ElaineJacksonPMP's Blog

October 2, 2013

Unlocking the Project Manager’s Mind

A mind is a terrible thing to waste”, (famous statement that one would associate with the NAACP and their quest to encourage African Americans to seek higher education. When I think of this phrase in relation to project management, I want to rephrase it to read:  a mind is a terrible thing if God gave you one and you don’t use it.  Those of you who know me – know the direction where this blog is headed.

As a project management instructor for over 10 years I have watched hundreds of client students attempt to study for the PMP® (Project Management Professional) Exam. Most make their goal of PMP Certification a reality but not before struggling long and hard to learn, to understand, and to assimilate many complex topics to pass the 4 hour exam.  Passing this exam is a requirement from PMI® (Project Management Institute). The struggle comes from within (the brain, the moral positioning, and the tolerance to give all one has to be successful).

So from my perspective there are 2 types of students:

  1. Student-A finds learning fun, easy, and a total joy; they can’t get enough homework; they want to stay after class and engage in meaningful discussions. These students also do additional research, read the lessons ahead of time, sacrifice fun with friends to study for long periods of time.  Their brain is firing at a pace that demands more information input.  These students envision themselves passing the PMP Certification Exam. They even laugh at the questions while taking the PMP Exam.
  2. Student-B questions why reading the PMBoK® is important and seeks short cuts to achieve their PMP Certification; they want PMP success but find it painful to meet study goals (reading, homework, mock exams, long study sessions on weekends); they struggle to get past chapter 4 in the PMBoK (the point where the material gets … “interesting”. These students take 3-4 times longer to finish training and take even longer breaks to schedule their PMP Exam.

I believe there is a pill for everything. So how can we overcome the things that hold us back and wreak havoc in our lives? How can we take our rightful place to get what we truly deserve: great working environments, wonderful team members, respect from senior management, promotions, and even salary increases that make one capable of meeting family obligations?

Here are some great tips you can employ right now for immediate results:

  • Make a list of EVERTHING you want and need to accomplish in the next 12 months – DREAM BIG!
  • Use project software products that help you become more organized and more under control.
  • Use visual images to daily remind yourself of why you are making sacrifices.
  • ID what you have under your control (use stoplight reporting process).
  • Determine who can help you achieve success. Delegate / Get a mentor.
  • Assign dates to the events and have a contingency plan in place should a delay occur.
  • Change your study environment to one that encourages learning – i.e. medical or law school library.
  • Be hard on yourself and dish out lots of encouraging self-talk.
  • Reward yourself for achievements – the rewards should be at the same level of the achievements.

The earlier you take back the control – the more success you can achieve personally and professionally.Image

March 17, 2013

How is going to the bathroom related to the PMP Exam? Listen Up! You need to hear this!

My students will be the first to tell you that I advocate that they work on listening to their body signals. Ignoring what you must do or take care of can reduce your testing efficiency.

Stop laughing — this is serious stuff !

You will start to answer questions slower and more errors will show up in your test answers.

If you have to go to the restroom — GO — don’t take a magazine and read the news. Sigh!
The test clock will not stop clicking — so go to the restroom and get back to the test.

If you are thirsty — take a quick break and get something to drink from your locker.

If you are tired — stand up stretch – yarn deeply — – do some twisting exercises.

If you get hungry — as your brain is working overtime — go get some great brain food from your locker that you brought from home – no sardines or hard-boiled eggs please – PHEW

Don’t drink tons of coffee or eat boiled prunes the morning of your test. The test is delivered in the fish bowl type glass room not in the bathroom. The majority of your time at the Prometric testing center should be spent in the testing room not in the bathroom.

So listen to the signals your body tells you and respond appropriately to gain relief.
Stay hydrated, energized, and motivated. Four hours is long time so be ready for anything.

The PMP Certification Exam is more than just a test.
It is also about testing behaviors that allow you to control your testing environment.
At HolisticPMC, we practice these behaviors similar to the way an actor would practice their lines or an Olympian would practice their winning routine.

My mother always said, “Practice makes perfect”.

