How many hours – a project management satire!

To PMP or not to PMP that is the question!

I need to decide and I am looking for your help.

“You do not know me?”


That is OK … you can still help … I have SOME books – I do not know what they are, and I read some of them, maybe 30% so how many hours do I need to pass the PMP?

If you have not noticed yet, I am being sarcastic but the above situation is real. There are so many postings on online groups that asks silly questions (I know I will offend some – hopefully those who deserve to be offended).

Value of Project Management

Project management has become a strategically valuable domain yet some people want to dilute it and make a worthless domain. Some people who wants to be project managers and project management professionals wants to be spoon fed – so how can we trust them to manage projects? I wonder if their managers see their posts – what would they think?

Here are some online posts, and I hope you can get the message and forgive me if not every question is 100% accurate.

Welcome-to-the-Maze-of-Project-ManagementQ & A – 1

“What is the most important characteristic of project manager?”

What can we answer to this one?

  • Charming?
  • Politician?
  • Smart?
  • Funny?
  • Good Communicator?
  • Can handle change?
  • Motivator?
  • Leader?
  • How about smart enough not to ask such a question?

How can we focus on a single characteristic?

What purpose such a question serve?

Q & A – 2

“What is the number 1 cause of project failure?”

Is there a single cause of failure that so dominate to ignore the 999 other causes of failures?

Or do we only have time to deal with 1 problem so we can spend the rest of the day on Facebook playing whatever game is popular these days?

Q & A – 3

“What is the most important tool to use in project management?”

How about a sledge hammer?

Q & A – 4

“What is the most important —- number 1 — most significant — etc. etc. etc.”

You can fill in the blank …. do i need to answer?

Q & A – 5

My favorite was today on Facebook on one of those PMP groups. The quotation went like this: “How many how long it will takes to prepare for the PMP – note I have reviewed some of the books and I am aware of about 30 to 40% of the content”

The funny thing is without knowing who this person is (his experience or education, which books he has or has studied 30 or 40% of, does this person even works in project management) some people are answering …

  • one said “2 months”,
  • Another said “2 to 3 months” …

Then the original poster asked a follow up question “how many hours per day” and here again someone answered with useless answers to a useless question.

The irony is this someone who is supposedly “leading and directing projects”, as PMI will tell us. If a person cannot put a study plan – based on their own skill and knowledge level, how can such a person “lead and direct projects”?

Related Matters

Here is another situation or two.

Case 1

A recent PMI-RMP is sharing his lessons learned online – in Arabic. To describe risks he is using an Arabic world that means Dangers; this is a common translation error – even the PMBOK 4th Edition which was translated to Arabic used this term. But – the term is wrong and is not in line with the proper definition of risk.

So what is the issue here? A newly certified PMI-RMP – coming out of the exam – and is defining risks as dangers …. he is limiting the definition of risk to “threats” and forgetting the “opportunities”.

When we pointed out to this person the mistake – we were ignored.

Case 2

In a similar situation, one person (and an English language center) were announcing a short awareness workshop about _________ …

From the announcement I was not sure about the purpose of the event since in the write up (text of announcement) they talked about awareness about project management then below the words project management had “PMP” (Project Management Professional).

From the announcement one cannot conclude if the presentation is about an introduction to project management or introduction to the PMP.

The issue was – reading the announcement lead us to conclude that this person / center was equating project management to the PMP, which is wrong. We wrote to them saying these things are not equal and in PM there are about 30 to 40 certifications.

We got a response 🙂

The response was “thank you for your keen observation we plan to explain the difference in the presentation”

I said “how about those not attending? You are leaving them with the impression that PM = PMP – no response.


Is this what we have led to in project management?

PMP and PMP aspirants need the one problem – one factor – one situation – one X – to manage projects?

Are we at a situation where someone is dumb enough to ask people who never met him to give him a recipe of how many hours to study per day and in total?

I know – I might be over-reacting here – but this misguided scenarios are all over the internet.

We have got to do something!

May be exit project management and go into farming!


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About Mounir Ajam

A Project Management thought leader, who believes that project management touches all people, in all aspects of life; personal and professional.Initiated and led the formation of SUKAD Corp to develop the Uruk PPM Platform.An advocate of real-world, practical and applied project management.Champion of adaptive project management, tailored methods, and organizational project management.Available anywhere in the world to advise executives and organizations on the strategic value of project management. Ready to help organizations build and sustain the Project Management Function and the capacity to lead projects successfully.