The APM PQ covers 39 criteria. However seven of these are critical.
1. Demonstrate an understanding of project context and the overall business case.
Many delivery project managers struggle with this aspect of the PQ, because they have not had practical exposure to a business case or investment process. Often this is because this is owned by the client or a internal sponsor rather than the project manager. It would be wise to get hold of the business case for your current project and understand the structure and the forms of investment appraisal. Alternatively find some voluntary work with a school or other charity which is pulling together a business case so that you can get experience as a client.
2. Demonstrate a comprehensive application of project management planning
Many project managers understand this in theory (WBS, Scheduling) but when presented with a task that needs planning don’t follow the process, but revert to action lists and excel spreadsheets. The assessors are looking for a formal approach to project planning (as in the text books)
3. Apply a risk management process competently to the project
Again it is not enough to just identify the risk, but you must use a basic PI grid to assess probability and impact and develop mitigation actions for major risks.
4. Optimise project plans to respond to a major change
In response to a customer impoased change you must return to the plan and evaluated the impact before negotiating with the client. Often the dynamics of role play will put people off.
5. Demonstrate an ability to monitor project progress and take suitable controlling action
We are generally good at reporting on project and less good ant designing and implementing effective project control measures.
6. Plan and conduct a suitable post project evaluation review
A simple agenda reviewing performance against the baseline, looking for areas of change, risk that emerged etc will do fine. Resist the temptation to just look at what worked and what didn’t. Lessons learned must be against the project management plan.
7. Work effectively as a team member
Basically take turns in speaking, listen to other people, but do put your point of view across.
Remember if the assessors don’t see you doing these competences then you will not pass the PQ. See www.apm.org.uk/PractitionerQualification.asp for full details.