Watermark Learning Blog

Andrea BrockmeierPreparing for a certification can be a very stressful and confusing process. On December 10, 2015, I hosted a webinar to help alleviate some of this stress by providing an overview on the exam and sharing tips on how to study and pass! Thank you to everyone that attended “Get Ready for PMP® Boot Camp! Tips for Class and PMP Exam Success.” If you missed it or would like to review, check out the recording.

Below are the questions that came up in the webinar, as well as a few that came to me following the webinar.

Q: Do prep classes count towards the 35 hours of PM education required to sit for the exam?

A: Yes, all project management training, including certification preparation training, counts. The Watermark Learning PMP Boot Camp counts for all 35 contact hours needed to qualify for the PMP Exam.

Q: I work as a business analyst on a project currently, and I am expected to also act as a project manager; I am currently stuck on how to manage both processes.

A: Many project professionals find themselves filling the roles of both PM and BA. For purposes of applying for the PMP (or the PMI-PBA), use the appropriate Exam Content Outline (ECO) to help you identify your work as either PM or BA. For example, Planning Task 1 of the PMP ECO reads as follows:

“Review and assess detailed project requirements, constraints, and assumptions with stakeholders based on the project charter, lessons learned, and by using requirement gathering techniques in order to establish detailed project deliverables.”  

So, this is work around project requirements, as opposed to product requirements, which would be the work of business analysis. Think of project requirements as the requirements around the 47 project management processes.

Also, the ECO includes specific tasks, but there is a lot of work that can be included within each task. For example, Executing Task 1 reads:

“Acquire and manage project resources by following the human resource and procurement management plans in order to meet project requirements.”

The Acquire Project Team process includes Virtual Teams as a tool, so this would include project management effort working with virtual teams to get project work completed.

Q: I took the two-day Use Case Modeling course through Watermark.  Would this count toward PM contact hours?

A: Yes, all of Watermark’s classes count as contact hours for the PMP.

Q: I’m working toward my Master’s degree and am wondering whether a “Software Engineering” course would count toward PM contact hours.

A: Basically, time spent learning about techniques used while doing PM activities count. So, if it’s a 20-hour course, and 8 hours cover PM-related work, then it would count as 8 hours. For example, you might spend time in a course learning about estimating techniques used to plan project work, so that part of the class would count. Time spent on the technical aspects of engineering would not count. It’s not course-specific.

Q: I will be taking a graduate level Project Management course next semester.  Would this education count toward the required PDU credits (following PM certification)?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Is any BA work (e.g., requirements gathering, testing, system architecture, etc.) eligible toward the required 36 months of PM work?

A: Remember that it’s not about your title. It’s about the work you do.  PMs have project requirements they have to define, too, as described above.

Q: You mentioned that the PMP exam content will change after 1/11/2016.  What are the major changes?

A: The major changes pertain to the following themes:

  • Lessons learned should be done throughout the project, not just at the end, to leverage the value of project management.
  • PMs are involved early in the project and the process of initiation. Benefits analysis for a project is something the PM should be involved in with other stakeholders. This helps PMs maintain project focus on alignment with the business needs and ensures that PMs are always assessing the value the project is delivering. Success is more than triple constraint management.
  • The PM doesn’t create the charter by themselves. They contribute to the development of it and inform the team and other stakeholders about its contents.
  • Stakeholder management is all about the PM developing a two-way relationship with the stakeholders, not just delivering one-way communication.

I highly recommend PMI’s webpage for more details about the changes, including a short webinar that provides some good information.


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