My PMP Story. Emenike Ezekwesili PMP

My PMP Story. Emenike Ezekwesili PMP

I started this journey during my Executive MBA in 2016 where I had to choose an elective and chose Project Management. It was then I decided I was going to learn more. In the process, I got to know about the PMP® Certification. I dragged my feet between then and 2018 when I decided to take this seriously. I then began to research the criteria for the PMP® Certification, which included extensive project management experience, classroom time and the certification examination. I began to study, but it was like I was hitting a brick wall as a lot of it seemed too complex.

A colleague of mine who was a student of Mr Obalim at Ciel Consulting highly recommended his training school and I came over and made enquiries. The team advised on the specific materials to get and how to go about preparing for the exams. I registered for the classes in December 2018 with the plan to take the exam in March 2019.

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10 Essential Project Management Skills

1. Leadership

We have to start with the big daddy of them all – leadership. It’s a bit of a slippery skill in that some believe you’re born with leadership skills and that they can’t be taught. But we think everyone has the potential to learn how to apply proven leadership skills and techniques. After all, what’s the alternative? As a project manager you’re responsible not only for seeing the project through to a successful completion, but you’re leading a team to achieve that goal. This requires you to motivate and mediate when necessary. Remember that project leadership comes in different styles, one of which will suit your personality. It’s more than managing tasks; it’s managing people.

2. Communication

Communications really go hand-in-glove with leadership. You can’t be an effective leader if you’re not able to articulate what it is you need your team to do. But you’re not only going to be communicating with your team, you’ll need to have clear communications with everyone associated with the project, from vendors and contractors to stakeholders and customers. Whether that’s through reporting tools or fostering collaboration with chat, file sharing, and other means to tag discussions at the task level, you’re going to need both systems in place to facilitate communications. These tools also help connect people one-to-one and in group settings, such as meetings and presentations.

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Radio Presenter: Good morning. Today we are going to be discussing Importance of Certification in Career Development.

With us are Mary Adebusoye, she’s the General Manager of Ciel Consulting. Also with us is Obalim Esedebe - Senior Consultant of Ciel Consulting. Ciel Consulting is a Globally recognised training and certifications firm, with portfolios covering training, certifications, and consulting in Project Management, Business Analysis, Safety Courses, HR courses and IT Courses like ITIL, CEH and CISSP..

(Turns to the Ciel Team and asks)

So Mr. Obalim, I hear a lot about professional training and certifications. The trend and enthusiasm about these training have been on the increase in the last 5 years. Why the mad rush? What exactly is the value of these training and certifications? Why should I invest my time, effort and perhaps effort to get these certifications?

Obalim: Firstly, you would agree with me that having an ordinary university degree is never enough in today’s competitive world. In your career, you’ll be in stiff competition with people with advanced degrees, certifications and even foreign degrees of all sorts. The question is “what “extra” do you have to give you the advantage in your career?

When you consider the opportunities the world offers the certified professional, you’ll understand why a lot of people go for these certification programs. Firstly, there’s the income advantage. Certified professionals earn 20 - 25% on average more than their peers in the same industry. Then there’s more employment and promotion opportunities, not to talk about job security. You get to execute your work more effectively and efficiently, and become more noticeable to management. Then there’s international/global recognition for your certification, anywhere in the world. This would come in handy if you decide to relocate or migrate to any country of the world.

Radio Presenter: You raised a very important point. Speaking about global recognition and migration - I know a number of people who traveled to the US or Canada and had difficulty getting good jobs. Would you say not having a certification caused this prolonged period of difficulty?

Mary: Honestly, you cannot totally remove that factor. It’s unfortunate that our university degrees in Nigeria are not globally recognized. According to the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, there’s no local Nigerian university in the list of the top 600 universities in the world. This means that holding our degrees translate into more difficulty securing good jobs overseas. So basically, it would be to your advantage to have a certificate, academic or professional, that is globally recognized. Anywhere in the world, if you hold a PMP, or a CBAP, or a PHRI, professionals in that field instantly recognize you. The international labour market instantly recognizes you. These professional bodies have networking communities that can form the foundation for your networking activities. What’s there to lose? And we’ve not even started talking about the “Hot Cake” factor.


