The Eclectic

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson

Archive for the ‘PMP’ Category

How I got my PMP with Cheetah Learning Part 6

Posted by David Leslie on November 28, 2007

Exam day:

My back is still killing me. Being an anti-morning person, I opt to take my test at high noon. As I work on breakfast, I go over my Time and Cost formulas one last time.

As I check in at the center, I see two of my classmates walking out. I get a high 5 from one while the other gives me a thumbs up. Goodie bag on top of the locker, I head in with the proctor to start.

I promptly click on the instructional quiz that lasts for 15 minutes. During this time I dump the map first even knowing that if you go into the test time your to keep finish dumping the map before taking on questions. I stick to the plan and 4 minutes into the exam, I take the first question.

I notice the top of the exam screen reads

David Leslie

Project Management Professional

I look at this as an omen. I’m passing this exam.

After I fill out the survey about my testing experience, I see the prettiest  256 color VGA image since I scored a hole in one playing Pinehurst #2 on my Apple IIc. It’s the PMI logo congratulating me on successfully passing the exam.

Walking out I get my scores validated by the proctor and step outside to say a prayer of thanks.

Jean takes me out to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse to celebrate. I drink a fun Japanese drink called Ramune that has a marble you press into the bottle to mix the gas with the beverage. My back still hurts.

Post Script:

My back pain got worse and come to find out was due to an nasty case of prostatitis. How I got this I have no clue but I’m on two different antibiotic trying to knock this out of me. I just thank God that the worse part of this thing hit after the test and not before it.

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How I got my PMP with Cheetah Learning Part 5

Posted by David Leslie on November 28, 2007

The week on Planet PMBok.

Looking over my notes, I can truly say that I could not have passed the test without Cheetah and the coaches for the week, Kelly and Barb.

Everything I felt, from the lows to the highs were called pretty much to the tee by our coaches for the week. And true to their word, they made sure to be there and do what was needed to keep me on track to pass.

I’m afraid if I post too many details I’ll violate copy write on the learning materials so I’ll just stick up their picture and say thanks!

kelly and barb

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How I got my PMP with Cheetah Learning Part 4

Posted by David Leslie on November 28, 2007

The Calm before the week of PMP

Leading up to class, Cheetah again points out the need to have the map down and your schedule cleared. I pretty much told work that I was going totally incommunicado.

Jean and John would be spending the week with her sister and brother-in-law who live about 5 minutes away.

We also planned out dinners for the week to make sure I would keep to the high protein diet Cheetah recommended for the week of the test.  I would have dinner with Jean, John and my sister and brother-in-law at their place then head home to study.

With that, I was off.

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How I got my PMP with Cheetah Learning Part 3

Posted by David Leslie on November 28, 2007

The Pre Class Experience

From the start, Cheetah drives home the point that only with total commitment will you pass the exam. The first package of files I was sent included information on how to start getting physically ready to take the test with changes to my diet and sleep habits. They also recommended clearing both your work and personal schedule so that for one week, your total focus was on the exam.

So I broke out my trusty Shure SE210’s and started listing to Dr. Thompson’s Delta Sleep System as I went to sleep each night. Thank goodness the Shure’s allow me to sleep on my side. The biggest pain was finding a CD/Clock radio that had a headphone jack. I found a Durabrand at Wal-Mart that did the trick.

I was also given a two page map of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) that needed to be committed to memory and dumped to paper within 15 minutes. The idea is that when you sit down for the test, the first thing you do is dump these two pages on to the scratch paper during the 15 prep time before the test starts. There was also a file with steps to help  memorize the map.

Having tanked the in-class reciting of a Robert Frost poem in the 7th grade, memorization for me is a very scary place. I don’t even memorize Bible verses…

How was I going to do this?

I started about 2 months from the start of class. Each night, I would write and read aloud as I wrote a section of the map over and over until I could do it without looking at the example map.

My hands hurt to the point that my 15 minute speed checks suffered as my cramped to the point I would have to stop and shake it out.

I bought the larger barrel pencils and pens but still the cramping was to the point I couldn’t get both pages under 15 minutes. The up side was that I knew these things pretty much cold. Jean noticed the maps in just about every room that had a writing surface.

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How I got my PMP with Cheetah Learning Part 2

Posted by David Leslie on November 28, 2007

So why Cheetah Learning?

When I first started looking at getting the letters PMP behind my name, I saw an ad for Cheetah learning talking about their classes, their pass rate and most important, their guarantee. The other thing that struck me was that they used accelerated learning techniques, many of which are rooted in the world of therapy techniques that Jean uses with her clients. With that, I was hooked. I honestly didn’t look at another company.

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How I got my PMP with Cheetah Learning Part 1

Posted by David Leslie on November 17, 2007

Prolog: How this is Microsoft’s fault

About a year ago as I tried to learn as much about Vista as I could, I started attending the Microsoft ArcReady events.

The idea behind ArcReady is to develop the profession of software architecture by building a community of software architects who understand both the technical and business needs of the projects they lead.  The interesting thing is that in the context that Microsoft is presenting the title of “software architect” does not mean role is held by the organization’s top coders. Rather it is held by someone who is comfortable making the business case to geeks and the technical case to the suits.

Yet in most organizations, the software architect is the project’s lead coder. Clearly that’s not me. But when I asked some of the other folks at different events about the perception of who does do this kind of work, more and more people said “Project Manager”

This made sense as a PM really does have the full picture of the project’s needs and resources and dependencies. Coming from Quality Assurance, I have been working on projects in one form or another for almost 9 years as a quality analyst plus one of the career tracks for my Management Information Systems major at Franklin University is being a PM.

The kicker was a posting for a PM position that was near my home. They wanted someone with the Project Management Professional (PMP) accreditation before they would even talk with them.  The more I read about the PMP accreditation, the clearer I was that this would be something I would need at some point down the road. So why not now?

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