To PMP, or Not PMP – That is the Question

For as long as I can remember, our PM team has debated internally the value of the PMP certification for project managers. For many big corporations and the government, it is a key qualification for project managers. As a comparatively small company, this is not a prerequisite for our PMs. In fact, we generally prefer our PMs to have evolved into the position organically over time.

Why you ask?

From my experience, good project management is more a function of personality type and experience than a taught skill set. Sure, there are tactics and techniques that can be learned from a classroom and in books – but those are not what make a project manager successful. A good project manager has those skills, but more importantly, is detail oriented; able to keep a handle on a nearly unlimited set of discrete tasks; can manage diverse groups of people, ranging from internal teams to clients to vendors; and have the intestinal fortitude to tackle tough issues immediately head on.

None of that can be taught. It is a product of going through the meat grinder and having a personality that fits the job. My bias is routed in experience with other organizations’ PMP certified project managers – PMs who routinely struggle to make all of the pieces work together while simultaneously massaging the egos and personalities of the various parties involved to make them work in unison. Don’t get me wrong – I see value in the knowledge required for the PMP certification. I just think it is a toolset that needs to be employed by someone with a specific set of skills – otherwise it is ineffective.


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