Created Videos of My PMP Whiteboard Drawings

When I have instructed project management professional (PMP) certification exam prep courses over the last 10 years, an aspect all my students really appreciated were my illustrations of the concepts as I discussed them. I would at a minimum draw out the processes included in a knowledge area prior to my lesson on the topic.

The illustrations would be drawn on the whiteboard for every class.  Some students would take pictures of the board or attempt to sketch their own versions in their notepads.  I must have had drawn them hundreds of times over the 10+ years instructing the classes.  Starting with my own studying for the PMP exam.  As a visual learner, I prefer to ‘think in pictures’.  It helped me prepare and pass the exam, as well as helping many others in my training sessions, I thought they may be beneficial to more people.  And with YouTube, it is possible!

The videos of my whiteboard animations are only of my drawings at this point.  I did not care my voice as I was drawing.  Plus I would like to record my voiceover with a better quality microphone and get rid of any ums and ahs 🙂  Once I have the audio explaining the processes, inputs, outputs, and tool and techniques as I draw them, they will be uploaded to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZdjZVoQFYUOOFnLr2R3E4A

The series is called Drawn Out: Project Management

Currently there are only project management topics of knowledge areas, processes, ITTOs, and process groups according to the Project Management Body of Knowledge PMBOK (r) 5th edition.  As I complete the PMBOK concepts, I may recreate my illustrations for ITIL/ITSM and Agile project management and the PMI-ACP exam.

Please let me know what you think!  Thanks.

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Doing ITIL v3 Foundations in a Weekend

The ground level of the ITIL v3 certification schema is the Foundation.  Using the construction metaphor, it lays the base for everything else to build upon.  It has to cover the bottom of everything that is to be built upon it.  ITIL v3 Foundation is about breadth, not depth.

Ergo, obtaining ITIL v3 Foundation certification is all about knowing a little about a lot.

ITIL (IT Service Management) is a broad concept with far reaching implications.  Trying to master all its points and nuisances is difficult and ever expanding.  Not a weekend’s task.  Like any good management principle, there are always new things to learn, new ways to interpret, different ways to implement to differing situations, and of course, learning by doing.

Foundations is not expecting, nor should it, full and complete comprehension.  A holder of ITIL V3 Foundation certification should not be expected to implement, consult, or direct ITIL initiatives.  This holder does have an appreciation of the concepts and comprehends the same lexicon all ITIL users speak – regardless of location in the world.  To accomplish this level of understanding, an ITIL V3 Foundations seeker must gain enough knowledge of the universal terms and enough conceptualization of the basics principles, purposes, and processes of ITIL.  Something I feel can be accomplished in a weekend.

Heavy concentration on memorization and associations, with more holistic view of the interconnectedness of the ITIL processes and functions is suitable to claim the Foundations certificate.  A person with this level of knowledge and comprehension can contribute in an excellent support and operational perspective of ITIL – whether one process or a full out rollout.

The ITIL Crowd is offering a weekend preparation course for ITIL Foundations is the Los Angeles area.  We want to help more people the opportunity to learn the ways of ITIL and how it is useful in an IT Service organization.  We do not offer the exam.  But we can show you what you need to know.  Registration and more info at: http://itilla.eventbrite.com/

See you for a weekend?

ITIL and Employment

A question that always emerges is “Does ITIL v3 certification get me a job?”

That question is a familiar one for any certification.  My PMP questions ask the same question.  I am sure it is on the minds and tongues of all certification seekers.  Well, the simple answer is, “What else do you have to offer?”

Ok, I answered a question with a question.  But, if I asked you, “Does getting a University degree get me a job?”  Certainly depends.  Depends on who you know, what industry, where you apply, what skills you possess, and numerous other factors.  It can certainly open doors.

I had a student who took my ITIL class.  Passed the Foundation exam.  Got an interview with Hotwire that week.  Was hired the week after.  Can the ITIL certification take credit for the landing of the job – doubt it.  That would be a stretch.  Although, it may have opened the door.  May have been the piece to squeeze her resume thru the pipeline and into the shortlist.  From there, it was up to her.

One thing we can be certain: holding the certification proves she posses some understanding of the IT Service Management principles.  That comprehension of the basic terms, concepts, and purpose of ITIL is the general goal of the Foundation exam.  By passing that exam, it is verification that she meant at least those minimum standards.

Gaining certifications help prove you have the skills and knowledge base that particular certification exam is seeking to verify.  Not much differ than a university degree does.  If anything, it provides evidence that you are motivated to prove your competency in a standardized format.  Gaining certification requires seekers to go out on a limb.  They must prove that they have learned the skills; and more importantly – learned them in the research backed, correct way.

Certifications are not easy.  Although, on a resume, they are a quick check mark to show with certainty you have skills and/or knowledge.  Bullet points on a resume can be manipulated and reflect so many perspectives.  Certifications at the bare minimum give some standardized recognition.

So to answer your question, “Yes – to a point.”  Get a certification to back up your claims.  Then fulfill them.

What are the most popular ITIL Intermediate exams?

The ITIL v3 certification structure does allow some flexibility in your pursuit of obtaining the ITIL Expert designation.  Not a perfect laid out option tree; but a few options nonetheless.

At the Intermediate level, you can take the Lifecycle Stream.  More focused on Managers.  Or you can go the Capabilities route.  More focused on Practitioners.  There are combinations where you could mix and match.  The numbers don’t add up as nicely.  But it is possible.

You gather 3 credits for each Lifecycle module.  4 for each Capability module.  Consequently, I was wondering what the more popular route was and what exams were the most taken.  My pokey research is limited.  What I gathered is unofficial – and possibly dated.

Preliminarily, it appears that the streams have a fairly balanced number.  This could be due to focused pathways or picking and choosing between the streams.

