PMI Statistics through Nov 30, 2010

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The November Project Management Institute (PMI) statistics are in.  The PMI now has over 409,159 active Project Management Professionals (PMPs) and 331,697 members. So, what’s new?

It looks like November was the best month in 2010 for those getting their PMP.  The one bit of data I took note of was the PMI membership numbers.  Over the last year, the data being displayed in PMI Today has changed.  It used to be, you could see how many new people got their PMPs.  The Fact File now shows only Total numbers of each credential.  It does, however, still show New (PMI) Members.

The January 2011 issue to PMI Today (page 5) indicates there are 8,502 new members.  In fact, there is an overall increase of just 1,696 members.  6,806 PMI Members chose not to renew their membership in November.  Unfortunately, based on the data, it appears people value the PMP credential more than the PMI membership.  Perhaps the PMI needs to adopt a free-mium model.  I think PMI should offer memberships for free or at a greatly discounted rate and then charge to maintain credentials or find other revenue streams.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
New PMPs (Net) 3,714 3,713 5,344 4,718 3,985 4,630
Total Active PMPs 367,619 371,014 375,959 381,111 385,096 389,726
Total PMI Members 314,721 315,106 317,962 317,787 317,989 318,421
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
New PMPs (Net) 3,687 3,965 2,681 3,161 5,939
Total Active PMPs 393,413 397,378 400,059 403,220 409,159
Total PMI Members 320,388 323,220 327,180 330,001 331,697

Source: PMI Today

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PMPs Surpass 400,000


They did it!  The Project Management Institute (PMI) now has over 400,000 active Project Management Professionals (PMPs).

Source: PMI Today

When I look at the data from the last 4 years, the certification velocity has remained relatively consistent.  For the month of September, it dropped by over 1,000 from the recent average.  Still, overall PMP credential holders increased by 2,681. There are now a total of 400,059 active PMPs.

Congratulations to all of those who reached their goal to obtain the credential.  (When I was at the PMI North American Congress a few weeks ago, they were quick to point out that the PMP is not a certification.  It’s a credential.)  For those who now have, or intend to get, their credential, I want you to think about your motivation for a minute.  Why did/do you want the PMP®?  What value does it have?

January February March April May June July August September
New PMPs (Overall) 3,714 3,713 5,344 4,718 3,985 4,630 3,687 3,965 2,681
Total Active PMPs 367,619 371,014 375,959 381,111 385,096 389,726 393,413 397,378 400,059

Mastery-based Learning and the Paradox of the Credential

I recently read Dan Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.  It really made me ask myself about the certification process. What is your goal in getting the PMP or any other certification or credential?  Are we trying to discover better ways to deliver value to customers or just trying to get a piece of paper and a few extra letters after our names?  Some are pursuing the mastery of performance-based objectives versus learning-based objectives (ie. getting a passing score on a certification exam versus being a good manager or leader).

You can read more about how I see the PMP credential influencing other organizations and their certifications, over at the Agile Scout website, where I discuss the State of Agile .

Disclaimer: The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you buy a copy, I could make $1

Categories: Project Management Tags: Tags: , , ,

The PMP bubble may be about to burst

PMPs in 2009Steve Koger wrote a very insightful comment on one of my “Ask Derek” posts titled Required Experience to take the PMP.  In the post, I was trying to assist someone who wants to be a good project manager.  They want to get their PMP but they don’t have the required experience to sit for the exam.  I do want to be clear of three positions.  [1] I don’t believe you have to have a PMP to be a good project manager. [2]  Though the certification may be used more and more as a marketing tool, just to get to the interview, I would hire the person not the credential. [3] I see more people attempting to game the system and get a PMP by going to boot camps and saying they have experience that they actually don’t.

What is happening is an every increasing amount of non-qualified people becoming PMPs.  Unfortunately, I don’t see PMI taking any action to stop it.

This is what Steve wrote:

…while the PMP is more recognized worldwide, I’m not sure it carries as much weight as it used to… is there a marginalization occurring with the PMP credential?

I absolutely feel there is a marginalization occurring with the PMP credential.  Because PMI is a “for profit” organization, they are motivated to get as many people certified as possible. I know they say they are trying to advance the industry of Project Management. I do believe that but I can’t ignore the marketing machine behind the credential. I’m worried there will soon be so many PMPs, the credential is becoming the next Dutch tulip.

I am of course comparing it to the Dutch tulip bulb market bubble of the 1600’s.  This was one of the most famous market bubbles of all time.  Speculation drove the value of tulip bulbs to extremes. At the height of the market, the rarest tulip bulbs traded for as much as six times the average person’s annual salary.  (Source: Investopedia)

I see the PMP credential adoption being part supply and demand and part good marketing.  Fact 1: Too many projects fail.  Fact 2: Having a qualified and empower project manager at the project helm “could” lower the risk of a project failing.  Assumption 1: If you have a PMP as your project manager, your project won’t fail.

