The past year was a double-whammy for me. I had to re-certify both my CBAP® and PMP® credentials. After renewing my CBAP twice and my PMP three times, I’ve learned a few lessons.
First, here are some basic facts about re-certification:
- Your CBAP and PMP status must be renewed every three years from the anniversary date of earning your initial certification.
- You need 60 “DUs” every three years to re-certify. For PMI these are PDUs and for IIBA, these are called CDUs. I’ll use the term DU when it applies to both organizations. There are limits to the numbers of DUs per category, so ensure you have some breadth in your professional development. See below for links to the PMI and IIBA re-certification pages.
- IIBA will notify you by email approximately three months in advance of your anniversary, and will send a copy of the necessary handbook, application, and reporting form. In the future, the process will be online, but for now the email route is needed.
- To be honest, I can’t recall if PMI reminded me or not to re-certify. That is one of my lessons learned below. PMI has an online re-certification process that is easy to complete.
- Keep track of your development activities, contacts, and hours. I can’t stress this enough and the moment you earn your credential, start doing this. During my first re-certification cycle, I had to scramble the last few months before my deadline. It was difficult combing through calendars, web sites, project records, and emails to find the details I needed. Advice: don’t wait until the last moment to compile your activities.
- After that ordeal, I developed a spreadsheet to help me keep track of the details. I wish I had this from the start! It has been invaluable to track both my PMP and CBAP activities. Some of the events I attended, presentations I gave, and articles I wrote apply to maintaining both my PMP and CBAP. That is a huge bonus. Advice: use a spreadsheet to track your activities and update at least monthly.
- Some of my activities counted for more DUs than others. Attending a webinar or chapter meeting only provides one DU. Taking a class, writing an article, or giving a presentation could count for as many as 15-20 DUs or more. It is easier to track and report these “large-DU” activities than a bunch of 1-DU activities. If you only have the opportunity to attend the 1-hour varieties, then you will have more to track and report. Advice: take advantage of large-DU activities to reduce your reporting burden.
- Volunteering is a great way not only to give back to our professions, but also to earn DUs. I have volunteered for both PMI and IIBA and have enjoyed the networking, energy, and sense of contribution that come with it. Advice: do volunteer work at least once during your re-certification cycle and earn up to half of your required hours.
- During my first cycle, I did not know that I could use hours spent practicing project management towards my PMP re-certification. I discovered this somewhere during my first CBAP re-cert and started to track those hours. It definitely pays to keep track of your project hours performing business analysis or project management work. You can claim up to 25 CDUs for IIBA, and can count up to 45 PDUs for PMI. For PMPs, you can claim up to 5 per year or 15 per cycle. Advice: track up to the maximum allowable hours spent doing professional work and keep documentation for it.
- During all my re-certification cycles, I find my hours are always way higher than need be. It doesn’t affect my doing the activities, but I now report them differently. For PMI, practitioner hours count as part of the 45-PDU maximum of “giving back to the community.” Let’s say you spend 15 hours writing a white paper for a Global Congress (category D), do 40 hours of volunteer service (category E), and spend 1000 hours doing PM work on projects (category F). The maximum you can claim is 45 PDUs during one cycle for those three categories. I might report the 15 hours in category D and the 40 hours in category E. The hours in category F are useless for renewing my PMP, so I would not even bother. The online reporting to PMI makes this easier than the manual reporting to IIBA. Advice: don’t go overboard reporting hours that won’t help you.
- On the other hand, in case IIBA or PMI audits your re-cert application, you would do well to over-report to a certain degree. (Both organizations randomly audit candidates.) I confess to having reported over 200 hours for my most recent CBAP, which were about 100 less than my initial re-certification. The next time I’ll try for only 120, double the number needed. Advice: track and report double the number needed for re-certification, and you will sleep easier.
I hope this is helpful. I had better go and follow my own advice and enter my PDUs, which I haven’t done in a while. You can find a copy of my re-certification spreadsheet on our website.
- If you earn more than the required 60 DUs in the current three year cycle, you may apply up to 20 of the excess DUs to the next three year cycle. Only DUs earned in the third year can be transferred. These rules apply to both PMP and CBAP.
- IIBA EEP-endorsed courses and PMI REP-endorsed courses automatically qualify for DUs for your recertification. Because of IIBA’s and PMI’s review processes, they are guaranteed to meet the needed criteria. (Which means all Watermark Learning courses will qualify for re-certification DUs.)