Take the 5th Edition Exam or Wait for the 6th?

I get the question regularly, “Should I rush and sit for the 5th edition of the PMP exam or should I wait for the 6th edition? Everyone is telling me to take the PMP exam now because it is changing.”

As this is a common inquiry, I decided to type up one of my responses here in this blog to hopefully help others with the same question.

In short, whether you obtain your PMP via the 5th edition or 6th you should be ok. The reason that a changeover gathers so much attention is that when the PMBOK changed from 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to 4th they were relatively drastic. The exams also got more difficult – more situational, less memorization. And in terms of the 4th edition, the structure of the naming conventions got more logical and consistent, but drastically different for those who learned it in previous editions. Now the exam changes are more subtle. I would even argue that the changes are for the betterment of everyone and not overbearing. So now the rush to take an exam is more for those people who have been studying and want to test on the edition they have been working off of, as well as training companies wanting to capitalize on reason to push classes.

I have been thru many changeovers. I got my PMP on the 3rd edition. I started instructing with the 3rd edition. Was a contributor to the 4th and 5th editions of the PMBOK [so if you get a 5th edition, you will see my name on p501, but if you get a 6th you will not].  Have created courses for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th editions. Now I am building a 6th edition online course in the way that I would have liked – interactive, visual, and engaging. Point being, whether you cram and take a weekday or weekend in person class (which is the way I got my PMP 13 years ago) or online or a combination of them in either 5th or 6th, you will be fine. My recommendation to people is to choose study options that fit your learning style and your timing. Are you better at reading… sitting in a class with an instructor… talking with others… going at your own pace or the pace of others… visual learner or prefer lectures… like to do a little each day or fully immersed days…etc.

Do you have a time crunch or just want to get it out of the way? The quickest way is to buckle down and do nothing but prepare and sit for the exam. If not able to afford the high costs, the time off work, and the hours of dedication in short order, then get online courses like mine and other resources and carve out a plan that is realistic AND hold yourself to it! Schedule your exam early and hold yourself to it. Having a deadline set and telling yourself you cannot move it makes you more focused and motivated. It is too easy to pushback something that is not rooted or set. Much harder to deprioritize the exam when you are committed to a date and time.

There are a lot of options out there. Many people use many options. Really it comes down to you. Are you disciplined to study on your own? Are you disciplined to focus for 2-5 days in a class and sit for exam soon after while everything is still jiggling around in your brain?

Let me know what you decide. I am curious about your story. You can enter your stories and thoughts in the comment section.

If you would like to take advantage of my training offering, snagging it now is definitely financially advantageous [only $99 if pre-order; $720 if post-launch in January]. If your plan is to time it for the 6th edition, then using The Crowd Training course on its own or in combination with any other type of course puts you in good hands. If you plan to go for the 5th edition, I do have some games that you could play to help you prepare!

Best of luck!


The 6th edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PBMoK 6)

The Project Management Institute (PMI) updates their Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) every few years – give or take. This is a wonderful thing. It would be arrogant to think that every best practice of project management was captured precisely in the first try and thinking that practices and the profession does not change over time. Taking a look at the latest draft of the upcoming edition of the PMBOK, I am thinking that they are on the right track.

Personally, I have experienced the changeover from 3rd to 4th and 4th to the 5th. I was a full time project management instructor, developer, and author during those transitions. I was also one of the contributors to the 4th edition. Not that influences my impressions, but I do declare that move from the 3rd edition to the 4th edition was the most radical and beneficial. This was primarily due to the standardization of naming and structure. The process nomenclature was all over the board in third edition. The fourth edition set out to uniformly establish all processes with a VERB – NOUN structure. For instance Scope Planning became Plan Scope Management. Does not sound to drastic or earth-shattering, but as instructor attempting to get all my students to understand, memorize, and internalize all the vast amounts of content and exact naming, this was a major improvement.

Reading thru the sixth edition, there is not the major structural changes like those just mentioned. Nevertheless, there is obvious recognition of how our industry is maturing and expanding. There appears to be more attention given to all the various industries where our project management skills and methodologies are used and applied. This is most noticeable in terms of agile project management practices. As one certified in PMI’s Agile certification called the PMI-ACP, I welcome the inclusion of agile considerations in with the more traditional methods of project management. Naturally this demands more of project managers and those seeking the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, but it is not out of line to ask for our PMPs to be more well rounded and obtain a broader knowledge base and tool bank in which to lead projects with. I equate everything contained in any edition of the PMBOK and the broader collective of what we expect a certified PMP to know is like a toolbox. A carpenter has his or her own toolbox that enables them to tackle various projects. Every project he or she works on is not going to require the same exact tools or strategies to meet the project’s objectives. Same with project managers. We need to have a toolbox. The more it contains, the more we have available to us. The more we comprehend the tools contained within, the more we are able to make the most appropriate decisions. Project management, like carpentry, requires skills, knowledge, and practice. And like any trade, we should expect the industry, the knowledge bank, and the technologies used to grow and evolve in hand.

So I fully embrace the upcoming changes to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. I am excited to train future and current project managers and PMP seekers on the 6th edition of the PMBOK. The PMBOK 6th edition is expected to be released later this year (2017) in the 3rd or 4th quarter.

My Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam Prep App

My Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam Prep App

The Crowd's PMP Exam prep app
Screenshot from my windows 8 PMP app

For Windows 8 computers, laptops, and tablets, I created – with the help of my C# programmer friend – an app with questions I have written.  These questions have been used in my PMP Exam Prep courses over the years.  They have been tweaked and updated per the feedback from my students and others.  Beyond trying to provide prospective PMP exam takers with good, relevant questions, I also wanted to provide them with the experience of taking the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam as it is administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

So those using my app will experience the PMP test taking experience as much as I could emulate.  The exam questions have the 4 answer choices.  There is ability to go back or forward; and even the option to jump to any question you like.  You can ‘Mark’ or ‘Skip’ questions.  There is a grid displaying which questions have been answered or marked (from there you can go directly to any question you feel).  Like the real PMP exam, you can change your answer as many times as you like until you submit.  Once you submit, your score is provided.  Then, unlike the real exam, I have written some rationale for every single question so that you can get some feedback and reason for why the answers are considered correct or incorrect.  The app displays the answer you selected, as well as the correct answer, if different.

Thank you for checking out my app.  I have an Agile Project Management Exam prep app (PMI-ACP) in the Windows Store as well.  I am working on an ITIL Foundation version.  If you have questions for other certification exams, we can plug those in as well.

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!