April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
22 Jun 2016

Curriculum Survey

SurveyWe are so appreciative to all members and also professionals in the industry who are not members for responding to our surveys. Your input is very important to us. The board will review all the tabulated results and will use this information for our 2017 planning session. Knowing what you want from your industry education association will help us provide more of what you want, and less of what is not of as much importance.

This Curriculum Survey will be the final survey for quite a while. We’ve accumulated enough information to move forward with your preferences in mind. We thank you for giving us your opinion in the previous surveys, and thank you in advance for taking the time to give us your input once again.

Curriculum includes a good mix of topics

The April survey informed us that you are happy with the mix of topics we offer. And now that we have achieved a good balance of industry- and non-industry-related courses, we will continue to strive to provide two new courses per year. To meet your needs, we want to know your interests. Growing our curriculum is essential so you can maintain your CIS designation. We want to ensure that we provide topics of interest so you can meet the 5 CEU annual requirement of continuing education.

Project Management was our first course released this year, responding to this request in the 2015 survey, two additional courses are currently in the initial planning stage, both also suggested in the 2015 survey.

Curriculum survey will help determine future courses

Your responses to this Curriculum Survey will help us plan future courses. Here is the link to the Curriculum Survey. It should take only about a minute of your time. Results will be reported in our July newsletter and also here on the website.

09 Jun 2016

Project Management Course Released

ContinuingEdIn our continued effort to add a variety of topics to our Continuing Education Program, NICA has recently released the course, Project Management. Our initial online, self-directed course offerings were Code of Ethics (to set a standard for our industry) and Inventory 101 (which covers the various types of inventories). Also included in our first course releases were Residential Contents Inventory and  Business Contents Inventory. These offer a variety of approaches one can take to provide inventory services to home owners, renters, and business owners. By offering the various techniques, it enables beginning inventory professionals to have a concise road map of successfully applied processes from which to choose as they create or refine their own personal property inventory services.

Once these four foundation courses were developed, our goal was to offer a variety of topics that will benefit small business owners of any sector. Many of these courses, though, include examples of how the information can be applied to the inventory industry.  Our most recent addition to the NICA curriculum, released today, is Project Management.

Project Management Course Description

Personal property inventory professionals are often called to document the contents of extremely large homes, multiple properties, and commercial buildings. These are projects that offer great revenue, but many decline the opportunity due to the size or complexity of the job. The reason for turning down these great opportunities is that they don’t have the knowledge to approach it with confidence.

Basically, it all comes down to project management. Even a small inventory is a “project” that must be managed. Sometimes even small ones can have a unique twist to them, creating a question of, “How do I begin?” or “How do I approach this?” No matter the size or type of inventory – whether it is a couple hours or a few weeks – managing it is essential for a professional outcome.

To ensure quality for this online, self-directed course, as with all others, the author of this course has credentials and experience in this field. In addition to being a Project Management Professional (PMP), the course creator is a Certified Inventory Specialist. Having both of these certifications, and the experience to go along with the education, we are confident that you will find value and a great foundation to gain the confidence in accepting the projects that require this expertise.

The course was written using the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) principles from the Project Management Institute and lays down the foundations of project management. The topics in this 3-module course are as follows:

Module 1 – What is Project Management?

  • Definition of Project Management
  • The Five Project Management Process Groups
  • Knowledge Areas
  • Project Management vs. Operations Management

Module 2 – Scope and Activities

  • Scope
  • The Stakeholder
  • Managing Customer Expectations
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • Defining the Activities
  • Estimating the Duration of a Project

Module 3 – Monitoring and Identifying Success

  • Monitoring the Project
  • Project documents
  • Success criteria
  • Project Management Definitions

Click on this link to access the Project Management course.  The cost is just $60, and only $30 for NICA members (remember to apply your member code to receive the 50% discount). Once completed successfully, you will receive 2 CEUs to be applied towards achieving certification or to the required annual 5 CEUs of continuing education.

06 Jun 2016

NICA Member Tricia Hoekwater Authors Project Management Course

NICA member Tricia Hoekwater, certified in Project Management and Asset Inventory, authored the Project Management Course for the home inventory industry’s Continuing Education Program.

