Friday, February 12, 2016

Precipice

Standing at the edge of a precipice
You wonder, should I jump or just walk away?
The promise of change is luring you to leap on faith
But the breath of difference brings fear to your heart

I wonder why I am afraid to jump
Is the idea of failure that strong?
But victory does not come to the weak
One must hold it and take a chance

I have to believe that anything new is not a foe
That I will manage and persevere regardless
How can I inspire belief and trust from others
When I tremble at the idea of taking a different turn

Jump. Stay.

What happens now is up to you.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

My Journey Towards PMP Certification

A few days before end of August, I suddenly made a decision to get a PMP certification.  I've done the study group a year before (Mar - June) so it has been a while.

When the project I was managing at that time went live, as I was mostly in the office for moral support and other admin help, I filled up my application and submitted it on the same day.  I did prepare beforehand in a spreadsheet the necessary hours I spent for each project, phase I have handled in the past few years.

In early September, I scheduled my exam (November 6) as it was in line with a planned vacation so I figured I will have enough time to prepare.

Or so I thought.

I have to admit that I was arrogant enough to try taking a mock exam (Oliver Lehmann's 175 free sample questions -- printed).  I have been a project manager for almost four years so I figured that it should count for something.  Of course, I failed miserably, garnering 58% correct answers.  

After that, I read Rita Mulcahy's book.  It definitely is a book one can depend on as it provides good explanations and not just trying to bore you to death with theoretical details.  The PMBOK, I'm sorry, is just so boring. I love to read but that was a very difficult challenge for me.  So in the time I have to prepare myself, I did not, in any instance, read the PMBOK.

They said you should read RITA at least 2 or 3 times. I didn't have the time as I was thrown in into one project or another.

Couple it with a trip to London that totally changed my schedule.

After reading Rita's book, I then moved to doing mock exams using iPhone apps.  And I had several.  A number of them were crap so I deleted them at once.

The best one I would recommend is the PMPro application.  It is not perfect.  It has a number of editing errors (which I advised them already to correct).  But based on the ones I've seen, this is quite a good one.  

Pros
  • It allows you to do a mock PMP, a full PMP or test by Knowledge group
  • It saves results
  • You can save ongoing exam and come back to it again (there is a bug with the full PMP as it saves once but goes back to the first saved number every time)
  • The tests are quite good especially on understanding the formulas.  I am telling you, the easiest part of the PMP exam for me were when I had to do calculations.  I aced that. And all because of this app
  • The format of the exams were close to the actual PMP exam I took -- so I was not really surprised
  • There is in most cases, an accompanying explanation for the answers.  So this helped me to further understand and not just memorise things

Cons
  • The full exam is a bit pricey at I think around $12++ but if i can spend so much more on my games, I think this is something I should shell out money for 
  • Lots of editing errors. Some of the sentences are missing first letters
  • Some of the questions overflow to the answers
  • Some of the questions have no question and you have to deduce the answer based on the options
It does have a number of bugs but it definitely was a very useful tool for understanding the concepts and getting to know the formulas and gauging how ready you are.

Similar questions also came in the PMP test I took so it was a bonus.

Other exams I took include the 75 question from an online test by Oliver Lehmann and the PMP First exam (printed).   But other than that, the main one I relied on was PMPro.  

I did try some of the exams from PMPocketFree ($3+ for one full exam).  However, it is all theory, not much of calculations like PMPro, no explanation and you cannot save exams for later.  But there are some questions there that also helped me so I give it a small credit. 

So, by now I think you would have guessed that I passed my exam.   

I would recommend reading Rita (although I saw Head First also and it looked like a good book too) several times!  And really understand, not just memorise. 

Also, take a lot of practice exams!  It really is key to your success in getting PMP certified.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Seeing Double

I am half of an identical twin.  My friends already know this but there's always someone who would tap me on my shoulder or wave at me thinking I am my twin.  And it happens to her too.  Especially since we work and live at the same area.

