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Good vs Bad Project Managers – What’s The Difference?

By September 15, 2022November 23rd, 2022No Comments

Every project will require the leadership of a project manager. In larger organizations, there might be multiple project managers. Each of these individuals reports directly to a project management office for proper mentorship and coaching. As with any industry, there is such a thing as a good project manager and a bad project manager. Project management officers are responsible for ensuring the success of PMs on the team while offering constructive feedback to those who are falling behind. In this article, we will explore how to tell the difference between a good project manager and a bad one.

The Good vs The Bad Project Managers

  • Bad project managers will try to micromanage teams; good project managers will rely on their excellent leadership skills.
  • Bad project managers are typically reactive, while good project managers are proactive when it comes to solving problems.
  • Good project manager‘s consult data before making decisions, and bad project managers rely on rumors.
  • Bad project managers blame complications on their team members, while good project managers take responsibility for their leadership.

Next, let’s take a deeper dive into understanding the difference between good project managers and bad ones.

What Makes a Good Project Manager?

If you have been in the workforce for a while, it is likely you have experience working with multiple project managers. Each of these individuals likely had different management styles! Some project managers offer great pieces of advice and mentorship. Others do not provide their team with the skills needed for success.

Good Project Managers are Leaders

Good project managers rely on their impeccable leadership skills to empower their teams to get the job done. They act as mentors and focus on highlighting people’s strengths over their weaknesses. Bad project managers will simply tell their teams what to do without taking into consideration what these individuals are best at. While this methodology may seem minuscule, it can make a big difference in the overall success and happiness of the project team.

Bad Project Managers

When bad project managers are leading a team and give less trust to their team members. Instead of championing creativity, they encourage their team to play by the rules. As a result, teams are unable to grow and evolve. Also, fatigue and lack of motivation can wash over the team. Bad project managers are more likely to micromanage their teams and do not ask for feedback.

Good Project Managers

If you are lucky enough to be on a team with a good project manager, they will use their leadership skills to create a safe and comfortable workspace. You will be able to use your creativity to the project’s advantage, make decisions on your own, and give feedback when needed. You will feel led rather than managed. You also feel as though treatment of each individual on the team is equal and all thoughts are given the same amount of consideration. Good project managers will lead by example, even when the going gets tough. They will praise you for your successes and never take credit for work that isn’t theirs.

You will notice that good project managers are more successful and respected in their careers. Bad project managers are not typically as expected, especially in today’s diverse workforce. Bad project managers typically exude an energy that is negative and causes problems for their own teams.

Good Project Managers are Proactive

Good project managers take advantage of a proactive approach when it comes to solving problems. They believe that it is important to plan thoroughly in order to solve problems before they start. Bad PMs do not take possible challenges into account, leaving their teams unprepared in times of trouble.

The Qualities of a Good Project Manager

Good project managers are extremely analytical, considering every possible outcome. It is extremely important to be data-driven and use a proactive mindset when working in a fast-paced, complex environment. But without these skills, it will be extremely difficult for project managers to use proper change management techniques. No project ever goes exactly to plan, which is why it is so important to be flexible and adaptable in times of possible crisis.

Bad Project Managers

Bad project managers are not typically open to change, as they do not think ahead of time and typically make a decision spur of the moment. As a result, they do not try to prevent failures ahead of time and are more likely to repair broken promises rather than prevent these issues in the first place. Failure to look ahead can be extremely costly for the project overall.

No one can predict the future; however, with the correct data, it is possible to make accurate foresight about what might be in store. This is why it is so important to make sure that problems are accounted for before they happen. Otherwise, this can cost the organization a lot of extra time, money, and other resources they do not have.

Good Project Managers Use Data to Their Advantage

Analytical project managers work to identify struggles and find the best possible solutions to problems. These skills are crucial in any field, but especially in those that require a great deal of leadership. Project managers must lead by example and make data-driven choices to launch their work.  

Good PMs

Project managers must be extremely analytical, as well as creative. Creativity and innovation help PMs come up with out-of-the-box solutions. Better analytical skills also enhance knowledge about certain areas of work and allow PMs to gain trust from their teams.