Join any of our classes and you will be not only be properly schooled in project management – you will also be entertained.
Learning should never be boring
Good Luck if your PMP test date is scheduled.

Elaine Jackson, BS, PMP http://www.HolisticPMC.com Holistic Project Management Consulting

May 23, 2010

Achieve The PMP Certification with Purpose.

Filed under: project management — elainejacksonpmp @ 5:57 pm

So you have delayed getting your PMP for years. Why?

Project Managers who have been working in their respective fields for 10-15-20+ years are now challenged to do the necessary training and testing to achieve the PMP Certification. Some companies are making the PMP Certification a requirement for current employees to keep their positions and to advance in salary.

Are you one of the individuals that are in-between jobs and are having a difficult time getting back into the current job market?
The PMP Certification can help you with the initial stages of the criteria needed in the hiring process. The basic point is many senior project managers are at risk without the PMP Certification. Many individuals are reporting that their resume and cover letter are submitted for dozens and even hundreds of positions and absolutely no reply is received. This can be so de-motivating for those with a desire to work in Project Management.

Some of the comments I get from my study group candidates when I conduct pre-course surveys are:
• “I have worked for years in this field -why should I need to take a test and have a piece of paper to prove I know how to do good project management”
• “My manager is requiring me to get this PMP but I don’t want it – I only want the money “
• “I don’t have the college degree and it is a pain to investigate the whole process”
• “I am going to retire in a few years -at my age why should I study and put myself through that”
• “I don’t want to pay for my certification. I want to wait until I get a position and let the employer pay for it for me”
• “I took many PMP prep training programs and still do not feel ready to take the exam”
• “I can’t get those inputs and outputs and tools & techniques straight”
• “I can’t understand the math needed for the test”
• “I don’t have enough time to study – my job and home life is demanding”
• “I need someone to push me ahead”

The #1 comment that has been noted in over 600 prospective student surveys is – “I am not ready – YET”.
I have coached hundreds of clients to overcome these challenges. The time taken to conduct well constructed surveys and to analyze what is really going on with the process of studying for the PMP Certification has proven to benefit my focus to coach various students that are STUCK.

I facilitate free webinar sessions to demonstrate our training model and this allows potential clients to see how easy it is to achieve the knowledge needed in the time necessary to pass the PMP Exam.

I recently discovered that some individuals had stopped the application process because they were told by prior managers that the verification of audited data would not be done. These students actually felt defeated before they got their PMP process off to a great start. They felt defeated and opted for other career paths rather than confront the situation and resolve it in their favor. After much research, my team and I have found solutions to such problems and share the details with our clients that need this help.

As a PMP Coach/Trainer, I see my role as making the study process fun, exciting, and engaging so that all questions get answered. I believe in conducting my training in a ‘holistic’ manner to make the process of learning – relaxing, complete, and sustainable. This does not mean we skip over the hard materials. It means students are encourages to feel like they are somehow taking a stroll in the park on a nice day and all is going to be ok. Students are encouraged to understand their reaction to the test is normal and that the feelings they experience prior and during the test is normal. They are encouraged to control their emotions to make the study and test process most beneficial. The goal is to pass the exam on the 1st attempt and for them to call me and share the great news of them passing the exam. The excuse one shares gives me an opportunity to start a dialogue on what is the real reason they are not taking the exam more seriously. I dig deep to find where I can help students to move forward with their desire to add the PMP designation after their names.

If a job requirement states PMP Certification is required – why would one not do what is required to get that position?
My comment to those waiting and hoping for a shift in the current trends of corporations requiring PMP Certified employees – “for each month/year you wait you are actually losing time and potential income. You are potentially missing out on opportunity for better performance and increased productivity.

If my students were to make comments on classic statements I have made to get them past the complicated PMP material it would be: “Don’t think too hard”, “You know your material -trust yourself”, “Get Back to Your Studying”.

Some students have joked that I am the PMP Drill Sergeant!
When they pass the exam – I am called their friend. I like that most of all.

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — elainejacksonpmp @ 5:40 pm

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