Some would automatically be able to see the difference between us, but oftentimes, it takes a while before we can be differentiated easily.

We may look alike but we cannot be more different to each other.

I like rock/alternative music and she likes pop. Bleh.

She's nicer, friendlier while I am more aloof, preferring to observe and don't open up easily.

She loves to socialise while I prefer to curl up at home and read a book.  Not that she doesn't like reading books because I think my love of reading has rubbed off on her too.

She flares up faster and although I do too, my tolerance is a bit higher than her.

She's prettier.  But I am smarter.  he he.

I am so glad that the two of us never had the inclination to compete.  We knew what our strengths were and we complement each other.

Having a twin means always having someone on your side.  Someone who would never judge you or your decisions.  Someone who would always tell the truth and make you realise your mistakes.

Having a twin is having a friend for life.  Here's to my other half of the egg.  Muah!



Thursday, March 19, 2015

New Girl

I switch in and out between watching TV series and reading books.  And there are days when I just binge on watching TV series especially when I am on vacation.

After exhausting a number of my favourite TV series, I finally got to watching New Girl.  Some people find this series a bit overwhelming but I love it! I find it so ridiculous that in each episode, I am sure to laugh out loud.

Last night, I watched episode 18 of season 1 and I was laughing long and hard that I thought I was going to wake up my sleeping daughter. And I'm sure I'm getting a lot of funny stares from the passengers in the bus and earlier today during lunch because I would just suddenly laugh out loud.

I still have a long way to go before I finish it since this series is already at season 4.  I just hope it continues to be as ridiculous as it is now so that I have more reasons to laugh.  I need it these days.  :)


image courtesy of fanpop.com

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Morning Thoughts....

I like being a project manager.  I've always love to plan and I consider myself as an organised person.  I've poured my past 3+ years working on projects in my comfort zone.  I knew I did better as a PM because I know the environment and the application.

When I first ventured into the PM world, I jumped right on to it regardless of how little I know and we made things happen because I've got the right people helping me.  The number of bets people had on my first project not going live would have made anyone rich.  Even the vendor of the application we're implementing didn't think we can do it. But we did.  Albeit, with a lot of problems and a LOT of sacrifices, but we did.

In this new project that I was given, I feel again the same feeling I had when I first started as a PM.  There is an ice in my heart that I can only attribute to fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of failing.

I know next to nothing about the applications and the key players.  But I wanted to challenge myself in doing a project that's not in my comfort zone.

And of course it's not smooth sailing.  I've been belittled, maybe not directly but the inference was made, because I don't know the application we're implementing.  But as a PM, I don't need to be an expert. I just need the right people beside me to help me make a decision.

Little by little, I am making sense out of the new world I am in.  But the path to this world is fraught with challenges.  Right now there's little that's confirmed as we wait for decisions to be made from the top.

I need to constantly motivate myself or lose the battle and give up.




Who am I kidding.  I've never been someone who gives up easily.  But it doesn't mean it will not frustrate me.  I really hope things get clearer sooner than later.  I need to feel inspired again and excited about what I do.  And lately that has been missing a lot.  Let's hope it comes back soon.....



image courtesy of Addicted2Success.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 13

When I saw the man, the first thing I noticed was his grand clothes.  He looked out of place standing there under the fierce glare of the sun.

He introduced himself as MIkhail Rennard, part of the family who owns the land I work in.  The family does not make a habit of visiting the fields. Not like their grand patriarch, Jacob, who used to roam the fields daily.

 When he stated the reason behind his visit, I was left stunned. He proposed that we swap our lives for one month.  I will live in the big old house at the top of the hill while he till the land that I take care of daily.  It was part of the will left by his grandfather Jacob before he can inherit the whole lot. 

It seemed too good to be true.  How can anyone just hand over a life that I have always dreamed of in exchange for the dreary world I live in?

Character.  That’s what MIkhail’s grandfather wants him to build.  And Jacob thought a month of hard work would make MIkhail appreciate more the simple things in life.

