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Certifications and the Real World

You've probably noticed that this series of articles is titled "Real-World Project Management." Until this article, I ignored all certifications, project management approaches, and formalities with how projects move from start to finish.

Why? I don't believe—and I bet you don't either—that just because you have a certification you're a better project manager. I don't subscribe to the theory that a certified project manager is better than an experienced project manager. Both certified and noncertified project managers have only one thing to prove: Can they get the job done?

Who cares if Joe Schmoe has an MBA, PMP, and other alphabet soup behind his name, if he can't deliver on his promises? Not me. I'd rather work with a project manager who's practical, down to earth, accessible, logical, and can deliver, than with any PMP out there.

Having said that, I'll go back to why I like the PMP certification: It assigns accountability. If there's a PMP out there who blows as a project manager, it's not because he doesn't know the mechanics of what a project manager should do. A PMP is only as good as the projects he delivers. And there's no exam that tests the quality, the completeness of a project deliverable.

Or is there?

I know of only one exam that tests the quality and completeness of a project manager: the acceptance and satisfaction of the project customer.

And what about the ability of management to compare a project's anticipated costs against the actual costs within a project? The ability to benchmark actual schedules with what was promised? The same with promises in quality, communication, risk assessment, procurement, and the project management framework as a whole?

You want a real exam? An exam that really proves worth? It's there. The real project management exam is in the results of every project you deliver.

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