Bad PMs

Bad project managers do not follow data and instead listen to rumors of what is not going well on their teams. They do not seek in-depth information and base their decisions on feelings and small talk. Therefore, predictions are often not accurate as they are not backed by data.

Good PMs Look at Management as an Opportunity to Serve

Project managers who look at work as an opportunity to serve are crucial, as this allows their teams to thrive from mentorship and coaching. This way, team members are able to focus on development as they see their leaders striving for excellence rather than simply barking directions.

Good vs. Bad PMs

Good project managers work to help their team grow as individuals while also delivering the desired outcomes of a project. Authoritative project managers only show steps, policies, and methods that make work dull and mundane. Employees thrive when they are able to freely make decisions to benefit the project and business overall.

Being authoritative is not always a bad thing, especially if your team needs strong instruction. However, your team will be more motivated to do their best work if you take a service-leadership mindset. PMs possess a lot of knowledge and leadership; when they share tricks of the trade, the effectiveness of their teams improves.

Good PMs will always be chosen over bad ones, which is why it is so important to only attract good managers to your organization. Bad PMs will drive team members away from your company, as they likely won’t feel comfortable collaborating under this individual. Good project managers should work to create an open and free workplace environment.

Good Project Managers Own Up to Mistakes

Good project managers will never let their team be at fault for the failure of a project. Project managers should always know that their planning results in the overall outcome of the project. If a challenge arises, putting the blame on a team member is unfair to do as a leader. Team members should be able to fully rely on their leaders to guide them in the right direction. If they feel as though they are unable to do so, they will be stressed out, less focused, and less effective.

It is human nature to feel embarrassed when situations go wrong. However, if an employee is blamed for a project challenge that could have been prevented by their manager, this is considered unfair treatment. As a result, employees may lose morale and consider finding other work opportunities.

However, a good project manager will always take the blame for anything that happens, whether it be good or bad! They know that all outcomes are a result of their leadership. So, they use their skills to build an environment of accountability, motivation, and success. They work on providing clear Direction while championing creativity. They also are respectful of employees’ time, emotions, and concerns.

When a leader takes accountability for decisions, actions, and results, they become a trusted Mentor. As a result, their team will begin to follow with trust.

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Summary: Good vs. Bad Project Managers

As you strive to understand the difference between good and bad project managers, it is important to look at a few different factors. Look to see if the project manager uses pure management skills or leadership skills in order to direct their teams. Also, take a look at whether they take accountability for the successes and failures of their team.

You should also take into account how analytical this individual is. If they are analytical, they will make data-driven decisions to benefit the project team and the project as a whole. They do not rely on rumors and make decisions based on research.

When it comes to hiring a good project manager, you should consider all of the factors discussed in this blog. With these tools, you will have a better understanding of what to look out for in a successful project manager. If you hire a quality project manager, you can ensure that your employees will be happy and that your clients will get the outcomes they desire.

Read Our Reviews

Brain Sensei is rated 4.69 out of 5.0 stars based on 100 review(s).

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Awesome! Mixed methodologies (Agile and waterfall) is the right to thing for project Managers

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I expected more interactive material. But the practice tests are invaluable with 1500 questions!!

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It was actually really great. Made some very dry materials much easier to absorb. Passed the PMP exam with flying colors on my first attempt.

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This course had good reviews online from previous clients so I decided to try this one. Relevant course materials and great timed practice tests allowed me to ace the actual certification exam on my first attempt. I highly recommend this course.

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This is a great tool to support the PMBOK Guide. Quizzes, presentations, and videos help break down the massive amount of information that comes with the PMBOK, truly helping you prepare for the actual exam. Great way to get your 35 hours classroom credit!

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I think the course is good. I wouldn't mind a few more videos and audible in the trainings. I do a lot do reading. I bought the PMBOK book on the side and sometimes have trouble connect the class to the PMBOK book. I do enjoy your format. I am learning. Personally I need buckle down and spend more time on it.

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Brain Sensei helped me to prepare for and pass the PMP exam on the first try. I used many exam simulators and this one was by far the most similar to the exam. Im so happy I found Brain Sensei and chose to prepare with them!

