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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 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.