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To PMO or not to PMO

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PMP ready – Exam requirements

PMP Certification – To Be or Not to Be?

Project Management Professional (PMP) is the most important industry-recognised certification. It is one of the flagship certifications offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the leading not-for-profit professional membership association. PMP is recognised globally as a gold standard in project management. The PMP certification can provide a significant advantage when it comes to salary and earning potential. Well over 700,000 certified PMPs around the globe stand as testimony to its benefits!

Gaining and maintaining PMP certification goes with its own process, starting with the first goal of passing the PMP exam. There are certain prerequisites as to eligibility for taking the exam. The PMP Handbook by the PMI outlines the eligibility criteria. The first step is to see whether you meet the following prerequisites:

  • A secondary-level degree (high-school diploma, associate’s degree, or the global equivalent);
  • 7,500 hours spent leading and directing projects;
  • 35 hours of project management education.


  • A 4-year degree;
  • 4,500 hours spent leading and directing projects;
  • 35 hours of project management education.

Explanation of educational qualifications

  • A high-school diploma or associate’s degree or global equivalent means education partaken for 3 years or less after school leaving.
  • A 4-year degree means any graduate degree such as Engineering or Technology, of 4 years’ or more duration, which is partaken after 10+2 school years.
  • You will need to show 36 hours of PMP related Project Management Training from a training organisation such as Althris Training Dublin

Explanation of experience requirements

  • For diploma holders, the project management experience required is 7,500 hours. This is roughly 60 months or 5 years’ experience.
  • For degree holders, the project experience required is 4,500 hours. This is roughly 36 months or 3 years’ experience.
PMP training Dublin

You get a real certificate with embossed stamp

Explanation of “Leading and Directing Projects”

This means that you should briefly state any job/experience that you have done in the field of planning, execution and control. It is not necessary that you should have experience in all of the project processes.

Explanation of Non-Overlapping Experience

  • Let us assume that you have managed two projects in the year 2016. Project A ran from January 2016 to May 2016 (5 months). Project B ran from March 2016 to February 2017 (12 months). This should not be taken as 17 months’ experience as there is an overlap of 3 months. Experience will be taken as 14 months only.
  • Experience reported should have been accrued within the last 8 consecutive years prior to your application submission. If you are applying in 2017, you can report experience between 2009 and 2016.

The PMP exam has a price of US$405 for PMI members, and $555 for non-members. PMI membership is not mandatory for you to take the exam. However, it makes sense to become a PMI member, at a fee of $139, as you get an exam fee reduction of $150! Additional benefits can also be enjoyed with PMI membership. 35 hours of project management education needs to be undertaken through a Registered Educational Partner (REP) that imparts the training and grants the necessary certificate towards fulfilment. Its cost can be ascertained from the education partner.

The next part of this article is “PMP – Applying for and Scheduling the Exam”

/ Althris

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PRINCE2® 2017 – New version and new exam

PRINCE2® 2017

I was recently invited over to take part in the first round of PRINCE2® 2017 exam trials. Axelos have announced a revision of the PRINCE2® manual, and the process of consultation with the user community is coming to an end.

I was presented with a bound copy of the new manual, albeit with a black and white cover and no index at the back. I had already received a draft copy electronically, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to flick through it. During the day I also had the opportunity to discuss the change with some of the authors, such as Robert Buttrick, Keith Richards, and Andy Murray.

The new book is almost 80 pages longer, but reformatted into a tight text of a single column, unlike the two columns of the previous version. It now has highlight boxes with topics such as the following:

Key messages: The purpose of the business case theme is to establish mechanisms to judge whether the project is (and remains) desirable, viable and achievable.

Tips: E.g., Projects using an agile delivery approach will initially focus on the purpose, derivation and quality criteria of the project’s product to deliver the initial features.

Examples: Example of stake holders – Unions, staff, etc.

Definitions:  E.g., Tailoring – Adapting a method or process to suit the situation in which it will be used.

Important explanations: This is a commonly used abbreviation for the office an organisation may set up to provide support for its programmes and projects.

Other important changes

The role of configuration management has been reduced, leaving just a little bit on the configuration item record – in one of those important explanation boxes.

