Monday, November 8, 2010

Have you ever seen a successful project run by someone who was not a PMI Certified PMP?

Dear Appraiser,

My boss says only PMI Certified PMPs are capable of running a project.  I say it depends on skills other than test taking.  Have you ever seen a successful project run by someone who was not a PMP?

The real questions is, have you ever seen a project run by a PMP that WAS successful? :)

I'm not a big fan of this (or just about any other) certification.  It's a complex question, but people who focus on certifications demonstrate that they are focused, that they study well, and that they take tests well.  None of these things contribute to successfully running a project!

This calls into question the TYPE of person who focuses on getting certified . . . and perhaps they are not the SAME type of person that knows how to run successful projects.  I'm no psychiatrist, but I'm sure there is a study somewhere about this (maybe it's the same study that examines QA practitioners....).

People who mostly care about certifications are like companies that are searching for a CMMI "Level."  They are focusing on the wrong things.  Companies that do this struggle with the same problems after they get their "level" as before the did.  They get no value from it.

Here's some of the reasons I'm not a fan of the PMP (or the CSM for that matter):

- anyone who is good at multiple choice test taking can get it
- they have their own language and processes they prescribe and are very inflexible
- so many of the attributes required to be a successful project manager are not even evaluated by PMI - leadership, communications skills, ethics, etc.

That said, there are many people who ALREADY were good leaders and became PMP certified, and it probably didn't hurt them.  But there are way too many with the certification that don't know how to lead a project. 

If I were a CIO I would train everyone in process, communications, facilitation, writing, and leadership - and skip the PMP.

Good luck!

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