Episode 1: PMP Exam Changes Effective January 11th, 2016

Episode #1
Original Air Date: 01.05.2016

33 minutes

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Our Guest This Episode: Andy Crowe, Bill Yates, John Bates

Andy Crowe and Bill Yates, both well respected thought leaders in the project management industry, discuss the projected changes to the PMP exam. A caller, John Bates, shares his success in studying for the PMP exam using Pass The PMP Exam On Your First Try.

Favorite Quotes from Our Talk:

"The PMP exam is really based on a couple of documents. First one is the PMBOK Guide. A lot of you have that sitting on your desk. A lot of people are familiar with that. It’s a document published by the Project Management Institute, and it goes through and explains processes related to project management, how things are carried out, breaks it down into discrete processes organized by knowledge areas and process group. The good news is, even though the exam’s changing, that’s not changing."

- Andy Crowe

"The role delineation study is PMI’s attempt to look at the role of the project manager across the globe and determine if the definition that they have in their mind is reflective of reality."

- Bill Yates

"Don’t put it off. I had been aware of this PMP certification for 10 years or so. And as I said earlier, I didn’t pursue it until I really had to. And so whether or not you’ve got the experience or not, just get it done. So if you don’t have the experience, get the experience, document it, get the contact hours, and take the exam. It’s not as intimidating in retrospect as it seems, you know, at the beginning of the process."

- John Bates

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ANDY CROWE ● BILL YATES ● NICK WALKER ● JOHN BATES

NICK WALKER:  Welcome to Manage This, the podcast by project managers for project managers.  Today is Tuesday, January 5th, and every couple of weeks we’re going to get together to talk about topics related to project management certification, but also about things that matter to you as a professional project manager.

I’m your host, Nick Walker, and with me are two guys who have probably helped more people realize their goal of becoming project managers than anyone else on Planet Earth.  Andy Crowe and Bill Yates are our resident experts on project management.  If you have questions, they have answers.  Bill and Andy, let’s let our listeners know you a little bit better.  Why don’t you introduce yourselves and tell us what you’d like for us to take away from our times together.  Andy?

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah, thank you, Nick.  This is an exciting time for us to kick this off.  My name is Andy Crowe.  I’ve got a few project management certifications – a PMP, the PgMP, the PMI-ACP, and the Certified Scrum Master, the CSM.  But that’s one of the things we do here.  We train project managers at Velociteach.  And it’s exciting to get to work with project managers.  This is my tribe.  These are the people that I work with.

So I started my career back as a software developer many, many years ago.  It’s getting to be more and more nowadays.  Getting a little long in the tooth here.  But we’ve been able to translate that and our love for project management into helping people realize their goals.  And some people that we work with just love to get better at project management.  Some of them are pursuing certifications and very specific goals.  This is what we love to do, and we’re excited about it.

So I’m a process guy.  This is my passion.  I care about how things are done.  I like to see – the way things are done sometimes matters as much as the outcome to me.  And it’s a fun thing to get to do that.  I also get to work with Bill Yates.  Bill, introduce yourself.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  I can certainly say that Andy is a process guy.  You said that accurately, sir.  We’ve been working together now here at Velociteach about 10 years.  Prior to that I was in the utility industry.  I worked in the financial analysis side for utilities.  Pretty exciting stuff.  Worked with a lot of DBAs, CPAs, folks with masters in taxation.  So we did a lot of software to help these utilities compute their depreciation and do some of that stuff that projects have to do with software.  And so a lot of my background is project management for software for utilities.  I’ve got a passion for training and instruction.  I’ve really enjoyed the time with Velociteach.

And again, Andy, you hit on it.  One of the joys for me is helping people achieve their goal, whether it’s a goal of a certification, or whether it’s a goal of just improvement as a project manager.  So it’s very satisfying to me and really for the whole team at Velociteach to help to that end.  Now, I do have some letters after my name, as well.  So it’s Bill Yates, sounds like Bill Gates, but Bill Gates does not have the certifications that Bill Yates does.  So I’ve got the PMP, the PgMP, and the PMI-ACP for the Agile credential.

ANDY CROWE:  And the Certified Scrum Master, too; don’t you?

BILL YATES:  No, not me.