As with the economics of scarcity, the less there is of something where a demand exist, the greater the value. But scarcity and shortage are not the same thing. A shortage is when the demand exceeds the supply, usually meaning the price was too low and the market is not clearing. Scarcity always exists, but a shortage can be fixed. I feel the shortage of PMPs was fixed a few years ago. I see market conditions which indicate the PMP bubble is about to burst.

What I want to see is a limitation put on the number of PMPs certified per year.  I want to see PMI go back and require not only a 4 hour exam but also require everyone pass a practical exam.  I want to know that Project Managers are PMPs, not people collecting credentials.  I want to see the stop of Paper PMPs.

I certainly don’t have the answer.  I want to do everything I can to help qualified people get the credential.  But, that will mean nothing if there is a continued devaluation by people who merely pay a fee and pass a test.

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Sneetches and Credentials or Certifications


I’ve recently discovered a new love for reading Dr. Seuss books to my son.  I can’t help but see parallel after parallel to my every day life.  I guess if you write a good enough book, like Dr. Seuss, everyone should be able to identify.  My last post about Dr. Seuss and Green Eggs and Ham seemed to resonate with a lot of people.  I had to write this post because I want to know if others see what I see.

This post is about the Sneetches and Sylvester McMonkey-McBean.  There are two kinds of Sneetches in this world, those with stars on their bellies and those who don’t.  When reading this, I want you to picture yourself as a Sneetch and your star being a credential or certification.

Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches.
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
they’d hike right on past them without even talking.

I’m going to introduce another character into this story.  His name is Sylvester McMonkey-McBean, an entrepreneur who offers hope to the plain-bellied Sneetches by offering them the use of his star-on-machine.

Then ONE day, it seems while the Plain-Belly Sneetches
Were moping and doping alone on the beaches,
Just sitting there wishing their bellies had stars,
A stranger zipped up in the strangest of cars!

“My friends”, he announced in a voice clear and clean,
“My name is Sylvester McMonkey-McBean.
And I’ve heard of your troubles. I’ve heard you’re unhappy.
But I can fix that, I’m the Fix-It-Up Chappie.

However, it soon becomes clear that Mr. McMonkey-McBean is no champion of the Plain-Belly Sneetches; in fact all he cares about is making money.  He is quite happy modifying the machine to remove stars from Sneetches who want to stand apart again.

I’ve come here to help you.
I have what you need.
And my prices are low. And I work with great speed.
And my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed!”

Then, quickly, Sylvester McMonkey McBean
Put together a very peculiar machine.
And he said, “You want stars like a Star-Belly Sneetch?
My friends, you can have them for three dollars each!”

“Just pay me your money and hop right aboard!”
So they clambered inside. Then the big machine roared.
And it klonked. And it bonked. And it jerked. And it berked.
And it bopped them about. But the thing really worked!
When the Plain-Belly Sneetches popped out, they had stars!
They actually did. They had stars upon thars!

Then they yelled at the ones who had stars at the start,
“We’re still the best Sneetches and they are the worst.
But now, how in the world will we know”, they all frowned,
“If which kind is what, or the other way round?”

Then up came McBean with a very sly wink.
And he said, “Things are not quite as bad as you think.
So you don’t know who’s who. That is perfectly true.
But come with me, friends. Do you know what I’ll do?
I’ll make you, again, the best Sneetches on the beaches.
And all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches.”

He encourages the Sneetches to continually go from the star-on-machine to the star-off-machine and back to the star-on-machine.

All the rest of that day, on those wild screaming beaches,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie kept fixing up Sneetches.
Off again! On again! In again! Out again!
Through the machines they raced round and about again,

Changing their stars every minute or two. They kept paying money.
They kept running through until the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew
Whether this one was that one or that one was this one. Or which one
Was what one or what one was who.

Eventually, Mr. McMonkey-McBean vanishes once the Sneetches run out of money.

Then, when every last cent of their money was spent,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie packed up. And he went.
And he laughed as he drove In his car up the beach,
“They never will learn. No. You can’t Teach a Sneetch!”

Fortunately, in the end, the Sneetches have no idea who is who and both Star-bellied Sneetches and Plain-bellied Sneetches learn to live together.

But McBean was quite wrong. I’m quite happy to say.
That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day.
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether
They had one, or not, upon thars.

In the project management community, I think a lot of people will recognize Sylvester McMonkey-McBean as the Project Management Institute or the Certification Boot Camps.  But, I’m certain this is not unique to my industry.  Are they there to help or are they there to make money?  I’m not going to crucify either because I have a certification.  But, just because I have 2 stars on my belly doesn’t make me any better than someone with none upon thars.

What do you think?