Radio Presenter: The “Hot Cake” factor? What’s that?

Obalim: There are numbers of awesome certification programs that pay wonderfully well in Canada and other Western countries. Business Analysts for instance earn between 80, 281 to 136, 400 Canadian dollars a year. Certified HR Managers earn as high as 130 000 Canadian dollars. They earn this much because these certifications - like business analysis, project management, human resources management and a number of these IT courses are very much in demand, owing to the nature of the business environment there. In fact, in the last 3 years, when we looked at data from our training programs, about 73% of training and certification participants were doing it, because they had plans or arrangements to relocate overseas. So a certification becomes a plus factor, and added attractiveness factor on their profiles.

Radio Presenter: Oh I see. So tell me; if I want to take a certification program, why should I come for Ciel Consulting. What is it I’d get from you that I can’t get from the numerous consulting outfits scattered around Lagos?

Mary: Firstly, our training and certification package is full and considers the end-to-end needs of our clients/participants. Yes, we provide training, but that’s just a small part of the package. And then you receive first-rate examination preparation materials (totaling about N60000 in value), you get to learn introductory Primavera, Project and Visio on the last day, depending on the program you applied for, you get a study program to maximize your study for the exam, and then exam preparation tests or boot-camp where we introduce you to as much past questions from the PMP/BA so that you are familiar with exam scenarios, and we also help with examination registration, career advice and CV rewrite.

Radio Presenter: Wait a minute. All of this is in one package?

Obalim: Yes. And there’s the added promise that if you come in for our classes and you’re not satisfied with what you get, we will give you a 100% refund of your money. That’s guaranteed!!!

Radio Presenter: how much does this package go for?

Obalim: It goes for only N69, 999 - the classes, the materials, including and examination preparation book, the career consulting, CV rewrite, examination registration, study program, Primavera, MS Project. For the Project Management package, it’s N69, 999. There’s also a package for Business Analysis, HRM, HSE, Facility Management and so forth. All of these can be accessed on our website, www., or you could call our helplines: 08091592389, or 08072678355.

Watch out for This Weeks Edition, Thursday 28th March. Thanks for listening in.

What is a Work Breakdown Structure?

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is often seen as the foundation of the project. Why is this so? This is because the Work Breakdown Structure reflects the entire scope baseline of the project, such that deliverable not incorporated into the WBS will not be part of the project.

What then is the WBS?

The WBS is a deliverable-oriented, functional decomposition of the project scope of work into hierarchically grouped work elements. The WBS shows the breakdown of work components (deliverable) into hierarchical levels resembling an organisational chart, but don’t be confused; it is NOT an organisational chart.

It serves a much different function from an organisational chart.

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4 Unavoidable States for all Successful Products and Services

Successful products and services start out as a basic project deliverable.

Deliverable go through 4 main states, According to the PMBOK 6, these are:

  1. The Deliverable

  2. The Verified Deliverable

  3. The Accepted Deliverable

  4. The Final Product, Service, or Transition

When do these states happen?

Manage and Direct Project Work:

The third process under the Integration Management Knowledge Area is the process where the deliverable is first created. It is very important to remember this. The deliverable, that first version of the product/service is created in Manage and Direct Project Work. This means that after we finish the Manage and Direct Project Work, we can boast of:

▪The completed building

▪The completed car

▪The completed iPhone X

▪The completed film footage

▪The completed manuscript for the novel

Manage and Direct Project Work gives us a first completed version of the product of the project. It is called the Deliverable.

Control Quality

The third process of the Quality Control Knowledge Area is where

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Another Tricky Question from the PMP Exams (And Why 99% of People Fail It)

Today's question would perhaps be all the more shocking, but pay attention, because hidden behind these tricky questions and answers are the fundamental and unshakable principles of project management.

Let's deal with the second question:

You are managing a software development project, and one of the developers tells you that he added a new feature that he heard the sponsor talking about in a hallway conversation. The developer did the work after hours and it does add a lot of value to the solution. How should you manage this?


A) Thank the developer for his hard work and communicate this as a ‘win’ in your next status report.

