PM Polemics: Episode 1 - Productivity

June 15, 2021 |  Categories:  Project Management  

Hi All,

The first in what will probably be a series of fairly crisp PM polemics from me.

Productivity

Turn off all your notifications.

Phone goes to silent when you're working. No email/text/popups/chats/sounds/vibrates.

If all hell is raining down and someone actually needs you between now and the next time you choose to check your phone/email: they will find a way to contact you, call the office landline, or kick the front door down.

You don't owe anyone an improv audience through the ether at the time of their choosing, you have real planned work to get done. You already should be turning your phone to silent when you're in an important meeting, just simply extend that treatment. All of your time is that important, you will pay for those impromptu distractions in late nights.

Obviously apply some smart exceptions: If you're actually expecting an important callback, that's a time you might temporarily turn the sound on. If you answering some form of notification within minutes is an actual matter of routine life and death, keep answering that notification.

Overall this has hugely reduced my cortisol levels and long working hours for years now, after some initial anxiety - you'll notice people start to actually respect your time.

Enjoy being at least 50% more productive :).

Bonus:

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Project Management Job Search App - Salary Prediction and Hiring Trends

April 15, 2021 |  Categories:  Project Management  

I am releasing today for free and general public use the PM Projections Job Search app.

The app is dedicated to project management job postings, and fundamentally differs from the standard job search websites: Based on the job description a specific salary is predicted for each role, and PM hiring trends are tracked by state in real time. There is nothing quite like this on the web.

The app currently works for 7 countries/territories (United States, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore).

It is below. Further instructions on how to use can be found beneath the app.

Instructions

Each dot on the first dashboard represents a current job posting, which has been collected on a daily basis.

To access the actual job posting click the dot in question. And then click the blue hyperlink above the dashboard. The hyperlink updates each time you click a dot and will link you through to the actual posting to enable you to apply. Current hiring trends are displayed by state.

You can also run searches based on your current or desired education, qualifications, years of experience, position title, industry and remote work status and apply multiple filters at once.

To isolate jobs in a specific state, double click on its icon on the right hand panel. You can then add multiple other states to overlay.

It’s recommended to try one filter at a time to narrow things down.

Going Forward

Currently this will remain a free service for PMs everywhere to use.

There’s also a global trends app which is currently accessible on a free sign up basis. This shows higher level trends across countries, and can be used to determine countries around the world with the best and pay for your skill set.

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PM Projections - PM Job Search

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Project Management Certifications Salary Showdown - PMP vs The World

Aug. 12, 2020 |  Categories:  Certifications  

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

There’s a growing array of Project Management Certifications in the market, and they all claim outlandish salary benefits and career progression opportunities. But which ones will maximize your earning power right now?

The answer to this question will vary depending on your desired country, industry, role, and your current level of experience. To provide clarity, we analyzed more than 300,000 project management job postings between March and August 2020. The certification requirements for each role were compared to the expected salaries in the job posting. Where a salary was not provided, the role was assessed by our machine learning algorithm, taking into account the attributes for that role in comparison to similar roles where a salary was provided.

We selected the top eight leading certifications in terms of overall demand for further analysis:

For accurate comparison across locations, all salary assessments were converted to USD prior to further analysis.

The Standard - PMP

Our findings quickly confirmed the status of the PMI Project Management Professional certification as the current standard in project management certifications. We found more than 12% of all project management job postings worldwide listed the PMP as a requirement. This was more than four times the next most popular certifications of CAPM and PRINCE2.

PMP has long been regarded as a gatekeeping certificate, and due to their lengthy experience requirements and auditing process - rubber-stamping the experience of those who attain it. Accordingly, we found an average salary increase upon attaining the PMP of 16% worldwide (somewhat less than PMI’s stated increase of 23% from their salary surveys).

Due to the consistent salary increase across the project management field, we recommend all eligible project managers attain their PMP as a baseline certification.See our guide on the minimalist path to getting your PMP.

Going forward, we will compare project management certifications’ earning power in comparison to both the PMP and No Certifications across locations, sectors, and experience.

Our recommendation is simple. If a certification provides a stronger salary benefit than the PMP across the areas relevant to you, obtain that certification. As you’ll see below, the right certifications in the right place, industry, and position can net you a salary increase well in excess of 20%.

Location

When comparing across countries, we note the following standout performers:

Sector

When comparing across sectors we noted the following standouts:

Position

When comparing across position descriptions, we noted large variations in the effectiveness of certifications, depending on the seniority of the role:

Certifications Excluded

We tested an additional 13 certifications against our database but found insufficient demand to draw any further conclusions on their value (other than: there's no demand for these). Certifications excluded were:

We generally found the more niche/advanced certifications (PfMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, A-CSM, etc), even if the base offerings by these certification organizations did confer a benefit.

Limitations

We have stratified the data in these charts to be as relevant as possible to as many readers as possible. For information specific to your individual attributes, check out our PM Projections Free service.

It should be noted that about 40% of the database consisted of job postings in the United States. Therefore when analyzing across Position Description and Sector, this analysis may be overly US-centric.

