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How can I produce an accurate determination of hours spent on projects in the past when I didn't record the time spent at the time?

I used to own my own business putting on concerts in the Seattle area for 5 years. This included:

  • Initiating the event (event concept, date)
  • Planning the event (choosing venue, booking artists, renting sound, renting security, contacting investors, contacting designers for marketing materials),
  • Executing the event (Managing promotions team, managing production team day of show), and
  • Closing the event (Paying investors).

However I didn't explicitly record the exact amount of hours spent on each step for every event.

ORIGINAL POST: First time poster, I'm taking a family friend's advice and pursuing a career in Project management and he suggested that I go for the PMP certification first. Now I'm taking classes now on Project Management and I'm not worried about taking the test but I am concerned about the 7500 hour requirement (I currently have a 2 year AA degree). I feel like I meet the hour requirement with my previous business experience. I used to own my own business putting on concerts in the Seattle area for 5 years. My job included initiating the event (Event concept, date), Planning the event (choosing venue, booking artists, renting sound, renting security, contacting investors, contacting designers for marketing materials), Executing the event (Managing promotions team, managing production team day of show), and closing the event (Paying investors). So within the Project Management framework it should qualify however finding the exact amount of hours spent on each step for every event is impossible and if I were to be audited I wouldn't have anyone else that could verify my Project Management experience other than my business partners. Do you think this will be a problem? or should I just estimate my hours spent on each project (event) and go ahead and take the test?

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    The only entity that could possibly answer this canonically is PMI. – Todd A. Jacobs Jul 13 '17 at 14:57
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    I concur that the only answer is PMI. That said, I estimated my hours, and was audited and passed the audit. I documented my estimates in a spreadsheet to show how the estimate was achieved. That spreadsheet was accepted. – Mark C. Wallace Jul 17 '17 at 9:41
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@CodeGnome is right, in that only PMI approves a candidate's application; however, I think your actual question is: should you try and submit an application?

Your stated experience in your business appears to meet the criteria to sit for the exam and PMI would adjudicate your application for an answer. Your issue with the hours is not an uncommon issue, based on my experience of mentoring those in my company. Not many log their work hours for several years to fill out the application with that degree of precision and accuracy so they have to sort of reverse engineer the hours to the best of their ability. I suspect majority of applications are constructed this way.

Your second issue is, if audited, you would have a huge issue substantiating your application. It appears you cannot mitigate this so it is what it is. I understand PMI audits about 5% or so of the application so this is your risk.

What is the downside of getting audited and then rejected? You get audited and rejected. No one dies. Continue with your PM education, get work doing PM stuff, track your hours, and then try again when you think you will be able to prove your application better than you can now. If you don't get audited, then sit for the exam and pass it.

Just be as honest as you can filling out your application and let PMI do its thing.

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