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Parallel LIVE! Part 1. What is BoK7? And all about online exams.

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 18th April 2020


Welcome to this Parallel Project Training video on the APM BoK7. This is our fifth or sixth attempt now Paul. So hopefully, all of the settings right this time you can hear us. My name is Matt Bolton. I’m a consultant at Parallel Project Training with me today is Paul. Hello Paul. Hello, I’m am Paul Naybour I’m a Director of Parallel Project Training and a lot of change is going on the in the world at the moment. In the world of project management in the world in total. So we thought it’d be really good to just catch up with everybody and explain everything that’s going on live. So first things first let’s introduce ourselves a little bit, so we work for Parallel Project Training, Paul you are one of the founders of Parallel Project Training so why don’t you give people what we do? We started off 10 years ago, and the vision was to deliver much training much more flexibly using modern technology, but we also help organizations to get much more capable of delivering complex projects. So we do that, through bespoke training courses designed for specifically for a customer need but also by doing qualifications based on the APM body of knowledge.

What is the Body of Knowledge and why has it changed from the 6th to 7th Edition?

Yeah exactly, so the APM body of knowledge (BoK7) is what we’re doing on your screens today. Basically, the training courses that we offer specifically the APM ones they’re based on a Body of Knowledge. So what is a Body of Knowledge? It sounds posh, but it’s really just a book. So I’ve got the book here. So what we do with the Body of Knowledge is sit down every 6 or 7 years and they say “what do we need to update about the way we deliver projects?”. The old 6th edition has probably been around for about seven or eight years, now maybe and now they’ve just updated it this APM BoK7 edition. So it’s all the latest thinking on the delivery of projects. So this Body of Knowledge brings the APM’s way of thinking up to date with the modern approach.

What are some of the new topics in APM BoK7?

There’s a couple of really relevant topics in there at the moment. A new section on how to manage virtual teams, advantage remote teams, something that’s really relevant at the moment.

Linear, Iterative and Hybrid Lifecycles?

There are also some other topics, like different life cycles. What’s changed with life cycle? In the 6th edition, the life cycle traditionally was linear. So you started at one end of the project with a concept, defined what you were gonna do, and then you delivered it and then you reviewed it, but now they’ve added more agile life cycles. I’ll show you the picture if you like. It’s more sort of evolutionary and iterative, you know. You’ll build something, show it to people, see what they think and get their feedback and then take it to the next stage.

Then they’ve added a hybrid life cycle. The hybrid is sort of a combination of the traditional linear life cycle and this iterative approach. So you see in big organizations where they have governance arrangements such as an investment panel. I can show you the picture. They might have an investment panel, and they have to get sign-off from the investment panel, and then they have an iterative life cycle in the sort of deployment phase of the project, you know. So it’s a combination of the two really, and that’s really good to see because I know a lot of big organizations have those governance rules in place, so they can’t go for a pure agile process, so I think that’s a great innovation really.

Yeah, agile as concepts been around for quite a few years now but this is the APM bringing it into their way of thinking. Bringing it into the mainstream. Combining the more traditional life cycles with those new ways of thinking. Absolutely right, Matt.

The Product Owner

So that’s one of the ways that the Body of Knowledge (BoK7) is updated. Another way is they’ve introduced this idea of a product owner. So that fits in nicely with iterative cycles. Yeah, it’s part of iterative agile approaches is that you’re a product owner and they’re like the voice of the users. They bring the users voice into the project so the project team have a key person they can talk to about what the users. They always stress the importance of users but this product owner is giving that a specific focus really so it’s not transformational change but it’s a good evolution.

Further episodes

That’s probably the case with quite a lot of the changes in the seventh (BoK7) edition; there’s nothing drastically revolutionary in there. Yeah that’s right. It’s all evolved over the last five years and they’re just bringing everything up to date with that. As part of this series, we’re going to highlight some of those changes and delve into them in more detail. We’re going to have a few of the other Parallel team members on over the next few weeks. So next week I’m going to discuss life cycles a little bit more with John, and we’re going to follow up with some of the project roles with Jan and then finally with Michele we’re going to talk about and how the APM PMQ exam for BoK7 is changing and what you need to do to pass the PMP exam. We tend to think that’s going to be quite a popular video. I think by the time we get to that one, you might have more than just us watching. She has been doing lots of work trying to understand the new marking scheme works and then command verbs and everything else. I feel it’s going to be a really useful contribution. Yeah, so that’s kind of that’s where this series is going. That’s our idea for this series and if you’ve got any ideas for topics you want to cover then drop them in the comments email us with them and will happily go through them in this sort format and so that’s kind of wraps up the first part of this video.

