To trust or not to trust: a PMP training provider case

In this article we discuss a situation that is somewhat representative of the project management training – in particular PMP training. This case reflects some of the bad situations out in the market but we must stress this is not about all providers. Like everything else in life there are good, bad, and ugly situations.

We wrote this article almost 2 years ago but we see the situations are still around so we publish again!

In a past posts, we discussed some issues with training providers and offered a list of items to consider when selecting a project management training provider. This morning, I received an email for a PMP Prep Class from one of those providers. Please read on and you can judge whether to trust or not to trust such providers.

I will present a case using sentences and segments from the email that came from this providers, while pointing out some issues. I am sure you will understand if I do not share the specifics about this company. I can only say now that this company is:

  1. Advertising training globally, the email i received is for a UAE training
  2. The company shows their main office to be in the United States with a USA phone number
  3. The company also shows an office in an Asian country

So what is wrong (or NOT) with this company?

Point 1

PMP Training Provider CaseOK – Is this a 2-day or 3-day class? The subject says 2 and the body shows 3. We would be happy to accept this as a minimal impact mistake.

Point 2

PMP Provider Case - 2In this next extract, it shows the course as 3-days but will earn 35 PDU … how?

Most training classes are typically 5, 6, 7 or maximum 8 hours per day. Assuming 7 hours/day * 3 days give us a maximum of 21 hours — so where did the other 14 hours come from?

Now before people jump and say – the other 14 hours are online … if this the case, there is no mention of that in the whole announcement.

In this next extract we will raise more than one point.

Point 3

PMP Training Provider Case - 3

Quote from 1st paragraph, first line “… the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers …” How is that? The PMP is NOT a project manager certification – it is a project management professional … there in nothing in the application or guidelines that says an applicant must have a PROJECT MANAGER experience.

Another quote from 1st paragraph, second and third lines: “… the PMP demonstrates that you have the experience and competency to successfully lead and direct projects”

We do not how many faulty statement are in this phrase.

  1. Let us zoom in on the word “competency”; how can one assesses competency? Does the writer of the announcement understand what competency or competence means? I am not an expert on competency but the basic about competency is that it is quite difficult to assess partially because the person being assessed have to demonstrate competence in “DOING” … they need to demonstrate that they can do something like a project management plan, or a risk assessment, or something else. All what the PMP application asks for that someone have three years working somewhere on projects.
  2. In the previous point i used bold font for three years working since three years working does not necessarily means three years of “real” experience in managing projects … I know we can debate this.
  3. Assuming the person has three years working on projects, does it mean they are competent? In the PMP application there is nothing that help PMI assess if the person is competent — unless competence has been degraded to mean “working”.
  4. The last past of the phrase talks about “to successfully lead and direct projects” … on one hand, a PMP might have never led a project … the application asks for leading project management tasks — not leading and directing projects. On the other hand, if we chose to ignore the previous point, then how does PMI knows if the person is successful in managing or leading or directing projects? Is there anything in the application process that deals with this matter?

Point 4

In the second paragraph of the above extract, we notice “The program also aims to train the participants to be Effective Project Managers.” I am confused here, did not the first paragraph says that “… the PMP … demonstrates … successfully leading and directing projects …”? I would assume if someone is successful in leading and directing projects that means the person is already “effective”, do not you agree?

Or am I confusing the sequence? The PMP become effective project manager because they have taken this 3-days class and pass an examination?

Point 5

To build on the previous points, does anyone recognize that the PMP is NOT a project manager certification? The PMP stands for Project Management Professional … notice management and not manager. That means the person does not have to be a PM to become a PMP so how can the PMP become “effective project manager” and “successfully leading and directing projects.”?

Point 6

Let us stay with the same extract and focus on the last sentence “…thorough understanding of Project Management Framework & Methodology.” In this case the author of the announcement either does not know that the PMBOK Guide is NOT a methodology or they are just extrapolating in their marketing. The PMBOK Guide is not a methodology and this is not my personal opinion – it is what PMI clearly states in the PMBOK Guide itself.

Point 7

PMP Training Case - 4I am not going to comment on this extract – I would just say there are at least two bullets that have information going back to 2000 edition of the PMBOK Guide … those who have been around for a while they will know what they are.


What we tried to do here is one case … with some minor and some major issues of understanding what the PMP or training for the PMP is all about. Maybe in the future we show other cases with different issues. We also must admit that some of the issues mentioned here, especially points 3 and 4 might not be the fault of the provider totally since they might be copying what others are saying, including PMI.

By the way, nowhere on the announcement or on the website of the provider we could find the course leader name or profile.

We close with these points:

  • Is the PMP certification valuable? We say yes for the certificate holder. The candidate will learn a few things as he or she prepare for the exam.
  • Is it valuable for the employer? It depends on other factors and the a PMP holder should not be blindly trusted because they are PMP … hiring managers need to assess the candidates on various factors. If all things equal, a PMP could be better than non-PMP.

We would love to hear your points of view – with or against.