Project Management

Certification Proliferation...and Confusion

Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is an experienced project manager, author and consultant who works for PMI as a subject matter expert. Before joining PMI, Mike consulted and managed innovation and technology projects throughout Europe, North and South America for 30+ years. He was co-lead for the PMBOK Guideā€”Seventh Edition, lead for the Agile Practice Guide, and contributor to the PMI-ACP and PMP exam content outlines. Outside of PMI, Mike maintains the websites www.LeadingAnswers.com about leading teams and www.PMillustrated.com, which teaches project management for visual learners.

Like TV channels, the choice of project management credentials has exploded recently. Twenty years ago, things were much simpler. In North America, the PMP® was the dominant credential; in the UK and ex-British Empire countries, it was PRINCE2. Life was straightforward, career paths defined and credentials well understood.

In 1983 in the United States, over 100 million people watched the finale of the TV series M*A*S*H. Outside of the Apollo moon landing and sports events, it remains the most watched U.S. TV broadcast of all time. Chances were most people in the office watched it and everyone had something in common to talk about. That was “peak TV”; populations have increased since, but program choice has exploded much faster. These days, there are so many cable choices, on-demand services, YouTube channels and Periscope sub-streams, it seems as if everyone watches something different.

Likewise, project management credentials have proliferated, too. Today I discovered seven different credentials for PMO staff from the same provider—each (presumably) providing some niche specialization or incremental progression from a former step. Don’t even get me started on agile certifications, which have splintered and multiplied faster than the brooms in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment from Fantasia.

This creates problems for …


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