The Inescapable Myth Underlying the PMP Certification…

2010.03.02 MV to All:
As I sit here continuing my lunchtime studying for my upcoming PMP exam, I suddenly had a Moment of Clarity regarding why I DETEST pursuing this certification. Oh, it’s been nagging me for quite some time (at least a year since I first considered sitting for this exam), but I could never put it into words. Yet with each new encounter with a “certified” Project Manager in my SharePoint consulting travels, my observations of their poor project management skills fed this nameless, nagging vexation.

Then today – seemingly out of the blue – it hit me what the PROBLEM with the PMP is:

There’s an underlying ASSUMPTION that whatever skills were needed to pass the exam were indicative of a highly-experienced, well-learned, in-grained, ready-to-be-called-forth-whenever-needed set of project management principles.

For the vast majority of PMP-certificed Project Managers I have ever come across… NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.


The skills that are needed to pass the PMP exam can be learned by a college student fresh out of school, and – at least so I’ve been told – in less than 3 weeks. Maybe 2 weeks.


I shit you not. I even traded emails with a business aquaintance who made that very claim – that he studied-for and passed the PMP on his FIRST try, and he did it just 2 weeks of evenings spent at the local public library.

Now I ask you, given a scenario wherein THAT “certified” project manager got The Job over a far-more-experienced-but-UN-certified project manager, WHICH ONE – when a genuine NEED arises – is going to be able to call upon IN-GRAINED, GENUINE project management skills to carry The Project to a successful conclusion… and WHICH one will have already PURGED from his short-term memory (you know – the kind used to cram for exams) any USEFUL information, and instead will be lamely relying upon consultant-speak and “leadership by committee” to obscure the reality that he DOESN’T really KNOW how to manage a project…

Think about it. How many PMP-certified Project Managers do YOU know, do YOU work with, who adopt – nay even PRIDE themselves on performing – the very activities (e.g. status meetings, managing by committee) which are the ANATHEMA of PMP goddess Rita and her ilk of PMP gods?…

Lots. Tons. If I MUST be technical… “heaps & gobs” of PMP-certified Project Managers behave like this.
You know it. I know. Hell… RITA HERSELF knows it.

So what does it MEAN?…

It means – like I said – that the underlying assumption that the skills needed to pass the PMP are deeply-ingrained is in fact FALSE, and that these skills CAN and ARE temporarily CRAMMED, and that the PMP as a result is NOT the infallible sieve which can be used to separate pyrite from true gold…

In fact, if I must be candid (I am ALWAYS truthful), I can only state that in my own experience PMP certification is accomplishing precisely the OPPOSITE of what it intended; there are now in fact MORE BAD PROJECT MANAGERS THAN EVER BEFORE.

And here’s the REAL irony – we have none other than RITA herself to thank for this sorry state of affairs, because she & her ilk make it a (lucrative) BUSINESS out of preparing these pyrite PMPs to pass the exam in the first place !!!

Back to my studies. I somehow feel “lighter” – as if a great burden had been lifted off of my shoulders…
… or maybe it was just a loss of bile.


Peace out.


This entry was posted in The Big Picture, The Wise Consultant and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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