We’ve run two of the AIPMO IPMO-Expert level courses so far this year (check out when the next course takes place) and I caught up with one our delegates – a newly qualified AIPMO IPMO-Expert level PMO Manager – to find out what they thought about the course.
Here are a number of the questions we chatted about:
What did you think about the course content prior to starting the course?
“Initial thoughts were about the course actually looking quite difficult – but in a good way! There is definitely nothing else available in the marketplace that compares to it and there are certainly a lot of areas in the modules that were new. What appealed was the in-depth knowledge available; that there was a lot of research led theories and also a sense of robustness about it.
It was also pitched right for me. Having worked in the PMO for several decades I was looking for something that reflects that but also something that would give me new insights; new approaches, techniques and tools. That kind of thing.”
“I was a bit concerned about the exam, to be honest! Put that aside and I liked the idea of taking a case study throughout the course. That kind of learning appeals to me.
Gaining more knowledge in PMO was definitely a big plus as well as being able to meet other likeminded people on the course and learn from them too.
I had a feeling that although I think I know quite a lot about PMOs I knew there was going to be things I didn’t know and I was looking forward to that.
I was also looking forward to immersing myself in PMO and self-development for a week. It’s not something I’ve done for a while, and certainly never before in a PMO specific course.”
What part of the course did you enjoy the most?
“There were a few areas I liked, setting up a PMO; the various options and the best ways to do that featured highly.
I enjoyed the case study and certainly the interaction with others on the course was great too.
My focus at the moment at work is all about portfolio management so the areas where we touched on this – choosing the portfolio; prioritisation, the vision – all of that kind of stuff was great for me”
Did the course stretch you, make you think differently?
“Yes to both of those. This course is not a straightforward “teacher stands up, imparts some knowledge, we make notes and then move on”. It’s definitely a case of thinking and working through what you’re learning with each other – both through conversation and debate as well as exercises such as those in the case study.
The exam, although an important part, was not the main focus throughout the week. We weren’t learning to pass an exam. We had time to learn new theories and how they work in reality. It was about using these insights and thinking about how they can work within the organisation – any organisation.”
“It is in terms of some external validation of something I’ve been working within for years. I think it will be also good for me when it comes to new job opportunities. I know it’s not a well known certification yet but I’m confident that it will be a talking point when it comes to interviewing for new roles.
It’s also important to me that it is a certification that reflects where I am in my career – I’ve only got a few project management related certifications, PRINCE2 for one – and had nothing at all for PMO. I’m glad the Expert level is available and I didn’t need to start at the Foundation level and move up. Being selected for the Expert course based on my experience is a great approach – it also meant that the other people on the course were of a similar level.
So all in all, the AIPMO IPMO-Expert course doesn’t mean I’m an expert, yet it does show to the outside world that with this certification plus my experience, I’m someone who takes my career seriously”
What will you do differently in your role?
“Doing the course has actually made me rethink my whole approach. I’d like to do more consulting work in the future and I think the approaches to setting up different types of PMO will be used a lot. I have a feeling that the manual will be used a lot.
There were different techniques introduced too which I’ll definitely add to the way I do things in the future.
I’m also a lot more open to the continuous development of new thinking around PMOs too – the course opened my eyes to what researchers are working on right now and how those findings will help to shape what I do. I’ll be keeping up with developments that’s for sure.”
Anything else I should have asked you?
“I would really have loved it if it had been a residential course – we couldn’t stop talking in the group about the things we were learning and I think having the evening to do that would have been great. Perhaps you’ll consider that for the future?
I would certainly recommend the course to any leaders or managers in PMO who are wanting that external validation of a certification and at the same time having a course that really does stretch your thinking intellectually and at the same time cementing your current knowledge and practice too”
To find out more about the AIPMO IPMO-Expert course, read the overview, modules and download the brochure here.