So you want to be internationally Certified as a project manager and have heard about the PMP.
The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is one of the most widely recognised in the world, but does it make you a better project manager?
About the PMP Exam
The PMP certification exam is based off the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide.
To pass the PMP exam, you need to memorise all of the Guide’s 5 process groups, 10 knowledge areas, 47 processes and several thousand formulas, lexicon terms and ITTOs.
Interestingly, the Guide does not teach you how to manage projects – it really just lists, in mind numbing detail, all the ‘bits’ of project management.
Kind of like getting in the mail the 1,349 bits that make up a washing machine and a manual that labels them all, without telling you how they fit together.
It’s perhaps unsurprising then that the failure rate for the exam is not published, but many industry experts suspect that around half the people who take the exam fail it on their first attempt.
The PMP Prep Industry
For that reason, many people complete a PMP prep course with a private training provider.
Those courses typically cost several thousand dollars and have one goal in mind – and, no, it’s not to teach you how to manage projects.
Their purpose is to teach you how to pass the exam.
The PMP prep course industry is huge – literally millions of people have taken these courses – and still, half fail the exam at the first attempt.
And almost none learn how to better manage projects.
The Cost of PMP
I truly get why PMPs are proud of their certification – it requires a huge amount of motivation, discipline and effort.
It also costs a lot of money.
Because beyond the cost of prep courses and examination, there are membership dues, renewals and continuing professional development programs you need to constantly pay for to keep your certification current.
When you invest that much in a piece of paper you want to make very sure that everyone believes how awesome it is!
But the project management profession’s dirty little secret is that unless you have actual industry experience and can demonstrate your competence in other ways, you are nothing more than a “Paper PM”
A Paper PM is someone good at passing tests, but actually pretty clueless about how to be a good project manager.
That’s because no one – and I mean literally no one – perfectly follows the PMBOK guide when delivering their projects.
Do you know why?
Because the best project managers are creative and critical thinkers.
They draw on their knowledge, experience and skills to identify the best practices for their projects, their clients and the environment they operate in.
A New Approach to Certification
But what if there was a Certification program that recognised your knowledge, skills and experience?
What if there was a Certification that recognised that the right mix of knowledge, skills and experience doesn’t decay – once you have clearly and demonstrably attained a level, you deserve to be Certified for life!
And what if the Certification coursework drew on the global library of good practice – including PMBOK, PRINCE2, Agile and other methods – to teach you how to solve problems, lead complexity and make good project decisions.
Oh, and you were assessed on that with your peers within the coursework; rather than in the sterile isolation of an artificial exam.
You can probably guess where I’m going with this…
Welcome to the Institute of Project Management
Our Certifications are not easy, but our courses do demystify project management, making it easier to understand.
Our Certifications are not cheap, but they are significantly less expensive than the PMP process and do not become a never-ending drain on your purse.
Importantly, though, our Certification coursework is not painful.
It is not obtuse, overly technical or academic. Our resources are fast-paced, engaging, enlightening and fun.
What you learn today you can apply tomorrow, in your current or pretty much any future role.
Here at the Institute we are all about enabling innovation.
For if innovation is successful change, then projects are how we deliver it.
And wherever you are and whatever industry you work in, shouldn’t that be the most important job in the world?
About the Author
Prior to co-founding the Institute of Project Management, Paul enjoyed 15 years of senior management experience across Australia, Asia and Europe in a wide range of project driven businesses.
He currently advises a diverse community of public, private and not-for-profit organisations on management issues relating to strategy, risk, projects, operations, marketing and people.