I’d live like a King even for a month.  Whether Mikhail gets what he needs is irrelevant.



Whetting Interrupted, 1894. Public domain painting by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Warm Up Wednesday - The Climb



Falling down is easy. It's the climb up that's a challenge. How he got into this mess is a mystery. He woke up amidst strange smell and sound. When he opened his eyes he realized that he was sleep walking again. 

Everyday it's a different location, a different scenario. He tried to avoid it but no matter what he do, this affliction hits him every time sleep claims him. 

Now he need to figure out how to get out of the cave he fell into. Armed with nothing but just his pajamas, he hope he can find his way home. 


photo credit:  Milf Thrill Seeker. CC photo by darkday.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Flash! Friday : Vol 3 - 10


He came to her in the cover of night. And as the last remnants of light fade, she knew she shouldn’t let him stay.

“You have to go.”

He looks back at her with beseeching eyes.  Silently pleading that she changes her mind.

“No. Don’t look at me like that.  I have made up my mind. You have to be strong and brave like a gladiator.  You can survive without me.”

She walks away and willed herself to not look back. And as tears glide down her face, she is surprised by the ache in her heart.

Suddenly a piercing cry filled the night.  And she realized he is fighting off a group of bullies who think him weak just because he is alone.

She ran as fast as she can to save him but just before she could get to him, it was all over.

True to her advise, he fought off the bullies with a fierceness that only a true gladiator possesses.

She holds him in her arm and hugs him tight.

And as she walks toward her makeshift bed at the corner of the abandoned building, she held on to him like he is the most precious thing in the world.  He is hers.  Her gladiator. 


“Meeeeoooowwwww”



The above is my post for the Flash! Friday contest. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

3WW - Week No. 414 - Devious Frown Venomous

It started off as an ordinary day.

He was minding his own business and just going about his routine.  Suddenly, his mobile phone beeps signifying the receipt of a message.

“You are so full of yourself.  I can’t believe that you would betray me like that!  You better not show up at Marco’s or I would seriously harm you.”

He then frowns.  What’s with the venomous message?  It came from an unknown number so he is totally dumbfounded on the reason behind it.

He then got a devious idea.  He started typing a reply.

“I definitely think I am full of myself.  In fact, that is very obvious in the 75-kilo weight that I carry around.  But I seriously doubt that you can harm me when I don’t even know who this Marco is.”

Message sent. 

He was just in the midst of getting back to his routine when another beep breaks the silence.

“Oh. Sorry.  Wrong number.”

He started to smile and ended up laughing.  He found it so amusing that the people around him have started to stare.

It was an ordinary day.   But the misdirected message at least changed that a bit and gave him something to laugh about.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Warmup Wednesday - The Mission

It's my first time to join Warmup Wednesday. The challenge is to write about the photo in 100 words and it must end with the word 'peace'.  Challenge accepted.


The Mission

As dusk falls and the warm light of the day starts to fade, a boat glides silently from shore.

On it, the six heavily armed men wait patiently to reach the boat anchored five miles away.  It seemed like an eternity but it has only been a few minutes since they started this mission.

An elite group selected for their ability to think on their feet and adapt to any situation, their leaders are not taking any chance and ensured they have the best.


After all, what they want to achieve is not an easy feat: a chance for peace.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

3WW: Desire Shiver Wilt

I always like these writing prompts as it allows me to think, to be creative in my writing.  Lately, I have not been doing much of that.  The writing, not the thinking.  :)  But every now and then I'd like to challenge myself.  I'm a bit late for this Wednesday prompt but I still want to try.  So here goes....   


A fleeting glance
A blatant stare
A marked look that sends shivers down my spine

The desire to ignore is strong
But curiosity got the better of me

Empty space greets me as I turn
And my heart skips a beat because it may be too late

There at the end of the alley, the glimpse of red gave me hope
Only for that hope to wilt and crumble as I realize
He is gone....