Well, the day is fast approaching when I sit down to take the 200-question, 4 hour test that will determine whether I get to add three little letters to the end of my name — PMP. Now, I know this is not as prestigious as being able to add letters like MD or MBA, but hey, this has still been a lot of work.
I have been in project management for 10 years but it was only four years ago that I was asked to pursue obtaining my PMP certification. I had heard of the standard before, but I just didn’t see any value in it. You see, in my experience, the only individuals that I have known to have PMP certifications were nothing more than really good test-takers. Only in the last year has the value of certification become apparent to me.
The industry doesn’t require a project manager to have a PMP certification. It’s not like passing the bar to be able to legally be a lawyer or having a PHD to be a doctor. Anyone can be a project manager. So up until now I thought that my experience, past accomplishments, and more-than-sufficient skill set were sufficient, and any additional letters were meaningless compared to that.
What changed, you ask? Project management is an art. It is not a science. Yes, depending on where you work, various technical skills are needed to do the job effectively. Project management is less about knowing all the latest tools and techniques, however, and more about knowing when to take that next brush stroke, what color to use, and what texture to apply. In project management, once the paint is on the canvas, it is very difficult to remove, and not everyone is good at this particular form of art. It finally hit me that earning my PMP credentials will not only show that I am a good test-taker, but also illustrates that …
- I’m dedicated
- I’m passionate about my profession
- I’m willing to better and contribute to my profession
- I don’t know everything there is to know about project management
In maintain a PMP certification required the project manager to continue their education. This is what changed my mind in the end. Continuing my education in the PMP world also means that I get to meet and converse with other PMPs, learn about how they apply their art, and contribute to the ever-growing population of PMPs with my knowledge and experience. This is what excites me and had made me see the value of a PMP certification. It’s not just three little letters. It’s so much more.
On Monday, October 1st, I sit for the PMP. On, Tuesday October 2nd, I will be the next PMP.