What do you think – PMP demonstrate competency or knowledge?

I was triggered to post this article from an exchange on Facebook.

There are too many online groups promoting project management, project management certification, or both. Unfortunately, most encourage PMP certification as a savior of the global economy, managing companies, and ending world poverty. Of course, I am sarcastic but statement like these “Get your dream job. Free PMP exam support and material.” strikes you to be sarcastic.

Another statement is “Start your career as project manager. Join us today to pass PMP exam.” Yet another is “Jumpstart your career with a PMP”.

I have written on these kinds of posts in the past on my personal blog but decided today to share with you here an exchange – on Facebook – today.

The Post on Facebook

Start your career as project manager. Join us today to pass PMP exam.

The Exchange

  • SUKAD: We have a question – the PMP requires at least 3 years experience in project management; so how can one use it to ” Start your career as project manager?Top of Form
  • The other guy: 3 years of experience is required for PMP exam but not as a project manager. That experience could be as a team member, project coordinator, consultant etc.
  • SUKAD: Sir – so what you are saying is that the PMP will entitle you to be a project manager?
  • SUKAD: Second comment – the PMP requirements is that the candidates must have 4500 hours of PROJECT MANAGEMENT experience —- and have “Led and Directed” project work. So how could a technical team member be a person who has Led and Directed project work? Those words refer to leading – directing people not doing tasks.
  • The other guy: PMP certification is credential that ensures that you have enough skills to manage a project.

Notice the words “ensures”, “enough skills”

  • SUKAD: “PMP certification is credential that ensures that you have enough skills to manage a project”sorry, but this is not correct – except in rare special cases with simple projects. Also, the PMP demonstrates you have knowledge – skills are related to experience.
  • The other guy: I did not mentioned Technical Team in my above comment.
  • SUKAD: You mentioned team member – can you explain to us what does a team member do on a typical project? Per the PMBOK® Guide these team members are doing technical or functional work.
  • The other guy: So PMP is not enough to manage projects? Sir, please read the PMBOK again before commenting.
  • SUKAD: “We have certified 50 PMPs in this ministry and they still do not know how to manage projects“. This was a quotation from a senior officer in a Ministry of Work in one of the regional countries.
  • SUKAD: I have been a PMP for 18 years – and over the years I have met many PMPs who do not know the difference between a schedule and a plan — between project life cycle and project stages — or that the process groups repeat —- or there is something called project management team on the project that is not limited to the project manager.

 Closing Comments

To close this post, the PMP® is a good and valuable certification – but it does not ensure you will be able to manage a project competently. Again – theory is different than the real application on real projects.

A PMP certified individual might have the knowledge – but even at this we say partial knowledge – but knowledge is not learning. Learning is about applying that knowledge. It is about knowing how to apply PMBOK® Guide or other concepts on real projects. How to use contingency and management reserve. How to use float and free float. It is about knowing how to work the project constraints and produce an effective plan.

By knowing – we means someone can demonstrate that they know how to do something – and is competent in doing so.

What do you think?

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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.