ANDY CROWE:  You don’t have that, got it, got it.

BILL YATES:  Yup.

ANDY CROWE:  Okay.  Well, we’re close to being twins on that.

BILL YATES:  That’s right.

ANDY CROWE:  So makes for a long business card.

BILL YATES:  True.

NICK WALKER:  Well, let’s jump right in.  One of the things that we’ll always be talking about on these podcasts is the PMP exam.  Lot of people interested in this topic.  And there are some changes coming to this exam, changes that might introduce a lot of fear, some uncertainty, some doubt.  So Andy, should we be worried about that?

ANDY CROWE:  Well, and it’s a good question, Nick.  No, I would say we should not be worried.  We should be focused on it.  It definitely commands our attention.  So January the 11th, changes are coming to the PMP exam.  PMI is changing.  What they are going to do – so let’s talk about the good news and the bad news.

The bad news first:  25 percent of the changes are the questions are changing.  And that’s a significant number.  So 200-question exam, 25 percent of the changes – 175 of those questions are actually graded, and we’ll talk about the other 25 in just a moment.  But 25 percent of those questions are changing, the content’s changing.  And so that’s got a lot of people’s attention.  That is around 50 questions that are going to be different.  So what do we do with that?  What matters with that?

Now for maybe a little bit of the better news.  The PMP exam is really based on a couple of documents.  First one is the PMBOK Guide.  A lot of you have that sitting on your desk.  A lot of people are familiar with that.  It’s a document published by the Project Management Institute, and it goes through and explains processes related to project management, how things are carried out, breaks it down into discrete processes organized by knowledge areas and process group.  The good news is, even though the exam’s changing, that’s not changing.  So that’s one piece right there.  The other is the Role Delineation Study.  Bill, tell us a little bit about what the RDS is, and how it’s used.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, so the PMBOK Guide gets updated about every four years from PMI, from the Project Management Institute.  And then on about a five- to seven-year cycle we have this Role Delineation Study that can also impact the exam for the PMP.  So the role delineation study is PMI’s attempt to look at the role of the project manager across the globe and determine if the definition that they have in their mind is reflective of reality.

ANDY CROWE:  So would you say that the PMBOK Guide is maybe a little more theoretical, and the RDS is a little more practical?

BILL YATES:  Absolutely, that nails it.  Yeah, the RDS involves a lot of surveying and interviewing actual practitioners.  Then PMI comes back and says, okay, I think we have some nuanced changes that we need to make to the exam.  And I’ll give a couple of examples of that.  But that rolls through into a document that is called the PMI PMP Examination Content Outline. And for those who are in this business like we’re in, where we create content to help people pass an exam, we’re familiar with that document.  So that document has been updated here to reflect that change January 11, 2016.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  And there’s a handful of tasks that PMI has added or changed to that.

BILL YATES:  Right.  There are eight new tasks that have been identified.  So one of the things that we did here at Velociteach is we did a side-by-side comparison of the examination content outline prior to the change and then after the change.  So we receive those documents from PMI.  Then we do the walkthrough and look to see what did change.  We identify the eight new tasks that come through that, as well as some that were changed, minor changes mostly.  You would not be surprised at all, the new chapter in the PMBOK Guide on stakeholder management received a lot more emphasis in the content outline.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  And that’s something we had noted earlier, that stakeholder management was really light.

BILL YATES:  Right.  Right, it was light.  We saw that, and really the treatment that you had in the textbook early on, we’re looking at the PMBOK Guide, it’s a lighter chapter.  And now we see, through the RDS and the changes that wrinkled into the exam content outline, more emphasis, or a bit more maturity, if you will.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  And Bill, just to pick up on that, one of the things that I believe related to this – and this is a theory.  I can’t prove it at this point.  But, you know, PMI only grades 175 of those questions on the exam.

BILL YATES:  Right, right.

ANDY CROWE:  Explain the other 25.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, these 25 others are experimental.

ANDY CROWE:  Okay.

BILL YATES:  They’re unscored.

ANDY CROWE:  And so what does that mean by “experimental,” on a high level?

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  There are – so, as you know, when the test taker sits down at a Prometric site or however they’re taking the exam, they receive all 200 questions at once.  Sprinkled throughout those 200 we’ll have those experimental questions.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  They’re not all upfront, are they.

