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How To Avoid An Audit Of The PMP Application Process?
2015-06-21 12:02:01
Gregory Stobart
Unimaple Technology Ltd.

By Samkit Shar

Are you a PMP aspirant looking to avoid an audit of your PMP application? If so, you have landed on the right blog post. I was working on my other blog post describing my journey of how I went on to become a certified Project Management Professional. Half way through it I realized that the PMP application process by itself deserves a separate mention. I was originally planning on including the details of how to avoid an audit in the PMP application process in that post. But then, I figured out that many aspiring PMP candidates might find this information useful as a separate blog post.

Click here to download a free eBook guide for the step-by-step instructions on the PMP Application process.

Click here to download an eBook on PMP experience descriptions (comes with 20 usable project work experience templates + 1 actual PMP work experience sample.

Also check out these different PMP material available for purchase and download:

Through different forums I have come across many people who face a lot of issues when it comes to writing their PM experience. Add to it, you are given only 500 words to describe what you did on a project and still sound legit. This post will give you an overview on how to approach this important step of filling out your PMP application. I was one of the many (or few) lucky ones for not being selected for an audit of my PMP application.

PS: I would like to put in a small disclaimer here, that the content described in this blog post is not the ONLY way one can approach the PMP application process. You might find better ways elsewhere. I would be more than happy to hear back from you in the comments section at the end of this post below. Also following the content in this post does not ensure your application won’t be selected for an audit. This post is to just help you prepare better! 

The PMP Application Process

After registering to be a PMI member, your next tough job would be to sit down and go through the PMP application process. You can find all the details to apply for your PMP certification on this page. It is highly recommended to apply online for faster processing. Remember, unless your PMP application is not reviewed and approved, you cannot schedule the PMP exam date. So be careful in what you write in your application to unnecessarily prolong your process of scheduling the PMP exam.

What are the basic requirements to complete a PMP application?

  • You need a time-phased overview of your entire PM experience across 5+ years.
  • You need details about your involvement as a PM in each of the project. Remember your description needs to fit the mandate of 500 words.
  • You need to identify how your experience covers the 5 knowledge areas of PMP, which are – Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling and Closing.
  • You also need to provide legit and verifiable descriptions about your PM experience. Remember to come up with hours that can be assigned to each of the 5 knowledge areas wherever applicable.
  • And finally, you also need 35 contact hours.

The Initial Ground Work

  • I started my PMP application process by listing the entire PM experience I have had for the past 5+ years. I used a spreadsheet and wrote only the project titles.
  • Then for each project title, I came up with 3 to 5 lines describing my involvement within each project. Do not worry if the word count is more than 500 to begin with. You will be revisiting this content later on.
  • I then went on to indicate the precise start and end dates for each project. You might find yourself working on multiple projects simultaneously. Do not skip those projects.  Let it overlap as that will give you different choices of which projects to include.
  • Through this exercise I had – the start date, the end date, project name, details about my relevant PM experience and a rough estimate of the total hours for that project.
  • I also had identified hours across the 5 knowledge areas. Remember, PMI does not require you to have experience in each of these areas for each of your project. For example – You might be involved only in the Initiating and Closing aspects of one project. That still counts as legit PM experience.
  • You also need to put in information about your boss, manager, peers or any other relevant person who would serve as a contact for each particular project.

The Deep Dive

  • Now, once you have the initial layout on the drawing board, it comes down to encompassing your details in the 500 word limit.
  • One aspect I found very useful was to create a glossary of 15 to 20 PMP related words to define my experience in a professional manner.
  • For example – One can come up with words like scope, stakeholders, risks, constraints, assumptions, deliverable, closure, archives, status updates etc. You can find such useful terms here.
  • Try to use these terms while describing your involvement within each project.
  • While carving this description, identify how much of your experience is applicable across the 5 knowledge areas. Assign specific hours to those areas.

Sounding Legit and Assuring Buy-in

  • Remember, if your application gets selected for an audit, you would be responsible to prove what you wrote under each project’s experience.
  • So it is of utmost importance that you run these descriptions through your contact who overlooked you during that particular project.
  • I setup a meeting with my contacts and went over each of the 500 words carefully to gain their buy-in. What you might feel is legit might not sound the same to your contact. So make sure they are OK with what you are writing.
  • The idea here is to make your contact person comfortable to sign off on the audit documents (if the needs arise), indicating that they agree to the work that you performed on a particular project.

Obtaining 35 Contact Hours

  • One might wonder how to go about getting these required 35 contact hours? You might be surprised but even reading this post might qualify you for maybe 0.5 contact hour. I would leave that discussion to a future post I might come up with explaining how to earn your PDUs post PMP certification.
  • For now, you need to get hold of these 35 contact hours in order to finish your application and submit it for review. You cannot bypass this requirement.
  • I went through one of the Simplilearn online course to get hold of my 35 contact hours. You can find the details here. There are many such options available online but I found this to be the most popular and recommended ones.

What else?

That’s about it! In summary, you need 35 contact hours, 500 words worth of PM experience details for each of your projects, legit contact information and buy-in for your performed work and that’s about it! You are all set to hit the submit button and keep your fingers crossed to get approved and accepted.

Once your application is approved, you can proceed to schedule your PMP exam date. You might also want to review my other post here, which describes my journey on how to prepare to pass PMP on the first attempt!

If you have suggestions, tips and ideas to add onto this post, feel free to share them in the comments section below! Good Luck with your PMP journey!By Samkit Shah | June 7, 2013 By Samkit Shah | June 7, 2013

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