Project Management Professional PMP Certificatation

Being where I am in my career,  getting my PMP certification may not seem to make sense.  I have been doing Project Management for over 30 years, and I have an MBA, Master of Science in Management and Leadership, so why should I get a PMP?

  1. The PMP credential is one of the rare credentials I truly respect.  I’m not trying to say that credentials are bad, but many credentials are only paper.  I have hired plenty of people over the years who had credentials, but still could not perform the job.  PMP is different (for reasons I will go into below).
  2. Staying Relevant.  Being in any career for over 30 years can make you think you are an expert.  Information Technology, however, is still a very young career, extremely broad, and is constantly changing.  What was “Best Practice” when I started, looks like leaches and bleeding today.     Continued education is a good way to stay relevant.
  3. Looking for a change in perspective.  If you have read my other posts, you may get the impression of a changing landscape.  The secrets of technology are no longer in the hands of a couple of special wizards, so IT, as a discipline, needs to change.   I am working on a post of Marketing and IT which will demonstrate the need.

I had decided to get my PMP back in 2012.  At the time I was in charge of the PMO, and it seems logical.  After a few months, and little progress, I realized that the organization was not ready.  So, instead of pursuing the PMP,     I got my MBA (2015), and then my Masters in Management and Leadership (2016).  In chasing those degrees, I continued to find a love of learning that I have all but forgotten.  When 2017 came around and I planned what I would do to improve myself, the PMP was high on the list.

PMP – Project Management Professional

One of the best known sources (but not the only one) of best practices is the  PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) by the Project Management Institute.

Though it is a massive volume, it was designed by the Best Practices of Project Managers, and is the “State of the Art” when it comes to general Project Management.  This is the basis of the PMP test.

There are too many credentials that you can study the base material, and pass the credential, without any real experience.   I found the PMP to be a different credential for a number of reasons:

  1. Before you are even given the option of taking the test, you must provide evidence of your Project Management experience (Minimum of 3 years, with at least 4,500 hours of {Project Management and Leadership, and 35 hours of Project Management education – 2017 Requirements).  Sure, you can lie about your experience, but ….
  2. When you apply, you have to supply someone to vouch for your experiences.   This isn’t a fail-safe mechanism, but they will audit and check (they did for me).
  3. Lastly the test is less about Project Management knowledge, than how to use the knowledge.  I found almost no question which asked a simple question like “what step follows creating requirements?”  The questions were much more “how to oriented,” testing how you would apply the knowledge to real life examples.
  4. In this day and age of online testing, PMP still uses Proctored exams.  Though it was a pain travelling to the testing site, and tons of additional stress since I didn’t know anything about the location, it did help limit any potential cheating.

For those of you looking to take the test, you will find tons of useful material on the Web (and multi-tons of not-useful material).  My primary study guide was the PMBOK itself, and the HeadFirst PMP Study Guide.

I strongly recommend the HeadFirst Guide and that you do ALL of the exercises.    It is much more than a regurgitation of the PMBOK, but puts it into easy to understand real-life examples.  The exercises are designed to engage your mind to help you remember what is important.  It works.  After a lifetime of experience, and three weeks studying, I passed.  I didn’t intend to pass the first time around, so you can imagine my joy when the “You Passed” came across the screen at the testing center.

Your thoughts?