This 33-minute video answers the questions what is a civilian project manager, how do I know if I qualify for a career in it, and how do I prepare myself to achieve a post-Service career in project manager?
The Vet Stone AI supervised semantic learning model that drives the application uses your Project Summaries input to determine the Objective and Theme of your project, which it then maps to the profession’s language, knowledge, tools, techniques, interpersonal skills, and activities as identified and codified by PMI in the PMBOK Guide®, PMP® Handbook, and the PMP® Examination Content Outline, to produce an profession-accurate description of your military experience as commercially viable civilian project management experience. A highly seasoned, qualified, educated, decorated military Veteran-turned-Project Executive supervises the continuous learning of the AI model to ensure the resulting reports are contemporary and aligned with current project management doctrine and language and industry trends and needs.
In the field of project management, the widely-accepted defining doctrine is A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, or PMBOK Guide®. It defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique good, service, or result for a professional organization. It also defines a project manager as the person responsible for leading the project team to deliver the expected good, service, or result within the project objectives of scope, time, and cost. This means that your experience receiving, planning, resourcing, leading and controlling, and documenting military mission and/or exercise performance equates to the civilian profession of project management, according to its own governing doctrine. Documenting this experience can play a key role in your transition, either upcoming or past, because civilian hiring managers and recruiters instantly recognize project management, understand its extreme value to their organizations or their customers, and pay top dollar for it.
To sit for the PMP® exam, applicants have to document a minimum of 4,500 hours “leading and directing project activities” over 36 cumulative months within 8 years of the application submission date, in which they discuss their “autonomous” roles “leading and directing project activities” of “diverse cross-functional teams” to produce deliverables and/or artifacts (i.e. project plans, documents, templates, etc.) to “meet project objectives”. Latent in this definition are the 2 fundamental characteristics that make projects projects, they are temporary endeavors, meaning they have clear start and stop dates, and they produce unique goods, services, or capabilities.
Military missions and exercises to prepare for missions also have start and stop dates, and objectives and performance standards, which are met through high-performing teams execution of plans using organizational resources and assets to enhance the organization.
This means that any military Member or Veteran that has ever received; planned, resourced, led, and controlled; and documented performance for reporting to a higher echelon has project management experience civilian hiring managers and recruiters will pay top dollar for in the civilian workforce.
When employers see PMP® after your name on your resume and LinkedIn profile, they know you’re a proven project manager project-ready day one.
Note: quotations indicated verbiage from PMI’s PMP® Handbook and/or its PMP® Examination Content Outline. Additionally, PMP®, PMBOK Guide®, and PMI are all copyright PMI, Inc.
The PMP® certificate is globally considered the gold standard project management credential. It is awarded to project managers that successfully pass their PMP® PMI requires PMP exam applicants with 4-year degrees or higher to document a minimum of 4,500 hours of experience “leading and directing project activities” over 36 cumulative months within 8 years of the application submission date, and PMP exam applicants with a High School Diploma or 2-year degree to document a minimum of 7,500 hours of experience “leading and directing project activities” over 60 cumulative months within 8 years of the application submission date. PMI also requires all applicants obtain 35 contact hours of project management-specific education and adhere to their Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. These requirements let industry know that PMP applicants understand their profession in terms of knowledge, execution, and behavior.
According to PMI, the five process groups contain the primary processes to deliver projects on scope, time, and budget within the constraints, which takes leadership, decision-making, influence, and risk, change, and quality management. Initiating (IN) is all about defining the project scope and obtaining approval from stakeholders. Planning (PL) is all about preparing the project plan and developing the work breakdown structure. Executing (EX) is all about performing the work necessary to achieve the stated objectives of the project. Monitoring and Controlling (MC) is all about monitoring project progress, managing change and risk, and communicating project status. Closing (CL) is all about finalizing all project activities, archiving documents, obtaining acceptance for deliverables, and communicating project closure.