BILL YATES:  Right, they’re sprinkled throughout.  They’re not going to be identified some way that you would know that they’re experimental.  Yeah.  So those are the experimental questions.  So what’s your theory on those?

ANDY CROWE:  Well, okay.  Experimental questions PMI puts in for one big reason.  The Project Management Institute doesn’t like change.  Change and uncertainty are not friends.  So here’s what they’re doing with these questions.  The 25 experimental questions put in are so that they can go back and evaluate how test takers are doing on these questions.  These are questions that are candidates for future PMP exams.  They don’t want to change 200 questions at once.  They want to introduce change over time.

So what they’ll do is they’ll put in 25 questions.  They don’t look really much different than the normal questions.  PMI is then looking to see, is everybody missing these?  Okay, in that case we need to clarify it.  Is everybody getting these right?  In that case we might want to make them a little bit harder and introduce some more difficulty.

Bill, I believe that the 50 questions that are going to be introduced in January, that are going to be changed – 50 will be retired, 50 new ones will be brought in – I believe those have already appeared on the PMP exam as experimental questions.  I believe that test takers have been seeing them for a while now.

And really what that does is introduce a level of comfort into this whole thing.  Everybody’s interests are served.  The test taker knows that these questions have been well vetted.  PMI will be aware of how people are expected to perform in the real production environment.  So it gives everybody a chance to get comfortable with this and to make sure there are no huge surprises.

BILL YATES:  Very good, yeah.  That makes sense.  I can see that.  And we’ve certainly been in this industry long enough to know PMI’s take when it comes to examination changes.  They want to do those gradually.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

BILL YATES:  They want to introduce those and not have any shock value with that.

ANDY CROWE:  And so to that end, the good news is the theoretical document on which all this is based, the PMBOK Guide, is not changing.  It’s staying the same.  Not right now.  Not for this iteration of the exam.  And so all the theory is still there.  This is really about what’s going on in real practice.

BILL YATES:  True.

ANDY CROWE:  And as you said, stakeholder management taking a significant piece of that.  So I’m actually feeling pretty good about that.  How about you, Bill?

BILL YATES:  Yeah, me, too.  And a quick note I’ll make for those who are pursuing the CAPM:  The CAPM exam will not change.

ANDY CROWE:  And the CAPM is the Certified Associate of Project Management; right?

BILL YATES:  Right, based purely on that first document that you mentioned, the PMBOK Guide.  Because it’s not changed, then the exam for that will not change.

ANDY CROWE:  So this is purely for people going after their Project Management Professional certification.

BILL YATES:  Right.

ANDY CROWE:  They need to be aware there’s change.  Probably focused on that change and aware of it, but not really worried.

BILL YATES:  Correct.

NICK WALKER:  What I love about this conversation is that it deals in reality.  You know, this is real-life stuff here.  And we always like to hear real-life stories from project managers who are out there getting it done.  Today we have with us on the phone John Bates.  He’s a senior IT project manager for ICP Systems, working in support of the U.S. Army Reserve Command at  Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  John, not long ago you reached your goal of getting PMP certified.  First of all, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and your journey into project management.

JOHN BATES:  Well, first of all, it’s a pleasure to be with you today.  And, yeah, it has been a journey.  My background is I’m a 32-year Army Reserve veteran.  I spent the majority of my career as a troop program unit or a traditional reservist, you know, one weekend a month and several weeks a year on active duty, and came on active duty in 2003.  So I’ve spent the last 12 years as an Army engineer on active duty.  So that’s where most of my project background comes from, a lot of it, in the facility management, maintenance, and construction area.

And so as an Army engineer I’ve seen the value of project management.  I’ve been aware of the certification and but just never pursued it because it didn’t necessarily add to what the Army needed from me until I came to retirement here just a few months ago and realized that, without that certification, I was kind of limited in the job market.

ANDY CROWE:  John, this is Andy.  We’re proud of you for what you’ve accomplished here.  But also we really appreciate your service to the military, as well.  Tell us, as you started approaching this, kind of the path that you took.  Everybody uses different resources.  Everybody takes a kind of a different path in getting ready.  What did you do?

