Reply To: Is Project Management a Profession?

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I have to agree with Paul on some points and disagree on others.  PMI has indeed significantly watered down the PMP title by making it far too dependent on the exam – which can somewhat be bought by going to a boot camp.  This needs to be corrected.  There needs to be more documented proof of apprentiship in Proj Mgt and references from already seasoned PMs.  I was one of the first 2000 PMPs certified (1993) and I had to know my stuff because there weren’t any exam questions, boot camps or such.  It saddened me to see how easy it became to get certified.  Now when I hire aspiring PMs I find many who have their PMPs and don’t really know how to lead a project (so they are not professionals in the true sense).

On the other hand, companies are making their statement about PMs as a profession – they state emphatically that you must have a PMP (but like me when I hire that’s just the base level) and they demand a successful project.  A contractor building a home better be a professional or 1) the home will be a disaster, 2) the city will condem it because permits and processes weren’t followed, 3) any of several dozen/hundred or more other reasons.  A PM is the same sort of professional in leading a high value project – permits and procedures must be followed (many of which are not commonly known to the non-professional) and there are inspections and tests that must be passed for the project to be deemed finished and successful.  many projects have 5000 and more tasks to coordinate.  Not just any ole Joe could do it successfully.  Most companies would go out of business if (most of) their PMs were not true professionals.

So, yes Paul is right – having a PMP from PMI does not qualify you as a true professional.  On the other hand, not just anybody can step in and lead a complex project to a successful completion.  So who is the true professional?  I say that once you have been in the profession for a number of years and honed your skilled, learned the processes and procedures and proven that you can deliver proejcts – then you are a true professional – a person that companies can rely on to deliver their needed projects successfully.

Roy Pool   PMP (but much more than that)