Don’t Listen to the Nay-Sayers
Recently it came to my attention that a company wrote a blog post “5 Reasons NOT (their emphasis) to take a PMP® Boot Camp for Your PMP® Exam Preperation. While they may have some valid points, I would like to refute them with plain common sense. This is not to say I think they were wrong to publish their opinion, I would just like to counter-point them with where I agree and disagree with them. Isn’t that the American way?
1. They claim PMP boot camps are too expensive. I agree and disagree. But first, let’s discuss why so many are so expensive. Location. With so many companies being overseas, taking advantage of the piggy bank we call the USA (not that I blame them in any way), they have to make at least some profit. But this is not just overseas, but also national companies that operate here in the United States.
Why? It is expensive to rent training space in the major metro area such as Washington D.C. and it is just as expensive to fly-in an instructor or hire a freelance instructor to teach in these classes. This is why they have such huge prices- from huge overhead costs.
In the Washington D.C. area, a company like PMCertDC is local, has three classrooms (Urbana, MD, Tysons, VA, and Washington D.C.) and the co-owner of the company also does the teaching. We rent space on a full-time basis and never have to import an instructor. This also means that a student can retake the courses as many times as necessary to feel confident they will pass on the first attempt- all at no extra costs!
2. They claim PMP boot camps are inconvenient. Again, I agree and disagree. But it depends again if you are using a local company or not. This again comes down to overhead economics. International and national companies have to run their courses four day straight in the middle of the week or risk losing more money (which is why many of their classes get cancelled or you are forced to take another course later). It is less expensive to fly-in an instructor once and lodge them in the middle of the week than it is to hold weekend boot camps (usually two Saturdays and Sundays in a row) and pay for multiple flights and weekend hotel rates. But local companies such as PMCertDC do not run into this problem. Local companies can hold weekend courses at a reasonable price because they are local. Additionally, non-local companies have to pay higher rates for weekend conference space.
3. They claim project management boot camps focus on “rote memorization”. First of all, this is true of all PMP training to some extent. The examination is a standard test with all multiple choice questions. So knowing the terms is based off of some rote memorization. This is unavoidable.
They are correct that most boot camps depend only on rote memorization. That is why PMCertDC chose to exist. We license material that is top of the line and actually teach you project management from a story perspective. Our curriculum follows a fictitious new project manager named John from beginning of a project throughout the end. The material we use has 25 case studies on John throughout a fictitious project. This way the students get an overall view of project management.
Additionally, most curriculum teach the processes in the chapter order found in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) which is not logical for a projects progression. PMCertDC’s curriculum purposely teaches the material in a logical order. This way the student is not going off rote memorization during the exam, but really understanding where each question falls in on the process chart.
4. They claim boot camps have limited schedules and openings. Yes. And so do colleges and universities. Time is finite. In fact, it is one of the major constraints taught in project management. A local company will have many more training opportunities to choose from and will never cancel a course. Because a company is local, they will normally have more classes in the local area than a national or international company.
5. They claim boot camps focus on passing the exam and not on teaching PM concepts. That is the point of a boot camp. However, I do agree that boot camps should also teach concepts as well. A good boot camp will do both. But at the end of the day, PMP boot camps (and to a lesser extent CAPM boot camps) are for those who have some or lots of experience in project management already and are their to learn the standards and terminology agreed upon in the PMBOK. Through PMI events and attaining professional development units or PDUs, one gets to delve deeper into the theory of project management.
Additionally, most project management education is derived by working in the field under more experienced Project Management Professionals. As stated above, after passing the certification, keeping the certification is predicated upon attaining 60 additional hours of project management PDUs. This ensures up to date knowledge and understanding trends in the profession.
While I enjoyed their article, I do believe it was created to generate buzz for search engine optimization rankings as the company that wrote the article sells training via recorded presentations at a lower price. However, most would agree that learning in a live environment is much more effective due to explicit knowledge (with live question and answers) and tacit knowledge delivered by being in the presence of fellow learners. Read 8 Red Flags to Avoid When Choosing a PMP Training Provider for more on the issues of pre-recorded training and why companies try to sell these course.
Bottom line, there is an old saying “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. While there are indeed companies that are in the business to merely make a profit, there are good solid companies that hold great PMP boot camps that are highly educational and good for any candidate wishing to further their career.
Nathan J. Kerr, MS, PMP is the co-owner and founder of PMCertDC – Washington D.C.’s metro area premier project management boot camp provider. With locations in Frederick / Urbana, MD, Tysons, VA, and Washington D.C., we hold classes throughout the metro area and anywhere online. We are a proud Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business with a huge impact on the project management world. Visit us at https://pmcertdc.com
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