JOHN BATES:  Well, I looked at what was out there, and I’ve been aware of the project management training boot camps for quite a while and thought that that would be something I would look at because I tend to be more of an auditory learner, even when I was in college.  I didn’t do too much reading.  And but I looked at that, and for me, just the cost and the time for sitting in a boot camp for four or five days and the cost involved with that was just prohibitive for me.

So I went to looking at other resources, and I had several of my colleagues that had used your book, Andy, and found it to be quite helpful.  And I was familiar with your book.  I actually had a copy of Volume 4 and so was familiar with it and decided to go with that and found actually the prep kit that includes the flashcards and…

ANDY CROWE:  Right, the all-in-one kit, sure.

JOHN BATES:  Right.  And so that’s what I used.  And I found it to be very effective, the way that the material is laid out, knowledge area by knowledge area, in sequence throughout the core 10 chapters in the book.  It just really laid it out well for me.  And I actually read through the book twice, cover to cover, and which I don’t think I can say that I’ve ever read even single textbook once, cover to cover.

ANDY CROWE:  Wow.

JOHN BATES:  So that made it something.

ANDY CROWE:  Wow.  Well, good for you.  Now, tell me, so the kit has a quick reference guide.  It has CDs.  It has online testing, has obviously the textbook.  Tell me, what of those really connected with your style of learning?

JOHN BATES:  Well, for me it was the book and the quick reference card.  You know, I listened to the first CD a little bit, and that basically kind of follows the book.  So for me the conversation was a little harder for me to follow than just putting my nose in the book and reading.  So, and then the quick reference card was, especially for review the last couple days before I took the exam, and even about an hour before I took the exam, was really key.  Flashcards for me weren’t that useful because I didn’t do a lot of memorization.

So I concentrated on just understanding the processes and where they fit within the knowledge areas and the process groups.  And I think having a thorough enough understanding of that enables one to see kind of when something doesn’t look right, or when it does look right.  So for me the book and the quick reference card were very, very valuable.

ANDY CROWE:  Excellent.

NICK WALKER:  John, I’m curious a little bit about the timeline for your preparation.  How long did you spend on all of this preparing?

JOHN BATES:  Well, I started, I got my materials around the 16th of October, and I think I, yeah, that was on a Friday.  And I kind of left them sit over the weekend, so I really started about the 19th of October and had given myself a timeframe of about 60 days to prepare.  And I realized within the first couple of weeks that it wasn’t going to take that long.  So I moved my test date up.  I gave myself 30 days, and I took the test on November 16th.  And over that four-week period I probably spent 60 to 70 hours at the most in actual study and taking practice tests, and that’s about it.

NICK WALKER:  And I’m curious, too, what are your biggest takeaways from all of this?  What recommendations might you have for other people thinking about starting this process?

JOHN BATES:  Well, I do, I have four.  And one is just don’t put it off.  I had been aware of this PMP certification for 10 years or so.  And as I said earlier, I didn’t pursue it until I really had to.  And so whether or not you’ve got the experience or not, just get it done.  So if you don’t have the experience, get the experience, document it, get the contact hours, and take the exam.  It’s not as intimidating in retrospect as it seems, you know, at the beginning of the process.

The second one is to make a plan and to execute it.  So you’ve got you understand your learning style and develop a plan that plays to your strengths, and then decide how you’re going to execute that plan, what materials you’re going to use.  Focus on understanding the PMBOK framework, and not just memorization, as I said earlier, understanding the processes and the inputs and the outputs, the tools and techniques, thoroughly.

And then for me it was the idea, too, of not overthinking it.  So give yourself enough time to prepare – and that’s part of understanding your learning style – but not too much.  So that’s going to vary based on each individual based on their experience level, their education in project management.  And as I said, I spent 60 to 70 hours over the course of a month.  It may take somebody else, you know, two or three months and many more hours to prepare.  It’s an individual thing, but don’t overthink it.

And then the last thing is, for me, was don’t break the bank.  It’s expensive enough to just take the test.  And so for me, cost was a factor.  And in my personal circumstance I spent less than $200 on study materials.  So it can be done less expensively.  Nothing wrong with a boot camp, but boot camps are going to start, you know, in the $1,500 range and go on up.  So for me, you can make it as expensive as you want, or you can do it on a budget like I did.

