The Project Management Professional certification (PMP) is often referred to as one of the most important industry-recognized certifications for Project Managers, it is also one of the most difficult certifications to achieve. Successful applicants must not only pass the exam, but also put in a significant amount of time working on projects directly. The PMP Certification is highly regarded across multiple industries, not just within the construction management field.
JBC Associates congratulates John Zawaski, one of our project managers, on achieving his PMP Certification! We sat down with John to learn more about his PMP experience. Also in on the conversation is Scott Schaeffer, Vice President at JBC, who completed his PMP certification several years ago. Below they explain exam requirements in greater detail, offer words of wisdom for future applicants, and discuss the benefits of being PMP certified.
JBC: How’s it feel to be PMP Certified?
John Zawaski: I feel a sense of pride knowing that I have been able to achieve a professional certification that upholds a very high standard.
JBC: Why did you decide to pursue the PMP?
John Zawaski: I decided to pursue the PMP at the urging of Scott Schaeffer. I have never been someone who is content to stay in a single position within the vertical hierarchy of an organizational structure. Scott holds a PMP Certification and he recommended that achieving a PMP Certification would bolster my standing within the transportation construction community.
JBC: What requirements did you have to meet to take the exam?
- Minimum five years/60 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience.
- 7,500 hours spent leading and directing projects.
- 35 contact hours of formal project management education
JBC: Would you encourage other JBC staff to pursue it?
John Zawaski: I would absolutely encourage other JBC staff to pursue the PMP Certification. I learned a lot about the project management process through earning my PMP that is useful in my day to day activities. By the second time through studying the PMP Official Guide, I implemented several practices on the projects I manage that were taken straight out of the Guide. I would recommend reading and knowing the PMP Project Management Standards, even if you are not yet technically qualified to sit for the exam.
JBC: How will our clients and projects benefit from you having gone through the PMP certification process?
John Zawaski: There are many ways clients and projects benefit from project managers having a PMP Certification. Two specific examples I would like to mention are ethics and experience. A significant amount of the PMP testing requires the person sitting for the exam to answer situational questions. The PMP Certification emphasizes proper ethics, with trust and integrity at the core of ethics. In order to pass the exam you have to answer situational questions that display your knowledge and application of proper ethics. By having attained a PMP Certification the clients of JBC will know that the project manager leading their project has at least the minimal experience and education required for the certification process. By seeing the letters PMP following a project manager’s name, the clients can feel a sense of ease at knowing their project is in the hands of an ethical, experienced leader.
JBC: Do you have any words of wisdom for someone planning on taking the exam?
John Zawaski I would tell others to read and understand the most up to date version of the PMP Guide, and the Rita Mulcahy PMP Exam Prep Book. I recommend reading through each at least three times. Another necessity is to answer as many PMP exam simulation questions as you can before you sit for the exam. There are a number of websites that have practice tests available. The last bit of wisdom would be to know that passing the exam requires more than just memorizing technically correct answers. A lot of the questions on the exam will have 2 and sometimes 3 correct choices out of 4 options. The key to passing the test it to choose the most correct answer. The only way to know the most correct answer is to develop the mindset of a Project Management Professional. The correct mindset means that you are able to break down situational questions to understand what part of the project management process you are in before you choose your answer.
On encouraging others to pursue the PMP Certification, Scott Schaeffer, shared the following.
Scott Schaeffer: I would highly recommend pursuing it. I’m a strong believer in professional certifications because I think they show professional commitment, a specified level of knowledge, and a presumption of technical expertise; all of which gives our clients the confidence that our staff has the proven ability to manage a project to a successful completion…..which in the end, is the ultimate goal for all of us.
There is huge value to this certification not just in the transportation industry that we work in, but also many industries such as Aerospace, Energy, Oil, Gas, Healthcare, IT and Telecom, Pharmaceutical and Utilities. All these industries have one thing in common; they all have projects that have similar phases of Initiation, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing. Having the PMP Certification gives clients and customers the confidence that you have the experience, education and real life experience to guide any type of project to a successful completion.
I just want to personally congratulate John on obtaining this certification. I know firsthand he was extremely committed to obtaining this, as he is with all things, and that he put the time and effort into the preparation. I’m very proud to see him reach his goal and have another PMP on the JBC team.
Well done, John!