Is the Project Management Professional certification worth it? Yes. See, when it comes to project management, there are two types of people: those concerned with results, and those concerned with the process. You will always get results, good or bad. Certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs) are focused on perfecting the process, in order to consistently yield great results. Those results are projects that are completed on time, on budget, and with high overall customer satisfaction. That’s a good reason for decision makers to want certified PMPs working on their project, as well as for existing project managers to seek certification.
Project Management Professionals = Better Project Performance
Per the Project Management Institute, for every $1 billion spent, an average of $97 million is wasted to poor project management. They go on to report that organizations highly focused on project management meet their time and financial objectives 71% of the time. Comparatively, those not so concerned with project management achieve their goals just 52% of the time. Harvard Business Review cites the average cost overrun as 27%, while 1 in 6 projects meet or exceed overruns of 200%.
“Organizations that invest in proven project management practices waste 28 times less money because more of their strategic initiatives are completed successfully” – Mark A. Langley, PMI President and CEO.
So, It should be no surprise that businesses in highly regulated industries and working with complex products value PMP certification. Overall, only about half of project managers are certified. According to Smartsheet, project managers with PMP certification earn 10-22% more than those without. The certification assures they can initiate, plan, execute, monitor and complete projects according to a time-tested, rigorously-defined process adaptable for fixed and flexible plans.
Standardize and Streamline Project Management
The Project Management Professional certification is regarded as the international standard, especially given PMI’s ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 accreditation from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This accreditation defines the rigorous requirements of how professional certifications are developed and maintained – it’s not just another “mail-order diploma.” As of September 2018, over 876,000 people from 210 countries and territories have PMP certifications, with PMI programs reaching over 3 million. That may seem like PMP certification is commonplace. But, looking at the numbers, it’s an elite designation considering there are over 56 million businesses in the US and EU alone.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that world-class organizations tend to adopt similar sets of best practices. While organizations may engage in different industries, many of their processes are essentially the same and PMP’s across the world follow the same project management procedures. This entails not only the development of project plans but communication plans to keep all stakeholders in the loop. One study by the University of Ottawa, for example, indicates 1 in 3 projects fail owing to a lack of involvement by senior management.
PMP is More than a Certification
Becoming a Project Management Professional involves much more than passing an exam and never having to bother with it again. The requirements to take the exam are fairly extensive. It’s also considered very difficult. Certification doesn’t end upon completing the exam. Individuals committing to PMP are making a long-term investment in their career subject to persistent ethical standards and continuing education requirements as reflected in its Five E’s:
1. Education Required for Eligibility:
Candidates must have a combination of either:
- an HS diploma or an associate’s degree, and nearly 4 years of project management experience, OR
- a bachelor’s degree with over 2 years of project management experience.
Both also require 35 contact hours of project management education.
2. Experience Required
A minimum number of hours that are aligned with specific project management tasks are required (7,500 hours or 4,500 hours depending on degree, as specified above).
3. The Examination
A scenario-based multiple-choice examination format is used to assess project management competence. The four-hour exam involves 200 questions of which 175 are scored. Candidates need a success-rate of 141 (or 80.6%) in order to pass.
4. Ethical Code
All candidates and certification holders must adhere to the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. This is about being open, honest, transparent, responsible and accountable for building relationships across all stakeholders based on trust. It’s evident in portions of corporate America some haven’t gotten the memo – and they’re paying the price for it.
5. Education for Certification Maintenance
PMI’s Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) program also reflects these best practices. The CCR program ensures that certified practitioners maintain and continue to develop their competence in project management. Unlike other certification programs that are tested once, PMP is an ongoing ‘lifetime achievement.’ This is one of the best aspects of PMP, as it keeps certification holders connected with updated knowledge and techniques in the project management realm.
Risk Management and Contingency Planning
“Predicting the future,” is usually not a skill you want on your resume unless, perhaps, you’re reading Tarot Cards in New Orleans. Even so, an experienced PMP knows almost everything that could go wrong with a project. She knows which steps to take so they don’t happen – or minimize and contain them if they do. Sometimes people get sick, deliveries are late, computers crash and tornadoes strike. The impact of all of these can be vastly reduced, if not completely negated, with just a modicum of foresight. Changes in budgets, release dates, essential third-party software, and more complex changes can also be accommodated standard change management process. It may not be supernatural, but it is super valuable.
Formally trained and certified Project Management Professionals take what some may consider as “unforeseeable risks” into consideration. They do so right from the planning phase of any project. They are equipped with a veritable arsenal of risk management tools and techniques including:
- A standardized process and framework of organizational project management procedures.
- Experience from previous projects, alongside checklists and best practices associated with each stage and aspect of project development.
- A variety of software tools including experience with dedicated project management software like Jira, Basecamp, Slack, and others, along with informative charts and reports.
- Team communication and leadership skills.
- A vast library of shared learning and social networking via the Project Management Institute itself.
PMP’s Are Specialists in Change Management
Even if a project’s been perfectly planned, the need for change may arise due to external factors or decisions. Such changes could derive from Apple with iOS updates or Google with Android updates. New laws or provisions on data security may go into effect. New technologies may become very popular. And, there’s always the chance that you may just decide that you want one more feature added to your launch. All of these and countless other possibilities do happen quite frequently.
And that’s cool. As every general knows, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” But that’s built into each operation. You’ve even seen it in action and war movies, perhaps even first-hand with military service or your own project management experience. Military terms like rendezvous points, fall-back positions, rapid deployment forces, reinforcements, air-sea rescue, counter-measures all have their rough equivalents in project management and contingency planning.
That’s not meant to be overly dramatic. When you are the project owner for a 6-figure project with a tight deadline and tighter budget, you don’t want the stress of constantly worrying about “what-if scenarios.” An experienced Project Management Professional makes it so you don’t have to. They also keep the team centered on their tasks and priorities. When big changes come down the line, they re-orient, re-prioritize, re-allocate and resolve the changes, calling in additional resources as and when needed. It’s all part of PMI’s standardized process.
How Serious Are You About Project Management?
One thing I can say about Reinvently is that regardless of our task, Artem (our CEO) wants to know one thing, first, “What’s your process?” He expects for it to be broken down, step by step, detailing what is to be done, who will do it, how, how long it will take and how it will be determined when it is done. Reinvently has two Certified Project Management Professionals with two more in the process. This standard isn’t limited to our project managers. It applies to everyone including social media and the writing of blog articles. Indeed, our blog is filled with many, many examples of our project management, development, and design processes. One major focus of the blog is to inform and educate our customers. Some are completely new to the world of apps – but they still need to decide what they need for their business.
If you are as concerned about the success of your project – you, too, will want a Certified Project Management Professional overseeing its development. You may not want or need to know how every process works. Still, your business will need someone to be actively engaged throughout the entire development process. Unto itself, your active participation increases your chances of a successful project by 33%!