Not surprising, Service Operations (SO) is the most popular exam to take.  Service Operations is what most in IT are used to.  What they do daily.  Safe.  Familiar.  Which makes it the easiest.  Pair that with the next easiest  – in terms of familiarity – Operational Support and Analysis (OSA) – and you have knocked out 7 Intermediate credits.  Not a bad start.  Eight more to go.  You can go with 2 more Capability exams or 3 more Lifecycle exams.

The ones not really getting any love are Service Strategy (SS) and Continual Service Improvement (CSI) on the Lifecycle side; and Planning, Protection, and Optimization (PPO) on the Capability side.

Again, not surprising.  They are bigger picture.  More theoretical at points than the others.  Often not want many in the IT field do regularly.  Plus, they incorporate material and subject matter outside of daily IT operations – i.e. Quality Management and Marketing.

Curious what path you took.  Please share your thoughts, if you may.

PRINCE2, SCRUM, CPLP – certifications, oh my!

As a Project Management Professional – PMP® – I am curious about the other certifications for project management recognized worldwide.  I have gathered a few of the materials for PRINCE2 and CompTia Project+.  Both seem fairly close to the PMBOK® (which I was a contributor for) and the PMP Exam items.  Although, I am not too surprised, since they are all based on generally accepted practices.

Naturally in job searches and in presenting myself/courseware, the more verification via certification the better.  Although, I am pondering whether or not gathering more certification revolving around the same basic concept is worth pursuing.  Does more = better?  Diversity valued?  Overload?  Extensive  knowledge about all approaches better than one (or none) with track record of work experience?

I am leaning on the side of “knowledge is power”.  Although, this verification of knowledge is costly.  Counting the THOUSANDS of dollars spent on acquiring PMP and 6 ITIL certifications, do I really need to cough up more?  Haven’t I spent enough?

Yes, it is a costly game played.  Alas, so is formal education.  I certainly spent a great deal more in my undergraduate and Masters degrees.  I spent many more thousands just in my first quarter of my Doctoral work at Seattle Pacific University than I spent achieving various certifications.  Maybe that is something to be said for certifications – cheaper, faster, and often more relative.  Certainly more cost effective.  I enjoyed pursing my Doctorate.  But the sticker shock was too great.  No student loans.  No short term pay back period.  No reason for me to continue my formal studies.

Consequently, that brings me back to my original point – do I pile on the certifications?  Potentially adding the proverbial alphabet soup after my name.  Adding related certifications is a lot like learning a new language.  The first one is the most difficult.  The ensuing one gets assimilated  faster and with more ease.  And the pattern continues; save for occasionally interchanging a wrong term or syntax from time-to-time.

Once I claim my ITIL v3 Expert designation – as soon as I clear the MACL capstone exam – I plan to tackle more certs.  The practice CompTia Project+ exam I took was a breeze.  It was so similar to the PMP.  The PRINCE2 does not seem much of a stretch.  Especially considering the language comparisons with ITIL.  Add on the M_o_R – seemingly another reasonable certification with my production and research of Risk Management topics.  Hm, but where from there?  SCRUM?  CBAP? PMP-Risk? 6 Sigma? COBIT? MOF?  CPLP? Doesn’t matter.  There are certainly enough to keep me busy!  I’ll do my best to document my travels.

Getting APMG Accreditation for ITIL V3 Foundations Course

After many months of development, testing, designing, editing, and more editing, my ITIL v3 Foundations course is nearing accreditation!  For those seeking out an ITIL course, I am seeing the value of attending one that holds the official stamp-of-approval.

With ITIL certification exam courses, there are actually a few accreditation organizations out there.  Project Management Professional (PMP) is controlled exclusively by the Project Management Institute (PMI).  They own the certification.  They control the accreditation – which the lucky HUNDREDS have paid to get (called Registered Education Provider (REP)).  They control the exam and publications.

ITIL is a little different.  For better or worse – that is your decision.

ITIL as a brand name is owned and monitored by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in the UK.  The exams and certification paperwork is created and handled by various organizations worldwide.  There is EXIN, CSME, and APMG to name a few.  (Full List Here)

On the good side, it provides competition; unlike PMI’s monopoly.  (Even though PMI is listed as “non-profit” they are surely making a killing.  $555 exam fee is only the start of people pay to be associated with them)

On the bad side, it provides some ambiguity and non-consistent standards.

In my quest to get accreditation and proper recognition, I have investigated the various accreditation organizations.  And I must say that APMG-US is the better choice.  Unfortunately for me, they are most expensive.  Alas, you get what you pay for.

APMG-US has been wonderful to work with.  They have guided us thru the process.  Been very responsive to our inquires and needs.  And most importantly, are making certain that the material is the best representation.  Having evaluated some of the ITIL Foundation programs out there, I had the impression that it only took some of them to copy the books onto presentation slides and call it good.  Glad APMG is being a little more thorough.  I have gone to great lengths to make certain my materials were not boring slides “telling” the learner what they are to know.  But to make it more dynamic, yet concrete; simple, yet complete.

The material should be thru complete review and approval within a month.  At that point I will be able to offer my coursework officially to all that wish to take on the IT Service Management certification schema known as ITIL v3!

Conducting a class in DC next week

Balancing ITIL study prep for my ITIL Expert exam, securing jobs, and preparing to instruct PMP and ITIL classes next week, it has been a busy week. I do promise to publish more.  Especially on my attempts on the ITIL Expert exam (Managing Across the Lifecycle).

If you are in the DC area the week of April 5 and are interested in either a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam prep class or an ITIL Foundations prep class, send me an email: neal@theitilcrowd.com

Otherwise, look for another post soon.  Cheers!