Considering looking into PMP? Skeptical of certifications? Well, let me share with you my recent experience with PMP.
I have always been very skeptical about certifications in general knowledge areas. I know in technical applications, certifications can truly ensure that the person being certified knows the application. However, for a general knowledge area, I have always thought “why bother, what is the real benefit?”…
Well, I was recently asked by my boss to become a certified Project manager. I have been a project manager for almost five years, and for four years before that I was part of a team with the responsibility of implementing IT/MIS projects internationally. My boss warned me that even with my experience, this test was going to be a challenge. He told me there was a lot of reading and understanding of the overall process I was going to review, and that I may not have thought in the terms that the certification suggested. I thought to myself “oh, great…what am I in for now?”
It started off just like I expected, maybe partly because I went in with low expectations, and was a bit leery of the whole process. It seemed to me to suggest that you think of projects in a vacuum and a perfect world, and not really in “real life” terms. It made assumptions I thought could not possibly be correct, or applied in actuality. However, around chapter 4 or 5 as it really started getting into the processes, what I call the “nuts and bolts”, it all started to make more sense. I realized that you have to start out thinking of a “perfect world” in order to understand the concepts and goals. From there, you then have to start figuring out and applying it all to “the real world” to try to be a better, more professional, project manager.
I will admit, it was a tough road, but one I am very glad I took. The understanding and knowledge that I gained from this experience, I believe will be immeasurable. I can look back on some problems on projects, and some projects that were problems, and see a little more clearly how some things could have been avoided or minimized, and even some opportunities that could have been developed.
I still know that not all projects will go 100% smoothly, but planning and thinking up front, I mean REAL planning and identification of risks and identifying solutions in advance, can be the key to a success vs. failure on a project.
If you are considering becoming a certified PMP, I wish you the best. I do recommend it, but be prepared to have to really dig into it and learn. Don’t give up, and hang in there. It is a worthwhile experience, and I truly believe you will be a better project manager once you are done.