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Member Spotlight -- Earl Matthews, CAPM, Continuous Improvement Coach, AZ Department of Revenue

Member Spotlight

Everyone’s path to project management is a different journey, each path is unique and correct for them. Whether you stumble into project management, specifically plan your career, or just morph into a professional as a lifelong leaner.

I would like to introduce you to Earl Matthews, a new chapter member and CAPM certificate holder and talk about his CAPM journey.   

Joining the AZ Department of Revenue, two-plus years ago made him introspective about his career goals. His skills journey began in the trades then moved into retail loss prevention without formal training or education. What he discovered is that you can apply learning and skills are transportable across industries. So, Earl Mathews explored his new industry, shadowed other project managers, earned his 6 Sigma Black Belt while working in the program office. Earl states that “it quickly became my passion and where he sees himself in his five-year growth plan with the state.” His passion was built by working with teams and people in the lean management system.

Earl Matthews project management path, started with an eLearning module on the PMI.org website to explore Project Management Basics. Earl completed his CAPM educational requirements pre COVID-19. He discovered Ken Roundtree, by attending a session at work, but needed a new path to certify when PMI Global canceled in-person exams last March.

A few months passed, delaying his CAPM certification, but COVID-19 may have poked a hole in his balloon, making him glide but he quickly found a new way for his balloon to soar and regain air. Earl Mathews joined the chapter and the fall 2020 PMP/CAPM study group. He passed within one week of the November study group completion.

His project study plan came together after 12 weeks of intense study, committing 4 to 5 nights a week to both weekly sessions and a study buddy and memorizing the ITTOs (processes, inputs, tools and techniques and outputs). Earl Matthews best advice is to not limit yourself to one type of learning source, so you can be well rounded. All learning sources help fill in the gaps so it will make sense.

What you might not realize is the CAPM certification exam is technical where the PMP certification exam is situational. Earl Matthews said, “the study group was the glue that brought it all together, how it was presented and the presenter. The attendees and dialog participation, with the multiple views of other PMPs situational experience brought it together.”

I could hear Ken Roundtree in my head during the exam, where no textbook would stick. I was the pig and committed to gaining the CAPM certification with only a high school diploma at the start of my journey. So, in the words of Earl Mathews, “your life and goals are just another project” so why not get started and find your critical path to success.


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