To Credential or not to Credential: Project Managers and The PMP

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Date posted: December 2, 2008

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Over the last several years, there has been a dramatic increase in the need for Project Managers. Large and small organizations are increasing their use of Project Managers for IT initiatives. Along with the increase in positions, we have seen the number of job requirements for Project Managers increase steadily. In the past, many clients expressed only a preference for certifications. Now, it seems, the majority of job descriptions for Project Managers require that candidates be a Project Management Professional (PMP). This trend has us thinking about the value of getting certified versus the potential danger of not.

To that end, BRIDGE would like to share information about the PMP certification: where to get it, required time, costs associated, and potential benefits. Read on:

The Project Management Institute, which administers thePMP Certification, has designed the process to ensure only serious project managers are eligible by requiring a minimum of 3 years of project management experience (more if you don’t hold a bachelors degree). During your three years they require 4,500 hours spent leading and directing project tasks. There is also a four hour computer-based exam. The exam costs $550 ($405 for PMI members) and covers material from the Project Manager Professional Examination Specification. The 200 multiple choice questions cover content from six domains including; initiation, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, closing, and professional and social responsibility. Once you decide to get certified it can take from one month to one year to get through the application and testing.

There are many reasons why you might decide to get certified; it could be a personal goal, you want to distinguish yourself from others, you want get a promotion or a better job, or you think it might be required for your next job. This last reason might be worth considering given that many companies are moving from preferring to requiring PMP certification.

Related Events:
On Thursday, January 8th, BRIDGE Technical Solutions will be sponsoring the Ocean State PMIdinner meeting at the Marriott Hotel in Providence, RI. The topic will be “Case Study: How Project Management Guided Harvard Pilgrim from Near Collapse to #1” presented by Lisa DiTullio of EPMO Advisory Services of Cohasset, MA.

Check out our new web page exclusively for Project Managers. We have collected information on PM certification, training opportunities, and current news which we hope will be useful. We also provide links to local project manager professional organizations. If notice something missing from our page please let us know.

So what do you think? Is PMP certification worth the cost? We appreciate your insight.
Thanks, Joe Devine

Is the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification worth the time/cost?
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7 thoughts on “To Credential or not to Credential: Project Managers and The PMP

  1. Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo

    When the PMP was created in the early to mid 1980’s, the purpose was to ensure that people who were appointed or selected to work on project teams had a MINIMUM understanding of the terms and concepts necessary to function in a project environment.

    Since 1998 or thereabouts, PMI’s effective marketing has turned it into something much, much more than was ever envisioned.

    To put the marketing hype into perspective, exactly how much credibility should anyone put in a “professional” credential that:
    1) Does not require any documentation that a person ever worked on a SUCCESSFUL project;
    2) Requires only 35 hours of training, which can be fulfilled by reading a book or listening to a podcast?
    3) Consists of only 200, 4 answer multiple choice questions;
    4) Of which only 175 actually count, and;
    5) Requires a passing grade of only ~62%

    To put this in perspective, if this were your own money, would you entrust your multi-million dollar contract solely on the basis of someone who held this credential?

    Would you select a cardiologist to perform open heart surgery who had fulfilled similar qualifications?

    Would you get on the next commercial jetliner knowing the pilot had never taken off or landed a real plane successfully?

    Sorry Joe, I am a lifelong project manager and IMPO, the PMP is exactly suited for what it was originally intended to achieve- nothing more, nothing less.

    If you really want to establish yourself with professional credentials, I would urge you to look to IPMA, asapm, AACE, AIPM or GAPPS, all of which offer COMPETENCY based standards and credentialing options.

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta

    Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM,

    Senior Technical Advisor, PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta/Singapore/Anchorage/Amsterdam

    Adjunct Professor, Project/Program Management, Lille Graduate School of Management, Paris, FRANCE

    Curriculum Development Consultant/Adjunct Professor, Asset and Project Management, University of Western Australia, Perth,

    Board of Directors, Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS) Sydney, AUSTRALIA

  2. Paul Tsimikas

    Hello Joe,

    I enjoyed the article Joe. I believe that PMI has brought the practice and benefits of a project management methodology to the public forefront. All too often, companies do not use any formal approach to their project management needs and projects are run in a “firefighting”’ fashion.

    I utilize the PMBOK’s nine project management knowledge areas in my daily work routine and find it works extremely well for me. After earning two business degrees, I was introduced to this methodology. It’s a well rounded approach which incorporates what I’ve learned in the classroom and throughout my career.

    State and federal agencies, as well as large corporations are reaping the benefits of an organized, structured project management approach. Them type of project management credentialing is a matter of preference. I choose to follow the PMI model.

    Paul Tsimikas

  3. Karen Barth

    In regard to the comment above by Dr. Paul, some of his comments are false. I happen to instruct at Bryant University which is an authorized by PMI to prepare Project Managers to sit for the exam.

    The comment regarding the 35 hours, you can not sit for the exam by reading or taking something via a pod cast. You must take a class (Bryant’s is 40 hours) and must be able to prove this when audited.

    1% of all applicants ARE required to show proof of successful projects. You have no idea when you apply if you need to show proof or not. False statements will result in your in ability to sit for the exam as well as have your certification revolked.

    Also, the exam is easy for EVERYONE. You need a working knowledge of Project Management as well as a complete understanding of the PMBOK. Maybe Dr. Paul can sit for the exam without reviewing and studing, I would love for him to take a practice exam to see how you does!

    Karen Barth

  4. Mike Stevens

    Joe – interesting comments by Dr. Paul G. I’m sure that there are always a few people who can ‘cram’ for an exam and are gifted test takers, but I suspect the majority of us who have earned the PMP credential had to put in a fair amount of work over and above 35 hours to sucessfully pass the test. Also, most of us take our profession seriously and did more than just memorize answers to practice exams; we spent time actually learning about and gained a greater understanding of the concepts contained in the PMBOK and how to apply them. That time spent by all of us will surely contribute to PMI’s basic mission: raising the bar professionally with respect to the practice of Project Management. That will lead to more SUCCESSFUL projects!

    Mike Stevens, PMP
    Co-Founder & Past President of the Ocean State Chapter

  5. Ms. Michael C. Redmond

    I truly believe in certifications. They do not guarantee that a canidate has the necessary skills, but they do confirm an expected level of knowledge.

    I have been a Project Manager in the Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity area for over 15 years and time and time again those with certifications seem to be a better choice for position

    While the amount of needed review sessions for different certifications differ from person to person, few test takers can walk into an exam after a quick cram and do their best.

    Learning and understanding concepts is very different from learning and being able to apply the concepts.

    In summary, exams should test the ability to apply concepts. One of the few exams that tests application of concepts is the MBCP, which requires test takers to “show’ during the test that they can actually Project Manage a project based on a “mock scenario”.

    Ms. Michael C. Redmond

  6. Robert Dunning

    I would like to forward a contrasting view. I am in full agreement on PMI certification being worth the investment and of its value to clients and employers.

    What I have always struggled with is the recertification process, which I find does a disservice to many who have gained certification (including myself). The recertification process should depend on whether you are continuing as a PM, not be based on societies you belong to or what courses (most of which are barely relevant) you must take.

    PMI needs to step into the modern world where project always scope creep, where adequate resources are never available, and where timelines always extend. Managing through those circumstanses are what makes a real successful project manager in todays industries.

  7. Pingback: A Spotlight on Project Management and the PMP « Bridge Technical Solutions' Blog

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