Featured PMP® Success Story from Babatunde Olajide PMP
My PMP Certification Journey – Babatunde Olajide PMP
When I decided for PMP certification
For 13years from 2002, I have been working as an Architect/Project Manager with an organization that finances projects in Nigeria’s tertiary educational institutions. My job involves the application of my training and experience to vet proposed design submissions by beneficiary institutions to ascertain the relevance of the projects to the core mandate of the institution, checking the adequacy of the designs and to ensure the full design proposals comply with all statutory/organizational requirements for funding before such projects are recommended for approval and funding. This job requires diligent monitoring of the developmental stages from project planning to monitoring and evaluation during execution to closure. Funding is usually done in three (3) stages before final closure.
In September 2015, I was made the Acting Head of the Project Management Department in the organization, which is typically a functional-type of organization. Occupying the position put a challenge of leadership on me that required me to be visionary, knowledgeable and innovative. Apart from my professional certification as an Architect, I had no relevant professional certification in Project Management, except certificates of some short-term training courses that only offered very basic courses in Project Management. However, my obsession for Project Management and desire to have a proper certification motivated me to seek for the PMP credential in July 2016. This was when the real PMP journey began. I say “real” because I attempted the PMP exam for the first time in 2010 and failed woefully. I gave it up for 7years but my hunger for certification never abated, until July 2016 when I decided to confront the challenge full blast.
How my PMP training helped me
While surfing online, I stumbled into an advert for PMP certification training, offered by McGill University School of Continuing Studies in conjunction with IATA. It offered a flexible online training for 6months for the mandatory 35 contact hours of training required by the PMI for the PMP Exam at a reduced rate. I loved the course flexibility in view of my busy schedule and therefore settled for it. On completion after 4months and following a structured evaluation system after each training module, I was successful on the average and consequently issued a certificate that qualified me to apply for the PMP Exam. The training also offered a complementary package PMP Practice Exam for 3months after the course from first login. While preparing for the Exam using this Practice package, I encountered PMAspire online as a PMP Exam Practice resource package. The free trial version of it was too invaluable to let go and I had to subscribe for the “GOLD” Package. The Practice question structure in PMAspire actually strengthened my confidence to face the real Exam. The resource was a strong complement to the McGill PMP Exam Practice Questions, so I was using these resources interchangeably.
I must not fail to mention that I had another resource by Mr. Fahad Mohammed Usmani who published an online book on “PMP Formula Guide.” Using various examples and practice questions, PMP calculations got really demystified.
Realizing my lapses at the first attempt, my study strategy this time was iterative and consistent, unlike the previous time. I gave full attention to the real time online training, studied, made notes, went over the notes again and again, and wrote down notes in topics perceived as difficult to understand to make recalling easier. A case in point is the ITTO (Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs). Calculations were practiced regularly and this made all calculation-related questions so easy as I had practiced well. Preparation was on daily basis and if missed, I didn’t stay away for more than 3days at a stretch. I made sure I was in constant contact with a topic at any given time and I randomly chose which topics to study, but dwelt more on areas perceived as my knowledge gaps. On the overall, I made sure no stone was unturned. I also browsed other books, online materials and practiced tons and tons of PMP questions.
The PMP Simulator I used and how it helped
I concentrated effort on the PMAspire Knowledge Area questions and the Process Group questions which each had 200 questions per topic and per Process Group. On my weekends, I attempted the PMAspire Simulated Exam that gave me the opportunity to do the 4-hour test at a stretch. I used the Practice Q & A and the Model Exam Generator profusely during the week.
I failed several questions during the practice but it helped me learn better and afforded me the privilege of identifying my knowledge gaps, and also situating my mind in real life problems. Overtime, I gained confidence and it helped me a lot. I must emphasize that the real exam dwelt so much on situational questions. Direct questions were few and you needed to have practiced well enough, understand the sequence of the 47 processes by Knowledge Area and Group in order to understand what solution was required to a problem. Your PMAspire resource tremendously helped in this regard.
PMP Certification Exam Day – How it was?
I had my exam outside my country in Accra, Ghana because Nigeria had no Prometric Computer-based test centre. Exam location was just great, being within walking distance from my hotel. I had the exam at 12.30pm in the afternoon of 2nd May, 2017. Weather was just calm, slightly sunny and comfortable. I didn’t take any break during the real exam as I had prepared my mind and body system for this. During the exam, I marked several questions to revisit later, but time did not allow me go back on all of them. I was lucky I scaled through.
Actual Preparation Effort to pass PMP
Over a period of 4months from early January 2017, I expended about 264 quality hours for preparation (on a sum aggregate).
Life after Passing the Exam
I have a flare for teaching and contributing to knowledge. This is an area I wish to focus on, that is, helping others develop their capacity, adding value to my organization and managing projects more efficiently and from a more informed perspective. These are my hopes, while I also keep developing myself to sustain the hard-earned certification by acquiring enough PDUs within the 3-year validity period. I have high prospects for a salary increment through a confirmed full directorship. I also look forward to international engagements where possible either for job change or speaking engagements if offered the opportunity.
I am currently encouraging my colleagues to also make effort to earn the credential. It’s really worth the try and it’s quite invaluable.
Babatunde Olajide, PMP