Which Planning Certification?

In this blog, I’ll share my experience on how I prepared and passed PMI-SP certification exam. I chose to write PMI-SP for very personal reasons and I suggest before you decide on which Planning & Scheduling certification to go for, you should ask yourself why you need a certification and which certification will best meet that objective. A good source for information on the different Planning & Scheduling certifications is Mosaic website and if you have the time and resources, you might consider going for more than one certification.

PMI-SP Eligibility & Application

For PMI-SP eligibility and application process, best place to go is PMI-SP certification page on PMI website and you will find the most up to date application prerequisites and cost.

Preparing for & Taking PMI-SP Exam

The exam is for experienced Planners & Schedulers to showcase their skills and I'd recommend having 3 to 5 experience working in a project environment where project management principles especially planning principles are adhered to as the practical experience will come in handy during the exams. Note that the exam is not based on any Planning tool, so you do not need to be an expert in P6, MS Project or Safran etc. before sitting for the exam.

I work full time so I gave myself 2 months to prepare for the exams and the 2 months turned out to be adequate in my case. I read for at least 1 hour every day and with 1 week to the exam I increased it to 2 to 3 hours a day.

My reading materials were:
  1. PMBOK Guide 5th Edition by PMI
  2. Practice Standard for Scheduling 2nd Edition by PMI
  3. PMP Exam Prep: Questions, Answers & Explanations, 2013 Edition by  Christopher Scordo
  4. Project Planning and Scheduling by Gregory T. Haugan
  5. PMP Exam Prep: Accelerated Learning to Pass PMI's PMP 8th Edition by Rita Mulcahy
I used the first month to read the whole of PMBOK & Practice Standard for Scheduling and then used the second month to practice questions from Scordo & Mulcahy books on following knowledge areas from PMBOK.

  1. Chapter 4: Project Integration Management (Project Charter and the role of scheduler in Project Closure)
  2. Chapter 5: Project Scope Management as it relates to schedule
  3. Chapter 6: Project Time Management (whole chapter)
  4. Chapter 7: Project Cost Management (EVM: Practice all the calculations. These are the most common questions in the test, lost count of the number of times these questions popped up. If you use EVM at work, these questions should be easy.
  5. Chapter 10: Project Communications Management (especially how to calculate number of communication channels)
  6. Chapter 11: Project Risk Management (especially role of scheduler in schedule risk analysis)
  7. Chapter 13: Project Stakeholder Management (general overview)

An area I didn’t read about before the exam was about Resource Productivity Index & Resource Availability but my years of experience came in handy when answering this question so would suggest you read about Resource Productivity Index from any good Planning textbook.