On-line APM PMQ Exams

In the second part, we wanted to talk about the current situation with online qualifications, online learning and online exams and how your learning is going to change and has changed in the last couple of weeks. So, Paul, there’s been a development recently with the APM taking online PMQ exams. Yeah I mean we’ve always done online training at the PFQ and PMQ level, but recently the APM’s responded really quickly to the demand for online exams. Which I was really pleased with, they’ve brought all of their exams online. You could always do the foundation level qualification online, but now you can do the project management qualification. Traditionally that was a handwritten classroom-based. People used to complain about the handwriting, you know, so now it’s online, and you type right. I think that’s a huge step forward because we all type nowadays much more than we handwrite. They’ve published some information on the APM website here. If you go to qualifications and the project management qualification here. Then they’ve published this new guidance here so what I recommend you read this guidance stuff really carefully because there are some requirements. So if we just have a real quick look at it I’ll just pull out the key ones. So the key ones are you need two bits of equipment really. A computer it’s got a PC that’s got a webcam and a microphone on it so they can observe you by remote Proctor, watching what you do while you do the exam and then you need a mobile phone that you put behind you that they’ll observe what you do. You need Google Chrome because it’s a plugin for google chrome and you’re observed by a proctor while you’re doing the exam. They recommend using a personal laptop or personal computer, not one that your work-issued just because of the security. You can use a work computer but you’re gonna have to check with your IT people first. Finally, you need to do it in a room that’s suitable for an exam, so it has to be a well-lit room, you have to be alone you can’t have people coming in and out, you can’t wear pods, and things have to be like as if you were taking the examiner in a classroom. I recommend everyone visit the APM website and read their guidelines carefully. The one thing actually do want me to say is they send you a test link 36 hours before the exam and you must do that test link. They strongly recommend that you test your system. I can understand that you don’t want to be trying to get the technology working while you’re why do you prepare in your answers. You need to make sure your system works properly before you start. The ability to do online exams is a really good development.

Yeah well, it gives a lot more flexibility, especially people who are overseas you know people who don’t want to travel. In the current situation really that’s great, and it’s worth saying that all of our training courses have always been available online. You can complete the APM PMQ training course with us over five days or over six weeks or self-guided distance learning one. Then you can finish that by taking your online PMQ exam as Paul just explained. It’s a brave new world. The fundamentals qualification kind of remains the same that the exams were always available online so they still are. That kind of covers online exams. There’s lots of information on the APA website there’s lots of information on our website if you visit our website We have a blog where we post all of our latest thinking about the online exams and virtual courses so there’s lots of information on there which I advise you read up on.

I think that covers online exams we’ve covered BoK7 in a little bit of detail so the next topics are going to be as I explained a bit more into BoK7. We’re going to try and do these once a week so we’re going to aim for three o’clock on a Friday afternoon, with a bit of luck if we can get the system working a bit better than we have today. So hopefully Friday next three weeks and as I said if there are topics or if there’s anything that you want us to cover that we haven’t mentioned please put it in a comment or there’s our website we’ve got a contact us form on our website or our Facebook or LinkedIn. There are loads of ways to get in touch with us if you want to talk about something you know we’ve got some of the best minds in project management working for Parallel. Paul’s mind is worth picking so if there’s something that you want to hear him talk about them in the comment on get in touch.

BoK7 Podcasts Coming Soon.

Matt one thing to mention is the podcasts we’re going to publish. We’ve worked really hard to update the podcasts for the seventh edition so the next couple of weeks those are going to all be coming out on iTunes, YouTube, Spotify and those are free to access so you can download them as soon as they come out. The last series we did was pretty popular I think we’re sitting at just over a million downloads for the BoK six ones. So yes yeah so you not so bad for a poky little project management company, cool, so I think that’s covered everything

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