PMI California Inland Empire Chapter



Increase your earning power with PMP and CSM certification!

No matter what services or products a business offers, its projects must be efficiently developed and delivered on time and within budget. Individuals who can cost effectively shepherd a project from inception to completion are in great demand in today's workplace.

More than ever, today's managers are asked to do more with less. Resources are scarce, deadlines are short and budgets have never been tighter. In this environment successful management of a project from beginning to end is difficult. It requires careful planning and the application of insightful strategies and cutting-edge concepts.

In today's challenging business environment, a company may fail if it can't develop and deliver competitive products or services on time. Certification will give you the skills and confidence to bring new products and services to market on time and on budget. The education you will receive through PMICIE’s PMP Exam Prep and Certified Scrum Master workshops will make you a more valued contributor to your organization and help your career advance.

Completing one of the certification workshops offered by PMICIE provides you a wide range of important benefits. The strategies and knowledge gained in the workshops will prepare you to pass the certification exams on the first try and obtain your certification designation.  Designations following your name demonstrates to current and potential employers that you possess a solid foundation of experience and education in project management that can have a positive impact on bottom-line results.  Project management certification is so important today that many organizations require their employees be certified in order to retain their positions.

Project Management Professional (PMP)®

The PMP® credential recognizes demonstrated knowledge and skill in leading and directing project teams and in delivering project results within the constraints of schedule, budget and resources. Certified Project Management Professionals are part of a successful group of practitioners who pursue this level of certification to enrich and advance their professional careers. Increasingly, many corporations require the credential for personal advancement within the organization or for initial employment.

Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM)®

The CAPM® credential recognizes a demonstrated understanding of the fundamental knowledge, processes and terminology as defined in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) that are needed for effective project management performance. If you’re a less experienced project practitioner looking to demonstrate your commitment to project management, improve your ability to manage larger projects and earn additional responsibility, and stand out to potential employers, the CAPM certification is right for you.

Certified Scrum Master (CSM)®

A Certified ScrumMaster® helps project teams properly use Scrum, increasing the likelihood of the project's overall success. CSMs understand Scrum values, practices, and applications and provide a level of knowledge and expertise above and beyond that of typical project managers. CSMs act as "servant leaders," helping the rest of the Scrum team work together and learn the Scrum framework. CSMs also protect the team from both internal and external distractions.

PMI-ACP: The certification for complex projects

I am one of eight in the PMI-CIE chapter to hold the PMI-ACP certification. That’s eight out of 349 members (2%). Compare that to 205 members holding the PMP (59%).

So what’s going on? Is the PMI-ACP difficult to obtain? Specialized? Unpopular? Undesirable? 


The Agile body of knowledge is unappreciated by the project management community, and this is to its detriment. The Agile framework is brilliant, and is superb for projects where the solution is complex and not perfectly defined. This is why Agile is so prominent in the software development field. With software, you typically know that the application should do this and that, but often the manifestation of the solution morphs as users get their hands on the software and provide feedback. 

Not a substitute for waterfall

Agile is not a substitute for traditional project management. Rather, it is a framework with methodologies that work really well on certain kinds of projects. As mentioned, software development is a perfect candidate for Agile. I build software solutions at my current job, and can attest that trying to apply traditional project management methods to the development process is very difficult and ineffective. I switched to Scrum (the most prevalent methodology under the Agile umbrella) about two years ago and have enjoyed much better results. 

Agile is not just for software, though. I worked on an email marketing improvement project last year. All the team knew was that performance could likely be improved, and there were some good (but unvalidated) ideas on the table for how to obtain those improvements. This element of learning then reacting is where Agile excels. Naturally, startups and product development fit this bill. I’ve also heard of Agile in journalism, teaching and even local government. 

By way of contrast, I recently started working on a project plan for moving my company from Google’s enterprise email platform to Microsoft’s cloud service, Office 365. The solution in this case is crystal clear, and the project team cuts across many different groups in the company. Careful planning and sequencing of events reveals a critical path that I can use to manage the project outcome. Agile would be ill-suited for this project mainly because my project team is not dedicated—rather, the organization is looking to me to coordinate the dispersed team. Agile is reliant on self-organizing teams. 

The sweet spot for an Agile project is complex, unvalidated solutions. And that’s where the PMI-ACP comes in. All test questions are framed as situations in an Agile environment where you, the Agile practitioner, must respond with the right mindset and understanding of Agile principles. This can be a challenge if you’re practiced in the PMP mindset. It’s not that one is better than the other; it’s that one is more appropriate than the other in a certain context. Agile doesn’t work very well when you apply a waterfall mentality, and vice versa.

Iterative vs. incremental

Perhaps the biggest departure from waterfall is the iterative (versus incremental) delivery of project deliverables. Traditionalists stumble over this concept because they are trained in a model that originated in the manufacturing and construction industries—where deliverables are physical and not easily changed. A good agilist doesn’t think incrementally. Instead, he’ll do a crude version of the solution from start to finish. His goal is to get something in the hands of the customer (or an internal proxy of the customer) so he can obtain feedback and learn from doing. That learning then informs the next iteration, which could be as short as two weeks. This iterative process continues until the solution is refined into something ideal, or pretty darn close to it.


I have come to really enjoy the profession of project management because I like being a professional who can deliver results on strategic initiatives. There is an art and science to getting things done, and I love the pursuit of mastering both. The PMI-ACP is validation that I know how to lead an effective process of delivering complex solutions—the kind that are not easily prescribed.

Oh, and one more thing. Agile is fun. It’s fun to create, learn and adapt. As your momentum starts picking up, you start to feel like your team is an oracle of problem solving. Learn more by reading Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff and JJ Sutherland.

About Jeffrey Ober

I joined PM-ICIE in 2013 when I realized that my job was actually a project management job. I was hungry for solutions and gobbled up as much knowledge as I could. In that pursuit I have obtained six project management certifications: PMP, 120PFC, Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (LSSBB) and now the PMI-ACP. Check out my LinkedIn profile for more tantalizing information about my professional history. 

Adopting Agile? Don't Say It's Common Sense

 - June 12, 2017

In my courses, I use various activities to examine and drive home agile’s many principles. Ones that usually trigger deep conversations include getting to “done,” feedback, collaboration, and effectiveness before efficiency. Many senior managers attend my courses, and almost every time, one of them will ask: “Aren’t these principles just a common-sense way to work?”

I often hear the sentiment applied to popular agile practices, too. For instance, doesn’t it make sense to demo finished work to stakeholders? Meet your teammates every day for micro-planning? Capture work items from the perspective of the customer and process them in descending order of value?

If all this is indeed common sense, why has much of the world of work—at least the work of software development—operated differently in the last several decades? In fact, why hasn’t the new “sensible” approach displaced the previous approach completely?

Why Every Project Manager Should Be PMP-Certified

The most successful organizations are now focused on developing their employees’ leadership, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills — alongside traditional IT and technical skills. Businesses are increasingly realising the benefits of qualified project managers. This is a massive opportunity for professionals if they can prove their skills through certification and continuous learning.

In the United States, one credential stands out amongst the crowd: the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). More than 710,000 professionals have achieved this certification — which is aimed at experienced project managers — and PMP holders can be found leading projects in nearly every country.

Every project management professional, regardless of experience, should aim to achieve this globally recognized certification.

You can find some of the reasons why by reading the rest of the article at here.

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