August 02, 2013
[2 Short Videos] PMBOK Guide ≠ PMBOK
Common Mistake Starting PMP Exam Prep
It's a rookie mistake, but amazingly, experienced folks make it too! Especially those who have not undergone formal training in PMI standards: PMBOK Guide is not the basis of the PMP Exam. So what is?
PM Minute Episode 2 // PMBOK Vs. The PMBOK Guide
I am amazed how often seasoned professionals use the terms interchangeably. The consequences are conceptually disastrous.
July 16, 2013
Do Post-Docs Need a PMP Certification?
Mentoring a PMP Aspirant in Evaluating Certification Need & Strategizing Exam Prep.
AJ* is an accomplished scientist with publications in the area of Cancer Research. However, he works in an environment which allows for all the freedom of experimentation, without the constraints of accountability or support for managed projects. He has observed patterns of negative productivity which he wishes to break.
The current methods of training new scientists involve very little pre-mortem analysis of the use of training grants. NIH is changing that, and so there is hope. But it will take a while before the culture trickles down to the mentoring and training of new investigators who function as post-docs for years on end without a clear plan to create the right deliverables (publications with high impact factor). Issues like half completed projects with data gathering dust in the digital shelves is not uncommon. Not all PIs (Principal Investigators) manage their outfits this way, but there are stories one hears which warrant the acquisition of two skills: Project Management for investigators managing a couple of projects and Portfolio Management for PIs with multiple projects, mentees and investigators.
AJ had made the right choice, IMHO, to pursue a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. This will validate his existing experience managing all phases of drug development, acquired at a leading pharmaceutical company. The PMI framework will help formulating past, present and future work within the universal framework and help the allocation of limited resources over productive endeavors.
AJ made the mistake that I made too: starting prep for PMP certification using the Guide to the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) . The PMBOK Guide is not PMBOK. The PMBOK guide is a table of contents to the large universe of knowledge that can be applied to project management. Also the exam cannot be passed by studying up on the PMBOK Guide.
Fortunately AJ possesses the right experiences in life-cycle management and project management that will make his prep interesting and help him tame his sphere of work, do justice to opportunities and squash the bugs of waste.
* Name Changed for Privacy
Prezi about prep (based on Ed4 of PMBOK Guide)
June 10, 2013
Management buzzwords can kill, or help
Is there anything worse than not having a best-practices organization? An organization that pays lip service to best practices, doesn't have the necessary training to do best-practices, and does superficial things to show best practices on paper.
It is better to do a few things in a correct fashion than do a multitude of things ostensibly. - Says no one these days.— Vic Divecha (@vic_divecha) June 10, 2013
Upper management may hypnotized by buzzwords and trends. Every buzzword or trend has grown organically with years of hard work by those who made them icons of success: Agile, team-work, collaboration, Lean, TQM… I could go on. Each of these need education, dedication, training and understanding of upper management.
It is better to do a few things in a correct fashion than do a multitude of things ostensibly. However, we live in an age where well meaning professionals, managers and entire organizations are forced into a culture of "paper" success that involves busy work in multiple projects.
If an organization is dependent on shareholders, satisfying short-sighted demands takes priority. If an organization is funded by federal grants, than making impractical lofty promises in the grant proposal wins money. The time between grants is spent scrambling to achieve the necessary documentation to be refunded.
When I first came to Michigan, I saw this deteriorated culture of research work and was deeply saddened by the helplessness of the cogs in the mechanism. The issue continues today as well and I hope I can be an instrument of solutions, rather than become a cog in this wheel.