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Benefits of project management professional certification training

What is the value of completing a project management professional certification program? Are there any shortfalls?

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I'd say that the advantages are as follows:

  • It shows a commitment by the employee/individual to learn proper PM methods and techniques that can absolutely assist in the real world.
  • When balanced against a "real-world" perspective, the individual can properly delineate between theory and practice.
  • Certifications that rely heavily on case studies can provide enormous perspectives on very different types of projects.

To be useful, PM case studies and classes need to reflect less-than-ideal circumstances; "real-world" projects are never perfect. One should not leave a program with an overly optimistic view of how projects are run outside of the classroom. While I don't want to disparage all PM programs, I'd say that they are not substitutes for actual PM experience. In other words, all else equal, I'd hire an experienced PM sans proper certifications over a lesser-experienced one with the proper credentials. Ideally, one has both. If pressed, I'd take the doer more than the learner.

This was first published in October 2009

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