I can help you with this. I am a PMP trainer and I also have an Excel based worksheet that you can use to compile your hours. I cannot attach the worksheet here, but you can go to my website http://www.pm-prepcast.com and download it for free in the PMP Resources section.
Now to your questions:
- Can my experience before I join PMI count toward the 4500 hours of PM time?
>> Absolutely. The rule is that you can go back 6 years from the date of your application.
- How do you work out the hours?
>> Every hour that you have worked on a project counts. Each week has a maximum of 40 hours. So if you worked 100% on a project that lasted for a week, then you can count 40 hours. If you worked on 2 projects that lasted a week and you worked 60 hours, then you can only count 40 hours, because overlaps / overtime does not count.. Or if you worked part-time on a project that lasted for 3 months you simply have to figure out how much you actually worked on the project (i.e. 30%) and then only use the appropriate amount of hours.
Again, my worksheet will help you figure this out.
- How do I prove that I have done the 4500 hours?
>> This is where the PMI Code of Ethics comes in. The PMI assumes that you don't lie because you are an honest professional. However, the PMI does audit about 10% of all applications.
- Do I have to get something signed by my manager?
>> Only if you get audited. The PMI will then ask you to send the appropriate information to your manager and they have to sign it and return it in a sealed envelope.
- What if I can't get it off my previous manager as I have left the company?
>> That is a common situation. The PMI will work with you on this one. You can for instance ask a colleague who worked with you to confirm. My tip is that you get in touch with your former boss BEFORE you submit the hours to the PMI. Show him/her what you will submit and ask them if that is OK. That way you can be certain to pass a possible audit. And you have their contact information ready.
- Can you do the exam and then finish obtaining the 4500 hours before getting the certification?
>> No. The experience must be obtained before you sign up for the exam. The system will not allow you to submit it unless you cover all required qualifications.
- I heard some people say about writing up the experience. What does that entail?
>> Lying. They pretty much tell you to make up your experience and then hope that you don't get audited. Very unethical. I strongly recommend against it.
Another requirement before you can take the exam is that you must have 35 contact hours. This entails any type of project management training. (For instance intro to PM or any PM classes you took during your BA.) For this you will count 1 hour of classroom training = 1 contact hour. If you are lacking this, then you can try The PM PrepCast, which will help you gain these 35 hours and prepare you for the exam.
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
The Project Management PrepCast
I am a PMP and PMP trainer.