It felt like just yesterday when I decided I was ready to pursue my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Today in my mind but my journey began in May of 2017.
Having defined my goal, I begin reviewing what would be needed to accomplish it. I realized immediately that whilst I would have liked to have gone straight for the PMP exam, I didn’t have enough work experience hours managing projects. I could take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) instead because it had pre-requisites that I already fulfilled. With that realization, I made a commitment to myself: I would break my plan into two sub-parts with the intent to complete part 1 in July 2017 and part 2 within a year of completing part 2.
My plan started on track but sometimes everything doesn’t work out perfectly. By the time I begin preparations to pay for the CAPM exams, I found an unforeseen issue! The exam body did not facilitate the online exam in Jamaica! Imagine my shock! Based on my initial reading and planning, I had not come across this bit of information! Even the exam facilitator that I had intended to use had not known this. I immediately set out to verify and determine alternative options.
Before long, I learnt that the exam body intended to facilitate the online exam in Jamaica by August 2017. Though I had intended to complete part 1 by July 2017, I decided to wait and took the exam in August 2017. Much to my delight, I completed the exam successful and shifted my focus to part 2.
Part 2 was much trickier! I needed to gain about 1000 project management work experience hours as well as study. At the time, I had just been onboarded to a new project that was beginning to ramp up.
Every project manager will tell you of that one project that totally made them:
- Question and redefine all they thought they know and understand about people and projects.
- Doubt themselves and their abilities.
- Sincerely wish they could walk away.
This was the project for me. I now fondly refer to it as my “hell project” because it was that one project that truly shook me to the core and taught me to never take anything at face value when it comes to projects “trust but verify and verify and verify again.”. Some positives came from it though. It was the project that I put so much effort into that I earned the 1000+ working hours by January 2018.
With that aspect completed, I breathed a sigh of relief and begun preparations to study for my PMP exam with the optimistic goal to complete everything by May 2018. Again, my plans were thwarted because of the amount of effort the project required. I worked truly long hours and by the time my day ended, I was too exhausted and wound too tight to even consider taking up my textbook. By April 2018, I readjusted my plan and shifted my most-likely completion goal to June 2018, factoring in the project’s completion date of a month earlier.
Can you hear me sighing? 😂😂 Things certainly did not go as planned. I was not freed up to commit to studying until July 2018. My new aim for completion became August 2018, exactly one year after completing the CAPM exam. But….you guessed it right! Another unknown pop-up! At this rate I felt for certain, something was out to get me 😳. This time, it was due to my lack of confirmation during my planning stage. I had assumed that the online version of the PMP exam was offered in Jamaica. I couldn’t be more wrong. And guess what? The next sitting of the paper-based exam was not available until October 2018. Though, they had a sitting in August, it was too late to register.
At the time I didn’t consider it but “every disappointment was for a good and God was certainly working out everything for my good.” When I sat the exam, I realized that I had needed every last minute of the study period that I got! The exam took 4 hours and by the time it ended, I had not finished transferring my answers for 15 questions (from the question paper to the answer sheet), I had a major headache and felt like I had failed due to the exam’s difficulty. On my way home, I mentally calculated all the possibilities that would be required for me to pass the exam with 15 questions not marked on the answer sheet and my pass rate while practicing (8/10 questions correct). The odds seemed good and I prayed, kept my fingers crossed and push doubt and all thoughts of the exam from my mind.
A week later I received my results and a soft copy of my certificate. I was PMP certified! I screamed, broke down and cried!
This journey was long but truly goal-den. I went through the fire but came out as shining gold, having achieved all my goals. It also reaffirmed my determination to always find the silver lining in every dark clouds…. I am a much better project manager for the experience. 😊
So tell me. Are there any goals you set out to achieve? How far along are you? What are some of the challenges you have experienced? What are some of the lessons you have learned through the journey? I wish you a goal-den journey!