ANDY CROWE:  Outstanding.  John, we’re proud of you.  And I’m proud of you for even looking at your own needs and figuring out how to tailor this experience to yourself, instead of just taking whatever path you felt like everybody else was or whatever.  You found the one that worked for you.  You found a timeframe, and you kept focused.  And we’re all very proud of you.

NICK WALKER:  And John, what a great story.  We just appreciate you taking the time out to talk with us and share that story with us.  I know that it will be an encouragement to others, no matter what stage of preparation they’re in for this PMP exam.  And we wish you continued success, and we have a present for you, as well.  Our producer, Celeste, is going to be sending you a coveted Manage This coffee mug.

ANDY CROWE:  Highly sought after.

JOHN BATES:  I’ll find a special place on my desk for it.

NICK WALKER:  All right.  Thank you so much, John.

ANDY CROWE:  Thank you, John.  Congrats.

JOHN BATES:  Thank you, gentlemen.

NICK WALKER:  Wow, talk about real life.  Wonderful to hear John’s experience.  Andy and Bill, what strikes you most about his experience?  Andy?

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah, you know what, Nick, just listening to that, first of all, it really just brings a big smile to my face.  I mean, wow, he plowed through that quickly.

BILL YATES:  Yes, he did.

ANDY CROWE:  He took the hill, didn’t he, Bill.  I mean, it was…

BILL YATES:  Big-time.  He was Army strong.

ANDY CROWE:  Is it “Be all you can be”?  And he certainly did.  So that makes me happy to see that.  I love to see, I mean, it’s easy for somebody to take months and months.  And occasionally I’ll meet somebody who’s had this goal for years, and they’ve been putting it off and putting it off.  And then you meet a guy like John, and he says, October 15th I start, and then a few weeks later I’m done.  And that is a good feeling.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, the one thing that he said, Andy, that struck me was make a plan and then execute it.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

BILL YATES:  Boy, he did that.  I mean, he nailed it, again.

ANDY CROWE:  That’s at the heart of our work.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, yeah, absolutely.  I loved it.  I mean, he sounded like a project manager taking on a project; right?

ANDY CROWE:  So that’s the way you have to approach this.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.

ANDY CROWE:  I mean, you have to really – you have to time-limit it.  You have to set a goal.  And you have to be deliberate about it.

BILL YATES:  Right.

ANDY CROWE:  But it just really is inspiring to hear somebody who does that, and does it so well.

NICK WALKER:  Wonderful.  Well, we do love to hear real-life stories, and especially for folks, you know, who are maybe in our shoes, or we’re going to be in their shoes very soon.  So let’s get away from our certification discussion for a minute.  I have a question for you, Andy.  You’ve been a project manager a long time.  You’ve probably had a meltdown here and there.  Can you tell us about maybe your biggest meltdown?

ANDY CROWE:  Oh, wow.  Yeah, and I’m having posttraumatic stress disorder right now.  Yeah, my biggest meltdown, wow.  You know, anybody who has managed significant projects, I think, who’s going to be honest, has experienced that.  My biggest one, Nick, I’ll tell you, years ago I was doing an enormous software conversion project and had a large team.  We were working through it.  And there was one key component.  This is the first thing that came to mind when you asked that question.  I had one key component.  And I had a resource I had never worked with before.  But this resource was highly trusted by someone whom I highly trusted.  So there was a lot of trust extended.

And going through that, all of the updates written, all of the oral updates, all of the reviews turned out great.  But in reality, this particular component was nowhere close to where it was being reported in terms of the status.  And so we were getting comments, you know, literally the status reports were coming back saying, “Shrink wrap it.  We’re done.”  And, you know, one of the things in Agile, Agile teaches us the importance of the definition of “done.”

BILL YATES:  Right.

ANDY CROWE:  What does “done” mean?

NICK WALKER:  Mm-hmm.

ANDY CROWE:  And it obviously did not mean anything remotely the same in this thing.

BILL YATES:  So Andy, you’re saying your definition of “done” did not match his.

