Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Relevance of Project Management Certification

Author: David Anderson
              Project Management Professional and Educator

The PMP or Project Management Professional designation has become the gold standard qualification for project management jobs.  Many listings for jobs in project management now say either “PMP required” or “PMP preferred”.

Not all accomplished project managers have the PMP designation, and no designation is a guarantee of success. However, getting this one will show that you have the initiative to successfully complete a project, have substantial knowledge of the project management discipline, and have the intellectual capacity to perform the many tasks required of a professional project manager.

Projects have become an increasingly important form of organization for business. A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result, distinguishable from operations by its non-repetitive, temporary nature. Operations are susceptible to automation, projects are not.

Projects are used to develop new products and services, to conduct research, and to engineer business processes. For many enterprises, these are the core functions of the business. For others, these are key activities that enable the organization to survive and prosper in the context of global competition.

Massive Mergers occur regularly—the effort to bring together two large organizations, each with its own culture and management system, is a major undertaking that has both a definite objective and end. Professional project management is required to ensure the merger achieves its intended result.

Many projects are multi-national, accomplished by teams of workers from different cultures located in various locations around the globe. Getting these heterogeneous groups to work toward the same objective takes the discipline of professional project management.

Finally, there is the breadth of human expertise that is required to accomplish anything employing the advances in technology and management practices available to organizations competing in the 21st century.

To qualify to sit for the PMP exam, the candidate is required to have in his or her background one of the following combinations of credentials and experience:
  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent)
  • Minimum five years/60 months unique non-overlapping professional project
  • management experience during which at least 7,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project*
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education
     OR
  • Four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or global equivalent)
  • Minimum three years/36 months unique non-overlapping professional project management experience during which at least 4,500 hours were spent leading and directing the project*
  • 35 contact hours of formal project management education
*Leading and directing the project as identified with the tasks, knowledge, and skills specific in the Project Management Professional Examination Content Outline:

To qualify for the PMP exam, you needn’t have led a multi-million dollar project. Titles vary from organization to organization, and by examining your own experience considering the PMP exam outline, you may find you have led many projects and easily qualify. If your experience is still short, PMI also offers the CAPM designation, which has a separate exam and requires less experience.

The 35 contact hours of formal PM education may be obtained through a variety of providers. “Boot Camp” courses abound. However, you may find as I do that the best setting for learning project management tools and techniques is a classroom setting.  Most county colleges in New Jersey offer these on a Saturday or evening schedule.  I teach such a course at Middlesex County College.

Good luck in your career development efforts. If you have any questions or comments, please address them to me at david.m.anderson.pmp@gmail.com.

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