PMP Certification – Exam, Training and The Day after

PMP is one of most important certifications, one can do. It can give you a career boost. This can be a way to move upwards in terms of both career growth and higher salary.

There are many sites that gives information on how you can pass a PMP Exam. All the books that contains explanation of the PMP Guide Book, also contains information and guides on how to pass the exam.

These sites are almost all right and will help you get the certification. According to them here is what you need to do

  • Commit to a time schedule and milestones
  • User multiple different resources
  • Join a study group
  • Study the process groups, how and where they fit in
  • Simulate the testing environment
  • Use of reference guides
  • Study PMBOK thrice in a go
  • Use of flash cards
  • Approach leading up to last few days and then final stretch

When you do you will be able to get the certification. But what these sites and other PMP teachers/trainers doesn’t tell you, is getting certification is not be all thing.

Learning on how to pass the exam is one thing, learning to exercise the knowledge that you should attain by doing all above is else. What I want to describe below is what you need to do in order to not only get certified, but retain enough knowledge that will help you propel further in your career.

Here are the things I believe a resource should exercise

  • If you are appearing for PMP exam that means you would have spent some time working in project management role/environment. Now what you need to do is relate your experience to what PMBOK tells you.
  • Identify the real life scenarios from your experience list them down. Read a chapter and try to apply that new perspective on your experience and list next to them what you should have done.
  • Whatever you do in your daily life, try to classify them on the basis of PMI guidelines. For example if you are starting a new task in your home, look at it and ask a question, if this was a project, for which I was project manager, would I have started with information that I have?
  • Keep questioning the reference books, why the author is saying this, why not that. Once you start questioning, you will start collecting the reason behind a particular idea and retain that knowledge longer.

Please note I am not saying that you do not need to listen to advice on passing the exams, they are very very important, what I am saying is don’t do PMP certification just to get certified. Do it to improve your skill set, knowledge and become a better project manager.

Test Management and Snow Ball effect of “Agile Development”

Most of us have been exposed to project that never follows actual project plan; the changes can be new features, new add-ons, defect fixes or new integrations. For every test manager these projects take a snow-ball effect, that is they keep on growing along the way, and you are never sure what to expect from them. And to make the mater worse more rapid the changes or defect fix, lesser the duration between the builds. But the area to test keeps on increasing. Another factor to consider is the trend of software development companies to “fall” in to Agile Development, where they “think” everything must be parallel.

Now what it do to test managers is very scary, you cannot get the automation kick in, as application is being updated regularly, you cannot add more resources, as “You don’t need more resources, you already have got it tested”, while if they do not get it all tested, you get to hear, “Mr. what are you doing, look there is very important bug your team missed”.

To tackle all this I have made my policy that for a project that is behaving like this (let’s say every new build is within less than two weeks of other) I usually deploy two resources; both resources do test new features for first week. For next week depending upon the available time, needs to change test cases, I on daily basis try to cast a net on areas that are near to new features, where one resource test the application, and other update the test data and test cases for next build.

And for last couple of days before the next build, we do a strategic exploration of application, which is for every build we select one or two modules and do exploration for the application.

This is not the ultimate test management process, but honestly since the advent so called agile development, and lack of cohesion between builds and marketing team’s insistence of new build every other day; this is the best I could devise in 5 years of my test management.

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