When we come into contact with people in the world of project management the topic of certification can often be discussed. Some of the questions are:
- Why should a project manager become PMP certified?
- What will the certification give the business?
- Will it guarantee more successful project deliveries?
I achieved PMP certification many years ago working in Cisco Systems as it was part of the development path of project managers for the professional services group. It was not a mandatory certification but an opportunity to measure my ability and experience to global standard and from a personal point of view to achieve something of value. Undertaking the relevant training in preparation for the PMP examination opened my eyes to many areas of project management that I found to be most rewarding and honestly helped me to become a much better prepared project manager and in my role of more recent years as a consultant and trainer in the field. We can all become very insular and focussed in our own application areas, however what the Project Management Institutes (PMI) Body of Knowledge (PMBoK Guide) provided me was a greater appreciation for things that we may not have been aware of. The guide is constructed for projects across all industry sectors and projects of all sizes. Delegates often ask on training courses if there is anyone out there who does all of these processes, as it seems we would spend all our time documenting the project and never actually delivering anything. This is the beauty of the guide, it’s tailorable and as a professional project manager we have the knowledge and skills to be able to use what we need and when we would need it. Do you need to be certified to do this? No, however if you invest the time to understand its content, then go the extra mile and get certified. Of course to remain certified, we need to continue our learning and development, which is another great reason why the certification works, we stay current in the discipline.
From a business point of view, PMP certification sets a standard and helps to differentiate your organisation from your competition or if they already have certified people, then at least you can get on par with them and look for further opportunities to move ahead of them. It may be a customer requirement, that as a supplier organisation, you may need to satisfy in a proposal that you have certified project managers and will help you win new business.
Common language and common understanding leading to defined project management methods across the discipline is vital to success of delivering successful projects on a regular basis. I have come across many organisations who have struggled to implement these methods that would have enabled them to become effective and consistent, however those that have succeeded, which by no means is a short term time frame, have benefited greatly. This type of approach not only satisfies our certified people but also gives our aspiring project managers a career path they can follow and look beyond the PMP and higher positions within the business.
My view on the final point about the guarantee of success if you are PMP certified is most definitely “NO”. There are no guarantees for success but what the certification does is to raise the bar of expectation on the project manager to be successful and deliver a satisfactory outcome. Being familiar with PMI’s ten knowledge as part of the PMP certification and having a greater understanding and appreciation of them will help us see the larger picture across all of the key areas and be able to integrate them into a successful plan and project delivery. I believe that many of us like to be seen as the project manager that can bring the project home so the expectation on our shoulders is the level of pressure and stress that helps us thrive to do our jobs and do them well.
This article was written by our resident PMI expert, Ray Moore