This analysis was conducted on job postings mid-COVID-19 pandemic. There is some indication in our data that Project Management salaries have been in decline during this period. The overall state of the PM job market will be the focus of a future discussion.

Conclusions

We found PMP remains a solid baseline for all project managers. Everyone should consider undertaking this certification. In addition:

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The Art of Project Management - Timeless Advice From an Old Mentor

May 23, 2020 |  Categories:  Project Management  

I found this word doc on his shared drive, on a particularly horrible late night in the office, a few years ago and printed it out. During rough project times I reset myself to it as a kind of mantra/core value set.

Hope it helps some of you out there.

The Art of Project Management

A ten point plan to improve critical reasoning:

  1. Define the brief - what are the ground rules.
  2. Measure the scope - remove the guesswork.
  3. Secure the signoff – are decision makers buying in with understanding not just being agreeable.
  4. Progressively commit - don't jump in on insufficient analysis….. beware of collective blind spots.
  5. Apply resources - how big a mistake can you afford to make.
  6. Review to zero base - beware incremental changes that disguise errors.
  7. Resist self-imposed constraints - creating irrelevant deadlines, excuses to continue.
  8. Don't build mistakes - be prepared to abort design work.
  9. Monitor - on time, on cost, on quality, on scope.
  10. Own up - report variances and manage adverse situations proactively.

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PMP Debrief - a Brutal, Simple and Cheap Path to 5AT

May 23, 2020 |  Categories:  PMP  

I took the PMP exam in late February 2020 with 5AT results. There does seem to be a level of anxiety and overthinking of this exam, which i definitely felt setting out too. And online a lot of sponsored promotion of tools and books, which you don't need to crush this thing.

Based on my experiences, below is the PMProjections minimalist plan for PMP success:

Preliminary

  1. Try to identify and let go of your fucked up emotions around this, if you're still having vivid nightmares where they realise you didn't actually finish highschool, take away your engineering degree retrospectively and send you back to calculus over a decade later... I get it. Accept that there is a chance you might fail, if you do it's ~US$275 to retake it, you are not an unworthy person if you fail.

  2. Accept your limitations. Realistically you can only do a maximum 2-3 hours of focused study a day - your brain is going to be fried beyond that. You can sprinkle in more passive learning methods around that. As much as you can stay healthy, get enough sleep, exercise etc etc. .

  3. Read ActualSentence's 'how to squeak by the PMP exam' . While not a pleasant four hours, it's just a multiple choice quiz.

  4. Application form is a pain to fill out. When describing your experience develop a boilerplate text you can slightly alter for each project that directly answers the questions they have, keep it simple and repetitive they accepted my app no questions asked with descriptions like this:

"Objective: Demolition and rebuild of supermarket. Outcome Rebuild completed and store opened Role: Clients project manager Planning: Prepared project execution plan and issue to team, update at each stage.prepare master programme. Executing: instruct design team and contractors, procure design team, contractors, chair design and site meetings Control and Monitoring: author and issue monthly pcg reports. Closing: prepared practical completion certificate, review and approve close out documents."

Study and Exam

  1. Watch the Vargas video to get the big picture into your head. I watched this 3 or four times. Choose a cheap course (circa $10) on udemy for the 35 hours, people seem to like Joseph Philips, I used another one which wasn't that good.
  2. Once you're a few hours in to the udemy course buy a practice exam simulator, https://www.pmtraining.com/ is good and cheap. Do at least one 50Q practice exam each day. Aim to get your average over 80% and complete the exams in under 40 minutes (60 minutes is allowed). PM Training is slightly easier than the real exam so you need to be doing these in your sleep. Study what you got wrong in whatever textbooks you have, or google and repeat. I spent a total of 4 weeks studying, after 2 weeks I booked the exam - using my practice exam results as a benchmark that I was ready. . These were my scores: Responsive image

  3. When doing practice exams get used to reading the last sentence of the questions first, then the answers, then skim the whole question and answer. Pretty soon your brain will get good at filtering out the fluff, maybe 1-2% of the time there is some detail in the fluff you may miss resulting in a wrong answer - the trade off is worth it - there is no way you will comfortably finish the real exam in time actually reading and comprehending every question.

  4. Focus on in this order 1. change control 2. stakeholder management 3. communication management. Also get clear on the delineation between stakeholder management and communication management. They are constantly trying to trip you up on this. The above points felt like 70% of the exam.

  5. Exam day. You will be slower in the real exam than in practice exams, aim to answer a question a minute. I took one break around the two hour mark. This was just enough - I was having a very hard time focusing for the last 25 questions or so - a second break might have been a good idea. You won't feel great during the exam, just answer each question and reset - as much as possible don't dwell on past mistakes or try to add up where you think your score is at as you go. try to mark as few questions as possible for review (you won't have time to review 70 Questions at the end anyway), I marked about 15 questions and changed maybe 3-4 answers.

  6. Click submit, get congratulations message, feel wave of relief, cast mind to the 20% pay bump for your future roles.

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