Sunday, May 9, 2010

To PMP or not to PMP, is that a question?

I am going to take my turn to weigh in on this debate.  As with any issue or opinion, some of you may agree and some of you may disagree.  The best part is that we have the opportunity to discuss and take sides!

Before I go any further into this post, yes, I know many PMP's who could not manage themselves out of a paper bag.  Yes, I know many PMP's who do not seem to know squat about project management.  There, I admitted it.  But does that mean the PMP is totally invalid?

I have seen many postings and articles debating the value of the PMP.  The Project Management Institute (PMI) has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years.  One of the key reasons is the administering of the PMP exam and the credential itself.  Professionals seem to be deeply divided on whether this is a credible certification.  I think there is only one opinion that really matters.....yours.

I tweeted earlier this week that I thought a PMP was very beneficial.  One person responded to me that "Street cred is earned by exhibiting knowledge."  I couldn't agree more.  It made me think back to a time earlier in my career.  Due to a host of issues, I did not finish college on time.  I went into the workforce.  I even had my PMP before my college degree.  I remember responding to a job advertisement for an internal consultant.  I had all of the skills necessary and knew if I got the chance to interview, the job would be mine.  I couldn't even get past the first screening.  The reason?  No college degree.  When I was in school, I was studying for radio and television broadcasting.  This job was nowhere near that line of study and I had years of "Street Cred."  Couldn't even get an interview.  It was then that I decided to finish college and get my degree.  However, there were easy options thrown at me.  Degree mills or cheap ways to say that you had a degree.  I did mine the old fashioned way.  Hard work.  I did have a push though.  The current job I had been working stated that a college degree was necessary.  Even though I already had the job, took a 40% pay cut to accept the position, and was truly over-qualified, I would have lost it if I had not enrolled to finish my degree prior to joining the company.  I ask you, had I finished my degree when I was supposed to, would that make me any more qualified?  The better question is, if I need to distinguish myself from others, is a degree necessary?  Here is the wierd part.  Those who have degrees are shouting yes at the computer screen right now.  Those who do not have degrees are ready to comment how they were able to succeed without one.

I think it is the same for PMP's.  There are several classes of people out there.  There are those that agree with the principles, believe in the certification and get it for the right reasons.  There are those that simply got one to try to get a better job or salary.  There are those that got them through a certification mill or by doctoring their applications.  There are those that will never get one at all.  The question really is, which one of "those" do you want to be?

I agree with the "Street Cred" tweet that I received earlier this week.  Once you have the opportunity to show your knowledge and talents, will you follow the principles that you agreed to when you signed the ethics pledge?

I personally believe that the certification IS valid.  I believe that it is worthwhile and I am proud to not only have a PMP, but to participate in many levels of PMI.  I think those that received theirs through unpure motives will weed themselves out in the end.  I think those that go after it cheaply will see it leave just as easily.  There is a bigger question out there than this one.  If a company is going to require a PM to have a PMP, then the company should be willing to follow the process!  The answer to that issue is..........another post for another day.

Hope this post finds you well!

Rick A. Morris, PMP <- (and earned it!)


Dr. PDG said...

Hi Rick,
I gave up my PMP #740 because I no longer believe PMI represents the values that I, as a life long project manager, subscribe to.

So what do I recommend? Take a look at a bit of research I published recently to see where the PMP stands vis a vis other credentials.

Assuming you are an American, you may want to check out what asapm offers or if you REALLY want to challenge yourself, try out the credentials that AACE offers.

Bottom line- PMI has become, IMPO, nothing more than a 20 million dollar a year business, conveniently masquerading as a 501(c)(3) not for profit professional organization. I am quite confident you will find other organizations which are not as well marketed, offering much more respected credentials.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia

Don Larson said...

I have a PMI CAPM certification and happy to stay at that level. I have a very good knowledge of the PMBOK, often more than some PMP's I know.

Erika Flora said...

Dr. PDG, I respect your opinion and your reasons for stepping away from the organization. However, employers today are looking for the PMP certification, and the credential gets you to the short list of people who make it to the interview (note: I think, however, the credential has lots of value beyond just getting the interview). There are other great certifications out there, and I encourage people to check them out. With that said, project managers in the US limit their career options by not having the PMP credential. That's just the reality of it.