ANDY CROWE:  It was, well, it was a disaster because, by the time we found this, the conversion was ready to go live, except for this key component.  It was a large component.  And it almost wasn’t begun.  And so it delayed the whole conversion.  It delayed the whole cutover.  And it was so painful for a lot of us.  There were a lot of people who were affected by this one thing.  So we definitely felt that pain.  We felt the difficulty.

You know what, I have a paperweight on my desk to this day that’s an old quote that says, “Trust but verify.”  I believe that was actually a Russian proverb, and something President Ronald Reagan made very popular back in his day, “Trust but verify.”  And I pay a lot of attention to that because that’s something I didn’t do.  This is over 20 years ago, and I still think back to it.  I still think, if only I’d verified.  If only I’d verified more, and maybe trusted a little bit more judiciously.

But I’ll tell you one more quick one that happened to me.  You know, about a decade ago we moved into a new house, and the basement was unfinished.  And I decided, being a project manager, a fearless project manager, that I would manage the construction effort in finishing this basement.  And met with a carpenter, planned out, walked through, drew out exactly where we wanted rooms and walls and things like that, and doors, and got it just right.  And the carpenter built exactly what I asked.

And then, fascinatingly enough, we brought in the sheetrock guys, and the sheetrock guy looked at it and said, um, this isn’t ready.  You’re missing something called “deadwood.”  Well, you know what, I didn’t know what deadwood was.  I thought it was all dead; you know?

BILL YATES:  Right.

ANDY CROWE:  And so we had to bring in another carpenter to nail up deadwood so that we could nail sheetrock in certain places, drywall.  Then, beautifully, after the drywall guys are finished, I bring in a trim guy.  And the trim guy looks and says, this isn’t right.  These aren’t standard case door openings.  This isn’t ready for my trim work.

BILL YATES:  Oh, boy.

ANDY CROWE:  So we had to bring in another carpenter.

BILL YATES:  Ooh.

ANDY CROWE:  And we had to bring in another drywall guy to get it exactly right for the trim guy.  The trim guy finishes.  By this time it is really looking beautiful, and I’m feeling chastened, but I’m getting close to the finish line.  And the painter came in and said, hey, you haven’t put putty in all the seams.  This isn’t ready to be painted.  You need to do a little more work.  This isn’t sanded yet.  It’s not – and so it goes on and on and on.

And here is the thing I learned from that.  Now, this is sort of controversial in the project management world.  But the thing that I learned from that is that the more you know about your domain in general, the better things will go.  And a lot of project managers have the benefit of having a great business analyst or somebody who’s a domain expert on their project, and the project manager is more about coordinating the big picture.  But in my case, when I’ve managed projects, I’ve found that the more I know about the domain that I’m working with, the better off things go.  And in this case it would have been a huge help for me.

So those are certainly ones for me.  That’s what I would do differently if I were in this situation again.  I might hire a general contractor, just to make sure the whole thing went smoother.  And I definitely will not be building a house in the future, I can tell you.  I’ve learned that, learned enough to stay away.

NICK WALKER:  Do you see some parallels between these two stories?  Are they kind of the same stories?  What do you think, Bill?  Do you see that?

BILL YATES:  Absolutely.  And I feel your pain.  Let me just tell you, Andy, I feel your pain.  I feel like I’m in there writing those extra checks and trying to explain to my wife, or talking to my sponsor and trying to explain those reports that I’ve been seeing from that other resource with that first example.  Yeah, but in both cases I do see that, Nick.  And  this parallels my own experience so well, where I was able to take estimates from resources and do a sniff test.  Trust but verify.  Those areas where I was familiar with the domain, familiar with the subject matter, I felt so much more capable and comfortable as a project manager than those areas where I’m outside of my comfort level.  So both, you know, in both examples I can completely relate to that, Andy.

ANDY CROWE:  And you know what, Bill, the common denominator amongst both of those stories is that I assumed.  I assumed that the resource was giving me accurate clear status reports and that everything was going according to plan.  I assumed that the one contractor would set it up for the next contractor; when, in reality, the contractors are motivated just to get their piece done and get out.

BILL YATES:  Right.

ANDY CROWE:  So it’s been interesting to learn to assume less.  Have you found that, as well, Bill?

