The debate about the PMP losing it's value

People are getting their PMP® (Project Management Professional) certifications at a breakneck pace.  This year alone, new PMPs are averaging  just under 4,300 a month.  You would think this would be great for the industry, having more qualified project managers engaged on projects.  Instead, the question is being raised if people who should not be PMPs are in fact being certified.  Are hiring managers creating an environment for those with no project management experience to game the system? Geoff Crane sees a pattern.

  • A new credential is created
  • The credential is marketed, making success promises to hiring managers
  • Hiring managers make the credential a requirement
  • Shortage of credential-holders increases perceived value of the credential

Get the complete list and what comes next at Papercut Edge.

February PMP Certification Numbers Are In

Every month I get a copy of PMI Today and I annotate 3 data points: New PMP® for the month, new PMPs year-to-date (YTD), and total number of active PMPs.  The trend continues, with the new number of PMPs down by just 1 to 3,713.  Since we only have January to include, YTD total is 7,429.  There are a total of 371,014 active PMPs. I did a quick compare to Febrary of last year.  The overall total of PMPs is up by 43,764 in 12 months.  Average that out and you’re looking at 3,647 a month.

I still predict PMI will hit 400,000 active PMP credential holders this year.  But, I'm not as bullish on them reaching 450,000 by year end.

Any questions?  Let me know.

December (2009) January February
New PMPs (Monthly) 5,403 3,714 3,713
New PMPs (YTD) 3,714 7,429
Total Active PMPs 361,238 367,619 371,014

January PMP Numbers Up Over 6000 In One Month

Every month I get a copy of PMI Today and I annotate 3 data points: New PMPs for the month, New PMPs YTD, and Total PMPs.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see PMI is certifying a volume of PMPs with no end it sight.  In January, there were 3,714 new PMPs.  Since they've only reported January (2010) numbers, YTD totals match.  What is the shocker is the total number of PMPs.  We're looking at 367,619, up from 361,238 in December.  That's right, numbers are up overall 6,381 in one month. I did a quick compare to January of last year.  The overall total of PMPs is up by 45,369 in 12 months.  Average that out and you're looking at 3,780 a month.

Some of you out there with other credentials curse the PMP®.  I have to admit, some of the worst project managers I have EVER met, were PMPs.  I guess the same could be said for any profession.  Certifications don't guarantee quality, but like it or not, a lot of people drank the Kool-Aid.  If you want to exceed in project management, many of you find yourself going after one certification or another.

I do think there is merit in the PMP certification, though I would feel more comfortable if I thought PMI wasn't in it for the money.  That's kind of hypocritical of me, since I do make money in the support of the PMP certification.  My prediction of 2010 is PMI will hit 400,000 PMPs by June and close to 450,000 by year end.

Though not all of these current 367,619 PMPs are currently PMI membership holders, if they were (at $119 each) you'd be looking at $43,746,661 in annual membership fees.

Isn't math fun!?

How Do You Know Your Metrics Are Worth It

GQM Paradigm So you want to create some metrics.  More importantly, someone has told you that you need to create some metrics.  How do you know if you're just making work for yourself or if you're just putting a spin on the same old data?

Ask yourself what the goals of your project are.

In trying to determine what to measure in order to achieve those goals, I recommend using a Goal-Question-Metric (GQM) paradigm. It can actually be applied to all life-cycle products, processes, and resources. I've been using this process for a few years and it really helps me creat a quality metric.  The GQM paradigm is based on the theory that all measurement should be [1]goal-oriented i.e., there has to be some rationale and need for collecting measurements, rather than collecting for the sake of collecting. Each metric collected is stated in terms of the major goals of the project or program. [2] Questions are then derived from the goals and help to refine, articulate, and determine if the goals can be achieved. [3] The metrics or measurements that are collected are then used to answer the questions in a quantifiable manner.

Here is an example of the GQM in action:

Goal (use this 4-step process to shape a goal)

[1] Purpose [2] Issue [3] Object (process) [4] Viewpoint

Goal 1 [1] Purpose [2] Issue [3] Object (process) [4] Viewpoint Maintain a maximum level of customer satisfaction from the Help Desk user’s viewpoint
Question 1 What is the current help desk ticket trend?
Metrics 1 Metrics 2 Metrics 3 Metrics 4 Number of help desk tickets closed Number of new help desk tickets % tickets outside of the upper limit Subjective rating of customer satisfaction
Metrics 5 Number of new help desk tickets open
Question 2 Is the help desk satisfaction improving or diminishing?
Metrics 6 Metrics 7 Metrics 8 Metrics 9 Number of help desk calls abandoned Number of help desk calls answered Number of help desk calls sent to voicemail Subjective rating of customer satisfaction

As the great Lord Kelvin once said, "If you can not measure it, you can not improve it."

Image based on Basili, Caldiera, and Rombach "The Goal Question Metric Approach", 1990

Free Total Project Status Report Template

TPS Report
TPS Report

As I study the collection and reporting of metrics and project statuses, I find many reports just do not deliver what they should. I believe there should be a stand-alone deliverable that a project manager is able to provide to a stakeholder at any time, illustrating the total project status.  I created a report and used the name "TPS Report" from the movie Office Space.  I try to interject a little humor into a project, where I can, without raising too many eyebrows.  Because I do not think I should keep all of the good stuff for myself, I hope others will download my free template.  It captures everything from overall project status to schedule, budget, scope, and quality, including a RAG (Red, Amber or Green) status.  What milestones were planned and accomplished?  What is planned for the next period?  Though I believe a subjective narrative does have its place in project reporting, I like the more objective approach.  Give your stakeholders the facts!Please enjoy this free copy of  my Total Project Status Report Template.