November 2, 2017

Is the Project Management Professional (PMP) Dead?

I was running through the woods this weekend on my favorite trail until I ran into an enormous tree blocking the path. What to do? I could turn back, but I just started my run so that was a bad option. If only someone were on the trails with a chain saw! I couldn’t climb over the tree as my partner in crime, my dog, wouldn’t have made it. She’s a little on the chunky side so lifting her over the tree wasn’t happening either. We decided to take the scenic route off the trail, through the deep mud and around the tree. I had options to get around the obstacle, but not all options would work with my sidekick.

Ensure Project Success with the Right Tools

Project management (traditional, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, etc.) is just like my experience in the woods – you need options and tools to be successful. Not all tools will work with every situation. You need a variety, and you need to know when to use them to help ensure the success of the project.

The Project Management Professional designation is just one of many possible tools for project managers. The PMP is obtained by passing a grueling exam based on the traditional project management methodology. You can’t even apply for the exam until you have at least 4,500 hours of project management experience and a 4-year degree (or 7,500 hours experience and a secondary degree).

Agile, Scrum, Kanban is everywhere these days. Move faster and adapt to changing requirements is what everyone is seeking. The Agile approach is good for flexing around quickly changing requirements and delivering the highest value-added features to production first. This allows users to take advantage of their benefits quickly instead of having to wait for the entire application to be built. Requirements are gathered throughout the project, allowing companies to easily transform their requirements and to re-adjust priorities as business needs change.

Why Waste Time with PMP?

Since Agile is an excellent tool, why would anyone waste time with traditional project management and preparing for the PMP? The PMP designation seems to be dead…but is it?

Traditional project management, on which the PMP designation is based, is more typically used for gathering all the requirements up front and then using tools to monitor and control the project keeping it on track. Change requests to alter the scope, schedule, and budget are often implemented to accommodate requested project revisions. Some of these tools help mitigate risk, plan work and resources, track budget/ timeline and ensures deliverables are completed on time.

As a PM, you will likely have a variety of projects to manage based on different methodologies. Some may not even have a set methodology, and you need to define it as you go. Having a traditional project management background with a PMP designation and then adding Agile/Scrum skills is an effective strategy to becoming a successful project manager/scrum master.

PMPs understand the iron triangle (scope, schedule and budget) and how it must flex. They have the core tools needed to run a successful project. By adding the Agile/Scrum tools, you can easily adapt between traditional project management, Agile/Scrum and Scrumerfall (projects that are somewhere in between the two methodologies). You can use the agile mentality to improve and test new processes and to adapt easily to rapidly changing requirements.

PMP Designation as Core Methodology

PMP designation and traditional project management experience is nowhere near dead. It is a core methodology on which other new methodologies are based. Project managers, scrum masters, kanban ninjas, whatever your role; you need a variety of tools in your toolbox and experience using these tools to overcome to the obstacles on your journey.  So, fill up your toolbox to ensure you have tools for success!

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