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Professional Development

Welcome to Professional Development blogs category. Idea of this section is to help ECPM professional to achieve their continued professional development. The focus upon the discussion of various certifications programs available to ECPM and how to accomplish them.

What is Planning and Scheduling?

We know Time is Money. Time is one of the constraint of Project Management Triangle (also called Triple Constraint or the Iron Triangle). Timely completion is one of the criterion that defines success of a project. Planning and Scheduling is one of the key the knowledge area in Project Management of the Engineering, Construction and Project  Management (ECPM). Applying Planning and Scheduling tools and techniques, if not guarantee, but for sure increases the probability of on-time project delivery. Being a mission critical role in ECPM projects, Planning and Scheduling professionals are paid higher than their same experience peers.

In ECPM industry, Planning and Scheduling is sub-function in Project Controls. Project Controls encompasses, planning and controls of both time and cost. Planning and Scheduling function, however, in a typical ECPM project consists of project planning in term of construction methods & time, preparation of project baseline schedule & its approval, applying baseline updates, project performance measurement, and performing delay analysis, if needed. A proficient Planning and Scheduling professional should possess skills and knowledge in Project Management basics, Critical Path Methods (CPM), Earned Value Management (EVM) and related knowledge areas. 

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After Critical Path Method (CPM), Earned Value Management (EVM) is probably the most important and needed project management tool. In Engineering, Construction and Project Management (ECPM) world where the need to deliver project with the budget and timeframe is increasing forever, it will not be an exaggeration to say that EVM knowledge is a must have tool for all the ECPM professional – this is in spite of the fact that if you work for Project controls and Project Management department or not.  

Every day, every project faces questions from internal and external stakeholders like: Is project on schedule?  How much money we have spent till date? Is project is still within the budget? If it not on budget, how much is budget overrun? Can we recover from current budget overrun? How much we need to spend more to complete the project? If not on schedule, how much we are behind? If project scope is managed effectively?

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Business means being profitable. Like any other business, one of the business objectives of any Engineering, Construction and Project Management (ECPM) enterprise or project is to be profitable.
 
Effective cost management is the prime focus to let the business keep making a profit. Cost management in ECPM is more challenging than other businesses. This is due to the fact that the cost management in ECPM industry is not merely business economics, finance management, and accounting, but it also covers a knowledge domain of engineering and project management. This leads to rather a new discipline that encompasses knowledge areas of engineering, cost management, and project management together, with primarily focus on bottomline of an enterprise or a project. This discipline is Cost Engineering.
 
"Cost engineering is the engineering practice devoted to the project cost management, involving such activities as estimating, cost control, cost forecasting, investment appraisal, and risk analysis."[1] "Cost Engineers budget, plan, and monitor investment projects. They seek the optimum balance between cost, quality and time requirements."[2]
 
Certified Cost Professional (CCP) is a globally recognized certification in the field of Cost Engineering. This certification is administered by Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) International. AACE International is US based nonprofit organization. They claim to be The authority of Total Cost Management™. Since 1956, AACE International has been the leading-edge professional society for cost estimators, cost engineers, schedulers, project managers, and project control specialists.
 
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PMP is probably the most recognised and sought after certification in the project management knowledge domain. Several thousand professional has been certified as project management professional (PMP) and other thousands are striving for it. Let me share my experience as a trainer, as well as a certified PMP, on how to acquire PMP certification in first try.
 

Focus: 

Focus is one of the keys to achieve anything. Based on my experience as trainer I can tell you, the very low ratio of those who thought of obtaining PMP certification, to those who eventually succeed in obtaining PMP certification is mainly due to lack of focus.

Say for example, 20 people think of taking PMP certification. Out of these 20, only half of them go for boot camps or take any online course to take 35 PDUs. Out of 10 those have taken the lecture or classes only two take the exam and generally both of them make it to PMP in first try or in rare case, at most two tries. Those who focused on the certification eventually acquired it.
 
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