HoekwaterPRESS RELEASE – It is imperative that the National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) contract with qualified authors to create online, self-directed courses for the Continuing Education Program. The most recently released course, Project Management, was created by Tricia Hoekwater, a member of NICA, who is certified as a Project Management Professional, a Certified Inventory Specialist, and owner of Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions.

“We thought it would be difficult to locate someone with experience in both the Project Management and the Home Inventory sectors, who also has the writing skills required to create a quality course. We are very fortunate to find this in one of our certified members,” NICA Managing Director, Cindy Hartman said. With the asset inventory industry mind, Hoekwater included examples of how specific steps throughout the project can be applied specifically to personal property inventory projects. However, the course is written with the intent to serve any professional who seeks to gain the knowledge required to manage projects that will help ensure a successful result.  

Tricia earned her PMP certification in 2008 from the Project Management Institute. Prior to achieving certification, she studied Project Management at U.C. Berkeley and received an honors certificate in Project Management. Tricia shared her background by stating, “I have worked as a Project Manager since the late 90’s in a variety of industries including law, telecom, digital media consulting, direct sales, and the cruise industry.” She used the certification professionally in website development, facilities management, marketing projects, and most recently as an Inventory Professional in the San Francisco Bay area.

What ended up merging these two interests began in 2006 when Hoekwater experienced a home robbery. She practiced as an inventory professional indirectly when she had to put her project management skills to work.Tricia explained, “I had to identify what was lost, create an items lost inventory for insurance and the police report, and then subsequently, created an inventory of my personal assets where none existed before.”

In 2008 during the weak economy, Hoekwater lost her project management position and was unable to find replacement work in the private sector. She discovered an 11-week mini-MBA program (Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment) and  launched her home inventory business 30 days after graduation.

Many home and business inventory professionals fear taking on a large inventory project due to a lack of knowledge in tackling a multi-unit or multi-property opportunity. As an inventory professional, Hoekwater uses her project management skills to assist in identifying her clients’ needs, developing the contract and managing her team of onsite and back-end support – all necessary to successfully complete a project.

Hoekwater sees the value in continuing education, which encouraged her to accept the course-writing project. She concluded, “In an ongoing quest to provide the best service to my clients, I became a Certified Inventory Specialist. Having NICA as a resource for continued learning has been so gratifying to me and helped me grow professionally and financially. My business has always been about helping people document their assets, minimize paper, and have an organized system for tracking their assets. Writing this course gave me the opportunity to assist others in this industry.”  

In addition to Home Inventory services, Tricia speaks to senior and community groups on the topics of Home Inventory, DeCluttering, Digital Legacy, and Digital Photo Libraries.  

The online, self-directed Project Management course will be available by mid-June on the Professional Development page of the NICA website.

18 May 2016

Project Management Course Coming Soon

ProjMgmtHome inventory professionals are often called to inventory extremely large homes, multiple properties, and commercial buildings. These are projects that offer great revenue, but many are scared away or hesitate to accept the project due to the size or complexity of the job. One inventory professional stated, “It was such a big project I didn’t even now how to approach it, so I turned down the opportunity.”

Basically, it all comes down to project management. Even a small inventory is a “project” that must be managed. Sometimes small ones can have a unique twist to them, creating a question of, “How do I begin?” or “How do I approach this?” No matter the size or type of inventory – whether it is a couple hours or a few weeks – managing the process is essential for a professional outcome.

Project Management

Therefore, we have commissioned a Certified Project Manager to write a course on Project Management and how it relates to the home inventory industry. Some of the topics that are covered are:

  • Defining the scope of the project
  • Creating the work breakdown structure
  • Monitoring the project progress
  • Defining the activities
  • Estimating the duration of the project

This course will provide you with the knowledge of how to approach any project – whether it is for an inventory or any other type of project. The information will be beneficial to any small business owner, as project management can be utilized in many facets of the day-to-day business processes.

Watch for more information here and also in future issues of NICA News. If you aren’t receiving our newsletter, click here to sign up now.