People reading my post have probably realised that I do not like the PMI's and in particular its RMP qualification acceptance criteria one little bit. This is not out of prejudice because it’s an American organisation or that there are just to many associations vying for world recognition and dominance in the field of project management. I don’t like it because in my opinion unlike the principles outlined in Prince2 as an organisation it fails to adequately support and market the professionalism and professional status of project managers and that its acceptance criteria in both cases for membership are illogical.
I do fully appreciate and understand that these are the rules laid down by the organisation and that if one wants to be a member then one must satisfy them but still does not make them logical or right.
Let me present my argument focusing on the case of the PMI-RMP qualification in the form of questions and maybe you will agree or disagree with their logic.
The PMI-RMP Requirements are as follows.
To apply for the PMI-RMP, you need to have either:
A four-year degree (bachelor’s or the global equivalent), with at least 3,000 hours of project risk management experience and 30 hours of project risk management education.
What if you decided not to take a year out in your degree and completed the degree in only three years?
What would be the difference in their criteria if say one person took a degree in the life history of Elvis Presley and another person like myself did a degree in Strategic Business Studies?
What about the value of the degree, 1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3
What if it was a business related degree but with no elements or electives pertaining to project management.
What would happen if the degree was actually in project management and the pass mark was exceptionally high or low.
What difference would there be between a Standard Degree or an Honours Degree.
What would happen if the person held a MA or MS'c or Doctorate in strategic business studies or better still project management?
What if the person held a HND or HNC either in project management, risk analysis or some other discipline, should they be barred from taking the qualification.
What if your degree or other qualification was in risk management and maybe you just had several years experience that was gained in say in the health service or through insurance profiling or banking and finance would this be considered a fundamentally different set of risk skills to analysing risk in projects.
What relevance is 3000 hours project management experience to a person working in the PO doing risk analysis, does it suggest that if you are not a project manager with 3000 hours under your belt you cannot be deemed competent to do risk analysis on projects or obtain the RMP qualification.
What if the person did not do well at school or did not go to university but later in life became an ardent self-taught student who has been learning relevant subjects over many years, should this person be discriminated against by the above criteria?
What if you have two people with the same amount of experience time (3000 hours and 30 hrs) but one worked in a functional organisation with none or very little project 'management' responsibilities other than reporting back to a line manager and the other worked in a projectized organisation and had been in total control of all of the project s/he had worked on. Would they both be equally qualified under these criteria? The principle here is, one has one hours experience repeated 3000 times and the other has 3000 hours of accumulated different experiences, should they be treat the same?
What is the risk that this is nothing more than ridiculous moneymaking scam on behalf of the PMI to maximise revenue.
The fact is the level of risk analysis in project management according to all the published material does not have to meet the same stringent criteria or the rigors of other more demanding and much more specialist areas of business. Also, if you consider the teachings from Prince2 (which I personally have much greater faith in) should a company want or need such a high level of expertice they would have a strategic business planning department complete with qualified risk analist or if they did not, then they would hire in a fully qualified risk consultant.
So why would a company want to employ a comparatively under qualified RMP?
One could argue that the RMP is not targeted at the above businesses but at small to medium sized businesses that cant afford specialist departments or consultant fees.
That could be deemed a reasonable argument unless one considers that any proficient project manager who claims to be a professional should have studied risk management as part of his or her basic training. If one accepts this principle then why does the PMI need to separate the element of risk management from the professional project management qualification?
Could it be to make more money?
Of course if one takes this argument to the next stage, can one assume that the PMI is suggesting that their professional project managers are in fact insufficiently trained in the risk management area of their profession? If this is the case how can the PMI claim that their project managers are professional or even qualified project managers.
Of course the finality of this discussion is, if the above logic is true, then how can companies have any faith or confidence in any project manager purporting to be qualified under the standards of the PMI.
NOW’s the time to be a little bit fairer, the PMI, APM and Prince2 all follow the same system in providing a qualification that is strictly to confirm that the holder has knowledge of and can administer the project management system as dictated by their particular methodology. They all go on to say that the actual function of project management apart from the management system is beyond the scope of their remit and that is their downfall. That is like telling a car mechanic that we will test to see that you know how to use the tools of your trade e.g. a spanner and screwdriver and even a ratchet wrench and give you a professional certificate of competence to say your a qualified mechanic but actually not teach you anything about repairing cars.
The only association that I have come across that addresses these particular issues that are outlined above is the Australian AIMP whose membership is graded by several competency levels ascertained by fully qualified professionals at each level of certification.
