I remember September 2002 like it was yesterday. I was working for a digital marketing company downtown Toronto. The company was named DoubleClick and the .com bust had just started. I was a fledgling Project Manager working on small on-line custom projects for elite client’s, based primarily in the US. Ad dollars started drying up, but the company was still hopeful for its future. I realized that I would need to find a way to distinguish myself from other project management practitioners, and was researching the best way to do that. The company I worked for had a very generous training budget, so I decided to take full advantage of it. I applied, and started working on an evening certificate program in Project Management offered through TRIOS, using a Boston University curriculum. During this course, I met several mentors that would last through out my career. It was an exciting time in my life filled with idyllic philosophies, fueled by the bright promise of youth.
I had been a PMI (Project Management Institute www.PMI.org) advocate for 3 years, following my discovery of this institution while living in Philadelphia, PA. The certificate program offered me formalized training in what had been my after hours passion. The funny thing is that out of a team of about 8 PM’s I was the only one interested in PMI. I saw this as an opportunity and took my rightful place as a PMI champion. I knew PMBok by wrought and believed that everything should follow a rigorous process. Little did I know that this would mark me with my Manager in a way I did not want to be singled out. This is when I started to learn about resistance to organizational change. All I can say in retrospect is ouch! After completing my certificate I went on to do a PMP Prep course offered by PMStar (Cindy Bell). The course was stationed in the P&G offices at Yonge and Sheppard. The group from this session was truly brilliant. Everyone was from P&G, except for me and another colleague from Nestle. I scheduled my exam a week after the crash course had ended and wrote the exam at a Sylvan learning center in Waterloo. This was at the end of January 2003. I remember completing the exam and raising my hands in triumph! I passed on my first attempt and was now a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Upon receiving my certificate I realized that I was now part of an elite group numbering just over 60,000 individuals worldwide. While not a large group I felt proud of my accomplishment and held my head high.
From what I was able to see via Google the July 31st stats for worldwide PMP’s stood at:
“As of 31 July 2010 (2010 -07-31), there were 393,413 active PMP certified individuals worldwide. Over 4,300 individuals a month, since September 2006, have obtained a PMP certification”
That is an impressive steady growth rate. While some say this dilutes the credential it still stands as the most recognizable signal to employers, of an individuals Project Management achievements. In my case it helped me move into managing larger projects and establish myself with a proven delivery track record. 10 years later I do not subscribe to PMI the way I once did, but I still do see great value in the education and standardization that the Project Management Institute has brought to my chosen profession. I found more interesting information on the total current number of PMP’s at the PMI Connection website. The total number of PMP’s and related now stands at just about half a million:
These days many other frameworks have risen to help shape the way that projects should be managed. But, one undisputable fact is that nowadays every business engages in projects. Thanks to PMI and the PMP, societies approach to business has changed. It’s all now project based delivery. While it is easy to criticize that the value of the credential has been diluted to the rapid growth, I believe that this is proof of Org Change Management on a global scale. Standardization is painful because you are trying to get everyone to do the same things. It’s hard to garner that buy in and especially when it comes to management, there are always too many cooks in the kitchen. A common approach to doing something allows for a starting point. That starting point is exactly what PMI has provided with the PMBoK. I for one am grateful for the training and lexicon of terms that allow me to move from project to project without re-inventing the wheel every time. Thanks PMP it has been a great decade and I look forward to new exciting challenges in the coming years.