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Congratulations! You just passed you PMP Exam! You now have the requirement of 60 PDUs staring you right in the face. You may not think this is a big deal because you have three long years ahead of before your certification expires. But, before you know it a year has passed and you find yourself 20 PDUs behind!
What happened? You have been Overcome by Events. These events include your job, travel, family, and other responsibilities and priorities that consume the time necessary to keep your PDUs up-to-date. Each one of these areas is important, but if you plan on staying in the Project Management profession, you need to stay on top of your PDUs.
The Importance of Keeping up with the Necessary PDUs
Let’s start with the discomfort you will encounter if your PMP Certification lapses. If you find yourself at the end of three years and have not met the minimum requirements, your certification will go into Suspended Status. This means you can no longer claim you are a PMP until the overdue requirements are met within a maximum of one year of the certification expiration date. This also means you are already behind for the next cycle because the next renewal date does not move.
The worst case scenario is that you lose your certification altogether. Not only can you no longer claim you are a PMP, you will need to reapply for the credential, retake the PMP exam and submit the fees associated with the initial credential application (currently $405-$555). Ouch!
On the positive side of things, think about all of the benefits you have received from having your PMP certification. You most likely earn more than your non-PMP peers, have a viable and sustainable career path to follow, are respected within your organization, and have stayed on the leading edge of the Project Management profession.
Why risk losing all of this when all you need is less than 2 PDUs per month?
Turning Events into Opportunities
Rather than becoming overcome by events, take these events and turn them into opportunities for earning PDUs. There may be an assumption you can only earn PDUs at PMI sponsored events or meetings. Not so. PDUs are broken down into five different categories (see the sidebar for additional information) that can quickly add up to 60 PDUs.
Below are some examples of how people with different circumstances can take advantage of these different activities.
•The Worker – Your job as a Project Manager keeps you at the office 24/7. Make sure you look into Category 2H and claim your 5 PDUs per year for being a practitioner of project and/or program management services. Tack onto this another 5 per year under Category 2-SDL for coaching/mentoring sessions with your colleagues or coworkers and you are 50% of the way there without even leaving the office.
•The Traveler – You spend more time in the air than you do on the ground. If you like to write, consider Categories 2A or 2B for authoring an article that is published about project management and earn anywhere from 10-30 PDUs. Complete the remaining PDUs under Category 3 by listening to courses on your MP3 player on the flight to your destination.
•The Parent – It’s important to you to be home and spend time with the family on nights and weekends. There may be volunteer activities you are engaged in as a family that fall under Category 5. Non-compensated Project Management services provided to a community or charitable group can earn up to 5 PDUs per year.
It doesn't take long to get to 60 PDUs with a little creativity and discipline. Which brings us to one more type of person we should consider… The Procrastinator. The bottom line is that there is no excuse for putting it off to the last minute just because we didn’t get around to it. It goes against every instinct we have as Project Managers to put something off to the last minute. If you find yourself in this situation, put a project plan together and stick to it until the Recertification Project is complete.
By using some of the suggestions above, when you do have those 60 PDUs staring you straight in the face…you can stare back and watch them dwindle down to zero.