Renewing your expensive and hard earned PMP or PgMP certification isn’t easy. You’re trying to keep your work projects in check, finagling last minute updates from team leads and trying your best to pre-empt potential pitfalls in the project.
None of the above is new and mostly keeps project managers occupied with their jobs; leaving less time to learn and maintain the PMP certification. What this does is, add a bit more pressure to attend trainings, read more, network, volunteer etc. This means that if you plan properly (I know right?), knocking off 20 hours a year should be a breeze.
For me, I usually maintain the required 60 PDUs (Professional Development Units) – 60 hours – spread over various activities to keep my certification active. All this, came to a head last year when I realised that I could no longer claim 15 practioner hours for my renewing cycle. This is because PMI changed their Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS); reducing working practioner hours by half. I was short on 7 hours and had to around hunting for free PDUs.
After the drama and last minute scramble for free PDUs, I decided to write a post about it 😉
Free Resources for PDUs
Here’s how you get around to scoring free PDUs. Mind you this method requires considerable planning on your part and isn’t easy to accommodate on a whim.
PMXPO – Annual Conference
ProjectManagement.com (formerly GanttHead.com) holds the annual PMXPO virtual conference. The event is usually held in March of every year and is completely free to attend. Furthermore, event access lasts upto 3 months after the conference closes so you can easily catch upto the speaker presentations later if you miss them due to Time Zone differences.
PDUs: 6 or more / year
Project Management Journal
PMI sends complimentary digital copy of the Project Management Journal to all its members. The journal is more or less the equivalent of our own version of scientific publication. It is also a bit dry yet informative of how different projects were worked on globally. Typically, a journal article can be read in under an hour. When I run short of PDUs I add in my journal reading to get the remaining hours.
Volunteer @ PMI via VRMS
PMI has a fairly decent Virtual Relationship Management System. Chapters from all over the world post opportunities here. These volunteer opportunities are usually both in-person and virtual. Postings typically state PDUs & hours requirements along with expectations. Having used it for many online volunteering positions, it is my goto anytime, I’m short on PDUs.
PDUs: 1-3 awarded per week / month / engagement
ProjectManagement.com also hosts numerous webinars free of charge. Right now, there are 154 free webinars available for viewing. Their search filter is terrifc. You can shortlist them via language, talent triangle, viewing history, topics, access (free or paid) and PMI certifcations. All viewing activity is automatically reported to PMI hence there is minumum work required.
Other Ways to Get Free PDUs
Read books / Articles on Project Management
Similar to reading the project management journal, any book you read on project management is eligible to claim PDU credits. The same goes for online articles and blogs etc. You will need to determine where it goes in the Talent Triangle.
This is probably easy for anyone with their own blog or interested in getting an article published as a guest post on a blog. As long as, the article is relevant to project management and helps people in this profession, its all Kosher.
Mentoring comes under this as well. Many times you will find yourself in a situation where people ask you about project management and how to go about the certification process. Don’t worry about the time spent. Claim it 🙂
Attending professional meetings held in your company, local chapter events & meetings and attending industry conferences can be used to claim PDUs. Professional meetings are restricted to those geared around the talent triangle and the maximum limit is 2 PDUs per meeting.