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Easy to navigate the platform

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I really enjoyed the Brain Sensei self learning course as well as the virtual course with the instructor. I was able to pass the PMP with above target ratings for every section. I am so pleased with how easy and efficient the courses were to navigate, and how simply the PMI approach was placed into every day situations. I would highly recommend this course to everyone wanting to either freshen up on their Project skills or to master the PMP.

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Hi Folks, good course there. More info/exercises on EV and formulas would be really helpful. Thank you very much.

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The course was thorough and the practice exams enhanced my learning. However, I am having a hard time receiving my PDU credit for taking the course.

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phenomenal training opportunity that provides a variety of learning styles for all.

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Great way to prepare for the PMP Exam!

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Excellent test prep for the exam, though some more practice tests on agile would be beneficial

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It is often hard to figure out what the right answer was on a quiz or practice exam. Frequently, the correct answer is buried in a lot of text about what options are wrong.

- James

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The content was spot on and I am much more confident in understanding the processes and how everything works together now. (The) course is great; however, the customer service team is Exceptional! Very responsive and thorough, and at all times; and when I had some technical difficulties (or questions) they stuck with me through resolution. Highly recommended program and company.

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Great customer support. Wish more Agile modules were available.

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helpful focus, detailed testing.

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Very thorough training. By taking this course and reviewing some free online study materials, I was able to hit above target in every category.

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Thanks for all the support.

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Good Value.

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Need to do project planning

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Passed on the first try!

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Good courses, lots of text and reading. Not as many videos or interactive pieces that I was expecting. And some misspelled words.

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It was great!

- Heide

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The Course documents should remain open for longer than 6 months, given that PMI gives you 365 days to prepare for exam. Also, the option to extend visibility for the course documents, costs almost a 5th of the course, but opens up the docs for just 30 more days. Propose to extend this to 90 days at the very least.

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I'm very satisfied with the Brain Sensei PMP Exam Preparation Course. All 8 Modules are very well structured and detailed. I believe that practice exams included in the course helped me a lot with the preparation for my PMP Exam. I appreciate Brain Sensei for their amazing course and for the awesome service. They responded to all my requests immediately. Thanks. Highly recommended.

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The format of the prep-course is great overall and a great alternative to reading the PMBOK. Barring a few minor glitches here and there, the flow of information ensures that concepts are well understood not only from the point of examination but to the point of application in day to day professional activities. Explanations provided in the answers of prep exams (apart from the 1st one) are also a key to understanding the thought process to be applied. With the focus being on Agile approaches from 2021, the information in the course seemed adequate to cover the concepts. All the Best to all aspirants.

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Studied BrainSensei for 11 days and passed. Succinct and highly informational chapters. The 4 practice exams are marginally more difficult then the PMP. Borderline impossible to fail the PMP if you pass this course.

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اشحنولي

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Your course, quizzes at the end of most modules and practice exams truly challenged me. I definitely derived the value and knowledge I was looking for in preparation for taking the PMP Certification Test. In particular, I appreciated the explanations that popped-up in the tests after an answer was submitted - very educational and helpful to my learning/understanding the material and concepts better. Some areas that could be improved (and some of this is nit-picking) include: * Some of the grammar and overall sentence structures, particularly in the latest set of practice exams, needs to be cleaned-up. Some were missing 'of', 'for, or had an extra 'an' in the narrative - got confusing at times. * In the practice exams, I'd like to see shorter sentences rather than the flurry of 'and' and 'or' conjunctions that made reading the sentences go on forever (had to read them multiple times to truly understand their meaning). That said, I enjoyed the overall online course taking experience and thank you for accommodating my requested time extensions. Best regards, Scott Conn

- Scott Conn

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Liked it. Need access for longer though.

- Jerome

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What I like best about Brain Sensei is the interactive nature of the course. I think this material would be numbing if delivered as simple lectures with slides. This method is an improvement on that. On the other hand, an in-person course, while more expensive, would likely be even more useful if you have the funds and the time. I haven't taken the PMP exam yet, so I can't comment on how useful the practice tests are.

