I get asked quite often for this – “Can we have a qualification with our training course?”
And the answer is “Yes but it’ll take a bit of work on your part”.
As I see it, these are the three options for Project Management qualifications
1 – PRINCE2.
Don’t go there! It’s on the way out, it’s boring, it’s not even helpful, and some organisations actively dislike it. There is a school of thought that Prince people just introduce bureaucracy and gum up the works of your projects. If you are being asked to be Prince qualification, either by a potential client or potential employer, tell them you have got PMP which is better, and that you have run lots of successful projects, would they like to have a look at some of those? This is likely to do the trick, because usually people who want Prince just want “something to do with project management” and they don’t really know what they are looking for. If they did, they wouldn’t be asking for Prince!
2 – APM
– the Association of Project Managers. These are the ultimate awarding body, the real deal, and the best project management qualification is PMP (Project Management Professional). Internationally recognised, (in the US the APM are the PMI, the Project Management Institute, but the qualification is still PMP) this is the one to have. Can you get it from my course? Well, sort of!
To get PMP you need to do three things.
a) join the APM, which costs a little bit of money.
b) prove that you have several years of project management experience (the exact amount depends on what academic qualifications you have, see the APM website). Proving experience should be OK because actually most managers are running projects if they think about it.
And c) – pass an EXAM!
In order to pass the exam you ideally need two things: firstly an understanding of the subject, which is what you get from a training course. My course fits exactly with the APM body of knowledge. An Agile or Prince course will not give you the knowledge you need for the PMP exam, but any decent course, like mine, will. If it covers critical paths and Gantt charts then it’s probably alright. And then the other half of what you need for the exam is exam technique – there are books and apps and online courses which teach you the type of questions they will ask, and the standard things you need to memorise. It’s a bit like a driving test: you need to be able to drive, but you also need to learn the highway code, and you can’t guess that, however good a driver you are. But if you have the basic knowledge then learning the test format is pretty easy. Just have a look on somewhere like Udemy.com for PMP question help….
….or if you are lucky enough to be a member of lynda.com / linkedin learning there there’s a great course here.
…And that’s your PMP.
3 – CMI.
The third option, an interesting one that you should consider, is to get a Management qualification instead of a Project Management one. The CMI, the Chartered Management Institute, (internationally recognised) provide a range of management qualifications based on modules/units like leadership, strategy, finance, and…. Project Management. So if you get a CMI qualification it can be used as a general management qualification (which APM or Prince can’t) as well as a project management one – you can say “My CMI Certificate included the project management module, look, here is my assignment and you can see how comprehensive it is. I had to DO a real practical textbook project, covering all the areas of theory, and then write it up afterwards”.
If you’re choosing a CMI qualification there are two things to consider – level and length. Project Management units are available at level 5 (normal management) and level 7 (strategic management, the management of managers). I recommend to most people that they do level 5. Then there’s the length – if you do just one unit (Project Management) then you can get an Award. This would be called a “Level 5 Award in Leadership and Management” – not bad on your CV! But even better, I would say, is a level 5 Certificate in Leadership and Management, and to get the certificate you only need to do one more unit. For example you could choose do modules (assignments) in Project Management and in Leadership (always a useful subject to know about anyway!) and that gets you a Certificate – which I think sounds significantly better than an Award.
There is a cost – about £200 to enrol with CMI, £70 for the assignment to be marked, and about £100 for admin and learner support from whoever helps you to do it. And as with the APM exam, a little bit of help on how to write your CMI assignment is usually required, and certainly makes it much easier – I can arrange that, either face to face or on-line.
Finally, what’s in it for the organisation, who are paying for this PMP or award or certificate? The answer is that the learner has to do a textbook project (already a result!) and write it up, and in the process they discover that PM really works, it’s much less stress, and minimal extra work to plan it properly, in fact it probably SAVES work in the long run – so from then on they will do all of their projects properly. Also you can tell clients that you have a qualified PM working on their job. And of course you are showing your people that you are prepared to invest in them, both time and money. And then they can take on bigger more interesting projects and hopefully stay with the company longer because they haven’t got bored.
Onwards and upwards!