B) Document this as a Change Request and follow the Change Control process to ensure it is documented and approved.

C) As there were no costs incurred from the work and no schedule impact, you do not need to do anything.

D) Tell the developer to immediately back the change out as it was not approved and explain that any scope changes must be reviewed and approved before implementation.

What's your answer?

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Is Project Management the Most Practical Profession Ever?

I make it a “point of duty” to point out to my students and clients on project assignments how much project management is practical rather than conceptual.

Practical according to the online Oxford Dictionary is defined as: “of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas”.

Quite a chunk of career and professional development is steeped in ideas and concepts – management disciplines, business analysis, and several others are known to be concerned with the building of conceptual models.

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The PMP Exam Question NOBODY Gets Right (You'll Be Surprised Why)

The Question

John is managing a project. He conducted a risk assessment workshop with project stakeholders and  identified several risks. He is concerned about the amount of time it will take for quantitative and  qualitative risk analysis and to develop a risk response plan. What should John do?

A) As the risks were identified by project stakeholders, John needs to ensure that each risk follows the risk management processes.

B) John should use his expert judgement to decide which  risks warrant more complete risk analysis and response.

C) John should create a Probability and Impact matrix that determines risk thresholds for quantitative and qualitative risk assessments. He should apply this to his Risk Register and use that to determine which  risks need analysis and risk responses.

D) John should refer this decision to the project stakeholders who  can determine which risks merit response.

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9 Great Reasons to Choose a Project Management Career

When I met project management as a career, it was love at first sight. I already had an extensive background in banking, which was much more operational, and I was looking for something different to do with my life, plus some degree of independence.

I stumbled on project management, and it has always met my expectations for an ideal career, surpassing it, and enabling me have all the independence, fulfillment and satisfaction I need. These very points are what I intend to share with you about Project Management, and why it is a great career choice for you.

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5 Project Management Techniques to Avoid Project Failure

What is Project Failure?

project is considered a failure when it has not delivered what was required, in line with expectations. Therefore, in order to succeed, a project must deliver to cost, to quality, and on time; and it must deliver the benefits presented in the business case.


1. Manage the goal.

In avoiding project trouble the phrase “a stitch in time saves nine” has never been more correct. Manage scope (do not try to control it), document the decisions (never rely on an understanding), and give users what they need (rather than what they want). Delivering to the original scope, schedule, and budget is far from a guarantee of a successful project. It is essential to work with the customer and ensure the project delivers value.

2. Educate the Customer: Nothing is free.

There are three parameters that control a project—scope, schedule, and budget. Trying to edict all three is the definition of a failure waiting to happen. Only two of these attributes may be set; the other is derived. Educate the customer (and maybe some corporate executive) on these constraints and how they work.

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I took my PMP Exam and PASSED on first attempt.

In individual domains I got the following score –

  1. Initiating – Above Target

  2. Planning – Above Target

  3. Execution – Above Target

  4. Monitoring & Controlling – Above Target

  5. Closing – Target

It was a huge moment for me and had to take several hours after the exams to come to terms with the fact that the PMP certification is done and bagged.

In the last quarter of 2016, I enrolled into 3-week (weekend lectures) PMP Exam Prep Course organized by Ciel Consulting, led by Obalim, PMP.

After the training and successful group discussion, I keep my grips on the PMP studies and the enthusiasm and momentum began.

Then in the last quarter of 2017, while reading the success story of an exam taker, I got to know about the PMP HeadFirst Book.

Although my studies were very erratic, this PMP book stimulated my interest and kept me moving forward and I managed to complete the book.

This marked the beginning of my resolve to get the PMP certification.

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The Last Days of 2018...How Much More Can You Achieve in Less than 20 Days?

The Last Days of 2018...How Much More Can You Achieve in Less than 20 Days?

It's December 12th, only 21 days to 2019. Yesterday, I communicated with my friend and accountability partner on our yearly goals, and traded stories of our successes, losses and close misses through the years.

Together, we'd built an efficient system of goal setting and monitoring, recording percentages of accomplishments, variances, and counting down to our completion deadlines - all of which I'll share with you later this December.

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