Thursday, March 7, 2013

today was a special day!

Today I got my PMP! Yes, I work in digital/interactive/online marketing/advertising/project management/production (or whatever it's called this week). Yes, I spent time studying to get certified. And yes, today, I joined the 460k+ people worldwide who have letters after their name without having spent an obscene amount of time or money getting a JD or an MD, or a PhD, or some such other craziness. 

Truth be told, studying for this sucker felt like I was trying to do one of those in a handful of weeks. 

This test was hard. I mean, yea, there are people out there who pass this thing on the first try, but that was not me. I consider myself to be of solid intellect, and I can admit it. Because I *DID* pass. Today. And that's all that matters. That you pass. 

The first time I took it, I was shocked I was able to find my way out of the testing center afterwards. Think back to high school and think of the worst grade you ever got for anything (I did in my formative years flirt once and again with a C) and figure THAT was the lowest point for you emotionally with the grading system.


Here come's the PMI, with a new way to make you feel strange about your mediocrity...

When you test for the PMP, you either fail or you pass. ("That's easy! What's the big deal?" I heard you in the back) But that isn't the kicker. 

Pass or fail (FYI, many people do not pass on the first try) you get a sense of HOW you passed/failed through a "diagnostic representation of your proficiency level per domain".

And that, ladies and gentlemen refers to something that might look like this:

Initiating: Moderately Proficient
Planning: Proficient
Executing: Moderately Proficient
Monitoring & Controlling: Moderately Proficient
Closing: Moderately Proficient

Now, if that isn't a nice "atta girl" for you, I don't know what is. And that is if you PASS. If you fail, you can swap out a whole bunch of those "Proficient" and "Moderately Proficient" designations for "Below Proficient". Yea, that first day, I got chummy with those BPs. 

I know they are probably not concerned about warm and fuzzy language at the PMI, after all, they do publish the PMBOK®, which is one of the most dense, sleep-inducing books around. But, I look to other areas of life and think that if someone said they were "proficient" I wouldn't necessarily jump up and applaud.

"Have you done this type of oral surgery before?"
"I'm proficient."

"Welcome to the restaurant! How good is your cooking?"
"Eh, I'm moderately proficient."

SO- I sought to get that slightly better than mediocre designation (for a second time) and THIS time I TRIUMPHED! I was beside myself when that grainy 1990s computer screen at the testing center splashed "Congratulations. You are a PMP". I was grinning like an idiot (for myself and the test monitors watching me on the closed circuit camera system).

I am proud that I am "Moderately Proficient". Well, not in the real world, but the PM world. In PMI's world, proficiency is where it's at, and it makes sense. I don't think that ANYONE can be a guru at this stuff, or is even meant to be. Too many people run projects in too many ways in too many industries for someone to truly ace the science of it. Plus the other cool thing is that project management is evolving. 

And that's where this blog comes in. 

This isn't supposed to be the type of site where I pull out crazy cerebral examples of PMBOK® knowledge areas or processes applied to complex situations across businesses where executive sponsors and functional groups are working in ad-hoc structures to compensate for their lack of maturity in the processes of organizational process. 

This blog is about talking about the value that formalized project management knowledge brings to the day-to-day. How it can really work, and maybe make us all a bit better at our jobs. Plus, since I now have the darn thing, I should really use it. 

So thanks for joining be on this journey. It looks to be a fun ride.

- the practical pmp

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