Three reasons that explain the success of PMP

This is an article by a guest author! We publish here to allow a diversity of opinions and contributions from professionals around the world. Publishing an article – represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily SUKAD. In some cases we might even have a different view than the article published and in those cases we will publish our opinion as a comment.

I would like to show in this article some reasons, in my opinion, for which PMP is considered a world reference in project management.

Firstly, PMP is based on best practices, i.e. it is based on the analysis of thousands of real projects, to find out what successful projects have in common and which factors make others fail. If we think about the amount of projects we go through during our career, most of them are very similar and even so very few projects can be considered successful projects. However, almost none of us think about the reasons that lead a project to fail, what we have done right and what we have done wrong, or what we can improve to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

This lack of reflection was taken seriously by some people and these individuals spent time analyzing different projects. They found that failures were always due to the same reasons and were able to identify and summarize the best practices for project success.

When one looks through the processes described in the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK),he or she realizes that they have already used some of the processes  described in prior projects but, perhaps, didn’t know them by that name although  they essentially were the same thing.

In fact, some of these processes can be part of the methodology of the organizations for which we work and hence mandatory. Going beyond we could measure the degree of maturity of an organization by comparing how close its methodology aligns with the PMBOK.

In addition to being based on best practices, PMP is a very general approach to project management. The project definition itself according to PMBOK is quite enough general: “A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end, undertaken to meet a service, product or unique goal.” This has made it possible for PMP to be utilized by not only IT companies but also other areas such as, industry, public services, etc. It could be said that PMP is applicable to all we do in our lives if we approach life as a project: going on holidays, buying a car, organizing an event, etc.

It is only necessary to list the knowledge areas incorporated in PMP to realize how general and complete is: Human Resources, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Communications…

On third place, PMP considers people management as extremely relevant to achieve project goals. Its scope includes not only human resources and stakeholders but communication among people as well. In my opinion, the traditional way of managing projects doesn’t stress communication in the project team nor among. However, things are changing and now more and more people understand that without a qualified team and good communication management is almost impossible to reach project objectives.

This point has possibly become more evident thanks to globalization: communications, project team and stakeholders become critical in big projects when different countries and cultures take part.

Another point to take into account is that these aspects are normally those that project managers are able to modify more easily as the rest of them; (time, cost, scope, and quality for example) usually come with constraints imposed.

Finally, PMP is now a world reference in project management because it has its foundation experience of many projects, is applicable to any sector and take the value of people into account as the most determining factor of the failure or success of a project.

About Alfonso Arias

Alfonso AriasAlfonso Arias is a telecommunication engineer with more than 15 years of experience working for IT companies as a consultant. He has been working as an IT Manager at BBVA, one of the major banks in the world, for the last six years. Currently he is working in the Quality & Assurance department. He has recently got the PMP certification.

  • We published this article to allow other professionals to express their opinions whether we agree with the opinion or not. In this case, we do have differences of opinion on more than one point and we will highlight here:

    1. “Firstly, PMP is based on best practices” … PMP is based partially on the PMBOK® Guide, and the guide talks about “common practices” NOT best practices. Many practitioners often confused this point.

    2. “Based on the analysis of thousands of real projects, to find out what successful projects have in common and which factors make others fail.” Alfonso — where did you get this information? I have been a PMP and with PMI since the 1990s and I am not aware about this. All what the PMBOK says is it covers processes if followed will lead to “good practice” it never says is based on Analysis of thousands of real projects.

    3. “We could measure the degree of maturity of an organization by comparing how close its methodology aligns with the PMBOK.” This might be the case if the organizations follow PMI but keep in mind not all organizations follow PMI and PMI is not the only association or source for project management knowledge and expertise. Further, maturity is not only about aligning methods to standards it is about performance.

    Now outside the actual article – many believe that the PMP is losing its value. There are only discussions now and have been for years critiquing or criticizing the PMP and PMI. There is even a thread now on LinkedIn asking if “PMI is broken”.

    On the positive side
    Yes the PMP is highly popular and is valuable but we always stressed the need to truly explain what the PMP is or is not and we have published many articles on this subject – on this blog site.