What is PMP...

…and what does it do for you?

Article by Lili Kaneva

What is PMP and what does it do for you?
There are 16.5 million Project Managers on our planet. This same planet will be in need of 25 million of the same by 2030. If you are receiving this newsletter, you should be ecstatic on the news. It means a big demand for the craft of project management and this is a prerequisite for rich opportunities for you.


When was the PMP cooked-up?

In 1984 the organization that unites us - Project Management Institute - launched the PMP certification to “acknowledge skills and experience in project management”. On the 6th of October 56 project management professionals sat for the first ever PMP exam (only 43 passed so it must have been difficult even back then!) in Philadelphia. Note you had the chance to meet one of the living legends of this story, Lee Lambert, who agreed to speak at our PM Summit 2023 (by the way, if you didn’t attend, you’ve missed a lot).
So we wonder, is it possible that there are colleagues among us who have not gone after formal project management training and certification? Let's explore the profile together and see how the PMP acronym can serve your case.

Scenario I: Drifting through the storm!

You are a tech-savvy expert that has been thrown the hot potato because you have demonstrated that you are capable. It must be common because PMI coined a term for it - the “accidental project manager”. Leading is a natural step of one's professional development so the apparent disaster can be a big win for you!
What are the main strengths of such “spun off” PMs?
  • Deep understanding of the product
We call them subject matter experts, SMEs or ninjas, but we mean one thing only - they know what they are working on. Being a hands- on expert will bring you closer to your team in terms of adopted practices and tools, industry standards and ability to solve problems. Strong relationship with the team Often a new lead can be seen as an imposter. If the PM is organically developed she would have a developed relationship with her team - common history, familiar (weaknesses) practices and strong rapport. The benefits go beyond work efficiency on this one!
  • Pragmatism
There is nothing more annoying than loads of reports and task updates that are hanging upon you while the deadline is looming. There is a high chance that your in-house PM will not overdo reporting. The need of organization grows gradually and attempts to create some statistics and transparency are modest - a table, a schedule, a weekly meeting. In the long run this may be a deficit though.
What can a PMP certificate add to it?
  • Requirements management
There is no doubt that there is a clear need behind the project you are managing - a tool you are implementing, new process, the need of formal training for newcomers - there is plenty you can think of. Quite often there is a short circuit between this need and the planning of activities. This leads to one important omission - formal definition of requirements and even more importantly - formal agreement on what will be delivered.
  • Risk management
We have a natural tendency to focus on the current issues and we usually have plenty of those. That is why it is easy to forego the effort to think about “what else can potentially go wrong”. Done well enough though, this investment can be the defining feature of your project success. Risk management changes the timelines, the actions we’ll take and may even lead us to reconsider the decision to go after a project.
  • A menu of techniques
Undoubtedly you heard people comparing project management with planning a vacation or a birthday party. While there are clear similarities that may make you nod in agreement at first to be fair, do consider a birthday party for the king or a 2-year holiday trip around the world (for 5 people). Not all projects are equal and neither should the way we manage them be such. This is why we are given a toolkit - methodologies and instruments - each of which is suitable to use in a certain situation. The more you know about them - the bigger your menu of options and the better the chance that you will find a good fit for your project.

Scenario II: Rising star

Scenario II: Rising star

There are many fresh faces at our monthly meetings - it’s you, our new flaring project management fresh hopes. You are just starting your professional journey and we are happy to be there with you (and for you). It’s how the community builds up. There is a thing about your PMP you need to know. You’ll have to work on it for a while. The PMP certification is an exam but, like a true mythological hero, you will have to go through other challenges before you meet the final exam. There are two main hurdles:
  • You need to be able to prove you already have experience as a project manager. For professionals with a Bachelor's degree the required experience is 3 years. Note that personal projects (your wedding) doesn’t count but volunteering (yes, we need you!) does count as project management experience
  • You need to absorb some knowledge - there are plenty of face-to-face or virtual courses but keep in mind you need a certificate of completion
The PMP certificate has been with us for almost 50 years and it is here to stay. It is globally recognized, it is universal throughout industries and it teaches a broad range or methodologies. It is a true project management staple! It can do a lot for your day-to-day challenges as a professional and it doesn’t even matter if you wear the title of PM or you have to manage projects as one of those many responsibilities you bear. Get informed, get motivated and get going!