The demand for project work is increasing, but the profession is having trouble keeping up.
What credentials should individuals or employers choose?Project-related work and the number of project-related jobs are growing too quickly for our approaches to professionalism to keep up.
It doesn’t take much to see that the world is more focused on projects. It’s not just project professionals that are saying this, but business leaders also recognize the importance of projects in any company and are applying project management standards to more areas. Ben Snyder called his book Everything’s a Project.
The Project, Programme, and Portfolio Office roles are also growing. People who are interested in working in projects have many options. A project support officer, risk professional, or PMO specialist could all be options. Many companies use the management frameworks and organisational structures that support project-based work.
But what exactly does “project management” mean?
The growth is encouraging, but I also see that project management interpretations can vary for different people. Project management jobs come with salaries starting at PS20k and going up to PS80k. It is impossible to find the same job with the same responsibilities.
Project management professionals (i.e. You and I have both decided that industry bodies are the best groups to explain project management. This is quite clear in the US because PMI(r), the standard for project management, makes this very clear. This is not because I am a fan of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (or the PMP(r), credential), but because there isn’t as much competition among industry bodies in the US.
It is different in the UK. The Office of Government Commerce produces the PRINCE2 (r) and the MSP(r). These are the requirements for programme and project managers. The Association for Project Management is also affiliated to the IPMA. They each have their own knowledge and credential scheme. We also have a small, but active PMI Chapter. This means that there are people who have PMP and other PMI credentials.
It’s a mess for employers. Do you want to be a PRINCE2 (r) Practitioner, a PMP, OR both? What is APMP and how does it compare to a Master’s in Project Management? What should I look for when I am looking to hire a PMO manager? Employers cannot use a national standard to make the right decisions for their company.
It’s worse for individuals. Employers are looking for PRINCE2(r), but this course won’t teach proper scheduling or reflect your field experience. Should you also take the PMP exam? What about the new Registered Project Professional designation of APM? Although this is still in its infancy, the idea is that those who have RPP will be able to adopt Chartered status and become Chartered Project Professionals once the APM receives its Royal Charter. This will likely propel them into the same ranks as Chartered Accountants and Chartered Surveyors. Let’s say that you want to do this. Who will pay? Many employers won’t pay for membership fees to more than one professional body. Individuals must pay for PMI and APM memberships. They can ask their employers to send them PRINCE2(r), recertification courses, every 5 years.
These problems are not easy to solve.
I don’t know the answers. This is a challenge for employers, industry bodies, and individuals. Professional bodies will not suddenly stop producing certificate-based training courses. It is how they make their money and convince employers that they are relevant to today’s work environment. The courses and credentials are generally very good.
I have no issues with the standard of project management education.