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Great

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The Brain Sensei PMP program is a wonderful program that condenses the PMBOK into digestible and retainable bites leveraging the power of story telling. If you're looking for a program that will get you your credit hours but also help establish a foundation of PMI knowledge this is the program for you!

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Passed first attempt

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Truly the best course in town if you wish to pass the PMP exam on the first try. I love the idea of playing the role of the samurai and practice your project management skill in her shoes. And not to forget, the generous amount of practice exam gave me just the right dose of confidence before taking the real one. Highly recommended

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The course was great, though I found a lot of parts hard to comprehend. I feel a lot more prepared and better skilled to manage projects in my career. Thanks, Brain Sensei.

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The BrainSensei PMP preparation course provided me with all the material required to be ready for the exam. It is well structured, explains the concepts clearly, and most importantly, provides ample training questions through the four mock exams and assessment questions at the end of each module. I passed the exam with Above Target in all sections on the first attempt.

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Overall I really liked this learning course. It was very helpful and allowed me to be well prepared for the exam. The 2nd and 3rd practice exam are great to give you real example questions and help prepare you for what to expect. BrainSensei's customer service was the best. I had to delay taking my test due to COVID and they extended my membership for free. They went above and beyond my expectation which was great. Only changes I would recommend is to add 1 or 2 more practice exams like the 2nd and 3rd exam and get rid of the agile practice exam. This is not a real focus of the test and therefore is not really applicable in my opinion.

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BrainSensei developed a great learning method to prepare for the PMP certification exam. Their customer service is always very professional, fast, spot on and dedicated to your success. I recommend them.

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I've sent several emails to BrainSensei (one of them not so nice, but the rest were okay) and the team has always been so polite in answering the questions. I'm a very straight-forward person and don't like the PMI-ism type questions because they seem like 'gotchas' or traps, and this is not how I manage my team. I took the Master of Project course (which was garbage) then failed the PMP exam. Throughout the PMP exam I felt so out of touch. Even with the first practice exam on BrainSensei I felt out of place, but I am not getting the hang of things. I hope to pass the exam on the second attempt! The brain sensei experience has been *miles* ahead of the Master of Project garbage. Brain Sensei should be proud of both their product and of their team! I love getting replies to my concerns so quickly. Nice work :) !!!

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very useful

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Good self paced learning tool

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Outstanding job

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I have studied with other programs and I didn’t feel prepared. After a short time with Brain Sensei, I had the confidence to succeed on exam day, which I did on the first try after studying with Brain Sensei. It was worth every penny.

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Great program

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Course is made for people who are already grounded in the material, not for someone that needs all the basics. Was budget friendly and OK content.

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Brain Sensei is great tool to have in the study arsenal while preparing for the PMP exam.

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I really enjoyed the modules and content offered by Brain Sensei! I passed the PMP Exam on the first try and would recommend this course to anyone who is looking for a great PMP Exam Prep.

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Overall layout is good, but there are some quality issues. Progress isn't always saved across all devices and progress gets lost. Some small spelling mistakes. I loved the practical storyline...

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Passed my PMP on first attempt using Brain Sensei Prep course.

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Quick and helpful response. Thanks!!

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Need improvement in presenting more relevant real exam type questions. The practice exams are too simple and easy and do not prepare you for the real exam. Otherwise, good concept presenting material

- Amir

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The prep materials provided plenty of content which prepared me well for the PMP exam. The questions were packed with information.

- Cameron

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Teaches the PMP in a solid manner, some things you need to know as a potential consumer: -The Samurai backstory is extremely short, and didn’t really assist me with recall in any in-depth way. It only gave broad brush-strokes as to what each phase entailed. -MOST of what was on the test was covered in the lessons, however if I had zero real prior PM knowledge prior to the test, I would have failed. -The first practice test forces you, as the student to actually read into the PMBOK, which was a benefit in the long run as it assisted me with quickly referencing what I needed to find. -The course will likely cover wave tops and subjects, forcing me to self-study for a week before my test... not a bad deal all things considered. -Brain Sensei’s course has incorporated Agile into one of their practice tests, and this test IS mandatory. This may seem strange, and I didn’t get a satisfactory reason why I needed to take a purely Agile test when I only wanted to take the PMP, for anyone else in this scenario, this is the reason: In June, PMI is revamping the PMP test to include Agile as a significant portion of the PMP. Brain Sensei is just ahead of the curve trying to get students prepared... fret not. Their customer service is extremely responsive and does take care of their members. My program had a couple bugs, and the customer service fixed my problems within 24 hours. All in all... it was absolutely worth the money for me.

