Tag: certification

History and Current Development of Project Management

Ever since there have been work endeavors that could be defined as “projects”, people have been using management tools and techniques. After all, without some form of planning, organization and communication strategy, nothing can be effectively accomplished. However, the discipline that we now think of as project management was first formalized in the 1950s.

The original planning concepts were developed for large engineering, construction, and military projects. They included mathematical tools for calculating and managing costs, visual tools such as charts for prioritizing schedule activities, and evaluation tools for determining project scope. By the late 1960s, several project management organizations including IPMA and PMI had been formed. Over the next couple of decades a substantial body of knowledge was developed and published. Several institutes also began offering certification in project management.

How It Has Evolved

Today, project managers have carved out a niche in many public and private industries. Financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and software development firms are just a few of the industries that have joined engineering, architecture, and other traditional fields in using PM principles. Because of the wider application of project management, techniques have changed dramatically. Some tools from the past (especially diagrams) are still in use, but other simplistic tools have been replaced with complex software applications. Concepts like risk management and communications planning have been added to the repertoire of project managers at larger organizations.

Other factors that have impacted the development of PM methodology include:

Ambitious Scope: Today, many projects are larger in scope than ever before – and global in scale. Managing a virtual team that is distributed in far flung locations requires a different approach than overseeing small, local projects. So does dealing with the risks inherent in relying on suppliers and project partners in countries that vary widely in terms of economic and political stability, workplace culture, and business practices.

Better Technology: Software that is specifically designed to evaluate, plan, administer, communicate about, and track projects has been a boon to PMs in every industry. Beyond this, collaborative tools such as video conferencing have enabled faster and more effective communication for multi-location projects.

Speed to Market: Innovations in lean manufacturing and supply chain management along with expectations for a quick turnaround on product development have significantly affected how projects are managed. The software industry is the most obvious example, but other fields are following suit. Agile project management is a methodology that has been created as a result of these market pressures. The PMI has just rolled out an Agile Certification course in response to the growing interest in this fast, highly flexible way of managing projects.

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Tips for Career Transitions in Project Management

As a project manager, there’s little doubt that your skills will be in high demand somewhere at any given time. So, whether you are suddenly out of work or proactively planning your next big career move, the odds are good that recruiters are looking for someone with your skill set.

That doesn’t mean there’s no competition! If you want to be the candidate of choice for the best project management positions, you need to give some serious thought to how you come across on paper and in person. There are plenty of great articles already available all over the web on getting your resume in shape and impress a hiring manager in an interview. Let’s assume you’ve already discovered those general tips that apply to all job seekers. Here’s some advice specifically designed for project managers:

Document Your Successes

During the wrap up phase of each project, you should be thinking “How will the outcome of this project look on my resume?” You should begin building a portfolio of projects that showcase your skills. Any numbers and statistics you can collect are very helpful. For example, perhaps you brought a recent project to successful completion 17% under the estimated cost saving your organization $35,000 in the process. That’s definitely a good item to put on a resume. Generate reports from your recent projects (within the last 3 years) to collect the information you need.

Learn from Your Setbacks

It’s not just the projects that went well that can be beneficial to your career. Problem solving skills are essential – and you only gain those skills when there are problems to solve. When you are interviewed for a project management position, a recruiter is likely to ask you about various obstacles you have faced and how you overcame them. This is where you can tell your war stories about a time when everything went wrong and you still managed to find a solution. Comb through your recent entries in your “lessons learned knowledge base” to start creating a narrative about how you operate as a PM.

Use Discretion When Bragging

It’s perfectly fine to mine the data from your previous projects to help you “sell” your skills and experience to a prospective employer. Just remember to avoid disclosing any identifying information (such as the name of a project client) when you are putting together your resume or talking in an interview. Otherwise, you may be in conflict with business ethics and your current employer’s confidentiality policy.

Boost Your Credentials

In a field like project management that is constantly changing, it never hurts to have some recently acquired certifications on your resume. Pursuing continuing education does two things. First, it indicates to employers that you are serious about continuous improvement. Second, it opens up opportunities in new fields and broadens your job prospects. For example, if you want to be seriously considered for a high level position at a company where multiple, complex projects must be managed simultaneously, it might be time to consider getting your PgMP certification to augment your PMP credentials.

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PMI and IPMA Certifications

Two premiere project management organizations, the International Project Management Association (IPMA) and the Project Management Institute (PMI), have been facilitating first-rate project management services since the mid nineteen sixties. These organizations serve businesses needs on a local and global scale. In order to best suit a businesses needs, the IPMA and the PMI use various and different means to certify the most qualified talent pool. But there are differences in the testing procedures between the IPMA and the PMI. First off, the testing procedures for the International Project Management Association are broken down into levels. Level A is the highest achievable certification. The title for a Level A certification is Certified Projects Director. Next is Level B. It’s proper title is Certified Senior Projects Manager. Level C is refferd to as a Certified Projects Manager. And finally, a Level D certification is called Certified Project Management Associate. Now we shall look into the certification procedures of the PMI.

The Project Management Institute uses testing and work hours completed as a judge of potential candidates for certification. They have three different levels of certification. First is the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). Second is the Program Management Professional (PgMP). The last certification offered is the Project Management Professional (PMP). The PMP was recently accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This may give its holders a very competitive edge. The Institute also requires its PMP certified members to maintain their membership status by completing Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR). These world-class project management organizations have been on the cutting edge for over forty years. With the varied but rigorous certification programs they employ, these organizations will stay on the cutting edge for years to come.

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