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  And there’s another thing I wanted to hit on, Andy, that I think – you mentioned Agile practices earlier.  I can see, you know, one of the things that Agile teams are all about, not having silos.  They want to break down silos.  They want all the members to be able to do different areas of the project.  And what I was thinking, what I was hearing you describe, you know, the different contractors coming back to you and going, oh, no, you need deadwood, or you need this, you need that, it makes me think in an Agile world you’re not going to have that.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  The Agile practitioners, we call that “generalizing specialists,” don’t we.  And somebody’s able to cover a lot of different areas.

BILL YATES:  Right.

NICK WALKER:  Trust but verify.  I think we’ve got a good title for a book.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.

NICK WALKER:  Well, you know, I mean, one thing that successful people do every day is read.  I mean, you hear that all the time.  Always reading something.  So I’ve got to ask you, Bill, what are you reading these days that’s really hitting you?

BILL YATES:  Yeah, okay.  I appreciate that, Nick.  And I do, I agree.  I think it’s an area that I was challenged in.  I think of a time in my life professionally when I spent a lot of time on an airplane.  And I was reading for pleasure.  And I feel like I just flittered away that time.  And so I’ve been trying to make up for that.

So as you guys know, I’m a big fan of Jim Collins.  And one of his books that may be a little lesser known is “How the Mighty Fall.”  And with that book, I think it hits on even some of the things that Andy’s shown with or shared with his experiences of it’s great for us to look back on projects that did not go as well.

NICK WALKER:  Yeah.

BILL YATES:  Things that, if I were interviewing to lead another project, I probably wouldn’t share those stories with the customer or the sponsor.  We can learn so much from that.  So that’s a tremendous book.  You know, we look at “Good to Great,” you look at “Built to Last,” and some of the companies that Jim Collins and his group of graduate assistants researched and pointed out.  But then they took that next look and said, okay, how are some of these companies failing, and what led to that?

So it’s a great – and for us as project managers, no matter what type of methodology we’re using, Waterfall or Agile, we know it’s imperative for us to do a deep lessons learned.  So again, I mention that book.  Another one that I’m reading is by a friend, a colleague, Ori Schibi, “Effective PM and BA Role Collaboration.”  Andy and I, there were several members of our organization at the PMI Summit back in October, the – Andy, what’s the name of that again?

ANDY CROWE:  The Global Congress or the Leadership Institute?  Right.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, yeah, Global, that’s it, yeah, Global Congress.  And we heard a lot on business analysis and the business analyst certification.  They had a lot of interest.

ANDY CROWE:  And those two, project managers and business analysts, should really work closely together.

BILL YATES:  They should.

ANDY CROWE:  Unless you want my basement fiasco.

BILL YATES:  Exactly, yeah.  And I appreciate Ori’s leadership in this area.  And he’s got a book out now that takes those two roles and says, hey, people, we can actually have these two roles work well together.  And so I’m taking a look at that book, as well.

NICK WALKER:  Nice to know that, even when there are not necessarily happy endings to stories, that we can still benefit from that.  Well, guys?  Thank you, Bill.  Thank you, Andy.  Thanks to all of you who joined us on this, our very first Velociteach podcast.

ANDY CROWE:  Thank you, Nick.

NICK WALKER:  And once again, we want to invite people to – we always want to hear your questions.  Email us with your questions about project management certifications, anything related to project management.  Here’s our email address.  It’s manage_this@velociteach.com.  Manage_this@velociteach.com.  That’s V-E-L-O-C-I-T-E-A-C-H dot com.  Our Twitter handle?  Our Twitter handle is manage_this.  We want to hear your tweets.  We want to see what’s going on with you.  And we also want to invite you back.  Join us again, two Tuesdays from now, for our next podcast.  Until then, for Manage This, this is Nick Walker saying so long, keep calm, and Manage This.

2 responses to “Episode 1: PMP Exam Changes Effective January 11th, 2016”

  1. Matthew Newell says:

    This conversation reminds me of the CD series “Conversations on the PMP Exam” which is also by Andy and Bill. They have a way of explaining project management as if it is a way of life, or a philosophy to live by rather than just a job. It’s very inspiring, but also very effective as a teaching method.

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