PMP: Is getting the certification worth passing the test?

Last week, Raven of Raven’s Brain asked all of us: Why are YOU are a PMP?

I’m glad she asked because it gave me an opportunity to rethink a decision I made back in 2002. Was it worth the effort passing the test and remaining a member of PMI?

When I became a project manager, I welcomed the idea of a set of standards and a guide. Getting the certification seemed an obvious next step. Six years later, I know from working beside great mentors that having a PMP is not necessary, but I still think it was worth passing the exam and remaining a member of PMI.

My reasons?

  1. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) framework gives you a toolbox of very effective tools. Under the theory that what I don’t remind myself of I will eventually forget, I have started reviewing the PMBOK Guide to keep the commonly used tools at the forefront of my mind. Wisdom is knowing what tool to use when, but not knowing which tools are effective is to be at a greater disadvantage.
  2. I appreciate the support PMI provides through the Special Interest Groups and Colleges. I get additional training and access to the knowledge of experienced Project Managers across my industry. As a member of the Information Systems SIG, I have access to free webinars on a broad range of topics throughout the year. Similarly the College of Scheduling has provided access to Best Practice papers and free webinars. This is the main reason I remain a member of PMI, other than my own issue with being a member of an organization that I’m certified by.
  3. I appreciate the formal recognition that project management is a profession with its own set of standards and Code of Ethics. The PMP is a reminder to me that I am at work to add value to the business and to take myself and my responsibilities seriously.
  4. To keep the certification current, you need to continue to grow as a project manager by continuing your education. Each PMP is required to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every three years to keep their certification current. If my curiosity weren’t enough to keep me moving forward, the need to earn PDUs gives me additional motivation to continue to grow.

I think getting the PMP was worth the effort. What do you think?

Is getting the certification worth passing the test?

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