Approaches and Guidelines play a more important role, with consideration given to how you are going to tailor it. In fact, tailoring had been given a much stronger emphasis.

So now for the exams.

I only did the practitioner exam, and I’m currently due to review the draft versions of the foundation exams before release. The only thing I can say is that the negative questions have been removed, and there are fewer questions (reduced to 60), and principles will be examined in more detail.

More interestingly, the syllabus for the exam is shorter.

PRINCE2 Practitioner

On the practitioner exam, it’s much clearer; well I did actually do the exam! I completed the exam with a significant amount of time to spare, so I think 2½ hours is more than enough time. The key reason is because the scenario has been simplified, and the question types have been made more straightforward. This is a change from the current version, where most students run out of time.

The scenario is about two pages  – not the 8-pager as before – so there is less back and forth. Questions are still grouped by theme or process, but they feel more independent of each other. To counter the shorter scenario, the question is now a few sentences long, and often describes a situation. Technically the question difficulty has gone up (Bloms level 3 and 4) but I thought that with the change they were less complex – and with better English too.

There are now only two types of question: multiple choice (pick one from four); and matching exercises (“What type of XXX is the following?”)

So my dreaded delete, amend, keep are gone;  the question assertion is gone; and the pick two of five is gone.

I’ll keep you posted as to my score, and what I think of the new PRINCE® foundation question. I’m working on new pre-course material, so register and I’ll let you know when it’s out.

We will start running the first of our Train the Trainer courses in the summer, and public courses will start in the early autumn.


PMP Open Quizz, Project Management Institute

PMP sample quizz based on the PMP exam. 25 Random questions. This is should take you about half an hour to do.

This is a sample question set, partially based on feedback from my students but I’ve balanced it with my own as they generally only remember  the HARD questions

Check out our project management courses and book direct https://www.althris.com/events/

Althris Project Management Institute PMP Sample Quizz

Project Management Institute

More information on PMI






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Scrum Master is not a Project Manager

The Specific Reasons Why a Scrum Master is Not a Project Manager


Companies new to Agile often fall into the crucial trap of mistaking the Scrum Master role with the role of a Project Manager. This often leads towards a dramatic detriment in productivity, since the Scrum Master role requires a very specific skillset which is entirely different from the more generalist role of a Project Manager.


This article will point out the main differences between those roles and help you to chose the right person for both positions to make your project a success.


The Classical Role of Project Management


The Project Manager leads the project on a day-to-day basis, controls, communicates and provides direction. His role can be summarizes into the four following categories:


#1: Manage Processes: The Project Manager gets the project “up and running”, selects the team, establishes milestones and project schedules with the team and leads the project on a daily basis


#2: Track Process: The Project Manager monitors the timely achievement of milestones, tracks team costs and investments, overseas the documentation and provides direction


#3: Facilitate Cross-Functional Collaboration: The Project Manager Identifies linkages between sub-projects and coordinates cross-team cooperation

#4: Communication: The coordination of key project-related messaging to internal and external audiences, as well as communicating project information to the line management are Project Management roles

The Specific Role of the Scrum Master

The Scrum Master on the other hand does not manage the team on a daily basis. His role is more of a coaching and a facilitation role regarding Scrum, which makes him the link between the project team and the client.

Scrum Masters cooperate closely with the Executive Sponsor. They ensure that the project complies with Scrum and that all processes are implemented properly. The role can be summarized into the 3 following categories:

#1: Overcome Stumbling Blocks: The Scrum Master steers the development, resolves problems and involves the right people in the development process

#2: Oversee the Groundwork: The Scrum Master keeps two eyes on user experience, functionality issues and feedback from all stakeholders

#3: Provide Guidance: Helping to facilitate changes and assist in the planning process while providing overall Scrum guidance is a crucial function of the Scrum Master


There you have the main difference:

The Scrum Master is there to help and assist with highly specific technical knowledge but not to manage the workflow.

Summary: The Scrum Master is not a Project Manager


The role of the Scrum Master is more specific and technical than the more general role of a Project Manager. Both are important. Confusing these roles however almost certainly leads towards failure in the execution of Agile – and towards huge losses.


Make sure you have these important positions covered with the right people.