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Why just having a PMP is not enough

You thought PMP certification is enough? Think again.
You thought PMP certification is enough? Think again.

Have you heard the news?

Having a certification as Project Management Professional (PMP) is not enough. Wait, but that’s not all. Having a PMP is actually at the bottom of the pole when Senior IT Executives (CIOs and VPs) are considering a candidate for a position (according to a study done by two Northeastern State University scholars and published in the Project Management Journal, vol. 42, #1)

Well, now, hold the phone! Anyone that has gone through the PMP certification process and has taken the exam successfully knows what it takes to become one. If you really want to know what it takes to become a PMP, just read the PMI Handbook (for the requirements) and take a sample PMP exam. That will get you thinking about how capable and well versed you are with the project management methodology. You will know pretty quickly that obtaining a PMP certification isn’t a walk in the park.

And this article is not to dispute this. On the contrary, it is show that a PMP certified professional should be aware of a few important factors that coupled with the PMP certification can make one an invaluable member of a team.

So here are the factors that the study found and how they rank in terms of percentage of importance:

  1. Leadership = 94%
  2. Ability to communicate at multiple levels = 93%
  3. Verbal skills = 87.2%
  4. Written skills = 87.1%
  5. Attitude = 85%
  6. Ability to deal with ambiguity and change = 82%
  7. Work history = 68%
  8. Experience = 67%
  9. Ability to escalate = 66%
  10. Cultural fit = 57%
  11. Technical expertise = 46%
  12. Education = 37%
  13. Length of prior engagements = 23%
  14. Past team size = 18%
  15. PMP certification = 15%

So what does this mean?

  • It means that a well rounded PMP certified project manager has a far greater chance at securing a job, than a technical expert with limited verbal, written and leadership skills
  • It means that Ability to communicate (what 90% of a project manager’s time is spent usually on a project) is more important than working on a project with a large team
  • It also means that Education is not as important as the Attitude and Cultural fit of the project manager

Think about these things as you prepare to embark on your next project at a different company. Does your resume outline these factors?


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