PMP® and Reality

Achieving PMP Certification is just half the battle won

 

Yey! Hoorah! Congratulations ….you are now a Certified Project Management Professional from PMI, USA. You worked hard and you gave up some of your pastimes to prepare and get through the exams. You held your cool during the 4 hrs of grueling exams and you PASSED……. Whew.

Take a week to enjoy and bask in the new found glory while it lasts …as the real

As project management gains practical relevance and recognition in the business world as the de-facto mode for achieving organizational strategy and goals there is growing need for certified PMP® s across the domain across the world. And it is generally understood that a PMP® certified professional commands more respect and a higher salary then the non-certified project professional.

However all this is fast changing. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that one should not be certified, I am the last one to say this as I have a rather successful organization which is affiliated to PMI as their Global REP. What I am saying is that the hiring organizations are getting more and more disillusioned by certified professionals and this heartbreaking trend is only increasing instead of ebbing as the time passes. All this while the demand for quality Project professionals is on the rise. What an irony.

This trend is even more poignant in India.

How did we get here? What happened down the line? Why are certified project professionals looked upon as academic rather then practical? 

This is very closely connected to the way how we obtain our driving licenses. There is absolutely no guarantee that we can drive just because we are a licensed driver.

 

 

Similarly the answer to this irony lies in the way the entire journey of project professionals have been sold to the aspiring candidates by the training providers. Yes you read it right …it’s the training providers that are the culprits in this case.

As the demand for quality project professionals grew the training providers dived into this sea of opportunity and throwing around guarantees for passing the exams and ensuring mastering the certification etc. to corner the maximum no of candidates for their courses. As more and more organizations joined in to milk the cash cow the target shifted from “mastering project management” to “mastering certification”. Thus the trainings became cheaper (not just in terms of price) and the certification got oversold. Certain books from an American author became even more popular as it seemed to give just the right kind of information to clear the exams and nothing more or less. Scores passed the exams and then applied for better positions and jobs. And this is where everything got unraveled. 

Passing the exams is one thing and handling a real world project in a real world, is another. Soon more and more certified professionals started failing to bring any major improvement to the project management in organizations. Organizational wide and later industry wide disillusionment set in. Heightened expectations of hirers were dashed to the ground in most cases. Certified professionals also started to doubt why such a thing is happening. People wrongly started doubting the certification itself.

 Now a days when we collect requirements from an organization for conducting a training course for them, many of them come back to us saying “please we do not need certification we need practical training.” It takes me a very long time to explain that certification course is not just academic but highly effective and practically relevant.

My message for you is simple you do not have to be a certified professional to be a great project manager. The global certification of PMP® is only great if you can apply the concept practically which means you were taught this course from a very practical standpoint.  If you just go for a PMP® training and somehow pass, do not expect any major change in your career status or pay scale status for some time. No one pays for your academics, you get paid for what you bring to the table by way of effectiveness, leadership, commitment, process optimization, quality, foresight, communication abilities, practical engagement with stakeholders etc. And all this are part of the coveted PMP® certification course provided you were taught the right way.

Project management is probably the most exiting and amazing career option in the world today and it has the potential to catapult you to the very top provided you understand it, follow it, use it and imbibe it in your work and project life. Else you would be just a “Paper tiger”.

Choose your career partner carefully. 

 

PMP® is the registered mark of The Project Management Institute, USA.