My PgMP journey – Mr. Ashutosh Sharma
Hi everyone! My name is Ashutosh Sharma, and I am a PMI-certified Programme Manager. For fellow aspirants, I would like to share the story of how I reached this milestone. First, let me give you a little insight into my professional background.
Background. I am an Electrical and Electronics Engineer with specialisations within the fields of Radio Frequency and EMI/EMC. I am a Naval Officer and have managed various strategic programs and projects for my company over the course of my 18-year career. Despite all my professional experience, I admit that I did not have formal project management certifications. This was until last year when I discovered the PgMP certification. The question is now “Why PgMP?”
Why PgMP. I decided to pursue the PgMP certification because, after years of program and project management, I wanted my skills certified. As I learned, I realized that the best practices, based on the experience of program managers all over the world, would improve the efficiency and effectiveness in the programs I managed. I am certain that if I had this knowledge earlier, I would have done things differently and been more efficient. That’s why I decided to do it.
Application. The certification process is more complicated than PMP, and some people find it intimidating. However, it is an easy and straightforward process that I have found to be beneficial and not to be feared. It took me about a month to complete my application. You are required to describe the work you have done in managing programs and projects through the application. This was a challenge because I had to map my experience to the five areas of program management. It was crucial that I had a solid understanding of the PgMP standard, and was familiar with the standard nomenclature. Like most things in program management, this was an iterative process. I would first understand the nomenclature and then write about my experiences in the application form. Then, I would go back to the standard and refine. I recommend taking a slow, deliberate approach to ensure you are as specific as possible about what you did, while adhering to the PMI’s standard nomenclature. My application was not reviewed and my panel review, which is the next stage in application scrutiny, was completed in less than two weeks.
Exam preparation. The PgMP standard is more concise than PMP. It also, like all standards, has the requirement to be generic and universally applicable (across different programs). This makes the standard seem very “dry”. This is when I decided I needed help to demystify the contents of the standard and understand the contextual meaning of the contents including that which was hidden in-between-the-lines.
(a) Online Training. After doing extensive research online, I found ProThoughts Solutions. This was a smart decision in retrospect. After a quick call with Mr. Ashish I decided to take the first opportunity to train over a weekend. By the end of the weekend I was clear about the purpose and meaning of program management as well as the contents of standard. I was also clear about the exam preparation strategy.
(b) Studies. I read the ProThoughts training material, then Michel Thiry’s book. The standard was next, and the contents made more sense. I read the standard and the book two more times. As I went, I wrote down my questions and doubts.
(c) Mock tests. After a month of study, which included two hours on weekdays, and four on weekends I felt confident about taking ProThoughts’ first mock test. I was thrilled to have gotten 85% correct. I reviewed my mistakes and jotted down any questions and doubts before going for the second mock test. After the third and final test, my questions were re-examined, and I set up a call to Mr. Ashish who helped me resolve any remaining doubts.
(d) Final Week. I gave myself another week to consolidate my learning and review specific sections of the standard where it was unclear. After that, I booked my Saturday morning exam slot. I felt confident about the exam because the mock tests helped me to familiarize myself with the types of questions and the duration of the exam, which takes some stamina.
6. The Exam. The Exam. I arrived at the exam center about an hour before the scheduled start time. It was far from my home and I didn’t want to be late. The exam went smoothly. I felt that mock tests had really helped me because I was familiar with the questions.