Please note the process group labels of IN, PL, EX, MC, and CL. These are PMI-provided, which means also they are PMI-approved, which also means they are required in your summaries. PMI will reject summaries and therefore applications that do not depict them. That’s why Vet Stone provides them for each process or activity you provide.
PMI uses a standard 40-hour work week, of which they consider there to be 4 of during a standardized month.
Therefore, when you are calculating your Gross Project hours, multiply 160 hours to each month you present to arrive at your Gross Total of Hours. Then, determine how much of your time that month, and for each month, you spent on the project under consideration. Finally, then apportion your Revised Gross Total of Hours according to PMI’s generic allocation percentages if you can’t, or don’t want to, calculate your specific hours in each Process Group of: 13% Initiating (IN), 24% Planning (PL), 31% Executing (EX), 21% Monitoring & Controlling (MC), and 7% Closing (CL).
I have provided a table which illustrates both; PMI’s generic percentages and an example, that you can use as a reference.
Many civilians work 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year. This means they work about 2,000 hours a year, the maximum number of annual hours PMI allows PMP® exam applicants to document on their applications. To break this number down into PMI’s target units, we divide 2,000 work hours per year by 12 months and get a conservative 160 hours per month. Use this factor X your project’s total number of months to calculate your project’s Total Gross Hours, which you’ll multiply by the % of time you devoted to it each month for it’s duration, i.e. full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, or one-quarter time to get you respective Revised Total Gross Hours.
I lead a 6 month long project that I worked on half-time, i.e. 50%, because I was doing other projects and leading Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, or Marines. So, 6 months X 160 hours per month = 960 Total Gross Hours, X .5 (50%) for a Revised Total Gross Hours of 480 hours. So, I would get 6 months and 480 hours of project experience.
You then allocate your Revised Total Gross Hours to each process group according to PMI’s generic allocation model: 13% for IN, 24% for PL, 31% for EX, 25% for MC, and 7% for CL, or 62 hrs. IN, 115 hrs. PL, 149 hrs. for EX, 120 hrs. for MC, and 34 hrs. for CL.
We need to see a User Input Summary, so we can determine the project’s Objective, which then allows us to determine the project’s Theme, which then allows us to dial our focus in on the project activities, leadership actions, deliverables, artifacts, and dimensions that describe accurately and robustly your project management experience.
First, you’ll use Vet Stone to translate all of your military mission and exercise experience into its commercially viable, highly valuable civilianized version using the codified project management language and toolbox.
Second, you’ll then cut and past the content into your PMP application at www.pmi.org, get test approval, study for the exam, pass the PMP exam, update your Executive resume and LinkedIn profile with the credential and one project per billet. A lot of work goes into this step.
Third, prepare “what I did was…” type answers for you PM interviews.
You’ll actually insert all of this information in your PMP application at pmi.org.
Vet Stone only needs the Project Details such as hours and months “leading and directing the projects’ activities”, and the qualitative statements about which activities you led and directed to lead to which project outcomes/deliverables under which project objectives/constraints.
Furthermore, for each Project Summary on your Final Report, you’ll enter “Project Manager” as your “Title”, and you’ll enter either “Sponsor” or “Manager” for your POC that will validate your experience if audited. That’s because PM was your role, because you “led and directed project activities”, and the person that gave you the project charge A. did so (Manager) or B. paid for the project you did (Sponsor).
To access your Final Report, you log into the tool and click the menu link “View Reports”. From there, you can click “Print Final Report” and either copy-cut-and-paste the on-screen content into your PMP application, resume, or LinkedIn Profile, or you can click the “Print Final Report” button at the bottom of that “Print Final Report” screen and save the .pdf report to your desktop or print it out.
Google Chrome has recently made some adjustments to their browser, which means to retrieve your Vet Stone reports, Vet Stone Users need to:
1. Open a Chrome browser;
2. Insert the URL: chrome://settings/content/pdfDocuments
3. Slide the button right to enable “Download PDF files instead of automatically opening them in Chrome”.