Life Beyond the PMP

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

There was a time, many moons ago, when I was deeply anxious about writing the PMP exam. Now, my certification number is under 7000--so clearly I did write it, and clearly it was a while ago. Almost 15 years ago, to be precise. I had already been managing projects for nearly a decade, and have added a good deal more experience to my resume.

I have also done a fair bit of professional development since then. Much of that development is in the domain of project management. Virtually all of it, however, has been out of the PMI fold. While I’ve been involved in PMI congresses and workshops, it has typically been as a speaker rather than a participant. Certainly I continue to earn PDUs, and quite a lot of them, but most of them are generated by the workshops I deliver, the papers I write and the speeches I give rather than the seminars that I have attended.

As to why I was anxious about taking the PMP in the first place, much of that was related to the fact that it was an examination in a field that I actually worked in and that had been my chosen field for some time. What if I didn’t do as well as I had hoped? Even worse, what if I failed? What would that say about my knowledge of project management or my abilities as a project manager? Fortunately, I did write and was successful, so the answers to existential questions such as these were deferred for another …

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