Although I enjoy programming and being a Software Engineer, my ultimate goal is to manage projects. I went to Graduate School at Purdue University to focus on IT Project Management, and I am now trying to pursue my dream of becoming a Project Manager.
In 2012, one of my business goals is to pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. This exam is not easy and takes hours upon hours of preparation. One thing that increases my chances of passing the exam is to take a prep course. I am currently taking a 14 week prep course run by Enterprise Consulting. Upon taking this course, they have found that there is about a 98% pass rate on the exam. So as long as you have good attendance, pay close attention in class, keep up with the material, and don’t get too much test anxiety . . . the whole experience should be a success.
Diana Burgan and Stephen Burgan instruct the prep course and they are great! They have over 55 years of combined experience of Project Management, so they have plenty of personal experience examples to add to class discussions. The class meets for 3 hours once a week for 14 weeks. After not being in school for several years, I thought it would be hard to sit still for 3 hours and listen to them teach, however, it really isn’t that bad. Diana and Stephen tag team the chapter sections, which breaks up the material so it doesn’t get dull, we do group activities every class, take a 10 minute breaks halfway through, and there are plenty of snacks and refreshments to keep us going!
I am actually having fun attending class and learning more about Project Management, along with real experience lessons from Diana and Stephen. Although there is a lot of material to read and study, Diana and Stephen have done an excellent job at laying out the material so that it is easy to understand and easy to learn. The PMP certification is based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is a great study tool, but may not be enough to pass the exam.
Although there is a lot of good info in the PMBOK, they expect you to know a lot of “general management” practices that are not covered in the book. In addition, the PMBOK chapters are structured by knowledge area (Risk Management, Scope Management, Schedule Management, etc.), which is not a logical order when you go through the steps of managing a project. What Diana and Stephen did to help us learn, is they created their own prep manual (volumes 1 & 2) in which the chapters are structured in the order of the process you would perform to manage a project, starting with Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing. They also include all of the material that is considered “general management” knowledge to fill in the gaps. The book comes pre-highlighted with important information including the important information from the PMBOK. They also give you flash cards of the 42 processes in which you can quiz yourself with the Inputs, Tools &Techniques, and Outputs of each process. In addition, they provide you with a journal, in which they call the “memory manager” in which they suggest info from the prep manual that you jot down, and read over it when you have time to help keep it in your memory. Quizzes are also a part of our weekly routine, including online and in class quizzes. Quiz stats are compiled throughout the course so by the end of the class you know which areas you need to focus on the most.
Diana and Stephen are very organized and they hold a very informative class that prepares you for the PMP exam. I suggest that if you are planning to take the PMP exam that you take a prep course like this one, so that you can improve your chances of success!