- Kevin

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I am very impressed with this learning system. The content is laid out in a way that will make any learner understand all the process groups and ITTOs in order to understand Project management and be equipped to excel in the test. The learning system is engaging and fun at the same time. It's very different than other learning material which is composed mostly of videos. Some improvements are needed, but in my opinion Brain Sensei is great value for money

- said durra

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At first, I was attracted to Brain Sensei training for their original learning program using a Samurai's story. And indeed it made the whole learning experience funnier - so easier. I felt like the Samurai. Then, I was amazed by The Brain Sensei Team's reactivity and help when I reached out through contact@brainsensei.com Their support was constantly reliable and efficient. I appreciated their professionalism and didn't feel on my own. At last, the course and the practice exams proved to be efficient since I passed the PMP exam - with 'Above Targe't in all Domains. So thank you so much Brain Sensei Team !! Charlene

- Charlene LU

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Overall very good. Got stuck a few times trying to find resources which I should have downloaded the before starting the program. Customer service has been great.

- Jonathan Williams

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SO far I am thoroughly enjoying the Brain Sensei PMP prep course. I have taken a Project management class as a part of my degree which I recently completed and project management has always interested me. I find the course to be educational and easy to follow. I am grateful that this course has been designed in such a way that is simple to understand all of the complexities in project management and that allows me to study at my own pace.

- Eric Browne

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The content is good and easy to understand

- Glenn

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This review is based on completing all course work through module 102. The story and interactive nature of the course are helpful for learning and relating the material. It would be nice to have the page numbers to the PMBOK guide where references are made to it. Other information that will be helpful, are the explanations to the practice questions at the end of each module. These are provided only after immediately answering the questions. Having these available in the score summary from the 'history' tab will be helpful to refresh why the answer is correct and other options are not.

- Rohan Punit

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Overall I would rate this course an 8/10. I liked how there were exams towards the end of every module and I felt that it was very useful having it laid out in different scenarios. I rate it only an 8/10 as I had some glitch/software issues and lost my progress resulting in me having to re-do modules/exams multiple times. All in all, that was maybe useful in the end as it was a way for me study or 're-learn' the course material. Thank you!

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Clear and precise explanations of how things work. I was never lost navigating the course.

- Gary Nicol

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A smart approach to present the information which makes it fun and engaging while at the same time preparing for the PMP exam. Brain Sensei differentiates itself from other PMP exam preps in that it delivers the knowledge through the use of storytelling technique. I recommend this course because it will help you pass your PMP exam on the first try.

- Jamal

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Loved the story telling and the practice exams. I felt very prepared when the actual exam came around.

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One of a kind training that was truly engaging!

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Excellent course for preparing for the PMP exam in a fun and engaging way! The practice questions resemble the actual questions on the exam making it a completely worthwhile experience.

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I passed the PMP exam after taking Brain Sensei's Online PMP Certification Exam Prep. The practice exam questions were so similar to the questions that appeared on the exam. On exam day, when I sat down to take the test and started running through the questions I felt so relieved! The practice exams are also timed so you get more comfortable with the exam experience and feel better prepared when you sit down to take the test. The other differentiator was the video content throughout the modules. The concepts are taught through a story of a young samurai defending her kingdom. This will probably be the only PMP prep course where you can learn all the knowledge areas and feudal Japan at the same time. I'd recommend this course not just because of the videos but because it helped me pass my exam on the first try.

- Jackie

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Good course, but a few grammatical errors with how some questions were worded.

- Sonia

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It was good!

- Sergei

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Loved the unique approach and it still had all the info I'd expect from a full PMP exam prep course. Very responsive on questions too.

- Chris