Project Management Institute of Orange County—The First Combined PMP/CAPM Workshop

All day I’ve been working on the combined PMP/CAPM Workshop that the Orange County, California chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI-OC) is putting on starting this Saturday and continuing for 7 consecutive weeks in total.

Today was the launch of the workshop, and as a member of the PMP/CAPM Workshop Committee at PMI-OC I was happy that the first workshop that took place this morning went forward without too many glitches.   This afternoon I dealt with a lot of the paperwork in getting student rosters updated, preparing instructor materials to be sent out, etc.

But the reason why I’m writing this post is to explain why this workshop is different than all the ones that PMI-OC has done in the past: it’s because this workshop is the first combined PMP/CAPM workshop. In the past the workshop was put on solely for those preparing for the Project Management Professional or PMP certification exam. But in the past six months, PMI has been aware of the increasing demand for the Certified Associate in Project Management or CAPM certification.  The CAPM certification is for those who either do not have any project management experience and want to become project managers, or for those who have some experience but not quite enough to qualify for the PMP exam.

There was some internal debate within PMI-OC about the two options: to create a separate CAPM workshop in parallel to the PMP workshop, or to do a combined PMP/CAPM workshop. For reasons of shared resources, among others, a combined PMP/CAPM workshop was the route chosen by PMI-OC for this next workshop. However, how would the PMP and CAPM students work together, especially in study groups?   That was one of my main concerns going forward.

Since one of my roles in the workshop besides being instructor liaison is to help the students in the class form study groups, my concern was whether there should be separate PMP and CAPM study groups. Would the CAPM students be overwhelmed by dealing with PMP-level questions, or would the PMP students feel bored or held back by questions from the CAPM-level students? I was thinking about this issue, but then a fellow member of the committee asked me, “well, why don’t you just ask the CAPM students?”

I did, and two of them said they wanted to be in the PMP study groups because they would learn things from those who were actually practicing project managers. That was an answer that was good to hear, but not totally unexpected. What I didn’t expect was that two of the PMP students said they were looking forward to having a CAPM student in their study groups because they would ask good questions, and they wouldn’t have the problem PMP students often have of comparing what they do at work in a certain knowledge area with what the PMBOK® recommends. The CAPM students are “clean slates” in that regard and won’t be facing any mental confusion about “well, we don’t do it at that way where I work!” That was an answer I hadn’t expected it, and I thought it was interesting enough to do a post about it.

The CAPM and PMP students therefore chose to be in the same study session, and we only divided the students up by geographical area, not by “scope” in terms of what exam they were studying for.

I’m looking forward to monitoring the student groups to see how it turns out. Plus I intend to ask the instructors how the Q&A sessions change with having the CAPM students around. Should be an interesting workshop…

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