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First of All , A Project Manager who works in the field may not use a lot of the concepts or delve into the depths that PMBOK guide does.
Most Project Managers may not be in control of Budgets or Procurement and the money may be managed by either a Finance/Procurement Person or someone very higher up in the pecking order and the PM might just be brought in to perform delivery.
It is therefore valuable that PMP equips Project Managers with an insight into procurement and finance.
The PMBOK also does not go into great depths regarding Emotional Intelligence and Soft Skills which are the main assets of a Project Manager when it comes to communication and Stakeholder management. These skills are acquired in the field through years of experience.
And therefore it makes sense that Project Managers after few years of experience pick up the concepts and are able to apply them in their daily work.
How does one judge a Paper PM in a 45 minute interview? asking them about the projects they have managed and judging if they have used PM-isms taught in the PMP.
Experience doesn't trump credentials but is supplemented well by the credential in my opinion
Also , I think going through the PMP exam preparation has helped me better do my job and apply the PMisms.
And I don't think the questions are that straight forward in PMP and you really have to apply the concepts rather than pass the exam by reading the books
I cannot speak for all project managers, but for myself I can say that the PMP credential was the next logical piece of the "accidental project manager" career path and it definitely followed gaining hands-on experience as a project manager first. Passing the PMP exam was validation that my experience was on target and I was moving in the right direction.
I agree with Deepesh completely that the credential requires experience as part of the pre-requisites to sit for the exam and that experience is supplemented by credential attainment.
Given a choice of the PMP credential or having hands-on experience managing projects, I certainly would take the latter, but I have gained a sense of completeness by earning the PMP credential. It has absolutely enabled me to fill in some of my knowledge gaps as well as giving me some practical tools that help me in better managing my projects.
Thanks for posting this great question, John.
John, sometimes individuals are simply negative, and see things as binary. Nothing is devalued, there is no conspiracy theory. And like you said, there is a rather stringent vetting process prior to taking the exam.
Actually, it can be viewed not as a 'paper PM' but as someone who stretches themselves and takes the initiative to better themselves, showing dedication and respect to the craft. Additionally, maybe while the individual is in a bad place in their professional life - searching for a career change or trying to bounce back from a job loss. Is that not the kind of person you want?
I would not be surprised to see his interview techniques prejudice, purposely asking questions to trip up a candidate he sees as being a 'paper' PM.
Frankly, I don't give individuals like that much credence.
I think the problem is that some people view the PMP as a guarantee that a person can perform a project successfully, and liken the PMP certification exam to a Plumber’s certification exam. When I hire a certified Plumber, I know s/he will weld my pipes correctly because Plumber exams are practical; they must weld pipes and have their welds pass examiners’ scrutiny. In contrast, the PMP exam is conceptual. It demonstrates that a person understands certain basic project management concepts, but doesn’t prove s/he can manage a project well. The ability to do that can only come through experience.
So, to answer the question I’d hire a paper PMP according to the level of his/her experience, which I can only ascertain by asking detailed questions about previous projects.
What position are you hiring this person for? I would not hire a newly certified PMP, with the minimum experience required to apply for the exam, for a senior project manager position. Unless this person falsified information on their PMP application, which I have no way to know, my assumption is that this person has some experience, which should be reflected on the resume, and enough understanding of PM Principles to pass the exam. This can be vetted during the interview, to some extent.
Would I hire this person over an experienced PM who does not have a PMP? It depends on the experience, the position, and how the interview goes. Of course, a bigger factor is whether or not the resume of the PM without a PMP made it past the HR screening - I might not even see the more experienced PMs resume, therefore, no interview. That's an entirely different discussion.
I personally feel its all about right opportunities and how well someone grab those opportunities.
Its not about how many years of experience one have, its about how well one have applied the project management principles for whatever period in worked i projects.
Andrew made a great point - I agree with him.
On the other hand, with regards to your question of whether I would hire a paper PMP or not, then it is a Yes / No:
1- If I see potential in the candidate then yes because I like to invest in people. PMP exam is not easy and all questions are situational so if he managed to pass then I am pretty sure he has the ability to learn and excel. It all depends on the budget and project circumstances.
2- I won't hire a paper PMP if it was a critical project and / or I did not see any future potential in him / her.
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