With this in mind and with one personal reservation because I actually do like the idea of the Prince2 methodology, that association would be the only one that I think is worth joining and spending my money on.
So what is the alternative to this money making scam, my recommendation is to not waste your money on these Mickey Mouse qualifications which at best are a very expensive way of satisfying your need to impress other people who have absolutely no real concept of the intricate skills of project management. If you want real qualifications sign up to a college or university course on the subject area that interest you. Failing this, if you feel that your skills have a weakness in any area just go onto Amazon and buy the books that you need to study and spend a few hours each day learning that subject in depth. As you study more books you will be given references to further reading on the subject that increasingly focuses your mind at greater depth and complexity. A typical course cost between 450 to 500 or even more pounds, adding several of these courses up puts your bill into the thousands of pound range. Imagine how many books at an average cost of between 20 to 40 pounds you can buy for the same price of these courses, and of course you then keep these books as a fantastic reference library and call upon them whenever you need to refresh your memory or solve a problem.
Consider this, an open book exam devalues that examination quality by up to 40 percent and then with a 50 percent pass rate, this qualification is then devalued again to around 30 percent of actual competency.
This raises two issues for you:
1) is it worth paying between £300 and £600 for each of these bogus qualification every three years to perpetuate this nonsense.
2) do you really think that employers either do not know this or that they do not take this into account at the interview.
I think an example is warranted here:
My first job at the age of fifteen was as an apprentice decorator, the training took 5 years and through that I became expert at painting in all of its forms including spraying, hanging wallpaper of every conceivable type, stencilling, marbling, graining, sign writing and a whole hoste of other skills. Using normal household paint I could paint a door to a standard of 98 percent reflection as recorded on an electronic reflectomitor. After the traditional apprenticeships were withdrawn the government brought in the NVQ system that effectively segmented and devalued the skill set of decorators which had serious knock on effect for the C&G qualification.
Watching some students who were preparing an examination pannel for their final NVQ's and C&G qualifications I was smiling and shaking my head, the instructor came over and said, 'they're doing really well aren’t they’. I had to be honest with him and say, 'the standard of workmanship they have done in finishing their panels in order to get their qualification is where I would have been just starting to prepare the panels for my qualification'.
That is how badly the dumbing down effect of segmenting qualifications into constituent parts has destroyed the overall qualification and subsequently the whole profession of decorating. The sad truth is that now 40 years on the standard of decoratiing in this country is dismal. The old skills and more importantly the ethical principles of workmanship and pride in doing a good job are gone for ever and as a result the quality, professionalism and renumeration of the trade is now equal to that of an unskilled labourer. The tragic thing is, this is happening right across every single trade and most quazi professions.
I was told by my aged and somewhat pious teacher who himself had undergone a full seven year apprenticeship in his youth. If you are contemplating drinking from the chalice of knowledge then drink deeply or not at all. He was telling me in his own round about way that if I wanted to become a tradesman then I had to work hard, pay attention and learn. It took me three months to learn to wash and rub down surfaces before I was promoted to filling in for another three months. This relentless attention to detail on every aspect of the trade persisted for the next five years before I was told by him that I was now qualified enough to express an opinon.
One could say that the current situation and attitudes are a sign of the times and that the consumer is no longer willing to pay for the high skills and quality of workmanship associated by the old apprenticeship system. However, when it comes to project management this is not the case, businesses are undergoing rapid change and this change is at an increasing pace, the cost and consequences of poor project management is increasing exponentially over time. The demand and the willingness to pay for highly skilled individuals who practice continued learning and refinement of their skills is essential if this trend is to continue. Professional associations must not become the catalyst of the dumbing down process as outlined in the previous paragraphs.
It appears to me that project management associations are closely following the same doctrine of unscrupulous religious leaders. As these leaders say to the uninitiated infidels, come ye unto my tent and pay me your coin and I will welcome you into our fold and bless you with the wonders of heavenly gifts in the afterlife. But pay ye not unto me your coin and I will turn ye away and condemn your eternal soul down to the fiery depths of hell where ye shall burn for all eternity.
As you can see its all about the money.
If you consider that what I have said is wrong then just consider why with so many so called professional associations with their myrid of diferent systems and multitude of segmented qualifications professing that their brand of profesionalism is the holy grail of project management; is there still only around 37 percent of projects coming in on time, on cost and within scope.
The profession as a whole would be far better off If these associations took their lead from the philosophy and principles of Prince2. Insisting that their professional members be given the respect and recognition that they so rightfully deserve would ensure that Project Mangers would inevitably be given not only the necessary positional status in the hierarchy of the company, but also that very important authority to ensure that they get their jobs done.