring. When individuals are convinced that the information is too difficult and overwhelming it becomes their truth and reality. Having a strong support system is the key to getting through this challenge. Many times others that have failed the exam give fearful information describing the experience which become a turn off for many of the most competent. Misunderstood expectations regarding the complexity and casual preparation of the exam has been a known factor that promotes failure. All the concepts and knowledge areas are actually practiced by professionals however they often use a different syntax to describe their efforts. Using the PMI® methodology and syntax is the only way to be successful in passing the exam. Taking the steps to accomplish a certification goal should be managed as a project. It is simply a project within the product life cycle of the professional pursuing it. A solid plan must be engaged and implemented to reduce the stress and influence the factors that foster success in taking and passing the PMP® exam.
Speaking to countless professionals over time have uncovered that many of them postpone their test and training even after applying to the Project Management Institute (PMI)® to take the exam. Some have to restart the process over again from start to finish due to timing required for adequate preparation. Many project and work demands do not lend itself to lengthy preparation to excel on the PMP® exam.
Cram courses are the best option it saves time for the individual. A PMP® exam prep bootcamp gives practical knowledge but the best accelerated learning preparation to prepare to pass the PMP® Exam on the first try. Fears are eliminated when students take the PMP® Bootcamp Course because they are given exactly what they need to know to be successful on the exam. Participants are infected by a strong shot of confidence and stress relievers going into the exam preparation environment. The bootcamp formalizes the knowledge according to how the test questions should be interpreted so participants are successful in answering the questions.
The concepts must be perceived in proper context according to the PMBOK®; it is the best way to get rid of the stress and be confident in passing the PMP® exam. Confidence comes with adequate preparation and thorough studying. Being clear on what the processes are to manage projects according to the standard. Also knowing the structure of organizations and how project management is affected in each. One must know the different life cycles in project management and the distinct differences among them. All domains and knowledge areas and the process groups they are categorized with according to the methodology are all keys to success in the exam and covered in the bootcamps. The PMP® is the most recognized and popular certification offered by PMI®. Joining PMI® is an important benefit also for a project manager considering PMP® certification.
A common misconception that leads to additional stress and frustrations by practitioners considering certification is the myth that a class will be the only source of winning. It does not stand alone there is some due diligence of studying needed and it is still important even for busy project managers on huge projects. Time for oneself should be advocated for and utilized to plan for pre-study before a bootcamp.
There are a few steps one can follow to prepare in advance for a bootcamp class:
- Take a simulated PMP® Exam to identify gaps in PMP® knowledge.
- Prioritize studying according to the results from the simulated exam from weakest to strongest.
- Master one area by reading the PMBOK® for that area and taking practice test questions.
Trust the process and methodology of the bootcamp course so that efforts are not useless. Preparing for the PMP® exam does not have to be stressful. There is adequate help out there especially when enrolled in the right course with the right instructor. Reach out to mentors for assistance, search the web, read blogs, prioritize things of importance and study to get ready for the PMP® credential. Maintaining high productivity on projects and passing a rigorous exam can be quite challenging especially when there is an expectation to balance family life, personal life and make great money. Take it all into perspective a quick time redeemer is worth it, just enroll in a bootcamp.
Professionals with children can get easily stressed out but Project management is really a way of life. If life is managed like a project with the appropriate actions well planned and monitored for effectiveness it would eliminate many stressors. When we have a rushing mentality, operate reactively, because things are rushed and not well thought out; it increases stress therefore triggers health issues. Many project managers find themselves with stress enduced health issues. It can be avoided or mitigated by becoming a methodical planner and learning quickly with an action plan from prior mistakes or problems. Planning and preparation are the main ingredients to reduce stress and anxiety when approaching an endeavor
Magaline Harvey is passionate about training with a phenomenal track record of helping simplify the PMP® terms so that anyone can understand. http://www.linkedin.com/in/magalineharvey
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© Magaline Harvey, PMP @ All Stop Communications, 2010
Magaline Harvey is an independent contractor of PMstudy.com
PMstudy is a PMI Approved Global Registered Education Provider for Project Management Institute®, specializing in providing quality education to prepare students for Project Management Professional (PMP)® and Certified Associate in Project Management(CAPM)® Certification Exams. We also offer very economical and effective 100% online continuing education courses for PMP/CAPM® certified professionals.